Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wired at Lunchtime

The more time one spends with the internet, the more boring it seems to become. That’s perhaps because my exploration of the content on offer runs in ever diminishing circles, limited to whatever’s in my bookmarks. It could also be down to the fact that most of the web is full of trivial crap – probably featuring Lindsay Lohan.

However, I recently rediscovered the Wired website and I’ve got to say that there’s a thought-provoking article on there every day. The one that caught my eye today (as I ate my standard-issue Saatchi canteen fodder at my desk) is an article on why people do evil things in institutionalised environments, specifically Abu Ghraib. Take a look and wander around the rest of the Wired site. Genuinely fascinating stuff…

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Madonna's New Album, Short and Sweet

I’m interested to see that elderly pop-maven Madonna’s next album is going to be called ‘Hard Candy’. Strangely enough, this is the title of a very dark crime novel by a favourite writer of mine named Andrew Vachss. The eponymous Candy is described as ‘a whore with a heart of cyanide’. Hmm…

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lindsay Lohan Fetish: A Confession

Lindsay Lohan is by far my favourite fucked-up celebrity. For someone who professes to hate the ‘Heat’ culture of celebrity-watching, I must admit to a bit of a Lindsay Lohan fetish. There’s a weird kind of pull that a story about Lindsay Lohan has. I wouldn’t go as far as describing it as an obsession, just a vague sense that she’s actually rather attractive and a low level curiosity about what she’s up to.

So what does Lindsay Lohan get up to that’s so interesting? Oh, just normal girl-stuff, you know. A typical week seems to consist of: going into rehab, coming out of rehab, substance abuse, rehab again, inappropriate men, car crash hit-and-run, back to rehab, alcoholism, ankle tags, more rehab and then a day of rest on Sunday.

Note that acting doesn’t appear to feature. At least Britney Spears managed to get an album out in between that unfortunate visit to the hairdresser and being admitted as a psychiatric patient. Lindsay Lohan doesn’t appear to do anything but conduct a completely dissolute life in front of the paparazzi. Sounds like an easy living, apart from selling one’s soul sliver by sliver to the insatiable media bacon-slicer.

I suppose part of the reason I have a soft spot for Lindsay Lohan is that she reminds of the sort of women that I used to fall in love with as a lad. Pretty, kooky, whack-job girls used to really ring my bell. The more damaged and hardcore head-fucked the better. They held a magnetic fascination; despite the fact their company was tedious, as they were so relentlessly self-obsessed. I really bought into that ‘I can rescue her’ romantic bullshit.

On the other hand, I might be fascinated by Lindsay Lohan because I dig girls with freckles. God, why do I have to over-complicate everything?!

Lindsay Lohan, clearly in need of rescue

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Worst Video on YouTube EVER!

Obviously, as a creative at the razor-sharp bleeding cutting edge of digital communications, I'm keen to project an innovative multi-format online presence. Therefore Pete Costello, our freelance art director, and myself made a totally awesome movie yesterday and posted it on YouTube. It has since gone viral with a massive 20 views. It's also charted as the 74th most discussed movie in the Automotive section! We rule!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Demons and Pitches

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last week or so – I’ve been involved in a pitch and between that, family and Devil May Cry 4, time has been at a premium. Mind you, most visitors to this blog are arriving via Google having searched for Conan the King and then going away disappointed when they discover that I’m talking about my old gym trainer. I therefore suspect my lack of posting isn’t causing much wailing or, indeed, gnashing of teeth.

On the subject of pitching, I think it’s my favourite type of work. You build a great camaraderie with your fellow pitchers as you all sweat to bang it out on time. The ridiculous deadline is attractive - the job is nicely, neatly finite. Another benefit is that you’re not constrained by crushing brand guidelines or, er, reality. In a way, the work is as good as it can ever be – before limited budgets and endless rounds of amends bite. Of course, you never know when your idea is going to sink like a battleship recycled from colanders, but that’s part of the fun.

Oh dear, I realise I’ve written a thoroughly positive post! I’ll be back to my curmudgeonly ways in the next one.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

iPod Shuffle: Resurrection

A year or so ago I had the sad task of writing an obituary for my 4G iPod, but today I can happily report a resurrection. After a 30 degree wash cycle, my iPod Shuffle seemed doomed – but, no, it came back to life!

I use my shuffle at the gym, listening to a mix of Old Skool Hardcore dance music (The Ratpack and DJ Slipmatt seem to give me a lift on the treadmill). I left it in the pocket of my shorts and slammed them in the washing machine without thinking. I suppose the trouble with Shuffles is they’re just TOO small, at least for a forgetful idiot like me. I thought I’d lost my last one, but found it in a drawer after buying a replacement.

So, anyway, I came home from work last night to see the slightly battered Shuffle laying forlornly on a kitchen work surface. My fears were confirmed when my wife Emily told me the sad news about its unfortunate interaction with the washing machine.

After a futile initial attempt to use the Shuffle, I did not surrender hope. And, after an hour in its little charger, my optimism was confirmed. The little green light shone and the unmistakable beat of Take Me Away by Jimmy J & Cru-L-T blasted from the Apple headphones (which also survived the wash!)

Amazing! I know many Infinite Loop fanatics think that Steve Jobs can walk on water, but last night I witnessed a genuine Apple miracle.

Monday, February 04, 2008

On Me Tod

I’ve just had a Weekend of Solitude. When you’re a dad (and, moreover, only child), this isn’t as terrible as it sounds. As much I love my wife and children, look forward to coming home to Emily and Stan every night or spending weekends with Mila and Frankie, it’s a release to have some time purely to myself doing things that only I would want to do. I think most dads can empathise with this. It’s why we have sheds.

So what was I up to while Emily and Stan were up in Manchester visiting my sister-in-law? Gaming, the gym, liver and onions (Emily hates liver), ‘I Am Legend’ at cinema (enjoyably dark for a Hollywood blockbuster and Will smith single-handedly and brilliantly carries the film), bloody-as-hell steak and sautéed mushrooms, taking over the entire bed at night and sleeping in until (gasp!) 9am…you get the picture.

Of course, ultimately it’s an empty freedom to have – I missed Emily and Stan terribly – but for a few days it's a priceless luxury...