MonthFebruary 2005

Strong Opinions On Appropriate Magics

I so seldom follow these memes, but this is a cute one:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth full sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually nearest to you (We already know you, no use trying to be pretentious)


“This is not the sort of magic which civilised men wish to see practised in England nowadays!”
– “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke

Review: Nathan Barley

I recently watched the first couple of episodes of the Nathan Barley tv show, based on the (fake, obviously) tv show “Cunt’ from the spectacularly funny but now defunct “TV Go Home” web site.

It was very entertaining, and amusing – I laughed a lot – but having said that, the character of Nathan Barley in this show is NOT the same as the original. There are some crossovers, for sure. When the TV NB said “I’m a self-facilitation media node” .. that’s fucking timeless, and could have been said by both of the NB characters.

But TV NB is a fool. He’s presented and played as slightly gormless. At times one feels SYMPATHETIC to him. The TVGH version of NB, you NEVER felt sympathy for. You fucking HATED him. The WORLD fucking hated him. That was the POINT.

I’m actually wondering if perhaps the tv show is set 8 or 10 years later, and they’ve deliberatey changed the character a bit to have him age. He’s much less evil, and much more dorky.

Only the Finest of Creems

What Follows is An Open Letter to Brylcreem

Dear Brylcreem,

Hi. You don’t know me, I’m a first time writer. How are you? I am fine.

I’m writing about your “Hair Police” advertising campaign. In this series of ads, delivered in a faux-COPS documentary form complete with handycam-based live-action camerawork, two members of the “Hair Police” apprehend people with uncool hair and then try to make it cool using Brylcreem.

You’re causing me pain. Pain in MY HEAD.

Here’s some reasons why, in increasing order of importance:

(1) What you think is bad hair, isn’t. The last ad I saw had your Hair Police guys grabbing someone with a mohawk, and smoothing it down (using Brylcreem of course).

(I should note that this is the thing that actually made me pay attention to the ad, as I have a somewhat overgrown mohawk haircut myself.)

A mohawk isn’t automatically bad hair. Mohawks look interesting, and ever with media-driven oversaturation, they still retain some counter-culture edge left over from the 70s/80s punk scene. I wear mine down and back, in stealth mode, for work. I wear it spiky and up when I’m in a context where visual interest is required. Since you’re Brylcreem, I’ll elaborate on that – A concert, say. Or a club. You’ll have heard of these places, perhaps from one of the younger people in the office. If you have any.

So, yeah, mohawks are very visually interesting. I will admit that they tend to favour certain head shapes only, and certainly if done badly they CAN be very bad hair. But those things can be said for any hair type, from Mullets to Buzzcuts to Carefully Scruffy Britpop cuts, As Seen In The Pages of NME.

However, the obvious subtext in your ad with the mohawk’d dude getting creem’d is that anything that’s _different_ is _uncool_ and _bad_ and should be _MADE TO CONFORM_. And that subtext is a pretty fucking bad call on the part of whoever designed your ad campaign, for starters. Different, with a counter-culture edge, is ALWAYS cool.

So this subtext is perhaps not the way to make your product appealing.

Next:

(2) What you think is cool, isn’t. A “COPS” parody? Fucking edgy. What’s next? Star Wars scrolling text? Hell, why not have the bad guy dodging squirts of Brylcreem in a Matrix-Style Bullet Time move! The Kids will love that! COwabunga, dude! RADICAL!

Trying to be hip with old and busted shit is also not the way to make your product appealing. Unless you’re being ironic. Actually, forget I said that. And please, don’t _try_ to make Brylcreem ironic. For fucks sake. No.

(3) Lastly, and this is related to (2) above, your own brand instantly and totally prevents you from EVER being cool, or deciding what is cool, or even attempting to dictate what’s bad and what’s good. Forever. And always.

“Why?” you ask? Because you’re fucking BRYLCREEM. You’re the furthest away from cool ANY hair product can be, or EVER COULD BE. If the world was calibrating some kind of giant scale for measuring the coolness of a hair product, Brylcreem would be called upon as a background cosmologically uncool shadow on a cave wall, ‘gainst which all other uncool hair products would be measured.

You’re not EVEN my fathers hair product. He’s not that uncool. You are .. MAYBE .. my grandads hair cream, if he was a total nob when he was younger.

Just say the word. “Brylcreem”. It conjures up images of … badly tailored suits. Pipes. Panto. If you re-think a bit younger, all you get is a cheerful short-back-and-sides chirpy cockney cheeky twat. You’re forever tainted with the smell of kippers, the sound of Skiffle, the distant cries of a Butlins Holiday Camp.

That’s what “Brylcreem” brings to my mind. That’s your brand equity, Brylcreem, right there. That’s what you mean to me. And since I have no special like or dislike or interest in your product, I’m willing to bet that’s what you mean to most people.

Fuck you, Brylcreem. If there really were a modern day cool hair product version of “COPS”, you’re not going to be on the upside of the show. We’d be watching them drag some poor asshole, shirtless and dazed, from under a porch. And some thin blonde woman will be looking on and shrieking about how he didn’t mean nothin’, it’s just his way, he’s just a little drunk. And they’ll both be wearing Brylcreem.

The Immigrant Song

I mentioned this to Annette the other night, and she encouraged me to blog it.

A while back, I went over to Australia on a work-related thing, but the only passport I could find was my EU passport. No sign of my NZ one. So I figured, who cares, I’ll use the other one. Which was fine, no problem. Off to Oz I go. However, when I tried to get back INTO NZ using this passport, there WAS a problem. No NZ passport, no entry visa. They had to issue me with a temporary 12-month visa, to get me back into the country. Which was interesting, and no big deal at the time. They did it, I’m back, and I have since found my NZ passport.

The other day I get a letter stating that I should be aware that my VISA has EXPIRED and that I should go do various LEGAL THINGS pretty much IMMEDIATELY, or face the terrible possibility of being Deported To My Country of Birth!

The horror!

I was planning to ignore this totally, in the hope that legal machinations actually proceeded to an amusingly advanced point before anyone noticed that my country of birth was, in fact, this one. And was even specified thus on the UK passport. I had high hopes of perhaps being arrested, taken to the airport, and then put on a flight to Timaru.

However, fun as that may be I have decided that I may write some letters and make some calls to cut that off. I really don’t need any red flags on my passport(s), in this day and age – it could cause trouble in future travelling.

What I might go do, however, is buy an “Overstayer” t-shirt.

Star Trek: Enterprise – CANCELLED

So long, suck show. Goodnight, and Fuck You.

[Update]

From slashdot:

“Q. How many “Enterprise” fans does it take to save a TV series?
A. Both of them.”

ACTORING

So, last night was the first class in the 10-week “Acting for the Camera” class that I am attending. And it was extremely interesting! The exercises were quite different from what I was expecting … I guess I thought it’d be more “Okay, act like you’re sad … NO! WRONG! LIKE _THIS_, DAMMIT!” but I was mistaken. There were exercises designed not to make you think about how you’re acting, but more to let your actions be driven from instinct, and to help you get your head in such a place that those instincts are right, and appropriate.

It was a small class last night, but there are apparently many people who can’t make it ’till next week.

A Good Time Was Had By All. I shall definitely be re-attending.

WKRAP

It looks like my hobby radio station plans are coming to some fruition. But, the problem is, now I am once again faced with the big problem of What To Call The Station.

I’m currently running with “MEH FM”

It’ll be a low power, hobbyist only station, playing a wide wide variety of stuff, from “JSR’s Hour of Power – ALL HAIR METAL, ALL THE TIME” to “Annette’s Snuggletime Sleepy Snoozy Animal Stories” to a bunch of other random stuff from whoever I know that wants to do a show.

What’s a good name? I need a name before I can return my APRA paperwork and all that shit.

Winning submitter of names will recieve a cheque for $1,000,000 !!!! [1]

JSR

[1] Cheques will not be honoured.