Monday 24 September 2007

Just Stop It

This is the work of Adam Crowe who has a remarkably sparky intellect and a feisty can-do attitude (as do all the gang I've met that work at Imagination). He has also developed a brilliantly conceived greasemonkey script that changes the word 'consumer' to 'person/people/public' in Firefox browsers. There is also a Facebook group for likeminded people who have had enough of this derogatory term.

The quicker we drop this deeply patronising word that implies a discernment on the part of our fellow human beings that is bordering on an automaton/amoebic level, the more likely it is that the good folk we fight like hell to secure as customers, might just begin to reciprocate with a little respect for the marketing and advertising business.

Nice one Adam. I'm beginning to feel momentum on this issue.

Saturday 22 September 2007

Mobile Life

Losing mobile phones is something I do so well that without wanting to come across as achieving enlightenment on a detachment level I think I’m entitled to say that for some time now each phone loss now feels as disappointing as say having a pint swiped in the pub. It happens, at least 20 times or more now. Yes it’s annoying but there’s no point beating myself up. I’m a complete loser (or champion winner) at losing stuff, and mobiles top the list.

It does feel beyond absurd though when I’ve resorted to calling my number once I get home, on the off chance I can retrieve it by negotiating with cab drivers to bring them back for a price that suits us all. Often they just switch it off once I start calling. Its me thats in negative equity, not them.

Haggling for something that belongs to the owner anyway is something everyone should try at least once in their life for the humility it fosters.

Some time back I also lost my Sony T1 camera and predictably a while later my mobile phone too. Some time late last year after all this; an amazing local Thai brand called i-mobile brought out a 5 mega pixel camera phone pretty much before anyone else so I thought I’d go for it. I lost that too eventually but not before many enjoyable attempts at experimenting with it.

Anyway, just before a trip to the middle Kingdom last week that I couldn’t Blog about because China is a bit fussy over Blogs, I unexpectedly met a cashier acquaintance at the new Boss Bar in Phrathunam, who I’d inflicted with some amateur photojournalism using the i-mobile 902 late last year. I promised to post the pictures I’d taken so here they are plus a few others (thats the girl on reception crashed out in the wee hours above, plus erm my foot ) from a phone that despite some shortcomings and an all too brief relationship was a brilliant bit of kit that makes me yearn to get back into the kind of spontaneous photography that only a mobile phone camera delivers comfortably.

The i-mobile 902 phone also had an FM radio, voice recorder, and mp3 player with speaker, blue tooth and few other features that I’ve probably forgotten about.

OK, I know Rob hates Bed Supperclub but its a great design and some mates DJ there on a Monday, plus we laugh at all the Friday and Saturday night cattle class clubbers just as much as him and usually turn up for the last hour to watch the preening set get silly on too much alcohol and questionable happy hardcore bollocks.

Monday 10 September 2007


The King of Thailand was born on a Monday. To celebrate the reign of the worlds longest serving monarch his people wear yellow shirts. Steering a country like Thailand which is built on power play and political intrigue through a volatile century that saw the Japanese annex Thailand in the Second World War through to the Vietnam war which effectively rolled out across Indo China is remarkable in itself but the strongly paternal figure of the King is the last dramatisation of a living deity we will probably ever see.

Westerners don't fully appreciate that word but if you want to see an instant lynch mob just set fire to a banknote in Thailand. Strong leadership will always raise question marks for continuation of stability and this will (not can, but will) play itself out in the natural transition of life expectancy that all humans are subjected too. That's as good as I can get on the topic without offending my hosts, because the Kingdom of Thailand dispenses Lese majeste writs much more easily than for arguably more important matters such as the breaches of human rights that the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra stands accused of. A little matter of 2500 extra judicial killings in 2003 springs to mind. I guess Manchester City Football club have shown how many dollars they can be bought for.

Anyway its Royal Monday here in Bangkok and we're happy that its probably only the UK which prefers to stalk its Royalty to death for the newspapers that apparently nobody reads any more. There's been a couple of things that seem to have changed in the last few months. The first is that I dropped by the high end Gaysorn Plaza over the weekend and all the luxury boutique owners were moaning that the economy was starting to bite into their wealthy customers pockets. Its cause for concern in luxury brand obsessed Thailand when the not inconsiderable wealthy elite begin to slow down their spending. The other point is that they are ostensibly searching peoples bags as they make their way into the underground for bombs. I'm not sure why the skytrain isn't subject to this kind of search yet but the congestion around rush hour will be paralyzing if this happens. I'll finish this one off later, as my net time is going to run out v. shortly.

Thursday 6 September 2007

Ooohs and Aaahs

Last night a few more bloggy folk got together at The Endurance pub in Soho. I hadn't met Spy vs Spy before because Angus Whines or Winges (she never stops actually) has acute Cold War Survivor syndrome, but I like the way she calls me Frith as if she's barking orders at me on her blog. I also got to meet Tom who does genre defying posts over at his, my political homey Sam was there, as was 'word of mouth' Will who finally got the beers in (thanks mate), and the delightfully snippy but witty John Dodds.

Our guest of honour was Steve Portigal of Portigal Consulting from San Francisco. Steve was one of the earliest bloggers I came across. I'd better not go into how convoluted it was to actually realise who was who when I first asked Steve if he was Tom, but if Kirsty or John hadn't been there I would have just kept quiet about it and added a new chapter to The Metamorphosis

Anyway it was a fun evening. Steve is a cool guy and its always fun to let London do its work on visitors but while playing about with Sams camera phone i.e me doing my 'I'm thinking about thinking' pose, Steve whipped out his iPhone he'd been hiding all night and Sam and I both lost control, climaxing instantly while cooing over it with reverential Ooohs and Aaaahs.

Now I'm an apple fan, but not a worshiper. However it looks better in real life than I had expected and we put it to the test in that darkened pub with no flash and I think I'm pretty much sold on it unless someone slips me an N95 when I get back from the tropics. Hint hint.

Here's the pic. Aaaaah.....

Update: More photos from Sam's Sony mobile phone camera:

Poor Will. He puts up with some stick from us.

Good effects with that Sony Sam

Yeah Nice one Angus

I'll have a think about it then then. What a tosser eh!
Yep. Definite tosser.

Tuesday 4 September 2007


While watching the world cup last year in a tropical bar, before setting off to India, I got into a conversation with a creative who made a very acute observation about England's performance.

She informed me that the English could never really hope to win as we struggled to beat Costa Rica. A side from a country where the national squad makes 150 dollars a month and the population is under five million.

Psychologically we Brits are fond of rooting for the underdog. I thought this was a good insight for our complete lack of killer instinct against a side who were otherwise better known for playing the pan pipes after a hot and sweaty game in a Latin American climate as I wrote about here.

Anyway I've watched these online votes go peaches up before. First John Grant cast the winning vote for the pedestrian Um Bongo, against the infinitely hipper Kia-Ora over at Beeker's. Then Bacon lost out to Sausage, when we all know that Bacon is proof that God exists. So here is a chance to redeem ourselves.

The Kaiser over in Munich (who started the iPod singing craze here, here and here without anybody asking him some months back) has taken on The Northern Planner asserting that The Smiths are rubbish. His first pick for German opposition was Kraftwerk but The Northern Blouse crumbled at this suggestion and so sportingly Marcus (crazy like a fool) Brown (The Kaiser) has plumped for Boney M. The loser has to sing a song from the opponents music on Youtube and post to their blog. I've never seen NP sing, let alone do "Brown girl in the ring". So please hold that visual in your mind while I make this request.

I think we all know deep down who is the underdog here. I ask for nothing less than your votes for Marcus while leaving you with the awesome string arrangement on Sunny.

Monday 3 September 2007

Six Feet Under

Opening sequences or idents for TV programs are a splendid way to understand how to build emotion and feeling into short film clips as indeed we often try in the world of commercials. They are a great example of 'its not what you say but how you say it'. is a nifty resource if you want to get up to speed on typography, design, music, direction, DOP, special effects and the use of storyboards. Its fascinating to see how the show Six Feet Under created theirs over here.

Marxist Libertarian

No surprises on the political compass test for me then. I don't really believe in perma-ideology given that nothing lasts for ever, but broadly speaking I'm going to be hanging out with Gandhi and the other libertarian socialists in the bottom left. This is quite a fun little data visualisation and perceptual mapping exercise.

Incidentally I've been trying to persuade advertising agencies to do 3D perceptual brand mapping for years. Sadly not one of the them has had the perspicacity to make a flash designer and excel spreadsheet whizz kid available. So I might as well blog about it instead.

Sunday 2 September 2007

Oh Captain my Captain

Tim Footman is a writer based in Bangkok. One day through his blog roll I came across a link which I felt was something quite different. It was the blog of Brian, a 45 year old advertising copywriter and soon to be published author based in Donegal who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only six to twelve months to live. I wrote about it here.

There is no happy ending in blogging I guess. I assumed that one day I would be thinking about Brian, realise he hadn't posted for a while, and that maybe there would be a slow but increasing sense of 'The End' parading as radio silence. This indeed happened early last month as Capt. Pancreas had gone quiet for a few weeks but then he reappeared with news of being in treatment. I guess there was no online access in the hospital.

Brian is responsible for coming up with the phrase "trying to squeeze the sweetness out of every second" and I just discovered he died on Friday.

He leaves a seven year old son, a wife and a bunch of people that never met him in real life but could feel his warmth and generosity.

O Captain my Captain
O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

- Walt Whitman