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… AND DEFINITELY DO NOT READ IT IF YOU’RE MY MUM.
[Sorry Mum, I know you like checking this blog out from time to time, but this is most definitely NOT one of those times. I promise you. Please don’t do it. Love you, Rx]
So this is my last day in Portland and I’m basically going off the grid until mid-Oct.
It’s been a wonderful week, though whether my lovely colleagues at W+K feel the same way is very open to debate.
Anyway, I started the week with the threat of exposing you to a product so offensive, it would make the clean-away-your-sexual-past soap and anti-masturbatory gum I wrote about in the past, seem like Lego … and now is the time to expose you to it.
To start you off, have a look at their ‘ad’.
No, that is not a joke.
Yes, the ad really did feature a man who stole his ‘clients’ exercise bicycle seat so he could ‘smell her scent’.
Sadly, Vulva is a real aftershave that supposedly smells like a woman’s vagina.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Seriously, what sort of pervert wants to walk around the streets smelling like a ladies private parts?
In all honesty, anyone who buys it doesn’t actually have to splash [not the best choice of word] any of the scent on themselves, because they’d already look like a c***.
You still don’t believe me do you?
You don’t think it’s real.
Well, here’s a clip of Jonathan Ross when he ‘discovered’ Vulva.
Told you. It’s utterly mind-blowing isn’t it … and not in a good way.
If you want to see more – even though it means you are suffering from some sort of mental illness – you can check out a whole host of other videos here … and if you’re having a sexual mental breakdown, you can buy the product – for the bargain price of just 25 euros!!! – direct from their website shop.
Just for the record, I did not discover this by myself. A lovely ex-colleague, Tina, pointed me in its direction. I am hopeful it wasn’t because she thought I was a sexual deviant but given she left Wieden shortly afterwards, maybe she did.
Anyway, of all the mental products I have written about on this blog over the past 7+ years, I can honestly say Vulva aftershave/perfume wins the gold medal, though even I have to begrudgingly say, their choice of website name is sheer genius: smellmeand.com
With that, I am off till mid-Oct, however before I go, I would like to clarify, that my few weeks of disappearance has nothing to do with the Vulva product … I am not going to be a guest of the Betty Ford clinic for sexual perverts or anything. Honest
Right, I assume you – like me – now need to cleanse yourself in acid, so till next time, have fun and remember – as much as research likes to present society as rational, sensible beings – the fact is humans are hypocritical, emotional, fucked-up freaks and Vulva aftershave/perfume is testimony to that fact, but hey, at least it keeps life interesting.
And weird. Really, really weird.
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One of W+K’s famous callouts is ‘Fail Harder’.
This is not an excuse to come to work pissed, fuck a co-worker on the desk, smash your computer, snort drugs, piss on the floor, give Dan the finger and walk out screaming that ‘no one understands you’ … it’s simply the way they encourage their people to aim higher, reach for greater and push for better because failing harder isn’t about defeat, it’s about ambition.
Or it wasn’t until today.
Because for the rest of this week, I’m in Portland and will no doubt be subjecting my lovely colleagues to a new level of failure.
Now while that’s bad news for them, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the good news for you … that being for the next month, they’ll be very, very few blog posts from me.
So given that news will make you far too happy, I am going to leave you with a post that  will make you feel dirty and  make any of my PDX colleagues who are stupid enough to read this shit, wonder why the hell I’ve been asked to pop over for the week.
What am I talking about? This:
Seriously, there’s so much that could be said about this … from religious hypocrisy to the mental image violation it causes or simply the fact that there are two 59 year olds who are looking for some Christians to do the beast with two backs with.
And for the record, a friend sent me this pic.
I know that sounds a load of bollocks, but he did … however now I’m wondering why he did it and hoping to god it’s because he thought I’d find it funny rather than because he thinks I’d be interested in meeting PaulandBetty.
Anyway, if you think this is bad, you should see the thing I have in my drafts folder for posting another day.
I bet you’re a quiver of excitement aren’t you.
No, didn’t think so either.
See you soon. Ta-ra.
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… I am at Disneyland today.
The one in LA.
And it’s all for work.
I know you’re all going to abuse the crap out of me for this, but quite frankly I don’t give a damn, because I’m at the happiest place on earth* and nothing can bring me down, not even your finely crafted Birkenstock, Queen, Planner abuse.
Better go, Mickey is calling …
* Excluding the City Ground when Forest win.
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So this is the day where you all pack up your bags … hand in your resignation … sell your houses, cars, furniture and clothes and move to China.
Because there’s another holiday in the land of communism.
Another BIIIIIIIIG holiday.
I know … I know … it’s utterly insane and I swear-to-god it’s not normally like this, but the fact is the country is closing down for 10 days and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Oh but I have good news for you.
Not only will there be no blog posts for a bit [which I’ll talk a bit more about in a minute], I’ll be working.
Yes, while you seethe about China having another more national holidays, I’ll be working hard … though when you read my post about it on Monday, you may disagree with my interpretation of ‘work’.
“But hang on …” I hear you cry, “… you said there would be no blog posts for a bit!”
Yes I did and no there won’t … in fact, for the next month, there’ll hardly be a squeak from me.
Yes, you did hear correctly … the next month.
And no, it is not – unfortunately – because the Chinese Government have decreed I should have even more holidays than the rest of the population … nor have I been sacked … it’s because I have some personal stuff I need to sort out [which is no where near as scary or dramatic as it sounds] … hence my regular dose of rubbish won’t recommence until mid October.
Yes, MID OCTOBER.
You lucky, lucky bastards.
But don’t get too smug because you will see I said ‘there’ll hardly be a squeak from me’ which is not the same as ‘you won’t hear a squeak from me’ … which means there will be the odd blog post over the next 28 days, of which one on Monday is always written.
That said, I want to leave you with a rant and so having searched high and low for something that made my blood boil, I came across this:
Yes, it’s an ad for a Skoda.
And I utterly, utterly, fucking HATE IT.
Thanks to the headline, we realise the image on the left hand side – the thing that looks like a moon buggy – is ‘not your everyday pram’.
And on the right hand side, we get told we are witnessing ‘not your everyday family car’ … except it looks exactly like your everyday family car.
Maybe they thought that sort of headline would grab your attention.
Maybe they thought it would be intriguing and you’d immediately ring your local Skoda dealer and ask for more info.
Maybe I am George Clooney and fuck hot models then ditch them just as they start to get emotionally clingy.
Oh hang on, I’m not, so maybe that means no one will pay the slightest bit of attention to this piece of advertising bullshit and bland wallpaper.
I’ve got it wrong.
I need to apologise.
What was I thinking. Of course a car company is not going to spend all that money on a DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD without actually talking about the unique qualities of a car they say is not your everyday car.
“Where do they say that Rob?” I hear you cry.
You silly fools … can’t you see it?
It’s there, on the right hand page in the 0.2 size font that even a scientist with 20/20 vision and a microscope couldn’t see.
And what does this micro copy say?
It say’s this:
[If you can’t read it, a larger version can be seen here]
High beam lights.
20 inch alloys.
Excuse me if I’m wrong, but don’t most everyday cars have those features?
Maybe when they said, ‘not your everyday family car’ they meant it from the perspective that it’s a load of big talking bollocks and you’re better off getting something else.
And what’s with all this shit comparing it to a pram?
Ignoring the fact it took me ages to work out they had [or imply they have] actually made the thing, making a big deal of adding some features to a pram – features that some top end prams sort-of have and that most prams don’t need – it’s hardly a reason to suddenly view their car as some sort of uber-wagon … especially given the things they list are available on a V reg Toyota Celica with 1,800,000 miles on the clock.
What next, putting some indicators on a fucking tricycle and claiming that is an example of their revolutionary thinking?
It’s utter shit.
Lazy, meaningless, badly designed, shit.
And they have the audacity to position themselves as ‘simply clever’?
The only thing that’s simply clever about this piece of shit is that they got client to pay for it.
Though to be fair, it smacks of an ad that the client wrote themselves, an ad designed to communicate the brands misguided, delusional ego as well as drive the patience of society to breaking point.
Except they won’t notice it or pay the slightest bit of attention to it.
And to think Skoda used to let their agency do fantastic stuff like this. Tragedy.
See you in a month. Sort-of.
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Today would have been my Dad’s 75th birthday.
That means he’s been gone for 15 years … which seems amazing given I am just coming to terms with him passing.
As I’ve written before, for the first 10 years, I was entirely in denial … something that genuinely fucked me up and that’s why I passionately believe we should talk about death much more openly.
And then – at least in my mind – he came to visit me, putting my mind at rest for all the guilt, suffering, sadness and pain I was feeling and that led to me wanting to only focus on the good memories, not the bad.
One of these good memories happened every Saturday – around 1pm – from 1982 to around 1985.
I’d be at home, watching World of Sport with Dickie Davies.
To be honest, apart from Nottingham Forest, I never really gave a damn about sport, but around 1pm something magical would happen on the screen – it would be ITV Wrestling.
Now for the people out there who aren’t from the UK or are too young to remember the 80’s, the wrestling I encountered was about as far from the uber-slick stuff you get in the WWF today.
Oh god …
Sure, there were characters like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks [who are in the photo above] but this was a cheap and nasty affair – followed more by pensioners than testosterone men living out their delusional fantasies.
It was entertainment pure and simple.
In some respects, despite having none of the glitz and glamour you see from the American version of the ‘sport’, it was better.
It certainly was more raw and down to earth.
But that’s not what I want talk about, the fact I was watching the wrestling only serves as a backdrop to the real memory that is etched in my mind.
You see at around 1:10pm, I’d smell something from the kitchen.
The fact I would smell the same thing every Saturday at around 1:10pm didn’t make it any less thrilling.
You see my Mum and Dad would be in the kitchen grilling burgers.
Oh my god, the smell was fantastic.
They wouldn’t be fancy burgers, they’d either be Birds Eye 1/4 pounders or – when we were a bit broke – Asda’s own brand, but it didn’t matter, because they’d be great.
Part of the reason I loved them was that it was a chilled out family moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t come from a formal family, but having a ritual where we would eat with our hands – something we would never normally do, especially if we had guests – meant it just felt a more informal, yet intimate, family moment.
That said, my Dad wouldn’t totally embrace the more laid back nature of Saturday burgers.
Eating food with your hands was one thing, but he certainly wasn’t going to endorse having poncy burgers, filled with pickles and lettuce and tomato … oh no, there were standards that needed to be maintained.
We lived in Nottingham after all!
The buns had to be toasted.
And they were not allowed to have sesame seeds on them.
The onions had to be sliced, not chopped and must be – much to my dismay – cooked, never raw.
There could only ever be one piece of cheddar cheese on them.
Only Heinz tomato ketchup was allowed to be added.
The plates had to be warmed.
I still remember the horror on my Dad’s face when I asked for an uncooked bun with raw onion. Christ, it was like I’d just admitted to a heroin habit … which he responded with a loving – but firm – “no”.
But that didn’t matter because regardless of only being able to have burgers as my Dad wanted, the smell as they were being cooked always made me feel good.
It meant everything was OK.
It was a Saturday.
The family was together.
Of course, it all really came together when I was told they were ready to eat.
Either my Mum would call me or my Dad would knock on the glass between the lounge and the kitchen and that would be the signal.
The moment I’d hear either of those calls, I’d rush out … pulling hard on the door handle that always stuck so I could get there as quickly as possible.
I would run into the kitchen, grab the burger and then rush back into the lounge to watch the wrestling, only to invariably be called back by my Dad to close the lounge door “to keep the heat in”.
I’d rush back to the television, desperate to sink my teeth into my Saturday treat, and end up taking such a big bite that half the cheese, onion and tomato ketchup would ooze out of the bun and land either on the plate or my t-shirt.
Seriously, if you were to see my clothes from that time, I swear to god all of them would have a faded food stain around the top of the shirt.
Anyway, within a few minutes, my Mum and Dad would join me and the conversation would go something like this:
“Mmmmmm Mmmmm” [Me]
“These burgers are really good” [Mum]
“Look at those fools, why don’t they put their handbags down and get on with the wrestling” [Dad]
It was a truly special and magical time except I didn’t realise how truly special and magical it was until recently.
After 1985, it all changed.
Not because anything happened at home, but because Mum and Dad felt I was old enough to go into Nottingham city centre with Paul where we would invariably eat Saturday lunch either at a chip shop or the hot potato stall … and while I loved that time too, I’d kill to have another burger made by Dad on a Saturday.
At the end of the day, it’s the little things that define the most important moments in our lives and I’m sure if he was around today, he’d be very happy to know that our Saturday lunchtime ritual made such an impression on me.
Happy birthday my dear Dad, I love you and miss you.
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Filed under: Comment
Now I know you all think I ponce around flying business class and staying in 5 star hotels, but I don’t.
To be honest – given I’m a boy from Nottingham – the fact I get to fly to different countries for work annnnnnnd stay in hotels that give you a free toothbrush means I already think I’m living the dream.
Anyway, the point of this is that recently, on a flight back from Singapore, I saw this:
Yes, that’s a bunch of people standing behind a flimsy piece of fabric, waiting patiently for a hostess to come pull back the curtain and let us walk through the business class section on our way out of the plane.
Putting aside the blatant attempt to give economy passengers psychological damage by making them walk through a section of the plane where they can see some people have more than 2″ of legroom and food that doesn’t resemble a baby’s nappy after being fed a vindaloo, I find it fascinating that in a country where people regard ‘waiting, queuing and following orders’ as a major character flaw … a piece of shitty curtain can hold back 250 people who are desperate to get off a plane after a longish flight.
Just think how much money the US government could save if they stopped investing in guns, fences and immigration officers and just put up a piece of crappy curtain between the US and Mexico border.
Who do I send my invoice to?