Posts in the category: Random Waffle
Whatever the truth and ethics behind Red Bull's claim that its caffeine laced energy drink 'gives you wings' it certainly helped Felix Baumgartner to reach unchartered heights. Red Bull's sponsorship made it possible for the brave Austrian daredevil to realise his dream of smashing a number of remarkable sky diving records. His jump from 24 miles above the Earth was witnessed live by 8 million people on YouTube and countless more on 40 TV networks across 50 countries. Within 40 minutes of Baumgartner reaching terra firma the soon to be iconic photo of Felix's landing had been shared 29,000 times and had generated 216,000 likes and 3 million Tweets.
Whilst the star of the show was undoubtedly the parachuting maniac himself, Red Bull also deserve praise for their on-going support of fringe sports and extreme challenges. Their sponsorship of these often quite dangerous pasttimes have not only provided funding to cash starved pursuits, but have also helped to raise awareness of some of the mnost mad and talented people in the sporting arena.
Hats off then to Red Bull! In a risk averse society it's refereshing and reassuring to find a brand with minerals as impressive as those of the athletes it supports.
With all the media attention and advertising, the Damien Hirst exhibition has a huge buzz surrounding it. Queues lasting hours, tickets being booked months in advance, massive preparation going into it from a team of assistants and you have to think – is it worth the hype?
Living in London, it was impossible to be unaware of the Damien Hirst exhibition, posters were everywhere and the Metro was filled with reminders that it was a must see. Friends and colleagues were sharing reviews via social media and journalists were quick to give their opinion on the shocking nature of the art.
Channel 4’s online virtual tour and the interview, aired the day before the exhibition opened, featuring on the scene Noel Fielding highlighted the best bits of the exhibits. Ranging from the famous shark cut in half, cabinets of pills and a butterfly room, a lot of media attention was received. Do people want to see these exhibitions or are they jumping on the culture bandwagon? Without the thought provoking titles, the ‘art’ could be everyday objects that it would be difficult to justify paying to see. With the sell-out exhibition, it does appear that Hirst is able to turn typical objects into coveted must haves, epitomised by the £7,000 ‘limited edition’ spotted wall paper roll.
Re-using old exhibits at the Tate even takes away the shock culture of Hirst’s art it is renowned for. The shark is less fearful and the thousands of spots were painted by assistants this time around. Far from refreshing and inspiring, the art is repetitive and sensationalised. Despite this, it continues to receive ambivalent social media attention, bringing the subjectivity of art back into question - “what is one man’s trash is another man’s art”.
After watching the episode on Channel 4 however, I think personally I will be avoiding the stomach churning, fly-infested dead cow head.
Studying abroad is so exciting when you’re planning, but it gets to be kind of scary and intimidating once you arrive. Not saying that London isn’t lovely, I’ve actually grown to love London and all its crazy little streets and crowds of people. In the 2 months that I’ve been here I’ve met the most delightful people, been complimented on my “British” accent, and travelled to some really amazing places. But whenever you’re away from home for a while you begin to miss things; like iced sweet tea; southern accents; and mac and cheese casserole like grandma makes.
This probably bears some explanation. My name is Madison, but everyone calls me Maddie, and I am student from the United States—Tennessee to be exact (you all may know us for our whiskey). I attend the University of Tennessee and am a part of an honours program within the College of Business called Global Leadership Scholars, which includes a wonderful opportunity to study abroad in London and a chance to intern in your possible major.
This morning I woke up to realize that today was my first day of my internship with Maxus Global. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t terrified. On my way to work I was listening to music, reminding myself to keep breathing when it hit me just how lucky I am to be here. I mean how many people from Knoxville, Tennessee (not exactly small, but nothing like London), get to not only live in London for a semester, but get a chance to work with a top notch media firm like Maxus?
I concluded not many, so I pulled my head up, slapped on a smile and walked in. Wish me luck!
So this week sees the anticipated release of Lana Del Ray’s debut album. It looks set to be number one this week, with the Official Charts Company reporting that it has sold more than 117,000 copies in a week. But what exactly is all the fuss about?
Having listened to the album, I can’t rave about it and laud that it is the best thing I have ever heard. There are some stand-out tracks and she has a unique style and tone of voice, but does this really make her the next big thing? Does she offer something that mainstream artists like Florence, Gaga and Jessie J don’t?
Her story is one of a modern media phenomenon. According to her background, the singer failed to make an impression on the music charts when she previously released material under the names of Sparkle Rope Jump Queen or Lizzy Grant, but for some reason Lana Del Rey has got everyone talking. In a digital age where new music is born online, Del Rey burst onto the charts late last year after releasing Video Games through You Tube (since then the video has attracted over 26 million views) and has appeared across TV shows (Jools Holland and David Letterman), Press (Vogue, Independent, NME) and online channels (You Tube, Vevo).
I agree that she looks like a pop star and her ‘haunting’ voice and nostalgic styling is a change from the hip-hop, electronic and over styling that appears to be dominating the charts. However, has everyone bought into her because of what the media has said and the way she has styled herself? Only time will tell if she sustains this new-found popularity and continues to be top of the charts for years to come.
Last week the great and good of the tech world landed in Vegas for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. The largest trade show of its kind. Last year I blogged about the sheer volume of tablets on display, however this year the stars of the show have been slightly different. Connected TV’s were far more prominent, 4G smartphones created a lot of buzz and we saw a slew of ‘Ultrabooks’.
‘Ultrabook’ is the term currently being used to describe a new generation of notebooks that take their design cue from the MacBook Air. Super slim and super light but with the processing power, memory and SSD storage of more traditional laptops. Samsung’s 2nd gen series 9 notebook (they don’t call it an Ultrabook, despite hitting all the requirements) has had a lot of praise, due for launch in February this year the changes are subtle but important, the shell has been sand-blasted to minimise finger prints, something the original suffered from badly, it feels significantly more sturdy, runs Intel’s new i3/i5/i7 processors and has what is being described as the possibly the best screen to ever hit a laptop. It is only 12.9mm at its thickest and weighs a tiny 1.16g despite packing a 13.5” screen, a wake time of just 1.4secs and 6 hrs battery life. Along with the likes of HP, LG and Lenovo, Samsung are redefining the concept of portable when it comes to laptops.
The really exciting part of this sector is unlikely to been seen on shelves until Q4 this year, Ultrabooks with touch screens and the new Windows 8 which is a genuine departure from the norm. So much so that some analysts belief Microsoft’s biggest hurdle is going to be convincing consumers to get on board with something that is such a radical departure from the if not loved, then incredibly familiar Windows 7. The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is the best I could find, running Windows 8 with a 360 degrees flip and fold design that effectively turns it into a tablet. Very cool. So, it looks like laptops, in their latest incarnation may be back!
When it comes to connected TV’s it seems that delivering content ‘over the top’ was something of a given at CES. The talking points really revolved around OLED (especially the 50”+ ones from Samsung and LG) and the subsequent amazing picture quality, voice activated controls and compatibility with smartphones and tablets. It seems that when it comes to TV’s it is still all about ‘connected’ but now it really means to other devices!
In the smartphone war, there were two that grabbed the most attention and unsurprisingly both boasted 4G LTE compatibility. The HTC Titan 2 sporting a massive 16 megapixel camera and the Nokia Lumia 900, a pumped up version of the Lumia 800 launched in Europe in November, aimed specifically at the US market and exclusive to AT&T. The interesting thing though is that both these handsets are Windows Phones. Now whilst success at CES far from guarantees success with the consumer, it does seem that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership is starting to make waves. HTC have lead the way and I think we’ll see far more importance put on WP from the other handset manufacturers. The fact is grids of apps are old and tired, and the Windows Phone UI offers a great alternative.
So what of Apple? Well, they don’t exhibit at CES, however many a journo argued that they’d ‘won’ before the show even started, simply because every bit of cool tech on display is enviably compared to an Apple product. Got a cool new TV? How does it compare to the soon to be Apple iTV? 4G, massive camera and crystal clear screen you say? Thanks but I’ll wait for the iPhone 5…and so on. A slightly blinded view in my opinion but more evidence of the strength of their brand.
I think the main take out from the show this year from a media perspective is that we are no nearer convergence (in terms of ecosystems) than we were a year ago. When it comes to mobile we need to embrace all the ecosystems and encourage mobile web over mobile apps if we‘re going to have any chance of achieving significant, cost effective reach.
So summer is over and more importantly festival season has finished for another year. Traditionally, festivals were the soundtracks to our summers – events where people escape from their daily lives and enjoy a weekend of festivities (usually in some remote part of the country) whilst listening and dancing to their favourite bands and solo artists. However, this summer has seen some of the music industry’s most prolific figures (e.g. – Michael Eavis) fear for the future of the common music festival.
Eavis said earlier this year that ‘festivals are not selling out’ and fears that ‘people have seen it all before’, putting in jeopardy his own iconic (and some call the best) festival, Glastonbury. His predictions serve a stark warning to festival-goers and organisers alike as there is a real chance that in three to four years the summer music scene may be quite different from the one we experience today.
So what has lead Eavis to this stark prediction? Are we really in jeopardy of losing music festivals for good? The last few years have been economically difficult, which has meant that people have been forced to be more careful with their money. Combine that with the fact that festivals are as expensive as a holiday abroad, and it makes sense that they are the first thing people cut back on when money is tight. There has also been a growth in European festivals, which attract larger crowds at cheaper prices and usually have the added bonus of guaranteed sunshine, which means people can combine a festival with a summer holiday.
The other problem with current festivals is they all appear to be the same. As Eavis says, people are becoming bored of seeing the same bands on the same circuit each year. For a £200 ticket, people are expecting more from their experience and want to see creativity, individuality and difference when they invest in a large-scale music event. I personally, would hate to see the end of festivals. As a music fan, festivals allow you to see a variety of acts in one place and allow you to forget about everything for a weekend. However, I do believe that the festival format is becoming stale with the same line-ups appearing at festivals across the country and a lack of imagination in not only the acts playing, but also the experience as a whole. We want to experience a unique and exciting musical wonderland, which is different from anything else we have seen before. These are the things that summer and more importantly festivals were made for.
A lovely Friday afternoon got even better today when the exceptionally generous Nick Kelvin shouted us some summer refreshment in the form of ice lollies. This was the first one of the season and much appreciated. Ice creams and Ice Lollies really are one of those things that you absolutely love no matter if you're 7 or 77.
From that I wanted to get a steer on what people's Top 3 Ice Cream/Lollies were of all time. For me, it has to be the following:
1. Orange Calippo
2. Feast (original of course)
For me that is one hell of a Top 3 but please feel free to post your Top 3 as well, as I'm sure a few of you will be annoyed by the exclusion of Mini Milks!
I loved the new 118 247 ads although I do think they're on the verge of becoming entering the extremely annoying category. The OTH on the radio must be at least 15 per week!
My question though is not regarding the advertising but about the product itself - do we still need Yellow Pages through our letter-boxes?
I received the updated yellow bible the other day, sat on my doorstep as its too wide to fit through the letter-box. And what did I do with it? I picked it up and popped it straight in my recycling bin also sat outside my front door. What with the tinterweb and mobile should Yellow Pages not be thinking more about the environment and not just giving these mammoth books away.
My idea to Yellow Pages would be to save money (and the environment) and either only give the books out to those who request one - a simple card through everyone's door asking if they would like to receive these in the future would allow this OR geo target by mosaic profiling and only send them out to the areas of Grey Perspectives and Twilight Subsistence.
Four months ago today we embarked on a long process which began with pairing ourselves into two conferences; Darkside and Lightside. Each representing our respective side-of-the-office we soon set about determining who would be crowned MAXUS Pool Champion 2009.
After some initial squabbling over rules, the draw was made. Early rounds saw the unexpected defeat of tournament favourites on both sides - with potential winners emerging from the fray. The eventual winner himself once considered an outsider's choice, a 'softer' opponent perhaps made quick work of answering his critics. With a sterling win over Parkinson (3-2), and two subsequent and quite outstanding victories over Irwin (3-0) and Capelton (4-1), Andy Benningfield claimed his throne as undisputed Champ.
If you Google her name, you get 7,980,000 results. That's more than Boris Johnson (1m) or Margaret Thatcher (2.1m), Razorlight (4.9m) or Van Halen (6m), Jonathan Ross (5.5m) or Russell Brand (4m). Its even more than Arnold Schwarzenegger (7m) - and she's English! And until very recently was relatively unheard of anywhere else in the world. Her story has made the front cover of every single copy of OK! magazine from 17th Feb (that's 8 weeks). She is, of course, Jade Goody.
I must admit I was quite hesitant when deciding whether or not to write this blog. There are quite opposing views on the whole affair, her past, and how we as a nation have responded. There are quite obvious and laudable opinions on raising awareness of cervical cancer. And equally there are those of the opinion that we, as a nation, have gone completely mad in our over-reaction!
Either way, she's certainly not the only one helping to contribute to a greater way of life. There are others, perhaps with a less relevant profile, that have arguably done more for the human race. Take Bob Geldof (1m) and his continual support for international well-being, or Mother Teresa (3.1m)... Ghandi (5.4m).
Have we gone too far? Is she genuinely worth the attention we give her? Should we blame her or praise her? Admire her sense of pragmatism, or Max's?
Have your say here;
Yesterday, after weeks of searching, I finally found a source of the new flavours of Walkers crisps (the shop on the ground floor in our building - the closest shop to our office, d'oh). For the uninitiated the new flavours are as follows, Builder's Breakfast, Cajun Squirrel, Crispy Duck & Hoisin, Fish & Chips, Chilli & Chocolate and Onion Bhaji.
Walkers have been pushing six new flavours recently, the public are being asked to vote for their favourite and the winner will be added to the Walkers range indefinitely. Unfortunately the shop downstairs didn't have onion bhaji in stock so we could only sample, and savour, 5 of the new flavours. After doing this I would surmise that unless the onion bhaji flavour is the greatest crisp ever to be invented, or at the very least mildly palatable, the winning flavour will not adorn the shelves of the Walkers distributor for long. In running order of best (or at least not vomit inducing) to worst I would rank them as follows:
1. Crispy duck
2. Cajun squirrel
3. Builders breakfast
4. Chilli & chocolate
5. Broken glass & razor blades
6. Fish & chips
The fish and chips flavour initially hits you with a smell similar to Maldon sea front after the fishing trawlers unload their haul. The flavour explodes on the palate like a raw fish sandwich with fish paste as the filling. Needless to say nobody had more than a single crisp and there were certainly no enquiries as to seconds. Crispy duck was the best, most went back for a second try, but, like the others, it left a strange after taste akin to old gym socks.
Of the people I've spoken to about these new flavours (seven) nobody has liked them. Surely we have to say this is a stunt to increase sales short term and may affect brand positioning in the long term; I for one will not be moving away from Kettle Chips any time soon.
Sadly in some parts of the country you don't pick a football team to support, rather you are lumbered with it like an enigmatic albatross slung around your neck. My particular albatross is actually black and white, oh and a magpie in the form of Newcastle United.
Quite how we've managed to make such a mess of one of England's biggest teams is a mystery but with 8 games left there is still light at the end of the tunnel. The only problem is we're horrid away from home, haven't won a home game since Dec and all the teams tantalisingly close to us all play each other whereas we have the joys of Liverpool, Chelsea, Villa as well as a local derby against Boro which guarantees to be one of the worst Premier League games ever.
Logic is telling me that we're stuffed, but this is football and if we can get 11 players on the pitch who will compete and fight like Geordies then we can get out of this mess.
If not then we are potentially going to have the most highly paid Championship side ever.
Potentially on the 25th and 26th May I may not be he happiest chappy!
I've recently became addicted to a new game, and sad as it is it's a great way of making the money go further as we troll our way through the current recession, and it's called Nectar points! It's surely another clear example that I'm now in my 30's that I'm getting excited about Nectar points rather than what next weekends plans are (monthly shop at the local Sainsbury's and a catch up with a few mates on Saturday night if you're interested), but my monthly shopping is now so much more exciting for it. With each shop comes more points which I dutifully load on to my account, handing my Nectar card over to the cashier with great glee, and then I bask in the glory of achieving another 27 points to my ever growing Nectar bank balance.
Quite what I do with these points I've yet to fathom, and from checking the website I can roughly deduce I need enough to bail out a mid sized financial institution but one day I'll get my monthly shop free, or more likely I'll use it to buy several bottles of red wine.
Making shopping more and saving me money in the long run, what more could you ask for when every penny counts?
How does one come to terms with the loss of a loved one? Some mourn silently and quickly before moving on with their lives. Others swiftly take themselves to the bottom of a bottle and remain there, loudly and incomprehensively, for an extended period of time. Here at Maxus we believe there's scope for both methods or another somewhere in between. Hence the huge party we threw for a much loved member of the Bloomsbury way crew - our receptionist Natalie Grout who flew to Brazil today for 6 months of haute couture travelling. Maxus, and friends, turned out in force at Guanabara off Drury lane and celebrated Natalie's tenure with us. Natalie always brightened our already bright reception and was warm and welcoming to clients, reps and even perfect strangers.
But now it's time to move on. Natalie has been replaced by the very lovely Katie Davis who is young, enthusiastic and she plays video games - to quote an absent member of our team, winner winner chicken dinner! We're all looking forward to working with Katie. The queen is dead...long live the queen!
nat-vs-katie - Check them out here...
Please leave your goodbyes (to Nat) or hellos (to Katie) below.
Right, the rules are as follows:
1) You can only choose 5 drinks for the remainder of your life
2) A mixed drink, for example gin and tonic, counts as one drink - but the ingredients cannot be separated.
3) Tap water is free
During Movember (the month formerly known as November) Patrick, Matthew, Andy and I have been growing MOs (moustaches). That's right, we're bringing the MO back because we're passionate about tackling men's health issues and being pro-active in the fight against prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. 35,000 men are diagnosed every year and one man dies from prostate cancer every hour. One in eleven UK men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.
The history of Movember has it's origins in Australia; Movember (a portmanteau of the words 'Moustache' and 'November') is an annual month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November. The event has been claimed to have been invented in 1999 by group of Australian men from Adelaide.*
On Monday the 1st December the four participants will take to the office circuit and offer fellow employees the chance to stroke our MOs, donate to charity and possibly win a bottle of bubbly. The MOers will then (finally) be allowed to shave their top lip.
Please take the time to look at the pictures below, they were taken on Monday 10th and Monday 17th of Movember. We will be updating the blog with pictures on Monday 24th and December 1st - come back then for more Movembering fun.
Feel free to send photos of Movember efforts by yourselves or fellow employees** and leave a comment on who's MO looks best...
MONDAY 10th Movember
MONDAY 17th Movember
* Wikipedia: Movember
** send to email@example.com
PICTURES SENT IN
Two of our Ubisoft clients!
Last weekend I ventured out in Bury St Edmunds (Nr. Cambridge) with a few friends. We went to a bar to be told that only tables of 4 or less were allowed - there were 7 of us. After a bit of a fuss and a lot of tutting we sat spread over 2 tables pushed together to make one big table but because technically we were sat in a group of 4 and 3 it was ok. This got me thinking about other totally pointless and ridiculous rules out there and the reasoning behind them.
Has anyone else ever came across a rule that makes no sense whatsoever?
One of the most annoying 'pointless rules' I have come across comes from the beloved Subway, normally I'm full of praise for the yummy sandwiches but when I was at university our local Subway turned their toaster off at 6pm, it would really infuriate me because it is a totally pointless rule - why can I have my sub toasted at 5.59pm and not at 6.01pm? The only conclusion that I could think of was that maybe the authorised toaster operator finished his shift at 6pm?....
Team Chrysler and Adam are feeling a little sore today after a massive session last night. We really went for it, and as a result are bruised black and blue and absolutely exhausted.
Of course, I am talking about our outing with Haymarket to the Go-Karting.
Being relative novices, both myself and Louise managed to get bumped and bashed about on the circuit as we embarked on a monstrous two hour endurance race. Amongst some fierce competition from rival agencies, Hayley and Adam managed to hold their own and our teams finished in fifth and eleventh - pretty respectable really!
I also learnt that when boys say "Oh don't worry, it won't be competitive, I'm rubbish really" what they actually mean is "I've been practising for the last 6 months, I'm going to annihilate you and intentionally bump you so you drive into walls".
After the recent public statement that I bear an unfortunate resemblance to Mick Jaggar, I wondered what other celebrity look-a-likes we have in our agency..
Have a scan of the pics and let us know your thoughts..
Angela Bustard for one is the spitting image of Scottish singer Amy Macdonald..
Maybe we should do a Stars in Your Eyes contest to raise money for Marie Curie?!
Ooooh a honky tonk woman lalalala
Having just spent the last 5 hours trying to get hold of my in-laws for a case of child care emergency I need to vent some frustration and rant about parents and mobile phones.
My in-laws both have mobile phones, however, whenever I try to get hold of them I get the message ‘this mobile phone is switched off’. What is the purpose of the phone? My father in law takes great pleasure in telling me his mobile phone bill is £0.03 each month…..yes because it’s never near or on his person!
Why do the older generation have difficulty with the concept of a mobile phone? And think that a mobile is only to be used in an emergency…..how would they know about the emergency with the phone switched off? Do they switch their home phone off?
My mother has finally grasped the concept and does keep her phone on and with her, however, it took a while for her to work out how to grasp the technicalities of using it……one incident whilst I was driving, my phone was ringing and I asked her to answer it for me – “how do I answer”, “just say yes” was my response – mum then proceeded to shout “yes” very loudly into the phone!
Maybe someone should invent a phone for this tech un-savvy audience that cannot be switched off.
End of rant.
This summer has shown a drastic rise in the number of summer music festivals and an ever growing list of great venues such as:
Isle of white
The growing number of companies willing to sponsor and advertise at these events has caused a rapid growth over the past few years.
Each summer brings a different experience. Bestival was appropriately themed ‘under the sea’ this year as it was the wettest one ever. Glastonbury is always a wash. Matthew, a member of the Ubisoft team and pictured below, attended Bestival dressed as Scuba Steve from the movie Big Daddy.
• Peanut Butter & Jam (Jelly, according to Patrick)
• Peanut Butter & Honey
• Peanut Butter & Chocolate Spread
• Chocolate Spread & Honey
I've been told Banana, Peanut Butter & Honey is pretty sensational, and Elvis' favourite was Bacon & Peanut Butter.... what's your favourite?
A few of us headed over to Company Magazines 30th birthday party in Camden last night - where we experienced some serious z-list celeb spotting including Calum Best, Avid Merrion and enough Big Brother contestants to sink a (rather beautiful) ship.
A good time was had by all, with make-up artists and hairdressers on hand, some excellent goodie-bags (including what some might say was an excessive amount of Durex lube) and thankfully no broken ankles from dancing on the cobblestones.
We also got papped on our way out, until they obviously realised who we were (or weren't!). I don't think we have many celeb look-a-likes in our office, although Gemma says people often mistake her for Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.......
Although there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the absolute number of words Eskimos have for snow (anything between 4 and 100), I’m thinking that it will be more than the British have for rain. Given the extent to which “rain” features in national life, this just seems wrong.
For instance, Lou and I were walking along Bloomsbury Way this morning with umbrellas up but still getting damp (not wet, soaked or drenched) because the ‘water in the air’ didn’t really qualify as “rain” – it was of the ‘swirling-around-atomised-get-a-grip-pointless’ variety.
But, like the sticky-up thing atop a Frenchman’s beret, there wasn’t a word to describe it, or our situation. Surely in a country as ‘rainy’ as ours there’s got to be more than just “downpour”, “shower” or “drizzle”? Please let me know if there is. And if there isn’t, perhaps it’s time we created some rain words!
I mean, the Germans have “pladdern” (very strong rain, fairly big drops), “prasseln” (also strong rain, but with smaller drops), “gießen” (just boring old strong rain), “pieseln” (a light rain that's barely there - also means "to pee"), and “nieseln” (similar to "pieseln", but with very small drops. Apparently.
Maybe the new rain words could be onomatopoetic. In Ukranian/Russian, “kapaty” means light rain, and “nakrapaty” even lighter rain; “barabanit' is the sound of rain battering against window panes or the roof. In China they use “didadida". In Welsh, “pitran patran” is light rain. “Tittuf” is Hebrew for dripping rain. Again, apparently.
Anyone have any suggestions for words for ‘rain situations’? If nothing else, it’ll give you something to do on a, er, rainy day!
Sooooo..... our annual BJK&E conference has come and gone once more...
I think we are all agreed that it was a fab few days, we all learnt a new thing or two about media and BJK&Es future plans and also had some great fun bonding over tandem bicycles and space hoppers!!!
So everyone, what was your highlight of the trip?!
I personally quite enjoyed partaking in the space hopper race, falling off every 2 bounces and coming a very very poor last! Proved to me that I definately should not give up the day job!!!
Ok, so it's the 1st of September and whenever it comes to the 1st of the month I'm always reminded of that old superstitious ritual that I got embedded into my brain during my time at University by my paranoid housemate...and that is the ritual of saying 'white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit' out loud in the morning before you get out of bed.
Even though I don't really believe something bad will happen if I forget to chant white rabbit x3, I still make sure I do it and if I remember half way through the day that I haven't done it (like today), I do have a little panic just in case it's real.
My only real superstition is magpies - If I see a lone magpie I have to look away immediately and cancel my bad luck by making a ring with my thumb and finger then breaking it with another finger. Madness? Probably.
It got me thinking - what other superstitious rituals do we all follow despite knowing they are utter nonsense?!
Over here on the light side of the office we have been subconsciously breaking daily records of how low the conversation can go before 9:30am. This morning we had wonderful success and managed a shocking 8:30! Many brains wouldn't be functioning on a basic level at this time, but we nailed it with gutter like conversation laced with eloquence and wit.
I'm wandering whether or not the success is down to the light side's newly formed seating arrangement: the named 'La Triangle de Saucisson' (Time J, Chris A & Paul C) surrounded by 7 females?
As the new football season is now upon us I find myself in the usual two choice conundrum between playing / watching football on a Saturday afternoon. However, as I move forward in my career there is a third option being thrown into the mix - the football jolly on a Saturday afternoon.
What to do - play, watch or attend a match? All are enjoyable and sociable activities to partake in of a weekend, two involve beer but...only one involves moving the 10 metres between bed and sofa nursing a hangover and still wearing my underwear.
I think we have a winner.
An example of the kind of fun we have during our lunch break here at BJKE:
Patrick made light work of 5 caramel digestives, clearing the 2 & half minute time limit (also know as the Rocky II theme tune) with time to spare, meaning Matthew had to deposit £1 into the "Goldie pot." The next challenge is double or quits (£2), but which brand / model of biscuits should we use......be imaginative with your responses...
Upon making my rounds today to see if anyone needed me to do anything, I had a temporary lapse of sanity and asked Paul if he needed anything. His answer “Heather.....write a blog about the differences between British and American business culture”, I again had to remind him that I was Canadian.
This seems to be a theme here in Britain, always mistaking me for an American.
How can we be confused with Americans?
I thought that my distinct soundings of the work ‘Eh’ after my sentences would tip people off, also the way I say ‘about’. If they didn’t catch on with my Canadian vocabulary I thought that my style of dress would also be a clear indicator that I am Canadian. All the flannel attire and work jeans, looking much like a lumberjack, with blue ox in hand.
I also thought that my painfully polite manner and dislike of confrontation would be another clear indication.
Contrary to some belief here in Britain, Canada is its own country, we do have system of government, a prime minister, a flag and a different work visa than the US. We do not belong to the United States or Britain; we are as some Brits like to call us “just like Australia”.
Business is very different here than back in Canada. Back home in Canada we do not have these new fangled things called computers, but this may be a good thing for our hands would freeze while typing and, well, we do not have power in our igloos to run lights, let alone computers!
If businesses are lucky enough to find a shack with electricity the heat is generated from a small wood burning stove, and the office walls are covered with animal heads and there are bear rugs on the floor.
The biggest industry in Canada is seal hunting. Baby seals are harvested, seal blubber is used to power our lamps, bones are used for utensils and tools, and the meat is dried and made into pemmican. Our second largest industry is that of Maple Syrup. Maple Syrup production has been taken over by the older population since sending them on ice flows was banned a few years back.
Moonshine and beer brewed by the Sasquatch are the drinks of choice during office hours as well as after hours.
Curling leagues dominate the other hours that are not consumed by playing hockey, watching hockey, talking about hockey, dreaming about hockey, arguing about hockey and thinking about hockey.
In the few months that we do have a general lack of snow, time is spent playing street hockey, watching re-runs of hockey, talking about hockey, dreaming about hockey, arguing about hockey and drinking beer.
Canadian football, other than hockey, will get us out of our docile ways. Football season is the most frightening time in Canada; never will you find more people with faces painted beer in hand sitting in front of a TV.
I ask again! HOW CAN WE ALWAYS BE CONFUSED WITH AMERICANS?
Heather (The CANADIAN Intern)
You're probably sitting down when you read this, just as well because what I have to say will knock you off your feet, have you rushing for the nearest internet explorer window, and thinking that enlightened beings have given divine wisdom to us all...
conde Nast have decided to launch a *drum roll.....................* social networking site for teenage girls. Flip.com
flip, flop, flip, flop, flip,
Exactly what we the internet needs!
The marketing blurb about the sites read "These girls are so creative, they create shrines within their environment". "It must be the hormones - they customize everything"
Does it offer anything you can't already do on facebook, myspace, bebo, and the host of other sites already sucking minutes, hours, days out of our lives just wondering if any of our 'friends' have 'popped' by?
Not really, in fact it's hard to look at it as anything more than an application where you can make a digital flip book of photo's, images and music which reflect the user. In some ways this isn't even untapped as slideshow applications have been kicking around for years.
It's hard to see the site bringing people back to it after they 'customised everything' because the content can then be plugged into other social networking sites. It'll be interesting to see how the site grows and develops, it just smacks a little bit of 'me to' and stealing the pennies off dead mens eyes
The sun finally reared his/her beautiful head yesterday and I for one made full use of his/her life giving rays. Unfortunately we only had sun factor 4 in the house, so owing a duty of care to my pale skin I exercised constant application. However, like most people of sound mind who have better things to do than salaciously rub thick white gloop into their own buttocks, I missed a spot. Well, two spots. Hence I now have a line of pink humorously spanning the length of my nose. What's not so funny, and extremely painful, is the sunburn running the entire length of my inside left leg.
Most of my body is radiating a healthy glow similar to that of a roast chicken which has just been removed from the oven, my leg and nose have a lobster hue. When does the sun go away?
Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when we do our bit for foreign relations. Brown may have Bush visit for a few days but how much do they really get to know each other? BJK&E host 2 interns for 6 weeks and by the end of it, we get to know all about them - from how many siblings they have to their deepest darkest secrets! . It's their first day and here is what I've found out so far........
First Name: Heather
Sits: On the dark side
Heather is from Delmas, Saskatchewan, Canada. She has just completed a Marketing Degree from the University of Regina, which is also in Saskatchewan. Heather grew up on a farm and spends every Winter snowboarding. Her Summers are usually filled with camping and fishing.
This is Heather's first time in London and also my first internship. During university she worked for a field marketing company.
First Name: Emily
Sits: On the light side
Emily is 21 years old, and she's from Wichita Falls, TX. It's a medium sized town about two hours north of Dallas. She is currently a student at the University of Texas in Austin and is majoring in Advertising with a Minor in Business Foundations. She has one older sister who is living and working in Atlanta, GA. Her favourite hobby is trying new restaurants/food of all kinds, especially finding organic food places which is sometimes pretty hard to come across in America!
Euro 2008 kicked off in earnest on Saturday and so far it's been quite boring. No upsets thus far - the form guide being strictly adhered to despite the so called top teams not performing very well. Germany and Portugal have the easy draw, will probably meet in the semi-finals and, for my money, the winner of that game will win the tournament.
Tonight throws up the first round of the group of death, and hopefully the first upsets. Having drawn Portugal, Holland and Croatia in work / home based sweepstakes I'm cheering on Romania and the amicable Dutch from Group C. My ideal final would be Portugal vs Holland with Ronaldo et al coming out on top.
Unfortunately the Portugeezers and the Croats will probably face each other in the Quarter finals meaning one of my runners falls at the second hurdle. Why have UEFA ruined such an entertaining tournament with a ridiculous layout?
Its that time of year again when people don their flipflops/or wellies and head of for a weekend filled with friends, beer and live bands... but yet again that won't be me!
The logistics and organisation needed to plan a much anticipated trip to a festival have yet again defeated me. Not only do you have to choose a festival that will suit everyone's tastes which is a challenge in itself, getting a group of 6 girls to all agree and commit to a date any further than a week away is near enough impossible. If you are lucky enough to have a good response from said friends there then comes the issue of money! No-one can ever afford to pay for a ticket until May when everything is sold out.
So, here I am yet again suffering from my summer festival blues trying not to listen to all the line-up announcements or look at how much Ebay are selling tickets for.
Maybe next year I will manage to get organised in time to buy a ticket before they sell out....
It is with trepidation that I write this. How does one convert the funniest conversation ever had? It got so bad in fact I had to scribe things down during our chat. Let me take you back to the beginning. It was not the dawn of time it was only last night that I met a human more amusing than any other examined before. This gent has so many strings to his bow it is unbelievable.
From what started with such throw away questions as "What are you doing this weekend?" ended with "What exactly does your Marmalord Super Hero outfit look like!?"
Emily was the catalyst. From a jovial story about holding a baby monkey called "baby monkey" this particular man then went on to ask if we had ever been to Monkey World. A strange question in anyone's book. He then went on to talk about an Albino Gorilla called "Snowflake." That produced numerous guffaws which then made me think if this guy has this in his locker what else has he got. Well what we found was much much more.
It started out as a joke to send a copy of a random mag to a mate. What it turned into was a lifelong b2b subscription. I am talking about no other than the global title Poultry International, after reading the title he fell in love with it. As a b2b title the company wanted to know more about the reader and asked how many chicken boilers he went through of which he said, "2 million" to their response "is that all?" With quick thinking the phrase "per month" was born - because of this sizeable production Poultry International could do nothing but send a cheque for $20 to Pixie Poultry Ltd, which I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn is a fake company. Along with this he also received a free subscription to Poultry International, Pig International and Feed International (which he chooses not to read, for obvious reasons).
This lead us to think "What else has he got?" Well.....quite a lot. All I need to say is www.marmaland.com
What started off as a present for his Mother turned into an obsession that included a 400-strong marmalade jar collection cascading down his stairs at home that lead to the website and to the creation of the Marmalord (who has an open-faced yellow crash helmet and large M on his chest with cape) and his sidekick the Marmalad (think a fatter Robin who has eaten to much Marmalade). Even crazier than this was the creation of the Marmalade Jar Reader Marusan Moo Chicki Chicki - who sources interesting information about Marmalade Jars and then relays readers to inquisitive consumers.....mainly Americans....
All of this in the middle of the Honey International Festival in Hatfield....there is no night for this man there is no time to sleep and all I ask is to visit the site yourself (www.marmaland.com) but at the same time please ignore Polly Anne's comments about marmalade, they do things differently in Albania............
So after finishing a punishing 4 year evening psychology course last summer I have been feeling at a bit of a loose end - what else is free time for but to study!? Bearing this in mind my thoughts have lately turned to learning a language. I hate the fact that I can't get much futher than ordering a glass of wine in European countries and to expand my horizons I decided to learn Espanol.
I was toying with expensive courses and online learning programmes when I happened to come across the perfect tool from one of our very own lovely clients Ubisoft! My Spanish coach is a game for the Nintendo DS which allows you to learn at your own pace and on the move. Its bite size lessons are perfect as instead of having 20 mins dead time on the tube each way time I can brush up my language skills. And next time I head off to Spain I may be able to venture out of the bar (maybe)!
In the early hours of Sunday morning Joe Calzaghe defeated Bernard Hopkins in a win that possibly ranks him as the greatest British boxer of all time.
In determining this claim we could examine the rather impressive stats of Calzaghe's undefeated 15 year career... 11 years as WBO super middleweight champion (after defeating Chris Eubank in October 1997), 45 fights, 45 wins, 32 by way of Knock-Out (KO), Current WBO, WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight champion and Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion after defeating Hopkins.
What the stats can't show you is the heart and desire of the man. On Saturday night Calzaghe did not get off to a good start. Hopkins knocked him down with a right hand in the first round and began to get the better of Calzaghe on the inside. As the rounds went on, Calzaghe began to find his rhythm by landing combinations at close range. Hopkins’ key weapon was his right hand, but after a few rounds Calzaghe could see the right hands coming and blocked the shots with his glove. According to CompuBox, Calzaghe landed more punches on Hopkins than any of his previous opponents. In the end, judges Chuck Giampa (116-111) and Ted Gimza (115-112) scored the fight for Calzaghe, while judge Adalaide Byrd (114-113) scored the fight for Hopkins.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Calzaghe - cite_note-11 Following his victory, Calzaghe said, "I knew this wouldn't look pretty tonight. He's so awkward. He gave me some good shots. It wasn't my best night, but I won the fight. The world title in a second division and a win in America is just icing on the cake for my career."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Calzaghe - cite_note-12
To defeat an American, in America, with an American referee, three American judges, a partisan American crowd cheering on your opponent and after being knocked down in the 1st round is no mean feat. Though, with Calzaghe's ability and record, should we be surprised? Or should we bow down and declare him the greatest British boxer of all time? I vote the latter...
The music scene doesn't just start and stop in London. Whilst V festival has an off shoot up north (somewhere), most of the festivals still tend to be found relatively close to London. Obviously so a bunch of horrific sloanes can have a 'festival experience' and complain at high volume about the mud/people/the dust/warm booze (delete as applicable). Stay at home and watch it on BBC3 instead, please!
Anyway in Scotland they tend to get on and do there own thing and have the excellent T in the Park and also a less well known affair called Triptych which has showcased some of the worlds best alternative, creative and avant garde music which sadly comes to an end this year.
Out with the old, in with the new though as Tennent's, the festivals organisers, have hit upon replacing it with Tennent's Mutual which will take place in Oct and Nov 2008.
So far fairly so what. That is until you learn what makes Tennent's Mutual something really quite interesting, it allows everyday people to be involved with putting on the festival. You have to sign up before 30th June, and starts with a start up fund of £150,000, and members then can vote, nominate, debate who the acts should be, which venues & decide ticket prices!
Will be interesting to see how the event gains momentum but with something that brings the passion out in everyone it can't fail to be a success I think and really harnesses the community aspect of the internet as well as truly democratising it
Could initiatives like this be the start of the next facebook or myspace?
There's not much I have to watch on telly these days but the Apprentice is lighting up my Wednesday evenings. This series looks set to be a corker with Siralan at his pantomime best and the best comedy duo on TV bar none, Nick 'n Margaret, withering for England. It's scandalously biased but the editing is fabulous and also manages to make London look like the best city in the world.
Standout characters so far are Raef (and his hair) and the unbelievably awful Jenny, who should have been sacked last week but wasn't because she'll make good TV. From what we've seen so far, they're all pretty useless, but my money's on someone from the school of hard knocks winning this year after Sir Alan picked posh last time round. Blardy marvellous.
Culture Club - F Comme Faim
The slightly reconfigured BJK&E Culture Club's March activity was a visit to the British Museum to catch a film in the London International Documentary Festival (LIDF) series. The festival boasts 8 days, 8 venues, 80 conversations and as one venue is right on our doorstep it seemed a shame to miss out.
The documentary we were seeing (F Comme Faim / H for Hunger) was described as a passionate & creative exploration of the biology, history, politics and economics of hunger in the blurb so none of us were expecting a light comedy, however, I don't think we were prepared for how shocking and harrowing it was. The subtitled French film worked as a 90 monologue, with a particularly agressive French narrator pointing the finger squarely in each and every one of our faces for the continuing famine that occurs in so many areas of the world. Throughout the film, he would draw different illustrations ... an early one showed one jumbo jet carrying 300 people. The narrator asked you to consider the shock reaction in terms of media coverage etc that would occur if that plane crashed killing all on board... then revealed that the death rate through starvation is the equivalent of 30 jumbos every day, i.e. one person every second.
The film actually made very uncomfortable watching and I found myself squirming in my seat - as everyone from the Pope to people who feed their pets ahead of their fellow man were accused. It has certainly raised some interesting debate since. Without delving too far into the various personal views of famine that have arisen the problem is that this is not a black and white issue with a simple solution, indeed the film made no attempt to offer a solution as to how people can make things better other than eating and wasting less. This initially made me come away feeling frustrated and impotent. I guess there is no easy answer and it is rather encouraging you to think about others who suffer privately away from media coverage and consider how you can help.
Hard-hitting, thought-provoking and highly controversial.
Culture Non Club - Carlos Acosta
On a lighter note, last night I had the opportunity to see Carlos Acosta at The Coliseum.
Carlos is a Cuban ballet dancer - one of 11 children his parents pushed him into it to keep him out of trouble and off the streets. He is now one of the leading names in ballet having performed as principal artist with all the leading ballet companies around the world. He even has his own website:
He is absolutely phenomenal, astonishing stage presence, very impressive physique & a fantastic dancer. The show was so good I could have cried. Critics are saying that, at the ripe old age of 35, his best days are probably behind him ... in which case catch him on stage while you can, it will definitely be an experience to remember.
As one of only two TV specialists at BJK+E (Andy 'Benny' Benningfield is TV Director) I've always felt slightly 'unique' in my role here at BJK+E. Although (hopefully!) admired and valued by my lovely colleagues, this time of year only serves to remind me of my uniqueness as the football season draws to a close with the sudden rush of FA Cup semi-finals, Champion's League Quarter finals and play-off 'run ins'. As a consequence of location of birth and a desire not to support one of the big four* during my formative years, I decided to support Charlton Athletic; a club that no-one really dislikes as we're never going to threaten the Man U's and Arsenal's of this world.
Supporting a club which constantly flirts between Premiership and second division football (I make no apologies for being a traditionalist - Coca Cola Championship indeed!) creates its very own set of challenges. Banter over forthcoming fixtures takes place via e-mail as my fellow BJKE'ers enthusiastically debate the Arsenal versus Liverpool or Fenerbache versus Chelsea in the Champion's League (an away fixture at Gillingham is about a European as it gets at the Valley nowadays). I avoid the much vaunted media 'water cooler moments' as the conversation turns to Sky or Setanta's coverage of the big game from the weekend. A colleague recently asked me to name my all-time Charlton XI.. I struggled ) though the front two of Derek Hales and Clive Mendonca looked a dream ticket in any team). An ex-colleague supported Wolves though having lost 3-2 at home to them at the weekend, I was relieved that it was Natalie who greeted me on reception when I came to work on Monday.
Every cloud has a silver lining however.... it appears that several of my colleagues teams are dabbling with relegation this season. A trip to White Hart Lane next season would certainly guarantee goals and means that I could use my Oyster card. Whilst the journey to St James Park presents far more logistical and financial challenges, Newcastle is meant to be a good night out.
As the season draws to a close, we are sitting a lowly eleventh in the table, four points off a play-off place and a further eight points from automatic promotion. Worst still, Crystal Palace sit two places above us; another season in the second division is one thing, but to finish below the Eagles... please no.
Ah well, there's always Kent in the cricket. At least they won something last season.
*(yep, that actually did include Spurs when I was a little 'un. I remember the 1981 Cup Final replay with that Ricky Villa goal....)
The two most talked about April fool advertising jokes yesterday featured animals. BMW with their dog electrocuting technology (http://www.bmweducation.co.uk/coFacts/linkDocs/caninerepellent.asp) and the BBC iPlayer and their flying penguins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23qDl1aH9l4).
The penguins win it for me. Bizarrely 'uplifting' piece.
Seems like things are bad down at terminal 5, wait sorry no it's the sequel to the cadbury's gorilla viral ad. Seems someone has spent far too long watching Pixar's Cars, and has ditched Phil Collins for a spot of glam Queen instead.
No doubt it will spread like wildfire before being on TV, but if nothing else it's great to see a great British brand doing some great creative advertising.
No idea what airport transport vehicles have to do with chocolate but's it's quirky and different and for that I quite like it.
Spurs have nothing to play for, Newcastle are rampant, Arsenal are falling apart during the run in (but will definitely make the champions league final) and England can't beat the French. Some things never change.
But things are changing here at BJK&E. Last week saw one of our team move onwards & upwards / down under. Carolyn is swapping England for Australia just when the southern hemisphere moves into winter, schoolboy error? Celebratory leaving drinks were had last Wednesday at Revolution bar in Soho. Screams of "Woo Woo" and " is that a shot board?" were still ringing in the ears upon waking Thursday morning. Good times.
Carolyn's cheery smile will be missed by everyone. Take care luvvy.
Another day, another feeding of the recycling bin with yet more direct mail, unsolicited magazines and other assorted marketing bumf. Waste. Waste. Waste.
I can live with relevant direct mail because I do occasionally receive something that is of genuine interest. I can rationalise unsolicited magazines etc, because it's probably the best way of experiencing new titles/features I may 'need to know' - the rest get put into the boxes we send to good causes or whatever.
But I get really angry when sent promotional items packaged out of all proportion to the content. Today, like most of the media industry I reckon, I received an Easter Egg, in a box, in another box, in a padded envelope. Thanks, but I don't need an Easter Egg that badly. And that reminds me of last year's effort from an industry body that wanted to promote smart thinking by way of a tiny trinket or something of minimal volume distributed by way of a disproportionately large box. smart thinking, I think not!
For goodness sake, nowadays only a foolish enterprise would engage consumers with such needless waste. So why does a community who should know better sometimes behave that way amongst itself?
If any relevant marketing bods are reading this, please, please, please think twice before actioning an overly packaged promo - if not for the sake of the planet, then for the sake of your brand. I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in reacting negatively to such wastage.
And this is what I'm going to do about it: I'm going to start a separate blog on which I (and hopefully others) will post examples/images of questionably packaged items for people to shame (or not) by way of a vote. Give me a couple of weeks to work on it, and watch this space for more details.
I’m well aware that now Gareth has left that I’m the sole remaining rugga bugga in the office, but as Apples has so passionately written about his kickball team I thought I should rant about the current state of English rugby union.
I’m off to Twickenham tomorrow in the vain hope that England can salvage something against the Irish or at the very least, demonstrate a degree of passion and pride in their rugby which they have so far failed to maintain. Harsh I know, but it’s only right that following a WC final place that the country should expect better, irrespective of squad retirements and new personnel.
Also, consider the central reason why the England team reached the finals in the first place? Well it had nothing to do Brian Ashton, that’s for sure. It is well documented that following the group stage whitewash at the hands of South Africa, the squad collectively agreed to ignore Ashton’s approach to each game and concentrate on playing for each other. Subsequently, the England team stopped trying to play a brand of rugby that was alien to them and slowly ground wins out in the forwards – ugly but effective!!
The current squad have maintained their professionalism thus far and have remained tight lipped when questioned about Ashton’s management but the lack of player respect is clear to see. And to think that if the RFU selectors had showed a little more backbone and disposed of him after the WC, the England team might now be governed by Shaun Edwards who has revived Welsh rugby this year, or even Jake White who led South Africa to WC glory and also shown an interest in the role. *
Prior to this season’s 6 Nations, Ian Balshaw was regarded as the 5/6th rated full back in top flight rugby and despite some truly shocking performances has kept the 15 shirt. I’ve not doubt that the Irish team have spent their last training week practising their Garry Owens to target his incapacity under the high ball. It appears that Ashton will do anything to keep his “special friend” in the team, leading to the latest off pitch saga – “Ciprianigate”. True, it was a lack of judgement on his part but should have never resulted in his exclusion.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I must admit that a loss against Ireland tomorrow might just be what England need and it would undoubtedly result in Ashton’s long awaited retirement from the game and allow for us to start building for the next World Cup.
Right….rant over – that feels better!!
Another weekend of Premiership football descends upon us and the closer it is getting to the end of the season, the more worried I am becoming about my beloved Newcastle United. To be frank, we are in freefall. The last Premiership match we won was in mid December, we cant score, we can't defend, as soon as we concede a goal our heads drop. Its relegation form. We are a laughing stock. Keegan has come in and after 8 games we still haven't won a match. I have faith but Birmingham away is a massive game on Monday night, lose that and I really will start to panic.
There really isn't another club like Newcastle, there's something romantic about supporting the team, the fact that they constantly let you down will only make winning an actual trophy all the more sweeter (hopefully in my lifetime) and for a club that's in many peoples eyes isn't 'big' we don't half get a lot of attention.
On the plus side if we go down, I might get to see them a bit more. It's only about 15 minutes from my house to Selhurst Park....
It was on Saturday February 16th 2008 and a beautiful crisp morning that I found myself standing outside a gorgeous barn conversion set deep in the Gloucestershire countryside.It was on this day that our Emily Rich and her fiancÃ© John decided to make their vows to love, honour and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. The groom looking handsome in his dark suit waited nervously until his bride looking perfectly demure and stunning in her creamy white gown swept up the aisle, joined him at the front and in matrimony. The day went perfectly with possibly the tastiest canapÃ©s in the world and champagne to start, followed by posing for pictures. We then took our places at the round banquet tables and munched our way through a delicious hog roast with all the trimmings while copious amounts of champagne, wine and beer were consumed. The hilarious speeches given by all the wedding VIPâ€™s followed which, as all agreed, really were superb and I was left wanting more. The room then transformed into a dancehall with a Glastonbury DJ on the decks. Smoke machines, flashing lights and lots more drinking ensued, ensuring a right good knees up with a real journey from the 80â€™s right through to today playing everything from Take That to Nirvana.It was agreed the next day that as far as weddings go â€“ it was perfect from beginning to end and everyone had a really great time.
To begin with the hens started off in the Latino Bar and Restaurant in the Park Plaza hotel guzzling champagne, cocktails and wine, Emily was showered with presents from all her friends and a few mini games were played which ended in Emily dressed in a lovely pink fairy outfit, feather boa, pink bracelets and finally nipple clamps. The girls were then handed their Emily masks which everyone had, making it look like 14 Emily's bouncing around Leeds - which is actually quite a scary thought.
Next they headed for a nearby bar Epernay for much champagne swigging. They then skipped off down the road to the highlight of the evening which happened to be a karaoke nightclub appropriately named "Oh Karaoke" where they sung their hearts out wearing funky wigs and shaking their hips. The evening ended up with a surprise visit to Greggs Bakers (classy) which conveniently happens to be open until 4am in Leeds and was just what the doctor ordered after drinking copious amounts of alcohol, which was quickly followed by just one more drink at the hotel bar.
A delightful full English breakfast the next morning geared the hens up for their trip home. All in all a real boozy fun weekend was had by all and the pictures say it all.
We wish Emily and John lots of luck for their future together and hope Saturday goes perfectly for the lucky couple.
A friend told me about a useful tool in the fight to give up smoking - an online quit-o-meter. In the process of getting my own quit-o-meter I discovered the joy of a personalised goggle home page. I now have my quitting smoking tip of the day, word of the day & a brain tuner similar to Nintendo DS. I can also choose my own background - have gone for a soothing pastoral scene. I could also have Tesco's deal of the day or random pictures of kittens. BBC news is un-surprisingly the most popular with over 800,000 users. It's really easy to add more applications just by clicking on the 'add stuff' button. You can search by keyword or just look at the newest or most users. The latest addition is a car members gallery with new pictures of cars everyday. Currently, there doesn't seem to be many corporate users outside of media owners and Tescos & ebay. It seems a perfect environment for advertisers who want to update their users regularly - flight deals, betting etc.
FYI - It's been 2 weeks and 3 days, I've saved Â£97.28 and not smoked 353.77 cigarettes.
â€œIn Rome you long for the country; in the country oh inconstant! you praise the distant city to the starsâ€ - HoraceÂ
Clearly Horace was a fan of this Holy of Holy cities, where; on a festive weekend break, I savoured the many sights and sounds on offer including the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and of course the Sistine Chapel.Â Each a fine example of architectural brilliance though all pale in comparison to St. Peter's Cathedral which is simply breathtaking, and an obvious proof of the sheer might of Catholicism.Â One thing is for certain, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Pretty buildings aside the next thing you'll notice about Rome is the food.Â Superb pizza and al dente pasta available on every corner, or should I say Piazza... you see Rome's topography can best be described as a string of good-looking piazzas (or squares to you and I) linked by busy roads filled with gawping tourists, which incidentally are covered in graffiti (the roads, not the tourists).Â Owing much to the lack of CCTV cameras and a less than zealous cleaning routine, I imagine that every Roman kid for the past 10 years has tried their hand at tagging the various streets, subways, trees, pavements, cars, trains...... you name it, its been claimed by the local yout'dem.
All in all it has to be said that Rome in my experience was a bit tacky.Â The "fashion" is terrible unless you've gone for haute couture, the subway escalators are slower than walking speed, and the locals seem terse to say the least.Â My advice would be to go with an agenda.Â We used TimeOut's guide to Rome which served us well and found that walking was the best mode of transport.
Essentially it was a great trip, and certainly one off the list.Â Don't go with massively high expectations if you're not on an equally high budget, and I wouldn't extend your stay beyond four or five days unless you have a particular penchant for architecture.
My bloggy woggy....well it appears to have worked for Russell Brand.
My favourite word at the moment is chutzpah! it means audacity. Ex: James showed great Chutzpah in single handedly wrestling an army of enraged mountain goats. Fabulous.
My favourite track at the moment is tranquilize by the Killers featuring Lou Reid. Its dark and electro. Nice.
My favourite book at the moment is Aspirin: The extraordinary story of a wonder drug. This book charts the history of aspirin from ancient Egypt to modern day. Its a surprisingly entertaining read. cracking.
What has annoyed me the most over the past few weeks is undoubtedly the Think! ads that have been running on tv and in the cinema. Shock and awe is all very well but they're all rather unpleasant and I strongly disagree with trying to scare or shock people into doing things. It reminds me of the fire and brimstone approach to religion where clerics used the fear of Satan and hell to keep their congregations in check. Definitely not nice.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas!
Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?
Cinema fans read onâ€¦ last night the BJK&E team of crack film buffs attended the Pearl & Dean agency film quiz finals at Vue cinema Leicester Square (see picture below, minus one Mr Waghorn, who transpired to be our resident Marvel expert). It was, unsurprisingly, a fiendishly difficult quiz, ranging from â€œwhat line comes nextâ€ in cult films such as Donnie Darko and The Graduate (with only precise word for word answers scoring points) to the rather girl friendly â€œSex and the Cityâ€ round. Next time I suspect even more swatting up beforehand would be necessary - unfortunately our extensive knowledge of Easten European film c. 1950, went untestedâ€¦.
To sum up the evening I would say a good time was had by all, our pools of cinematic knowledge were well and truly trawled and some new gems were learnt â€¦.if only we hadnâ€™t be cruelly docked a point for a team member answering the phone to their Mum half way through we could have been even higher up the rankings! Can you name the youngest ever person to win an Oscar of sorts? What film topped The Times 2007 scariest film of all times? Which Spice Girl made a cameo in Sex and the City? Which two new villains make an appearance in Spiderman 3? Answers to be revealedâ€¦.
A few of us at BJK&E had the privilege of going to see Tim J perform at the quirky little Bourne & Hollingsworth bar on Rathbone Place. For those that donâ€™t know this place it feels very much like you have been transported to someoneâ€™s living room, in the 1960â€™s - complete with floral wallpaper and china tea cups!
Tim Jones has been singing since â€˜he came out of the womb,â€™ according to his mother and not many people know this but he has actually released a single (Gotta Get Thru 2 U â€“ find it here!) which was apparently â€˜big in Swansea.â€™ Tonight however, he has laid off of the cheesy R&B to play the piano and sing some of his own compositions. And he can certainly both play and sing brilliantly belting out songs such as â€˜Be there for youâ€™ and â€˜I knowâ€™ and getting the crowd whooping their approval. It was a really enjoyable evening and itâ€™s always nice to see colleagueâ€™s hidden talents away from media world!
The easiest way I can describe this sport is â€œlike Squash, but with your handsâ€.
I started playing Eton Fives at the tender age of 16, when I attended St. Olaveâ€™s school to study for my A-levels, and I couldnâ€™t love the sport more.
Eton Fives is one derivative of the British game of Fives. It is played in doubles on a three-sided court. The object is to force the other team to fail to hit the ball â€˜upâ€™ off the front wall. The shape of the court used in Eton Fives is taken from the chapel of Eton College. There are 3 walls and a 2 levels to the court â€“ top and bottom step - with a â€˜buttressâ€™ halfway up the left hand wall. There is also a ledge at about chest height around the top step which the ball must hit above.
The sport has some simple rules: the ball must hit above the ledge; you are only allowed to return the ball with the gloves you wear; the ball is only allowed one bounce; and you can only hit the ball once to hit it up. You can only score a point if you are serving. When a pair reaches 11 points, the server of the pair must stand with at least one foot on the bottom step when they serve. They are only allowed to move when the â€˜cutterâ€™ has hit the ball. There are, however, other rules that you only really understand once you have played the game a few times.
There are a huge number of championships and tournaments that take place at various times throughout the Fives season. I try to take part in any I can get involved in. There are a lot more male competitions than female though, as our numbers are low compared to boys. This is because the courts in existence in England are mainly found in boys Public Schools. However, the number of women playing is increasing each year.
There are not many courts in England, most of them at Public Schools, but the Westway sports centre in Londonâ€™s White City also has Fives courts, possibly steering Eton fives away from a minor sport. Courts are also found in certain parts of Europe, India, and Australia.
Eton Fives is a highly enjoyable, fast-paced, physical game. I usually find my body aches in places I never thought it could ache the next day and I hope to carry on playing the sport for many years to come.
Please visit www.etonfives.co.uk for more information.