Monday, 23 January 2012

Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year!!

In celebration of the Year of the Dragon and the commencement of the festival, here are my top 10 favourite dragons.

1.      Smaug from the Hobbit – Devious, smooth and terrifying. The Hobbit film is going to be made on the success of Peter Jackson’s interpretation, but with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing then I think it will be geekgasm central.

2.      Tiamat from Dungeons and Dragons – How many heads! Ok I think he may have been defeated as his many heads where tangle up ‘maypole’ style but look at all the heads that spew different energies!

3.     Enter the Dragon – Bruce Lee’s last film and him totally and utterly incredible. Enough said.

4.      Mushu from Mulan – Something for the kids.

5.    Norbert/Norberta the Norwegian Ridgeback from Harry Potter – Gender ambiguous, bad tempered dragon that added a new level of fantasy to the Potter Series.

6.     Lockheed from X-Men – Sidekick to Kitty Pryde who, due to overwhelming popularity gained increased role in the series and even featured in a creature based comic series.

7.      Gorwen from Though the Dragons Eye – Blast from the past. Perhaps it was based on the fact that I was young but the final battle between Gorwen had me genuinely scared for his safety.

8.      Charizard from Pokemon – He was an arse to train on the Gameboy but when I had him under my control there was no stopping us. Gotta Catch ‘Em All.

9.      Falkor from the NeverEnding Story – Giant dog like Luck Dragon. He’s just so cool and friendly what’s not to like?

10. Elliott from Pete’s Dragon – Fondly remembered as it made me think that it was possible to have an actual dragon as a friend!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

January Sale and Rizzle Kicks

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone is sticking to their resolutions, after chatting in the office we realised that we tend to fail so we decided avoid the disappointment by not setting any. In fact I don’t think I have achieved one since I decided to become 33% less angry back in 2001!

With the New Year comes the January sales and hopefully some amazing bargains. We are now at a point when further reductions are being added to further tempt you to part with you Christmas money (or vouchers if grandparents have been involved). Most of the large retail stores have lowered prices including Topshop and River Island. I nearly bought next year’s Christmas cards at Sainsbury’s but realised that I was turning into my mum so I put them back.

In order to get the best bargains there are a few tips that you could use:

1.     It is likely that many of the main stores will have been picked over as there have been a few weeks of sales already so it may be worth trying stores in quieter areas. This is easier in bigger cities but it is worth a shot (obviously you may want to check online too).
2.     There may be an item that you like but the colour isn’t quite right, don’t ignore that bright green top, dye it a darker colour. Granted there is a tiny bit more work involved but it’s worth it.
3.     If the size you want is gone then you could always try a size above or below. Sizing is often a bit hit and miss so you could get lucky but if not some simple sewing can help make the item fit perfectly.
4.      Some of the better deals will be on random styles or items. Why not take something that you wouldn’t normally wear and give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?
5.      Independent stores also have some great sales so make sure you don’t stick to the bigger stores!

Hopefully these tips will help you jazz up your wardrobe for 2012.

I shall leave you with the Rizzle Kicks song because it’s amazing!!


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

End of Year Piers Morgan Hating

Hi Everyone,

I think there is a lawyer deep inside me as I’ve been hooked on the Leveson Enquiry as I was the Conrad Murray trial.

With so many vested interests by so many different people it is fascinating watching the potential culprits squirm, double back on original statements and attempt to justify foolish comments. Piers Morgan was on fine form yesterday acting like a complete fool, comparing himself to a rock star, claiming to remember the exact content of a conversation but not remembering who said it and stating that hacking is not immoral. For the record, I really dislike this guy; it amazes me how he sleeps at night. He is a fame hungry media whore who feeds his ego by gloating and boasting and then seeming affronted when questioned about it. His attempt to be liked includes referencing the death of comedian Patrice O’Neal and referring to him as ‘her’ twice!

James Hipwell (former journalist at the Mirror where Morgan was editor) has also presented his evidence today which contradicts Piers Morgan’s account of things. Quelle surprise!

There is a part of me that wishes he gets found out for the jerk he is so his ego can take the hit it deserves for his unscrupulous behaviour but if he loses his job in the US he may end up coming back to the UK. What a dilemma!  

With more witnesses due it could be an exciting start to 2012 at the enquiry.

Other things I’m looking forward to in 2012:

Mass Effect 3

Batman The Dark Knight Rises

The Olympics

The Avalanches new album??

Have a good Christmas and New Year and we shall be back, refreshed and ready to shed our Christmas weight in January.



Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cold Weather and X-Factor Finals

Hi Everyone,

The mind is a powerful thing, in the Summer it is difficult to imagine it ever been cold and as I huddle over the fan heater I wonder what it was like to be warm. I may also be lamenting the loss of the moustache as a heating aid.

I genuinely enjoy the snow so I’m excited for some snaction (snow action) not to be confused with snacktion (snack action).

The BBC Song of 2012 long list is out which proves some interesting reading, I need to have a few more days with some of the acts before I can decide who my favourite is but the Superbad track from Flux Pavilion and Doctor P is immense.

As I’ve covered X-Factor once or twice I should probably reference the final which is this week. Prepare yourself for the hype machine and the fact that it is totally irrelevant who wins as they will all be pushed to see where money can be made.

The criteria of what makes someone successful is by no means scientific so no need to analyse at any depth

Most Successful (position)
Steve Brookstein
G4 (Runners-up). They were on the radio for a bit with some dodgy covers
Shayne Ward
Andy Abraham (Runner-up). He represented England in the Eurovision song contest (and came last).
Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis (Winner). A couple of really successful albums and making it in the US.
Leon Jackson
Alexandra Burke
JLS (Runner-up). Now onto their third album.
Joe McElderry
Olly Murs (Runner-up). Number One album in the charts this week. Stacey Solomon (3rd) and Jedward (6th). Both presenting in some capacity.
Matt Cardle
One Direction (3rd). Mass hysteria tends to follow them around.
Marcus Collins*
Misha B (4th)*


Whatever happens expect a jump in sales from all guests that appear and some over the top indoor fireworks.

Time to defrost my feet!



Friday, 25 November 2011

Movember Update and Tanuary

Hi Everyone,

So we approach the end of Movember, and I can’t wait! I feel it is important to clarify that I think mass fundraising events are great and support them but I’m ready for December and the inevitable Christmas anarchy.

I am blessed with a pretty good coverage and density of facial hair so I headed into Movember with a little bit of confidence, additionally, as a bald man facial decoration helps liven up the blank canvass.

Unfortunately the moustache flatters nobody and to make matters worse it is pretty difficult to maintain. Trimming has been a time consuming affair, attempting to get both sides equal in length and girth is not helped by the fact that faces aren’t symmetrical. So when you relax the crazy face that you pull in order to trim the moustache accurately, you soon realise that it has been trimmed in the dark, with hedge cutters.

I normally bike into work so it wasn’t until mid-Movember when I got on the Underground that I realised how many people were taking part it also dawned on me how hard it is to pull off a good moustache. Standing on the tube and looking around, there was a look of acknowledgement from other participants, the look that says, “I know this isn’t working, I know my partner hates it, I don’t understand why the tache is a different colour to my hair, the coverage is uneven and I have aged 20years but Janine from accounts is paying 10p a day for this”. I think it’s fair to say I cannot work a moustache, unless it is required for a specific novelty event e.g. being a strongman at an old fashioned circus.

Would it not make more sense to have a shorter event, 31days is epic, the Olympics takes place in half that time.  I would also like to propose, for vanities sake a female alternative, Tanuary. This would involve having a ridiculously over the top fake tan for the whole of January. At least then the ridicule is shared and the charitable efforts are doubled!

Until next time Bat fans.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Versace x H&M

Hi Everyone,

Versace x H&M appears to have been a success with the website crashing, people queuing overnight across the globe, additional security and photos of empty shelves being posted online. 

The marketing has been in overdrive for a while with the multi-coloured animal print images adorning London Underground and H&M stores with media coverage helping to increase the buzz. But what has the partnership achieved?

Possibly not suitable for the office party
The collection had been previewed and the vibrant colours and loud patterns will certainly brighten up the winter wardrobes. In all honesty the woman’s collection appears much more wearable than the men’s but the tie-in with a high street chain means that the collections get less opportunity to be ‘diluted’ from the catwalk creations. 

Bright vibrant and wearable
The result is that styles are being introduced that are slightly more extravagant/fun but in the era of Lady Gaga creations being slapped across all media what was once considered ostentatious seems relatively mundane. It is also good to see another top fashion icon reaching out to a new audience as opposed to a minor celebrity endorsed range of clothing (The Amy Childs Collection??)

Kudos goes to all involved as the partnership has only created winners, Versace and H&M have an increase in media exposure and sales and the customers are introduced to reasonably priced designer garments.

Best get down to the store and see what's left!


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Frankie Cocozza axed: Only Marks&Spencer affected?

Hi Everyone,

It seems Christmas wishes do come true!!

The entirely crappy Marks&Spencer’s advert that ran during The X-Factor bore all the normal trappings of a festive promo. Apparently women love getting clothes (don’t bother getting her anything she may find useful, get her a bra so you can enjoy it!), only attractive people celebrate Christmas and excessive flaring and smoky effects is what Christmas looks like. Before you get to that point though you will no doubt be enjoying the song by The X-Factor finalists, slow motion panning shots as average singers, dressed in black stare stupidly into space.

I don’t really get what the message is? Are M&S telling me that if you wish hard enough then I could end up on The X-Factor (regardless of talent) or if I wish hard enough then I will be bought some sexy underwear? Regardless of what they are attempting, if you were wishing Frankie would leave X-Factor… wish granted!

As the self-perpetuating money machine that X-Factor has become continues its vain attempts to claw back its viewers a new ‘controversy’ has begun. The arguing, racism and bullying claims, changing of band names, Kelly’s ‘sick’ voice and the changing of band members has obviously not been enough so Frankie Cocozza has been removed for breaking the “Golden Rule” (we didn’t know there was one either). The official statement refers to breaking competition rules, in my opinion he is owed some leeway as having no discernable talent meant that he was barely in competition with anyone in the first place. The statements also firmly lay the blame on his shoulders which is a bit strange as The X-Factor controls so many aspects of the show.

Has the show finally got to the point where they can see that having a show based on talent (Strictly Come Dancing) is what people want to see? I feel sorry for Frankie as the show put him in this position (he won’t have seen the judges unless executive producers had auditioned him) he was then exploited for headlines and he is now surplus to requirements. I would imagine that one of the more talented (not talented) acts will be back to attempt to give the show some respectability on Saturday but at this point who cares?

In the meantime I expect the producers of the M&S advert to be submitting the overtime requests as they will, no doubt be editing a new version of the advert to account for the changing line-up (good luck with that!) I’m hoping they just bring Twiggy back.