Archive for January, 2010

I don’t want your babies

January 19, 2010

[The author wishes to apologise for the fact that the following post will no doubt turn out to be as funny as an ill-thought-out stand-up routine on open mic night at a comedy club in Bicester. At midnight. After eight pints. Stop throwing things dammit!]

So. Babies in advertising eh? What’s that all about?

More specifically, the rollerblading babies that sell Evian. (Admittedly it’s a damning indictment of my inability to keep up with the times that they’ve been on our screens since at least July of last year but, hey, I needed something to write about.)

I don’t know where to begin with the damned things. Well obviously they’re rollerblading. That’s a little bit weird in the first place. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY THEY’RE DOING IT WITHOUT PADS OR ANYTHING! What happens if they fall over? They’ll graze their knees or elbows and then  they’ll be wailing for absolutely ages, spoiling everyone else’s walk in the park. And they’re not wearing headgear. Jesus! What about their fontanelles?  I mean, look what happened to Natasha Richardson and she was in her 40s.

I know, I know. They’re not really rollerblading. It’s all CGI (I don’t care, they still look horribly wrong. I get the same feeling watching the ad as I do watching that bit in Trainspotting when the dead baby crawls along Renton’s ceiling).

But why are these babies rollerblading in a park? To sell Evian.

And this is where I get really, irrationally annoyed. The ad starts with the line “Let’s observe the effect of Evian on your body”. OK let’s observe it. Ah I see. It makes me feel like a baby. That can rollerblade. In its nappies. That’s a good effect.

Or maybe they’re trying to tell me that babies who drink Evian feel like that. Because babies drink loads of water, right? Their mums are forever complaining about how they have to express water from their H20-engorged breasts into empty Evian bottles so their little one can have a drink when they’re not around.

It’s borrowed interest at its worst.Like a lot of advertising these days.

But there was a time when it wasn’t like this. I remember an ad with an equally outlandish premise from the 80s(?) that was sheer brilliance. It was for the Vauxhall Astra Mk3 and it went something like this:

Now that’s a lovely, slightly bonkers idea that, above all, is relevant to the product it’s trying to sell. It dramatises the fact that the Mk3 is the car your baby would want you to own. Powerful stuff when you think about it.

[Note: No babies were harmed in the writing of this post. Although – and this could be an urban myth – the babies in the audience of the Vauxhall ad were apparently velcroed to their seats so they couldn’t crawl off. Anyone know if this is true?]

Fear the blank page

January 5, 2010

"Hey there. It looks like you're failing to write anything of interest!"

An auspicious start to the New Year this is not.

After one blog post, I’ve dried up. Can’t think of anything that interests me – or, to be more specific, would interest my reader (hello mum). The things I consider writing about become, before I’ve even put fingertip to keyboard, dull and tedious. Or, in the words of some second-rate hack from a few years back, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world.

Happy 2010? Bah.

It’s ironic (although I’m sure the type of pedant who likes to pick holes in Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic”, believing they’re the first person to do it EVER, will point out that it isn’t). Because this year I’ve started keeping a diary – one that doesn’t just say things like “12:45 – Dentist”, “6:30 – The White Horse” or “11:59 – Murder tramp”. No, this time, I’m keeping a record of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and (in exceptional circumstances) how I’ve been feeling. So far this year I’ve been feeling “drunk” and “hungover”.

Funny things, diaries. On the one hand you’re writing purely for yourself; but on the other hand you write because deep, deep down you want your words to be read. It’s the hoary old ‘unhappy relationship’ chestnut. You write about how unhappy you are, but you won’t be happy until the other person betrays your trust and reads about your unhappiness. Because then you’ll be moving towards some kind of resolution.

So you keep your diary secret, stuffed down the back of the sock drawer (sorry dear, I won’t look again). But really you can’t wait for it to be discovered.

Mmm, secret diaries...

There was an interesting documentary about the public/private tension yesterday called Dear Diary presented by Richard E. Grant. (Well, it sounded interesting – actually I missed it. Still, God bless you BBC iPlayer.) Nancy Banks-Smith’s review in The Guardian mentioned a little anecdote that made me smile: “Russell Davies, editing Kenneth Williams’s diaries, was, no doubt, wounded to find himself described as a nasty piece of work.”

If you read that, would you, ahem, edit it out? And how does one edit a diary anyway? Surely the whole point is that a diary is shown in its warts-n-all entirety?

Anyway. I’ve broken my New Year blog duck. By writing about writing. Maybe I should scan the pages of my diary in and post them here. Then it could be a public blog about a secret diary. That’d be the self-referential icing on the postmodern cake.


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