Saturday 8 December 2007

Ricky Gervais World Takeover

I got in late from work the other night and my better half was enjoying the aftermath of the finale of "Heroes" [H]. If you haven't come across it then it's Marvel Comics for the Noughties with good measures of "The X Files", "Twin Peaks" and anything aimed at the 16-35 market (if such a market exists). If you haven't come across it then you are probably so insulated from TV fads then you will find this particular posting quite dull. (It should be noted here that both my better half and myself are older than this mythical target market but that's another story with it's own set of concerns). Anyway she watches "Heroes" and I don't and anyway (once more) I don't particularly want to write about H (okay I've seen a few episodes).

Digression completed. She was enjoying the fluffy, celeb-packed commentary programme after the show where everybody and anybody is stuck in front of a camera to say why they are H addicts. And guess who is a H addict? Ricky Gervais [RG] and from the moment his cheeky, podgy, elf-like visage appeared on the TV screen, my partner in crime began to huff and puff with quite understandable statements like: "Is there any programme that Ricky bloody Gervais doesn't appear on?" (That was the toned version).

Now, I have a lot of sympathy with this view. RG does get around a bit it has to be said. Loved "The Office" and chuckled along with "Extras". The "Flaminals" books are for kids but I think they are a bit weak. He has done a few average cameos and I loved the Podcasts/Vodcasts with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington (before you had to pay for them). I don't think he is the world's most natural stand-up - he is certainly not in the Peter Kay league - but I giggled away to the "Politics" DVD (I haven't seen him live yet). So on the balance of things I would say I am a fan. Is he over-exposed? Yes. Does he fawn rather too much in front of his idols? Yes, but it is part of his comic silliness. I have only seen one episode of his documentary series about living comedians (yes, you guessed it where RG gets to interview them) and that was with Gary Shandling (see They are far more engaging than Dawn French's interviews but let's not go there. Was he embarrassing at the Diana Tribute concert? Yes. Did he have to do "the dance"? I think he most probably did and in a strange way sealed the complete absurdity of the occasion...

...Where am I going with this? I don't know. I'm heading off the RG backlash before it has actually happened. I suppose I feel a certain kinship with him. He is my age(ish), he loves comedy, his is not afraid to be silly (I've tried to kick the habit but I can't) and is enjoying life. But he is famous, rich, annoying and didn't make it until he was well into his 30s.

Sweet as.

Friday 7 December 2007

Need to get out more

3 months ago I thought "No to Blog" and "No to Facebook". 2 months ago I said "Probably to Blog, but definitely no to FB". A withering critique of anyone aged 30+ and using FB by Shane Watson in some lifestyley section of "The Grandad" actually propelled me into publicly announcing to my friends and work colleagues: "No way am I going to join this infantile trend. I've got real friends. I don't need to collect virtual ones. And I've got a private life. What could there possibly be to share?"...

...Okay, you've guessed it, I signed up to both and one good friend, who laughed at me when I mentioned blogging and "facing", has also signed up to FB! She said it was for research purposes. Funny that because I used the same excuse. Someone I knew was developing applications for FB (and making some money, don't ask me how) and I wanted to see what he was creating but to do that I had to join. There's the rub. Once you have joined you are at least partially committed. Who wants to be a mere question mark? Load up your photo, have a poke and away you go.

Incredibly distracting? Yes. Contributing to the expansion of human knowledge through seamless digital communication? The jury's out.

What I find strangely reassuring is that the only people who have asked me to be friends (and vice versa) are people I know in the real world. So what is the point? Fun, I suppose.

Bring it on...

Monday 22 October 2007

Introducing the Giant Argos Cookie Jar Web Viral...

I am fascintated by the power of the internet as a way of communicating. I love the way that information shoots across global networks. Serious news, for sure, but the really silly stuff too. YouTube has been a constant source of entertainment over the last year and a half. Can you remember your first faddy, YT moment? I can. It was that video clip that did the rounds called "Evolution of Dance" of the chap dancing to a 'Stars on 45' type mix of classic pop from yesteryear. It is still hilarious in a weird kind of ploddy, geeky way and I heard the other day it is the most watched video on YT - 61,780,947 views and rising.

It was great to be asked by Meteorite, a direct marketing company, to produce a web viral for their client Argos. It came online on Friday (19th October 2007). Meteorite ( had this idea to create a giant cookie jar which would be filled by 5 storeman with tons of Argos stuff. The public are invited to guess how many items are in the jar and also get a chance to see the film of how we filled it. Intrigued? This is what the Xube team ( came up with:

1. The YouTube version -

2. The Argos version -
Click on "Behind the scenes" button on the top menu bar and then click on "The Making of".

3. Another version -
This is a site for the advertising industry where you can see the viral as a "Full Screen Version".

Making the film was great fun. It was all filmed in one day. My colleague and I, director Jeremy Henderson, knew we had to fill the jar by 5pm at the very latest. This was a tight deadline with so many items. I thought we were going to get through the whole day without any breakages and then I went snapped a fishing rod into my arm whilst trying to reposition it behind the giant plasma screen. Could have been nasty but it was only a scratch as they say in the movies.

Go on enter the competition! A prize of £10,000 worth of Argos goods - who can say fairer than that. I certainly won't give away how many items there are in the jar (but there are more than 10).

Creative London - E2 is where it's at

The Soho House people have set up in East London. They’ve got a five-storey block on Ebor Street [E1] and have called it Shoreditch House. I believe it has an infinity pool on its rooftop terrace. The manager of The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane [E1] tells me all units are full...