I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff (see Pockets). There’s no getting away from the fact that this is nothing more than sheer, unadulterated, child-like nosiness. The kind of nosiness I carry around with me like day to day – on the tube, at work, in a restaurant – that my super-ego orders me to keep to myself.
So, here’s another one of those cool slice-of-life-with-a-jolly-music-backdrop type of shorts. And I say keep ’em coming, internet! Next I’d like to know: What’s your house like? (And can I see it?)
Oh, and here’s the last picture on my phone. It’s a recipe for a strawberry jam that my boyfriend really liked and a waitress wrote down for us in Istanbul. Haven’t tried it yet (don’t know how to make jam).
…so goes the description of British markets, according to the elderly gentlemen narrator of this short.
I went to an Ad Week talk last week in which Peter Serafinowicz (pronounced ‘Peter’, Peter helpfully instructs) and his writing partner Robert Popper were interviewed. If you’re not familiar with them, they’ve both acted, written and produced loads of funny stuff on TV.
In their spare time, they like to unearth old TV archives and layer on new dialogue. The duller the old footage, the better. So they hit gold when they dredged up this piece of film from the bowels of god-knows-where: an old expressionless man, pipe in mouth, thick glasses and an old tweed hat wandering aimlessly around a small town market.
As with most funny stuff, it’s best not to explain it. Just watch it and enjoy yourselves.
Hopefully he won’t read this, but my brother is called Tom and when he was a child, he had a bit of a problem with wearing clothes till he was a bit too old to be naked in public.
My mum describes once walking down the road as a family when us two kids were little, and her turning around to see where Tom had got to, only to see her butt naked boy merrily following after her with a trail of clothes in his wake.
It’s quite endearing and pretty weird too.
A bit like this short animation by Tom C J Brown which features a little boy, also called Tom, who also likes to liberate himself from superfluous layers of cover.
Back in the ‘90s he was the ‘shy fit one’ in Blur who hid behind his hair and graciously allowed Damon Albarn to steal the limelight.
Alex James made his televisual comeback in 2007 on Channel 4’s achingly hipster Mobile Acts Unsigned in which he shocked the nation with his brash honesty and tell-it-like-it-is attitude as a judge (where have we seen that before?)
And now, we can’t get rid of him. James has reinvented himself as ‘eccentric cheese man’ and seems to have become the talking head go-to guy for all things…well, all things. And it’s all delivered in that ‘I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks’ kind of an attitude which doesn’t really fit too well with his media omnipresence.
Basically, Alex James is bothered about you thinking he is cool. Which is why I was quite delighted to read about a birthday party he had three years ago in which not only did totally-uncool-boiled-egg-face David Cameron attend, the PM also performed a karaoke version of Hard Day’s Night for Tory James.
I’ll just leave you to linger on that for a moment…
Alex James has now turned his hand to film-making to launch Virgin Media Shorts 2013; a two-and-a-half-minute short which he wrote, directed and stars in. He also wrote the track that you will hear. I suppose I’m writing about this because it gave me an excuse to slag him off a little, which is entirely cynical, sorry.
The last time I played Pass the Parcel was just over a year ago on my 32nd birthday. My boyfriend had kindly organised an evening of games at our house and while the guests’ ages ranged from 30 to 58, I realised that when it comes to games, everyone’s the same no matter the age.
(Except we weren’t dressed as fairies and my parents weren’t there to trick us into being quiet by playing a game of Sleeping Lions.)
And that feeling you get playing Pass the Parcel – the conflict between wanting to hold on to the parcel for as long as possible while also wanting to look like you don’t really care – well, it’s almost overwhelming.
Writer Stuart Man Price has come up with an ingenious solution to this problem in his short film Happy Birthday by Suicide Dad starring Neil Frost. As the title infers, there’s a bit more to this darkly absurdist short than parlour games…
I went on the hunt for old Public Information Films today and struck gold with this treasure trove of old school beauties: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. Seeing the pages upon pages of videos commissioned by the government to inform folk on matters of public interest, I anticipated getting some cheap laughs by unearthing a primitively-made clip, preferably with wobbly camera work and Mr Cholmondley-Warner style voices warning men against the dangers of women being allowed too much freedom in the home, or something.
But no such luck. There is some actual good material here, including Pedestrian Crossing in which a man is unable to grasp the concept of not crossing the road when a car’s coming – I LOLed at 00:54.
But the following one really caught my attention. This one-and-a-half minute film made in 1973 warns children of the dangers of playing near deep and dark water. I grew up in London so naturally-formed bodies of water were never an imminent threat, but by golly if I’d caught this terrifying broadcast on telly (and I had been born 10 years earlier) you wouldn’t have found me anywhere near the Gospel Oak Lido, let alone any puddle or pond in the great outdoors.
Introducing the menacing, the eery Lonely Water.
I remember being a little bit obsessed with the lonely hearts section of the Private Eye that my dad subscribed to when I was a kid.
Candidates’ ads were (well, probably still are) charged by the word so it was always interesting to see what people did with this limitation; being persuasive and economical at the same time. I suppose it was good practice for when Twitter came along, decades later.
And because it was the Private Eye, ads were often quite witty.
But taking it one step further are the lonely hearts of the London Review of Books. I’ve visited the nice little LRB café in Bloomsbury and felt the pressure to talk about clever things in case anyone is listening in, so you can imagine the caliber of clever people searching for a mate in via its classifieds column.
This short documentary by Grant Lee features the man whose job it is to look after this column: David Rose. Such poetry are some of the ads that they’ve been dubbed ‘Haikus of the heart.’
Which reminds me of my first not-so-highbrow introduction to Haikus.