Saturday, May 31, 2008

Killer Passion

Tom Peters on Passion! from Tom Peters on Vimeo.

I've talked about Tom Peters dozens of times before. He has been influential to me since the early 80s. When I left my first job in advertising my colleagues asked what kind of gift I would like from the proceeds of the whiparound. Without waiting to catch my thoughts or breath I said - "I'd like a copy of In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters'. Bear in mind I was leaving to take a job as a copywriter in an ad agency, you know, a creative job. I got the - well, 'if you insist' look. I hoovered up the book and got the bug for business as a place for ideas and for rattling the cage. I don't find it any surprise that Tom's world and the my world of creativity and innovation and converged over the years. I've never really seem them as separate. I find it hard to understand how the advert sing world is so reluctant to embrace creativity as anything more than an executional craft. In fact one of the few people in advertising I count as a genuine thought leader is Kevin Roberts (even when I disagree with some of his thoughts or feel they don't pass the novelty test), while he loves terrific executions I thing he sees past them - hence The purchase of Act Now and its subsequent rebranding as Saatchi S. The interesting thing is that Roberts doesn't come from the conventional strain of advertising leaders - he's a marketing guy (started out with Mary Quant back in the day).

If you ever get to hear Tom Peters speak live take up the opportunity. I have blogged about my experience here. He is a pro and he his passionate, the opposite of a louche, post-modern presenter. He cares about what he is talking about. I like that he is now posting videos to his blog. It must be hard to transfer the flavour of a live performance to an audience of hundreds (or more) to chatting to a handicam without diluting your brand. I think he pulls it off.

Check it out.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vott! Are you schtoopeed man?

Well, maybe I am a little thick, bit I really don't understand this commercial for Citroen. It features a Wagnerian soundtrack. A Tuetonic character who slips into his Citroen after a duel in the Bavarian mountains, stops for a liverwurst snack on the autobahn home. He ultimately arrives for the car's beauty shot somewhere near the Brandenburg gate. The denouement, if you'll pardon my French, "The New Citroen C5 - Unmistakeably German."

Whaoh, backup. German? Ja, das ist korrect. German.

The commercial doesn't work for me on a couple of levels.

a) It is ridiculous. People don't duel anymore (EU regulations).
b) Anyone who eats liverwurst at a German greasy spoon would not refuse the advances of a Fraulein in traditional peasant Sunday best.
c) Citroen is French (cue the Marseillaise)and,
d) The good thing about Citroen was that it was unmistakably French,…the madcap engineering genius, the weird styling, the flamboyant unreliability. It's accent was as French as De Gaulle's big nose, as acquired a taste as escargot and …well, you get my drift.

In a world where differentiation through design is vanishing entropically gravitating the waning warmth of a central, generic core the defiant oddballness of Citroen and Renault were (and it galls me to use the past tense) what made them …them. Not to everyone's taste. But that is the point. The fundamental, unchanging law of marketing is that you cannot be all things to all people.

There are plenty of German cars already. Why would the French feel the need to deny their true selves to pretend to be something they are not?

I am getting all misty eyed now at the thought of shark nosed DS, with silky smooth hydropneumatic suspension, 2CV people's cars spluttering merrily through tree lined roads in the Dordogne.

Citroen German?…Merde non!

Jean Paul Goude must be having hysterics. Or ignoring it and geting on with being French:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life imitates art

My novel - Vanishing act - prophesises the arrival of a bill to protect the Maui Dolphin.

Today the New Zealand government announced measures to close down fisheries along the west coast of New Zealand. The cost of the move is likely to be 80 million dollars, not counting the effects on families who depend on fishing for their livlihood.

It is a paradox for the Labour government that their decision has such a profound effect on their key constituents.

I also think that it is paradoxical that we have become conditioned to have an exaggerated concern for species facing extinction when extinction is simply a part of life on Earth. It is inevitable that humans will become extinct - we won't be around to observe it, but there is no doubt on the matter. The human collective ego sees itself as central to everything on the planet, but I am not so sure. Don't know what cockroaches chat about but I reckon they have a better chance than us in surviving - their track record is impressive.

Buy my book Vanishing Act. Very timely.

Find out who shot Willy Ihimati.
Who is Lorna McBride (and why is she called McBride of Frankenstein)
Which MP becomes an eco-warrior?
Will Maui Dolphin Survive?

Concert for a Free Tibet with Monique Rhodes

Monique Rhodes is playing at a benefit for a Free Tibet on the Saturday. Come along. Studio 111 in MacKelvie Street, Ponsonby, Auckland - see directions here.

If you need a little more lead time she is playing on Waiheke Island on the 8th of June at the Beachfront Cafe on Onetangi with Kiwi music legend Shona Laing. Contact me for tickets, $20.

Monique's Web Site

Digital manipulation

What do you notice about this image (from Grand Theft Auto IV)?
The temptress would have six digits on her hand if we add in the thumb.
Found on PhotoShop Disasters.
The odd thing is that the whistle-blower site of bad PhotoShopping includes this - it's an illustration, not a photo. But I am all for whistle-blowing over bad advertising and marketing (you may have noticed), so they're off the hook.

I use Photoshop every day it is a very useful tool. I'm a low end user but know it is powerful enough to issue this warning: don't believe a half of what you see - especially if it has a logo in the bottom right hand corner.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Author of your own destiny

I find it interesting how authors are becoming more responsible for promoting their own work. In a cluttered space - I don't know how many new books are published every year but I guessing that the figure is somewhere between tens of thousands and a lot.

I came across this site which showcases author websites - Books Written By. My favourite is Will Self's site. Check out his writing room. An ordinary space made interesting by the hundreds of Post-It notes. all over the walls. Slightly manic, maybe.

My method is to start writing. I, of course, am not Will Self. But I am my self, maybe we are related?

I gave a proof copy of Vanishing Act to a colleague at work to read. She told me she had read the sex scene the night before. I felt a little embarrassed - I guess one has to suffer for one's art.

Sorry, did some irony drip on you?


Real-time animation - seriously cool

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

When I was teaching at Massey University Design School my students were fascinated by street art and graffiti. It was interesting to read their research proposals on the topic - especially the wild suppositions about the influence of street art on design trends and advertising - not always supported with sound arguments of he presence of reliable data.

But the area is very interesting, if you can shake of middle class disdain for graffiti as a form of vandalism. In the movie above I think Blu elevates it convincingly to art with a capital A.


Thanks to Ollie Langridge for the heads up.

Hoist by your own petard

twitter whale down

I have ben enjoying using Twitter. I wasn't sure what the point of it was before but now I can see how it works more clearly. Obviously I am no alone - it seems the volume of twittering has collapsed the system for now.

Am I having withdrawal symptoms?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The biggest drawing in the world

This is kid of cool. A Swedish artist has made a drawing by sending a GPS tracking device by DHL around the world in a briefcase via very specific coordinates. Brilliant. I can't help but wonder if is a scam by DHL - you know - 'Let's do some viral marketing'?.

Visit his web site

I've cooked up a little art of my own. Over on the Jackson Pollock site you can drizzle away to your heart's content. It's kind of cool, if pointless.
What do you think if it? I call it Pollocks

Not my cup of tea.

Isn't it curious how a cup of tea makes you feel better. Why is that? Is it the warmth?
I rather like this oddball little videoo. It speaks to the British fascination with Tea (It never really took off in America, tea that is. Could be something to do with the Boston Tea Party - when the colonists threw tea overboard as protest over British taxes).

I'e read some interesting books about hot beverages

Pour your heart into it by Starbuck's Howard

The Republic of Tea - Letters to a young zentrepreneur

The Devil's Cup

They're all pretty good.

I just tried to buy a copy of the Republic of Tea book from Amazon but it seems out of print and none of the used options seem to ship to New Zealand. Drat.

Scratch that - found an Amazon fulfilled used copy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Less Magazine

I am working on a new project. Less. A digital magazine that shares information and stories about sustainability. There may be a printed edition but it will be on-demand. One of the things I worry about in traditional printed magazines is that so many of copies of each edition are simply returned to distributors and pulped.

Let me know if you have any stories or ideas you'd like to contribute.

• Issues
• Ideas
• Products
• Politics
• People
• Marketing
• Design

I don't plan on selling any advertising - though I will take ads for free for products and services that will be useful. I'm keen to try the Craig's List model.

I've opened a blog Here and will have a site at shortly - hopefully.

Less is a trademark. Copyright 2008.

I don't think I take enough acid

This is one of the reasons I find it so difficult to appreciate the old narrative form of advertising content. After watching stuff like this I am none the wiser about the product. Just a little disturbed. How many layers of approval does something as abherrant this ad for kinder surprise have to go through without anyone wondering aloud if the emperor is wearing any clothes?

A whack on the side of the head.

Over on the Conversation Agent Blog Valerie Maltoni is discussing A whack on the side of the head by Roger von Oech.

I remember discovering the book in the late 80s. I loved it. In part because of its ideas but also in part because I liked the texture of the heavy newsprint it was printed on - and I liked the drawings. As you can see I am a superficial person (though you will know that if you have read any the 1100 posts on this blog).

behance createThough I sometimes get tired of talking about creativity (I prefer creating to ivity - borrowing from the Behance mantra) it remains a vital issue in business. Let's face it we are always going to need new solutions - not only for old problems but for new ones as well. Everything we create creates new issues.

Valrie has made a list, in her usual intelligent, considered fashion.

I will higrate and paraphrase - visit with her to get the meat and potatoes. You won't regret it.

1. The expectation that you will use creativity at work today has gone from 5% to 35%.

2. Look for the second right answer. Thinking that there is only one right answer precludes you from learning more, and creating something different. ("There is nothing more dangerous than an idea - if it's the only one you have")

5. "Nothing succeeds like mediocrity because everybody understands it so well."

6. Falling in love with ideas begets stagnation. .

7. Randomness may fool us, but it's extremely good for innovation. (break your own habits).

9. You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation [Plato]. That is also true about your self.

11. Ambiguity is part of life. When you learn to thrive in it, you can do wonders.

13. Creativity is a competitive advantage - in any business, at any level, any time.

15. Sacred cows make the best burgers.

19. Turning irritation into inspiration will make you better company. (this I needed to hear - DM).

20. Books are intellectual popcorn with the least amount of calories. (only if you take them literally - DM)

24. Failure is a much better motivator than success. (I tell people I am a successful failure - DM)

25. You are creative.

Repeat after me: you are creative.

I am creative.

But it's…aww never mind.

This commercial for Shreddies comes from Canada eh. It is based on actual focus groups conducted in Toronto.

I found it over on Talent Imimites, Genius Steals. Faris had this to say and, as it is Sunday morning and I want to get on with reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles Volume One I shall quote him more extensively than might be appropriate in The Economist. Thanfully this is not The Economist:…

I've been reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. It illustrates the fact, that we intuitively know but that classical economics refuses to accept, that we aren't rational beings. We make decisions that are seemingly irrational, in the same way over and over again, because of how our brains are hardwired: anchors and priming, emotions and social context all interact to change how we choose.

One of the things he highlights is the power of expectation to alter experience. He describes a replication of the famous Coke/Pepsi taste tests, done with the subjects in an MRI to record how their brain is processing the experience of tasting the drinks.

We all know how it works - in blind taste tests, Pepsi usually wins, but when the brands are revealed, people prefer The Real Thing [TM].

And, according the experiment, it's because that the experience of consuming branded sugar water is different - the Coke brand activates different associations in the memory and emotional parts of the brain, which contribute to the consumption experienc

Which means that, when you drink a Coke, a part of what you are tasting is the brand.

Irritating but true and per my earlier observation about Lacroix sweety.

Seth Godin has much to say about these matters in his book All Marketers Are Liars and on his blog.

I went to the cinema last night to see the Bob Dylan tribute movie I not there. It's worth seeing. Slightly strange in parts (for example when heath Ledger as the Zimmy-esqe character rides off on the motorcycle with his very sexy young wife - why did the film maker image I'd buy the notion that a little Suzuki two stroke sounds like a Triumph vertical twin? And I just didn't understand the Richard Gere surreal segment - pretty sure I saw the Ophelia-esque dead girl in box blink. And Cate Blanchett is very good. She has a beautiful mouth. I couldn't get that thought out of my mind when I was watching her be Bob - which is just wrong.

Best line from the film: It's like you got yesterday, today and tomorrow, all in the same room. There's no telling what can happen.

Some brand names just won't work

This curious little commercial is amusing enough - for a bottled water called Drench (it has its tiny moment of erm…Fame…in there somewhere). Here in New Zealand I can't see that brand name working. Agriculture is such a mainstream part of our culture. One of the longest running and most popular television shows is called Country Calendar and sheep dog trials still get air-time as a sport. Even to city dwellers with the highest level of sophistication; the sort that sip caffe latte's on Auckland's Ponsonby Road and drive Aston Martin DB9s through the twisting street circuits of the Viaduct Harbour know that Drench is what you give to sheep and cows to protect them from intestinal worms.

I can't see it taking off.

Bad TV commercial though. And not in a good way.

I put my pants on one leg at a time

…just like every body else.

Well,…maybe except these guys:

But is it art?

I wonder if it as artful ruse by Levi's jeans to create a 'viral' video. Maybe to promote a return to loose fitting jeans. I'd hate to see the out-takes - ouch.

Kids, don't try this at home.

Via Another Planning Blog

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pecha Kucha 2.

I really enjoy the idea of Pecha Kucha. Last night I went along to my second event. It could not have been much different from the first - held at the funky Samoa House on Auckland's equally funky Karangahape Road. Last night's event had been slotted into the proceedings of the architect's conference being held at the SkyCity convention centre.

The crowd were mainly architects, I guessed - from the way they were dressed, expensively bohemian I guess it would be fair to say. There was no interval in the proceedings, so ten presenters showed 20 slides, with each slide on the screen for 20 seconds. It is an excellent format and it forces the speaker to make their point with some pace.

Of the presenters last night I enjoyed Min Hall, architect's story of her trip through the South Island of New Zealand in an aging camper van. Patrick Reynolds, photographer showed some interesting images and was an amusing fellow. Elvon Young proved, again, that technical, serious information doesn't work in this forum very well. He talked about a project in Fiji, something to do with mangroves and deltas, computer modelling and …I blowed if I know what his point was. I am sure it was some worthy research but the presentation had no focal point and I think i wasn't alone in fidgeting uncomfortably and wishing there was an intermission. (ironically his practice's website is less voluable)…and so on.
It was an entertaining evening - in a geeky sort of way. I was in the taxi for home by 10.15, so an early Friday night for a change.

I am looking for ward to the next Pecha Kucha. It is a nice idea.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clifford Stoll - manic genius.

This TED Talk is a delight. Stoll spends most of his time talking about what he's not going to talk about.

In the process he talks about creativity, if obliquely.

"The first time you do something - it's science. The second time it's engineering and the third time you're a technician…"

TED Web Site.

Via SuperVery

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Batty casting

I'm ever so slightly baffled. There is a trend in television commercials that I feel shouldn't pass without being noted at least. I'm talking about casting male actors in their early or mid twenties. These chaps have a waxy complexion, dark rings around their eyes, look like they were only very recently released from a really nasty prison. They are dressed in op-shop chic (World/Zambesi). It's really kind of creepy. Oh, I forgot to add they are usually unshaved.

The whole thing is just plain weird.

The best example is for Pink Batts. It is full of these blokes. Actually I like the ad - it makes my daughter laugh like a drain - it's a wonderful sound.

I suppose the oddball world view is no worse than the idealized Aryan style we are all too familiar with or the irritatingly PC one-of-every type casting of government messages that come from the New Zealand Government's propaganda ministry.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brevity is the essence of twit

I've been having fun with Twitter but it seems to be playing up. Tried to log in but I'm getting one of those certificate messages suggesting that there is a problem.

There's a character on Twitter (hotdogsladies)that I have stumbled across who is very funny.

Here's a sample:

When our alien overlords arrive, I, for one, will advise the use of web commenting histories to decide who gets made into sandwiches first.

I can't sign up to follow - keep getting the 'oops there was a problem, try reloading'

Flocking terrific

I am trying out a new web browser - Flock. It is oriented around aggregating social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and the like. It manages RSS feeds and does a whole bunch of stuff I haven't figured out yet. Of course it displays web pages too. I believe it is driven by Mozilla engines - the folks behind Firefox and Thunderbird

I like it so far - except for the constant nagging in the yellow bar along the top - with messages about the current pages content.

Download a copy and have a fiddle.

The Get Out Clause - CCTV Video

So, we all know what a film crew costs, right? British band The Get Out Clause made the video for their song Paper by setting up their equipment in front of CCTV cameras around the UK. Data privacy legislation mean that they could request the footage from the police and councils, then edit the material together to the audio.

That's what you get when you have more CCTV cameras per head of population than any other country in the world - though I heard the Russians have installed 65,000 cameras in Moscow to combat the risk of football hooligans running wild during some big European match that is about to take place.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper pointed out it was the biggest invasion since the Germans besieged the city in the second world war. Only Napoleon turned up with a larger force, in 1812, the paper noted. From the Guardian

Big Bro is watching you.

And wondering what the heck you are doing.

Now he knows.

Darn - books with green covers don't sell.

My first novel Vanishing Act has been trickling along. Until now I had put it down to the Long Tail (oh, and the fact that I haven't really been pushing it). But now, thanks to this interesting video - all is revealed. It is because the cover is green.

If there are any designers out there who would like to redesign my book cover - feel free to contact me.

Or buy the book and prove this guy wrong.

vanishing act - a novel by davidmacgregor

Spectacular Spectacular

I am monitoring my blood pressure on the instructions of my doctor. She has given me a little machine that you attach to your wrist. It has a cuff that inflates and a box with a digital reader - it reminds me somewhat of an old fashioned Dick Tracey wrist phone. I have doubts about the unit's accuracy. It not only gives me wild variations of reading but also returns an error message more often that I would expect in the binary world of digital technology. Still, I shall dutifully chart my progress and see if the Accupril tablets work. She spoke to me in stern terms about compliance and the consequences of not controlling my BP. Given that I have no desire to go pop just yet I'll do as I am told…make it a personal challenge even. I doubt I will return to triathlon any time soon but a fitness regime would probably be a good thing.

It was bit of an insight into my world view when the doc asked why I hadn't been taking my BP Pills? I could think of no better answer than "I am male." It didn't get me off the hook. When she struggled to find a word to describe the seriousness of the fact that my blood pressure was off the scale I helpfully proffered 'spectacular'. She laughed but told me she didn't think it was funny. But, as a blogger, I am used to an ambivalent audience. I guess I watched too much M.A.S.H. when I was a kid. Black humour about health comes easily.

In the next couple of days I'm off for some blood tests and will be awaiting my invitation from the public health sector to have a chest x-ray. I will post the result, maybe on a sub-blog, if I don't catch a superbug from the hospital in the process.

Apparently because my address is on Auckland's North Shore I am bound to use the vile, 3rd world death trap here, rather than the shiny new one across the bridge. I may have to move. A medical refugee.

(Avid readers…reader…of this blog will astutely notice that I have used this illustration before. It just seems to sum things up rather well.)

Now, if you will excuse me. I have work to do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Advocacy v. Whatever

I sometimes wonder why the world has become such a dispassionate place?

Boston Legal is a slightly nutty show that sometimes errs into the absurd.

I was watching tonight and enjoyed the impassioned plea to the Supreme Court bench reminded me that it is OK to care.

My suggestion is that you stop shouting at the news on TV and start shouting at your elected representatives.

Stop accepting that your elected representatives know more than you do about how you should raise you kids - especially if they are barren harridans who have never known the daily challenges and triumphs of parenthood. The truth is they don't.

Stop leaving it three years before you exercise your mandate - democracy isn't an occasion.

Touchy Feely

This gives me a sense of deja vu. The shirts in the picture have a braille message on them. Which is kind of cool. They say "Don't touch the art" and are for sale, according to Trendhunter magazine, in museum shops in Europe.

It reminds me of the Christmas gift I made for The Foundation of the Blind when they were my client back in the early 90s. I made shirts for the team (mostly women) with an image of a snowy landscape (I know, not very kiwi), snow fell onto the ground - it was printed with puff ink on black. The falling snow was actually lines of Braille with the translation in small type beneath which was the lyric to a Christmas carol. It was a fun concept and the client really appreciated the thought.

I hadn't considered the downside though. The women weren't so keen on having their chest's read.

Won a gong though - and, at the time, that's what mattered to me.

The life of O'Reilly (part 2)

Things just have a way of spiraling out of your control when they get onto the web, don't they? I posted the unexpurgated version of this clip the other day. Well, the sequel has been remixed and it captures the essence of the situation rather well, don't you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

If I was a rich man…biddybiddybiddybum

“A bachelor is a man who comes to work each morning from a different direction.”

That's a quote that I, as a confirmed bachelor, can relate to. If only in my dreams. Being single - even if I have been married a few times - is an interesting experience. One that I am only beginning to enjoy properly at the grand old age of 45.

There are benefits to couplehood or even, dare I say it, marriage. Apparently you will live longer if you are in an enduring relationship. On balance you will also live longer if you don't throw yourself in front of a train.

I watched a 60 Minutes clip about George Clooney - he's a confirmed bachelor too. But he is rich, talented and handsome. I feel sorry for him.

Why am I telling you that? Well, I am just joining some dots. I am a bachelor, Clooney is a bachelor and the quote above is about bachelors. It came to me by email from the always interesting (and sometimes strange) Monday Morning Memo from the Wizard of Ads. Sign up for it. The quote is from Sholem Aleichem - who wrote Fiddler on the Roof - which I have never seen.

Wouldn't it be great to be George Clooney - which is another dot to join. Apparently Sholem Aleichem was the Eastern European version of Mark Twain. Didn't he write the Prince and the Pauper - where two boys switch lives (the poor kid just happens to the doppelganger of the prince - and no one seems to have noticed in the crumby little principality until… you get the picture - I suppose things were easier before the tabloids put celebrity faces in everyone's face).

As it happens I can't imagine anything worse than being wildly successful with a villa on the edge of lake Como and every woman in the world panting for you…

How's my poker face holding up.

Good luck and good night.

Not the second coming. But close.

I just read on the magazine trade website Folio that Atlantic Monthly Magazine had removed the pay to view restriction from their website. This is good news. The Atlantic has some of the best writing around. One of my all time favourite stories was from their September 1998 edition. It is called Who will own your next good idea. And now you can read it, in its entirity, for free online - as well as material from pretty much every issue.

Interesting audio visual material as well. Such as this interview with influential designer Micheal Beirut.

See. I do care about you. Go to it.

You. Me. Them

I got my copy of Church magazine in today's mail. It is a small format magazine dedicated to cars. Not just any cars…no Priuses here (what is the plural of Prius?). Just flat head V8 32 Ford Roadsters with shiny Edelbrocks and solid wide rims - hold the chrome. It's a fetishists delight. I love it. Not too much too read either. Actually nothing to read. But reading and drooling is hard. I can't multi-task.

Get yours here

Been down so long it looks like up to me*

It's funny. I've started using Twitter. I didn't 'get' it before. But the freewheeling casual style of Twitter has leaked into my Blogging. Yes, I know, I have a casual, freewheeling blogging style… But I have deleted the past couple of posts because I felt they were too twitter-esque.

Unlikely as it might seem, blogging will be reserved for matters with more gravity - like advertising and marketing and language.

Not exactly rocket science. Oh well, one man's gravity…

* Word of the day:

Apogee - The highest point.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The view from on high

Yesterday I bought some wood with which to make a pair of stilts for my eight yer old daughter. I wanted to do something a little different - round poles, a platform to stand on. Height adjustable. The woiks.

Figured I'd need to get some specialist tools. Jig saw, hole cutting tool, drill (for the hole cutting tool)…Tim the Tool Man Taylor…ar ar ar ar. But as I am not a handyman I thought I should just go for some cheap Chinese tools in a big industrial looking box. How can you resit a big plastic box made to look like a big military industrial complex weapon of something or other.

Within seconds of getting it out the box the latch had broken on the heavy duty looking box. The safety cover of the jig saw snapped in half instantly. The batteries barely hold enough charge to complete more than a couple of tasks.

All in all a disappointing effort. You get what you pay for I suppose.

Remind me to avoid cheap Chinese junk again. I'll just borrow tools like everyone else.

Stilt one seems ok. It is a uni-stilt at the moment while I wait for the battery to recharge.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ordinary thieves

MTV illegal music download poster
Over on BrandDNA Stan has posted this poster produced by MTV to discourage illegal downloading of music. Aside from the fact that it is slightly absurd and ineffectual as a message I find it rather kinky. This is no ordinary thief this is one not only downloads music but also pinches his mum's silk stockings and cuts eye holes in them. Maybe the meaning of ordinary criminal is the kind that does do the full-on nose bent to the left menace of a pair of unaltered L'Eggs (none of your sheer La Perla rubbish).

Stan mused on the use of the term ordinary criminal. I suppose the music industry, quite familiar with the kind of criminality that would qualify them as uber criminals - the kind that would make them a worthy nemesis to Spiderman or Bob Parr himself. You must have heard the stories of stolen royalties, payola and gifts of Cadillacs to black artists (which were them repossessed by the rental companies) - if you haven't then read Hit Men. 'Ordinary criminal' smacks of the language of a Dickensian magistrate sentencing a member of the oi polloi to be transported to the colonies as a punishment for failing to comb their hair or pull their socks up or some such offence to polite society that didn't quite warrant paying for a hangman and disposing of the vile remains.

The music industry doesn't seem to understand the fact that kids still love music is their enduring opportunity to exploit in some mutually beneficial way. If anyone knows about exploitation after all…?

Sadly pathetic attempts to shame their customers into submission by implying they are sad fetishistic geeks who like to wear women's underwear on their heads in their sad little bedrooms is going to have about as much effect as pathetic attempts to shame their customers into submission by implying they are sad fetishistic geeks who like to wear women's underwear on their heads in their sad little bedrooms.


I talked about the importance of sound in the car experience before.
Here's the dulcet tone of the new baby Ferrari F149.
Music to my ears.
Everything in Italian just sounds better.

Spazolino da dente for example.

Honda in freefall

This is very cool. A clip from the blog created by Honda's UK agency describing the production of their newest TV commercial. I guess they have taken a leaf out of Sony Bravia's book - make a blockbuster and share every moment of the process right up until the denouement.

As I said the other day - we're in the content business now. Just launching a commerical without build up and engagement is missing the opportunity to invite the brand's owners in.

Thanks to Another Planning Blog for the heads up.

Of course then there's the other side:

Friday, May 16, 2008


Yeah I can see myself as a superstar footballer bending it left right and center. WAGs left right and center. Red cards, platinum cards.

I sometimes think advertising planners are full of talk and the ads end up bollocks anyway (come on - admit it. Most ads are bollocks). But Nike seems to get it right and has done for years.

The other side of celebrity

…me (in my dreams that is).

Peace maaaan

peace dove in bomb cage illustration graphic

Nice graphic. Reminds me of the Penrose annuals I used to pore over in the 1970s when I was at high school. Do they still publish? (answer: No. Last edition 1982).

There is an interesting article about Penrose annuals on the Eye design magazine website.

Love Olay?

How do you think over-dubbing an ad for the New Zealand market that was originally made for the U.S.* market but dubbed with an Aussie V.O. will go down in New Zealand.

I'll tell you: Like a cup of cold sick. (does that sound Kiwi enough?)

*Or somewhere.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Creativity and entropy - separated at birth?

"Through history we se an ironic process that Hegel or Marx would have appreciated; a dialectic whereby the success of a culture develops within itself its own antithesis. The more more well-off we become, the less reason we have to look for change, and hence the more exposed we become to outside forces. The result of creativity is its own negation."

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

There it is. The reason why success carries with it the seeds of its own demise. As soon as you get cosy and begin to think you have the magic formula - you're screwed.
Innovation and creativity is an interative process. Your success will be a beacon for competitors - and that is before things like technology come into play.

The lessons:

a) don't stop - there is no top.
b) be prepared to leave a trail of unfinished business - you can't expect to exploit an idea until it is dessicated (because by then it is, well, …dessicated).

Ideas on Ideas.

Eric Karjaluoto's blog Ideas on Ideas is a new addition to my RSS feeds. He writes interesting material about design, advertising and creativity. I just read a post about his book on creativity in which he bemoans the fact that he has stalled half way through. I know that feeling.

He offers a list of techniques for breaking loose of the creative doldrums - these are the headings. You should visit for the meat and potatoes.

1. Break the pattern
2. Try working backwards
3. Tidy your workspace
4. Take something away
5. Mix-up your tools
6. Look differently
7. Talk it out
8. Prototype
9. Reorder the pieces
10. Start again
11. Throw away the part you love most
12. Go for a walk
13. Introduce something random
14. Make more
15. Make some rules
16. Set a deadline
17. Breathe

It may be unintended by Eric but I think his last item on the list is incredibly important. The Buddhist technique for focusing or being in the moment is to be conscious of your breath. Being present is very important to creativity -and I suppose this also connects to the ideas of Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi - flow…

The Great Escape

I was interviewed by Radio New Zealand yesterday. They wanted a comment from me about whether advertising had gone too far in two press ads for separate advertisers who had used the same image of a knotted sheet that a prisoner in the gothic Mt Eden Prison had used to escape from the highest turret and over the wall. One ad was from a gym. I didn't get it (apparently an oblique reference to being locked into a membership contract - obviously an arcane thing that gym people would understand) and the other for a manchester (linens) retailer who was offering 30% off flanel sheets.

Neither ad was particularly provocative. I couldn't see how either would offend anyone. My response seem to let the interviewer down. My criticism was of the ads for being ever so slightly boring.

To the respective agencies credit they are at least trying to be topical. In a newspaper you are looking for news, after all. So, I applaud their efforts. Not sure they hit the mark in creative excellence terms. Both ads not only appeared in the same edition of the paper but also used the same photo. The owner of the image must be laughing (and a bit of a bounder - not to have alerted the agencies to the fact that the image had been licensed for use by another advertiser.

What was astonishing was that someone in one of New Zealand's grimmest goals was able to acquire and carefully plait sixty feet of sheets made into rope, carry the (inevitably bulky) rope to a turret, heft if over the span to the outside wall then effect their escape into the night. Even if the prison had the been the Bastille before the Revolution I would have admiration for the gumption of the escapee. But add in modern surveillance and it seems all the more unbelievable. The stuff of legend. I don't know the details of the prisoner but in other times there would be songs sung about him. He would have been a handy man to have around in Colditz (Mt Eden's sister keep).

News Story in NZ Herald

Some kind of mistake

Here is a cute idea. A self promotion for a proof reader. The pencil is mostly erasor. Interesting juxtaposition. I wonder if the person who thought it up had the idea as a by-product of another task - then thought: "This is too good to waste…I'll find a proof reader…to adopt it."?

Nothing wrong with that. People with ideas for business look to have them sponsored by venture capitalists. Maybe advertising agencies need to present more speculative ideas to businesses - those who are already clients and those who aren't. That way you get a proprietary advantage. You don't need to engage in competitive pitches because no-one else can implement your idea - unless you license it to them. Has anyone thought of a licensing model for advertising?

Via AdGoodness

Lacking Inspiration for your designs?

Tired? Listless? Send your creativity to Arizona.

Here is a list of Flickr groups that might perk up your design ideas, or just be yet another distraction on the web. Like you need another distraction…?

Have you noticed that being a web worker, or even constantly connectd to the web while you work you display almost all of the symptoms of ADHD?

Link Via Xplane

Monique Rhodes and Shona Laing Live

My friend Monique Rhodes will be performing with the legendary New Zealand singer/songwriter Shona Laing on Waiheke Island.

Beach Front Cafe
1 Fourth St
Onetangi Beach

7 June 2008, 8pm
one night only

tickets from The Beach Front Cafe 372 2565

I'll be there with bells on. So look out for the the guy with bells…erm…on (ahh the English language…)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Putting on the Ritz

Bill Peake forwarded these on to me for my opinion. The Ritz Carlton have made some minifilms set in their Hotels

Last Night

The Delay

Nice enough. I suppose advertising is moving more and more to be the content business.
The originator of this approach was, of course, Fallon's BMW work.

I had a feeling of 'Yeah Right" to quote the laconic kiwi campaign for Tui Beer campaign. I kind of liked most of it, right up until the cheesy denouement in both.

Still, execution aside. It is a good strategy.

Understanding Branding

In the show Absolutely Fabulous Edwina gets earings from daughter, Safron (Saffy) as a birthday gift.

"Are they Lacroix sweety?"
"Do you like them?"
"I do if they are Lacroix."


It's all in the narrative.

Thought of the Day - Metalepsis

Metalepsis (from Greek Μετάληψις) is a figure of speech in which one thing is referenced by something else which is only remotely associated with it. Often the association works through a different figure of speech, or through a chain of cause and effect. Often metalepsis refers to the combination of several figures of speech into an new one. Those base figures of speech can be literary references, resulting in a sophisticated form of allusion. (from the , bless 'em)

I came across the idea of metalepsis in a book called Branded Nation - The marketing of Megachurch, College Inc. and Museum World. Brands depend on metalepsis - the assignment of elaborate stories that imply the brand represents something other than what it actually is. For example Steinlager beer represents New Zealandness (patently ridiculous - Steinlager is a niche beer).

"For the nature of metalepsis is that it is an intermediate step, as it were, to that which is metaphorically expressed, signifying nothing in itself, but affording a passage to something. It is a trope that we give the impression of being acquainted with rather than one that we actually ever need." Quintilian

Route 66 - Frame by frame

Michel and Olivier Gondry directed this clip for the band Lacquer.

A guy drives across the US from Los Angeles to New York.

They shot it on 16mm film, one frame every second during the day, one frame every 10 seconds at night.

A seven day journey becomes a four minute video.

Reminds me of Vanishing Point (in which the car crashed at the end is a 1967 Chevy Camaro, not a 1970 Dodge Challenger). Or was it Zabriski Point?

No points for getting that this post has no point.

Vid via Simian Audio

Think Digital

Act Analog.

- Guy Kawasaki.

I like.

Visit Guy Kawasaki's blog - How to change the world. You won't regret it (even if you only read the introduction to a speech he made in Houston:

My name is Jenny Lawson and I write for The Bloggess and Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle. I was pretty shocked when they asked me to introduce Guy because most people know that I’m unable to talk for more than fifteen seconds without cursing inappropriately so it’ll be a pleasant surprise for all involved if I can manage not say the c word or start talking about "vaginas" up here.

Guy Kawasaki first came on my radar several months ago when our pseudo-editor, Dwight Silverman of the Chronicle, emailed to tell us that our parenting blog had been picked up by Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop site and that this was “very significant.” And actually it was very significant, both because the recognition was nice and also because it marked one of the first emails I got from Dwight that didn’t tell me to stop using the F word or posting inappropriate dildo videos on the Chronicle. So, being a typical southern gentlewoman, I decided to email Guy and thank him, which I did. It was an email which may have included a few curse words and ended with me telling Guy I had no idea who he was and asking if he was the guy who invented the motorcycle.

Unsurprisingly, Dwight was not pleased. But surprisingly, Guy actually wrote me back and thus began months of email correspondence between us. Granted, it was somewhat one-sided, with me sending long, rambling emails about lap dances and my paraplegic cat and Guy sending back short one-liners such as his most recent email to me which stated simply “Very funny dick story. Your bizarre business proposal needs work.” Which? He’s right on one part.

So I decided I should find out who this guy actually is and why when I tell people that he’s emailing me half of them stare at me blankly and the other half totally freak out and pee themselves in excitement. I decided to look on Wikipedia because that shit is always accurate and here’s what I found out:

Guy Kawasaki did not invent the motorcycle. He did, however, invent the Internet. Or maybe something to help the internet. I’m really not sure because I got bored and stopped reading. Then when he was thirty he killed a drifter and totally got away with it. I’m not entirely certain that’s true but it makes for an interesting story. And really? (*long stare at Guy*) Prove you didn’t kill a drifter. You can’t. I rest my case.

But none of that really matters (except to the drifter’s parents who were probably pretty broken up about the whole affair). What does matter though is that Guy Kawasaki kicks ass. That Guy Kawasaki is totally famous. That Guy Kawasaki is a genius who looks a little like Jackie Chan and could probably take you out with a roundhouse kick if he wanted to. And, most importantly, that Guy Kawasaki is here with us tonight.

So without further ado, I give you…Guy Kawasaki.

Ok, ok, that''s the whole intro, but it is genius - yes? I love it when people have their own voice and aren't afraid to use it.

actually there are many, many other reasons to visit Guy's blog. He is plugged into what is going on out there in the real world - well, Silicon Valley anyway.

Go. Now.

Love Letters

If I were to open a typographic studio (does such a thing exist?) I would call it 'Love Letters'. The best businesses have puns for names. Puns have had a bad run from people who prefer the blank verse of post-modernism.

On the subject of type, I came across this fascinating little slide show on the Penguin blog - to which I now subscribe in my RSS reader (I use a thing called sage, a Firefox plug-in, which is excellent - a revelation, even). The blog is an excellent example of corporate blogging in that it allows its authors to have a voice. Which makes perfect sense, Penguin is not just in the business of editing text, binding it it and distributing - it is in the business of spread the joy of communicating in words. Anyway. I like it.

The slide show discusses five books that have quirky typographic twists to augment the tale. Bear in mind, though, that the use of type in the five examples is not decorative but integrated into the narrative structure.

Dish Magazine - Best cover 2008 Qantas media awardsFootnote: Why have ligatures become such a popular (cliche) motif in design? The New Zealand food magazine Dish should get special mention for its irritating use of ligatures. (Pic shows the winner of Best Cover from the 2008 Qantas Media Awards…oh dear).

FYI: A ligature is a special character that combines two (or sometimes three) letters into a single character. Type designers create ligatures because they look better than setting the same character combinations individually, and also to solve the problem of characters that “crash” into each other when set in adjacent positions. Learning when and how to use ligatures, and when not to, is an important typographic skill.(My italics. Source

More on ligatures here - Will (while you are there sign up for his schmooze letter. I used to receive it but I prefer blogs and RSS now)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And…we're …rolling

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

It's not just politicians who have to remember the cameras are on. Apparently it applies to media as well.

Somehow I can't imagine Judy Bailey losing the plot quite so 'volcanicly' (to quote New York magazine's Daily Intel blog)
. Fox presenter Bill O'Reilly definitely loses it.

I hope there are plenty of keep 'em honest videos in the run up to New Zealand's general election later this year. There is plenty of unwitting comedic fodder in the kiwi parliament. Keep those cellphones handy.


The Barnum Effect*

Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake

Following my previous post I was fascinated by the idea of Librarian stereotypes. Just the other day I had a conversation with a friend about stereotyping. She was eager to tell me about myself based on my astrological sun sign. I wasn't very interested, I have to confess, because astrology is bullshit and, if she really wanted to know about me she would find out for herself. It reminded me of Richard Dawkins parody of astrology (replace 12 nationalities with sun signs and their stereotypical personalities and listen to how absurd it becomes - watch the video below - Enemies of Reason).

But I digress.

In my search for steretyopes of Librarians I came across a brilliant blog called The Wit of the Staircase. (From the French phrase 'esprit d'escalier,' literally, it means 'the wit of the staircase', and usually refers to the perfect witty response you think up after the conversation or argument is ended. "Esprit d'escalier," she replied. "Esprit d'escalier. The answer you cannot make, the pattern you cannot complete till aterwards it suddenly comes to you when it is too late.")I delved into it and have to say it was the funniest, best written and interesting blog I had seen for a long time. I returned to the bio of the author and was shocked to realise that she was dead. Someone was maintaining the typepad account as a memorial to Theresa Duncan. When I read that her partner had also died soon after the penny dropped - I had read about the pair in Vanity Fair some time ago - The Golden Suicides. A little weird.

Also on the blog was the lyric to a song read at Ms Duncan's funeral. I have been collecting funereal music on another blog (Good Grief), so was interested in hearing this one.

Walk Between the Raindrops

A shadow crossed the blue Miami sky
As we hit the causeway by the big hotel
We fought
Now I can't remember why
After all the words were said and tears were gone
We vowed we'd never say goodbye

When we kissed we could hear the sound of thunder
As we watched the regulars rush the big hotels
We kissed again as the showers swept the Florida shore
You opened your umbrella
But we walked between the raindrops back to your door

In my dreams I can hear the sound of thunder
I can see the causeway by the big hotels
That happy day we'll find each other on that Florida shore
You'll open your umbrella
And we'll walk between the raindrops back to your door...

--Steely Dan

I checked out the clip on YouTube
The song is a clever, laid back jazz rock syncopation (it reminded me of Michael Franks), but the thing that struck me in these synchronous little connections was the South Beach imagery that accompanies the lyric. My friend who boasted a keener knowledge of me that my own via had lived in South Beach for several years (and I have visited there - on the return voyage from the Bahamas following a shoot).

All very interesting - but I attribute no superstitious significance to any of the above whatsoever.

By the way - I've had my 'chart' done and, I am told my rising sign - scorpio - is a stronger than my sun sign.

I'm off to find a goat so that I can do some entrail reading.

*The Forer effect (also called personal validation fallacy or the Barnum effect after P. T. Barnum's observation that 'we've got something for everyone') is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. The Forer effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some pseudosciences such as astrology and fortune telling, as well as many types of personality tests.

Recycled Ideas

Library at Alexandria - Ptolemy
Sometimes following a random link can lead you down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland. Usually the place you arrive is less than wonderful. But sometimes there are interesting surprises - the kind you find when you leave the main roads and tourist traps when you travel.

This morning I saw a keyword search link in my stats for Pangea Day - which I spoke about here late last week. The link took me to Google (where the bulk of my referrals arrive from). Next to mine was a further link to The M word - Marketing Libraries and interesting blog authored by a small group of Librarians from the U.S. The blogroll alongside the posts was fascinating. I spent some time peering into the world of Librarians. I realise that will raise many a stereotype but I have come to realise that librarians are about as bio-diverse as any other sampling of the population.

I was reminded of conversations with my friend Kay Forrester who is the head of marketing for the large Auckland Public Library and its satellites around the wider city. We discussed what purpose libraries serve in the community. I think it would be fair to say that stored and lending books is only the tip of the iceberg.

Books are one of things I love. It might even be a fetish - it has hardly slowed since I got access to the Internet. It may even have gotten worse with access to the long tail.

I am increasingly conscious of the sustainability of printed media though. To buy a book, read it and shelve it seems a waste. I am delighted when I can share a book with another person after I am done with. Doing so halves its carbon footprint (in effect) an doubles its value. The more people who read the book the greater its value - not only for the information it contains but also for the conversations it can begin. The power of books can't be underestimated - the dark ages ended with the advent of movable type and the rise of vulgar language (i.e. not in Latin). Charles Darwin's book set the cat amongst the pigeons, as did Animal Farm, The Female Eunoch and The Cluetrain Manifesto. Books, however are, when all is send and done, a way of packaging ideas for distribution. Like magazines and newspapers they are physically toxic and I will be sorry to see them go. But go they inevitably will.

Amazon's Kindle ReaderNew ways of distributing ideas will replace them. Amazon's Kindle Reader, your computer monitor, podcasts, ebooks…you know the litany, they are with us now and will continue to gather momentum.

In the interim I suggest you use your library. Soak up the ideas, then recycle the packaging by returning the book to the shelf for the next person. Review the books you read on your blog to direct your network to the title - discuss.

It may be a stop gap measure for books in bound, physical form. In the not so distant future libraries may, indeed, become the place where you go to gawp at a copy of a physical book.

"What's that Mummy."
"It's a Robert Ludlum paperback edition."
"Is it worth a lot."
"Millions son."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Prince - the man who silenced the Internet

Here's a challenge. Find a version of Nothing Compares to You on You Tube (or anywhere) that has sound. The one artist who, seemingly has been so badly scarred by his treatment by the record business that he feels the need to control everything.

Sadly he hasn't released anything halfway decent since he resolved his issue with the cmpany that owned his name - formerly Prince - then a symbol and now, apparently Prince.

Artists need to get their heads around the web. You make your money performing. If you are an antiquity like Prince or The Rolling Stones (are they still alive?) - the vids remind us of who you were.

Don't suppress them. It's called engagement…marketing even.

Pop goes the weasel

I like Uma Thurman. Not because she is astonishingly beautiful and seems very smart but because she reminds me of Zoë, my daugther. Smart and beautiful.

The word is that Uma is suing Lancome, the cosmetics giant, for 15 million US dollars. Thurman was engaged by the firm to be the face of the brand. When her contract expired Lancome allegedly continued to use her image in Asian and Canadian markets.


Negotiating contracts is one of the areas that either save money, make money or cost money for agencies. It makes me think of the producers I work with. Our business probably hire more talent than any other in New Zealand, certainly offering more regular work than non-speaking featured extra work than most talent might get - if they are lucky.

Negotiating with talent is like buying a house. The time you profit is when you make the deal.

There are a few points I would make:

1. Be clear.

If you intend to use the commercial on the Internet - even if you are going to upload it to YouTube - make sure your contract covers that form of use.

2. Be honest.

Don't be tricky. If you think screwing talent to fit into a budget or for short term gain is good idea, think again - you are going to make trouble for you and your client.

3. If you re-use material in the future…

Expect a bill.

Lancome have countered-sued Thurman claiming it was unintended.
Puh-lease. Give me a break. How much attention did they pay to the details of the contract? A lot I am guessing.

I worked on the launch of Pepsi in New Zealand at the height of the Cola Wars in the 1980s - we had a sensational battery of celebrity TVC's: Micheal Jackson and Cindy Crawford et al. We couldn't use the commercials because the cost of the roll-overs could never be carried in our tiny market.

I was rooting for Ms Crawford.

But you can't always get what you want. Unless you put it in the contract to begin with.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


addict-o-matic search aggregator

A cool resource for you to try. Aggregates search topics from a number of sources.

Thanks to Brand DNA (again) for the heads-up.

Idealog flies at Qantas awards.

I forgot to tell you that Idealog won the Qantas Media Award for feature website of the year. Art columnist Hamish Coney also picked up an award for his columns. A nice accolade for the had work the team at the magazine put in. A nice addition to the MPA award for Business magazine of the year.

Aren't blogs a wonderful place to get corny headlines out of your system? Actually the Qantas awards even had a category for best corny headline - though it wasn't called that.

cannes lion advertising awardI couldn't understand the logic of the awards. Some received dinky little scolls with a cheap peice of metalic ribbon. Others got truly ugly silver salvers. It was a mess. At least the advertising industry has always understood the importance of trophies that look like tributes to a Roman general who has just taken half of Europe. Ok, hperbole, but you get the point. Even a simple pencil from D&AD, One Show or AWARD has heft. Is there a designer out there who canhelp these people out. How about the world's first gong with a light inside (media should illuminate).

All is revealed - FN wonderful!

I wrote a few posts back about my disappointment that the latest version of the MacBook Pro doesn't have an F11 key that shoves all open documents to the side to reveal my descktop in all is shambolic,chaotic glory. Stan Lee, author of the always interesting Brand DNA blog has left me a comment in which all is revealed. Hold down the 'fn' key on the bottom left of the keyboard and press F11 at the same time. It is a curious quirk but I am just happy to reconnect with my old habits. Thank you Stan.

I had never even noticed the fn key and, in all truth I have no idea what its true purpose is - I can relate to that. I suppose it is like one's appendix. It seems to have no raison d'etre until it becomes infected and has to be removed. I must see if there are any books about the appendix. Perhaps a book of lists about great people stopped in their tracks by untreated appendicitis - would that be the footnote of their biographies?

Stranger topics have been covered - I once read a book about the colour mauve. The book was cleverly titled Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour That Changed the World and it was much more interesting than I would have imagined.

On the subject of biographies. I am thinking that I might tackle an autobiography. It will be unauthorised, of course. A project to leave behind for my children. I'm not sure whether to call it The Last Ice Cream Boy or Here Goes Nothing…. They say you should write about what you know. I may have to do extensive research on the topic as I sometimes feel I barely know myselves.

I once read Peter Cook's memoir - Sadly I was an only twin. In truth I only read parts of it but I was rather taken by the title. A good title is like a good headline in advertising - back in the day when headlines and copy were admired and visual puns or post modern stylings were more rare than they are today.

I enjoyed reading Clive Jame's recollections and Barry Humphries, likewise. Both are the stories of Australian wits abroad (one of whom became famous as a broad). I have read the beginning of Robert Hughes self-told tale in which he recounts a terrible road smash that left him badly injured and would like to read more. I enjoyed his art reports in Time magazine and his droll narration of The Shock of the New (which is a brilliant title).

As an aside; while I sometimes wonder about the value of blogging (an ugly title) I have found my memory has improved considerably since I began. Whereas in the the past thoughts would flit through my mind in the same impulsive way that hunger might affect a tree frog I now have a record - of some thoughts at least (because I only reveal what I choose to reveal). I now have a record of some of the things that amused or concerned me contemporaneously. I can also recall more clearly how I might have felt at the time. By comparison I can barely remember some of the things I experienced in, say, the 1980's, working in advertising. Possibly less because I am absent minded than because I was absent - not really present.

I wonder if any autobiographical work isn't by definition a fiction. Perhaps that is how I frame my own thoughts. A simple fiction about events as interpreted by my psyche - both real and imagined.

Once upon a time…

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Gong Show

Off to the Qantas Media Awards tonight at the Hyatt in Auckland.
I was entered as a columnist by my colleagues at Idealog but the word is I haven't won. Hamish Coney, our erudite arts columnist may get the nod though. It will be nice to socialise with the team. I don't see them much these days and HB Media is growing like topsy with another title in the wings. Ah, I remember when it was just the two lads, Martin and Vincent tucked away in a borrowed office at AUT…I guess one of the problems with being a publisher is that you can never really tell your own story - even if it would fit into the context of a title like Idealog quite happily.

Pangea Day - May 10

I was watching the trailer for Pangea Day - May 10 (Sunday here in Auckland) - and noticed a brief shot of a crown assembling in a park. Hang on a minute…that's my home town - Auckland New Zealand. On the left is the old hospital and next to it the SkyTower needle. Aww shucks.

pangea day trailer - auckland domain

It is a little late but I have decided to host a Pangea event. If you are in Auckland on Sunday morning and would like to join in send me an email and I will send you the details. I am not sure my event will show up on the Pangea Day website in time. There is also an event being held at the Academy theatre in Auckland City - details on the Pangea site.

Pangea Day

The Pangea Day Mission & Purpose

Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film.

Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.
The Pangea Day Event

Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes. Details on the Pangea Day films can be viewed here.

The program will also include a number of exceptional speakers and musical performers. Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova are among those taking part.
What Will Happen After Pangea Day

People inspired by Pangea Day will have the opportunity to participate in community-building activities around the world. Through the live program, the Pangea Day web site, and self-organized local events, everyday people will be connected with extraordinary activists and organizations.

Many of the films and performances seen on Pangea Day will be made available on the Web and via mobile phone, alongside open forums for discussion and ideas for how to take social action.

A Pangea Day documentary will be created to catalyze future activities, and dozens of talented filmmakers will make strides in their careers.

In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED Prize, an annual award granted at the TED Conference. She was granted $100,000, and more important, a wish to change the world. Her wish was to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of that wish.