The rants of a constantly ticking mind, combined with a mess of reviews and obscure titling methods.

Monday, March 21, 2005

'Peaches! Peaches!' Not here, try another castle.

I'm taking a break from packing up to return to my internet-challenged home back in good ol' North Somerset, and so I thought I'd better leave a parting gift before my return here in about 3 weeks.

Wow, how my days have been compressed since last week. Things seem to be running at an ultra-fast pace, and so it comes as no suprise I have enough things to fill a whole post. Let's start proceedings with the trivial.

The Crazy Frog and the newly introduced 'censored' square. I feel reasonably to blame for this. For anyone in the UK, the Crazy Frog was the bane of our televisual existence. For anyone outside the UK, there's probably much head scratching about what the hell I'm talking about. So, I'll explain. The 'Crazy Frog' is an animation called The Annoying Thing created by a 'crazy german' called Erik Wernquist, with 'sound' by Daniel Malmedahl. (You can see it at if you feel the need to go through this torture). Now, with a name like 'That Annoying Thing' it would be ringing alarm bells in most advertising companies for the category 'DO NOT USE'. But no, it was bought by the mobile ringtone market to create a 'wacky' ringtone. Then, a company named Jamster! decided "Hey, wouldn't it be a good idea to make mobile ringtone 'stars' by filling every crevice of ad-break with our advertisments?". At the time, however, only one ringtone existed that could be used to flood the market - the animation now rebranded as 'Crazy Frog'. What this meant to the poor British consumer is that you hear this same ringtone about 4 times in each 2-and-a-half-minute advert break between programming, twice as much during 'primetime' and nearly-24/7 on most music channels. To be honest, I think if this was only a couple of days, that would have been fine, or maybe even 3 days. But to have this going on permanently between December and February is plain rediculous. Now, as far as I am aware, there were multitudes of complaints to the broadcasting companies and regulators about the excessive usage of this, but no-one seemed to want to listen.

It looked like there would be no hope for the mental state of the UK. Then, back in January (the 20th, in fact) I had what they call 'a cunning plan'. For I had noted something which the 'Crazy Frog' could be pulled up for. The 'frog', in case you hadn't noticed, has a penis. Not a very big penis, mind you, but a penis all the same. More importantly, I felt it breached the 'Mull O' Kintyre' test (a Channel 4 test guideline for preventing erect penises on film, where a penis is not permitted if it's more erect than the Mull Of Kintyre). And so, a quick trip to the Advertising Standards Agency website and bang! One complaint about how a slighty erect penis should not be permitted before the watershed, and how it should be only shown at night (aka: when this advertising would not be commercially profitable). However, I felt that a solitary complaint was probably not enough to sway opinion, and so I hired the good ol' help of and it's members. They too have an issue with the repeatedness of the advert, and soon, a few people too drew offence to the Crazy Frog's genitalia. And of course, the TermiSoc people were dragged into the fray.

Fast forward to the 3rd of February. I recieve an e-mail with a link to Reuters news. We hit the headlines! Admittedly, it was a loss, the complaint was not upheld, and so it went away. I recieved a nice letter from the ASA on the 4th (my birthday, in fact) stating that there 'were insufficient grounds to uphold [my] complaint'. Oh well, not really a suprise to be honest, but hopefully enough of a statement to make Jamster think twice about their advertising strategy.

Now, skip forward to last week. Sitting in the student union on Thursday (St. Patrick's day), MTV Hits on the big screen, as usual. Now, something made me look up at the annoying crazy frog advert, only to spot something awry. Wait.... THERE'S A BLACK BOX ON THAT FROG! Strike a light if I haven't caused a little black square to censor the little guy's nads! Now, luckily I had company in the form of my house-mate Chris (who already knew about the escapades), and so he called for a congratulatory toast.

So, my apologies to Jamster (neé Jamba! neé Lorena Medianagentur GmbH) and Zed, to Erik, to everybody I annoyed and affected, and to all the people that are now frustrated by the Crazy Frog now having a censor. But boy, do I grin every time I think of it! Plus, I wonder how much Erik got for allowing this to occur, when Jamster have made approx. £18 million from that single animation.

Wow. That's the first time I've ever emptied a drink into my keyboard. Luckily, it was just Diet Coke so it won't get too sticky and manky.

Anyway, speaking of St. Patrick's Day, the reason why we were in the Student's Union was because me and Chris had planned to meet Lana and Kat (the two girls the TermiSoc met at the Constantine preview) to celebrate the Irishness of it all. Sadly, Kat wasn't drinking, and so Lana was drinking for the both of them, and then for a third who couldn't make it due to work constraints. To be perfectly honest, she did a damn fine job of not losing her head (though she later confessed to not remembering about 5-15 minutes of that night). The night took us from the Student's Union (where the cards came out and the games began, until we were pushed out by the increasing volume of the place). Later, I got my first experience of The Nowhere Inn.

The Nowhere Inn is a Fullers-owned pub hidden between Radnor and Pilgrim Halls. From the outside, it looks like a matchbox with some very furboding frosted windows. It looks like the kind of place you'd find a pentagram on in 'American Warewolf in London'. Step inside, and you are treated to the friendliest and cosiest pub in Plymouth. The sign outside doesn't lie, either; it does indeed have the best, and strangest, jukebox in nearbyness. I'm pretty certain it belted out David Bowie, followed by Pixies, followed by They Might Be Giants. Apparently, someone visiting from the US said that it's the kind of place that deserves to be anywhere else, and that Plymouth didn't deserve this, the best pub he'd ever been in. So please, if you ever get the oppertunity, go to this pub. It's certainly one of the greatest pubs in the country bar none. If you're heading this way and need directions, just e-mail me.

Anyway, on from there to the Schiving Scholar, a student pub where you really do stick to the carpet. It's definitely a comedown from the Nowhere Inn. Eventually, Lana got a claustrophobic feeling and had to go outside. Somehow, all three of us ended up lying on the grass outside Gilwell Hall and staring up at the trees as they spun round us in a hazy, alcohol-filled bubble. It was chilled, like the feeling you get after an especially-good gig. Lana said it felt like being a teenager, a feeling she claims she never found the opportunity to act out properly. I know what she means. It's like all those days you are supposed to have as a 15-year old, playing out on the sea-front, consuming vast quantities of cider, and chilling out. Except, of course, I never got that opportunity at that age, being a 16-year old stuck in a tiny village outside Yorkshire. All that changed when I moved, of course, when I actually found friendship with a group of people in sixth-form, and was able to live some experiences I'd only heard other people talk about (the greatest of these being the week away in Cornwall with 5 other people during the hot summer of 2002. Bodyboarding and beaching every day, having plenty of laughs at night, and having the kind of time many dream of. Sheer bliss. I wish I could do it again someday, but I feel the chance for another oppertunity is getting further and further away as I get older). I can't remember what we talked about, and frankly it doesn't matter, but it ranks highly on fun things that have occured randomly. Anyway, soon after that, we headed back to the pub, basically said our goodnights, and that was it. Oh, apart from she almost lost her bag, but it was only a case of being left on the grass. And of course, Chris 'losing' his wallet, going on for about 15 minutes about how his life was so sh*t, and how nothing goes right, only to find it in his pocket about half an hour later in a pocket he hadn't checked. Dumbass :P

Friday, finished off all the filming and voice-overs for my personal story film project. Again, I was astounded by the quality of the actress Harley had found for the part. Juliette actually is Harley's equivilent of Chris in the way she was 'just' living in the same house as him. She is, however, a professional stage-actress, unlike Chris who did GCSE Drama and left it at that. To be honest, she was the equivilent of a Managing Director for a company applying for a post of teaboy. Her talent was probably wasted on such a minute part, although I suppose she could be seen as a 'supporting actress'! Still, she did the lines so well, in exactly the style I told her to do them. It was astounding. Anyway, hopefully I'll get time to cut the film before I get back. That's a point, I don't know her surname! That's going to be a problem. Note to self: must ring Harley tomorrow and get her name. Oh, and ring landlord about getting heating fixed over holidays; not that it's very important now the days are getting warmer, but because it's a pain when it gets cold.

Saturday, decided that since it was sunny, we should take full opportunity to go down the Hoe. The Hoe, in case you are wondering, is the sea-front in Plymouth. It features the stripy Drake's Lighthouse, the landmark of Plymouth. Also, it's the best place to go to get ice-cream :D We (that is me, Chris, Lana and random girl I never caught the name of, and have forgotten at present) found a café that looked out onto the sea (called The Terrace) which was reasonably pleasant, if stupidly pricey. I'm sorry, but £1 for a can of Tango?

Anyway, we took a wander, including attempted 'moonwalking' on a beachy bit below the café, and eventually ended up in The Admiral McBride Pub, which is off the Marina. Supposedly one of the oldest pubs in Plymouth, it offers a quiet drink where others offer annoying loud drinks. A pint of John Smiths and 2 packets of peanuts later, we decided it would be cheaper to buy some beer and head off to a suitable location. That beer was Caffrey's, the location was Lana's house; because it was closer; and the food was majoritally chocolate-flavoured. We played games, viewed bizarre viral internet stuff, and finished off by watching The Sixth Sense, which I fell asleep half way through in.

Sunday, I awoke and was pleasantly suprised to find I didn't have a crick in my neck, despite sleeping on the sofa. After having some lunch, and watching back-to-back episodes of 'Police Squad!' (classic!), me and Chris headed home, arriving at exactly the same time we left the previous day. Started packing, and now I'm here, semi-packed (waiting for clothes to dry), and perfectly looking forward to going home, seeing my parents, seeing my Chrissey (who I've been missing a ginormous amount over the past weeks, especially after I started feeling ill last week), seeing Hazel; despite the fact she'll probably be unimpressed to see me; see all my friends back home, and chill out whilst doing work. *sigh*

Oh, and reclaiming a shed-load of money. *double sigh*

Never mind, I suppose it has to be done. Anyway, must go check on washing, pack, etc. So if you don't hear from me for a while, have a good Easter, have a nice rest from work, and I'll catch you on the other side. Bye!


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