Donald Thump

This has tickled me since I saw it earlier this week. It's so layered, I think that's why it gets me everytime I think about it.

  • The fact that Trump's words have not been changed at all is incredible. This guy is like a bad guy Mayor in a DC/Marvel comic. Arrogantly picking on people, thinking all he has to do is pick on them to ruin their chances!
  • Serafinowicz's idea to dub it as cockney, is inspired. Further pushes this gangster type approach, and also rids Trump of his cultural class prominence in the US. Having him suddenly have a working class cockney voice somehow takes him into a British class system, levelling the playing field somewhat. Where in the US wealth is the more defining of class.
  • Serafinowicz's execution is just perfect. Timed brilliantly and some beautifully expressed parts. Especially the part at 0.40 "Wwwwweeeeeee 'aven't even focused on 'ilary or Bernie Sanders yet!" and the end "Nah...'e's too easy...too easy". 
  • And just imagining Serafinowicz sitting in a booth doing it. Tears of laughter

I'm Deranged - David Bowie

Funny how secrets travel
I'd start to believe
if I were to bleed

Like many this morning, reaching for my iPhone to check everything, I noticed something in my RSS feed say David Bowie has died. Frown. That’s wrong, I say to myself. New album. Tonnes of stuff to still do. Check Twitter. It’s all lit up. His son has even confirmed it. Fuck. How can that be?
So sad, and seemingly sudden - I didn’t know he wasn’t well. It seemed many others didn’t know either. What a way to go though. On his terms. No fawning from the public whilst he was ill. No papped pics of him looking ill or thin. He went out with a new album, great accompanying videos and a play in New York. A man always in control of his art.

I have to admit to not being more than a surface fan of Bowie, I’ve not delved into his work as I have with others. I have a fond memory of discovering a stack of vinyls in my mother’s record collection when I was a teen. I couldn’t believe my mum was so cool to have all this Bowie. Damn. Why wasn’t she listening to it then?!

I can’t pretend to know his work inside out, nor do I want to jump on bandwagons and add to the endless sharing of the same tracks that will no doubt be played in the following weeks. One track I’ve played consistently through the years though is I’m Deranged, which opened the David Lynch film Lost Highway.

I remember sitting down to watch Lost Highway at a local film club at a cinema in my home town. The cinema is right next to the beach in Broadstairs. Every Tuesday they would screen art house films, or 'films that are usually shown in densely populated areas'. I loved it. I was right in the middle of my 'home schooled film education' and doing anything I could to see good cinema. Two films especially stick in my mind from that time, one was Nil By Mouth and the other was Lost Highway.

Lost Highway starts with a mysterious and dynamic POV shot of a road thrashing underneath an endlessly accelerating vehicle burning through the night.

The headlights shine on the road, providing the only light in the frame, turning the black road to light grey and revealing the wild yellow lines rapidly coming towards us. Like a bare electric cable whipping around. It’s a shot full of frantic, wild energy. The music is dark and bassy and amping up the energy even further. We then hear David Bowie’s voice, a haunting and almost calming juxtaposition to everything else.

So many questions hit you as a viewer.
Who are we?
Where are we going?
Why haven’t we crashed (yet)?

It’s a perfect way to start that film. Many leave that film with those questions unanswered.

This title sequence had such an impact on me though, and Bowie’s haunting voice is hard wired to it. It’s so evocative, saying seemingly much more than the lyrics that his voice wraps around.

Like all great art and artists, they become timeless, living forever. I’ll always listen to this track, and I’m already listening to Bowie more now (who isn’t?). There so much to explore.

Long may he keep haunting us.

If you aren't different, you have no identity

Striking timing on Twitter this evening as I read a great quote from Dave Trott (see below) and then some glorious, almost to the pixel, copies of Apple's hardware & software seen at CES this week.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Modern Trailer

After finally watching The Force Awakens, I can safely look at anything mentioning the words 'Star Wars' again. I thought this modern trailer for The Empire Strikes Back was something really fun to see and just plain cool. What really strikes me about these trailers is the fantastic use of Han and Leia’s love theme from The Empire Strikes Back. It's so evocative, and the juxtaposition and power of being so reverential to the original films is very powerful. It almost brings a tear to my eye when you the see the Falcon on that cue around 57 seconds.

Here's the same treatment to Return of The Jedi

(Via The Verge)

Update 16/01/16 - Adding A New Hope. Shines a new perspective on the film, so well done.

HTC's Misguided Marketing

HTC need to stop copying and/or poorly executing their recent products and marketing. 

In October HTC released the HTC One A9. They managed to outdo Samsung in completely copying the design of Apple's iPhone 6. Recent performance seems to show they are probably banking the future of the company on this new phone, which makes you wonder why they chose to ape Apple's industrial design so closely. Perhaps some misguided hope of netting some sales from confused customers?

Anyway, I'm not sure how the phone is performing, but the marketing can hardly be helping.

First up, they come out with this thing. A film which states 'Be Different' triumphantly, almost as a rally cry to anyone who might be a sheep in wanting a highly superior device. It then proceeds to poorly copy and execute an interpretation of Ridley Scott's infamous 1984 Apple ad. At this moment they are behaving like a Bizarro Apple.

Then this ad comes out. It's doing the thing unimaginative brands and agencies do, which is to rely on the updated features in the product to market it to consumers. So we get a roll call of the same amazing thing that smartphones have been doing for years. Show us the benefits! To make it even harder to grasp, they set it in a studio with a model who struggles to express the needed emotions when required.

Years ago Microsoft created a brilliant internal film which poked fun at themselves if they designed the iPod’s packaging. Here in three minutes we have a perfect example of the difference in marketing with emotion and the human benefit versus the colder roll call of features so common especially in tech advertising.

It’s got to be hard for an agency to create compelling advertising when it seems clear that even though HTC created a carbon copy iPhone, they want to distance it so much from Apple in its marketing (and almost diss them). 

It is advertising in a vacuum, it isn’t aware of its surroundings, the real world. So it all feels so inauthentic. It’s the elephant in the room, and no one wants to say it. But audiences will see it and they definitely won't buy it.