Generation X-Box vs The Baby Boomers – Why This Is The Worst Time To Be Forty-Something But How It Might Work Out OK In The End
When you’re in your Forties, you should have a younger generation to look down on and an older generation to look up to. Youngsters who think they know it all despite not actually having done anything yet and stoic oldies who fought in some war or other so you didn’t have to. As I hurtle headlong to towards the age of 44, this is not the situation I find myself in. Read More…
National Poetry Month is coming to a close this week, and I’ve been talking about “poetic license” in songs. It’s the last Monday to highlight some bad grammar.
I grew up being taught never to say “You and me.” It should always be “You and I.”
Hmm … a friend and I had a discussion on this last week, and we all know the English language is full of exceptions.
Take, for example, the incorrect use of “I” in Paula Cole’s song “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” Her song begins with:
So open up your morning light // And say a little prayer for I …
Really? That is just bad.
Or how about Bryan Adams’ “Run To You”?
She says her love for me could never die // But that’d change if she ever found out about you and I …
Again … incorrect. It should be you and me.
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Not everyone has the time, money or inclination to go abroad on holiday; or even out of town. If you fall into this category and have a couple of weeks vacation on your hands, you need a project to keep you busy, because there’s only so much gaming and masturbation a man can do in one day. So why not rescue a pretty girl from Gothdom? Read More…
Things That Make Me Go Errrmmm…? Part One – The One Thing In The World That I Really Really DO NOT GET
That is a Fred Basset cartoon. And it is the one thing in the world that I don’t get in any way shape or form whatsoever. I can just about fumble my way through most things. Quantum Physics. Relativity. What Makes Women Tick. Ok, maybe not What Makes Women Tick, but definitely Quantum Physics and Relativity. But Fred Basset cartoons, absolutely no idea. Read More…
The Andrex puppies have been gently tugging our heartstrings in the direction of that particular brand of toilet tissue for decades. Control the nation’s heartstrings and you control its purse strings was the guiding principle. The message was simple. Puppies are soft and fluffy. Our product is soft and fluffy. Buy our product.
The puppies were also funny, but that was just an unavoidable side effect, because puppies are hilarious when they’re not crapping all over your new carpet. There’s nothing intrinsically humorous about toilet roll but soft and fluffy was the thrust of the campaign and it worked, so Andrex got to kill a lot more forests in the name of keeping British backsides clean.
The appeal of actual real life puppies is timeless and unquestionable. If you want to engender trust, a puppy will do it every time, as any predatory paedophile will tell you. Logically speaking, puppies should be amongst the least threatening things any human being could think of. Right up there with rainbows and marshmallows. But there was something a little disturbing about the computer animated versions in this Andrex campaign.
On first viewing the advert, I put my initial discomfort down to a paradigm shift. Chalked it up to plain old fashioned novelty. Like when you first see the new Doctor Who and you just don’t like him, no matter how good a time lord he turns out to be. He’s not the Doctor you’re used to and his very appearance gets your hackles up. But then you watch a few episodes and get used to him and pretty soon you have forgotten any other Doctor existed. Apart from when you accidentally catch re runs of the previous series, then it’s the old Doctor who feels weird.
I can understand Andrex wanting to distance themselves from the oblique kiddy fiddling reference, but there’s just something wrong about the whole set up. It’s like when you get invited to someone’s house and everything’s a bit too nice. The smiles have that exaggerated width born of quiet desperation. The laughter’s too enthusiastic and you just know that when darkness falls the man of the house beats his wife locks his children in the cupboard under the stairs.
I just can’t help thinking of Tony Blair’s campaign before he got into office in 1997. I had lived under the Tories since I was ten years old. Like so many people my age or a little older, every cell in my body was crying out for change. But still I couldn’t bring myself to actually vote. It all seemed a bit too good to be true, which as it turned out was in fact the case. There was that poster that got banned. You know the one. That
“New Labour, New Danger” poster. Just a grinning Tony Blair on a black background and it looks like a strip has been torn off the poster across his eyes, revealing a pair of red malevolent eyeballs underneath. It made the future PM look like some sort of immaculately coiffed demon.
Every time the Andrex advert played, I expected there to be the sound of ripping and that strip to tear off across the width of the screen. I expected to be fixed by the crimson satanic gaze of the puppies and for them to leap out of the screen and turn my throat into something resembling a couple of pounds of badly wrapped mince. But this is all very subjective and probably just me. I think stuff like this all the time. Some people think I should see a doctor and others think I should get an agent. Or a life. The jury is still out.
Two things which are not subjective are how big the puppies are and what they’re doing. In the old adverts, the little doggies weren’t much bigger than the toilet roll itself. Their clumsiness was cute and endearing. In the new version, the boy doggie can easily reach the toilet roll holder, which makes him a much heftier proposition. A bit of over excited enthusiasm from him and he could cave your chest in like it was made out of dry Swedish crispbread.
Of course, they may have just built smaller houses but that brings me to my next point. And that point isn’t that they are living in houses. Puppies do live in houses of course, but they’re not usually the main signatory of the tenancy agreement.
If walked into a house and saw two dogs – of whatever size- and they were both standing on their hind legs and one was wearing a pink ribbon in what might loosely be called its hair and the other one was wearing a watch, I would make a fairly obvious assumption. I would assume that I had somehow become trapped in the Internet. Probably You Tube. To be fair to Andrex, the prospect of having become imprisoned in the World Wide Web would certainly make me need to use an awful lot of their product very quickly. Sadly though, I wouldn’t be able to order any. Being trapped in my computer and therefore unable to reach the mouse. And even if I could, then Sainsbury’s -excellent as their online shopping service is- would not be able to deliver it anywhere near on time.
But it isn’t just one pair of dogs. The taxi driver is a dog. The minibus full of dogs going to school. The pubs and restaurants are all named after dogs. Where are the human beings? It’s like sort of Planet of the apes style dystopian future. But with Labradors and Pugs instead of chimpanzees and gorillas. But this is not the point I was trying to make. They’ve anthropomorphized them, ‘course they have. People think it’s cute. Personally I think it couldn’t be less cute if it was jointly created by H R Giger and Clive Barker on a shared trip with heads full of bathtub LSD. But then again, in many ways I’m not what you might call People.
My internal world may be odd and my standards low, but the animated Andrex puppies are clearly cohabiting. He’s waiting for her to come back from the airport. He’s just closing his laptop on the last bit of porn he’s going to see in a while. Though what he can look up on a keyboard with only twelve keys is anybody’s guess. She’s got him a Frisbee, which is the puppy equivalent of a new iPod. He’s got her some flowers, which is the puppy equivalent of some flowers. So it seems to me that Andrex were trying to sell us toilet roll based on the fear of a dystopian future stripped of humanity and the spectre of underage puppy sex.
Call me old fashioned, but that’s not right. When someone nudges me in the ribs and whispers conspiratorially “Check out those puppies”, whether it be metaphorically or in reality, I want him to be talking about women’s breasts, not actual puppies. Where do you stop with this kind of image? Bears use your product as they do the proverbial in the woods? Your company is run by some sort of spooky mutant man baby? Oh, my missus has just read that bit and tells me those were actually on the telly, I didn’t dream them. That’s right, I have a missus. And she’s not imaginary like the last one. So I’m going to take her advice. “If you feel that strongly about it, then do something” she says.
So I’m going to stop watching it. Then launch a campaign to get my writing banned.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014
Soylent Mondegreen – Why Madonna Knows More About Potatoes Than She’s Letting On And How Even I Don’t Know What The Hell I’m Saying Sometimes
I wrote this a number of years ago when I was feeling very very paranoid and unwell. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any idea what it might mean. Because I haven’t got the foggiest idea. I’m feeling a lot better now if that’s any consolation…. Read More…
The Four YorkshireMen Of The Apocalypse – Why Armageddon Won’t Be Good Enough For The Average Man From Leeds
The chances are that if you are not a snob, then you are probably an inverted snob. If you are not obsessed with broadcasting your good taste and refinement, then you probably bang on about how rough you had it when you were growing up. Read More…
Mrs Harvey The Rabbit – How My English Teacher Taught Me To Be Tolerant By Being Very Politically Incorrect
In my first year at Secondary School- the English equivalent of Junior High back in 1980- I had an English teacher called Mrs Harvey. She taught me about racism. Read More…