Monday, October 30, 2006
Phil was a coursemate of ours in 1st and 2nd year. He's 40 years old, gay, and worked at well known off-licence chain Threshers for 12 odd years before starting the degree. I assume he's graduated now, as he didn't do a placement due to being old and that.
Favourite Phil memory has got to be in 2nd year when we were all giving five minute presentations on chosen sub-groups of society for the Consumers & Society module. Naturally Phil chose the gay community. Then in his presentation went on to explain in really quite unecessary detail what him and some of his pals get up to on cold winter nights. Latex suits, anyone? Some light sadism perhaps? Leathermen? Rigging? Spreader Bars?
Those are what I can recall being explained to us, a group of 25 students and one middle aged female lecturer at ten o'clock that morning. Yum.
Anyway, I spotted Phil when I was at Piccadilly Train Station on my way home for the weekend. More specifically, I spotted him exiting the Piccadilly NHS Walk-in Centre.
Shouldn't really have been surprised. I neglected to say hi to him though, for some reason.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Mark Muldoon. You are a terrible dirty-student cheapskate. Next time, buy real Weetabix instead of trying to fool people with your 'Wheat Bisks.' I bet you also buy Puffin bars instead of Penguin because they are 2p cheaper. Amidst the delerium of saving tuppence, did it never occur to you to ask what a 'bisk' actually is?
Sad as it presumably sounds, most own brand purchases I make are based on having tried the real things, then tried their lewd shop branded equivalents, and deciding that there's no flipping difference to tell between the two of them. In that particular case, Wheat Bisks are half the price of Weatabix. £1.29 instead of £2.50 or something. Which is mental. They are probably both made by the same company anyway. That's a wee little retail titbit for you. It often happens, the same company will produce both the supermarket own brand and their own super expensive branded version.
By the way, a free pack of Oatabix is now available if anybody wants it. It's still disgusting, but if anybody wants to give it a go let me know and it's yours.
Paul, 14, from Galway, writes:
what a nob you are
despite being a convenience store, it is primarily a petrol station, im sure you'd find that, if you wanted petrol it would have it. they dont need lots of food cos 5 minutes around the corner there is a tesco metro.
Charming. Thanks for highlighting a useful point though: there's another Tesco just five minutes walk from that one. Indeed, on my day-to-day walking around of Manchester, I pass no less than five Tesco small format stores.
For clarifications sake, they are: Tesco Upper Brook Street, Whitworth Park, Fallowfield, Piccadilly and Market Street. They are everywhere, and growing more and more each day. And my conscience can't really take it anymore. I'm thinking "how can I stop shopping at Tesco?"
It can be bloody difficult: part of the appeal is the easy familiarity nipping into Tesco brings. A plus, now they are everywhere, I can only think of one other food outlet, a Spar, that's on my walk back home from uni.
Still, I want to try. Before Tesco have a little store inside everybody's house, or something.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I don't get the point in going to watch scary films. It's like eating bloody hot curries. Why do it? You enjoy going through pain, big man? Is it some sort of bloke test you have to pass to prove your alpha-male credentials? Why not go the whole hog and run down the centre of Oxford Road, gun held to head, trousers round ankles, dodging cars and shouting "help the chickens are coming! Beware killer poultry!"
Somebody clue me in on this please.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
And breakfast wise? Oh I love breakfast, me:
Tom on acoustic guitar! Poetry readings! Liam Gallagher baiting!
Keane certainly seem to want to shake things up on this tour. Plus, a newly appropriate line in self deprecating humour means Tom Chaplin's between song banter is no longer solely a steady stream of insencere sounding audience compliments.
By their nature still unable to whip the crowd up to frenzied status, it's a valient effort nonetheless. 7/10
Sunday, October 22, 2006
This is quite interesting. Radio 1 have always done quite excellent 30 minute documentaries as part of it's evening output. They still are, but now they're podcasting them as well. This week's is about aliens and that, which is pretty mental. If that doesn't float your boat, there's also about 40 previous documentaries spread across this page and in this archive.
That Live 8 debate again
So that post about the whole Live 8 thing a few days ago stirred up a fair bit of interest. First of all was the response from that Biffo chap himself. Which was rubbish.
Muldoon: Ok. Interesting read. I have to say that you've totally missed my point, however.
The point I'm making is not that Live 8 was a crap way to run a charitable campaign (though it was certainly a wasted opportunity to make a lot of money for good causes in ADDITION to the main Make Poverty History cause).
What I'm saying is that Live 8 was a misguided ego trip which got in the way of far bigger issues.
Also, saying "Countries are neither corporations or charities, they are democracies" is, frankly, ludicrous.
I didn't miss his point at all. Why split the focus of the event, thus taking it away from the simple need to get people behind the cause? By charging people ticket prices, it also would've stopped a lot of people having that initial interest in taking part in the whole event. Which then would mean they were less likely to pay attention to the actual cause.
Much better than that, and much better than anything I could ever write, was the response that came in from an old friend Tom Bangay.
firstly, bono getting bush to write off $5bn of 3rd world debt achieved more than both live aids did, and it's still a drop in the ocean. not that i'm defending bono, he's a cunt. i'm guessing that this blogger's ire at geldof stemmed from the fact that he was nominated for the nobel peace prize, which is so horrendously offensive i don't even know what to say. the banker who won it probably has less porsches, sunglasses, emission-orgifying tours etc than 2 rock stars, for a start.
"I can think of one issue that could, subjectively, be seen as a bigger issue here, obviously Climate Change. Now I believe that's something to worry about as well, but what is it about us that we only care about a death if it's in our own back garden?"
The deaths that come from climate change won't occur here. well, they will, but only on the scale of the 40,000 or so deaths in southern europe from the heatwaves in 2003, for example. the countries that will be hit the hardest, and first, by climate change will be third world countries, who won't have the money to build flood defences (i.e. bangladesh where in 40 years, 20% of the habitable land will be underwater, displacing tens of millions of people and causing massive death due to sanitation, destruction of agriculture etc), won't have the resources to sustain agriculture (kenya), etc. that's the main reason behind US indifference to climate change; they can afford to protect themselves, they can literally buy themselves some time. climate change, like it or not, IS bigger deal than african poverty because it will compound it hugely and have a global effect. and there is NOTHING we can do about it (to a certain, initial, extent), even if we stop emissions tomorrow temperature is going to rise about 6 degrees, which is about the same magnitude of temperature shift that caused the last ice age, so you can appreciate the gravity of the situation.
now i'm not slagging off live 8 per se, it's commendable to do SOMETHING. but as far as changing attitudes goes; what's changed? have we become this altruistic caring society where people give all their surplus income to stop famine? have we bollocks. people turned up, enjoyed the great live acts and went back to dodging charity workers with clipboard in the streets. have you got a standing order to oxfam mark? when you talk about 'the movement', you don't actually think that the global audience of millions are now card-carrying poverty activists who go collecting door to door? the people who care enough to be activists were activists before bob geldof said 'hey let's get keane and dizzee rascal to cover do they know it's christmas'.
"A Government in a democracy will do the will of its population to stay in power. This is why the theory behind Live 8 worked so well: it was about getting everybody to stand up, and tell their own leaders that this is what they want to see happen."
gaaaaah. taking the US as an example, sure they loved the live aid concerts, but did it make one iota of difference to the Bush administration's attitude toward foreign aid? US military spending in 2006 totals 441.6 BILLION dollars. if the US gave 10 percent of that to write off 3rd world debt it would be a start, the reality doesn't come anywhere near to that. ours is much lower at a trifling $66bn, and our travails in Africa are woefully inadequate too. assuming (and i'm conceding a lot here) that the nation now apparently cares more about dying africans than it does about x factor and ipod nanos, how exactly is that democratic will being put into practice?
regardless of all that live 8 did generate what £5m? if every act who played donated 10% of their cash from their record deals instead we'd have had a lot more money with a lot smaller carbon footprint. i'm not saying there's anything wrong with a concert to raise awareness; but to think that in REAL terms it actually made a shred of difference is hopelessly naive.
He puts up a farely convincing argument doesn't he? That's why I like Tom. Well, that and he let me have sex with him once. Still, I see some things I can argue here. I don't see what people's beef is with Bono. Unless it's his music of course. For starters 20% of the money U2 make between them goes straight to charity, So there's one rock star act doing exactly what you suggest. Oh, and ego? The band have been doing it for years, and the fact that they give this money was brought into the public's domain against their will.
Whilst I agree that there's been no huge massive global attitude change, on one day one hell of a lot of people stood up and told their Governments that they want this thing to happen. Is the public fickle? Sure. Did they return to voting in Strictly Come Dancing instead? Sure. But that's why the idea of a short, sharp event to put the issue on the agenda was logical. That's how the zeitgeist works.
So some good was done in working for the fortunes of Africa. Not enough, sure. But I see Live 8 as something done by people who wanted to do the good thing, and that they did it in the best way they could go about it. And then people call them c**ts.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Done? Good, then I'll start at the start. Live 8 only made $5 million profit for charity, you say? Well what's your point, guy? Around the time, dear old Geldof was saying that any profit made off the text lines would then go to charity, not all our lucrative profits will go to them. From the start we knew that our texts were primarily to fund a show and a movement we believed in. And if you didn't believe in it? Then don't text Clive.
Also, as we were told countless times on the day itself, "we don't want your money, we want you". Live 8 was never about money, it was about getting the political opinion of as big a percentage of the population to change, and support something, as possible.
I admire Geldof, and I'll tell you why. He sees something that desperately needs help, and he's willing to go to lengths nobody else would bother with to see it happen. Some of the things he had the downright cheek to do in setting up the original Live Aid were brilliant: eg. Announcing the full list of participating acts to the media when half of them had only tentatively expressed interest. Richard Curtis had a go at him, he replies "well they'll bloody have to play now, won't they?" Brilliant. Brilliant because: the ends justified the means.
I think you should feel free to question his methods, but it takes a particularly soulless person to question his motives.
"there are far bigger issues facing the planet, and our species". Excuse me? I object to (a) the use of plural, and (b) the use of the the word 'far' in that sentence. I can think of one issue that could, subjectively, be seen as a bigger issue here, obviously Climate Change. Now I believe that's something to worry about as well, but what is it about us that we only care about a death if it's in our own back garden?
What has Live 8 achieved? Apart from you know, increasing aid to third world countries, reducing the debts they pay, and breaking down some of the trade barriers that they face? Okay, how about changing the psyche of the populations of the world's richest countries. For one short spell in July last year, everybody gave a damn about someone in a different continent to them. The possibility that some people are too selfish/short attention-spanned to still care is a fault that can hardly be dumped at Geldof, Bono et all's door is it?
A free concert (correction: nine free concerts) staring all the major names of the time is the perfect way to run the campaign. And selling the tickets at the profit maximising point wouldn't have exactly been in the spirit of the day, would it? That would've garnered a whole raft of other criticisms. Plus, it would've got less people involved in the movement. Plus, as I said earlier, it wasn't about the money was it?
Give a man a fish, and he'll feed himself for a day. Teach him to fish, provide aid so he can get himself a rod, drop trade barriers so he can sell some of the slippery buggers, and give him hope that people actually give a damn about his plight, and he'll be in a lurid, fishy heaven feeding and earning money for his family for years.
This is where my friend Biffo really shoots wide of the mark: saying that it's "such an obvious, and simplistic view of the world to think you're going to improve it by putting a bit of pressure on world leaders to cut debt. It isn't going to happen. And hasn't happened, in fact. Countries are corporations - not charities. And corporations don't do anything unless there's a way for them to make more money." No no no no NO. Countries are neither corporations or charities, they are democracies. A Government in a democracy will do the will of its population to stay in power. This is why the theory behind Live 8 worked so well: it was about getting everybody to stand up, and tell their own leaders that this is what they want to see happen.
You can't just throw money at the problem, it needed a change in policy, and that could only come from those leaders, seeing that that is what people wanted.
To be a rock-star (or I suppose, any celebrity), you've probably got to have a massive ego. But if they are going to use their energy to do good things in the world, then good for them. Because what have you done? Gotten up off your arse to try and change the opinion of 2 billion odd people? Or sat down and tried to pick holes in it? You call it self-obsessed fame hunger, I call it trying to be that person that made the difference that changed everything. And God bless the person that does.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Aka that guy off The OC. I've been told I look like him twice, most recently of which was from a girl on Saturday night in our local pub. The first time it happened I ran it past my OC-obsessive friend Kerri, who proceeded to practically laugh in my face. Which ensured I didn't get carried away with the suggestion.
Aka that guy from The Royle Family. This is the one i've had most often. Never watched more than 5 minutes of that show though.
Maybe this one was made when I was high on heroin or something. Mental.
Aka the occasional unfunny Channel 4 presenter. I hear he's also a bit of a geek though, which would make sense.
Yes, wee Frodo Baggins himself. Have had this one several times, though not as much since I lost my stupid long hair.
Aka lead singer of Razorlight. This is definatly the most baffling one, though it's only been made once, by a guy on the bus back from seeing Faithless at Dublin Marley Park. I don't know if I was more baffled or smug, as i've always quite admired the guy.
Screech from Saved By The Bell
Yeah, thanks. This one is always appreciated.
OATABIX IS DISGUSTING
We did online supermarket shopping yesterday, from Asda.com. Thought I'd take the opportunity to try some new things, which included that new cereal not-made-from-wheat-made-from-oats-instead-abix. Suffice to say: its disgusting. Steer well clear. I was expecting it to taste like Hob-Nobs or something, so you can imagine my disappointment.
Worse than that though, was the multi-pack of 8 nutri-grain bars I bought. The pack was already open, there was only six bars left in it, and the discarded wrapper to the seventh. Eugh.
There's some weird people working at the Stockport Asda store.
GIG REVIEW: EMBRACE, MANCHESTER APOLLO
Embrace's rousing back catalogue should make for a joyful gig experience. It's a shame therefore, that after 6 months Danny McNamera is still suffering from voice problems.
It's been worse, but he also hides it better now - his mic is kept tellingly quiet throughout - and fellow bandmates sing every line with him.
He's the only weak link in a band otherwise performing and their peak. 7/10
Friday, October 13, 2006
Apparently it's called being 7-balled, and it's what happened to me last night.
Let me know, because if I find out they were lying then I'm going to be a very upset man...
Thursday, October 12, 2006
So as is typical for ones' final year of University, I have to do a big research project thing, which put simply, is a dissertation by another name. This week then I had to submit my one page plan for what I planned to do for it. If you're interested have a read, if you're not I don't blame you, I'm fairly embarrassed by what a geeky endeavour it's going to be.
Final Project Draft Proposal – Brand Perceptions of Nintendo in the UK
On December 8th 2006, videogame hardware and software manufacture Nintendo launches a new home videogame console – the Wii – in Europe. In a marketplace of two manufacturers (Microsoft's Xbox division and Nintendo) playing catch up to one dominant brand (Sony's Playstation), Nintendo in particular faces a brand perception issue. Videogames are usually (but increasingly less so) aimed at males aged 15 – 24, whereas Nintendo's consumers are typically younger than 16. Following a largely unsuccessful attempt with its last home console (The GameCube) to increase its penetration of the male 15 -24 age group, the company now intends to market the Wii at non-traditional age groups, i.e. the family, females and casual game players, mainly using a similarly non-traditional control method based around motion-sensing technology.
Nintendo is (in the West) perceived as a children's brand. Around the launch period (typically up until a year after launch) of Wii, how best can Nintendo communicate its new vision to its target audience?
This project will aim to find out how best Nintendo can market its new product to a challenging new set of potential customers. It will do this using, amongst other techniques; Surveys of both current and potential videogame consumers, focus groups that will investigate consumer perceptions before exposure to the project, having learnt about the product, and after using the product, interviews with anybody who can provide in-depth ideas/insight, and observations of buying habits. It will then make recommendations and a potential marketing campaign for the product.
Monday, October 09, 2006
You see, in the last 18 months the group has inevitably lost a few members. What's odd though, is that it's the girls who have disappeared off to other parts of the country (and the world, come to think of it), whilst it's all the guys that have stayed in Manchester.
Take nights out as an example. A night out used to be great here, everybody out having a good time, drinking, chatting and dancing amongst ourselves. This year however, it's different. The focus of each night is solely on meeting, and chatting up, women.
Not something Mark's used to. Or indeed very good at.
Take Thursday night for example. Mark was chatting to the girl he quite fancies. I won't go into the details of the conversation, suffice to say that it concluded with me calling her a man. Oh yes.
She then proceeded to pour her drink over me, then get security to throw me out the club, remove my trousers, and get passers by to throw flour and eggs at me whilst filming the whole thing for a Greek television special on the inept social skills of Manchester students that look a bit like Screech from Saved By The Bell.
Not really. The evening gave me the impression though that it's probably something I need to work on.
So I'm trying to look at this year as an opportunity. I randomly saw a picture of Tim Henman yesterday, and figured that he's really good at Tennis, probably due in some part to the fact that he plays every day.
I imagine there's plenty more room for accidentally insulting pretty girls before I improve. Perhaps I'll inadvertently call one a prostitute, or accuse her of being a Al-qaeda terrorist or something.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Sometimes it feels like I'm the only white male in the country to hold opinions like this, but hey here goes:
I see today’s big news story is about Jack Straw’s anti-veil comments. If any veiled-up Muslim ladies attend his constituency surgeries he asks them if they would mind removing said headwear. Apparently it’s seen as threatening.
Why does it threaten you so?
And: So what?
I'm sure Muslim women feel threatened by lairy drunken men in
This is a cultural aspect of a community that’s now being rallied against, and seems as preposterous as that occasional issue about not being allowed to display Christmas trees as they’re deemed offensive. When a news story about that comes around, people are up in arms. The Sun throws it across its front page in disgust.
Oh I would love to go into a newspaper rant at this point. That’s for another blog though. Plus I’m too busy chasing those nasty Muslims down the street, pitchfork in hand, hoping they’ll go back to
Thursday, October 05, 2006
There were some interesting characters at the blood donation session on Tuesday.
There was the student nurse who was determined to go through with her first ever donation, despite being petrified of even the thought of it.
And then the girl who gives blood regularly – every 4 months – despite the fact that it means she has to take iron tablets every day to replace what the blood donations take out.
How nice some people are. Or crazy. I'll let you make your own mind up. And if you've never given thought to giving blood before, mull over the idea here.
I Don't Wish To Scream
Was somehow at another Scream Bar – The Footage – Tuesday night. It was two deep at the bar, and it took 30 minutes to get served. It's just part of the reason why I hate the places.
Me And My Shadow
In said bar though, the boys pointed out that a guy standing none to far from us looked damn near identical to me. I was sceptical, but still willing to have this photo taken in the name of comparison.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Welllll on Jo Whiley's Radio 1 show they do a feature called the Seven Song Shuffle. Call in, listen to a montage of seven songs, name as many as you can, win a CD for each one you guess correctly.
Sounds simple enough I thought. So yesterday morning lying in bed I figured I'd call in for said feature. Did so, and got through to speak to a friendly sounding girl called Pippa who works on the show. She took my details and said they'd possibly give me a call to be on the show tomorrow morning (i.e. today).
What I didn't expect is that she'd call back today before 10am, while I was stuck in an International Retailing lecture unable to answer my mobile.
So yeah, I was going to be on Jo Whiley's show today. Maybe they'll call me back tomorrow as well, I dunno. Wouldn't count on it.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Thought I'd post a random blog with how things are generally going now I've been back in Manchester nearly a fortnight.
First week was amazing. Really hit the ground running. With not much else to do was out drinking every night for 8 nights straight.
Things have settled down now though. People are starting to decline the thought of a night out in favour of working or seeing their other halves. All very well and good, of course, but when like me you've not got much of either of these two things on your plate at present it leaves you at a loss at night, listening to The Smiths or writing aimless blog posts or something.
Conclusion: I need more of the aforementioned two things in my life.
It's not all doom and gloom though. In fact, barely anything is doom and gloom right now really. Indeed, if doom and gloom were a fruit, it'd be a ripe squidgy half eaten melon, sitting atop our kitchen counter. And I'd be thrusting a baseball bat in it's mushy face, beating it to the point of liquidation whilst jumping about, trousers 'round ankles, chanting Pro-BNP slogans.
Yeah I reckon things are okay and that. For one, there's the luscious thought of our impending broadband connection, which goes live tomorrow. Wireless, 24mb broadband no less.
And there's deciding what the focus of my final year project (project meaning 'dissertation', pretty much) is going to be. At the moment it's looking like it will probably be about, no shit, Nintendo's UK brand perception. Sad I know. More about that later on this week I imagine.
Was weird seeing coursemates again, having not seen most of them for 18 odd months. There's that petty underlying sense of competition there when much of them talk to you. All very well and good if you had a fulfilling and vital placement experience, not so good if you're one of the 13 people between yours and your sister course - Marketing Management - who failed to get a placement at all. You can see the wretched, wry smile crack out all over their stupid pink faces.
Need to check what time I'm in Uni tomorrow. Out at Queen of Hearts tonight (it's part of the Scream chain of pubs) and if I'm not in early tomorrow then I'm pretty keen to make a night of it.
Coming soon to the blog: Why I hate Scream bars.
Buying The Killers album tomorrow. Mm hmm. And Thom Yorke's album perhaps. Exciting times.
And that's how things have been going now I've been back in Manchester nearly a fortnight.