You're spoiling us, Ambassador!

12:04 am : Wednesday, 29 November 2017  |  , , ,

Christmas is upon us whether we like it or not, and with that comes all of the adverts on TV. All the major companies bringing us their epic-length ads about monsters under the bed etc. The only one I really care about is the Ferrero Rocher advert that features that wonderful song by Jasmine Ash - entitled Starlight. Seriously, if there was such a thing as a song covered in polka dots, it would be this one. This is fluffy and colourful and dotty beyond measure!

Jasmine Ash - Starlight

Adverts can throw up some wonderful tunes that we may never have heard of. This one from the Pets At Home ad - You Make Me Happy by Sophie Madeliene - is another bundle of happiness.

Sophie Madeliene - You Make Me Happy

Ukulele's are clearly a popular choice when choosing a song for an ad. As with the last one, this uke-based cover of Little Things Mean A Lot by Little Shoes Big Voice was given some welcome airtime by Axa Insurance.

Little Shoes Big Voice - Little Things Mean A Lot

It's not uncommon for advertisers to seek out unheard-of songs by unheard-of artists. Magnet Kitchens did just that by using a song written by 14-year-old Australian schoolgirl Lucinda Nicholls. Her song Inside And Out was used to great effect, even if they were showing us kitchen layouts that would NEVER fit into ANY common small kitchen in the UK! I guess they meant well.

Lucinda Nicholls - Inside And Out

And to finish off, an oddity. When Airmiles decided to rebrand themselves in 2011 as the somewhat Spanish-sounding Avios, they needed something to accompany their Anything Can Fly advert that featured a flying washing machine. I cannot help but wonder what those guys had been smoking when they came up with that one! Iranian artist Leila provided the soundtrack with her ethereal Underwaters.

Leila - Underwaters

For further reading, see my post of Friday 19 August 2015, entitled Pump Up The Reggae. That was the first instance of the Listening Post, and it has only taken me over two years to write the follow up!

I still see the X

7:09 pm : Tuesday, 28 November 2017  |  , , , ,

Last week it was the 30th anniversary of the Max Headroom Incident. TV viewers in Chicago will know full well about this, as will many in the USA, and of course the net nerd fraternity.

On 22 November 1987, three pranksters (we shall assume there were three) managed to override the microwave feeds of two Chicago TV stations - WGN and WTTW. TV stations would use these microwave feeds between their studios and their transmitters. What we saw in both instances was some goofball (some might say autisitc goofball) in a rubber Max Headroom mask, jerking about in front of a rotating sheet of corrugated metal. The WGN intrusion did not feature sound, but the WTTW intrusion did, treating Doctor Who viewers to a most surreal experience.

Colorado based video maker Ben Minnotte launched his Oddity Archive channel with this very topic in July 2012. This offered us a helping hand in understanding this legendary ocurrence:

Oddity Archive Episode 1 - The Max Headroom Incident of 1987

Later in October 2012 he gave us a commentary on that episode, in which he imparted more information on the elusive signal hackers:

Oddity Archive Episode 8.5 - The Max Headroom Incident of 1987 (Commentary)

Last week, Ben marked the 30th anniversary of the incident by uploading another insightful video into further possibilities:

Oddity Archive Episode 137 – The Max Headroom Incident Revisited (30 Years On)

I cannot recommend his site and channel enough. For us UK viewers, he has even dealt with the Vrillon signal intrusion of 1977 which affected TV viewers in Surrey and Hampshire, and ruined an episode of Tom and Jerry! For those of you who can stand dark humour, the Protect And Survive episode is also a must. It is a might more pleasant than watching Threads.

The chattering classes

9:37 am : Sunday, 19 November 2017  |  , ,

Three days ago I was finally furnished with a set of dentures, following a two month delay. For some reason my birthdays and their gifts always seem to be heavily delayed. Good job I am patient in that department.

This is the first time in my life I have had properly straight teeth, as every previous attempt had failed for some reason. Call it sabotage if you will. When my "adult" teeth came through, they did so in that beloved one-behind-the-other fashion. Nothing made the kid so miserable as not having straight ones.

At the age of 13 I was equipped with a plate brace to start things off. This then progressed to the utterly fashionable railway track brace. Progress was all well and good. However at 16, the orthodontist decided that my teeth were a little too soft to continue yanking and cranking, so the brace came off with the job only being half done.

The orthodontist was not wrong. At 17 my teeth started to break one by one. I had my own personal domino rally in my mouth. Still young, yet with gaps in my mouth. Crowns were fitted, which eventually fell out. It became a losing battle trying to maintain what was left, and to top it all, those that remained began to move back to their old positions again. It was literally a curse. For Heaven's sake, I even broke a tooth while eating pasta. Apart from soup, I cannot think of any food softer than pasta!

Come the late 90s I just gave up. NHS dentistry became about as scarce as rocking horse droppings, and the only way forward was private dentistry with prices that only amount to blackmail. Pay through the nose or suffer - your choice. I abandoned all hope of saving them. Why fight a losing battle?

This summer I somehow managed to find a dentist that was willing to do some work on the NHS. Talk about a lucky find. The result is a partial/almost full denture that fills those gaps on the top row and actually looks presentable. My task now is learning to say: "Sophisticated sister sings for the soldiers of the soccer team", and of course learning to eat. Only at this late age of 45 does my mouth look acceptable to the shallow b*stards out there.

I am only grateful that my partner of seven years decided she could love me even though I had a mouth like sh*t. I don't call her a jewel for nothing. She had the sense to consider the actual person - which is so much more than can be said for so many women out there. In a world of people who are hellbent on looks, she had the heart and the brain to actually read the f*cking manual!