Category Archives: MUSES

December dreaming

snow_traffic

This morning’s Radio 4 news was full of Brexit, this week’s Grenfell disaster inquiry, and snow.

The single statement that most resonated with me afterwards was “most of the rush-hour traffic has disappeared because of school shut-downs”.

Imagine a world, or just a little country, where it would be universally seen as TRULY WEIRD if a schoolchild was driven to school, and the school they went to was the nearest one to their home, regardless of OFTED reports.

True, segregated cycle-paths meandered from all points outward toward schools, colleges, high streets – as intra-town traffic filed gently past, at 20mph, on the narrowed streets.

Christmas dreams.

 

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Rewards

rewards

I was sat on a bench just now, and a bus cruised past with the American Express advert across it – exclaiming about rewards.
Now I know you know this, but these rewards, they’re not are they?  You buy stuff, there’s profit involved – and some of that goes to the a C/Card company who charge you interest, and then they give you a tiny bit back, from the amount they’ve already just been paid – by the same people who you just bought the stuff off of.

Sort of mind games for idiots, to be honest. I wonder how many branding professionals could be told to fuck off if we just didn’t bother? If the circle of crap was broken, lost most of it’s spokes and the value was the price paid, full stop.

Reward. There’s a word. Reward, there it is again – the same one. Twisted into a meaning that’s meaningless. It’s the same with Loyalty cards. You get points, be it for stamps on your card in a coffee shop, or automatically for going back to the same supermarket, or visiting one of the outlets whose cartel involve themselves in the same branding program.

And here’s the odd bit – this is about Loyalty – get the poor sods into the frame of mind where they’ve built-up some perceived value (points), and now daren’t sway away too far because (ha! like saving?) they can add to and increase their future reward. They’re trapped.

Never mind if said supermarket charges 30% more than the German one down the road, never mind if the £75 you’ve saved-up in your points by Christmas could’ve been £275 LESS spent in the year running-up, if the supermarket hadn’t been involved in these shenanigans and all their attendant costs.

But it’s worse isn’t it – now they are tracking where you spend and WHAT YOU BUY, enormous chunks of your data roll around the planet – by god, if we used half this amount of ingenuity and focus on some real-world problems it would help n’cest pas?

Yet for the bigger stuff, the telecoms, the utilities, the insurance, the bankers – loyalty is precisely not going to get you any rewards is it? Deals go to new customers, advertising is pitched at new customers – we want your money, for this deal only.

One commentator even put it this way – They’re either a creepy way to monitor and exploit your habits or a desperate gambit by weak retailers to distract you from their own shortcomings. Most companies use loyalty programs as a crutch when they’re out of ideas, and, therefore, these schemes are ultimately bad for customers as well. If a cashier tries to shove a loyalty card into your hand, it’s a good indicator that you should be taking your business elsewhere.

I sort knew instinctively – all those (30-odd) years ago, that this was a distraction, somehow I wouldn’t be seeing what I needed to see and feel if I allowed myself to indulge in this crap – it never, never really pays.

Scotland’s weather

Here’s a bit of news for you . . . .

non_news

This was the BBC front page for their news offering this morning, to be fair (god! I hate that expression) you could pick any channel, any website, any newspaper and you’d get worse, or better – it really doesn’t matter.

That’s the point – IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER, it’s all non-news, and a really large proportion of it is crap, utter crap.

____________________________________________________________________________________

So on this very same day – another little set of facts caught my eye.

tempmap_may17

The map above is today’s predicted temperatures – and it mirrors, largely, the UK temperature situation this past month, and a trend that is becoming alarmingly real.

In truth, if you’re as old as me – you’ll know that it was UTTERLY UNHEARD OF FOR SCOTTISH TEMPERATURES TO BE HIGHER THAN THOSE AT LOWER LATITUDES.
And yet there it is, for the umpteenth time this month, plain fact.

FACT – you notice?  Fact, not crap.

There’s your real news right there.

NEWS !! Italy, Bretagne, East Germany – all now leaving the Euro zone!

I’m usually up around 6am most mornings, and this morning’s rainy Sunday was no exception.  The radio is exceptionally easy on the ear at this time on a Sunday.

radio

. . . . and next up is the News and papers – so is this where I learn the astonishing news that forms the title of this posting?

No.

It’s the water trickles though the dirt of the van next door.
europe_van
europe_van2
It’s the SHAPE isn’t it? 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Gods have spoken to me!”  I thought, and ran away to get Klicky McKlickface . . . (my Camera, no idea – it just seemed funny when I said it the first time).
thing
Risking the sheer acid spitting hell & fury of a partner who likes to sleep in on Sundays (or any bloody day if she didn’t work), I charge into the bedroom and fire-up Big-Bogey (the PC – I dunno, it just seemed funny at the time), Firefox, Google, and the Maps pages – understandably in that order.

PhotoShop is next: tracing the photo of the van, squeezing the layer across onto a map of europe –
something’s wrong though – it doesn’t fit.
brexit2
Germany I know, Italy I know – but there’s a knob – a KNOB sitting out there to the West.
french_regions
Bretagne?
Going as well? – unbelievable.

So there you have it.  Incontrovertible proof from the Gods themselves, the new shape of Europe.

You heard it here first.

 

Biker babies

Just idling here . . . . I wonder where all those fashionable pretend biker ladies black leather jackets are now?

jacketsEverywhere weren’t they?  Even that couple of blimmey-we-were-off-focus-but-thanks-to-baking-we’re-back-in-vogue couple could be seen, er . . . squeezing into the things for interviews, or to regale us with their hilarious personnas.

 

Most of them at the bottom of wardrobes I guess, next stop Landfill.

Trump and the media

Watching channel 4’s coverage of President Trumps press outing tonight, they descibe his performance as “rambling”.

Funny that, as one of the subjects Trump aired was the media themselves – how they twist, lie, dramatise trivia, eulogize trivia and trivial people – just as they do, daily, here in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m as concerned as the next man about Mr Trump – but you get his point don’t you?  A far fairer assessment of his style today might have read “conversational”.  I guess that’s not dramatic enough.

TV marketing industry in a spin

Intense sadness in the marketing world as the olde worlde “as you do” and “my bad” – together with the  “ffwwwoooosh sound, (coupled with hand showing something just said went “clean over their head”) showing rapid ageing signs.

Even “bring it on” as touted by the Tesco Christmas TV advert – a mere five weeks ago is already looking a bit frayed round the edges, and “get in” – positively pedestrian, despite the pull of its ‘Almost American’ undertones.

It’s reet bugger getting a handle on just what the dudes are saying these days, man” – complained Tristan Haarwelle, corporate head of  Aspirational Music and Heart-tugging images‘ at Weller, Weller and Spin – despite such items as the teeth-grindingly cringe-makingto be fair” gaining ground nationally.

If fings get much worse, we’ll be playing the sound of American attack helicopters over every blasted advert, just to shock the buggers into buying” he added – “seems to work in the movies don’t it?