Saturday, 24 December 2011

It's Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas

I'm not going to tell you it's Christmas. I don't want to ruin the surprise that the world is so amazingly hiding from you.

I'mma keep it short today - a little observation for all you people should do it, because you're all probably getting excited about bearded philanthropists flying through the sky and ceremonially stuffing dead birds into heated metal boxes and generally not caring what I have to say.

Don't worry, we all do. The birds I mean, not apathetic attitude towards me.

Now I don't know whether you've heard about this thing called television, but when it comes to the Holiday period, a time of being together and giving and socialising, it's a bit of a growing hobby to tell everybody to shut up and watch the flickering metal box in the corner, convinced that we're all going to be thoroughly entertained whilst the bird continues to burn and your Grandmother rots in the corner.

Over the past years of my sentience however, it seems that around this time of year I've been phenomenally unobservant, as its only this year that I noticed two rather curious things:
1) Why is the baby Jesus in my nativity set born with a full head of John Lennon-esque locks?
2) What the f*ck is up with all these perfume adverts?

Christmas is of course, a time of being together and giving gifts, and so obviously products that are almost completely shunned for the rest of the year are going to want to advertise like hell, reminding you that the woman in your life wants to smell pretty as well, even if it costs you a fortune. 

All that bit makes sense - it's the perfume adverts themselves that confuse me. The dilemma of how to advertise a smell is obviously a tricky one, and one that media moguls have had a pretty good go at - but some of the ideas they're running to nowadays are getting a bit absurd.

It's seemingly getting further and further away from describing a smell as possible - do you want to smell like a runaway Italian sweetheart? Or maybe you're after a beige-obsessed Natalie Portman? No, you're definitely a race-car driving prostitute.

Do you know what any of those smell like? I certainly don't.

Surely selling perfumes should be about how nice they smell, as opposed to how well-lit your models are. How about a bloke in a suit, on a chair, in a white room, describing a scent? Or am I just going crazy?

However insane the advertising techniques will get, the sentiment of buying perfume for your lady friend is still a beautiful thing. What do you get a girl who has everything? How about the one sense still uncaptured by technology, the one thing you can't fathomably make, a smell, captured, in a bottle.

But do you know what the laydeez do like? Clothes. So whether you are a man with a crush, a woman with a wardrobe, or a man who is sick of wearing jeans and a shirt, the beautiful people at and myself are giving you a 5% discount on ANYTHING you order from them. Yeah, anything. Just enter in the coupon "blogspot2011" at the checkout and say goodbye to a portion of the price.

You don't even have to get me anything. Well you could. These are nice. I'm a size 8.5. Just saying.

Merry Christmas chaps,

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Three Tips: A Tourist's Guide to Landaan

Over the past month and a bit, I've been to London and back four times, for various reasons - theatre performances, KFC, museums, Comic-Con, and most recently a nerd gathering.

Yesterday I went all the way to Hyde Park, with a hangover and the flu, having not eaten anything for twelve hours, to socialise with other nerds, who are - by definition - terrible at socialising. Amongst the singing acoustic Rebecca Black/Nyan Cat medleys, lime gifting (Including giving a lime to ex-Big Brother contestant Sam Pepper) and getting featured in as many YouTube videos as humanly possible, I also managed to make friends with a tiny asian girl who, due to her lack of conversational skills, introduced herself by stroking faces and announcing:

'I have come to socialise'.

So after attending the capital city so many times in such a short period (I mean, Jesus, why hasn't Boris Johnson ceremonially gifted me with an Oyster Card yet?) I thought that I would be a generous soul and pass along some of my well-found knowledge, what with London being both a tourist destination and impossible place to understand.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with my:
Three Tips: A Tourist's Guide to Landaan

1. Fit in - as it is such a worldwide tourist trap, London is full of rapists, muggers, and street performers who lay in wait for those who look like they have no idea what they're doing.

Asians in waterproof jackets with digital cameras, I am talking directly to you here.

Obviously then, the most important thing to make sure of whilst you're in London is to fit in. There are three main ways you can do this; firstly, pronounce it 'Landaan' (Draw out the second vowel as long as possible) in a loud screeching Cockney accent, secondly, try and fit in as much Cockney rhyming slang as possible (Apples and Pears: Stairs, Barney Rubble: Trouble, Laugh: Giraffe) even if it doesn't make sense, and finally, ask strangers to take photos of you and your friends in front of iconic monuments - this is a common past-time of all Londoners.

2. Get around - famed for it's nightmarish and insanely complicated public transport systems, you probably won't be in London long enough to come to terms with using them (Most people tend to get lost in the Underground for at least three months on their first go) so here are two very valuable slices of information pie.

Firstly, air travel - despite it's carbon heavy reputation, air travel is a very popular option. As well as the popular, quick and cheap option of negating  between London's five airports, you can easily buy an umbrella from a street vendor for a reasonable price and fly around upon a whimsical gust of wind, not unlike the method portrayed in Mary Poppins, but with far more Cockneys and dance routines.

My second tip for public transport in London is a well known secret to Londoners - bus jumping. To enforce order, the government has spent years spreading the myth that you have to be at a Bus Stop to get on one of London's famous red double deckers. This is, obviously, a myth - to get on a bus you can simply jump in front of one and it will stop - just give it about 20 yards, the brakes are surprisingly powerful.

3. Pay up - in these hard economic times, the faithful and strong-willed people and government of London have taken it upon themselves to make you pay for everything you would normally perceive to be a human right. Toilets in Waterloo station cost 30p in exact change (A fiver to the attendant if you don't want firecrackers thrown into your cubicle), buskers, upon discovering copyright law, can now press charges if you look at them or hear their music and not tip them at least a pound, even muggers are now charging fuel surcharges and expecting tips, so make sure you bring plenty of pocket money with you.

On the bright side, it is London, so you can always break into any highstreet shop and loot them if you feel out of pocket - the people of London will be happy to clear up after you, and the recession has triggered a neighbourly sense of 'It's okay, just steal my hard earned possessions, you're a friend' (Just make sure you fit in, see point 1).

So there you have it - three indispensable tips for surviving in the world's safest city. Part of the fun of London is working it all out for yourself without any help from others whatsoever, so make sure to try out things that maybe aren't on my list. If you'd like more helpful information about the world around you, and for more hilariously written bits and bobs from the talented bloggers of the Interwebz, you can buy my book at - - it's for charity!

Happy Travels!