As it’s Friday… Thank You.

As it’s Friday, and I don’t blog over the weekends, I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for the incredible response I’ve had to the Social Media Guidebook posts.

I’d hoped they’d be well received, but I didn’t imagine they’d be as popular as they have been.

To all those who’ve been in touch, pointing out that I haven’t given a link to where you can buy the book and asking where they can: It’s in the publishing queue on Apple iBooks and Amazon, and I’ll obviously post links ad nauseam as soon as they’re available.

In the meantime, I’ll carry on posting an extract or two each week here.

Thanks again, and perhaps you’d like to have a read of the sweetie and whisky reviews. They seem to be popular, too. As if sweeties and whisky are cornerstones of our lives! Ahem.

Sweetie Review: Kinder Pingui

Kinder. Synonymous with eggs containing small choking hazards.

The Kinder Pingui contains no choking hazard. And there seems to be something missing.

First bite, and first impression: It’s a fake choc-ice. A rectangle of chocolate with cool fondant inside. Straight from the fridge this is pretty good, but as I took my second bite I realised what wasn’t there.

A biscuit core.

I know. You’re thinking what freakish man is this that thinks there should be a biscuit core to a choc-ice? Well not me, but my second bite has revealed the truth. This isn’t a fake choc-ice. It’s a fake Wagon Wheel. Just one that isn’t so big you’ve got to grin to get it in. And they’ve saved all that space by taking out the biscuit core.

I’d like to say: If you like Wagon Wheels, get one of these. But if you like Wagon Wheels, get a Wagon Wheel. If you like choc-ices (and who doesn’t?), get a choc-ice. Unless you don’t have a convenient freezer. Then this is just right. Get one.

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All Sweetie Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

Sweetie Review: Swizzel’s ‘Loadsa Sweets’

There are lots of disadvantages to losing nearly a quarter of your body weight in a few months: Your (expensive) clothes don’t fit; your stamina takes a hit; and you can’t get away without shaving, because then you look scruffy.

However, there is a massive advantage, I get to eat whatever I want to try and get the weight back: Fast food, lots of food, and lots of sweets – so long as I make sure it goes back in the right places of course!

So Swizzel’s Loadsa Sweets sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.

We all love Swizzel’s. Who hasn’t enjoyed one of their fizzy double lollies or a drumstick? They’re both here in this assortment pack (in fact there’s 40% more of each for nothing. Supposedly).

But this is one of my two major gripes about this pack. Look at the picture. Does that really look like loads of sweets to you? It looks like some sweets, yes. But loads? Perhaps a matter for Trades’ Descriptions.

What sweets there are are all (almost all) well known and generic. If you got through your childhood without trying them, then you might have good cause to phone up your parents and ask them what on earth they were thinking not letting you rot your teeth like a normal child.

My two gripes are the missing sweets: blue refreshers, fizzers, lovehearts – they’re all there on the packet. 3 out of the five types of sweet on the packet aren’t inside. I’m not sure that’s where they got their 40% boast from.

Also the inclusion of Parma Violet Refreshers. The Marmite of the sweetie world, love ’em or hate ’em. That you can rarely buy them on their own suggests you’re far more likely not to be in the love ’em camp.

Oh well, I suppose Swizzels have to get rid of them somewhere.

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Jimmy Stewart’s eye view of Rear Window

All the views Jimmy Stewart has from his Rear Window cleverly knitted together.

It’s a great movie, bringing together one of the greatest movie actors and one of the greatest movie directors. This compile is just a bonus.

Rear Window Timelapse from Jeff Desom on Vimeo.

Sweetie Review: Haribo Wine Gums

The combination of two favourites, Wine Gums and Haribo. These ought to be outstanding.

Instead they fall between the two, rather than taking the best of each. Too soft and jelly-esque to be wine *gums*, too hard and large to be Haribo-like.

I guess even Haribo can’t be good at every sweet. 5/10

As a friend of mine said recently: if I was responsible for those execrable Haribo ads, I’d shoot myself in the face.

All Sweetie Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats.

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

All Sweetie Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

Fast Food Review: Burger King Breakfast

Inedible. The only flavour present was from the floury ghost-like bun.

This is not so surprising when you discover that the centimetre thick slab of egg and overflowing bounty of bacon in the picture above the counter actually looked like a roadkill gerbil. Less Burger King, more Purger King.

I know: the food is never the same as the photo, but I expect it to bear some relation. Second cousin, perhaps. Even the one they keep in the attic because they’re so ashamed of it. But this bitty wasn’t even the same species.

Same contents, technically, but completely different amounts. Bit like asking for a glass of water and seeing the waiter scoop your drink from the Thames.

Sweetie Review: Rowntree’s Randoms

4/10. The lowest you can score as a sweetie without poisoning me.

It’s always tough launching a new type of sweetie onto the market. You’d think a company as large as Rowntree would decide which sweetie to launch and put their marketing money heavily behind it. Instead they went down the ‘Revels’ route and launched all the sweeties they could think of, packaged together with a name the CEO had seen on “FaceSpace or MyBook, or something like that.”

The trouble with that is while some of the sweeties are going to be great, some are going to make you sick in your mouth, and frankly the good ones aren’t worth the bad.

Rowntree’s Randoms have been around for two years now. I feel sure that had the company not put so much money into the advertising, the sweets themselves would have died a quiet death and we’d all be happier. The only part of the Rowntree’s Randoms experience that is worse than the advertising are the sweets themselves. It’s on a very low base alongside Haribo’s advertising. Why can’t agencies come up with decent sweetie creative? I hope they all smash their shameful faces under the toilet seat three times a day.

After I’ve dispatched the bag of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles (bought the bags together on a 2 for £2) I’ll go back to reliable Haribo.

Imagine, John Lennon

The third of three pieces of artwork of song lyrics by the amazing Pablo Stanley

The incomparable John Lennon, Imagine

Imagine

How to…?

How do you show what you’ve done, when what you’ve done is

  1. Not publicly available, or,
  2. Being used by others.

Tough call.

So I’ve been writing a book, of all I’ve learned in the last 7 years or so. A guidebook drawing on the mistakes others have made that I’ve learned from.

I’ve had a lot of fun putting it together, too.

Starting next week, extracts will be posted here to whet your appetites.