Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Dwarf Ville

Posted in Miscellaneous on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


A group of bullied Chinese dwarfs have set up their own village to escape discrimination. This is an exclusive community that only permits dwarfs who are 4’3” or less (dwarfs can reach 4’10” so this community is technically a bit dwarfist). Unsurprisingly, Dwarf village is turning into a tourist attraction, which the dwarfs are happy to exploit. They have built a theme park featuring mushroom houses and the 120 residents live and dress as fairytale characters. Fu Tien, a spokesman for the village explains that, “As small people, we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren’t any big people and everything we do is for us.”


Thanks to Zoe Meskell for this story. Zoe is 5’5’’.



Posted in Miscellaneous on September 25, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

whiffle image

There’s a little-known way to address people whose name you can’t remember, you can call them shaggledick. When she’s not being a diva, Aretha Franklin practices tyromancy, the expression for predicting the future by watching cheese curdle. These are among the bizarre, rarely-used words in the English language that feature in a curious new book called The Wonder of Whiffling. We also like Growlery (a place to growl in, often applied to a sitting room); Blatteroon (a person who will not stop talking); and Badonkadonk (buttocks of exceptional quality and bounce). The author Adam Jacot de Boinod, describes himself as a “linguistic bowerbird” (a person who collects an astonishing array of – sometimes useless – objects). He hopes the book will make people more articulate. The author sent us his favourite words:

Adam Jacot de Boinod’s wondrous wiffle:

gulch (Newfoundland English 1895) to frequent a sheltered hollow for sexual intimacy

exhibition meal (Hobo slang) a handout eaten on the doorstep: the madam wants the neighbours to witness her generosity

spanghew (1781) a cruel custom among lads of blowing up a frog by inserting a straw into its anus; the inflated frog was then jerked into the middle of the pond by being put on a cross stick, the other end being struck, so that the frog jumped high into the air

noop (Scott: Heart of Midlothian 1818) the sharp point of the elbow

grille-peerer – one of a group of clergymen in the 1940s who used to haunt the stacks of the London Library to look up the skirts of women browsing above

handbags at ten paces (US slang 1991) a verbal spat, usually between athletes on the field of play

feague (slang b1811) to put ginger up a horse’s fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well

witches’ knickers (Irish slang 2000) shopping bags caught in trees, flapping in the wind

cochel (Sussex dialect) too much for a wheelbarrow but not enough for a cart

ostrobogulous (1951) unusual, bizarre, interesting

petrichor (1964) the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell

juck-cum-peng (Jamaican English 1943) imitating the sound made by a wooden-legged person walking


Thanks to Ellie for this story. Ellie is a self-confessed Pozzy-Wallah, (someone who is inordinately fond of jam). Her particular favourite is rhubarb and ginger on not too crunchy toast.


Posted in Miscellaneous on September 18, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

We’re a bit over flash mobs but Oprah’s warrants a mention as our viral of the week tied with Denmark’s weird accidental sex tourism ad. To promote the 24th season of her talk show (the longest-running daytime TV show in the US), fans were brought together to surprise her in the world’s largest synchronised live mob dance. The dance began with one woman in the centre of the audience randomly jigging and gradually grew to a record 21,000 people, with live music from The Black Eyed Peas. The event was produced by Michael Gracey, who was also responsible for the T-Mobile flash mob dance in our local Liverpool Street station earlier this year.



Posted in Miscellaneous on September 11, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


A giant chess set will be placed in Trafalgar Square next week as a highlight of the London Design Festival. The chess pieces are the work of Spanish artist/designer Jaime Hayon. They tower over the public at 2m tall and are set on rollers so they can be easily moved around, Alice in Wonderland-style. After a tournament by the British Chess Foundation, the public can have their turn at directing the chess pieces from elevated thrones. Play is becoming integral to the way brands and places behave.

For its 60th anniversary, Hasbro transformed San Francisco’s winding Lombard Street into a huge version of its Candy Land racing game.

San Francisco Candy LandLombard Street in colourful squares ready for play to commence

Participants play their way up the squares for the prize waiting at the finish line – a Candy Land cake.

cakeDebbie Does Cake’s edible prize

Monopoly has teamed up wth Google to produce Monopoly City Streets, the “greatest property magnate the world has ever known”.

monopoly city streetsBuy and sell any street in the world

Players can buy and sell any street in the world and build not only the standard property houses and hotels, but anything from sewage plants to castles to football stadiums. To mark the launch, London Southbank’s Shell Centre has been transformed into the iconic golden Monopoly tower.

monopoly shellThe Monopoly Golden Tower, aka London’s Shell Centre

There is also a competition for budding property magnates and architects alike, that lets you use Google SketchUp and 3D Warehouse to submit building designs with a chance to feature in the virtual Monopoly.

We’re thinking demolition company collaborations with Jenga; pest control companies assembling elaborate versions of Mousetrap; Rodeo Nights teaming up with Bucking Bronco; and to motivate and distract the office staff, giant marble runs and 3D Snakes and Ladders through the city skyscrapers.

References: London Design Festival, dear old Guardian

Thanks to Ellie Osbourne for this story. Ellie is contemplating what life would be like in Bookham Village, Surrey, giant Mousetrap-style.


Posted in Miscellaneous on September 4, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

Moonbell is a website that allows you to make audiovisual music from the moon. It works in a similar way to a record player, by translating the bumps and ridges it detects on the moon’s surface (provided by satellite data), into a set of musical notes. The ‘free scratch’ mode lets you map your own moon journey and transforms it into a melody.


Moonbell is a website that allows you to make audiovisual music from the moon. It works in a similar way to a record player, by translating the bumps and ridges it detects on the moon’s surface (provided by satellite data), into a set of musical notes. The ‘free scratch’ mode lets you map your own moon journey and transforms it into a melody.

Cockney ATMs

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 27, 2009 by Something for the Weekend


Oh dear. Cockney ATM’s have landed in East London. “Some moolah for ya sky rocket? Ya rattle & tank balance?”, they say. Brummie, Geordie and Scouse versions are in the pipeline. But the Glasgow Kiss prototype didn’t make it past research. We suspect there was some ill-thought strategy that urged an informality and localism of discourse. We banks are just like you. Banks can do “funny” but they should never be “funny”. More than ever, we want our banks to be serious, responsible and somewhat humble.

A slightly cleverer approach is the recent ATM tie-in campaigns – the thinking being that this is when people are most likely to monitor finances at cash points, so ads on mini-statements might be an idea. Would be nice if somebody used this as an opportunity to offer people properly helpful financial advice or even messages like, ‘do you really need those shoes?’, rather than tempting them with discounts for crap sandwiches.


Thanks to Rob Hughes for this story. Rob is the only person at Mother who spends all his day in a cage.

Cocaine Bars

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 21, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

misc pic

Route 36 in Bolivia has been dubbed “the world’s first cocaine bar”. It has candlelit tables, complimentary bottled water, and Backgammon! This new trend of ‘cocaine tourism’ is a combination of Bolivia’s notoriously corrupt public officials, chaotic ‘anything goes’ attitude, and the national example of President Evo Morales, himself a coca grower. The unintentional ‘pop up’ bar changes location to avoid complaints and the law. We’re seeing a similar trend in the US and UK for smoker speakeasies. Recent statistics show cocaine abuse in the UK is at its highest for 12 years.