The It Bird

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

the good life

Chickens are the new must-have pets, according to The New Yorker, which describes them as “a perfect convergence of the economic, gastronomic, environmental and emotional matters of the moment”. If Chihuahuas in handbags symbolised credit recklessness and pet as designer accessory, then chickens in back gardens are the recessionary pet, offering (eco) style and sustenance. “Chickens are certainly in vogue at the moment. I think people are beginning to realise that there is something wholesome and good about keeping one,” says Joe O’Gorman, the managing director of Whitakers Hatcheries.

Martha Stewart originally helped give the poultry-keeping industry an image makeover after publishing photos of her pet hens, making them seem like companions rather than livestock. There is now a growing pet chicken industry.

Backyard Poultry magazine has seen its circulation climb to over 100,000 in the past few months. ‘Hencam’ has arrived, a service which broadcasts live coop action to a following of 15,000 avid chicken watchers per month. You can treat your hens to a luxury Eglu, a contemporary chicken coop from Omlet, a UK company specialising in products for chickens. And a sign that chickens really are the new Chihuahuas is the invention of the chicken diaper, which comes in a range of 5 patterns and colours.




Live Fashion

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

There is a generation of young people whose fashion inspiration is coming entirely from the internet. They see fashion shows and shoots streamed live, read collection reports uploaded moments after the shows have finished, discuss them in web forums, and buy clothes online before they even get to the shops. Their experience of fashion is instant access and live. This is what SHOWstudio has set out to explore with the new Fashion Revolution exhibition, the highlight of the show being a live fashion shoot by Nick Knight. “We are in the midst of a revolution in fashion imagery,” he says. “Moving away from illustration and stills photography, we are now entering the restless world of interactive, self-created, digital-imaging: accessible, downloadable and constantly changing.”

My Wonderful World of Fashion, by illustrator Nina Chakrabarti is a really dear colouring in and activity book for fashionistas. As well as being a lovely book of illustrations in itself. There are pages which show you how to turn a napkin into a headscarf Grey Gardens-style, a game to match pairs of cowboy boots, and how to make a tiara from some twigs. It’s very Katie McKay.


Thanks to Lucy Johnston for this story. Lucy wants a pair of digitally enhanced shoe-boots with in-built camera.

How Kids see Technology

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

how kids see tech image

Children are growing up with a different understanding of everyday technology and innocently renaming devices. Laptops are referred to as ‘phones’ by many kids who have never known a world without Skype (which has 246million users). A TV was called ‘music’ by one child because his Mum plays music to him through an Apple TV box (as observed by trend bigwig Piers Fawkes). Other anecdotal evidence we have collected includes a 5-year-old girl who, having grown accustomed to Sky+ when watching the football at home, asked her Dad if they could pause a live match so she could go to the loo. Perhaps the next generation won’t refer to mobiles as ‘phones’, but as computers or MP3 players, because that’s how they are generally used. And in that case, might iPods become the new TVs as they become a more common way of broadcasting? The convergence of technology and digital divide might mean different ways of marketing and naming the same product to different audiences.


Thanks to Sara Tate for this story. Sara’s mum still doesn’t understand what a strategist does. She thinks Sara does the voiceovers.

Objects of Co-Dependency

Posted in One to Ponder on September 18, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

shoes for one to ponder main image

We’ve just discovered a daft but dreamy up-and-coming artist called Keetra Dean Dixon. (If you like The Virgin Suicides, Charles Anastase and Lula magazine, you’ll love her work). Her latest project Just Between You and Me, transforms functional items designed to be used by one person into dysfunctional romantic “objects of co-dependency”. These include a lung cancer-friendly fag entitled ‘Every Breath You Take’; two pairs of ‘Just keeping an eye on you’ conjoined glasses; and our favourite, tandem shoes, which she calls ‘I’ve got your back’.

Just between me and you
balloons one to ponder blog

Every breath you take

An unexpected spark

Significant Spooning

Just keeping an eye on you

I could talk to you forever

In your eyes
binocular things

Thanks to sarah rabia for this story. sarah wants to make friends with Keetra Dean Dixon. She really likes this quote by the artist: “I have an odd relationship with my settings. I have a crush on this lamp post – I SWEAR it flirts with me – flickering occasionally as I walk by. I am sure it affections are not only mine, but this is a comfort. I hope the fluttering light brings a flush to someone else’s cheek. Blushing is pure joy.”

lamp post


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.


Brixton Pound

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

Thursday saw the launch of the Brixton Pound, a local currency for the London suburb. The B£ is being promoted as “money that sticks to Brixton”, aiming to support and sustain local business and production. The B£1 B£5, B£10, B£20 notes have the faces of home-grown celebs on the front, including civil rights activist Olive Morris and Vincent Van Gogh, as voted for by locals. Shoppers will benefit from special offers amongst the participating independent businesses. The project was established by Transition Town Brixton, an organisation campaigning for sustainable, community living. Totnes in Devon, Lewes in Sussex and Stroud in Gloucester have also introduced local currencies and there are 166 worldwide. The Brixton Pound is part of the anti-capitalist shift towards ‘common-cause economics’, in which individuals take into account the community interest as well as their own.


Thanks to Ellie Osbourne for this story. Ellie is just lovely.


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

Phil and Holly umming and aahhing over cups of Café Direct coffee on This Morning? Topshop sending home deliveries of its latest ranges to the Big Brother house? This week, the government announced plans to lift the ban on TV product placement, meaning new revenue streams for the broadcasting industry and we hope, more entertainment-driven, culturally-sensitive advertising. In the US, product placement is a mature market worth $7bn, and it has already been introduced in most EU countries. Experts believe deals could raise £125m annually for UK broadcasters in the next three years, arriving right at crunch time for a medium in transition. Publicly funded organisations such as the BBC will be excluded, as will kids’ TV. Have a watch of Logorama, the short film created entirely out of logos and brand mascots which premiered this week.

This new source of income for TV companies will mean more funding for good content, for sure, but where does editorial end and advertising begin? This, in a nutshell, is where the creative advertising world will find a new role as the gatekeepers of the hallowed space where cultural content and branded products converge. This convergence can be authentic, or it can be clunky – but in a cynical consumer world, only the first option is worth the investment. What will Mother do? Most likely, draw on a complete portfolio of skills and create the whole TV program.

Thanks to Lucy Johnson for this story. If Lucy was a fruit, she’d be a pomegranate.