Five things on Friday #177

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 20th, 2016.

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I’ve been [back] in Dubai this week and, aside from (amongst other things) seeing the INCREDIBLE Atlantis Aquarium, I also saw this cray installation/combo of a SHOPPING MALL plus AQUARIUM.

Look!

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Crayfish.

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Shall we?

1. NOKIA – ‘HELLO AGAIN’

Shocking new this week, Nokia is making* a comeback:

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Stunning, right?

Woo!

*Thing is, it isn’t actually Nokia making these new devices. Not the Nokia you know and remember. This is a brand-licensing deal that allows a new hardware manufacturer, ‘HMD’, to create new smartphones, feature phones, and tablets (all using Android as its base OS) all bearing the ‘Nokia’ brand.

Don’t go daydreaming of your N95 quite yet.

The proof will be in the pudding.

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2. SCI-FI RECOMMENDATIONS

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Looking for something to watch this weekend? io9 has published this fairly decent list of sci-fi movies that ‘everybody should see at least once’.

I think I’m at about 70% through it (without trying).

What about you?

On a related note: if you’re stuck for something to read right now, especially along a similar theme, then you go check out the SF Masterworks series. Whenever I’m stuck for something to read, I dive into this collection and just pick something at random. I have never been disappointed. There are a ton of classics in there too.

Go swim.

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3. ROLLING STONES

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Late at night, as I was interviewing Richards, and he was a pirate in a high-backed velvet chair, he stopped and looked at me, really looked at me, and asked, “What year were you born?”

“Nineteen sixty-eight.”

“I can’t imagine that,” he said, smiling. “It’s weird. You should be answering questions for me. You tell me. I don’t know. What’s it like to live in a world where the Stones were always there? For you, there’s always been the sun and the moon and the Rolling Stones.”

From someone who was there, who saw it all – ‘Mick Jagger and Keith Richards: inside a five decade bromance‘ is a fantastic read.

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4. A COUPLE IN CHICAGO

“On May 26, 1996, Mariana Cook visited Barack and Michelle Obama in Hyde Park as part of a photography project on couples in America. What follows is excerpted from her interviews with them.”

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Wonderful.

5. HOW DOES AN EDITOR THINK OR FEEL?

My favourite thing in this week’s edition? If only for the Ant-Man / Empire Strikes Back comparison…

Maybe.

Tony Zhou is back again with Every Frame A Painting and in this one, he talks about how editing creates better movies and also how to go about finding your own editing rhythm and language.

It’s less than 10mins long – why not watch it over lunch?

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Bonuses this week are:

  • Apple stole my music (no really).
  • Did you ever play Secret of Mana? You’ll love this interview.
  • Spotify for Android TV is OUT NOW.
  • This is a great (and meticulous) critique of THAT new logo.
  • Last week’s DEFINITIVE (no argments) list of MARVEL movies really got y’all talking (one excellent thread can be found here) but it struck me: what other questions/topics would you want covered in a THING one week? I’m open to it.
  • This Sunday’s episode of The Voicemail podcast (E169) will cover off everything that happened at Google I/O this week so, if that’s something you’re interested in, you should subscribe today.

 

Whatley out.

Ps. Watch this ’til the end.

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Five things on Friday #176

Things of note for the week ending Friday 13th May, 2016.

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In the week that brought us:

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One has to wonder: how does anyone truly cope with it all?

Speaking of which: as you read this, I’ll be on holiday (again) – hurrah! – last one for the year mind, I think. Summer is coming and the heat in London really, truly is something I adore.

Bring it.

AND SPEAKING OF BRINGING IT.

It is time to bring you – THE THINGS!

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1. THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE

Little known fact: one of my favourite documentaries of all time is a film called ‘LOST IN LA MANCHA‘.

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For the uninitiated, LILM is the documentary of Terry Gilliam’s spectacular failure to make the film adaptation of ‘Don Quizote de la Mancha’.

“Director Terry Gilliam is the latest filmmaker to try and bring Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra‘s “Don Quixote de la Mancha” to the big screen, the movie to be called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Before filming even begins, Gilliam, who has moved from Hollywood studio to European financing, will have to scale back his vision as his budget has been slashed from $40 million to $32 million, still astronomical by European standards. But Gilliam is a dreamer, much like his title character, and his vision for the movie is uncompromising, meaning with the reduced budget that there is no margin for error and that some of his department heads may have to achieve miracles with their allotted moneys. During pre-production and actual filming, what Gilliam does not foresee is contractual and health issues with his actors, and the effects of Mother Nature. The question is does Gilliam have a Plan B if/when things go wrong.”

I saw it when it first came out (so what – 2002?) in a tiny arthouse cinema in Wales. It’s a long story as to how I found myself there but I’m glad I did because the film was wonderful. It really is quite amazing just how many things go wrong for Gilliam as he tries to bring his vision to life. As observers to this misfortune, the audience gets to not only see behind the scenes of what and how you make a movie (or not, in this case) but also witness the occasional finished scene (a younger Johnny Depp stars) to boot.

You should see it.

All that said: this is not the thing I want to tell you about.

What I wanted to tell you about was that somehow Gilliam has managed to reboot his project and the original ambition for the film has been reborn. With Adam Driver seemingly picking up where Johnny Depp left off, I’m already well up for seeing this (or the documentary sequel – either or works for me).

—- /// —

2. ICE CREAM FOR EVERYONE // ME

A couple of editions ago I recommended to you all go and start listening to the podcast known as ‘ICE CREAM FOR EVERYONE’. At that time, I also mentioned that I’d recorded an episode with the host of said audio program and that you should look out for it over the coming weeks.

WELL LOOK NO MORE!

Episode 25, featuring yours truly, is out now!

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Now look, I’m not assuming for one second that you’re sat there staring at your screen thinking ‘Oh my God! MORE content from James Whatley! YES!’ – however, I must say: I really, really enjoyed this conversation.

I’ll be honest, given Willem‘s background in communications strategy, I’d primed myself for an hour of strategic mental gymnastics about what makes advertising matter etc… But that’s not what happened. Instead, Willem asked me about all the different things he’d come to know about me in the 7 or 8 years we’ve known each other and, well, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

In short: listen to this if you fancy something different.

PS. If you like the show, let Willem know – he’s on Twitter as @HippoWill.

— // –

3. JAMES BOND + RADIOHEAD + STAR WARS = ?

Thanks to Felicity for this one.

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What happens when you cross James Bond’s [cancelled] Radiohead theme with an amazing re-take of the opening credits of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK?

Well, why not find out?

I must admit, you get these kinds of things quite often out on teh interwebz but this one really stood out as something that should be worth sharing.

Enjoy.

4. SPIES LIKE US

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I’m somewhere in the air over Munich and I’ve just finished reading this Guardian feature. The headline in the above image says it all really.

It is easily the best thing in this week’s FToF by far.

Go read.

5. MARVEL FILMS

In last week’s edition I mentioned that CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is probably in my top three all time favourite Marvel films. My good friend, Scott Gould, emailed me and ask me how I’d rank all of them. I couldn’t help but take the bait…

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Here is THE definitive* list of the best Marvel (and we’re only talking MCU here), ranked:

  1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
  2. AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE
  3. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
  4. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
  5. IRON MAN
  6. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
  7. ANT-MAN
  8. THOR
  9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
  10. THOR: THE DARK WORLD
  11. IRON MAN 3
  12. IRON MAN 2
  13. THE INCREDIBLE HULK

Disagree? Tell me. Comment on the blog, tweet at me, or just reply to the email (if you get this as an email).

I want to hear from you.

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Bonuses this week are either MENTAL or PROVOCATIVE.

—- //// —-

Right, the weekend is here. I’m on holiday.

I’m outta here.

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*And by definitive, I mean COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DEFINITIVE.

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Five things on Friday #175 (again)

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 6th, 2016.

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OH HELLO THERE, YOU.

Apologies to the gorgeous readers who SUBSCRIBE to this nonsense who, rather unfortunately, received a blank copy of FToF last weekend (post Seven things on Sunday, at least (if you’re new here, this will make no sense to you whatsoever)) as yours truly doesn’t know the difference between a draft and publish – numpty.

Your forgiveness is, as ever, appreciated.

Crapness over.

Onwards with… THE THINGS!

1. THE NEON DEMON

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“When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.”

Nicolas Winding Refn is back with THE NEON DEMON. I actually have no idea when it’s out but if, like me, you’re a fan of NFW’s work, then you’re probably going to get a kick out of the trailer.

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Bring it.

2. GOT ONE OF THESE? SHARE IT.

Last week was a struggle so this week I was determined to find a bunch of super interesting things to sate the thirst of internet that you dear reader just… can’t… quench.

Which meant I had to dig into some old sources.

WHICH MEAN I found awesome articles such as: ‘Seven Books That Will (Probably) Never Be Printed Again‘.

It’s a great read. The first one on the list is ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High

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The website writes:

“Screenwriter and director Crowe (Say Anything, Almost Famous) begancontributing to Rolling Stone and other music publications when he was still a teenager. At the age of 22, he convinced Clairemont High School in San Diego to let him enroll as a student so he could chronicle the experience of a senior class. Fast Times, which changed his classmates’ names to maintain a semblance of privacy, was adapted into the 1982 film starring Sean Penn.

Despite the name recognition of both the title and its author, Crowe has resisted any attempt to put it back in print. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, Crowe said that he “likes that there’s one thing that’s not readily available … I like it too much as a kind of bootleg.””

Go and read the whole list.

There are some corkers there.

3. YET ANOTHER X-MEN THING
Yes, I know I did one of these last week (those posters were awesome, right?) this one just totally takes the biscuit.

Seen the latest trailer for X-MEN: APOCALYPSE? It’s pretty good. If you haven’t, go watch it. I’ll wait.

 

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Back? OK!

Well, this build on it is pretty fantastic.

Ready?

HERE GOES.

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Someone has made a frickin’ 90s cartoon version of it!

In short: YouTube user ‘Philysteak‘ has recreated the entire trailer using clips from the [brilliant] 90s cartoon.

Go watch it.

— sidenote: I caught CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR last night. It’s probably in my top three all time Marvel films. It’s excellent. The Russo brothers have done it again and, y’know, you should see it.

4. GO PRO TO SPACE

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Another video. But it’s worth it.

Someone strapped a GoPro to a rocket and sent it into space.

Watch that then.

5. VIRTUAL BED TIME STORIES

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VR is coming for your children.

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/..

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Bonuses this week are as follows –

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OK gang…

Until next time.

Whatley Out.

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Seven things on Sunday (FtoF #174)

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 29th Sunday May 1st, 2016.

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And you thought I’d forgotten…

As if I could?

It has been [yet another] crazy busy week at work and (add to that a hugely overwhelming bunch of amazing plans this weekend), surprise surprise, that has had a knock-on effect on the timeliness of this here publication.

I would apologise however I’m fairly sure I said from the outset that even though the thing is called Five things on Friday, it doesn’t actually mean that it goes out on a Friday. That’s just the intention. And there’s actual small print too that warns that sometimes life gets in the way, I might forget, or y’know what – I just fancy writing it a bit later than usual.

All that being said, by way of recompense, please find below for your delectation a bumper edition of FtoF – something that I have called (as the observant amongst you perhaps may have already spotted): ‘Seven things on Sunday’.

Hurrah and hurrah again.

PS. It’s a good edition this week so don’t be one of those awful people who unsubscribe just because it didn’t arrive on a Friday.

That would be silly.

And mean.

And nobody likes mean people. Right?

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Right.

OK, where were we?

That’s right…

TO THE THINGS!

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1. NEW DANGERMOUSE

File this one under ‘N’ for ‘Not sure if want’.

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So apparently – THIS WEEKEND – new Dangermouse is hitting Netflix screens.

AND I AM NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT.

(Here’s an original episode, for reference)

Have you watched it yet?

Is it awful?

Let me know…

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2. HOLLY, HOLLY, HOLLY!

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Here are some facts about Holly Brockwell:

  • Fact one: Holly and I have never met.
  • Fact two: Holly has written easily some of the best things on the Internet over the past five years (#AppleEvent is still a fave – but there have been a whole bunch of others too – go read).
  • Fact three: the unbelievable amount of God-awful abuse this woman has to put up with EVERY DAY is unbelievable. It is a testament to her resilience that Holly is still online at all.
  • Fact four: Last year, Holly was voted/awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ by The Drum/SheSays.
  • Fact five: from what I can tell – Holly does not take shit from any one.
  • Fact six: Holly is the Editor at Gadgette (the tech site for people who (amongst other things) find that ‘Oh, it comes in pink’ is a really poor way of marketing to women – y’know, so you, reading this, for example) and it is a fantastic online publication that you should all check out.
  • Fact seven: I first wrote about Holly’s writing on FtoF last year (see aforementioned #AppleEvent link) but, having dug into things a bit more (we’ll come to that) it turns out I’ve been reading about the awesome she spreads in the world since at least 2013. That’s pretty cool.

If any of the above facts (it was five, I bumped it to seven because Sundays #YOLO) make you want to find out more, then you must must must read this fantastic (and brilliantly sarcastic) interview of the super smart Holly Brockwell, as conducted by one Trevor Beattie.

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3. THE LAST GENERATION OF TOKEN WOMEN

Here’s an interesting read:

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I really enjoyed this piece, by one Jess Greenwood, which posits that while ‘token women’ is the current way to point out and/or highlight too many dudes (yes, of course there’s a Tumblr) it’s also perhaps refreshing that – if we work hard enough – this could be the last generation of token women that we ever see.

Go read it – there’s a manifesto and everything.

4. PERSIL – WHAT?

My friend Angus (and his friend Johnny) put some ads out this week. Nothing new. They both work in advertising (Ogilvy, to be clear) and so, as an agency, we’re supposed to put ads out, right?

Well, I ran into Angus in the corridor last week and he mentioned ‘The Aardman stuff we’ve been working on is finally going live!’ and it has, and it’s brilliant.

The first one ‘Monster Stains’ is below – the image links to the video – tap that now.

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Tapped it? Clicked it? Watched it? Charming as hell, right?

Here’s the boring ad press release part:

‘To demonstrate Persil’s stain removal power, Ogilvy came up with the innovative idea of creating a stop-frame animation using school shirts as the canvas and tough stains as the paint. Aardman was chosen as the ideal partner for its best-in-class animation techniques. They created a unique colour palette using 28 common household stains, including everything from gravy and jam to grass and chocolate ice cream.’

Amazing.

Anyway, there are more and you can view them over here.

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5. X-MEN APOCALYPSE

Not the first time I’ve chatted about X-Men (and probably not the last). The third part of the First Class trilogy is out soon – aka ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and, if you’ve seen the trailer, you probably already know that it looks suitably massive and amazing etc.

But that’s not why it’s here this week.

XMA is here this week because of the below AWESOME POSTER(S) as designed by Needle Design (and spotted on ze Twitters) last week.

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Aren’t they gorgeous?!

There are tons more available to view on their Twitter ‘media page‘ and I’m sure if you look hard enough you could probably buy a couple too.

6. GUYLINER
No, not a thing about the questionable fashion choices I made in late 2007 (there is ONE photo and no, I’m not sharing). Instead, a thing about the website known as ‘The Guyliner‘.

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It first came to my attention when I stumbled across this eloquent piece on ‘How to reject an apology‘ (powerful reading – so maybe start with this one). I bookmarked it (no I didn’t) and thought I’d come back to the writing again at some point (I did that) – probably for sharing in FtoF.

And then I started following the author on Twitter…

AND THEN I discovered his weekly roast of the Guardian’s Blind Date column and I am HOOKED (Kat and Nick were my gateway drug, if you were wondering).

So yeah, there’s MORE READING for you.

Go and laugh until your coffee comes out of your nose.

I did.

7. BRITISH HOME STORES
Small thing: the demise of BHS on the high street will be argued about in the press, the trades, and even in the courts by the looks of things.

But let’s be clear: NOT HAVING A TWITTER STRATEGY was not the reason why it failed.

Imbecile.

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Bonus items are as follows:

Until next time…

Which will probably be Friday.

Probably.

Whatley out.

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Five things on Friday #173

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 22nd, 2016.

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1. APPLE WATCH: ONE YEAR ON

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This post ‘A year after its launch, it’s now clear that pretty much no one needs an Apple Watch‘ pretty much nails what everyone thought about the Apple Watch at announcement: it’s a nice to have, not a must have.

I really like paying for things with my Apple Watch. The servers at the coffee shop that I’ve gone to every morning for the last year or so never remembered me from one day to the next. But then, when they got a new payments terminal that accepted Apple Pay, they started remembering me, and one server now refers to me as “the Apple Watch guy.” And that’s who I am now. No one would say that about someone whipping out a new iPhone or Macbook. Though if I started riding in every morning on a hoverboard, or started wearing VR goggles in-store, I’d probably get a new nickname.

This is interesting to me.

For several reasons.

For starters, I am now on my second Pebble smart watch. Having upgraded from the original, I now sport the Pebble Time Steel variant and am very happy with the benefits that it brings.

I’ve written about this before.

And yet I do not find my Pebble experience matching up with any of the author’s Apple Watch experiences (least of all the battery life, with my PTS weighing in a hefty ten days of usage before needing a charge). This could be down to price, perception, or even just plain brand expectation – Pebble the punchy start-up, Apple… not.

Apple hasn’t said how many watches it has sold—wasn’t immediately available to comment for this story—but estimates suggest upwards of 5 million have been sold to date. Apple sold nearly 75 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2015 alone, which leaves a lot of people who have iPhones and didn’t see the need to tack on a $300-or-more accessory to that purchase. Considering some estimates show that over 60% of US adults wear watches, there should have been a lot of room for growth.

The entire article is worth a read. Really.
The one clear takeaway for this reader however was that while all Apple Watches are smartwatches not all smartwatches are Apple Watches.

Sidenote, Quartz is probably one of my favourite online publications right now. A lot of what I’m reading/recommending comes from Quartz and I enjoy the output. You should go explore some time.
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Prince

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2. THE FACEBOOK / F8 10 YEAR ROADMAP

I’m a little late with the F8 analysis/write-up, so I’m not going to weigh in where so many others have already (this Buzzfeed piece is a highlight) however one thing I did want to point out – and perhaps even admire – is this chart shown at said conference.

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[click to embiggen]

You see this and you think ‘Holy hell, Facebook! You guys are amazing! What a plan! And you’ve shared it with us too!’ – and it is impressive.

What I find more impressive is that everyone immediately took this at face value and didn’t ask at which point we were standing at right now. Facebook is 12 years old. It opened fully to everyone ten years ago this September (brands, why start thinking about your super-relevant ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY FACEBOOK’ posts right now?) which kinda means we should be at the 10 year mark now.

And I guess we are. VR/AR is right around the corner, AI-driven bots were showcased as The Next Big Thing at F8, and drones that broadcast INTERNET FROM THE SKY are also imminent.

The really cool thing would be if the roadmap had been written ten years ago. But it wasn’t. It was more of a ‘Look, here’s where we’ve been and look, this is right around the corner’. Less a roadmap, more a 2016/17 planning document with a few pages of your diary thrown in the front.

Impressive? Yes. Roadmap? No.

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3. KURT VONNEGUT ON THE SHAPE OF STORIES

Exactly what it says on the tin – 4mins long – go on, spoil yourself.

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4. MY FIVE REGRETS

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about The Listserve before. You join a lottery with 20,000 or so other people. Every day, one of you gets to email the other 19,999 subscribers. It’s hit and miss but, the awesome thing is, every now and then, out of nowhere, you get a piece of solid gold delivered to your inbox.

As a list of Five Things is always made better by another list of five things and this list is a list of Five Regrets. However, said list is underpinned by a thought. A thought that, should you wish to live with no regrets, perhaps may not speak to you directly. However, when the writer of this recent Listserve met a tipsy old lady at a bar in Denver, it became clear that maybe no regrets wasn’t really worth it.

“You only get five regrets in life. If you come across a sixth regret, you have to let go of one of the other five.” – she said.

This old lady was as confident in this “5 Regret Rule” as she was drunk, so I’m assuming she’s operating on some kind of insider information and this rule is a real thing we all must follow. As I’ve gotten older, my list of regrets has morphed from things that were very specific (“I should have asked that girl out freshman year” or “I shouldn’t have gotten arrested those three times”) to a list of bigger picture regrets. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m growing up.

Here’s a link to the five regrets that he went to write afterwards.

Worth a read.

Worth a think.

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5. CATASTROPHE

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Have you seen/watched/heard of CATASTROPHE?

If you haven’t, seek it out. It’s actually brilliant.

If you have, then you’re probably going to enjoy this excellent profile of one half the writing team behind the show, Sharon Horgan* – ‘The Brutal Romantic

Horgan, who is forty-five, and Delaney, who is thirty-nine, are happily married to other people, and both have children. “One of the very first things that I joked with Rob about was how, if it wasn’t so hard to get a divorce, I would be divorced,” Horgan says. In his standup routine, Delaney sometimes equates marriage to rubbing yourself with a cheese grater, rubbing your wife with a cheese grater, and then smashing the exposed flesh, blood, and sinew together so that you heal as a single mutilated being. When Horgan and Delaney decided to collaborate on a pilot, they knew that they wanted to capture this tone. “I loved the brutality of it,” Horgan says. “At the same time, it was kind of romantic.”

Probably one of the best things I’ve read this week.

*the other half is the equally hilarious Rob Delaney – both pictured above. 

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Bonuses this week are as follows –

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And that’s it.

I’m out.

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