Five things on Friday #257

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TO THE THINGS.

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1. THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE

I wrote about this several editions ago – when the proof copy of my dear friend Molly Flatt’s debut novel, The Charmed Life of Alex Moore, first arrived.

Back then I said something along the lines of:

“My friend Molly Flatt has a book out. It is pretty damn good (so far). I am awfully proud of her.”

Last week I finished it.

And here’s what I said, to Molls, shortly after:

Quite.

Having had a few days to reflect, I’m less emosh and more thoughtful. The Charmed Life of Alex Moore starts out as a rich and knowing insight into the crazy world of startup land. If you’ve ever been anywhere near that industry, or have wanted to know how crazybatshi it can be, then you’ll love the way this book starts.

But then things get weird.

Unexplained coincidences. A call from a research agency in the Orkney Isles sets in motion a chain of events that completely flips everything Alex knows about herself, and the world, completely on its head.

Alex Moore is a brilliantly realised character living her best life in a perfectly described London of 2018. Until she’s not. And that’s when things get weird and wonderful. Go with it – the reward is worth the journey.

I cried. Thrice.

The Charmed Life of Alex Moore is out next Friday and you can pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, or Audible TODAY. Don’t just do it because Molly is a mate, do it because it really is a bloody good book. x

2. NOT TECHNICALLY BEAUTIFUL

Tracey Thorn, best known as being one half of the duo ‘Everything but the Girl‘, writing for The New Statesman on 35 years of being described by male journalists.

It is an essential read.

3. THE REDEFINITION OF CHARACTER IN THOR: RAGNAROK

Cutting off Thor’s hair in RAGNAROK should be a huge deal. But it wasn’t – not really – and it was handled with such deft care, along with a whole bunch of other huge character changes that you barely even noticed because you were having so much fun.

As Film School Rejects notes:

“Thor: Ragnarok is a little miracle of a movie. It’s easily the funniest film in the franchise. As much as I praise the vision of the directors witnessed in Iron Man 3and Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok plays like a Taika Waititi film first and a Marvel movie second. He picks up two of their most mishandled action figures, frees them of their usual accessories, and redefines their appeal. Thor is not the God of Hammers; he’s the mother frickin’ God of Thunder. Cue “Immigrant Song.””

And the Marvel Cinematic Universe is better for it.

Read the analysis – it’s good.

4. THE WORST OF TIMES, THE BEST OF TIMES.(OR ‘HOW I GOT MADE HEAD OF STRATEGY AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY INDUSTRY LANDSCAPE)

Ben Shaw writes:

“Consultancies are eating our lunch, brands are spending less with agencies, with procurement running the show and paying us by the hour, pitches now seem to be not only chemistry, tissue, strategy and creative but hey look we even made the ad too. Instead of a multi-year marriage between client and agency, long term brand building responsibility has seemingly been handed over to the logo, creatives are increasingly being told to tell a thumb stopping, emotionally engaging story in 3-6” vertical mobile film, the programmatic revolution increasingly looks like Brexit with lots of overpromise and plenty of under delivery, ad fraud seems ripe within the digital ecosystem with fewer and fewer pounds going towards actual comms, media agencies have been found out for not being transparent so brands are building teams in-house, influencers are the new media and replacing creative ideas with poorly acted product placement, Social Media ad spend is set to beat the storytelling heartland of TV, unsurprisingly, more and more of our best young talent isn’t even thinking of joining the industry, whilst our best talent is leaving to go client side or join a platform/consultancy, the #MeToo wave is slowly making its way through the industry with the biggest of big dogs being taken down, the gender gap pay difference confirms that we aren’t supporting talent in our industry if they want to nurture life as well, and our entire industry feels like it’s built on a cultural cohort of white middle class Oxbridge thinking that is more out of touch with the rest of the country than ever before. Phew. Oh. And A.I. is going to replace all of us.”

When you put it like that way, the industry’s problems writ large, it all becomes rather depressing.

The good news is (and also delivered by the brilliant and newly minted Head of Strategy at BBH London), it’s not all as bad as it looks.

Putting Ben in this role is bloody smart. I admire the man and his work – and I’m looking forward to seeing what else he brings to the table. Soon.

5. PASSING THE TORCH

This is a GREAT read.

Andrew White for the New York Times sits down with Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan. He opens with a question on what it was like for MBJ when, after his performance in Fruitvale Station (no, Robbie, I haven’t seen it yet -I’ll watch it tonight) film critics described him as a young DW.

And then it just flows from there.

One of those interviews where you just wish you were in the room.

THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

THE END IS NEAR. THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE CHUNK OF INTERNET TO FOLLOW: COME AND HAVE A GO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE HARD ENOUGH. 

LET’S HAVE IT. 

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Author: James Whatley

http://whatleydude.com/

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