Seven things on Sunday (FtoF #180)

Things of note for the week ending… Sunday June 12th, 2016

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It’s Sunday. Not Friday. Friday I was busy. Saturday afternoon I threw a house party – AMAZING – SO MANY PEOPLE (and literally just finished clearing up). And so today, Sunday, I’m bringing you Seven Things on Sunday instead.

And then I’ll get breakfast.

But first, for you lovely people, here are ALL THE INTERESTING THINGS I SAW ON THE INTERNET THIS WEEK…

LET’S GO!

1. SLOW JAM NEWS

Jimmy Fallon on President Barack Obama slow jam the neeeews. You’ve probably seen this by now but whatever, it’s still awesome.

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— hit the image to play in YouTube, yo —

What’s not to love?

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2. SONY PS4 4K

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So this is interesting. It’s been long rumoured that Sony will be launched a mid-life-time upgrade of the world’s best selling console, the PlayStation 4.

This week, that rumour was confirmed.

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Original story (paywall – but you just need an account) or read more here.

The key points however are:

“Andrew House, president and global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, told the Financial Times that the “high-end PS4” would be more expensive than the current $350 version.

“It is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,” he said. “We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle.”

The new console, which is codenamed “Neo”, will target hardcore gamers, he said, as well as consumers with a 4K television set looking for more high-resolution content.”

Why is this interesting?

As a PS4 owner and avid gamer, I’m interested in this for a number of reasons.

First, as the leaders in Blu-Ray technology, you can hazard a guess that the PS4 4K (or ‘PS4.5’) will ship with the latest UHD Blu-Ray player therein. Meaning, like the PS3 before it, it’ll be arguably become one of the best UHD Blu-Ray players on the market – and that’s before you even get to any of the gaming.

Second, 4K TV ownership is on the rise. As prices tumble and content choice increases, more and more are investing in the latest screen technology to enjoy Netflix, Amazon etc (maybe Sky TV too at some point, but I won’t be watching that). Having a PS4 that can output at 4K res would be frankly awesome.

Third and finally, the gaming! Word is this upgraded machine somehow impacts the VR capabilities of the machine. I’ve got my PSVR headset on pre-order (you can read my experiences with it to date over on Plaaayed) and every time I’ve played it, it’s been a) excellent and b) on an original PS4 machine. I’m super intrigued as to how this might improve that experience and, as much as it seems like another ton of cash to shell out, I’m quite interested to see how this plays out.

Fingers crossed we’ll find out soon.

Bonus: it’s E3 next week. Keep an eye out for some huge game announcements (if that’s your thing).

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3. SO SOPHIE

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“In less than a decade Sophie went from being a virtual unknown in the US to the go-to baby gift for the upper-middle class. Roughly 500,000 Sophies are sold in the US each year. Its price point is right in prime baby shower gift territory. The giraffe is the 10th most popular baby item on Amazon, alongside staples like changing pads and breast milk storage bags.”

 If you know anybody with a small child, you would’ve seen Sophie the Giraffe. You may not know anybody with a small child (really?) but you still may’ve spotted Sophie on a street wall, perhaps left there for someone to come and find having lost it a few days prior… Sophie is everywhere.
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4. THE PRINCE NOTES

PRINCE

I’m still ploughing through ALL THE AMAZING STUFF that has been written about Prince. Both from before and after his passing.

This post, by Anil Dash, covers off the notes that his long-time manager, Alan Leeds, wrote re: the above Greatest Hits album. They’re filled with little cute anecdotes and well worth ten minutes of your reading time.

Enjoy.

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5. WHAT DO UBER DRIVES AND STRIPPERS HAVE IN COMMON?

This is a fascinating read from Bloomberg. No comments, just go read.

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6. HAVE YOU SEEN THE TIME?

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The “normal” form of the condition called synesthesia is weird enough: For people with this condition, sensory information gets mixed in the brain causing them to see sounds, taste colors, or perceive numbers as having particular hues.

But psychologist David Brang is studying a bunch of people with an even odder form of synesthesia: These people can literally “see time.”

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THIS IS MIND-BLOWING AND AMAZING.

Read it.

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7. 360 PHOTOS FOR EVERYBODY!

Hey look! Facebook rolled out 360 photo uploads for y’all this week.

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Wanna give it a go? Follow the instructions above. Android users, if you have Google Cardboard Camera installed, they work too. Check out my [terrible] efforts from my Istanbul trip a couple of months back.

Really, really cool.

Expect to see a whole lot more of these in your newsfeed as of… NOW.

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Bonuses this week are all self-serving in some way or another.

  • Ogilvy Blaze Radio. On June 14th, Ogilvy is launching a three-day pop-up radio station ran by entirely by its staff. From DJ sets to interviews and features, there’ll be a ton of cool stuff happening. We’ll be broadcasting from 9am to 9pm, 14th-16th of June. I’m on it too. Full schedule goes live tomorrow – here.
  • How’s this for choice architecture?
  • The 2016 Brand Z Top 100, from Millward Brown and WPP, launched this week. And it’s a pretty heavy read. I tend to flick through the full report when it comes out each year, and there are always a few interesting nuggets to take away (eg: Coca-Cola no longer in the top ten, McDonald’s now the only non-tech brand in the top ten). It’s a great little browse. This year however I’m super proud to say that I’ve been named as one of the key contributors and have a few quotes (on tech, millennials, and Gen z) as well as a two page piece on how to create core brand distinction in the digital age. Really, really chuffed with it.You can download your copy via this PDF link right now, I’d love to know what you think.

And that’s that!

Thanks for reading, as ever and – until next time – have an amazing week.

smashed it

Whatley out, x.

 

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Five things on Friday #179

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 3rd, 2016.

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1. THE PIPE

So, this is awesome.

I met my friend Angus (pictured left, below – I don’t know who the man on the right is) on the Marketing Academy almost six years ago exactly.

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He’s a smart chap and, thanks to a fortuitous turn of events, now works as a Creative at Ogilvy. Hurrah!

Anyway, I had coffee with Angus a couple of days ago and it turns out he’s one of the brains behind a new Ogilvy Group UK effort to get different thinkers / creatives / creators / etc – an ‘in’ in the advertising world. The name of the scheme?

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What is The Pipe? Well…

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The thing that I really genuinely love about this project is its ambition. In short: the [advertising] industry has too many white middle class men. It does.

All trained at the same universities, all studied the same theory, all run through the same training.

David Ogilvy once said ‘Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels.’ – and with ‘The Pipe’, the aim is to break the cycle above and bring in new and DIFFERENT talent.

Specifically creative talent.

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Are you creative?’ (or if you know someone that can) then it’d be really quite effing awesome if you would consider either applying or sharing it with someone who could.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve trained in advertising or not – Ogilvy wants to hear from you.

There are NO education requirements, NO age limits (not strictly true: you have to be over 18, but still), and crucially – NO previous experience is necessary.

What can you do?

FIRST: please consider sharing http://ogilvypipe.co.uk within (and beyond) your networks of friends, family, schoolmates, college/uni buddies, work colleagues… anywhere where we might reach outside of the normal circles.

SECOND: if this sounds like you – why not apply?

Applications close later this month – so you don’t have long!

You never know, you could help someone with the career change of a lifetime.

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2. THE BIG GAMBLE

bettinghsops

My dad taught me never to bet on anything you’re not certain you’re going to win. As a result, I reckon I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve stepped inside a betting shop.

Really not my thing.

At all.

This next thing has been floating around the internet this week – and rightly so. The latest Guardian Long Read is a doozy…

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This is the best long read I’ve had all week. This piece is well-researched, expertly-written, and above all demonstrates an incredible insight into the world of betting shops and the dangers that await therein.

It’s a fantastic read. Grim. But fantastic.

Read it.

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3. FULL DAY OF MUSIC, VOL 4

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Use Spotify?

Here’s a brand new EIGHT HOUR playlist specifically for your ears.

If you’re interested, volumes 1, 2, and 3 linked to near the end of available this post.

Enjoy!

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4. VR SHOULD BE BANNED

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Here’s a super provocative read from a military flight simulation expert (as discovered on Quora in answer to the question ‘How big an issue is nausea for VR products?’) that basically that states, with evidence, that the long-term effects of being in VR could prevent you from operating heavy machinery safely.

REALLY really interesting reading. Even more so for those of us that either a) have a VR unit already or b) have one on pre-order.

Definitely one to keep an eye on.

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5. OSCAR DANCES

File this one under ‘pretty much guaranteed to make you laugh no matter what’ – so a decent thing to end this week’s edition on, I’d say.

First though, have you seen Ex_Machina?

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If you have you’re going to LOVE this.

If you haven’t – then please fix that asap. It was definitely one of the best films of 2015 and you’re 100% missing out by NOT seeing it.

OK, back to the cool kids. ‘Oscar Dances’ is AN ENTIRE TWITTER ACCOUNT dedicated to remixing that dance scene with different music…

Everything from Mmmbop to Heart of Glass.

GO AND WATCH THIS AND LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH – it’s too perfect.

Lol-tastic 🙂

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Bonus items this week are as follows:

And finally…

I’m currently listening to the podcast of Elon Musk’s interview at Recode (it’s less than 24hrs old and you can watch it right now on YouTube) and he just said the following:

‘Life can’t be just about solving problems like there have to be things that are inspiring and exciting that make you glad to be alive.’
And you know what? He’s right.


Thanks for reading and I hope you have a glorious weekend.
Whatley out.
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Five things on Friday #178

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 27th, 2016.

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It’s Friday. I’ve got things for you. And you’ve got eyes for me.

Well, my things.

You know what I mean.

Shall we?

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1. DONATE A LIFE AMERICA

This one is pretty heavy BUT it is without doubt one of the best Instagram cases I’ve seen this year, if not ever.

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Did you know that while nearly 90% of people support being an organ donor, only 52% of people have signed up? Donate a Life America set out to tap into the 300m ‘hearts’ that are given every day on Instagram and get people to sign up straight from the platform.

Please, watch this video, and see for yourself.

It’s pretty moving stuff – you have been warned.

I have to to tell you: this work came out of the Ogilvy Chicago office and my colleague Lauren threw it under my nose this week to ask me about something else… I was like ‘Woah, what?!’ – I had no idea we’d done it and immediately wanted to share it.

The campaign is still pretty fresh but the results (I think it was something like over 250% increase in registrations) have been phenomenal.

Make you proud to be part of something that can make a true difference to people’s lives.

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2. STAR WARS – IN ONE IMAGE

I would embed this but y’know, the page size would increase by about 12 parsecs.

But here’s a couple of grabs –

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And here’s the whole damn thing.

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3.WHO PAYS INFLUENCERS?

 

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This has been shard a bit already this week and I tend not to share stuff [here] that has done the rounds a few times. However, I like this one so much I just had to.

Anonymous bloggers name (and in some cases shame) brands and agencies what they did for what cash and when. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

Really really interesting reading.

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4. DOES SIRI BELIEVE IN GOD?

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As opening paragraphs go, this one’s a doozy:

“I asked Siri whether she believes in God. “I believe in the separation of spirit and silicon,” she demurred. I asked the chatbot ELIZA the same question — her thing is she’s a therapist, so she’d rather focus on what I believe. I asked her if she was religious; she asked if I’d prefer if she weren’t. “We aren’t really talking about me, are we,” she replied. When I asked Cortana about God, she tried to search for Him on Bing.”

Leigh Alexander here with her theological guide to chatbots and the world’s major religions. Covering off everything from ‘would Islam accept an AI’ to ‘whether bots could become Christian’ – this is a great read.

It kinda stays with you too.

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5. LUKE’S MUM

Twitter user ‘@BeardyNoise’ lost his Mum recently a while back and has been sharing stories about her on Twitter. His Mum’s name was Claire Gooding and, from what I’ve read about her this week, it seems like she was a total badass.

Three things I’m telling you to do right now:

  • First, go follow @BeardyNoise (tell him I said hi).
  • Second, click on this Tweet, and read the full anecdote from start to finish.
  • Third, give BeardyNoise a nudge next week because we all want to know the Black Mamba story and we’re already tired of waiting.

Much love.

Here’s to your awesome Mum, Luke.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

  • Back in [the bonus section of FToF #172, I mentioned that Sky TV/Internet and X-MEN: APOCALYPSE had done quite an incredible tie-up/campaign. I mean, it’s cheesy as hell but still. Impressive. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I hear that Manchester Utd did one too. One slight difference mind. Whereas Sky’s is creative and vaguely interesting/relevant. Man Utd’s, is not. In fact one might simply call it awful.
  • The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens vinyl has the most amazing 3D holograms built into the actual record you have to see it to believe it.
  • Monument Valley in numbers. Staggering.

Aaaaand – I’m outta here!

.

PS. Liked this? Tell your friends.

PPS. THREE. DAY. WEEKEND.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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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