Blind man’s tap dance/slice-and-dice epic and other fun stuff

I went to see Zatoichi over the weekend. It is a modern Japanese interpretation of a a series within the Japanese Chambara tradition of films. Zatoichi is similar to the ‘One Armed Swordsman’ of Hong Kong cinema or Django in the spaghetti western genre.

The new version of Zatoichi is much more than an action movie, there are well developed characters and sub-plots and a surreal but effective dance motif that runs throughout the film. Highly recommended viewing.

This also brings me on to a more serious matter. The key to stopping employment migration to cheaper countries according to globalisation ‘experts’ is the creative sectors – at its crudest – foreigners (sic) can work but they can’t innovate. Wrong, wrong – very wrong indeed. The two best films that I have seen this year have come from Asia – (Infernal Affairs – a Hong Kong film with a twisting plot worthy of The Usual Suspects and Zatoichi). A recent edition of Creative Business (the FT’s media and marketing supplement) highlighted the number of creative teams in London’s top ad agencies that hail from Thailand and South America. The Halifax (a UK bank) has shot many of its television advertisements at a Bollywood studio to keep costs down and domestic electronics firms in China like Haier and Ningbo Bird are giving both Nokia and Motorola mobile phones a pasting in product design and innovation. The market share loss in China is a source of embarrassment for Nokia, more information on this can be found in this Wired Magazine article link. If we are not careful we could find the creative industries going the way of back office and IT jobs. I have posted a bit more about this on AlwaysOn (free registration may be required).

Mixed news on the Apple front, some good – some bad. Someone has developed a proof-of-concept trojan horse for MacOS X to stop MacEvangelists being so smug. OpenOSX have released a free (as in beer) antidote. Mini iPod users have been complaining of cracking sound on the new devices – not exactly cool and the bargain basement eMac has been given a much needed upgrade (however its still really, really bulky).

Leiderhosen Review – indepth special

Actually, the title was total fiction: there is no leiderhosen related content here and I will not be putting any up in the future. I was inspired to write the title after having received a mail from a former colleague of mine – Jacqui. And no I won’t write about Dunlop Greenflash trainers (running shoes to our non-British readers).

Back to reality, I attended a seminar by marketing group these4walls on research versus creativity. These4walls are lovely people and have some groovy video clips here. The evening went well, with the audience plied with a modicum of wine, Becks bier or mineral water (in my case). The crux of much of the discussion revolved around poor problem definition, client realpolitik and ignorance intruding on strategic thought and how innovation can be ‘ironed’ out through research. I decided to pose the question: how do you improve your client? Given that the underlying form of my parts of the discussion was that clients were at the root of many problems. Steps that I have taken in the past have included:

– bringing the client in to sample agency life (I had to skip my three-hour lunch at Hakkasan that day, I couldn’t disappear to the gents to have a line of creative pick-me-up every 15 minutes and had to book some meetings in to pretend that I provided creative input and drove campaigns forward)

– get a feel for the realpolitik clientside and suggesting ways around it in a constructive manner whilst still delivering a programme aimed at providing business benefits (usually for Americans)

– resign the account

As the great PR maestro Larry Weber once said to me “Agency life is great, you work five years and then go in house and demand a fortune. When your in an agency to get to work on a range of clients and if one of them is an a55h01e you can tell them to go fcuk themselves”. Like the magic shopkeeper in Mr Benn my governor Cathy Pittham appeared and explained that telling a client to perform a sexual act on themselves was a career limiting move. (But I can dare to dream)

In the UK we have holidays on the Friday through to the Monday, so expect little if any content to be added to this blog.

Ricky V Valentine’s Ghetto Classics & Other Strange Fruit

It’s Friday and its been a hellish week with new business pitches, client meetings and an April Fool’s media stunt gone pear-shaped (when a certain national newspaper pulled out at the last minute) – big props to the editorial teams at AlwaysOn and ZDNet for running with it; so allowing us to snatch a last minute draw in the face of certain defeat.

As its the weekend I will be retreating behind the decks fulfilling my true vocation as a reverend in the church of House and the Souvenirs EP from C Side Trax has already a smile on my face and a shimmy in my gait. First up there was a skit advert for a boxed set collection by fictional lounge singer Ricky V Valentine singing hip hop standards such as NWA’s Straight outta Compton and Jay-Z’s Girls Girls Girls.

Then there was an unusual and way cool latin house groover Hugo Maldoro – I know a little Cuban, eerie lonesome vibe to the track but in the box all the same. Its a bargain buy!

Update on Fopp Vinyl

Further to my posting regarding Fopp and its vinyl section. As you can see from the mail below they will still be keeping their LPs, it is only 12″ singles that they are no longer selling.


just so you know it’s just the 12″ singles that were are losing not the LP’s

Hopefully, you’ll still shop at Fopp.


1 Earlham Street
Covent Garden
T: 020 7379 0883
F: 020 7240 8355
E: earlham.street at

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—– Original Message —–
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:01 PM
Subject: store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004

store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004
First Name : Rorsharch
Email address : rorsharch at
Enquiry CD :
Enquiry Vinyl :
Enquiry DVD
Enquiry Book :
General Enquiry :
Hi, I was very disappointed to hear today that you will be getting rid of
the vinyl section. You have gone to the trouble of building it up and having
a top quality team to run it alongside a really good selection, not a pile
of crap like many stores. I go to Fopp because I can buy my DVDs, vinyl and
books under one roof. SAVE THE VINYL or I’ll shop elsewhere. Who do I need
to take it up with at your head office?

You dancing? No I’m textin’

According to The Business, the youth in the UK are spending more (600GBP) on SMS than they are on CDs. Most of this is going on flirting. They say its the business phenomena of the always-on age. I say its because record companies are not developing enough artists and the kids don’t have the social skills to flirt face-to-face.