Television: no longer the lonely

After a week of trying I finally got hold of Sky Player on the Xbox at the weekend. The thing that caught my eye (other than the lack of watchable programming) is the option of watching shows with friends through Xbox Live: You can sit your avatar down with friends in front of a big screen and gesture and chat about the onscreen goings on to your heart’s content.

I think the viewing room is a great feature but also a big jump forward in the trend of television becoming a much more sociable pass time which has been taking place over the past few years thanks to big event programmes and the recent boom in box sets, which making the latest twist in Lost and who went out on X Factor key conversation on a Monday morning.

Twitter has added another dimension to this allowing anyone to instantly see the always hilarious often outraged reactions to shows like X Factor instantly and discuss performances, twists and sartorial choices with friends as they happen. Fox in the US has tried to harness Twitter with ‘tweet-peats’ in which fans and cast members tweet their way through episodes of Fringe and the Tweets appear onscreen. The-X-Factor-2009-Jedward-001

The Xbox Live viewing room is a step on from ‘tweet-peats’ allowing fans to get together and chat about the show they are watching, all they have to do is turn on their Sky Player.

As consoles increasingly move into the living room it seems clear television on demand through the console will proliferate and I think more viewing room type areas will begin to appear making television a much more social and interactive medium.

On top of the viewing room group screenings of cult shows like The Wire and Arrested Development (where apparently the audience often actually blue themselves)  have become common events and Box set clubs are becoming as prevalent as book clubs. I think these are symptoms of television quickly losing its image as a lonely pass time for fat men in stained underwear in favour of that of a sociable and interactive medium.

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Online Room 101

Jed tagged me in a meme and dammit I intend to follow through, so here we go:




I had a little problem with this one because the nature of the internet is such that if you don’t like something you just don’t go to it. However, i managed to scrape a few together and without further ado the websites I’d like Paul Merton to send to the room are:

Number One (i refuse to link to these despicable and depraved sites)

Lolcats some how finds comedy in pictures of cats with poorly spelt captions. Its the online equivalent of Jackass: comedy for people who don’t really understand actual comedy. I wouldn’t mind if the pictures would just stay on the lolcats site but some how they spread, they are pandemic. They arrive in my emails, have appeared in posts on my RSS and even infected actually comedy websites (i’m looking at you,


Number Two

I know Jed called this one but he was right, I never bought in to MySpace. My first friend on it was a pole dancer who added me (i was 14 for god sake, even I knew that was messed up) and once I’d found all of my friends that was it we never did anything with it, we just cruised other people’s profiles. The ‘blogs’ are filled with those crappy questionnaires people always sent to your hotmail account before MySpace came along and the music that plays every time you move on to a new profile is often horrific, always too loud. My sister is on it now and she loves it; lots of scene kids quoting Poe stories they haven’t read and filling their profiles with My Chemical Romance songs because it makes them look ‘deep’.  I suspect if i’d been young enough for Bebo this rant would have been about that. As it is shut down Myspace and het yourself a Facebook account

Number Three
MSN Messenger

Not a website and I’m sorry about that but MSN deserves to be sent down. I liked it when i was 14 because there was no better option: My friends had MSN so i was stuck with it, but there was also a whole bunch of people I knew but really didn’t like on there. These people would add me and it didn’t matter whether I accepted or not; sooner or later I’d be thrown in to a group chat with them. Now it’s even worse, my friends have refused to move on to Skype so i still get stuck with MSN and all the weirdoes who never moved on and still talk to me about that time i swore at the teacher. A few weeks ago my friend put her ‘personal message’ as ‘I can’t wait for march 13th 2009’, someone we went to school with messaged her asking what she “thought about April 2009 being the end of the Armageddon.” Such things shouldn’t happen on a private messenger service and MSN belongs in room 101.


Reckon I’ll tag Natalie Smith and Becca Caddy, enjoy

My friend Esther

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at the beginning of the week I started getting Skype messages from a nice Ghanaian girl named Esther. At first I thought Esther a run of the mill spammer/ scam artist but Esther was persistent so I eventually responded. Turns out Esther grandma has malaria and Esther needed 100 Euros to buy the medicine. I was so impressed by her tenacity that I thought I’d give her some good PR and reprint the charming girl’s conversation with me right here:



ghana_map (day 1)

05/02/09 09:05:00] Esther: how are you
[05/02/09 10:23:19] Paul Crouch: i’m fne thanks, how are you
[05/02/09 15:33:09] Esther: pls am not well now
[05/02/09 15:33:33] Paul Crouch: why not?
[05/02/09 15:34:57] Esther: ;(pls my grandmum is sick in hospital and the docter need money before they look her
[05/02/09 15:35:11] Paul Crouch: oh yeah whats wrong with her
[05/02/09 15:35:34] Esther: pls is malira
[05/02/09 15:35:51] Esther: pls the need 150euros
[05/02/09 15:36:17] Paul Crouch: are you asking me for the money
[05/02/09 15:36:48] Esther: pls yes that is why am here looking for help
[05/02/09 15:37:12] Paul Crouch: what do i get for my 150 euros
[05/02/09 15:37:52] Esther: pls to pay it
[05/02/09 15:38:12] Esther: pls God will bless you
[05/02/09 15:38:58] Paul Crouch: just wondering, why do you need euros if you live in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:40:40] Esther: when u transfer the euros i will get it here sin Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:41:27] Paul Crouch: what is the unit of currency in Ghana
[05/02/09 15:43:21] Esther: 50euros is 78 Ghana cedis
[05/02/09 15:44:42] Paul Crouch: i don’t know you
[05/02/09 15:45:02] Esther: plsi know
[05/02/09 15:45:51] Esther: pls can i give you the datails you will use it to send the pls.pls my grandmum  will die pls
[05/02/09 15:47:07] Paul Crouch: i’m curious how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:48:24] Esther: pls am not lie you pls s;(v;( my grandmumlife me 
[05/02/09 15:49:33] Paul Crouch: how come you have an internet connection to use skype with but not the money for the malaria vaccine
[05/02/09 15:50:06] Esther: pls if you cant help  me pls tell me
[05/02/09 15:51:20] Paul Crouch: you should get a picture, i’d probably be more likely to give you money then
[05/02/09 15:51:44] Esther: ok
[05/02/09 15:51:58] Esther: pls send the money frist
[05/02/09 15:52:22] Esther:
[05/02/09 15:52:53] Esther: is my mail send the imfromation there so i will get it fast
[05/02/09 15:53:05] Esther: pls my timeis up now
[05/02/09 15:53:09] Esther: byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
[05/02/09 15:53:12] Paul Crouch: you can’t send money to an email address
[05/02/09 15:54:26] Esther: pls everdaypeoples die
[05/02/09 15:54:49] Paul Crouch: thats true so why should i specifically help you
[05/02/09 15:55:06] Paul Crouch: you should read Novick’s writings on economy
[05/02/09 15:57:12] Esther: yes
[05/02/09 15:58:45] Paul Crouch: thats not an answer
[05/02/09 16:03:09] Paul Crouch: did you go away?



[09:27:49] Esther: pls is not pls my time sign up
[09:28:28] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[09:29:41] Esther: ok.pls did you send what is told you
[09:46:09] Paul Crouch: did I send you money to your email address?
[09:47:06] Esther: pls yes
[09:48:03] Esther: pls if you give the datails online
[09:49:00] Paul Crouch: if i give you my bank details?
[09:49:38] Esther: ok
[09:49:54] Esther: pls the mtc number
[09:51:12] Paul Crouch: why you are very knowledgeable on international money transfer, are you sure your Grandma hasn’t had Malaria before
[09:52:38] Esther: if is;(;(ot serious i will not come here to beg for money
[09:53:44] Paul Crouch: whats Ghana like, I image its better than the Congo but worse the South Africa
[09:54:56] Esther: i dont have anyone to help me i lost my parent in car accident and now it has l;(;(y only us pls help me to save my grandmum from death  
[09:57:09] Esther: pls add me am semding you a picture
[09:57:26] Paul Crouch: so your saying Ghana has lots of cars? i don’t really use traffic levels as an indicator of how good a country is
[09:57:34] Esther: Let me see when you are online
[09:57:52] *** Missed call from Esther. ***
[09:58:10] Paul Crouch: don’t have a microphone
[09:58:17] *** Call ended ***
[09:58:25] Esther: ok.pls add me
[09:58:39] Paul Crouch: how come you have a microphone
[09:58:49] Esther: pls i dont
[09:58:50] Paul Crouch: you should sell your microphone and buy some medicine
[09:59:05] Paul Crouch: then how could you ring me
[09:59:09] Esther: pls i dont have
[09:59:23] Esther: pls in the computer pls
[10:00:04] Paul Crouch: that doesn’t make sense
[10:00:55] Esther: ok
[10:01:22] Esther: pls send the imfromation in my mail address pls
[10:03:09] Paul Crouch: its probably best we wait till I get paid
[10:03:29] Paul Crouch: also are you vat registered
[10:03:48] Esther: pls my time is up.pls i want to go the hospital yo see my grandmum pls am going
[10:04:07] Paul Crouch: say hi from me
[10:04:25] Esther: ok hse will hear it
[10:04:27] Paul Crouch: who’s computer are you using
[10:04:32] Esther: byeeeeeeeee
[10:04:37] Esther: pls am in cafe
[10:06:00] Paul Crouch: pls you should stop spending money in cafes and buy your grandma some grape
[10:06:04] Paul Crouch: grapes*
[10:06:05] Esther: pls am waitting you
[10:06:27] Esther: ok.that is why am here
[10:06:36] Esther: pls send the money noe
[10:06:39] Esther: now
[10:06:40] Esther: now
[10:07:01] Paul Crouch: geez don’t get huffy
[10:07:37] Paul Crouch: I feel like your pay/hours ratio would be better if you got a job


I hope you enjoyed Esther’s obvious wit and charm as much as I did and if you’d like to donate just send all your bank details (including MTC number) to; Do some good in the world.

Be Original

I’ve noticed a recent trend in advertising which I really want to have a little rant about, so bare with me.

In the last 2 months three different adverts have begun showing which blatantly, shamelessly rip off music videos.

First we had this:

The Berocca Advert ‘with the treadmills’ a bit like:

the OK GO music video with the treadmills.

That I could forgive, the song wasn’t a massive hit so most people won’t have seen it and clearly someone the ad agency had seen the video when it went viral.

but now Mazda are ripping off the White Stripe’s Seven nation army video:

and T-Mobile have made something akin to Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’

Have to give T-mobile credit though, the slow supersizing of the dance troupe is pretty cool.

Yes your marketing needs to imaginative and cool if it’s going to have any pronounced effect anymore and achieve that holy grail of modern advertising, going viral. Yes music videos have a knack for the original (they have to because we aren’t forced to watch them) but ripping off an already popular concept will get you no where. It just makes me write annoying ranty blogs.

monologue done, actual post on it’s way, honest.

Where on Earth is G.W’s spin team?

I’m a little bit lefty, It comes with the Sociology thing, but I have to admit I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for President G.W. Bush recently. First there was G20 when he stared at the ground and looked like a lonely school boy while everyone else made nice.















Now incredulous Iraqis are throwing their shoes at him on his Iraq victory lap.

The shoe thing doesn’t make me feel sorry for him but the fact that it ruined his victory lap does, because it didn’t have to. It could and should have been a chance to show why we are in Iraq at all.

In 2002 Muntader Al-Zaidi could never have slighted an allied leader in nearly as extreme a way as he did towards Bush. He would have been arrested, beaten and I can scarcely imagine what else.

So the moment Bush stepped off the stage after the incident why wasn’t somebody telling the President to point out how this man had just highlighted the freedom of speech hard won by the coalition presence he had put in Iraq. After that why didn’t someone specifically ensure that Al-Zaidi was treated impeccably and set free as rapidly as possible?

As it is Bush left the stage and joked “All I can report is it was a size 10” then said he wasn’t insulted by the incident. Al Zaidi meanwhile was arrested and is still being held (he’s become a national hero and a symbol of Iraqi distaste for U.S occupation). Meanwhile his brother has mounted a campaign to show the world how cruel Iraqi authorities still are with claims Al-Zaidi is being beaten and is suffering serious injury.

I’m pretty green as far as politics and spin goes but from where I’m standing Bush is facing a string of events which are very damning to his image and there is little his comms team is doing about it. This latest incident served to turn a reassuring last visit to Bush’s biggest legacy

into farce.

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