I'm really enjoying the 2nd season of the Flight of the Conchords. I'm loving that they are playing up the Aussie vs. New Zealand rivalry - although I'm not sure how it is playing to US audiences. In this excerpt, Jemaine wakes up and discovers to his horror that he has slept with an Aussie girl.
As Bret says to him in panic "You gotta get out of there. Just get out of there"
In this scene, Bret makes a poor attempt at breaking up the relationship.
Over the weekend I was reading through the The Guardian newspaper, and stumbled across a review of the city of Porto in the travel section. In it they mentioned what sounded like an incredible bookstore called Livraria Lello. Apparently it's often on the list of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. It's easy to see why.
We headed out last night to watch Coraline (in 3D). It's an utterly magical and beautiful world and it's just mind-blowing to think that everything in it was hand-made. It's truly an incredible combination of imagination, crafting and attention to detail, even down to the little sweaters and outfits that the characters wore. This short little video demonstrates the talent of just one of the people who worked on the movie. Using tiny knitting needles the dimensions of a hair, Althea Crome might just be the "smallest" knitter in the world.
My of my favourite blogs is The Year In Pictures. It's a wonderful collection of inspiring and thought-provoking images and video's. This quote from British Vogue sums it up pretty well.
"If only all blogs were as life-affirming and tender-hearted as that of gallerist James Danziger. Whether his focus falls on the work of an individual artist or a particular theme, The Year in Pictures is compulsive reading."
I especially look forward to his regular Weekend Video posts. A while ago he posted this great song, covered by a cute duo out of their bathroom somewhere.
When you see charts like this from the US, it's hard to be optimistic. Obviously there's a lot of pain and hardship behind these numbers.
But mixed in amongst these challenges are stories of creative thinking and ingenuity, and a focus from brands, marketers and agencies of all types on delivering even greater value to their customers. An initial gut reaction might be to tighten the belt, but as Steve talks about recently, brands do so at their own peril. He cites the example of Post Cereal during the depression of 1929. They were the leading cereal brand at the time. They cut back their marketing budget, Kelloggs did the opposite - and never looked back.
For a dose of optimism, I like to look to the story of Etsy - the online marketplace for handmade products who are experiencing continued and rapid growth through 2009, despite the overall global downturn.
In a recent interview, Etsy founder Robert Kalin talked about value, and what it means.
"When you don’t have as much money to spend, what is value to you? And I think to a lot of people, value isn’t how cheap something is, value’s how meaningful something is"
Or there's more creativity to be found at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. They needed to increase visitors, particularly amongst the younger set - quite a challenge when you consider that natural history is unlikely to be high on their bucket list.
So they re-invented the museum experience, and called it First Fridays - a truly magical idea that fuses t-rexes and triceratops, cool live music, great food and wine, and sexy lighting - pure awesomeness. Building on an experience that was all about discovery and knowledge, they mixed in some modern relevance resulting in a unique and memorable experience (lots more images over at Notcot). Surely we need more of this type of creativity and less of this?.
I just finished watching a wonderful film adaptation of the classic book by Gerald Durrell - My Family and other animals. It's based on his experiences as a young boy when his family escaped a cold and dull life in England and moved to beautiful Corfu.
I love how it really captures the characters and setting from the book, especially the snobbish yet endearing older brother (and famous novelist) Lawrence Durrell. Matthew Goode's performance as Larry is brilliant (and very funny).
It's inspiring to know that the childlike wonder and fascination the young Gerald had for the animal world continued throughout his life. He went on to become a famed naturalist, conservationist, author and television presenter.
If anyone's looking for an escape from the winter blues I highly recommend both the book and movie