It’s 1984 and computer magic is exploding throughout Britain.
The Spectrum 48k wasn’t just a toy for playing daft video games. No, this was an opportunity to redefine the way we lived our lives.
And it was visionaries like beardie ‘freelance chef’, Ian M Hoare, who were pushing the boundaries. He could see the amazing potential of putting a Spectrum 48k into the kitchen.
The implications were literally mind-blowing. What if you could create an ‘electronic cookbook’?
What if; instead of taking a recipe book into the kitchen, you could lug in a massive telly, computer and tape recorder?
What if; instead of flicking through a few pages, you could wait 20 minutes to load up a buggy database which you would navigate using a baffling menu system?
What if; instead of hundreds of recipes, you could only store 60 because of the computer’s tiny memory?
These were the thoughts pulsing through the synapses of Ian M Hoare’s brain. If this could be done – it would transform cooking forever. This was the dream which inspired him to create the Computer Cookbook.
But like many of the world’s great visionaries, Ian M Hoare was ahead of his time. The public whinged and whined – they said he was an idiot. They said there was absolutely fuck-all point in having a computer cookbook.
They weren’t prepared to face the challenges of steamed-up monitors and fat-smeared keyboards. They weren’t prepared to wait 20 minutes for the privilege of finding a recipe for Pheasant Normande. They weren’t in the slightest bit interested in knowing that Nebbiolo is the correct wine to have with a steak and kidney pie.
So the kids carried on dicking around with their Spectrum games, and the parents carried on using those dusty old recipe books; and Ian M Hoare disappeared. It would be another 24 years before his vision would finally become a reality.
The year is 2008 now, and the world was finally ready. It took the form of a DS game called What’s Cooking? with Jamie Oliver. A copy of which is now a staple part of every good kitchen.
A man called Ian Hoare was recently posting vaguely racist things about Indian contestants on MasterChef.
The world record for eating the most Ferrero Rocher in a minute is seven and held by a Danish bloke.
Sixties celebrity chef Fanny Craddock once delicately observed that: “Only a slut gets in a mess in the kitchen.”
He is a genius; one of the greatest and most influential artists of our time.
And we know this because a small cabal of Bowie-philes keep telling us it. These are the forty-somethings who control much of our media. Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais are the public face of this shadowy élite, but beneath the surface lies a vast network of Bowie obsessives: producers, authors, presenters, editors, journalists.
They commission each other to write articles and make TV documentaries in which they simper and fawn about their horse-toothed idol. Back in the 1970’s these people were the weird and delicate children who nobody talked to in the playground. So they sought solace in the spindly arms of a ginger-haired clown called Ziggy Stardust.
Ziggy played guitar. He played it left-handed. He looked a bit like Cilla Black. It was a winning combination.
The weird kids had found a friend; a goofy buddy from outer-space. He told them it was okay to be pretentious, po-faced and slightly aloof. It was alright to dabble with make-up, prance around with mime and pretend to be on drugs.
Bowie became an idol for these teenage geeks. Their creepy obsession helped to catapult him from a novelty pop singer to a mainstream star. They slavishly followed his ever-changing costumes and idiotic personas. They bought his tinny music and searched for profound meaning within his meaningless lyrics.
It is the obsessive and needy nature of these Bowie cultists, which makes them so dangerous and deluded – even after all these years. They retain a blinkered devotion to the Thin White Duke which renders them incapable of logic or reason; unable to grasp the concept that Bowie might actually have been a bit shit. Or at least, massively overrated.
Because if you weren’t a child of the 70′s, and don’t have the benefit of looking back through the distorted lens of nostalgia; then you see a very different David Bowie. You see an odd-looking man who, in a 40-year recording career, manged to make five-or-six decent songs. A man whose most memorable performance in recent years has been to get hit in the eye with a lollipop.
Bowie has always been about style over substance. His first job was in advertising; he realised early doors that to market himself he needed a gimmick. Releasing a novelty song about a laughing gnome didn’t work, but dressing as a transvestite Ronald McDonald proved to be just the ticket.
In doing so, he provided the inspiration for the likes of Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Lady Gaga and a multitude of other average performers who understood the commercial benefits of dressing like a mentalist.
It is bizarre that Bowie is still cited as a fashion icon, usually by baldy old football casuals in white plimsolls. Because when you scan back at his different looks over the years, it is remarkable how he always managed to maintain the appearance of an absolute pillock. Leotards, kimonos, eye-patches, bouffant haircuts, white knee-length-boots; usually all worn at the same time.
And behind Bowie’s costumes and zany characters; there was a void. There was nothing there. It was all just an act; a series of fictional characters. No underlying message or genuine emotion. Just a pompous theatrical performance.
The interviews with Bowie, especially those during the 1970’s, are excruciatingly dull. They pull back the curtain to reveal the dreary middle-class bloke who hides behind the wacky stage persona – a man called David Jones. But if you close your eyes while listening, it could easily be David Brent.
Here are a few of Bowie’s memorable zingers from over the years:
“I’m pretty good with collaborative thinking. I work well with other people.”
“It amazes me sometimes that even intelligent people will analyze a situation or make a judgement after only recognising the standard or traditional structure of a piece.”
“I believe that I often bring out the best in somebody’s talents.”
But Bowie can let his music do the talking. He has, after all, recorded more than 550 songs over a wafer-thin career. The problem is that, despite a purple patch in the mid-70’s, they just aren’t that good. It’s all subjective, but it’s really hard to justify his status as a musical legend.
You can’t compare his musical output to the likes of McCartney, Reed or Marley.
I have tried to like Bowie. I have read/watched/heard so many gushing tributes to his elf-like genius over the years. But they seem to be talking about a different artist entirely. The one I see is that embarrassing bloke and his cringe-worthy posturing alongside Mick Jagger in the Dancing in the Street video.
He’s the same bloke who released those syrupy hits, like China Girl and Let’s Dance. For me, he represents all that was rubbish about music in the 1980′s: Bowie’s affected vocal warbling and the tinny sounding buzz of over-produced saxophones and synths.
And if Bowie wasn’t releasing crap singles in the 80′s; he was inspiring them. The whole of the decade was tainted by the eye-liner wearing groups who had been influenced by the Bowie brand of style over substance; the likes of Japan, Kajagoogoo and Duran Duran.
But none of this matters. David Bowie is a legend. He is a genius. He changed music for ever. He invented punk. He invented the kettle. He inspired everyone who was born AB(After Bowie). He is the power and the glory. Amen.
It’s great to have something to laugh at during these times of financial doom and gloom. And there’s been no better provider of the chuckles recently than the death of North Korea’s comedy dictator, Kim Jong-Il.
Not since Rod Hull fell off his roof has the demise of a famous person caused so much general merriment. Newspapers, blogs and Tweets have all served-up a regular feast of funnies about the deranged world of this terrible little tyrant.
His taste for roast donkey
His obsession with slasher movies
His lust for teenage girls
And not forgetting his deluded claim to be the world’s greatest golfer, having racked up 11 hole-in-ones in a single round.
These were just some of the Kim Jong-Il nuggets served up by the likes of the Guardian, BBC, Telegraph, Independent, CNN and New York Times. These crazy ‘facts’ have been remixed and regurgitated to create a blizzard of forum posts and Top 10 lists.
It’s been an absolute hoot. The only problem is – well, it’s all bollocks.
When you examine these ‘facts’, you find they are rumours, exaggerations and myths. It’s the equivalent of the North Koreans reporting that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, eats dogs and is a crack addict.
But our media has been happy to repeat these stories – because North Korea is our enemy.
Here are a few examples of the Kim Jong-Il facts claimed by the mainstream media:
CRAZY FACT 1
Kim Jong-Il claims to be the world’s greatest golfer
In 1994 the North Korean propaganda machine reported that Kim Jong-Il had racked up 11 hole-in-ones during his first ever attempt at playing golf. His 38 under-par round at the Pyongyang Golf Course was verified by his 17 bodyguards.
It’s a great story, but there is no record of either the North Korean media or Kim Jong-Il ever making this claim. The origins of this ‘fact’ are from an International Herald Tribune article. It was an off-the-cuff comment made by a groundsman at the golf course during a chat to an American journalist called Eric Ellis.
CRAZY FACT 2
Kim Jong-Il was the world’s biggest guzzler of Cognac
Kim Jong-Il was a notorious boozer and the biggest single purchaser of cognac in the world. His favourite tipple was a brand called Hennessey. The drink makers confirm that during the 1990’s the North Korean leader spent an annual budget of $700,000 on bottles of their liquor.
There is no evidence of Hennessey ever having confirmed these figures. The story first emerged in a 1994 Wall Street Journal article and the claim is made by a South Korean propagandist who cited only a ‘diplomatic source’.
CRAZY FACT 3
Kim Jong-Il kidnapped a movie director and forced him to make propaganda Godzilla films
In 1978 a famous South Korean film director called Shin Sang-ok was kidnapped by North Korean secret agents. He was imprisoned in a Pyongyang jail and forced to make Godzilla style propaganda movies for Kim Jong-Il.
This is highly dubious. Shin Sang-ok initially said he had defected to North Korea, only later claiming to have been kidnapped. In the period before his relocation, he had found himself in dispute with the South Korean government, who had revoked his licence to make films. He was facing spiralling financial problems and a messy divorce. He did make a Godzilla clone though.
This has all helped to create a powerful image of Kim Jong-Il as the archetypal evil dictator. He is the creepy puppet who appeared in Team America. A deranged nutter who was obsessed with nuclear weapons.
So where does this come from?
The Subtle Art of Psyops
In many ways, we in the West are more susceptible to propaganda than the weeping and wailing North Koreans we tend to mock. At least they know what they’re getting. They know that when they switch on a TV or read a newspaper, they are receiving information which is filtered through the state.
We have absolutely no idea. We are exposed to a form of ‘grey propaganda’ which exists in the ether. We sense it’s there, but don’t know where it is, or what form it takes. In America, the technique of influencing public perceptions in this way is known as Psychological Operations, or psyops.
PSYOP expert: Jerrold M Post
And one of the CIA’s main experts in the field of psyops is a man called Jerrold M Post. He has many different titles, most impressive being: Founder of the CIA’s Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior’.
Jerrold M Post’s name crops up time-and-time again when you start to search for the origins of the various ‘Kim Jong-Il is a nutter’ stories. With his academic hat on, Post has established himself as the go-to-guy for journalists wanting an insight into the personality of the North Korean leader.
His expertise comes from a psychological profile he compiled for the CIA, the results of which were published in a 2004 book called ‘Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World’.
So when it comes to finding crazy and unsubstantiated facts about Kim Jong-Il, he literally wrote the book. He collects together disparate rumours, half-truths and exaggerations; sprinkles in a few academic references, and uses it as proof that Kim Jong-Il was indeed dangerous, bad and mad.
He talks about his cognac guzzling sessions, his obsession with Hollywood movies, the naked parties and ‘joy brigades’ full of teenage girls. He even hints that he killed his brother during a childhood argument. The main source for many of the more lurid stories is a Japanese sushi chef called Kenji Fujimoto.
He is a bizarre character who worked for Kim Jong-Il in the 90’s and has since made a lucrative career out of appearing on chat shows, wearing a bandanna and shades to protect his identity, and dutifully dishing out the dirt on Kim Jong-Il.
Given the inability of anyone to verify anything he says, and the financial incentives for him to talk; it’s hard to believe any of the florid tales about his alleged close friendship with the ‘Dear Leader’.
But these, and the rest of the half-baked stories, have been presented as fact by the authoritative Mr Post. He has repeated them constantly in the many interviews and articles he has provided the media over the years.
“Here’s a guy who is very concerned about his physical stature, among other things. He’s 5-foot-2 and wears four-inch lifts in his shoes.” Jerrold M Post, CNN, 2003
“He’s not clinically crazy, but he is crazy like a fox and has some major insecurities that help explain the way he acts. He is a film fanatic with a video library containing more than 15,000 movies. His view of the world and how he should behave and how others will respond is doubtless shaped by these films.” Jerrold M Post, The Sunday Telegraph, 2006
“He recruited attractive young girls of junior high school age to take part in joy brigades. And the joy brigades’ function was to help in relaxation to his senior officials.” Jerrold M Post, CNN, 2005
“As his country was starving, with the average income of North Koreans being between $900 and $1,000 a year, he was spending, according to the Hennessy Fine Spirits Corporation, between $650,000 and $800,000 a year. Rather extraordinary.” Jerrold M Post, ABC, 2006
So here we have a CIA official, a self-proclaimed expert in psyops, who for many years has been one of the main sources in the West for information about Kim Jong-Il. The stories he spreads are essentially, tittle-tattle – exaggerations and unsubstantiated rumours.
But they have successfully been embedded into the mainstream media and allowed to take on a life of their own – mutating and growing through the digital world. Jerrold M Post has already been providing news organisations with his psychological insights into the mind of Kim Jong-Il’s successor; his son Kim Jong-Un.
How long before we start to see the first ‘Top 10 Crazy Facts about Kim Jong-Un’?
It’s hard to imagine a mainstream game these days based on the politics of a scouse, gay, sado-masochistic musical collective.
This was the game released by Manchester developers Ocean Software on the back of the massive success of Liverpool supergroup, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They were a strange bunch who managed to sell a brand of cheery politics and perversion to the nation’s kids and grannies.
And the game was fittingly odd. It was all set in a terraced street called Mundanesville and you played a doley who only become ‘real’ when he entered the Pleasuredome. Can you see where this is heading?
Yes, to get to the pleasuredome you had to pop pleasure pills. And to get pleasure pills you had to root around people’s houses and nick stuff. It a bit like Pac-Man meets Trainspotting.
Along the way you had various strange mini-games including one in which you shot at Maggie Thatcher, and another featuring Reagan and Gorbachev spitting at each other over a wall.
There was also a murder to solve and…well, it was just weird. It was hard to figure out what it was about or what you were supposed to do – but it was cool. It felt a bit more sophisticated than Horace Goes Skiiing.
The group’s publicist Paul Morley, the knobhead who now appears on Newsnight Review, was supposed to have come up with a lot of the ideas used in the game. And fair play to him, this was pretty subversive for a daft kid’s video game.
Holly Johnson worked on a building site in London for three months in 1980.
It took Radio 1 DJ, Mike Read, three months to figure out that the single ‘Relax’ was about masturbation.
Paul Morley features in the video for ABC’s The Look of Love, miming the words ‘what’s that?’
Flick around the nether regions of the TV channels and you’ll find him – he’ll usually be cackling, making weak sexual innuendos and trying to flog you a Star Wars themed duvet – or some such tat.
He looks like a middle-aged chipmunk. He sounds like one too – a shrill Mancunian motormouth. His name is Peter Simon and he’s the scariest man on television – he always has been.
Others may have had childhood nightmares about the likes of Freddy Kruger or Alien, but for me it was always Peter Simon.
If he wasn’t flogging stuff on shopping channels you could imagine him smashing doors down with an axe or screaming at people at Victoria bus station.
I’m sure a lot of his craziness is a well-honed act, something he used to set himself apart from the many other Paul Ross wannabes – but it’s certainly effective. I genuinely think he is nuts.
It’s an act which he developed while presenting a kid’s TV show in the 80′s called Double Dare; this was shown in segments during Going Live.
The main feature of this baffling quiz show was a gunge filled obstacle course finale and Peter Simon’s weekly routine of ‘accidentally’ slipping over in it. He would thrash around on the floor, covering himself in gunge, as the child contestants watched on nervously.
It was like watching an episode of Casualty. You knew he was going to do it, it was inevitable. It was just a question of when and how.
As the show reached its conclusion he would become increasingly manic and desperate in his attempts to fall flat on his arse. If sliding through gunge in slip-on shoes didn’t do the trick then he would just take an outrageous Premiership style dive – usually taking a couple of kids down with him.
It was sad to see a man reduced to this.
The game? Oh right. The Spectrum game had a cover which featured a suitably bug-eyed photo of Uncle Peter, but unfortunately he didn’t feature much in the game at all.
It was just loads of dull trivia questions about Simple Minds, followed by a ropey platform section which was supposed to represent the obstacle course. No gunge. And no Scalextric prize if you won. Crap.
DOUBLE DARE FACTS
That bloke Paul, who got off with the Welsh “I like blinking, I do” girl on Big Brother II, is a former Double Dare contestant. FACT!!!
Peter Simon released a single called Simon Says- unfortunately Simon didn’t say to buy his record. So they didn’t.
Double Dare was eventually replaced on Going Live by a thing called Clockwise which was presented by another monster – Darren Day.
Most people think that holidays are all about drinking cocktails, dive-bombing into swimming pools and generally having a great time. WRONG!!!
Holidays are about survival. A good holiday is one where you manage to make it back home without being mugged, scammed or murdered.
The most effective way to achieve this is to NEVER go on holiday – prevention is the best cure. The second best way is to HIDE in your hotel room and avoid all forms of human interaction.
But if you are one of these gung-ho idiots who insist on wandering around foreign places, then you need to study this guide. And you need to study it good.
This is a list of the sneakiest and most weasliest holiday scams that are out there. These are genuine scams which are being used every day of the year to rattle money off nice folk like you.
So hold on to your wallets, kids – we’re going in!
10. The Bird Crap Scam
Most holiday scams involve tourists being crapped on in some way but this one takes things literally. You will be walking along when you feel something splatter onto your back. A passer-by sees what’s happened and points at the horrible globule of bird poo on your coat.
Thankfully this kind soul has some tissues and a bottle of water which they use to wipe away the foul smelling white goo. You thank them as they walk off, thinking just how brilliant humans can be sometimes – that is, until you check your pockets and find your wallet and mobile phone has been nabbed.
The way this works is that an accomplice uses a syringe to squirt the fake ‘bird poo’ substance onto your back while the scammer uses the close-contact of the clean-up operation to pickpocket valuables. The same kind of con is done using various types of nasty globby substances: tomato sauce, mustard, oil, dirty water etc.
9. The Scratch Card Scam
You are approached by a respectable looking person who hands you a free scratchcard and the chance to win a luxury holiday. Yeah, like that’s really going to happen.
Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Wahoo! You’ve only gone and won. And to claim the luxury holiday you just need to attend a presentation which is being held in the resort. This is when your scam detector should start rattling off the wall because there are dozens of other ‘winners’ who turn up at the presentation. In fact, everybody who has been handed a scratchcard has also ‘won’.
And your prize isn’t a luxury holiday; it is to spend the next five hours being battered with high-pressure sales techniques by a bunch of rat-faced dickheads in cheap suits who try to make you buy into a worthless ‘holiday club’.
8. The Bogus Taxi Scam
Your flight lands, you grab your luggage and find yourself stood in the airport concourse. You’re now officially ‘on your hols’.
But you’re tired and frazzled and just want to get to your hotel. At that very moment a friendly man glides into view with a trolley for your luggage and the offer of a nearby taxi. Champion!
And the next thing you know your face is on the front page of the local newspaper alongside the story of how you were robbed and brutally murdered by the driver of an illegal taxi – which is a shame.
Okay, so that’s the worst case scenario; but using an illegal cab is a tried and tested way of getting ripped-off: extortionate fares, theft of luggage etc. You’re much better sticking to the official taxi ranks.
7. The Gold Ring Scam
We can thank our Parisian friends for this beauty. You see a person bend down to pick something up. They turn to you holding a shiny golden ring and ask if you have dropped it.
The way this scam plays out depends on how you answer. If you are greedy, you may pretend it is yours and the scammer will return it – for a small finder’s fee. If you are honest, they will be give you some heart tugging story about why they want you to have it – in return for a small payment.
Whichever way this goes, the end result is the same. You get a worthless brass ring. The scammer gets some of your money.
6. The Airport Scanner Scam
You’re queuing to go through the metal detector at the airport. You’ve put your valuables into the black plastic dish and sent it trundling towards the X-ray machine.
The man in front of you passes through the detector, the alarm goes off. He then takes ages faffing around, checking and double-checking his pockets, until he eventually finds a coin – bloody idiot. You follow him through and collect your tray on the other side but… your valuables are gone.
The bumbling Mr Bean act is used by the conman to buy time for his accomplice on the other side to nick your stuff and disappear. This scam is a particular problem in airports, like those in America, where people are allowed in and out of the departures area.
5. The Holiday Rep Scam
You’re on a day trip as part of a package holiday and your rep offers to show you some of the best places to shop. These are the resort’s best kept secrets where you will find genuine bargains, they say.
So you are herded into a shop with the comfort of knowing that the coconut carved into a gorilla which you have just bought is a brilliant bargain. As you are hurried back onto the coach you don’t notice that the shelves of most shops are heaving with coconut gorillas – and at much cheaper prices.
The tour guide’s recommendations are not based on local knowledge but on the amount of commission they receive from the shop owner to bring gullible tourists into their lair. Just remember – holiday reps are evil.
4. The Hotel Reception Scam
It is way too early in the morning and you are woken by a call from hotel reception. They are having a problem processing a payment and need to verify your credit card details. In a bleary-eyed haze you mumble out the numbers before rolling over and returning to the arms of sleepy land.
But for the scammer, who you have just given your details to, there is a busy day ahead as they try to use your card to rack-up payments which will dwarf Greek national debt.
3. The Nibbles Scam
You spot a nice restaurant and go through the usual holiday menu checklist. Ridiculously cheap? Check. Photographs of food? Check. Chips? Check.
So with all boxes ticked you grab a table and find yourselves warmly greeted by a waiter who slips a basket of bread things in front of you. Complementary nibbles – nice.
You start casually picking away at the bread while deciding what to have with your chips – and you, my friend, have just been poked with the scam stick. Because when you pay the bill you will find that those nibbles weren’t free and actually cost some money.
Okay, so this isn’t the most heinous of scams in the grand scheme of things…but it’s still a bit annoying.
2. Hire Car Scam
It’s the end of your hols. Your flight home is in the early hours so you leave the hire car outside the company’s car park and drop the keys into a box. You have been driving it in the style of an elderly vicar with piles to ensure there is absolutely no damage. So what could possibly go wrong?
A couple of weeks later, while watching your suntan disappear, your credit card bill arrives and shows a payment to the hire car company for ‘damages’ – usually a dink or scratch. If you complain about this payment you are likely to get it reduced but the amount of hassle involved means most people just accept this fictional damage.
Best way to guard against this is to get the car checked when you drop it off and also take photographs of it before and after use.
1. The Compensation Scam
You are making your way through a crowd and brush past somebody who acts like a Premiership striker in search of a free kick. They stagger back dramatically with their sunglasses being knocked to the ground.
They pick them up and start shouting and gesticulating as they show you a nasty crack on the lens. You shrug your shoulders but it only makes things worse as they become more hysterical and start demanding compensation for the damage.
As more people are drawn to this piece of street theatre you realise you have been cast in the role of baddie. You just want it to end so hand over a few notes. The sunglasses were, of course, already broken before they hit the ground. The same scam is done with various objects being dropped and hysterical requests for compensation.
Nintendo has been slammed for promoting the use of a virtual pet game as a way to train kids about owning a real animal.
The Japanese games company has teamed up with the Dog’s Trust charity for a TV advertising campaign which promotes the pet simulation called Nintendogs + Cats.
The game allows the player to keep a virtual puppy or kitten which they can groom, take for walks and train to carry out tricks.
The TV advert features members of girl group, The Saturdays, surrounded by puppies while playing on copies of the Nintendo 3DS title.
Singer Mollie King, 24, is shown saying: “I’d definitely recommend somebody who’s thinking of getting a dog to start off with Nintendogs + Cats because it shows you how much responsibility they are.
“You have to feed them, you have to give them water, take them for walks; you know, there’s loads of responsibility.”
But dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, presenter of Channel 4 show It’s Me Or The Dog, believes it is irresponsible to give the impression that keeping a virtual pet is anything like owning a real dog.
She said: “I have a seven-year-old daughter and she plays a similar kind of game on the iPhone and, of course, the puppy has big wide eyes and is really cute.
“You play games with the dog and you can feed it and it’s all really fun, but to translate this into real life? To present this as some come kind of educational tool? No – that’s just really misleading.
“Try getting a kid who plays these games up at 6am in the morning to take their puppy out. Try getting them up in the middle of the night to let their puppy out to pee.
“Get them to deal with what it’s like when a dog starts to bark or become aggressive towards people. Get them to understand how long it actually takes to socialise a dog.
“That’s the reality of owning a dog and it’s not something any child is going to learn from playing a game like this. Dog ownership can be incredibly rewarding but it also carries responsibilities – it’s not just sitting on your butt and playing a video game.
“I think Nintendo may have had the best of intentions but they are also trying to sell their product and the message this sends out is misleading. I just hope that parents have the good sense to see it for what it is – a video game which you can sit on your sofa and play.”
The advert is part of a wider ‘A dog is not a toy’ campaign in which Dogs Trust education officers intend to visit schools with copies of the game to help teach children about the responsibilities of dog ownership.
Nintendo deny that the adverts are misleading and say the partnership with the Dog’s Trust is intended to give children more information about what it takes to own an animal.
A spokesperson said: “ We believe that if Nintendogs + Cats can help just a handful of kids to stop and think about what is involved before buying a dog, then this initiative will have been a success.”
But the advert has also drawn complaints from television viewers who have started a Facebook protest page along with a complaint being lodged with the Advertising Standards Agency.
One viewer who left a message on the Facebook page states: “The intentions are good but the way the ad has been made does not highlight the ‘dog is not a toy’ message.
“Surely they can see the irony in trying to stop kids thinking of dogs as toys by using a computer game. A game is incomparable to the real implications of owning a dog and to promote it as such is misleading.”
The first Nintendogs game was released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS and by 2009 the franchise had racked up worldwide sales of 21 million, making it the company’s best-selling game for that system.
Everyone’s losing their jobs these days. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll get that email. You’ll have the awkward meeting and then leave the building with your little box of office tat.
But what’s the correct way to behave when you’ve been made redundant?
Well, the first thing you need to remember is that losing your job is a very bad thing – this is a point which needs to be emphasised. It’s not like being sent home from school because of the snow.
It’s not appropriate to be jumping and skipping around, fist pumping with pure and blissful ecstasy. No!
You’re an adult and losing your job is one of the worst things that can ever happen. You need to fully appreciate this because, if you don’t; you could end up like Charlie Veitch – and you don’t want that.
Charlie didn’t understand that redundancy is a bad thing. He saw it as a release from a lifestyle and a world which he didn’t much like. And then he started acting silly.
And the next thing you know he’s a rabid loon – one of the most dangerous anarchists in Britain; according to the tabloids. So dangerous, in fact, that the authorities had to lock him up before the Royal Wedding just in case he tried to do something…anarchic.
And if this can happen to Charlie, then it can happen to any of us; because here was a middle-class lad with a comfortable job in the city. He worked as a financial adviser. He was normal.
He got up and went to work. He came home, had his tea, watched telly and went to bed. And he did this again and again; for seven years – just like any normal person. It was only in 2009 that he was given the boot and he started to behave like a maniac.
Instead of attending CV clinics and adapt his skill-set for the requirements of an ever changing global marketplace – he bought a megaphone. And, with the help of a friend called Danny Shine, he set up a group called The Love Police.
They would go to public places and annoy people – officious police officers and security guards mostly. They would hug passers-by and hold up signs saying ‘Everything is Okay’ and question our attitudes to work, money and authority. They filmed these events and put them up on You Tube and they became popular.
So Charlie slammed the door shut in the face of his career. His life is now devoted to attending protests, giving talks and generally making a nuisance of himself. These days you’re likely to find him alongside hundreds of other ne’er-do-wells at Occupy London. Here’s his take on redundancy.
How did you cope with losing your job?
For me it was a sense of relief more than anything else. It was probably a couple of years overdue, if I’m honest. I was working in financial services, in sales, and I hadn’t created much revenue for my company in the last few years because I’d already ideologically bombed. My mind had left the building.
So losing my job was something that felt like a relief. Because when you’re earning good money in the city it’s really difficult to have the balls to just quit everything – it’s a scary prospect. But there was so much that I wanted to do and things that I wanted to say – particularly with the film making side of things.
So suddenly I find myself being made redundant and getting a four grand pay-out and basically being told to piss off – which was great. It was over. That’s when I bought a camera and a megaphone and started doing the Love Police stuff.
If I hadn’t lost my job, I don’t know if I would have been able to make that leap. I’d like to think I would have jumped ship at some stage but it’s hard to say. But I appreciate that my case is different to lots of people in similar situations because I didn’t have a family or a mortgage and I hated my job and I hated the corporate world.
Did you try to find another job?
I did – sort of. I guess there was a kind of aftershock from spending so long in the corporate world.
So after I’d started making the videos and doing the Love Police stuff I was still going to the occasional job interview. I was still putting on the suit and trying to say the right things. What finished it off for me was going to one particular interview and they asked me what I’d been doing since redundancy. I told them about the Love Police films – because it was something positive; something I was proud of. And it showed that I hadn’t just been sitting around on my arse.
The feedback I had was a rejection letter and advice to never mention my films if I ever wanted a job. So I just thought – well, fuck you. Fuck everything you stand for. And that was the last time I went through the indignity of putting on a suit and performing like a monkey for some managerial type.
How did you manage financially?
I was pretty gung-ho about that side of things. I never thought too much about the practicalities or the long term implications. I was more interested in just living each day like it’s your first and your last and hoping for the best.
But I also made a decision that I wasn’t going to pay back any of my overdrafts or loans or credit cards. So debt kept me going for a while. I was a financial adviser and had a good understanding about how those things work. And the more you know about money and finance; the less any of it makes sense. I decided that I wasn’t going to give a shit about it.
I started to get more and more letters and phone calls from the bank. And that ended up with me walking away from about £13,000 worth of debt. People think that you’ll end up in jail if you get into debt, but that’s not how it works. The bottom line is that if you can’t pay something back – you can’t pay it back.
Did you miss having money?
I always felt that any hardships were better than returning to that fake kind of existence that I had experienced in the corporate world. So it was a challenge. You have good days and bad days. Sometimes I panic about it all but that’s okay. It’s good to be scared sometimes. It’s about taking a leap of faith.
When you work for a corporation, you’re basically being held by the balls. The system holds all the money and if you aspire to wealth or a successful career, then you’re going to have to play by their rules. But as soon as you step away from that game, when you have no interest in fame or money or power or owning a big telly; then you can start to be free. It’s a kind of psychological and philosophical awakening. It allows you to see the world differently.
What happened when your loans ran out?
I was lucky because the Love Police films were popular and people liked what I was doing, so I was able to support myself partly through donations. But I also had to do other things to make ends meet – I sold some footage to the press and I gave interviews or went on discussion panels – which I would get paid for. At the moment I’m also working with a friend who’s a cameraman and we’re making films for people.
Why don’t you dress more like a protestor?
Well, I don’t look like a crusty dread-locked guy with a dog on a string, if that’s what you mean. And that’s important because I don’t want to seem threatening to people. I want them to listen to what I’ve got to say. So when I’m at a protest I try to dress smartly.
I think it’s good that this resistance movement, we’re seeing now, looks young and dynamic and – normal. This is not about a small fringe element any more. Take a look at the people who are getting involved with Occupy London. They’re not just people on the outer edges – it’s normal people. It’s a feeling and a belief that’s entering the mainstream; something which can’t be ignored.
What advice do you have for somebody who has lost their job?
I don’t know. I’m not the right guy to be asking. Losing your job is such a personal thing. I was lucky. I had no commitments. No mortgage to pay or kids to look after. I’m pretty good at expressing myself. I don’t suffer from shyness and I’m okay with being a bit crazy. But not everyone’s going to be like that. So taking the route of a maniac with a megaphone isn’t going to be for everyone but, I guess, we’ve all got something we’re passionate about.
I think people should use it as an opportunity to think about what they really care about. It doesn’t matter what it is – it could be fishing or spirituality or robots or whatever. But something that you’re truly into – not what society tells you to be into. And allow yourself to become fanatical about it. Throw yourself into it and see what happens. It sounds a bit corny but there’s that saying: “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
“Women are drama. Men are comedy. Couples are thrillers. Gays are sci-fi.” Hans F Hansen, 2011
The Hans F Hansen story starts in 1976 with the birth of a child in the small fishing village of Leirvik, Faroe Islands.
That child is Hans F Hansen.
We move now to a football pitch in the nearby town of Toftir. It is 1999, and a floppy-haired defender heads home a last-minute equaliser against a bedraggled Scottish side. It is one of the greatest nights in Faroe Islands’ football history.
That floppy-haired defender is Hans F Hansen.
We enter a new Millennium. It is 2007 and a video appears on You Tube of Pamela Anderson dancing awkwardly at a Los Angeles party with a man who sells testicle shaving lotion.
That scrotum cream seller is Hans F Hansen.
And this brings us to the present day, and the culmination of this remarkable journey.
Because there is more to Hans F Hansen than a jouneyman footballer who started a costmetics company. Hans F Hansen is a one-man-brand. He is an explosion of new thinking. He is a philosopher, a guru, a politician; a radical feminist.
And Hans F Hansen is ready to change the world. He has declared himself to be the next Hugh Hefner and revealed plans to build a large mansion in America where he will live, surrounded by the Hans F Hansen Dames.
These are women who will be put through specialist training to make them the “Ultimate Power Woman”. In the words of Hans F Hansen: “Guests will be charmed and amazed as these women carry on political conversations, mix delicious drinks, and whip up batches of fat-free cookies.”
But the Hans F Hansen vision goes far beyond good waitress service; he believes that through the worship/ogling of ladies we can create a form of matriarchal utopia in which global warfare and bad things will become outmoded concepts.
It is this breadth of vision which demands we see beyond the fact that Hans F Hansen looks like a cross between Thomas Brolin and former That’s Life presenter Adrian Mills. It demands that we look past the humour caused by his mangled Euro speak: “We will celebrate women worldwide with the most sexist party you have ever seen.”
Sure, he could just be a deluded fantasist with an inflated ego and access to too many management guru books. But if what Hans F Hansen says is true, and it probably is, then he is one of the most important human beings on the planet right now.
With this in mind l spoke to Hans F Hansen to find out more about…Hans F Hansen.
The Hans F Hansen story begins with football?
Yes, when I was 17 years old I got my first professional contract in Norway and then I played in Denmark and Sweden and Iceland and I was for a time in Scotland. I was also playing for QPR for a moment – many years back.
Then I played for the Faroe Islands national team for 10 years and in one those games I made a goal against Scotland. It was my best moment.
How did Hans F Hansen enter into the beauty cream industry?
When I was a young kid I had two dreams; one was to be a football player and the other was to have my own brand – a fashion or beauty brand. But when you think about it that’s a total conflict because a football player who does creams and treatments doesn’t really go hand-in-hand.
The football player is a very masculine world and the cream is very feminine. So I stuck with the football until I was 28 or 29 and I felt my energy was basically running out and I didn’t have that much fun on the football pitch.
When I was travelling with the national team I would just be buying all of these fashion magazines and I didn’t really care about the football.
What is the ambition of Hans F Hansen?
What Hans F Hansen wants is to lift the woman onto this high pedestal – where she belongs.
If you look around the world today and you see that we are involved in all of these wars. First it was with Bin Laden and then it was Osama and now it’s Gaddafi and there’s always something like this going on.
And then you see what’s happening out on the streets. You see England and these street fights and demonstrations and riots and everything. And I look at this as somebody who has been very macho and masculine and I start to think – hey, who started all of this?
Who started the wars? Who started the fights? Was it women? No. It was men.
And we’re seeing all these gangs out on the streets and it’s always men. If you go out to London or Copenhagen at night then who’s out there fighting drunk? Is it women? No, it’s men.
So my philosophy is that the world is a home and when my mom’s at home there is a loving atmosphere. She puts food on the table and she wants everybody to eat. So if we start to view our world as a home then if the woman is happy then the atmosphere is happy and the world can be happy.
So that’s how women fit into the journey of Hans F Hansen. It’s to bring on a new philosophy and a new mansion and a new entertainment.
What is Hans F Hansen’s ideal woman?
My philosophy is that you can’t measure a woman by her bra size. In the Hans F Hansen world and our universe of entertainment – it’s going to be women of all colours. We have blondes, brunettes, Asians, blacks – there will be room for everybody. They don’t need to fit any special size in the bra for me. There’s room for everybody.
But of course it will be done in a very elegant way.
What plans do you have for the mansion?
We have plans, major plans, and since we launched this we have been bombarded with emails from around the world and most of them totally love the idea. Of course the women love it, for sure, but the other side of it is that the world needs a new entertainment playground.
We need something different because Playboy has been and gone – those days are over for him. The world needs a new mansion; a place to be entertained in in a very beautiful and a very sexy way.
Where is the mansion going to be?
I don’t want to go public with this yet as we don’t know how the world is going to be in two years from now. Right now, our focus is all over. And I see this as more of a politics thing. It’s almost like running for President for me and we want to take over this entire area of entertainment.
So, who knows; it could be Miama or Las Vegas or it could be New York.
How can people become a part of the Hans F Hansen experience?
Our concept is to hold masked balls around the world. These will be like the movie Eyes Wide Shut. We will also do our own magazine – but this will be done in a totally different way.
It’s crazy because this concept has so many different angles. We will also be opening our own style of Hard Rock Café which will be a masked ball type thing in London and in LA and there will also be one based in the mansion.
Can people enjoy sex at the masked balls?
We basically never use the word sex – it is never mentioned in our philosophy. Because that’s up to the person to get that feeling. We are celebrating women worldwide with these amazing and beautiful masked balls – they will have the best champagne and the best red carpets and everything.
So for these parties all the guys will be dressed up in tuxedos – that’s a must, and the women can dress up however they want. But I know women, and if they feel this atmosphere is allowing them to be, they will be extremely sexy – I know that.
It’s really about creating a playground for women to have fun and for us to watch and enjoy. And the good thing about having the masks on is that anyone can show up.
You are critical of women with ‘plastics’. What is this?
What I mean about plastics is the woman on the streets – she has so much surgery on her face and all over that she doesn’t look like a woman any more. So it’s not about women who have had small things done but it’s when you have a small woman who is very tiny but who has these big implants – it doesn’t make sense.
But I understand women. A friend of mine, for example, she gave birth to three children and she’s totally flat in her chest. And then she gets a normal fill-up of implants – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
It is like with so many actors. There is the guy called Mickey Rourke. What you see now is not the guy. He has had so many changes that he’s not the same guy.
What does the future hold for Hans F Hansen?
The philosophy of Hans F Hansen is that he just wants to make the world better. It is important for me that Hans F Hansen can stand out and make a real difference.
He has full respect for every woman. And of course there’ll be glamour. Of course there’ll be beautiful things and cars.
But it’s more about lifting up. I see myself as a mentor or coach, but I will never be the guy that says look at all the girls I have. Never. But, sure, I love women.