Tag Archives: adverts

Nice’n’Easy…… [A blast from the past]

Here we see Louise, she’s been feeling a bit dowdy lately having recently been dumped by her boyfriend; for the past week she’s been holed up in her bedroom scoffing chocolate and peanut butter sandwiches. She’s also been devouring self-help books, her two favourites being, ‘How To Get More Than Even’ and ‘Men Are From An Entirely Different Planet Altogether’. To cheer herself up, and to help her face the world again, Louise has decided that she needs a make-over. It only takes five hours, three boxes of Nice’n Easy Natural Baby Blonde, and forty-five ruined towels to turn Louise’s mousy brown locks into a brillo pad of ginger. Louise sobs, wishing she’d done a strand test first as per the instructions on the box, but who ever does? She spends the rest of the evening drinking neat gin and avoiding her reflection in the mirror. In the morning she awakes, still slightly sloshed, but remembers that her Dad keeps a selection of wigs in his dressing-up box. She chooses ‘The Cher’, in natural nylon – it’s bright red, but what the heck it’s better than the ginger brillo. She tops off her new look with a pink crochet beret. Feeling a shade braver she heads out the door to her local salon, hoping against hope that they can fix the damage. On her way she passes a shoe shop and is transfixed by a pair of red stilettos in the window, but there, looming behind the display, is Catty-Mean-Mouth-Bitch-Face-Fanny – the last person you want to see when you’re feeling less than your best. Louise, still fuelled by gin, whips off her beret and tosses her mane of nylon cherry red hair; she struts into the shop and she buys those shoes [you go girl]. We see her striding up the High Street to the salon like a graceful 7ft pillar box on a trolley, towering over all other pedestrians.
At the salon, Terry, who studied ‘Directional Hair Design with Pubic Topiary’ at Southend Tech, transforms her matted bush of ginger into a halo of golden blonde [amazing what can be achieved with industrial bleach, hair straighteners, and a pot of VO5]. Louise smiles at her reflection in the mirror, and it is in this moment she realises that life is never Nice’n Easy; Louise winks at Terry, and resolves that from now on she’s going to be easy’n nice….

Train de Nuit

Iseldom speak of the days when I spoke with a French accent and travelled everywhere on a vintage train. Friends and family considered the accent an affectation, and the mode of transport an unnecessary expense, but they didn’t have my vision, or a stalker called Trevor.

Trevor was peculiar in that he wasn’t really interested in me, he simply liked to stand behind me before sniffing my neck. Shame really, because he was an attractive man, just not that great at conversation. With or without a French accent.

I always enjoyed my excursions on the vintage train, I found it relaxing to be buffered by the rhythms of the railway, safe in the knowledge that Trevor was left far behind on some godawful commuter train just outside of Paddington. Or so I liked to think.

It was April 2001, I had taken the night train from Southend to Clacton and I remember it being unseasonably warm. I was struggling to sleep and had thrown off the complimentary candlewick bedspread; I tossed and turned and I recall being overly concerned that my deodorant was failing. I was never one to be easily spooked, but I could feel a presence outside my door. I knew it wasn’t Cyril the conductor because he had already seen my passport and he would now be otherwise engaged maintaining the Corby trouser press; playing with his banjo; or discussing the finer points of piston lubrication with the driver, Jim. I got out of my cot, threw open the cabin door, but there was nobody in the light flickered corridor.

I arrived in Clacton 10 hours later, exhausted from my trauma and slightly demented. I ran from Clacton railway station [notable for having two waiting rooms, refreshment facilities, and a payphone] towards the sea, I then headed in a south-westerly direction, which took me up Clacton High Street. Still feeling uneasy I returned to the sea where, to ease my torment, I jumped on a fishing boat to take few snapshots of a passing frigate. I realised my torment had risen to a new low when I flicked through my pictures only to be confronted by the image of Trevor staring back at me. I was aghast, yet thankfully I managed to maintain the appearance of expressionless calm. After changing into a black onesie from Dorothy Perkins I returned to Clacton railway station and stood in the middle of the concourse, and sure enough, within minutes I felt the hair from Trevor’s nostrils tickling the nape of my neck as he took a loud nosey snort.

And so I stopped speaking with a French accent and I stopped travelling everywhere on a vintage train. Friends and family were relieved. I saved money. And the last time I saw Trevor? He was doing something nasal related on Big Brother for Channel no. 5.

When I grow up….

Before I continue with all things bottled I have a question: Who did you expect to be when you grew up? As a child I took it as read that I would grow up to be a sophisticated middle-aged woman who would travel the world wearing top of the range frocks from House of Fraser and make polite conversation, late into the night, with the occasional French gentleman. I believed my future would look something akin to this……

If this was not to be then I at least expected dinner party invitations for every night of the week so that I could stuff my face with After Eight mints whilst wearing the aforementioned top of the range frock, although perhaps something more slutty from Debenhams or British Home Stores [RIP]……

In a nutshell I expected a glittering, glamorous future, full of fancy frocks, and worthy enough to merit a pithy voiceover. When the transition from eating fish finger sandwiches from a tray on my lap in front of the telly to being an internationally adored lady of leisure with an inexhaustible expense account would happen I didn’t know, but happen it would. Only it didn’t. I am still waiting.

The problem is that the future I imagined is impossible because this future is very much set in the past. I was set up for disappointment the moment these adverts hit my TV screen. Did anyone ever live like this? In any case, the dinner parties I have attended have had more in common with this…

No fancy frocks, just best jeans and a paper napkin to protect a nice top from gravy staining. Sigh. Obviously I was a gullible child when I was suckered by these adverts, although in fairness, I was more taken with the lifestyles promoted than the actual products; we always had After Eights at Christmas and we were allowed to eat them for breakfast whilst wearing pyjamas.
Anyhow, before I get on with my bottle project let us return to my question: Who, or how, did you expect to be when you grew up? I am not expecting anyone to be as shallow as me, hopefully you all aspired to greater things than living life in an advertisement for After Eight.

Lucky You…..

….or not so lucky.

I did used to enjoy writing those old advert posts, but over the past few years I have been consumed by calligraphy, and, to be fair, I haven’t seen many adverts that I’ve felt inspired by. Is it my jaded old brain or the new swathe of boring adverts that are to blame? Bit of both I reckon. Also I have a tendency to be scrolling through my iPad whilst the adverts are on so maybe I should pay more attention?

Anyhow, here is an old advert post from 2011.

Due to the sluggish financial market the Halifax staff have little to do. They are under strict instruction to only authorise two mortgages this year and can only lend to people who don’t need loans. The financial advisers have all been made redundant and now the entire business is propped up by the canteen staff who have diversified by setting up a radio station in the basement of an NCP car park in Buttocks Booth just off Lumbertubs Lane. They broadcast daily, via telegraphic transfer, to five mountain goats on a farm in Southwold, Suffolk.
Scottish widow Sandy and Co-operative Carol provide the morning entertainment with a breakfast show. They are a tight team; they have a mutual interest in investing extra digits in their hedge funds and have bonded over unit banking. Alas, they are so enamoured by one another that they have failed to notice the potential threat of a hostile takeover bid from tea boy, Derek. He has coveted their breakfast slots from afar and, in an effort to remove the women from the helm he has sabotaged Sandy’s liquid assets. He completes the arm’s length transaction by passing Sandy her mug. The mug handle breaks causing hot tea to spill across the mixing desk. Carol and Sandy are unfazed by life’s little dramas. They have each other and therefore the accelerated depreciation is negligible. They smile sweetly and, still laughing, still singing from the same spreadsheet, they tell Derek that life is better with a beaver.

And to finish on a topical note a little gilded insult from Lulu’s suggestion on a previous post,

gilded-insult-gold-leaf-calligraphy-uk

Trump?

NEXT TIME: Under the weight of all the books, the chair breaks, leading Ms Scarlet to enrol on a chair restoration course where she meets a man in a bobble hat who offers her a hobnob and a cup of tea from his tartan themed thermos flask….

Saw this….

….and thought of me.

Yes, when I was tiny I had dreams of being a dancer. I used to practice my dance moves around the house, didn’t we all? Bouncing on the sofa gave my allegros extra spring; the polished parquet floor made me glide like a swan across a lake, and the nylon nets could be ripped down to make a fetching fairy gown.
The towel rail in the bathroom, complete with fluffy white towels, was my own personal ballet barre where I would practice tendus, ronde de jambes, and some frivolous frappés. I would round off my routine with a couple of grand pliés – meaning that I would bend my knees and sink down to the floor whilst keeping a firm grasp of the towel rail… indeed, my grasp was so firm that one day I found myself carrying the towel rail, complete with fluffy white towels, down the stairs and into the living room to explain to my parents how the towel rail had inexplicably detached itself from the wall. My parents were not impressed, nor surprised, as the previous week I had fallen out of the shower taking the shower curtain with me.

Anyhow, enough with the jolly nostalgia, this week I have been pitching for the BBC weather forecast contract. So far I have impressed them with my age, experience, and traditional methods, which include Tarot card reading; an in-depth knowledge of what ladybirds do when there is a snowstorm brewing and, by looking out of the window and sniffing the air. I am aiming to charge them £50 a week – they are umming and ahhing about this as Charmaine is also pitching, she says that when the weather is inclement her nibs perform differently, to quote – ‘they go proper stiff’, and she is willing to demonstrate this by flashing them every evening on tea time telly for only £30 a week and six million extra viewers.

Next week: Charmaine does something interesting with a box of crayons [again] and Aunt Scarlet gets a tattoo….

A Sign of Good Taste…

Another short interlude…

Here we see Darren. He is hoping to be selected as an ambassador for the Littlehampton Confectionery Display Team. He is submitting one of the finest examples of his work in their annual ‘Exposure’ competition. It is a grand affair. It is held in a disused caravan park close to Southend pier, and display enthusiasts come from far and wide to exhibit their elaborate confection. For example, competitor Annie has flown in from Amsterdam and has done something gratuitous with a fudge finger fan, whilst Gavin from Gateshead [the winner in 2006] has been imaginative with a Toffee Crisp and an artfully adapted 12 inch Twirl; Maggie, a mother of three [the winner in 1908, but never since] has chosen a minimalist/conceptual approach – her piece is entitled ‘Red Smartie with Toothpick’.

So far the judges have been less than impressed with the entrées, but Darren is confident that he can lick his rivals. Darren has a secret. Darren has balls, golden balls, and he knows how to arrange them. He waits in the wings as poor Simon, a professional kitchen fitter from Stevenage, sobs and stumbles from the judging panel after his Sherbert Fountain fails to font, and his Lion Bar goes limp.

Darren feels the tension rising – his moment has arrived, he takes a deep breath and walks into the spotlight. His golden balls are piled pyramid high upon a silver platter creating a sophisticated yet captivating display that brings the essence of Egypt to Essex. Darren stands proud. It has only taken a smidgeon of superglue to keep everything erect.

Alas, Darren is unaware of the envious Maggie who will do anything to win, and from the wings she gives Darren an almighty shove sending his nutty nibbles into orbit to splatter down upon the judges heads. Horrified, Judge Erica picks golden nuts from her hair, and exclaims, ‘With your display you are soiling us!’.

Darren hangs his head in shame, but he is not downhearted. There is always next year when he is planning an ambitious assemblage with Annie, they are hoping to cause an extravagance of good taste with a giant curly wurly and a custard cream flan.

First published on the Scarlet Blue Archive 8th January 2010 12:45 BST