Thursday, 21 August 2008

i see my pal Sean McKinnon at Bent Books still hasn't put our last set of bookmarks online. From that set, here's my portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer.

I was pleased to meet Baba Brinkman, the Canadian writer/performer who does the rap version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, at the Brisbane Writers Festival last year while we were both waiting to go onto different panels. He gave an unusual performance on the opening night where he had been requested to thank the festival's eighty sponsors in rap style. I was impressed by his ability to compose a piece of one-off throwaway oratory, though it is probably beyond comprehension outside of the situation for which it was writ. And the naming of sponsors is fraught with complication...


Product placement?

Judged on face value, Shane Meadows' new film is honest, earthy and affecting. Two lonesome teenagers - one British, one Polish - befriend each other on the streets of London. They hang out, get drunk and lope off in doe-eyed pursuit of a foxy French waitress. Half-an-hour in, the Polish dad has an announcement to make. "Today, I went on a fast train through the tunnel, under the sea," he says. "It only takes a couple of hours either way. Not bad, eh?"
Under normal circumstances this remark would sail by unnoticed, but these are not normal circumstances. When one realises that Meadows' movie is entirely funded by Eurostar, it's hard not to hear the line as a sales pitch - a word from our sponsor. The question is, does it undermine the integrity of the film as a whole?
I usually experience this problem from the other end, in those occasional comic book assignments i pick up where depiction of actual real world things, such as a label on a bottle, is forbidden as i found when I put a bottle of Gordon's gin in a scene in Batman and then had to obliterate the label. Most writers would like to be free to name products or commercial entities in dialogue just as people do in real life. I would like a character in my fiction to order a drink by name, just as I do. I have never ever asked for just 'a beer,' or god forbid, 'a whisky'...


For many years, there have been a number of unusual webcams to view over the Net - The “Jenny” cam, The “Watch Corn Grow” cam, The “Fridge” cam, The “Watch Paint Dry” cam and The “Ashtray” webcam. Millions of Internet visitors, over the years, have logged onto these highly popular and slightly whacky cams which have given much enjoyment to many online visitors.
Now starting in March 2008, Internet webcam users will be able to view live, one of the worlds most unusual and riveting ever webcams, The “Watch Whisky Mature” cam.
For the next ten years (3,653 days) sit back and watch this live streaming webcam overlooking a cask of X4 whisky, the world’s strongest whisky, maturing live in the Bonding store at the Bruichladdich Distillery.
(if you didn't ask for a Bruichladdich by name, you'd certainly never get it by accident.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog. The thinges ye shal see shal be so funnye they shall maken yow to “laughen out loude”. Or else ask “what the swyve?”

22 August 2008 at 09:14:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most writers would like to be free to name products or commercial entities in dialogue just as people do in real life. "

Last time I watched Disney's "The Love Bug" (the sixties one) it was odd that nobody once mentioned the word Volkswagen.

B Smith

23 August 2008 at 02:53:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

You would need to know how to pronounce "Bruichladdich" in the first place though (and hope that the person on the other end of that request would know how it is pronounced too - do you feel lucky?)...

Some successful writers do get their stories sponsored and those books can sound like advertising (but we are not talking about high brow literature there, so I suppose it is acceptable - as long as it sells). Of course one could argue that having a hero order a Bruichladdich would be more of a cultural thing rather than just commercial (possibly the owners of the distillery might not be against free publicity) but maybe in the Batman case the matter was more that of having a readily recognizable alcoholic product displayed for all to see where alcohol is usually sold in shameful brown paper bags (protection of youth and all that jazz)?

24 August 2008 at 10:44:00 GMT-5  

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