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Volume 281

In this week’s coolsh*t, James takes you on a trip through the ages with Brits on holiday, 90s Europop, and a robot dog telling people what to do. Oh, how times change.

I’m Lovin’ It.

In case you hadn’t noticed, McDonald’s are pretty much everywhere these days. If there’s land you can build on, they will happily slap a couple golden arches on it and start selling chicken nuggets in no time. On a side note, I recently found out that my hometown is in the top 10 for number of McDonald’s’ in proportion to population. That’s not relevant to this, but it made me strangely proud, so I wanted to share. But none of them look quite like these ones – not even the one by the cinema at Orbital Park, and that’s a really nice one as well. People have been sharing pictures of the most unique McDonald’s restaurants from around the world this week, and some of them are pretty nuts. The Flying Saucer off the A14 in Cambridgeshire looked destined to be the winner, but it was sadly torn down in 2008, so I think the New Zealand Maccies built inside a decommissioned DC-3 plane definitely takes the McMuffin. Another win for the Kiwis, they’re on a roll at the moment.

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Brits Not Abroad.

If your inbox looks anything like mine, then you’ve probably garnered from countless emails that we are currently living through “strange and uncertain times”. Despite being a rather overused platitude, it’s true; times are uncertain. However, one thing we can be sure of: as soon as times are a bit less “strange and uncertain”, Cornwall is going to be absolutely crawling with an invading army of British holidaymakers yearning for a jolly up. And I will most certainly be one of those awful tourists. But I haven’t been on many holidays in the UK, so in order to get a better idea of what I’m signing up for, I decided to travel back in time via this collection of photographs to a distant, primitive era: the 1980s. Butlins in the 1980s, to be specific. Barry Lewis shared this collection to show Butlins during its golden age and to capture the essence of a classic 1980s British holiday. To be fair, things don’t look that different – but it would appear that a lot more people had moustaches and that wearing a Speedo wasn’t an affront to civil society in quite the same way it is now. That can definitely stay in the 80s.

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Spot: the Crime-Fighting Robodog.

I like dogs, but I’m a bit scared of robots. So I don’t know how to feel about this. As countries around the world begin to ease lockdown restrictions and that creeping grey area of what is permissible widens slightly, the enforcement of social distancing in public spaces is going to become much more a) important, and b) difficult. It’s not a job that I’d want. But fortunately for the people of Singapore, it may not be a job that anyone will have to do, as they are releasing the hounds on rulebreakers by sending out ‘Spot’ the robot dog to enforce social distancing in some of their busiest parks. Just how efficacious this measure will prove to be remains to be seen – but personally, with my aforementioned fear of robots, I’d run a mile if Spot was barking instructions at me. And if he asked for my wallet I’d probably just give that to him too. So I guess these are all encouraging signs.

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Crikey, that’s a Big Shark.

I’m not sure if this is cool or just terrifying. It’s a good illustration of just how much of an impact a soundtrack can have on the feel of a piece of footage. If this video had some ominous, Jaws-esque music playing, it would be like something from a nightmare. But fortunately, the unmistakable Aussie twang of 3 blokes shouting “Fack!” “Fackin sh*t!” “Holy sh*t!” “That’s enaff fa me mate” makes it all seem pretty light-hearted. They probably are a bit scared and the accent just masks it, but I usually kick up more of a fuss when a pigeon comes too close to me, let alone a 6-metre monster plucked straight from the set of ‘Sharknado 5: Global Swarming’.

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Post-Soviet Pop.

Here’s something I didn’t know about myself until today: I’m a big fan of post-Soviet Ukrainian Lo-Fi music. And I owe that to this collection of 8 of the best, weirdest and most strangely captivating music videos from Ukraine in the mid 90s. These include hits such as ‘I Will Fly For Love’, ‘The Clouds Will Melt’, and my personal favourite, ‘I Walk My Fish’ – so all the classics are in there. And I want to be completely clear that, although I had planned to put these in for a laugh, I genuinely really like them and that is in no way a joke. Yes, the videos are definitely a bit funny, and yes, they do resemble the type of feverish dream you get off the back of eating too much cheese – but they sit head and shoulders above most current music (except 6ix9ine). In fact, they have officially surpassed Wladimir Klitschko and the Chicken Kiev to become my new favourite thing to have come out of Ukraine.

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Realsh*t: Life In Lockdown – Ep 7.

It was debate time in this week’s realsh*t. The battleground: fashion. Do you need retail therapy or does the retail industry need therapy? Should we buy our way out of recession or put a stop to shop till you drop? We asked four of our SELFHOOD network to get into it.

Go To Selfhood Page.