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Volume 347

Hungry? This week’s coolsh*t will have your stomach rumbling. We’re nipping out for pints at the Palace pub, before tucking into some cuboid cookery and gourmet gaming. Bon appétit.

Fashionably Drunk.

Over just a few short years the ABV % of Stella Artois has plummeted from 5.2 to a relatively modest 4.6. It’s not clear if this is an intentional branding move, but Stella are quickly transitioning from being a rocket fuel designed for misbehaviour to a more refined, elegant, driving lager. Now, to compound the misery of their faithful, ‘typical’ consumer of yesteryear, they’ve partnered up with legendary London streetwear brand Palace to open up a string of pubs across London and New York. You can hear the cries of “you wouldn’t get that back in my day” from here. The two brands transformed Soho’s Blue Posts pub, kitting it out with special-edition signage, pictures, and barware, including beer mats and Palace Artois-branded pint glasses – all of which are now for sale. They’ve also hidden some limited-edition Palace Artois cans in various off-licences throughout the UK for a few lucky shoppers to stumble upon. It’s like Willy Wonka but for fashion-conscious alcoholics. And all you win if you find the golden ticket is a sore head the next day.

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Chop Chop.

You could make a good argument that this indeed isn’t all that cool, but fortunately you aren’t responsible for choosing the stories. It is at least noteworthy, though, that in the same week that children in China have been told they will only be allowed to game for maximum 3 hours a week, a company in nearby Japan have released a product that will allow users to game until their heart’s content and not even have to take food breaks. B’full’s Gaming Chopsticks allow players to hold a controller, mouse or any gaming device while using a pair of chopsticks angled in reverse. Why? Because there’s nothing worse than a greasy, crumby, or sticky controller. Is this ingenuity at its finest, solving a basic problem many people have? Or is it a damning indictment of our sedentary nature as a society? Jury’s out, but anything that allows you to enjoy some sashimi without having to take a moment’s rest from wreaking bloody death upon Nazi zombies was always likely to be popular.

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Blooming Booming.

If you’ve passed through the Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair over the last week, you might have clocked the enormous kraken-looking construction of trumpets that has seemingly sprung up from nowhere. Little did you know, that’s actually Yuri Suzuki’s new ‘Sonic Boom’ sculpture – a community-focused, multi-sensory installation exploring the nature of communication through the interactive deployment of sound. Of course it is; bet you feel silly now. The interactive flower is made up of elongated horn shapes to create new and unexpected patterns of sound. You can stand at one end and hear whatever someone is saying into the mouthpiece at the other – kind of like a fancier version of tin cans on a piece of string. Or, and this is where it gets interesting, you can overhear the sounds of the city that have been amplified through the horns. Suzuki hopes this will enhance the music of the city that often goes unnoticed: birdsong, leaves rustling and conversations of passers-by. So just don’t say anything incriminating that you wouldn’t want to be overheard if you’re near Mayfair this week.

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Rock the Boat.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Artist Julien Berthier couldn’t decide whether he wanted a boat or a rock, so he decided to find a compromise. ‘L’invisible’ (which I’m fairly confident is French for ‘The Invisible’) takes the form of a hyper-realistic rock made from epoxy resin, which is placed atop a worn-out old boat that Berthier ‘found’. Blimey, I count myself lucky if I find 10p – I suppose stumbling across a boat is just one of those funny little things that happens to you when you live in the South of France. Can you sense any end of summer bitterness there? Berthier tears around the bays of Marseille to, in his own words, ‘navigate between the decor, enhanced reality, leisure object, survivalist anguish, and the ecological stakes.’ Yeah – all that, plus he just likes to mess with people, basically. Rock on.

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Be There or Be Square.

Meal kits are more popular than ever. The companies that make them have managed to find that perfect niche in the market that plays upon peoples’ laziness as well as their awareness that eating a supermarket pizza or ready meal every day isn’t a terribly sustainable nutrition plan. However, one Miami-based start-up is hoping to revolutionize what is still a relatively nascent industry. How, you ask? Squares. Bloody loads of squares. Embracing dystopian images of nourishment pills replacing actual food, SquarEat have created modular square food produced by transforming raw food into standardized 50-gram squares that they claim are healthy, naturally long lasting, tasty, and easy to store and deliver. The squares are created through low-temperature cooking and thermal shocking from a single primary ingredient, including asparagus, basmati rice, seabass, beef and chocolate pancakes. And don’t they look delicious? Because there’s nothing quite like finishing a hard day’s graft and popping a thermally-shocked asparagus cube into your gob.

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Against All Odds.

As something of an athletics agnostic, I wasn’t overly fussed when the Olympics finished a couple weeks ago. Despite the obvious demonstrations of physical excellence and technical perfection, some events can just fail to capture the imagination in the way that other sports do. However, the Paralympics can always be relied upon to unearth some properly mind-blowing stories that redefine the boundaries of what was previously thought possible. The stand-out example of this year’s games: Egypt’s Ibrahim Hamadtou, the 48-year-old armless table tennis player. After losing both arms aged 10 in a train accident, Hamadtou invented his own technique for table tennis, holding the paddle in his mouth and serving with his feet. With this being such an ironically jaw-dropping technique and sight to behold, Hamadtou became an overnight internet sensation as a symbolic representation of the mental fortitude and perseverance that the Paralympics is all about. He even claimed that he didn’t take up football because it would be too easy. Unreal.

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