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Volume 388

Fried chicken, Pringles, and a billionaire buffet – this week’s coolsh*t caters to the gourmand. We’ll also try to make sense of some Stranger Things and offer a salute to Pixar's refusal to have a Buzz cut.

Extreme Makeover.

Stranger Things is now officially Netflix’s most watched English language series. And it’s no wonder why; season 4 is unbelievable. A great deal of that success is due to the utterly terrifying presence of Vecna, the current chapter’s Upside Down-dwelling, demonic antagonist. To be completely honest, I’ve only watched the first 5 episodes, so if Vecna suddenly turns out to be misunderstood and actually a great guy, then please discount all of the above and forgive my ignorance. Part of what makes Vecna so frightening is just how offensive he is on the eyes – a skeletal wizard snakeman with massive hands was always going to be worth a shudder. One would assume that the look was created almost entirely by CGI, but actually those dastardly Duffer brothers decided to instead put the poor actor through several hours of make-up. Now, Netlix have just released this time lapse to document the transformation. If only they’d get a move on with releasing the rest of the episodes too.

*To warn you, if you’re not up to date, do not click on the link to the article below. It has a load of information that has just ruined the next few episodes for me. The sacrifices I make for coolsh*t…

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Crisp Dollar Bills.

There are few things more satisfying than getting paid at the end of a long day’s hard work. One of those few things is getting paid at the end of a day in which you did ‘eff all. At least I’m assuming so. Just ask the Cryptobros. Actually, maybe don’t at the moment. In fact, now the market’s in the toilet, I’m going to have to rethink my policy that all Crypto millionaires ought to be forced to wear heavily starched clothing at all times as a form of penance. However, if you’re after a more stable form of passive income, Pringles may have the answer. They’re partnering with Iain Stirling (that excitable Scottish voice on Love Island) to recruit a candidate to work as a Pringles vending machine refiller non-playable character (NPC) in the new Train Sim World 2 game. The lucky winner will lend their likeness to a character condemned to refill the machine with the tubular snack for all eternity. It’s a bit like the legend of Sisyphus but with more crisps. While the virtual version of themselves toils away, the real version will pick up a paycheque to the tune of £20,000. Just think of how much Ethereum you could buy with that.

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Kentucky Fried Creps.

Now being a denizen of South London, I’m well aware of the cultural significance of Morley’s. Those of you who aren’t familiar could be forgiven for thinking, “it’s just a chicken shop, what’s the big deal?”. But I ought to warn you that those would be considered fighting words in certain areas. No, Morley’s has some indescribable quality that sets it head, shoulders, wings and drumsticks above the rest. It just… tastes better. That’s their slogan, and truer words have seldom been uttered. This week it was announced that Morley’s are collaborating with eBay for a sneaker pop-up store that will allow sneakerheads to get their hands on exclusive silhouettes for the original retail price rather than the much higher resell value. People can submit their names on a £1 charity raffle to have a chance of winning a coveted invite. And, yes, they’ll be serving chicken. Although having all that grease around a £10,000 pair of Jordans does seem a little risky. Hope they don’t run out of napkins.

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Remarkable Feat.

Being little more than a chimp and possessing exiguous understanding of art, I generally find myself being impressed most by big public installations. A bit like one of those aliens in Toy Story cooing in mindless approval and awe over something they can’t comprehend. Clearly I’m not alone, as somebody bought Louise Bourgeois’ famous ‘Spider’ for $40million this week. No relation to Francis, in case you were wondering – who, by the way, has shown no support for striking rail workers this week, the scab. The latest piece of big art to dazzle my tiny mind is this work aptly titled ‘Footprint’, created by Greek Visual Artist ‘The Krank’. No relation to Jimmy Krankie, by the way. Footprint is intended to be a poignant metaphor for humanity’s continuing and devastating impact on ecological systems worldwide. Harrowing. More importantly though, it may provide a deterrence to potential nefarious aliens who might now believe that we have giants defending the Earth. Two birds, one stone. As a conservationist Ol’ Krankie probably wouldn’t like that metaphor much…

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Buffet with Buffett.

Well, eBay have certainly been busy this week. First the Morley’s takeover, and on the other side of the pond, a lunch with Warren Buffett has just been auctioned for $19million. The respective prizes really provide an indicator of a transatlantic disparity in values and priorities. Americans want to dine with one of the richest men on the planet, while Brits get to go to a boujee chicken shop. For the record, they haven’t really called it “Buffet with Buffett”, opting instead for the far inferior “Power Lunch with Warren Buffett”. What a miss that is. I suppose maybe Warren didn’t like his name being trivialised by being linked to all-you-can-eat special fried rice. This may well be another Turkey/Turkiye situation. While you might question how cool paying an eye-watering sum for a bit of scran with a nonagenarian is, the proceeds will all go to Glide, a San Francisco-based charity organization dedicated to offering refuge and support for the homeless. Sounds like a worthy cause, but it’s probably just because all the Silicon Valley billionaires are sick of getting their windows smashed in.

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Lightyears Ahead.

It’s a depressing fact of our time that being gay is still seen as unacceptable in many parts of the world. Often life-threateningly so, which really emphasises the ‘micro’ in supposed Western microaggressions by contrast. With it currently being pride month, we’ve seen plenty of perfunctory, tokenistic gestures as companies try to prove how right-on they are. No, changing your Instagram logo to a rainbow flag doesn’t make a substantive difference. And, funnily enough, the one territory where BMW didn’t do just that was Saudi Arabia. However, this week Pixar have gone beyond the realm of self-congratulatory gesture politics by taking a stand against censorship of a same-sex kiss in their new Lightyear film. A stand, which not for nothing, will result in not-insignificant losses in revenue. Over the last 10 years there has been a cowardly shift in Hollywood to avoid showing or representing any views or attitudes that certain markets may not be so keen on. Marvel replacing a Tibetan character with some bald lady in The Avengers springs to mind. As does John Cena’s grovelling apology in Mandarin for calling Taiwan a country. Hopefully this sets a precedent and studios may start thinking about more than just the bottom line when creating a film. It almost definitely won’t, but still, fair play Pixar.

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The Next Gen Economy.

Is your brand ready for The Next Gen Economy?

We are launching our latest white paper, Welcome to the Next Gen Economy, 6pm next Tue 28th Jun @ ZAK’s office in W12; where we will explore why young people aren’t buying new stuff and why your brand’s rainbow logo in pride month, doesn’t cut it.

To reserve your spot, drop us an email:

NB: limited places available.