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Volume 409

Shaking, not stirred. This week’s coolsh*t features a sashaying spy, rhythmic rodents, and some commemorative criminal cannabis confectionary. Plus a high-octane office chair and some meat-free meat – both of which are discussed on this week’s podcast.

Licence to Swill.

This was originally going to be a review of the new John Lewis ad – an effort which many feel has re-cemented John Lewis’ position as the angel atop the tree at the pinnacle of British Christmas ads. However – and take this how you will – as heart-warming as the story of a foster parent attempting to find some common ground to bond with a child was, it just wasn’t quite as engrossing as 007 pelvic thrusting while drinking vodka. Granted, that doesn’t sound great when put down in black and white. This Taika Waititi-directed spot for Belvedere perhaps doesn’t have the emotive narrative and rug pull that John Lewis have, but it does have dodgy dad dancing set over a Rita Ora and Giggs tune – nice to see Ryan back on his feet. Given Mr. Craig’s stony-faced monosyllabic portrayal of Bond over the last decade or so, this ad feels absurd enough to almost become a parody of paint-by-numbers luxury ads that just feature some good-looking person standing around being all good looking. Although I imagine Daniel Craig may now require a hip replacement.

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Raising the Steaks.

Making a filet mignon from the air sounds too good to be true – and that’s because it probably is. So, for this following explanation to carry any weight, when we say ‘meat’, think of school dinner sausages and non-league football beef burgers – not high-end, grass-fed French shit. That isn’t necessarily supposed to lower expectations, mind; I maintain there is a direct inverse correlation between the quality of a sausage and the amount of actual meat it contains, with the very best consisting mainly of sawdust and arsehole. But that’s a debate for another time. Air Protein are a company who claim to be able to make fake steak from CO2 that replicates the taste and texture of meat. In the interest of brevity, I won’t go through the entire process, but they do explain it in great detail on their website. In principle, it all sounds incredibly promising. You’d imagine most meat eaters wouldn’t be averse to the removal of suffering from their dinner plates if the subjective experience of eating were to remain the same. It’s that last part that’s tricky, though. There are already lots of fake meats that boldly claim to taste indistinguishable from the real thing, only to then quickly leave you with the bitter taste of disappointment in your mouth (and probably soy, or some shit like that). So, to butcher an already oft-misquoted apothegm: the proof of the black pudding will be in the eating.

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Volksstuhl sounds a bit too much like volkssturm, doesn’t it? Anyway, Volkswagen were pondering how they might improve the morale of their employees. After dismissing silly notions such as paying them better or giving them more holiday, they had a ‘heureka! ich hab’s gefunden!’ moment: office chairs that can travel up to 20 km/h. At the mere push of a button, VW employees can now be sent flying across the warehouse in the blink of an eye. The chairs have also been designed to ‘feel’ like a VW car – whatever that means – and come fully kitted out with surround sound, screens to help you reverse, storage space, and, thankfully for something that can travel as fast as a pig running at full pelt, a seatbelt. Because clearly safety is their number one priority.

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A Lobe Story.

Several months, quite a few moons and many coolsh*ts ago, we looked at Mike Tyson’s (then only proposed) new business venture: ‘Mike Bites’, THC-infused gummies shaped like an ear with a chunk missing – an homage to the fight in 1996 when Tyson bit a fair portion of Evander Holyfield’s ear clean off. It’s basically a cute way of looking back wistfully at a fairly gruesome crime – which is a level of spin that must be admired. We questioned at the time how Holyfield would feel about such a venture and whether he ought to be entitled to a chunk of the money. He must have used what remains of his ears to listen to our advice, as Holyfield has now partnered with Tyson to co-release ‘Holy Ears’ for Christmas – exactly the same product just slightly re-branded. T’is the season of forgiveness, I suppose. Perhaps they’ve seen the success of KSI and Logan Paul, two former foes who shared the squared circle to then later come together to launch a business in Prime Hydration, and thought “yeah, we’ll have a piece of that.” And yes, I just compared Mike Tyson to Logan Paul. What’s he gonna do about it?

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Rat Rave.

Hot off the press: rats have rhythm. We think of the ability to dance as quite a uniquely human quality. Supposedly it’s even an instinct we possess as a species that means we often can’t help but move to music, which is an unfortunate truth at weddings with free bars and overconfident uncles. Well, rats share that same instinct. They even keep time at the same rhythm as humans: 120-140 beats per minute. As part of a study published in a peer-reviewed journal (i.e. not completely bullsh*t), researchers played music to rats at various pitches and tempos and found that the type of music that causes them to ‘dance’ is structurally the same as what is typically ‘popular’ music for humans. You can’t help but wonder, though, if there aren’t a few ethical issues with this type of experiment – and not just because they’re subjecting rats to Lady Gaga all day. If only there were a way of creating ersatz rats out of the CO2 in our environment who are incapable of suffering…

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Just Did It.

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a World Cup starting this weekend. You’d be forgiven for forgetting though, as the typical pre-tournament buzz is distinctly lacking this year. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why – perhaps it’s the miserable weather, perhaps it’s the empty beer gardens, or perhaps it’s all the human rights controversies surrounding the host nation. Who knows? We’ve recently discussed how this World Cup is the most challenging ever for brands to get involved with (which you can read here). But putting muddy connotations aside for a moment, Nike may well have just released that greatest World Cup ad ever made. Featuring some industrial-grade deepfakery, legends past and present are pitted against one another in what has been dubbed ‘The GOAT Experiment’. And GOAT is indeed the acronym that springs to mind while watching it. To quote Martin Tyler: “Drink it in.”

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 30.

30 not-out. If the podcast were a person, it would have to start thinking about getting its life together.

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