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Volume 420

Happy 420. This week’s coolsh*t is blazing in with Maccies mirages, porcine prose, and a very naughty AI comedian. Plus the latest episode of the podcast, complete with an update on the Balenciaga apology tour.


Following an Edgar Wright-directed ad in which they showed no food, McDonald’s have just launched a new stills campaign in which they… also show no food. Kind of. At least they’re not technically showing food in this one. However, and this may be my mid-morning malnourishment making me see things, but if I’m not mistaken, that garage looks an awful lot like a Big Mac. And is it just me or does that stained glass door bear just the faintest resemblance to a McFlurry? You get the point. This is just a beautifully simple idea brought to life through outstanding art direction. Loving it. Although you can tell it’s just an advert, because if this were the real world the ice cream machine would 100% be ‘broken’.

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Sein Felled.

‘Nothing, Forever’ is an AI-generated sitcom based on Seinfeld which has been running livestreamed on Twitch 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week since December. Or, rather, it was. Unfortunately the show was just hit with a 14-day ban from Twitch due to what was deemed a ‘transphobic’ stand-up bit. In the show, Larry Feinberg (the Jerry Seinfeld character), said: “There’s like 50 people here and no one is laughing. Anyone have any suggestions? I’m thinking about doing a bit about how being transgender is actually a mental illness. Or how all liberals are secretly gay and want to impose their will on everyone. But no one is laughing, so I’m going to stop. Thanks for coming out tonight. See you next time. Where’d everybody go?”. Now, clearly there’s nothing even remotely funny about that. Absolutely nothing at all. And I’m not being in the slightest bit sarcastic. Not at all. However, despite being absolutely despicably transphobic and homophobic, the bit does very clearly appear to be satire – a point that has seemingly been lost on the world. Well done, humanity – we’ve reached a point where AI has a better sense of humour than us. That feels really great.

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Bonner Alert.

Adidas kits have been on fire lately (literally in the case of the World Cup-winning Argentina kit). But this time they’ve outdone themselves. Adidas x Wales Bonner x Jamaica Football Federation. The best trio since Ant, Dec, and Ant’s probation officer. For those unaware, Grace Wales Bonner MBE is a 31-year-old English fashion designer whose work “proposes a distinct notion of cultural luxury that infuses European heritage with an Afro Atlantic spirit” – and no I didn’t get that off Wikipedia. The launch features grime legend Kano and current rising Drum n Bass superstar (no Adidas pun intended) Nia Archives front and centre, making sure the debut campaign got the attention it deserved. While the lion’s share of the credit obviously must go to Wales Bonner, Adidas also deserve their flowers for collaborating with creators who have a uniquely relevant perspective of the world in order to create products and content that feels genuinely authentic, rather than a clumsily hobbled-together ersatz simulacrum of authenticity. That Nike Nigerian shirt may have just been trumped.

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Crossing the Line.

We’ve made somewhat of a habit of checking in every few months on NEOM, the collective of 4 Saudi megacities that apparently represent the future of urban living. We’re like a grandchild who isn’t too bothered about keeping in touch but drops in just often enough to hold on to their place in the will. But NEOM appears to be moving incredibly quickly – like if every time you visited your nan she had a new enormous tattoo. We had previously questioned whether these megacities would ever get out of the concept phase – largely because the idea of 200m-wide, 170-km long reflective wall housing 9 million people in the previously nigh-on uninhabitable desert sounds just a bit absurd. But it’s happening. It’s actually happening. And they, whoever exactly they are, have released this video to prove it. I bet you a tenner the 2034 World Cup will be hosted here.

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The Whole Hog.

It had been my sincere desire and intention to make this week’s coolsh*t an AI-free zone, but we’ve already broken that promise. So, in for a penny. But we still don’t want to spam you with it. Actually… that’s exactly what we want to do. Neil Mendoza has created a fleet of AI-powered spambots to narrate a whimsical response to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Never has a title felt quite so apposite. In a live installation, the Spam cans were equipped with a four-letter keyboard connected to a main screen, and through a neural network trained on the novel’s prose, they retell the chapters, randomly replacing nouns and verbs with pig-related alternatives. “Why?”, you ask? Because Neil Mendoza is clearly absolutely off his swede. And probably some really clever metaphorical stuff. But mainly the mental stuff.

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Big Brother.

Whenever you see videos of footballers mic’d up, you wonder why this type of content isn’t available for every game. And then you remember that John Terry was a footballer, and one dreads to imagine the volleys of abuse he would be hurling around for 90 minutes. Anderlecht captain Jan Vertonghen was mic’d up during their derby match against Royal Antwerp this week, and the footage has everyone saying the same thing: don’t fuck with Jan Vertonghen. If my captain started screaming “take it in the face” to me, I’d probably consider that the time to fake an injury and go get an early bath. Although that does also sound like something John Terry would say. And as great as this video makes Jan look, you can’t help but feel he’s hamming it up a bit for the cameras. It would be far more interesting if footballers were secretly mic’d up and not told about it. Probably raises some slight ethical and legal issues though.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 38.

Balenciaga are very, very sorry for all that kiddy stuff.

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