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Volume 433

We've got a new Queen... song. This week's coolsh*t is bringing you a phoney Freddie Mercury, a filthy royal habit, and the latest continental exploits of the world’s hardest geezer. Plus the latest coolsh*t podcast, offering some unsolicited divisive advice for Vice.

Know Your Writes.

Is it just me, or does the current writer’s strike in the US seem to be more broadly supported than some of the recent teacher, rail and NHS strikes over here? Turns out some people are willing to roll the dice when it comes to having thick children, not being able to get anywhere, or somehow dying of septicaemia after going in for a routine check-up, but they WILL NOT, I repeat, NOT, tolerate anything messing with the next season of Euphoria. If you’re not aware, the Writer’s Guild of America is currently on strike. This means that until either the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) meets the WGA’s demands or a compromise is struck, production on scripted television and films is completely paused. And now people are starting to fear that their favourite programmes will start turning to shit. Although personally I think it would be quite funny if all television suddenly became atrociously badly written – they could even rename Succession ‘Recession’. But the public outpouring of support does show what a strong position the striking writers are in – turns out the prospect of having to go without Netflix and actually speak to one’s own family in the evenings is a very potent threat for an awful lot of people.

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Artists are now immortal. For quite a while – and by quite a while, we mean about 18 months or so, but that’s a lifetime in AI years – AI-generated art, whether that be pictorial, musical or any other kind of -al, always just felt a little off. It was like listening to Alex Jones – at times surprisingly compelling, impossible to ignore, but tinged with the unmistakable feeling that something isn’t quite right. But that’s just me, never been mad on The One Show. Now, AI song covers have become sufficiently sophisticated that it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that it’s now possible to have any artist who has ever existed sing any song that has ever existed and for it to sound entirely authentic. In fact, it can even sound better than the original – like this cover of Freddie Mercury singing Yesterday. Is this terrible for current artists? Probably. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be interested in hearing a convincing Pitbull simulacrum belting out some Edith Piaf.

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Double Remonstration.

Before we get into this one, I feel morally obliged to inform you that I very much did not want to include it. But what can we tell you, the coolsh*t just wasn’t coolsh*tting so much this week. Near enough everything in the news was either AI or coronation-related, and as much as we could bang on about both for quite some time, we didn’t want to put you through that. So here’s a story about porn instead. In response to a new law that requires porn sites to verify users’ ages, Pornhub has completely disabled its websites for people located in Utah. Poor Mormons. But what they’ll be presented with instead is quite funny. They’ll land on a video of a fully clothed Cherie DeVille, adult performer and member of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, explaining very eloquently why they won’t be able to visit the site and urging them to make their displeasure known to their local state official. I’d love to read some of those letters of complaint – I imagine they’ll probably go a bit like this.

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Sir, I Challenge You to a Juul.

As you may have seen, King Chucky was crowned last weekend with a nice shiny new hat; a hat, which not for nothing, weighs roughly 5lbs – no wonder he didn’t keep it on for long. But my favourite part wasn’t the crowning, it was the anointing. This is a tradition in which the Archbishop of Canterbury dips his fingers in some ‘holy oil’ (presumably snake) from Jerusalem and dabs a bit on the hands, breast and head of the new monarch. Wacky. Oil of all things, though – it’s a bit of a piss-take using the exact thing that I currently can’t afford to heat my home with. Unsurprisingly, more than a couple brands have tried to use the coronation for a bit of exposure. But with more people than perhaps ever before turning away from the monarchy, leveraging the coronation whilst not alienating one’s audience became a rather difficult task. For example, some people probably thought this giant King Charles chocolate head from Celebrations was a right hoot, others probably found it appropriately horrifying. But the coronation-themed product that’s garnered the most interest from Gen Z… King Charles’ sausage finger-themed vape pens. They were made by an American company and are available in specialty-themed flavours including Tea & Scone, Scotch Egg, Coronation Chicken, Prawn Cocktail and English Trifle. This is how the rest of the world sees us.

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The debate over whether you should use subtitles really shows that people online will argue about literally anything. Subtitles aren’t just for elderly people hard of hearing – a recent study by Netflix found that more than 80% of members used them at least once a month, and a majority of viewers aged 18-25 said they now used subtitles “all or part of the time”. But some people with gammy eyes aren’t so lucky. This ad by Visionworks is made for those people who have to squint to make out the squiggles at the bottom of the screen. At first glance, the video appears to be an excerpt from a tense German spy movie about to reach its apotheosis. But as the tension builds, the subtitles shrink, closing on the message ‘If you have trouble reading this, you need your eyes checked.’ Very clever. Although if your eyes were really that bad, you might not be able to read that either. Whoops. Oh well, who needs to see anyway? Teslas basically drive themselves these days. And if a pedestrian or two have to get mowed down in the name of progress, that’s just a worthy sacrifice. Caitlin Jenner approves this message.

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Run, Geezer, Run.

Very few people wake up one day and decide that they’re in the mood to run the length of Africa. But very few people are the self-proclaimed world’s hardest geezer. Poor fella obviously hasn’t seen my Uncle Terry down a pint with one hand and strangle a swan with the other (don’t worry, he was singing God Save the King at the time). But Russell Cook may indeed be a close second to Uncy Tel, as he’s currently running the full length of Africa – from the tip of South Africa to the northern coast of Tunisia – completing a marathon every day until Christmas, passing through 16 countries and covering over 15,000km. At the time of writing this, he’s currently on day 20 and has just entered Namibia. And why’s he doing all this? Content. Bloody content. Sweet, sweet, juicy content. And to demonstrate the power of the indomitable human spirit against the indifferent cruelty of the universe. But mainly content. And if you want to keep on top of Mr. Geezer’s progress and make sure he hasn’t, you know, been eaten or murdered, he’s documenting the entire journey on his YouTube and Instagram.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Episode 51.

Just out of interest, how much money would it take to let Mark Zuckerberg strangle you?

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