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Volume 472

Super Bowl? Tired. Super Bowl ads? Wired. The States may be in a state, but this week’s coolsh*t is importing only the finest creative work from our transatlantic cousins. We’ve also got ancient mysteries, a Manc mash-up, and the sweet aroma of freshly printed cash. Plus a Super Bowl special of the coolsh*t podcast (it’s a real home run, or whatever).

Star-Spangled Banter.

We found ourselves in a bit of a pickle this week. Selecting just one Superbowl ad felt insufficient, but merely listing a load of them felt like a cop out. So we’ve decided to turn some of the best ones into a song and hyperlink them so you can just go watch them for yourself. Imagine the following to the tune of the Only Fools and Horses outro:

We’ve got some half-priced home advice,

And miles and miles of X-Files,

Bar-Bey, Uber Eats, And Michael Cera’s CeraVe

Blurred frames, mayo stains, long names and no kush
Dunkin’ Donuts tracksuits,

and a new-look Anheuser Busch

Busch, Busch, Busch, Busch, Busch, Busch, Busch…

If any of that didn’t work perfectly then you obviously didn’t sing it right. Honourable and dishonourable mentions that didn’t fit the limitations of the ambitiously prohibitive rhyme scheme include but are not limited to: RFK Jr’s slightly-lame/slightly-genius way of reminding the electorate of his last name while avoiding any mention of his policies, a controversial Christian ad featuring our Lord and Saviour washing people’s feet (which is fine when he does it, but when I do it apparently I’m “making people uncomfortable” and “need to leave the gym immediately” before they call the “police”), and last but certainly not least, a Kanye West anti-ad in which he spent $7million on what was essentially a close friends IG story. God Help America.

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Doom Scrolling.

‘The Vesuvius Challenge’ may sound like a disgusting viral internet trend circa 2010, but it’s actually a competition in which people around the world raced to read an ancient Herculaneum papyrus scroll that was buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This week, three uni students have only gone and cracked the mystery by using AI to virtually unwrap the scroll.

Papyrologists working with the Vesuvius Challenge believe the scroll contains “never-before-seen text from antiquity”, and the text in question is a piece of Epicurean philosophy on the subject of pleasure. So you mean to tell me we went through all this trouble only to discover nothing more than vulgar smut? We were expecting ancient wisdom, not 50 Shades of Grey. Alas, we sought cosmic transcendence but are left with nothing more than priapic tumescence.

On a lighter note, the filthy perverts who developed the technology that decoded the scroll have pocketed themselves $700,000 for their troubles. Not a bad pay-day for a bunch of students. Think of all the pink gin and ketamine they can buy with that.

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This is the One.

Having listened to and enjoyed The Stone Roses’ music for years before ever looking into the individuals who made up the band, you can imagine my disappointment upon discovering what an absolute weapon Ian Brown is. Still, that’s better than the other way round. It would be weird to hate The Smiths but be really into Morrissey’s politics.

Fortunately we live in an enlightened age in which we can, and should, separate the art from the artist. And what a result that is, as this new adidas x Manchester United x The Stone Roses capsule is indeed a work of art. Now Marcus Rashford can look double sharp next time he absconds to Belfast when he’s meant to be injured.

This leaves the door wide open for more footy x music mash-ups. Man City could really one-up their neighbours with some Oasis gear. Better yet, use AI to resurrect Michael Jackson for a collaboration with his beloved Fulham. It’s time to bring the statue back. The Cottagers need it. Speaking of which, who did George Michael support?

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Nanny State.

Employing a furry little fellow to watch your kids sleep doesn’t sound great, and employing a furry little robot fellow to watch your kids sleep doesn’t sound all that much better. And yet that’s precisely what Nissan are asking you to do.

This utterly terrifying creature is a smart robot that goes by the name of Iruyo, and he is a new collaboration between Nissan and baby-product manufacturer Akachan Honpo. Designed to play with and babysit children, Iruyo exists to relieve parents of the frankly unreasonable inconvenience of having to look after their own kids.

Is this slightly dystopian? Sure. But a study conducted by Kitasato University found that 50% of the babies in the experiment sample experienced improved positive emotions when the robot was activated, so maybe there’s something to it. And no we don’t know what happened to the other 50%. Just mind your damn business or we’ll get Iruyo to watch you sleep.

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Stinking Rich.

Don’t you just love it when banks use ads to act like they don’t really care about money and are far more concerned with things like family, self-actualisation, puppies, rainbows or anything else equally worthy and saccharine that can not-so-subtly underscore their desired projection of community-minded, munificent magnanimity? Me neither. So this ad for DBS Bank made for a pleasant change of pace.

Singapore-based creative agency, The Secret Little Agency, has created Huat Eau De Parfum, a perfume and campaign that takes its name from exclamations of prosperity and is designed to reflect the air of good fortune attached to the Chinese New Year.

But what does the fragrance smell of, I hear you ask? Money. That’s right, now you can strut about redolent of the clean smell of dirty cash. Corpulent bespectacled Singaporean gentleman adorned in satin gold robes not included. That’ll cost you extra.

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You’d be fuming if you spent years developing ground-breaking, mind-blowing, epoch-altering technology only for it to be completely overshadowed due to its release coinciding with the Apple Vision Pro. This reminds me of a couple weeks ago when I saw a ‘No More Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods’ protest outside Lambeth Town Hall about 30 yards down the road from a Free Palestine demonstration. A ‘My bus journey time has doubled’ placard just doesn’t have quite the same bite next to ‘End the Genocide’.

Brilliant Labs’ Frame AI glasses can translate languages, recognise images, search the internet, and even analyse the nutritional value of a raspberry – all using augmented reality and artificial intelligence, a duo that is swiftly becoming like this generation’s Chuckle Brothers.

These specs won’t generate the same headlines as the Vision Pro, but they may be a viable option for anyone wishing to enjoy the benefits of this new tech without feeling like they’re in a Huxleyan hellscape. They can even come with prescription lenses. So now you can watch the fall of human civilisation in perfectly nightmarish clarity.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Episode 68.

A Superbowl special with a side of Swifty psyops.

Listen to the podcast