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Volume 488

Election fever? Don’t worry, both party leaders “have the NHS in their DNA” (as they’ll keep reminding you). This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you fear and loathing on the campaign trail, machine gun-wielding robot dogs, and an archetypal travel ad to take you away from this mess… for about 3 minutes.

General Dejection.

When ineptitude meets opacity. When shallow excuses meet hollow promises. When a movable object meets a stoppable force. When a charisma-free, uninspiring, nerdy technocrat meets… another one… wearing a slightly different coloured tie. Welcome to the 2024 UK General Election. Lights, camera, inaction.  

Watching the debate the other night felt like being strapped to a chair Ludovico technique-style and having to decide whether you’d rather take an electric cattle prod to the testicles or a vat of battery acid to the face. The national consensus seems to be that we’ve had the acid for 14 years now, so we may as well give the cattle prod a go. How bad can it be?  

But maybe you can’t think of a single good reason to vote for anyone. Well, according to a new “non-partisan” campaign (we added the sarcastic air quotes ourselves) developed by Saatchi & Saatchi to get young people to the polls, 40% of 18-24 year-olds think people who vote regularly are more attractive. That seems like as good a reason as any to compromise your moral integrity and support something you don’t really believe in. Plus did you see all the super cool Emojis on the campaign? Because young people love Emojis… right? Exactly. So remember to get out there and exercise your democratic right to vote. Or don’t. It just encourages the bastards.  

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Art Attackers.

People make mistakes. Not all prisoners are vicious, remorseless psychopaths. Just most. But let’s not forget about the nouveau riche Crypto billionaires who flew a little too close to the sun and may have accidentally defrauded some investors out of a few trillion dollars. Granted, from a moral perspective that isn’t much better than armed robbery, but I’d rather share a cell with Sam Bankman-Fried than some bloke with a teardrop tattoo and a nickname like ‘Stabby Sam’ or ‘Terry the Disembowler’. 

In a noble attempt to combat the unreasonable stigma attached to getting imprisoned for holding up a post office with an AR-15 – the price of stamps is mental, to be fair – French artist JR worked with inmates to create an enormous installation at Tehachapi, one of California’s most dangerous maximum-security prisons.  

The artist said “This film is a way of sharing their resilience and journeys toward redemption. It is a manifesto to the power of art as a unifying force of hope.” Powerful words. I’m sure that’ll bring a great deal of comfort to someone serving 35 to life. But he did also say the main thing he’ll take away from the experience is the profound sense of connection he built with the prisoners. Touching. And the prisoners said the main things they took away from the experience were JR’s wallet, phone and keys. Old habits die hard.  

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Disputed Border Collies.

Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? … Pardon? Errr, yes, I suppose I do think it’s a country. Woah! What’s that? Relax! It’s not a country! It’s not! I’ll say whatever you want me to say! Just put the gun down! … Good boy. … Sausage? 

In case it wasn’t obvious, the above was meant to be brief exchange in which the Chinese army’s new machine-gun wielding robot dog momentarily took a decidedly unfriendly turn over some minor differences of opinion on statehood. Who ever said geopolitics couldn’t be fun? 

The mechanical canine, which has an automatic rifle on its back, was unveiled this week during some joint military drills with Cambodia. And isn’t he handsome? Just don’t rub his belly. And definitely don’t bring up any recent 35th anniversaries of events that definitely didn’t happen. This might be the first dog that takes you for a walk.  

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Airport Antics.

Airports to me are seriously underrated. They’re a place where normal rules do not apply and anything is possible. The man sat opposite me at the gate? In love with me, I can tell. 6am beer? Why the fuck not. Expensive food? I deserve a treat. So you can imagine my excitement seeing Db’s new summer campaign set in my favourite place. And as someone who has made traveling their entire personality, I believe I am the most qualified to rate this ad. 

So here is my verdict – I’m a fan. You see every type of person here. From the Karens to early morning drinkers, this ad plays on every airport archetype you can think of and is scarily relatable. Amidst the summer chaos, it shows Db’s luggage remaining a beacon of calm rolling smoothly through the mess. And from someone who has just lugged a 28kg suitcase with a broken wheel halfway across the world, this ad actually made me click on the website.  

And then I saw the price… never mind. Amazon Basics ain’t so bad, anyway. 

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In My Spatial Computing Era.

Another day, another tech development closer to living in an episode of Black Mirror. But what would coolsh*t be without a dystopian story that makes us feel slightly on edge and concerned for the future as we know it? 

Tech start-up, Sightful, has taken WFH to a new level, unveiling a first-of-its-kind screenless laptop. Yep, your eyes are the screen. While Apple has been dominating the ‘spatial computing’ space with their Vision Pro headset, this is something different. These headsets are not bulky or clunky like Apple’s, which (I imagine) would be uncomfortable to wear for more than a couple of hours.  

Sightful’s solution is a pair of AR glasses, which look no different to a pair of regular sunglasses. The idea here is to “free people from the constraints of time and space”, but blurring these lines between the physical and digital world feels like a slippery slope to me.  

Perhaps it’s my laziness speaking but idea of ‘work-on-the-go’ is terrifying and not a future I’d like to be part of. No thanks. Hard pass. Let me close my laptop and ignore my work emails until the morning. Thank you. 

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It’s Coming Home.

The days are getting longer. The sun is shining. The Euros are en route… maybe life is worth living? In another ad playing on stereotypes, Paddy Power are “celebrating” England’s rare position as the bookies’ favourites to win the Euros. Poking fun at Brits abroad, Brexit, and our inability to forget the 1966 World Cup, they’ve painted a painfully accurate picture.  

And who better to narrate it than the geezer himself, Danny Dyer, in his quintessentially Bri’ish way – along with cameos from Peter Crouch and the ‘four lads in jeans’ meme fellas, who unironically represent everything wrong with British fashion.  

Whether this is actually the year it finally comes home is up for debate. But what is without question is that this ad has perfectly captured the anticipation ahead of the Euros. Let’s just pray England at least make it past the group stage then, after all this fuss. 

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