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Volume 489

The name’s sh*t… coolsh*t. This week we’re bringing you some thespian espionage, razor-sharp copywriting, and a deadly nightshade serving killer looks. Best enjoyed with a stiff drink of sun cream. That’ll make more sense in a minute...

Weapons of Mass Distraction.

And just like that… the 90s is now sufficiently long ago that it can provide the historical setting for a Call of Duty game. Feel old yet? You don’t look it. Except you. Ever heard of moisturiser? You’re starting to look like the inside of a tree.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is a political spy thriller in which players will find themselves in a “tangled web of illicit activities, clandestine operations, and off-the-record missions.” Sure sounds like the 90s. Can we confirm whether the main character is an intern at the BBC?

The official gameplay trailer was released this week, and it is pretty spectacular. Set in the post-Cold War United States (if such a thing even exists), the storyline follows the unravelling of a conspiracy that has infiltrated the US government. Eek. Bit close to the bone on that one, chaps. But who am I to question the orders of George W. Bush? He would never launch an unjust war. Right? George? George?

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Stay On Your Tomatoes.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. To misquote Dostoyevsky: “At first, memes imitate life. Then life will imitate memes. Then life will find its very existence from the memes”. Then he probably said something about God or Siberia being fucking well cold.

It appears that we’re currently roughly somewhere in between the latter two sentences of that misquote. Earlier this week, a particularly pleasingly plump heirloom tomato surfaced online and caught the attention of the fashion community on X, with one user stating that the “tomato is so LOEWE.” And you know who agrees? Loewe.

The meme found its way on to the feed of Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson, and he wasted no time in bringing it to life by creating an actual, tangible, wearable tomato bag. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you take advantage of a tomato buzz. Crushed it.

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SPF-FFS...

Summer’s here. Time to kick back, relax, and guzzle some sun cream. Sorry, where are my manners? Would you like some? Come on, don’t be daft. It’s really no bother at all. Open wide.

Erewhon have partnered with Vacation to create a new smoothie inspired by the sunscreen brand’s Classic SPF 30 Lotion. If you’re not familiar with Erewhon, it’s a high-end supermarket in Los Angeles that makes Waitrose look like a crack den. It’s full of painfully beautiful, radiantly vapid LA-types who spend more on dandelion quinoa salads each year than Donald Trump pays in income tax. Or in other words, the exact type of people likely to lap up a sunscreen smoothie.

The smoothie uses organic coconut and banana to make up the base, with supporting notes of Tahitian vanilla syrup, aloe and sea salt that break on the palate like waves to leave a long, lingering aftertaste of scrumptious decadence. Yum. And not a jot of gluten within a 5 miles radius, naturally.

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Fauxne.

I’m instinctively mistrustful of these bare bones phones designed to be used “as little as possible”. Are we really so helplessly addicted to social media that the only way to avoid it is to remove the temptation entirely? What does that say about us as a species? Did Ted Kaczynski have a point?

The original ‘Light Phone’ released in 2015 was as stripped back as a phone could possibly be, solely capable of making and receiving texts and phone calls and holding only 10 contacts at a time. The second iteration arrived in 2018 with a few tweaks, including an “E-Ink” touchscreen, more room for contacts and 4G LTE. Now, the latest version has dropped with a larger OLED display, an NFC chip, a flashlight, a camera, maps, as well as music and podcast-playing capabilities. You can probably see the pattern that’s emerging here. How long until it’s just, you know… a phone?

This reminds me of those devout JRE-listeners who switch to a strict carnivore diet before slowly introducing fruit… then honey… then cruciferous vegetables… until eventually they just have a normal, balanced diet again and can stop eating raw liver off a chopping board. Sourdough is a gateway drug for croissants, and a torch is a gateway drug for TikTok. Welcome back to the dark side, dear Luddites.

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Respect the Grind.

How do you like your stimulants in the morning? If you answered, ‘overpriced and handed over by a surly blue-haired barista’, then my crystal ball is telling me you’re probably a coffee drinker. And that you’ll likely be voting Reform, based on that nasty blue-haired barb. You’d be moody too if you had to deal with some of these self-indulgently convoluted hipster coffee orders. The other day I heard someone ask for a venti coconut latte with a pump of vanilla, a splash of soy, served at 190 degrees in the hollowed-out skull of a chinchilla. Millennials, eh? That was in Erewhon, to be fair.

But have you ever considered what happens to all the wasted coffee grounds that go into making your brew? No, of course not… But we’re going to tell you about it anyway. Because if there’s one thing we know about environmentalism, it’s that you have a moral duty to ram your point of view down the throats of innocent passers-by at every unreasonable opportunity.

In the heart of Barcelona, D·Origen have just become the world’s first coffee shop incorporating 3D-printed elements made from coffee grounds in their decor. Gaudi would be proud. Now that’s sustainable… if you can call charging 7 Euros for a flat white sustainable.

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Lifeshavers.

The pen is mightier than the sword… apparently. Whoever said that was definitely a writer. Probably one who had never had a sword pulled on him. I’d much rather be confronted with a strongly worded email first thing in the morning than a katana. But what if you were to combine the two? What if you were to use the might of the pen to express the might of the sword? My God… you’d be unstoppable.

Enter Wilkinson Sword’s new campaign. No pissing about with pretty pictures, just sharp copy in great big fuck off letters. Kick rocks, art directors – there’s writing to be done. Go get an Itsu or something.

Truthfully, the campaign has divided opinion, with some critics complaining that they “don’t get it”. It must have been hard for those nay-saying geniuses to spit out their gripes in between scratching their nether-regions and thinking about dough. Hopefully they get lost on the way to the polling stations in a few weeks. But personally that makes me like it even more. Making a joke that everybody gets is a guaranteed way of making a joke that nobody finds funny. Unless you’re Michael McIntyre, in which case it’s an incredibly profitable career path.

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