Anorak

The Consumer | Anorak - Part 8

The Consumer Category

We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.

Mobikes in the canal restores faith in the spirit of Manchester

In Manchester new Chinese bikes are creating artificial reefs in the city’s waterways. It’s terrific. Although it might not be what the Chinese company behind bicycle sharing service Mobike envisioned when it launched in the UK. Can Mobike disrupt Manchester travel?

I really wanted to believe that Mancunians could be trusted with nice things. Just over a fortnight ago, a Chinese company called Mobike brought 1,000 shiny new silver and orange bikes to my city. Unlockable with a smartphone and available to rent for just 50p for half an hour, they could be ridden wherever you liked within Manchester and Salford and, crucially, could be left anywhere public once you were done.

I was an immediate convert, boasting about the superiority of our new bike-sharing system over London’s, pitying sadsacks in the capital who had to trundle around looking for a docking station. One sunny evening shortly after the launch, I rode a Mobike to Salford Quays, where I swam a mile in the filtered water of the glistening Lowry, reflecting as I did my backstroke that Manchester was starting to feel rather European. I had always fancied living in Copenhagen, where the cyclist is king and the harbour has been turned into a lido. Was I now living that continental dream?

Two weeks on and I fear that a dream is all it was. There are Mobikes in the canal, Mobikes in bins and I am fed up with following the app to a residential street where there is clearly a Mobike stashed in someone’s garden. On launch day, the Chinese designer told me the bikes were basically indestructible and should last four years without maintenance. It took a matter of hours before local scallies worked out how to disable the GPS trackers and smash off the back wheel locks.

On Thursday, none of the eight bikes showing on the app as being near my house were actually there. I was so incensed when I reached the location of the ninth and could see it locked away in a backyard that I lost control of my senses and knocked on the door. A young man opened it and I asked nicely if I could rent the bike. He looked surprised and said, no, it was his, and anyway, he needed it later. I explained that was not how the system worked, that the bikes were public, and that if everyone was as selfish as him the whole thing would collapse. He rolled his eyes and told me I would be trespassing if I dared try to fetch it.

You see, what works in a totalitarian state where everyone’s being monitored doesn’t work in Manchester. Good-oh. Theft isn’t right, of course not. But to assume compliance and that people offered a 50p bike ride home will treat the thing with dutiful respect represents a failure to understand your target market.

PS: Chinese airline Wings of China can update its advice to travellers visiting the UK. The 2016 Air China guide told its passengers to avoid visiting areas of London “populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people” – and “We advise tourists not to go out alone at night, and females always to be accompanied by another person when travelling.”

The chapter on Manchester should be a hoot.

Spotter: The Guardian:

 

Posted: 17th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment


Artist turns train tickets into geodesic spheres

Recycle your old travel cards, plastic bottles and playing cards like Nick Sayers, who turns detritus into geodesic spheres. His stuff is held together with joints made by cuts. No glue.

 

travels cards sphere playing cards spheres art

Spotter: make

Posted: 12th, July 2017 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Emery Blagdon and His Healing Machine

 

In an unheated shed near Stapleton, Nebraska in the late 1950s, visionary artist Emery Blagdon began twisting pieces of old wire into patterns with pliers, attaching aluminum foil, beads, ribbons and an infinite array of everyday cast-off items. His work became part of a unique environment that he created, believing it could generate natural energy from the earth and help people attain better health. Spurred on by personal tragedy, Blagdon’s obsession to create a “Healing Machine” was life-long as he believed people could be cured by his work.

 

emery blagdon

Spotter: PBS

 

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


The International Drone Photography Contest

International Drone Photography Contest

 

Dronestagram’s fourth annual International Drone Photography Contest didn’t feature photos of your next door neighbour’s garden, and you sunbathing in it. It actually had some pretty cool stuff, like Two Moo by LukeMaximoBell.

Spotter: International Drone Photography Contest

Posted: 9th, July 2017 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Hairy legs leggings are a hoot

Hairy leg leggings will make everyone think you have really hairy legs. The big joke is that underneath the legging you really do have hairy legs, which makes the hairy legs leggings an act of sartorial promise or threat, depending on your tastes.

 

 

 

hairy leg leggings

hairy leg leggings

 

Spotter: Geekologie

Posted: 7th, July 2017 | In: The Consumer | Comment


The Donald Trump buttplug to ‘Putin your butt’

Donal tRump buttplug

 

With this Donald Trump buttplug you can shove the President where the sun doesn’t shine. Etsy shop Lovecrafters Toys is selling the Donald Trump buttplug – “the most tremendous thing to Putin your butt” – hand sculpted by shop owner Chae for £37 a pop.

Spotter: LoveCrafters

Posted: 5th, July 2017 | In: Politicians, The Consumer | Comment


How to open a wheel of Parmesan cheese (Video)

 

You can crack open a wheel of Parmesan-style Trentingrana cheese inside 7 minutes. Carlo Guffanti stars in this how-to do it video guide  us through the process. It’s not easy.

Questions later.

Spotter: The Cheese Channel

Posted: 4th, July 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


How to write a Facebook headline that makes you wildly popular

How do you write a Facebook headline that makes you wildly popular? Buzzsumo looked at 100 million story headlines on Facebook and analysed how far they travelled in terms of shares and likes. This “will make you” more viral than the common cold:

 

how to write a facebook headline

 

 

In our sample the most powerful three word phrase used in a headline (by some margin) was:

“Will make you … “

This phrase “will make you” gained more than twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular headline trigram. This was a surprise. When we started out looking for top trigrams, this one wasn’t even on our list.

So why does this particular trigram or three word phrase work so well? One of the interesting things is that it is a linking phrase. It doesn’t start or end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader.

This headline format sets out why the reader should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader, often an emotional reaction. The headline is clear and to the point which makes it elegant and effective.

Typical headlines include:

  • 24 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Better About The World

  • What This Airline Did for Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up – So Heartwarming

  • 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

  • “Who Wore It Better?” Pics That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

  • 13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart

Posted: 4th, July 2017 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Frankie Doodle Dandy: All the pizazz of the Fourth of July

Frankie Doodle Dandy wishes you a happy Independence Day.

 

frankie Doodle Dandy

 

Sitting on a blanket of American cheese, he rides in on a toasted English. He’s a Swift Premium Frank. All-American. All-delicious. He’s made with delicious cuts of meat. But not a speck of filler. And all the pizazz of the Fourth of July. In Regular or Beef.

Make Frankie Doodle Dandy by splitting Swift Premium Franks. Dip into boiling water until “arm & legs” spread. Build sandwich and top with frank. Wrap in foil and grill for 10 minutes. Decorate as pictured.

Happy Independence Day!

Posted: 4th, July 2017 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Vermont maple syrups takes like urine? The advert says it does

Vermont maple syrup takes of…

 

vermont maple syrup

 

Spotter: OneBakingPanda

Posted: 29th, June 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Coins and the superstitious to be added to banned items on planes

Add coins to the list of items banned on aircraft. And you can add the superstitious, too. Because a woman boarding a China Southern Airlines Flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou thought it good luck to toss nine coins into the plane’s engine. As she boarded her flight the woman “blessed” the plane by lobbing a handful of coins into the important bits.

China Southern Airlines told reporters that passengers were reminded to comply with civil aviation laws and regulations, which prohibit behaviour that could jeopardise the safety of the flight.

Best to slip the coins into the little paper bags they pass around passengers for charity collections, or, as superstition dictates, investing in lucky heather from a woman who looks like she’s very much down her hers despite having bought armfuls of the stuff.

Spotter: SCMP

Posted: 29th, June 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Teenagers put glasses on museum’s floor and people thought it was art

When we saw Brooklyn Beckham’s terrible photography being passed off as a talent for anything other than parody, we recalled another example of meaningless nonsense being passed off as art. In 2016, two pranksters placed a pair of spectacles on the floor at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. Before long the glasses were being viewed as a telling and important piece of art.

 

san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art san francisco spectacles hoax prank art

 

The hoaxers, @TJCruda and @k_vinnn, would doubtless be delighted to realise that their artwork fared better than other proper arty things. Tate Britain once threw away a Gustav Metzger installation, a bag of paper and cardboard.

Meanwhile, my own artwork, Vomit In Sock, has been touring the country’s music festivals. Catch it where you can.

Is it art? Dunno. What do you care? It is if it looks like it is.

Spotter: Bored Panda

Posted: 28th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Children’s cigarette dummies are smoking’s new taboo

Richard Littler‏ spots this warning on cigaret packets in Germany. He tweets: “My powers of judgement are totally shot. From this image, I can’t tell if smoking is a good or bad thing.”

 

dummy smoking

 

First one to spot this in novelty gift shop, et us know.

Spotter: the excellent Richard Littler

 

Posted: 27th, June 2017 | In: Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


This No Face Money box from Spirited Away is a must have

This money box based on the character No Face on the 20-01 movie Spirited Away is great.

 

no face money box no face money box

 

Spotter: Kadry

Posted: 24th, June 2017 | In: Film, The Consumer | Comment


After Grenfell Tower: let’s envy the ‘victims’ in their luxury flats

Kensington Row grenfell tower

 

After Grenfell Tower, news that displaced residents will be rehoused in “Posh New £5m Flats” (Star) at a new-build complex called Kensington Row located around a mile and a half from the disaster. The development has 68 flats, where the three-bed and four-bed flats are worth “around £5m” each.  These bigger flats, says the paper, are where “a majority of the survivors” will live.

Over in the Express there’s news that only “some of the victims” will be rehoused in the new flats. I’d say none of the victims will be. They’re dead – at least 79 of them. It’s the survivors who are being rehoused because their last home was a toxic time-bomb.

The flats, secured by the City of London Corporation, are worth even more in the Express. Now homes on the plot are worth up to £8.5m. Residents have access to a “gym, swimming pool, spa, private cinema and 24-hour concierge”. Are we supposed to envy them, or just marvel at the insane London property market which keeps so many people off the property ladder?

 

Kensington Row grenfell tower

The Mail says those survivors are living the dream

 

And then we learn that the City of London Corp paid around £10m (source: The Sun) for the 68 flats. That’s not £5m each is it – even if Diane Abbott is doing the maths. The majority of survivors are not living in £5m flats. It’s just under £150,000 for each, on average. Yes, I know that’s not the asking price, but the base price. The developers have “sold the properties at cost price”. But it proves that the flats’ monetary value is affected by many forces, not least of all guesswork and the legal requirement that all new complexes contain an element of low-cost housing.  The government defines affordable housing as “social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market”.

The need for a decent roof over your head is not a luxury or an investor’s punt. It’s a basic human requirement.

Oddly, the Mirror makes no mention of the new flats until Page 5. Buried in the 14h paragraph of a story on how Grenfell Tower became enveloped in a “deadly cyanide cloud”, we learn that “some Grenfell residents” will be rehoused “in a £10m deal”.

The Mail leaves it to pages 20 and 21 to focus on the flats. Now the flats are in “£2bn blocks” and worth up to £13m. The flats are “the stuff of dreams”. Well, the privately owned ones next door the council flats on the same £2bn development are. The council homes will have a lower spec.

The rehoused Grenfeell Tower survivors will, the paper observes, “live near multi-millionaires”. Not everyone’s a multi-millionaire in London – yet. There are people in the city who live in social housing and do menial and blue collar jobs. Who knew?

Posted: 22nd, June 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids, The Consumer | Comment


Kelly LeBrock’s Weird Science jacket is on sale

Kelly brook weird science jacket

 

Here’s your chance to own the jacket Kelly LeBrock wore as Lisa in Weird Science (1985). You’ll need at least $30,000.

Profiles in History trails the item:

Original black leather bolero-style women’s bomber jacket with short shawl lapel and hook and eye front closure. The entire jacket has been expertly studded with steel points, round stars and spikes with stud-formed symbols including spades with the number 13, crosses and diamond panels. Created by costume designer Marilyn Vance and hundreds of hours of single-studding to realize the designs’ special symbols representing luck and superstition.

With draped link chains on the back of the jacket. Interior lined with black satin. Highly visible in the beloved coming of age, Sci-Fi comedy when dream girl brought to life., “Lisa” (LeBrock) teaches the boys, “Gary” and “Wyatt” (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) how to be “party animals”. The only one of these jackets produced due to limited time and extreme expense. In production used fine condition. Comes with an LOA from designer Marilyn Vance.

 

Spotter: BoingBoing

 

Posted: 21st, June 2017 | In: Film, The Consumer | Comment