Not Got Milk?

Have you heard of the Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs? It’s a (relatively) new Government Department with one objective; pushing dairy-related propaganda. 

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s part of the Government’s post-Brexit strategy. A way to replace EU subsidies without actually matching them. I couldn’t really tell, because the propaganda I saw was, well, bad.

What The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs Actually Is

Ok, so maybe I’m a bit late to the game. The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs is a British, national advertising campaign, designed to encourage people to drink more milk, eat more cheese, and continue offending Japanese people with their sickly, buttery scent. It was jointly launched by the trade associations, AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK, in late 2018. 

That makes this assessment a little sour, but given the campaign’s been running since August 2018, I’m surprised that the first time I actually came across it was last Thursday. Great penetration AHDB Dairy and Dairy UK. I say this because I actually spend time actively looking at adverts (I’m too cool, I know).

Anyway, I’ve only seen one advert, and it was all the way up from the top deck on the No 30 to Hackney Wick, but what I saw made me think the whole advertising campaign’s completely unpasteurised (shit). 

See, I was definitely on the top deck of the No. 30 to Hackney Wick.

It’s a shame, because the competition, oat-based milk alternative, Oatly, have been running some really cool print and poster ads recently.

Why The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs Sucks

I’ll start by deconstructing what I think’s wrong with the advert.

1. The Department for What?

When you read, The Department for Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs, what do you think of? 

I think of Michael Gove shaking a can of whipped cream, dropping his trousers, getting his genitals sticky and proceeding to propose, “a truly scrumptious affair!” to his diary secretary. Not because Michael Gove’s genitals are scrumptious, but because I think Michael Gove probably doesn’t realise using the word scrumptious makes him sound like a twat.

Second, scrumptious makes me think of how milk doesn’t actually really taste like anything. Is that scrumptious? No, when you think scrumptious, you think of a fat person describing a cake, or their fanfiction about crushing on Daniel Craig. I’m pretty sure Daniel Craig is not milk, cheese or butter.

The name just doesn’t work.

2. An Authoritarian Approach

The concept behind the advertising campaign, is a tongue in cheek, semi-official looking, public service announcement from an imaginary Government Department. 

It’s like it’s trying to play on the ‘Keep Calm Carry On’ posters that were never actually released. This is one of the strongest points of the campaign, but it’s poorly executed, and shows a reasonably cynical self-awareness.

I say it’s poorly executed because no UK Government Department would be as imaginatively named as, The Department For Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs (DFDRSA), unless I dunno, Eric Pickles, was still relevant.

It’s a cynical point of self-realisation, because the overall concept acknowledges that on a level playing field, dairy can’t compete with dairy alternatives. That’s in terms of nutrition, animal cruelty, shelf-life, sustainability credentials (minus soya) and sheer less grossness. So instead, it seems to accept that the only way to keep people buying milk is to instruct them to, they remind them how much easier life used to be when their parents bought a four pint bottle of semi-skimmed, and made them Crunchy Nut for breakfast. 

3. A Coat Of Arms With Cows Like A Chicken Shop

The Department’s logo is two cows. It’s a product based on animal exploitation. I think it’s funny, but funny in the way that all those chicken shops have mascots that are excited cartoon chickens. Like the chickens just can’t wait to go spinning around on the kebab skewer. 

I think this is a pretty strong reminder that milk is made for calves, and ahead of pasteurization, often full of shit when it’s first pumped. 

4. The Little White Number In Your Fridge

The final thought is specific to the billboard ad I saw. The copy reads, “Milk. The Little White Number In Your Fridge For Every Occasion.

I showed this to a couple of people, and no one I knew had any idea what a ‘little white number’ was. Sure, they knew the Coco Chanel phrase, ‘little black dress’, but out of three words, that’s two that are totally different. It’s an extremely lazy play on words that doesn’t work.

It also implies that milk should go on everything. 

As if you should pour milk into your salad, your little packet of crisps, your fruit juice and I dunno, down your trousers. Maybe that’s the point, with a previously saturated market now in decline, maybe DairyUK realised that to keep profits up, they need to encourage people to use milk in new and exciting ways. Perhaps as lubricant for their ‘scrumptious affairs’.

Why It’s A Shame

There have been plenty of good dairy adverts. Got Milk? That one when David Beckham grew a milk moustache. And that one about young boys’ aspirations to be Ian Rush

But this one. It was never fresh. It’s like it came out sour.

It’s almost as shit as Jerry’s ‘Hungry for Apples pitch was in Rick and Morty, because it lacks any real imagination. 

Remember that Friends episode when Chandler decides to go into advertising and starts saying things like, “Cheese. It’s milk that you can chew.” It’s like that. Lazy copy.

But maybe I’m wrong, and this the biggest creative campaign UK Dairy producers have ever milked. 

I mean, apparently it’s inspired 11% of young adults with children who were thinking about switching to a milk-alternative interviewed, not switching to a milk alternative, and agreeing with misleading statements like, “they were certain to buy dairy products. Whatever the hell that means.

So it’s working, right? 

Motivating The Move – Your Guaranteed Six-Step Programme For Removing Unwanted Flatmates

My flatmates broke up last month. 

That means I’m now living with a former couple. 

Despite a very uncordial break up, they’re still sharing a bed. Understandably, the situation’s getting nasty. 

It’s getting increasingly nasty because two weeks ago, the female half of the couple secured a new room in south London. She’s been able to leave since last Monday (24 February). As she has a new place, she’s stopped paying rent, buying soya milk and keeps breaking china on the sly.

But most concerning of all, she’s just not moving out

She’s even said that she doesn’t want to. 

The only packing she’s done has been filling one suitcases with her barbies. Yes, she literally filled a suitcase with barbies. And no, she’s not a fifteen year old loser.

Whenever I, or the male flatmate try talking to her about moving out, she starts screaming or decides that she really needs to walk around Victoria Park to play Pokemon Go. Strange, isn’t it? 

I don’t even understand why she wants to stay. She’s the one who broke up with him and her new place is way closer to work. Also, she’s definitely old enough to know that she needs to move out.

Anyway, it’s concerning because if this continues, the male half will find a new place, and then I’ll have to find a new place

I have no intention of finding a new place, so I’ve hatched an ingenious plan to get rid of her.  

Why We Can’t Kick Her Out

Unfortunately, changing the locks isn’t an option. That’s because we don’t own the flat, and she knows most of my friends. 

If we kick her out, she’ll tell everyone that I’m a beast and used to really like Korn (I didn’t, who told you that?).

Also, I hate confrontation.

That’s why we’re going to piss her off so much that she leaves. 

As an expert in passive aggression, I’m quite confident this six-step displacement programme’s going to work.

Maybe it’ll help you get rid of your least favourite flatmate too!

Here’s exactly what you need to do to get rid of your least favourite flatmate.

1. Stop Being An Enabler (Remove The Cardboard Packets From All Your Rizlas)

I think she wants to stay because we accept her less attractive habits. To make her uncomfortable, we need to stop enabling those habits. 

By that, I’ve deduced that we need to sabotage her weed smoking.

Now, as someone who doesn’t smoke weed, it took me a while to figure out exactly how to achieve this. But the solution’s simple. I just need to rip off and bin all of the cardboard packets my rizlas come in.

It’s genius because to roll a joint, you need a roach. As far as I can tell, the roach is what makes the drug potent. You make a roach by ripping a strip of card off the little cardboard box your rizlas come in.

If she has no rizla packets to make roaches, she won’t be able to smoke weed!

Ah, but you’re thinking that she could just go to the shops and buy her own rizla packets, or use the covers of paperback books? 

Well, she’s someone who wakes and bakes and loves books. So I’m sure you’ll understand that she’s too lazy to go to the cornershop to buy her own rizlas, and would never dream of destroying a book cover. 

That means when she’s smoking weed, she’ll have to resort to making roaches out of her passport and birth certificate.

As soon as she’s completely destroyed her passport and birth certificate, she’ll no longer have any evidence of her British citizenship, and we can call the Home Office and get her deported to Jamaica!

I mean, if she’s in Jamaica, there’s no way she can tell everyone that I’m a beast!

2. Use Subliminal Messaging (Rewrite Their Horoscope)

The next step in my diabolical plan involves subliminal messaging. 

That’s right, the best way to get your flatmate to move out is tricking them into thinking that fate’s instructed them to.

The obvious way to do this is with their horoscope. You just have to replace all the  less important words with ‘move out now’.

Look at the one I edited. It’s from the UK’s most trusted paper and medium, the Daily Express and Russell Grant.

https://www.express.co.uk/horoscope/Gemini/daily-forecast/2020-03-07 

3. Ruin Their Things (Go For Their Sims 4 Saved Game)

Now you should never break someone’s physical things. That’s not cool. 

But you’ve totally got a licence to ruin their non-physical things, if said non-physical things are played on their ex-boyfriend’s Xbox.

In the case of my flatmate, I was inspired by a strange sound. 

Can you hear it? 

Sul Sul, Badeesh! Nooboo, Oh feebee lay.

I’m sure your female flatmate makes those noises too. 

Not sure what it is? I think it’s someone’s character in the Sims 4 saying they just put a spoon in your peanut butter (they like to taunt).

Yes, you may have guessed it, my flatmate spends the majority of her time playing the Sims 4.

It’s a strange, but impressive passion. 

She’s spent years recreating her life in the Sims. I’m even featured in her real Sims universe, and her alternative Sims universe (yes, there are two timelines in which everyone’s gender preferences are switched). 

In both universes, my character is fat, stupid and thinks soul patches are cool. I think that’s the only thing that’s actually consistent.

She loves her Sims 4 saved game so much, I figured that a sure-fire way to piss her off, and to get her to move out as quickly as possible is to fire it up, and make all the characters that resemble her really, really ugly.

Yeah, don’t feed them to a cow plant. Don’t make them into a baker. Just make them ugly.

Then she’ll think her Sims characters are ruined, and she’ll have no motivation to stay.

4. Start An Infestation (Make Them Think You Have Mice)

Wait, does your flatmate really hate mice too? 

Do they also not understand that getting rid of mice requires them to not get really stoned every evening and always put the bread away? 

What really? That’s a complete revelation to me too.

So, my flatmate hates mice. She’s so upset by the idea of mice, she doesn’t even need to see them to go mental. 

She just needs to see mouse droppings.

That’s why I’m going to buy some chocolate raisins, cut them up a bit, and then sprinkle them next to the toaster.

As soon as they think that the new place is going to be nicer than the old one, they’ll start wondering why they’re staying.

5. Change the Wifi Password

People don’t like using their mobile data at home, especially when they play five hours of Pokemon Go daily. 

Hence, to make someone really uncomfortable, be really passive aggressive and change the wifi access code, and fail to share it on your group chat.

If you don’t want them to realise that it’s been changed, just paint the light on the router black, and say it’s broken and that you’re waiting until next month to fix it.

6. Contaminate Their Food (Write Love Letters From Your Marmite To Their Greek Yoghurt)

Everyone’s a little precious about their food. Now, I’m not suggesting that you should actually do something horrible to their food, just maybe make them think that their food is doing something horrible to itself.

Do greek yoghurt and marmite go together? While we’ll never know, congratulations, my flatmate is about to find out. 

That’s because her greek yoghurt and my marmite are about to start a not-so secret relationship.

This one’s easy to pull off. Just spoon some marmite into their yoghurt.

Then write a love note on a post-it, and stick it on the pot.

This is a great idea because first they’ll think that you’re being passive aggressive, labelling their stuff. However, when they actually read the note, they’ll discover that actually, you’re not to blame and it’s actually their own food that’s been getting at it. 

They’ll know that they can’t shout at their greek yoghurt, and will need to take it away before it elopes with your marmite.

The letters are easy. 

For instance, the Greek Yoghurt would probably write to the marmite:

“Hey You Inky Syrup Stallion. 

You’ve got my Greek going freak. 

Love You. Hate You. 

I Can’t Spread Enough Of You.

Meet me on the counter Marmite, 

I’ll be your creamy delight, 

Your-yoghurt”

A Love Letter your Greek Yoghurt to my Marmite

This will let her know that they need to take their yoghurt out of the house, of they’re going to end up being responsible for a child with the consistency of molasses, encouraging their immediate departure.

If All Else Fails

While this is a totally foolproof campaign of encouragement, sometimes, it might not go to plan.

When that happens, just get their parents’ telephone number, call them up and tell them everything that’s going on.

If their parents are dead, why the fuck are you being so evil?

Hi Frisco / Two Weeks In Nashville – Sebright Arms, 3 March 2020

A juxtaposition of the bravado of youth and the modesty of age.

Last night I saw Hi Frisco supported by Two Weeks In Nashville at the Sebright Arms.

The last time I was there, I accidently saw Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes and Cat Princess. The accident salvaged an otherwise woeful afternoon spent with the Jeff Buckley Appreciation Society at Sofar Sounds (got you – that’s not a real band – it’s how you know weekends are better spent with Coronavirus than at Sofar Sounds).

First up:

Two Weeks In Nashville

Two Weeks In Nashville are a four-piece rock band. A young rock band. They’re talented and play well. They might disagree, but pop-rock’s their thing, with equal parts guitar solos, posturing, signing the horns, unnecessary lunges and tartan trousers

Despite a high turnout for Hi Frisco, not many descended to the basement to watch Two Weeks In Nashville’s set. Instead, the audience arrived en masse at 8:45. Shitty crowd – check.  

Two week’s isn’t very long, is it?

Two Weeks In Nashville played four songs (it could have been five). The set sounded like Train or U2 with a caveat. No Joshua Tree era aural landscapes or any sense of punctuated pre Rattle and Hum urgency. 

That’s because Two Weeks In Nashville were missing something. Not with the performance; unless you’re offended by singers who cajole for claps and seem set on receiving restraining orders from their microphone stands; but the songs betrayed their youth. I say youth because it’s like the band’s a couple of haircuts away from figuring who they are (I also held the door for one of their mothers-come-roadie). 

Further, while there’s no need to be obsessed with lyricism, vocals sit at the forefront of pop-rock songs, making derivative harder to hide.

Sure, rock music is built on cliches, but it’s pretty ambitious to cram ‘toy soldiers’, ‘no surprise’, ‘we’re coming home’, ‘at war with the world’, ‘we stand on mountains’, and ‘we are more than numbers’ into a single song. Yet Two Weeks In Nashville managed it with their latest single Take Control.  If you haven’t guessed, I think it’s too much.

I’m not writing this to be cruel.

Last night Two Weeks In Nashville exhibited all the talent needed to entertain and excite. However, without a bolder, more personal direction, I think they’re going to find it hard to achieve.

Hi Frisco

Hi Frisco are an indie band with electronic elements. Apparently last night was their debut headlining gig. They played live as a four-piece, but apparently they’re normally a duo.

Oh Hi Frisco, is your frontman called Henry too?!

Their sound’s similar to Tame Impala, The War On Drugs and the Smith Westerns. Dreamy shoegaze pop, with eighties movie synths, bright guitar flurries and vocals that sort of float – you know, just go with the accompaniment instead of taking charge of the song.

They’re actually good. Surprisingly good. Not No Joy, Hare Tarot Lies good, but easily Smith Westerns, 3AM Spiritual good.

Either most of the audience knew them, or they were recently featured in Time Out, because for a free show, it was busy.

In sharp contrast to Two Weeks In Nashville’s exuberance, Hi Frisco’s frontman wore his fragility on stage, adding a slice of endearing to the performance.

They finished the set with their latest single, The War. While it was a short, more wasn’t necessary. Also, the shiny silver banner, apparently created by one of Hi Frisco’s mothers was very nice. Great job.

It reminded me that I’ve always found that Tame Impala songs drag, as if they’re hard to appreciate unless you’re stoned. Hi Fresco’s songs hit a similar note, but they’re more structured. More listenable. Of course, covered in a layer of sheen, but not applied so thick that you lose sight of the features.

Hi Frisco delivered a compact yet compelling dreamscape last night. The War is also cool, even if it was inspired by Atlas Shrugged.

Assuming they keep this up, I think they’ll be moderately big soon.

Gemma On Hard Times

Between sets, I met Gemma. 

She said to me that the Sebright smoking alley was her turf. She’s been homeless for 26 months.

I gave her £1.10. When she asked me to walk her to a cashpoint, I declined. I bought two beers for myself at £11.00 instead. I regret that.

Gemma was drunk and I rolled her a cigarette. 

We sat together for a bit. We didn’t have much to say. 

She claimed people working at the Sebright knew her, and made her a drink called ‘Diabetes on Ice’, comprised of lemon juice and ribena. She didn’t mention the ice. 

She said that instead of going to a hostel, she usually tried to get into a bed and breakfast. To do that she has to raise £26.00 a day. That’s about £790 a month. It’s more than my rent. 

I’m not writing anything anyone doesn’t already know.

I don’t even know why I’m writing it. 

It’s the first time I’ve had a conversation with a woman who’s homeless during a gig. She was carrying most of her possessions and hadn’t showered for a while. 

I’m not sure that it means anything, but she was a feature of the night.

I hope she managed to find another beer.

The Wants / Happy Couple – Lexington, 27 February 2020

Why Want The Wants? Because it’s your chance to surrender to a life punctuated by comically small beanies, song deficits and trips to the bathroom with all of your favourite guys.

Apparently I’m not talented enough to capture how much The Wants are into Twin Peaks

This Wednesday, I saw The Wants at the Lexington. They’re a New York post-punk band, who are apparently “Led by [an] elusive duality of personas, which oscillate between earnestly romantic and unsettlingly deadpan.” Two-thirds of the band are also in art rock five-piece, Bodega, which explains some of the current buzz about them. Perhaps that’s why they’re able to describe themselves with such style

The Wants are currently promoting the upcoming release of their debut album, Container, out on 13 March 2020. Wednesday’s show was supported by Happy Couple.

They Want The Wants

I didn’t pay to see the show. My girlfriend had an extra ticket. 

I wasn’t her first choice of company. She’d planned to go with a friend. Apparently, sometimes they both treat the process of buying gig tickets as a seduction raffle. In this case, the prize was a chance to bag The Wants’ unconventionally handsome, Madison Velding-VanDam. However, when the aforementioned friend discovered that DIIV, an apparently prettier band, were playing the same night, she took the plunge and my girlfriend was left treading water with me. 

I hadn’t listened to anything released by The Wants prior to the gig, so I went in cold. 

However, having now listened to everything they’ve got on Spotify (on repeat); the Motor, Fear My Society, Clearly A Crisis and Container; I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re actually pretty cool, albeit, there’s not a whole lot to go on.

While I was listening to The Wants, my flatmate compared them to Butthole Surfers. Considering his playlists are dominated by Adele and Billie Eilish, it isn’t the worst comparison. But I’d say they’re more like Talking Heads, with an engine running on ambient techno and a quirk suppressor (they’d take it off, but these days, the environment’s a big issue).

Canned Curiosity

Before the show had even started, the merchandise stand became a talking point. 

Instead of stacks of 12” LPs and cassettes, the shop window was piled high with cans of tinned food, unlabelled. Despite the obvious guess being that this was to help attendees self-isolate in the event they contracted Coronavirus at the gig, it turned out to be a cool way to add physicality to preordering The Wants upcoming album Container.

What better preorder incentive than a little apocalypse cuisine?

I was severely disappointed to learn that all of the cans contained peas. Word of advice The Wants, next consider the possibility of a couple of cans of Fray Bentos.

Who’s The Happy Couple?

First to play were female-fronted, three-piece Happy Couple. They kicked it off with a frenetic, bass-driven, noise rock set. 

So, when are you guys moving in together?

Happy Couple offered a selection of songs that were a tauter, more accessible, take on Kim Gordon-led efforts from Sonic Youth’s major label era. While there’s often a tendency for noise rock to sound a bit samey, Happy Couple delivered plenty of diversity. Altogether, a pretty sound support.

What About The Wants?

Headliners, The Wants ran through a limited catalogue with a certain poise. 

The set was short. Really short. Departure time was 22:00, even with the encore. Similarly, every song ended impressively abruptly, as if it was a theme.

Live, The Motor was slick. It was also charming to see frontman, Madison Velding-VanDam so VanDam-elated, making considerable use of the confined space. On the night, his onstage antics seemed to be taking cues from a certain David Bryne’s brand of bizarre. 

But I want to see The Wants!

While his enthusiasm did nothing to propagate the promise of deadpan, it worked, with the exception of Fear My Society. It sounded a bit like someone reciting keywords from a Medium article, losing a bit of its otherwise stirring atmosphere of the recording. That’s to say, I was initially turned off the song during the gig, but arrived at liking it.

I shouldn’t forget that my girlfriend thought the show’s highlight was bassist Heather Elle’s Wednesday Adams dress. Given that I know even less about dresses than I do about music, I’ll refrain from providing an opinion.

Conformity of Cool

Forgetting The Wants, one of the most striking things about the gig was the conformity of the crowd. 

It was like walking down Broadway Market on a Saturday.

A sea of tea-pot-cosy inspired hats, more mullets than I care to mention, the heavy stench of that scent every girl in east London wears (you know the one I’m talking about), leather trousers, moustaches and those dangly cross earrings. I guess it happens with fad, but this really seems to be a uniform.

“I’m more of an All Day Breakfast Kinda Guy. Can’t you tell? That’s why my teapot-warmer, I mean beanie, is brown and I have moustache to disguise my disfigured upper lip.”

Now, while I’ll admit I wasn’t there because I adore The Wants, it felt like I wasn’t the only one. Despite the evident draw of the band, it was as if the majority of the crowd were there because this could, for all intents and purposes, be perceived as a Bodega side-project, making attendance less of a risk (in terms of maximising cool time) than another band may be.

Standing in the crowd, it felt at times like everyone was auditioning for a leading role in the next Churchill advert, ominously nodding their heads to songs they weren’t familiar with.

I don’t write this to be judgemental, or maybe I do. But there wasn’t the vibe that people were there to see a band they liked. I’m guilty of this too, but I think the atmosphere suffered.

Perhaps that’s why there were so many boys going to the bathroom in threes. 

You know, so they could complement each other on their facial grooming techniques while washing their hands.