Five things on Friday #16

Five things of note from the week ending Friday, April 20th 2012
(shorter than most weeks – blame being ill, still) 

1. Awesome Drive art is Awesome

Any excuse to post more stuff about DRIVE – aka the best film of 2011really, via my usual source of brilliant stuff.

2. Being ill sucks
I was diagnosed with acute sinusitis on Tuesday (having been out of action since last Friday) and the only thing I know about it is that a mate of mine at college used to suffer with it a lot. ‘Sicknote’ we called him, bless. But, if you’re reading this now – Bodger – I apologise. I take it back. This thing is agonisingly painful and OH MY GOD I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Also, I can’t go outside.

3. Happy Birthday David
More (read: better) Prometheus goodness. This time in the shape of Michael Fassbender’s take on the now-required Ridley-universe Weyland android.

Watch this with your eyes –

I like, a lot – via Total Film.

4. Useful QR codes?

5. Just add Monsters

I love this stuff; Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal like to buy second hand paintings and then just add monsters. Apparently the trick is to match the paint originally used (e.g., acrylic or oil) and try to blend the monsters into the original scene as if they were always there. I’m actually tempted to give it a go myself.
via Siany

5. WWE kick ass at social
Who new?


Bonuses this week are a two super great long form posts that I read in my sick bed –

Travelling every bus route (much more interesting that interesting than it sounds) –
Tumbling to success (the story of Tumblr) 

5 things on Friday #5

This week I’m cheating again. Things written on Monday and then backdated to Friday.


Sue me.

5 things of note from this past week –

  1. Travelling Light @ The National Theatre. Admittedly my tickets were freebies from a friend but still, it’s still definitely worth seeing. So what if the accents are ropey at times and who cares if the script is slightly clunky in places – it was lovely little piece of theatre.
  2. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol @ The IMAX!! Bloody good and again, well worth seeing (at THE IMAX though, obviously).
  3. #DriveTime – aka ‘tweet along with Drive’ – came and went. It was fun, but could it have been better?
  4. The Descendants (w/ G Clooney). Dead good.; it just kinda… happens. He’s bloody brilliant actually, best thing/most nuanced performance since Michael Clayton. Yep. You should see that too.
  5. The future arrived, via my iPad. Still learning. Amazing.

5 things on Friday #5

Bonuses: Sleb spotting in Soho, covered in snow at Speakeasys in Clapham and some gorgeous MEGACITY photography up in Leeds.

Some thoughts on #DriveTime

This post is about the recent home release social media activation of the film DRIVE. There maybe spoilers ahead BUT I’ll be sure to yell loudly if they come near. Then again, we may make it without any. We shall see…

Drive: a stunning, nay breathtaking, film from 2011 (some would argue THE film of 2011). Woefully ignored by the Academy but adored by fans worldwide, its a glorious tale of love-driven revenge told through the haze of 70’s LA neon with a soundtrack to match.

Of Drive, I am a fan.

On Monday, Jan 30th 2012, Drive got its UK home release on both DVD and Blu-ray and, to celebrate said launch, film-studio-friendly agency, Think Jam, sent out early copies of the film out to a select group of fans on Twitter.

The aim? To kick-start a pre-scheduled participatory/group viewing, snappily referred to as #DriveTime.

Nice idea.

But not everyone agreed –

Dan has a point.

In fact, the whole conversation between him and Mike is worth a look (especially as both have proven experience in this kind of marketing). I stumbled across the conversation between the two of them after the film had finished, however found myself unknowingly agreeing with them midway through.

That aside, there’s also the very real issue of SPOILERS.

I would be gutted if someone I followed [on Twitter] unwittingly gave away key plot points throughout any film that I was yet to see (especially on THE DAY of its home release, ie; if you didn’t see it at the cinema then you’re stuffed). In fact, so much did it concern me that I issued my own warning before the film started.

Those issues aside, the ‘event’ seemed to go well. So well in fact, that my friend and I started kicking around some ideas around data visualisation that could work alongside it – yes, that’s right, we’re data geeks.

Bear with me, this is where things get interesting –

Data Visualisation around group events is nothing new, see The New York Times and the Super Bowl or before that, The Guardian and the World Cup; with swathes of data, you can make beautiful, beautiful visualisations.

But these events, they’re huge, global happenings with hundreds of thousands of tweets to process, giving you an extremely granular level of preciseness that you wouldn’t find with say, 1200 or so tweets… right?

Well, ish.

“…I bet they haven’t sold it in.”

One of the great things about these kinds of social media campaigns is that the data is (relatively) free and available for anyone to access. So what if you could steal the data from the Drive activity and not only present it back in a gorgeous fashion, but also demonstrate your skill as a potential new partner in doing so?

“Could you piggy-back another agency’s paid activity to showcase your own?”

Well, as I said, the data is there. So all you would need to do is farm that information and go from there… right?

Search term: “#DRIVETIME” – parameters 30-31 Jan 2012 – network: ‘TWITTER’

Export as .csv, group & subtotal the number of tweets by time published and… Voilà!

Look at that lovely data.

I’ve cleaned it up somewhat (only showing the data between 7pm and 10pm – the film started at 8pm) but you can clearly see the flurry of activity that happened throughout.

Now, we can sexify this chart (thanks Robbie) and we can also actually map the highlights of the film against the peaks and troughs of conversation.

A – 8pm: the film starts
B – End of [the awesome] opening sequence, ‘Night Call‘ kicks in
C – The Driver meets the girl for the first time – it’s encapsulating
D – Combination of ‘Under your Spell‘ starting + a key killer quote from our hero
E – Sequence of Driver and Irene spending time together [intense]
F – That elevator scene
G – Dip for a(nother) particularly violent piece
H – Film ends, people loved it and tweet according

.  Incredible.

What are the takeaways from this exercise?

  1. If you’re planning a scheduled viewing (over social media) make it both a) a universally accepted film (read: a classic that most people have seen) and b) perhaps one that’s not so visually sumptuous and arresting.
  2. Think about THE DATA. Alright there was a Storify after the fact, but if me and my friends can throw together a crude visualisation of what our collective tweets look like… then Christ, what else is possible?

Which in turn asks a bigger question:

If today’s brands (and consumers) are ready to remix anything and everything, what’s to stop the agencies of tomorrow doing the same?

..oh and look, no spoilers.

5 things on Friday #4

Five things of note from this week

  1. This Shangri-La Hotel ad: ‘It’s in our nature‘ – it’s gorgeous
  2. New job. New job. New job. Even managed to get my first speaking gig by day three! Amazing.
    Great work, inspiring people. This is my mantra, remind me to revisit this one day and I’ll explain where it comes from. Or just ask me when you see me next.
  3. DRIVE. I loved it (as you might know) and on 8pm on January 30th, it’ll be #DriveTime – it’s a hashtag. Get involved. I am, and as such, I’ve got a [free] copy of DRIVE on Blu-ray – Yes!
  4. Speaking of DRIVE, it gets a special mention in this Like Minds talk that I gave back in October. The video went live this week (hence the link love), it’s only 20mins long and well, you should check it out.
  5. My ex-client friend!! Carla was over from Dubai this week and, alongside picking me up a bottle of one of my favourite whiskies, she also placed a bet with me on how long RIM will last in 2012. She thinks by June, I say September or later. The Blackberry makers aren’t going through very good times at the moment and well, as a keen observer said to me recently – ‘they’re not for this world’. 

Bonus: I lost my pen – #sadtmes.




again, wind comes unrolling out of the east
like a prophet, judging with a heft of its
palm the weight of things, taking measure
with spanned fingers of the space between,
while wolf-fish graze the floor of the sea,
the teeth inside their smiles white as beacons.

plenty of time to consider the dimensions
of your loss, how it might be listed
on manifests. still, what you have left
is better than you deserve. and sufficient,
if one holds on hard enough, to keep you afloat

a narrow band of slip shows now
beneath night’s skirt on the horizon,
and widens. once again as you watch, light,
with its hunger, will have the world.

– James Sallis



Stunning, vicious, cold, visceral, glorious, sexually-charged, breathtaking, chilling, gorgeous, arresting – DRIVE is one of my films of the year.

Ryan Gosling is silent and broody to the point of irritation, but carries the weight and predatory confidence of the deadliest scorpion; deadly, quiet, lethal. His ‘Driver’ is an anti-hero of our generation.

The 80s vibe, that riffs from the opening credits, through the electro synth soundtrack and down to the inevitable, violent crescendo, is a perfect fit for the squalid neon backdrop of downtown LA.. But, despite the retro undercurrent, this is a thoroughly modern piece of cinema.

Its dark, foreboding symbolism mixed with an almost continual referential nod to classics gone by (Hallowe’en, Bullit, Scarface to name but three) creates a kaleidoscope of  imagery that – even at its most gruesome – is impossible to turn away from. The use of light, colour, sound, words… or lack thereof on all counts… is encapsulating.

I am in love with this film.

See it.


NB: I’ve just IMDb’d the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, and it turns out he’s directed two films that I’ve been busting to see for ages: Valhalla Rising and Bronson.

They’re next.