So it’s been two years since my last post, but finally my research is complete. I’ve worked out how to dog.
“Is it any McGood?”, “Not McReally, in fact it’s McWrap.”
Actually, I’ve not tried one yet, but nonetheless surely Ronald’s latest wheeze has to be one of the best marketing blunders since the Birdseye ‘Codpieces’ debacle.
Amélie, who just turned 8, giggled about a McWrap billboard on the way home last night and, as a parent, I was torn between being proud and ashamed.
I settled on proud (because we’d covered the whole ‘crap’ thing in an entirely adult way recently, after I’d been a little injudicious in my commentary of something or other on the telly) and because she spotted the pun before I did. That’s my girl!
As a fan of travel, I mostly hated the ubiquitous McDonalds that rear their ugly heads, like the fruiting bodies of some enormous underground globalization fungus, in even the most unspoiled corners of the planet.
But, just occasionally, the sight of the golden arches hoving into view would be a blessing.
There are far too many ways in which one can have a go at the machinations of the manic burger-machine to cover adequately here, but two things one generally can’t fault McDonalds for is the cleanliness of their kitchens and the cleanliness of their toilet facilities.
When you’re shuffling along the dusty streets of Tierra Del Nowhere with the crab-like gait of someone who has a crippling dose of ‘turista’, and has severely overestimated the maximum safe distance from the hotel porcelain, spotting a big yellow ‘M’ is just the first chapter in a small but blissful story of relief.
For me therefore, phonically at least, ‘having a McCrap’ was a generally positive experience, but not one that involved anything you’d like to see poking out of a tortilla and surrounded by salad.
To me, the only possible explanation is that the plan was invented, and sold to various committees in the generally anglophone organisation, by someone who didn’t have English as a first language – but was, nonetheless, too senior and scary to challenge with an objection that basically revolved around poo.
Speaking of revolving around poo, I’m thinking of writing to them and suggesting that they start offering McToast and McJam with their breakfast menu. They could then provide an tool applying the latter to the former, and call it the McSpreader.
Remember, you read it here first.
 possibly a wholly apocryphal story, and possibly not involving Birdseye.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I find myself lost and confused in a foreign airport, I am always happy to come across some really helpful signage.
For the avoidance of further confusion, this line doesn’t divide anything that can meaningfully be called ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. Nor is it in the East End of London.
When Walter Sheffersqueuetonshaw, renowned chromaclature consultant, offered the chance of an interview, our reporter David Rince leapt at the opportunity.
Here are some excerpts from his report:
Walter was waiting for me at the appointed rendez-vous outside the café in Grape Lane. He was staring distractedly into his coffee:
WS: “They’ve put full-fat in this. I asked for semi.”
DR: “How can you tell? You’ve not tasted it yet.”
WS: “Just look. See how the foam here is Tuscan Biscotti? It should be much nearer to Champagne Suede. Full-fat.”
I didn’t really see, but I was loath to doubt the finely-honed eye of the expert. *
DR: “Thank you for giving us this interview, Mr Sheffersqueuetonshaw. I know that many of our readers have wondered exactly who it is that names the colours in household paint…”
WS: “Not just household paint, I do any form of colour, domestic and institutional stuff too.”
DR: “I see, so what exactly is the exciting world of ‘chromaclature’ all about?”
WS: “Essentially, it is about naming colours. You could think about it as a kind of taxonomy of tone, or a cataloguing of chromaticity.”
DR: “A heirarchy of hue?”
WS: “Don’t be flippant.”
DR: “I’m sorry. So what makes a good chromaclature consultant?”
WS: “Well, my training has been long and hard. This is both an art and a science you see – so obviously I can’t explain everything in five minutes… Briefly, though, the aim of what we do is to help the end user of a colour to engage with it on an emotional and intellectual level. So, for example, if you want to choose a shirt, you might feel more attracted to one whose colour was Saint Tropez Zenith than one whose colour was simply light blue. Even if (and this is the powerful bit) they were exactly the same shirt!”
DR: “that’s … er… ”
WS: “From a marketing point of view, the actual naming is very important. An exotic foreign-sounding destination can give an air of sophistication and worldliness to a colour. A nice literary adjective can lend an aspect of intellectual superiority. Foreign food, too, is often a winner. Currently, I’m hunting for just the right colour to go with ‘Vyshhorod Insouciant Mechoui‘.
DR: “I’d no idea that…”
WS: “This is just the tip of the iceberg. Lately, we’ve been excited to discover that there’s a flip-side to the coin, too: just as the name of a colour can have an impact on its marketability, it transpires that the colour itself can have some value…”
DR: “In what way?”
WS: “As the science of naming colour has evolved, we have come to understand that colours themselves can, in fact, have strong emotional effects…”
DR: “I understand that orange is good for digestion…”
WS: “… well, quite, but that’s a very broad interpretation. We believe that Mandarin Tea-Time is more effective for the digestion of red meats, while Saffron Tambourine can have a beneficial effect if one eats a lot of lentils.”
DR: “Astounding! How is this understanding applied?”
WS: “Well marketing we have already talked about, but there are also more interesting uses. I can’t divulge the name of the client but, seeing as we were talking about orange, I could perhaps tell you about the time my colleagues and I were involved with the development of a shade that says “we care little for your human rights, and can get away with it because we have more guns than you do“. We called it Manazanillo Chilli. I believe it’s also popular with branding people in the home improvement industry.”
DR: “I suppose this technology could be quite powerful?”
WS: “Indeed. And it can be as dangerous used in ignorance as it can when used in anger.”
DR: “What do you mean?”
WS: “Well, for example, not too long ago we discovered that a certain education authority in the North had bought a bulk consignment of paint for its schools’ corridors. It was a shade of green that we call Brassica Flatulence. The effect on pupils’ motivation was devastating. We convinced them to paint over the walls with Mintellectual, and saw an almost immediate five-point grade average improvement. That’s more than the government achieved in 5 years of sacking teachers and slashing book budgets.”
DR: “Who would have…”
WS: “We’ve been ignorant about colour for so long, and we still have a long way to come. For example, I doubt that whoever made your shirt would have enjoyed any real success if they’d understood the true nature of the colour they’d chosen.”
DR: “I realise that some consider pink to be a risk for men but… well… it said Financial Times… and I… is that to say that…?”
WS: “Angelina Strap-on”
Later, we hope to bring you more insightful interviews with the people who name fonts, racehorses and fishing tackle. When David feels ready, of course.* OK, so you can’t really hone an eye – not without some serious watering – but you see what I mean.
Creativity is what happens when you are supposed to be looking for old bank statements.
I don’t know about you, but it’s at about this time of the month that I like to wallow is self-doubt, and ask myself questions like “if I chosen a career in toothpaste, say, or retrophrenology, would I even now be basking on the poop deck of some obscene Sunseeker yacht?”
Actually, I don’t necessarily have exactly those thoughts, but I just felt the need to use the phrase ‘poop deck’. It doesn’t get used enough hereabouts.
On this very day in 475 AD, as I’m sure you all know, Basiliscus became the Byzantine Emperor, crowned Hebdomon palace in Constantinople. I, on the other hand, in 2012, managed to do a bit of shopping, some light laundry at around lunchtime, and achieve an almost complete ignorance on the subject of Drupal Fusion sub-theming.
I think you’ll agree that that all just goes to show.
Anyway, yoghurt is what I brought you all here to talk to you about, but I fear that there’s no time left. That’ll have to be for another time.
Still, I’m glad we had this chat.
As a parent, I am concerned by the imminent arrival of the moment when I have to switch tacks from “here comes a chuff-chuff train…”, to “stop playing with your food”.
I love Alabama 3. They make Sweet Pretty Muntafoobin Country Acid House Music. All night long.
One of my few regrets about leaving London is that a it’ll be that much less easy to go and see them live.
Anyway. It also so happens that I’m learning the guitar, and I enjoy doing that by playing things that I like – generally by looking for the relevant tabulature on the electric InterWeb.
Having recently failed to find tab for ‘Wade Into The Water’ from Alabama 3’s charming ‘La Peste‘ album, I decided to pay back the tabiverse by tabbing it myself.
The results can be found on Ultimate-Guitar.com