Thursday, July 30, 2009

a quick one

Little update.

Lately, the weather here has been insane. Up to about 4 days ago it was perfect. But lately it’s been crazy hot. In the newspaper the other day it called it a “heat wave of a lifetime”. Seriously? Lets not go too nuts.

But yeah, the weather has been pretty sweet and unlike last year I feel like I’m getting a pretty awesome summer. I guess this is especially poignant if you’re reading this in Ontario where I’ve heard it’s been a pretty awful summer so far.

So last week I got offered a free ticket to go see Snoop Dogg at the pacific coliseum. It was through a client we have who has a private box there. It was, well, cool. To be honest I went to go see snoop because I felt like it was one of those things I feel like I should do. Basically it was like watching a cartoon. Exactly what you expected. One funny thing though, is that not only does he perform his hits, he performs other people hits. At one point he did “Jump around”. One funny thing about the concert is that it was filled with girls wearing tiny miniskirts and high heels. I guess every girl was hoping that despite sitting in the nosebleeds they thought they might be able to draw the interest of Snoop Dogg or something. Sometimes I pray I’ll never have a daughter. Another thing I saw a lot of was overbaked guys. Guys who stank like weed, were sweating like crazy with super bloodshot eyes and a deep red faceand were going to the bathroom all the time. It was actually pretty funny. Another weird thing, when you see Snoop perform you realize how dirty some of his songs are. Not to sound like a square, but it can feel sort of uncomfortable listening to snoop sing for three minutes graphically describing a blow job he got. Funny enough these were usually the songs the girls in the miniskirts were most into.

Fast forward to the weekend, specifically Saturday. My buddy John hooked me up with tickets to the Virgin festival. The weird thing is in Vancouver I think they had trouble selling tickets as I heard on the Saturday they only sold 3000 tickets. Yikers. I showed up in time to see broken social scene who put on an amazing show. I’d heard a lot of good things about them and they lived up to it. K-Os got on stage and rapped with them for a bit too but, I don’t know, give me rock, not rap rock, knowhatimsayin? I was sitting beside this dude with the best seat in the house. He was super generous too, making sure everyone around him had enough to eat.

One annoyance was seeing people practice yoga at the concert. Seriously Vancouver yoga nerds?! Can you not just get drunk like the rest of the world? Or would that ruin your cosmic energy or something. Read the rulebook on how to have fun.

Next up was Our Lady Peace. To be honest I was kinda surprised I hadn’t somehow seen them up to this point. It was weird, apparently they lost their last guitarist and decided to get howard stern to replace him. About 10 minutes into the set it started to rain hard. I took this as more proof that God hates Our Lady Peace so I heeded his warning and went home. As I started driving home the rain got worse and eventually became a full blown thunderstorm which is really rare for the city. The sky turned a really cool color and it was all sort of surreal.

A few hours later I went to the magazine release party for Color magazine, a skate mag out here that I’m actually doing a bit of writing for. They also have a lot of strange connections to a bunch of my friends, I think Cody is doing some work for them cause a bunch of people asked me about Cody and the Cocaine car while I was there. They also knew people I used to skate with in Hamilton. It’s a small world I guess. Anyways, the party was a really good time. Lots of drinking, old friends and new friends and some dancing.

So that’s a quick recap of last weekend, tomorrow I leave to go to Ontario for the weekend. Really really looking forward to it. Hopefully I’ll have some stuff to report soon. Until then, peace out. Oh and if you haven’t checked out sky force yet, they have a new episode up. Simply amazing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sky force 6

friends from back home did this. Frankly speaking, it's probably the best thing you'll see all year. I saw slumdog finally on monday and this beats it

Sky Force 6: Episode #1 "Four Score and Twenty Migs Ago" from Matt Unsworth & Simon Bruyn on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So I guess I should get on to the actual competition we were in. Unfortunately, given that Jon and I hadn’t slept very well and it was a 9 hour time difference, me and Jon were struggling to stay up as much as we were trying to work to the brief. The competition worked like this, we had 24 hours to do an ad basically to tell people to stop buying poached animal souvenirs like elephant skin wallets and tiger fur and such. Long story short, we didn’t come in the top 3. In hindsight me and John new why but to go over it on this blog wouldn’t really interest anyone and probably make me sound like I was making excuses, but if you come talk to me about it, I can vent some of my frustrations about it. Needless to say, me and John both have a bunch of regrets over how we handled the situation.

Right after we walked out from handing in our competition entry we walked right into two buddies from Toronto, Joel and Chris. We figured the best bet would be to head off to our hotel and drink some cheap room beers before heading out for our first real night out on the town. After the first brews we went out for some pasta and met some English blokes who were actually in the same competition as us. We chilled at the dinner spot for a bunch, drank more beers than headed off to an irish pub. I know, really soaking in the French culture, but hey, it was the only place you could get pints for under 6 euro. After talking up a storm with all the new and old friends I think I had managed to invite something like 20 people to come to Vancouver and crash at my place. I was drunk and still all over the map mentally after a surreal 48 hours or so.

After the bar we went back to the hotel but first we stumbled into perhaps France’s best kept culinary secret. They have insanely good chicken shawarmas. I know, I know, not the most authentic again but seriously the shawarma’s were insane. Maybe it’s the proximity to the middle east, or maybe, it’s because the put French fries in them. Seriously though, they put French fries in everything there though. You can have the classiest meal and still they’ll stuff the frois gras with “frites”. It’s ridiculous, you can’t escape them. But in this instance they taste so wicked. Matt has his Peanut Butter noodles, I’ll take my French fry stuffed shawarmas.

At this point I could go on about what I did in detail every day but to be honest, Cannes isn’t that big, and by the 4th day or so it’s like the movie groundhog day, you just keep living the same day over and over and over. It goes something like this:

Wake up one of two ways:
a) Wake up at 6pm after a night of partying too hard, lay in bed with the fear and worry about how you got black out drunk the night before and probably told off a big shot in the industry and single handedly destroyed your career. Seriously I had a two days like this. Turns out both times I had nothing to worry about.

b) wake up at a decent hour, go to the festival and either watch some award winning advertising or go see a pretty famous guest speaker either talk to you about something interesting, show you something cool (seriously this touch screen tabletop thing was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life) or, sometimes, bore the living shit out of you.

Funny enough one of the most interesting and charismatic speakers I saw was Steve Ballmer, the new CEO of Microsoft since Bill Gates stepped down. I thought he’d be a bit of a maniac or a fish out of water but man, he handled a lot of barbed questions with grace and optimism. Advertising is such a pro Mac industry it was awesome to hear him deal with snarky pro-Mac dudes trying to blow holes though windows.

One of the worst was Lil Stevie, or Steve Van Zandt. Guitarist from the E Street band. It was kinda depressing listening to a dude who was part of a legendary rock band talk about how awesome it is for bands to do music for commercials, and how rock bands are excited to work with big brands. I mean I’m in the industry and to me he even sounded like a sell out. Then at the end of that he had one of the bands from his label come out and perform. Note to any band, never perform in front of an advertising audience that came for what they thought was a talk, in a room with no place to stand, so everyone has to sit. It was so akward for the band on stage trying to “rock the house”. It didn’t help that they were an Austrian girl band who dressed like pin ups. Soooooooo awkward.

So after that part of the day is done, first you might go explore the streets a bit but usually you’d either go with friends, or occasionally by yourself to a restaurant to take advantage of some of the awesome food France is known for. Once again, this was one of those things that was more awesome at the start of the trip than at the end, probably cause near the end I was served the most ridiculous portion of steak tartare I’ve ever seen. But still no complaints, food was wicked. Though I have no idea how anyone stays thin in that country.

After that, usually you’d try and sniff out somewhere to go have pre-pre-pre drinks, these were usually the low key type parties, sometimes they’d even just be in your room. Sometimes you’d get sniffed out by some weird advertising paparazzi people and they’d ask you if they could come with you (around the 1:30 mark, I was quite drunk and quite confused)

After that part there was usually a party on the beach somewhere that you’d go to. These parties were usually put on by a big production company or something so it would be pretty all out. Dance floors, loud music, probably something like a spring break, but instead of 20 year olds it’s got a lot more 40 year olds who like to dress like they’re 20.

Then the party always ends at a place called “The gutter bar”, which is actually quite a nice bar during the day. At night it sort of spills out onto the street so you don’t actually spend any real time in the bar. I think this is the place where a lot of the schmoozing happens as it’s sort of the great equalizer. You’ll see the biggest of big shots right beside some Czech dude desperately trying to get you to see his portfolio. It’s a pretty surreal place and sort of sums up well kind of how fun and a little silly the whole experience is.

All in all, after 9 days there I was happy to be going home,it’s a bit like Vegas where after a while I think you get a little grossed out by your lifestyle. I mean what kind of maniac would go to Vegas for 9 days? With all that said I wasn’t exactly depressed, I mean I was still in the south of france, surrounded by awesome things to look at, with a bunch of old friends I don’t get to see often as well as new ones. Plus I got to meet some other really cool cats.

Unfortunately the way home got all garbled up and I missed my flight due to a missed connection in London. But hey, that’s a story for another time.

Au revoir France, thanks for the good times, but don’t expect me back for a while unless the Canadian dollar becomes par with the Euro or something.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cannes part 1.....

Generally, when things get overwhelming for me, I like to split things up and break them down. In looking how many pictures and stuff I took in Cannes I thought I’d break up the post into chunks. This is the first one. To be honest, I could’ve probably done this all in one big post but I spent the day playing fight night round 4 and tiger woods golf, so now it’s 10:30 and I feel like I should at least make an attempt to start writing this stuff.

Me and my buddy John Murray won a trip to Cannes to compete in the young lions competition. On paper we were psyched because our competition was going to happen on our first day there. We figured we could do the competition then spend the rest of the week just partying and having fun and all that good stuff. However, after 20 hours of traveling, and a 9 hour time difference we realized our brains were pretty fried for the actual competition. It was unfortunate and I know the two of us still have regrets about how we approached it. Oh well, that hiccup aside the week was pretty awesome.

The flight over to Cannes was actually not as bad as we expected. The only bummer was that it literally didn’t get dark at all for the entire 10 hour flight. After a brief stop over in London we headed to Nice and finally took a cab into Cannes.

When we first got there we walked around for a bit, checked out a few things then went to a bar. We figured that first day we wanted to force ourselves to stay up until 9. The best way we could figure to do that was by going for a drink or two until then. We made it until 8:30.

The next day after a night of not really sleeping, we registered at the convention center where we got interviewed by people from the festival (warning, not the coolest interview you’ve ever seen, also note how they didn’t use any of Jon’s bits, poor guy is just trying to find somewhere to stare the entire time).

After registration we did a bit of touristy stuff for a little bit. Checked out a market and some cooler side streets, basically just wandered around, enjoyed some coffees. This was also my first time noticing some strange quirks about Cannes. Apparently they have a big problem with overweight dogs pooping. Also, saw a super powerful beer, with a super powerful name. And it was my first time noticing that apparently racism isn’t as much of a faux pas in France as it is in North America. All in all, First impressions, the town was very very pretty. You could tell it was a playground for the rich. There were yachts so big that they had pools on them with yachts in the pool (thank you, please tip your waitresses).

Okay, more to come tomorrow.