Advertising: Volvo, Pot Noodle and the surprises of masculinity

“The fourth blade shaves you closer still. The fifth blade does your VAT return.”

This Mitchell & Webb sketch still cracks me up. It’s a parody of those adverts for razors that are marketed at men. With each new model, the manufacturers invent superlatives for their advertising, whether to do with extra blades or just how smooth your face will be when you seek the reward of a woman’s touch. Then there’s the bigger story to do with razor advertising of course: men’s razors are tough and named after weapons, while women’s are curvy and pink.

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Fake it ’til you make it by Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn

This is a love story, but not as you know it. There’s a hand whisk and chronic depression. There’s a mambo and suicidal desires. There’s even a really bloody awkward game of badminton.

Bryony and Tim have made an outstanding piece of theatre and performance art. She is an artist and he is, well, now he’s an artist too. He gave up his day job in advertising to go on the road with his partner Bryony. Their show is about how their relationship has dealt with Tim’s poor mental health.

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Being A Man pitch: thinking about the men in the media

Have I missed something or is the Southbank Centre being quiet on planning November’s Being a Man festival? They had a think-in in January to collect some ideas from the people who could make it to London. There’s another today and tomorrow. They’ve mentioned the think-ins on Twitter and Facebook but I haven’t seen them blog about it. There’s been no open call for ideas.

This festival was so great last time, but with room for improvement, so I’ve been blogging my ideas anyway. I wrote some thoughts about it after the Women of the World festival and have blogged a few things I’ve learnt since the last BAM. I’m lucky enough to live close to the Southbank Centre and not work Saturdays, so I’m going along to the think-in tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s an idea for a session we could do. Continue reading

What I’ve learnt since Being a Man at Southbank Centre

A lot has changed for me in the last eighteen months. I’ve had to take control of my nose hair and I’ve had way more sex than before. These things may or may not be connected to each other or to the Southbank Centre’s inaugural Being a Man festival, 31 January to 2 February 2014. On Saturday I’m going to a planning session at the Southbank for the next festival, due for November. I blogged about earlier ideas here. In the meantime I thought I’d recap a few things that are not to do with nose hair but ARE to do with blokes and have happened to me since the last Being a Man. Continue reading

Being a man is tough but planning a festival on it is even tougher

WOW festivalGuys, we let the side down on Sunday. I’ve been thinking about the session at the excellent Women of the World festival that was about men, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. I have nothing against the people on the panel. They were all articulate and thoughtful. But there was a complacency to the panel and the session as a whole that I think came through in how the chair, Helena Kennedy, kept making succinct political statements. It was because she wasn’t getting clear answers from her panellists—and that’s not so much to do with them as the format of the session.

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