Archives for category: weird stuff

The urban legend goes that in the late 1920’s, the then Duke of Westminster, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, was so besotted with Coco Chanel (whom he’d met at a party in Monte Carlo in 1925) that he ordered for all the lampposts in Westminster to be adorned with her famous logo, the two crossed “C”s, next to his own initial: “W”. Today the City of Westminster (for whoever isn’t familiar with the political geography of London, the British capital is divided into 13 boroughs, among which the City of Westminster) very prosaically states that in fact the initials stand for “city council” and were added only in the 1950’s. Although the former story sounds a bit too extravagant, the latter seems spurious, as if anybody had dared to use a worldwide known trademark such as Chanel’s logo on a series of lampposts, I bet the maison‘s lawyers would have made sure the whole Westminster would remain without public lighting rather than have their brand used fraudulently.

So we tend to believe the Duke of Westminster myth. Sadly he wasn’t going to get lucky with this fancy gesture, as mademoiselle Chanel famously turned his proposal of marriage down. Somehow, despite the attempt at being romantic, we can see why…

Celebrities and brands. A marriage made in heaven since the invention of cinema and TV. But over the years we’ve all witnessed some -shall we say- “awkward” pairings that never ceased to amuse us. And for some reason Hollywood stars are happy to endorse ANYTHING as long as the advertising campaigns aren’t shown in their home land. In Italy Kevin Costner (back when he was at the top of his game) was the testimonial for a naff and ugly brand of shoes. In Spain Nicole Kidman (when her mouth didn’t resemble Daisy Duck’s yet) advertised some armpit deodorant or food shop of some description. Iggy Pop does car insurances. And then there’s the ubiquitous George Clooney campaign for Nespresso, the naffest brand one could (not) want to be associated with. And let’s not even start with Japanese adverts… This puzzles me no end. I mean: don’t Americans go abroad? Don’t they see these campaigns when in Europe? Are US actors so thick as to think that nobody will see these things in America, ever? Have they heard of YouTube?

But that’s not the point I wanted to make anyway. For the past couple of weeks, on the side of buses all over Britain we could see Ryan Reynolds in the new Marks & Spencer’s campaign. Somebody who -like him or not- is right now Hollywood royalty, should be seen endorsing Prada, D&G or Versace (I’d actually make him a Ralph Lauren type: kinda cute but ultimately bland). But Hollywood and M&S? I actually never thought the day would come I’d write the two words in the same sentence… I mean was his cheque really THAT big to compensate the public humiliation and the instant lowering in Hollywood hotness ranking?

But then one looks closely. Ryan’s expression is rather disturbed. Bothered. Uncomfortable to say the least. Is something going on here? Is it just the sudden realisation on set that his money-hungry agent signed him up for the least fashionable brand on earth? Is it the sky-high content of acrylic in the clothes giving him urticaria rashes? Or could it actually be… No it can’t be, can it? But still, every time I look at those pictures, my mind can’t help thinking that outside the cropping of the photograph, where our eyes can’t wander, something lurid is going on. Are the M&S executives keeping him captive in a sadistic way? Clamping his toenails on low voltage circuits? Choking his manly attributes with a leash? Covering his whole legs in duct tape to prevent him from running away and self-inflicting a painful leg wax? Have M&S letters been inverted in a weird case of public display of S&M, Misery-like kidnap? Something gruesome and unspeakable must be really going on down there… And we will never know…