I’m very fond of the British seaside. Not so much in a twee “OMG, let’s take photos and eat candyfloss!” kind of way – although that can be fun – but because there is so much to genuinely love about these former tourist traps, with their juxtaposed tackiness and architectural charm. I spent a lot of my childhood holidaying in Britain, as opposed to going on package holidays to places like Tenerife or The Costa del Sol. I felt quite envious of my classmates, who got to travel on an aeroplane and were guaranteed sunshine but, looking back, I think that spending rainy days in a caravan in Scotland and having trips out to Morecambe, Southport and Blackpool has made me feel more connected to the place where I was born. As I got older, I began to romanticise the typical English seaside resort because of their mix of joy, despair and faded grandeur. Of course this is present in a lot of small towns, but with the harshness of winter and idyll of summer by the coast, these extremes seem…amplified. This isn’t just some abstract feeling I have either. Although there are exceptions to this trend in prosperous locations, such as Brighton and Poole, the traditional British seaside town has long been in decline – offering the kind of unfashionably kitsch holiday that belongs to your granny and granddad’s halcyon days. A recent report called ‘Turning The Tide‘ details the deprivation present in the UK’s coastal towns – including the ones which haven’t been totally deserted by tourists. In a lot of these towns, the grand old hotels have since been converted into bedsits that are full of transients. Although I will always have a soft spot for Blackpool in particular, the reality of life there is pretty grim. In the series ‘Pierdom’, Simon Roberts focuses on Britain’s iconic Victorian piers, and his lens captures my feelings about these places perfectly. From wind-bitten, rusting structures to sun-bathed promenades, his photographs evoke the curious charm and essence of the British seaside.Hastings, East Sussex
More of Simon Roberts’ brilliant photography is on his website – there are more photographs from the Pierdom series, and you should also have a look at another project he has done called ‘We English‘, which focuses on English tourism in a much broader context.
Posted in Culture, Design, Lifestyle, Photography, Writing
Tagged 2013, aesthetic, architecture, beach, beaches, Blackpool, Britain, British beach, Britishness, caravan, childhood, community, cool, Costa del Sol, creative, creativity, decline, deprivation, design, England, entertainment, faded grandeur, family holidays, funfair, geography, holidays, identity, kitsch, Lancashire, leisure, Leonie Cumiskey, memoir, memories, nostalgia, nostalgic, oh we do like to be beside the seaside, old fashioned, opinion, patriotism, personal, photography, piers, retro, romance, Scotland, seaside resort, Simon Photography, Simon Roberts, structure, tacky, tourism, towns, tradition, UK
Sorry, did I say ‘mug’? I meant ‘mum’, obviously!ASDA have rolled out their Christmas advert by Saatchi & Saatchi which, like a lot of Christmas adverts, is kind of sickening. Not just because it shows the oh-so-perfect family Christmas – which most of us know is about as real as Santa Claus – but because it portrays the ubiquitous downtrodden mother character.
Fair enough, it probably is true that in most families, mum is responsible for a lot of the Christmas preparations. But did this advert have to evoke such a pathetic self-sacrificial figure? Everything about it seems to suggest that this woman should run around after her family and get no thanks at all. She even serves her husband Christmas dinner, before making do with the worst seat at the dinner table. Her female friend is the only one to help her clear up, and when she finally sits down to relax with a glass of wine, we don’t see her receiving any presents or praise. Oh no. Her feckless husband simply asks her, “What’s for tea, love?”
The advert would be much more entertaining (and realistic) if at this point, she had chucked her wine all over the useless idiot, before screaming, “LEFTOVERS, YOU MORON!”
At least it would stop everyone else from feeling that their own Christmases were a little inadequate. I mean, who the hell is that perfect and patient and drippy? I think that ASDA’s ‘mum’ could do with buying herself a spine in the January sales!
Posted in Advertising, Brands, Comedy, Culture, Events, Lifestyle, Writing
Tagged 2012, advert, advertising, ASDA, awful, bad adverts, blogger, blogging, Christmas, Christmas advert, comedy, domestic life, eww, family, feminism, festive, funny, lame, Leonie Cumiskey, mum, nuclear family, old fashioned, opinion, pathetic, rant, Saatchi & Saatchi, Santa Claus, sexist, TV advert, TV advertising, unrealistic, winter, writing, Youtube