Saturday, February 28, 2009

Less bollocksy

I was sitting at my desk quietly working away the other day when I heard my boss come out with the following pearl of wisdom while discussing something with a colleague: "I want it just like that - but less bollocksy!"

Now, this is just the latest in a long line of hilarious statements that the man has said since I started many years ago, but when you think about it he's quite right. At some point people have started using 4000 words to say things that could be said in about five. I was reading a review of a book about writing yesterday that said how a lot of authors tend to write things like 'John looked at Kate and said "oh, I like that" ironically' when in fact if it's irony done properly you don't need to point it out, because if you have to point it out it probably wasn't ironic in the first place and you just end up sounding like you're a) stupid, and b) patronising your reader (something I'd never do. Oh no).

Anyhoo, since that day I've found myself looking at various things and thinking about how they could be simplified and made, well, less bollocksy. And so, in the first of a new occasional series (which I'll undoubtedly forget about and never return to) we turn our attention to…

The new razor I bought this week!

If like me you're a boy who needs to shave once a month or so like, every day or something, you'll be keenly aware of the fact that a good razor is a very important thing. I've been using a Gillette Fusion for the last couple of years because the advertising suggested it would make me appear more masculine and attractive to women there was a promotion on in Sainsburys a few years back, but because it was getting a bit old and manky and you almost need to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost of replacement blades I decided I'd buy a new one as a bit of a treat.

But zut alore! What a choice! After standing in the man-stuff aisle in Sainsburys for what seemed like an eternity, I found myself with two choices: the Gillette Fusion Stealth Power Razor or the King of Shaves Razor Warp. Although the Gillette one was half price for just under four quid, I eventually plumped for the slightly more expensive (just over four quid) King of Shaves one, mainly because the Gillette one needed a battery and just looked excessively complex; really, all I want a razor to do is not slice my pretty pretty face up - I don't need it to be playing show tunes at me. And I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be able to follow through on its promise of making me stealthy.

But while my newly-purchased King of Shaves razor doesn't appear to be burdened with more unnecessary features than a Swiss-Army penknife, the packaging does appear to be guilty of being a bit too bollocksy.

Let's review:

You'll notice here that I've helpfully annotated the photograph. Good times.

 To begin, I'd like to say that the packaging itself is quite clean and distinctive; unlike the competition from Gillette, King of Shaves has not cluttered their design with has-been sports personalities or fonts that wouldn't be out of place on advertising materials for a 1970s science-fiction film.

That said, they're not entirely innocent. So, let's explore the charges against King of Shaves.

1. The King of Shaves Razor Warp comes with three extra blades. But rather than say 'comes with three extra blades,' someone in the marketing department decided to jazz it up a little, the result being that I am now the proud owner of a razor and three Endurium cartridges.

I have no idea what Endurium is.

Seriously, WTF!? It sounds like something from an X-Men movie. Isn't Wolverine's skeleton made of Endurium? If the use of the word Endurium is supposed to impress me, well, mission failed. I'm totally perplexed. My little face is screwed up in confusion. 

I want my mummy.

2. Someone get a proofreader. It's 'RAZOR,' not 'AZOR.'

3. 'Hybrid Synergy System Razor'!? What!? Um, I thought I was buying something to shave with, not a Toyota Prius.

4. Warp? Well of course I'm drawn to this because I'm a Star Trek fan, but so far all King of Shaves has promised to do is cut my C02 emissions and get me to Ceti Alpha V in the blink of an eye.

Verdict? Guilty - make it less bollocksy!

I've actually not used the hybrid warp-drive/razor yet, but I'm hoping it shaves better than its confusing packaging suggests.


Elsewhere, I sampled one of the new limited edition flavours of Walkers crisps yesterday: Cajun Squirrel.

Yes, you read that right. I ate some Cajun Squirrel flavoured crisps.

To be honest, I've never eaten anything squirrelly before, so I couldn't possibly tell you how close these were to the real thing. What I can tell you is that they tasted a bit like a combination of slightly-off roast beef crisps and that taste you get when a dodgy curry repeats on you. Which means they were kind of OK at first. About an hour later, though, my mouth genuinely felt like something - a squirrel, perhaps - had crawled up inside it and died. I swear I could feel fur in there too. And to make matters worse, I COULD NOT GET RID OF THE TASTE. I tried mints, drinks, dinner - nothing worked. I went round a mates place in the evening and when he asked me what I wanted to drink I almost asked for a glass of bleach.

I could still taste them this morning. According to the packet, Cajun Squirrel flavoured crisps were suggested by a guy called Martyn from Hednesford, and if that's true I'm going to hunt him down and dry-slap him. 

Unfortunately, I still have the Fish and Chip flavour to go. Lord help me.


Ponita said...

Squirrel? Do you have redneck hillbillies marketing your chips? Uh, sorry... crisps. Here in Canuckistan they are known as chips, which is what I believe you in the UK called french fries... whatever!

We have buffalo wing 'crisps' and roast chicken flavoured. But no rodents or marine animals.

Right now my fave is the black pepper and lime. Tart with a bit of a bite. Or sea salt and lime.

MJ said...

Call Mr. Baldnutz.

MJ said...

Ponita: Don't forget our KETCHUP crisps!

Ponita said...

And Extreme Dill Pickle.

Oh Hai MJ! again...

cube said...

Liked the Warp shaver (just don't take it higher than 10 ;-)

Hated the squirrel chips, er crisps.

Tim said...

Ponita - The whole chip/crisp thing can be very confusing, can't it? Crisps are crispy, chips tend to be chunky, and then we do have french fries as well; they tend to be very thin, and in no way french. Bizarre.

I love roast chicken flavoured crips. And sea salt and black pepper. I'm trying to ignore the Fish and Chip flavoured crisps at the moment because I think they'll make me a bit sick.

MJ - Troubling…

And we hav ketchup crisps too! They're gross.

Ponita - OK, they sound horrific.

Cube - Hello! Good advice - I'd hate to turn into a lizard! I'll try to keep it down to shaving velocities.

The Tall Red Head said...

OMG, they actually have packaged crisps and called them Cajan SQUIRREL? Bloody hell. And people are eating them? That would be like Smiths making Fried Tasmanian Devil Chips over here. I actually think the Fish and Chip ones would be ok, I love fish and chips.

As for the razors, women have the same problem as well. And they pay more than men do. And they have sacry names for them. And there is a wax for ladies over here called NADS...I think that is rather amusing because waxing is about as painful for women than it is for blokes to be kicked in the 'nads'. There was a lady out there with a sense of humour.

Emma said...

I love Stan-isms! That one is just classic! His sayings really should be immortalised in print 'Stan's miscellany' perhaps ...

the projectivist said...

it's good to see they're tackling that problem they were having with those pesky american squirrels. bastards. now they're turning them into bite-sized snacks. genius.

be sure to review the fish and chips flavoured crisps. i'm guessing they're going to taste startlingly like salt and vinegar.

Will King said...

firstly, pleased you chose our Azor razor over over-bladed, packaged, batteried, fusion. I note your comments regarding the branding - i guess it's a 'some love it, some hate it' thing - but Azor is the brand name, it's a razor. Endurium is the coating that makes the blades last super long, and the packaging is as recycled, recyclable and minimal as we could make it. Hope you enjoy a great shave, best wishes, Will King, Founder/CEO - King of Shaves

Tim said...

The Tall Red Head - Yep, we have Cajun Squirrel flavoured crisps and they are vile.

NADS?! OMG! I hope the advertising for that is knowingly tongue in cheek!

Emma - I know, the man's a genius!

The Projectivist - I will review the Fish and Chip flavoured ones when I work up the courage to try them. I'm really not terribly enthusiastic about it since the squirrel debacle…

Will - Hi, thanks for stopping by! On the whole I do actually quite like the packaging design for the Azor, it's far more sophisticated and restrained than the competition, which was one reason why I plumped for this razor over the ludicrously-named Gillette. I think it helped it stand out on the shelf a bit more. The use of 'Endurium' and 'hybrid synergy system' on the packaging just made me laugh a bit because, regardless of whether they do actually mean anything, I'm always amused by these sort of buzzwords and what they mean to the average person on the street. Are products bought because of these words, or in spite of them?

Either way, I'm looking forward to trying the Azor out!

Tara said...

Okay, so if you ever visit Louisiana and someone offers you cajun squirrel (and they aren't talking about potato chips/crisps), you can politely decline by saying you've already tried that recipe and are trying to cut back.

I bought a jellied ham spread the other day that came with a tiny spoon for spreading onto a little package of crackers. It was disgusting.

Tim said...

Tara - Oh my god that sounds horrific! Whatever possessed you!? The only thing with jelly in its name that should be eaten is jelly!

Tara said...

One of the negative sides to shopping with an empty stomach. Anything looks interesting to me during those moments. More proof is that I bought another tin of tuna salad jelly. I'm afraid to taste that one now.

CyberPete said...

So Walkers went hunting in the park around Kensington. I have never seen so many squirrels in one place before.

I always try the limited stuff. Be happy you didn't become addicted because then you would end up like me mourning the loss of the Mars Midnight bar...

Why not get an electric shaver like Bond?

PS Walkers cheese and onion (I think) tastes like dirty feet.

the projectivist said...

just checking you're still alive?
you posted this on Saturday.
i'm wondering if you've fallen down behind the sofa, and your gangrenous legs mean that you can't make it to the phone.

can you reach twitter?
maybe get help that way.
goodluck. i hope you make it.
i knew those crisps were a mistake.

Tim said...

Tara - Put the jellied good down … and back … away…

Cyberpete - Yeah, you'd think they were rodents or something.

I don't like electric razors, I had one when I first started shaving/BECAME A MAN and it was rubbish.

I wouldn't know what dirty feet taste like.

The Projectivist - I'm still here! Sorry, been busy - normal service should resume shortly. Which means I'll have to try those manky crisps…

missyandchrissy said...

i'm still, days later, trying to process the idea of 'cajun squirrel crisps'. insane!!

Bear said...


Tim said...

MissyandChrissy - I'm still, days later, trying to get the taste out of my mouth…

Bear - No Bear, no! They're horrible! You'd like the fish and chips ones though; you could imagine you were in the wilderness hunting salmon going back upstream. But with added chips.

CyberPete said...

I can't say I've tried an electric but my brother is very proud of his James Bond shaver.

Um, I wouldn't know how dirty feet taste either. I was just guessing.

I'm just saying..

BEAST said...

If you think the cajun Squirrel are nasty (Incedentally My workchum mad Jean from Wisconsin says they BBQ squirell all the time in Wisconsin and in her words "Theres damn fine eatin on them squrrels" . Try the chilli chocolate flavour , they are erally foul

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Are you sure?

Beast - Ugh, no, I'm not too taken with the idea of chocolate crisps. Real chocolate chili though … I'd give that a whirl!