SNEAK PREVIEW; NEW BOOK COVER. ‘MR MAD’ due for publication January 2014

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What’s the apPEEL of The Annoying Orange?

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That thing (above) is sitting right next to my laptop as I type this and it’s really, really annoying. A while back, Hannah got me watching YouTube videos featuring The Annoying Orange which, (in case you don’t already know due to living in Siberia or Uranus or Runcorn)  is an American comedy web series. The Orange of the title certainly lives up to his Annoying label. In fact ‘Annoying’ is too small a word to describe what Orange is. And yet, the short episodes are weirdly compulsive and now my six-year-old, Alice, has also become a fan. The thing next to my laptop is a soft toy (it actually says ‘Hey Apple!’ and ‘Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?’ and some of the Orange’s other standard lines). So what’s the appeal of this maddening little fruit? (see what I did there? ap-peel!!?)

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The Annoying Orange was created by former Minnesota film student and MTV production assistant Dane Boedigheimer in 2009. Raised in North Dakota, he frequently made home videos as a teen using his parents’ 8mm video camera. This would later inspire him to work as a camera operator for local TV stations. After college Boedigheimer worked as a production assistant on MTV‘s Pimp My Ride but the 60- and 80-hour working weeks would leave  little time to do his movie-making at home. After finishing working for the show, Dane decided that he didn’t want to pursue a career in television.

Boedigheimer founded the company Gagfilms, which slowly built a core of fans. He said in an interview that The Annoying Orange had almost been The Annoying Apple. When he found it easier to put clear features on an orange than on an apple, the character as we know it was born. It was also meant to be the only Annoying Orange video on YouTube but many viewers requested more and after the fourth one, Boedigheimer decided to make a full series.

Personally, I think it works because, number one it is so simple; there’s no room for padding and each character is a really strong and recognisable archetype. Number two, the Orange himself, despite being really, really, really, really annoying, is just the snotty little kid we all used to be (and maybe still wish to be). Oh yes, and it’s funny.

 

Liverpool’s High Ten

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I took these photos of the Liverpool skyline from New Brighton today. You can pick out many of the ten tallest buildings listed here.

 

1 West Tower
(Beetham West Tower)
2 Radio City Tower
(St. John’s Beacon, St. John’s Tower)
 
3 Liverpool Cathedral
(Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool, Anglican Cathedral)
 
4= Beetham Tower  
4= Royal Liver Building
(The Liver Building, Royal Liver Assurance)
6 Alexandra Tower
7 Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
(Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King)
8 Unity Residential
9 New Hall Place
(The Capital, Royal & SunAlliance Building)
10= 1 Princes Dock
10= Metropolitan House
(City Tower, Post & Echo Building)

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Standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

shuttlecockA shuttlecock shot into my eye and shattered my hard contact lens while it was still in my eye. I’ve been playing badminton for years and never sustained any injury at all but last night I must have been standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. At first I just thought that the lens had slipped off the centre of my eye but when I took it out I realised that a fragment of it was missing! I had to leave the game immediately and drive home (lucky the leisure centre where I play is only 5 minutes from where I live). By the time I got home my eye felt tender but not too bad. I was panicking, though, because I had only retrieved part of the lens from my eye. What if the other part was still in there? What if it had shattered into a few tiny pieces? What if the fragment(s) were floating about in there waiting to dig into the soft part of my eye and create pain and screaming and hysteria (in that order). I decided to head down to the walk in medical centre to get it checked out. As I got into the car I noticed light shining from something on the driver’s seat; it was the other part of the lens. Relief ensued. The only pain I will be suffering is the pain in my wallet when I have to fork out for a new lens. Ouch.