Fridges, thin ice, dangerous ponds, 'strangers', pylons, railway lines and massive vats of industrial shit. How on earth did we make it out of the 70s and 80s? Our childhoods seem to have been filled with an absolute universe of terrors; waiting for the unwitting or foolish child.
There's always an element of comeuppance to these public information films aimed at kids. The boastful child, the show-off or simply the idiot - they always end up coming to a sticky end. Rather like the rules of a teen horror slasher film – don't have sex and the like – you should keep your nose clean and your head down if you find yourself in a public information film.
Let's be straight here – these films are often very disturbing. Violent death is one thing, but the often-eerie animation and music, juxtaposed with familiar, cuddly voices from television and radio has an oddly sinister effect akin to Father Christmas sitting at the end of your bed and telling you that your parents will die one day.
Sadly, our current, awful government has decided that we don't need public information films anymore, no doubt because everyone is using the internet and smart phones all the time (apart from pretty much anyone over the age of 50, of course). From where I'm standing we've never needed them more.
See the way people drive on our roads in difficult conditions for proof of the need of short, sharp doses of common sense beamed into the living rooms of the Great Unwashed.
Witness a steady erosion in civil society because of a population ignorant or uncaring of the greater good or simple common sense. If everyone cleared the path outside their house when it snowed a lot less people would break their hips. Do we clear our paths? Hell, no.
If people stopped revving their engines and accelerating towards red lights we'd burn a lot less previous fuel and reduce CO2 emissions; the same goes for turning off lights and heating when not needed.
If people obeyed speed limits in urban areas a lot less kids would be killed. Public information films have moved towards roads and transport in recent years, with a slew of hideous mini horror films revolving around speeding or drink-driving. They're shocking and seem to be effective – by and large road deaths, drink-drive prosecutions and the like have fallen over the last decade or so, despite more cars on the roads. But we don't them any more apparently.
Bollocks. We should be ramping up our use of public information films to counter the stupid, ignorant and downright egregious behaviour we see every day.
We need public information films warning that kids blasting out Black Eyed Peas on their tiny handset at the back of a bus that they might fall under said bus and be squished like a balloon full of liver.
We need to show people that don't acknowledge when other people open doors for them that a large anvil may cave in their skull next time.
And, perhaps most important of all, we need to remind people who vote Conservative of the very real and hideous ramifications of their actions.
So, goodbye Charlie, goodbye Apaches, goodbye Death (lurking around abandoned mines and quarries), goodbye to Horse Sense, goodbye Jon Pertwee and the Green Cross Code, goodbye paedophiles in Cortinas and goodbye to that gigantic tombstone with AIDS written on it.
Goodbye public information films and the Central Office of Information. We're so clever now we don't need you.
Here's some greatest hits:
Apaches - small child: drowns in vat of farmyard slurry; crushed by steel fence; drives tractor off cliff. A kind of rural 70s version of Final Destination.
The Finishing Line - Children are slaughtered in a variety of methods as part of a sports day played out on train lines. Genuinely horrifying.
Fridges - Because at least five children a day were killed in old fridges in the 70s.
Robby - Meet Robby. He's got no legs
Charlie - Charlie, the wise old cat with the strangest vocalisations ever
Lonely Water - Death, voiced by Donald Pleasance, stalks unwary children. Utterly terrifying
Stay safe, stay out - or get barbecued
Odds and sods
Words that would be less egregious than 'logistics' in a bastardised version of That's Amore - a song about the wonder of love.
The death of a beloved pet
Bonus turds for the shit-eating Microsoft Songsmith American signing voice.
Here's what UPS says:
Everybody loves something. We love logistics. We love its precision, its epic scale, its ability to make life better for billions of people. Each day, our customers count on us to choreograph a ballet of infinite complexity played across skies, oceans and borders. And we do. What's not to love?
'Ballet of infinite complexity'? 'We love logistics'? 'What's not to love'?
What's not to love? You.
This ad with Vernon Kay and a woman who is, apparently, his real mother, have been vaguely irritating me for while now. I wrote it up a while back as part of an article on the supposed worst celebrity ads of 2011. Here's what I wrote:
Invites the reading that Kay is now living with his mum after Tess kicked him out over TextGate. Ad should have ended with him rubbing one out to a woman's bra on his mobile.
Nuff said I think. But here's Flora's effort on Youtube, written as if by Vernon's Mum, who is apparently called Gladys:
I've been using Flora Cuisine. Vernon and I have been enjoying time in the kitchen putting new Flora Cuisine to the test. It's a new healthy way to cook and great for looking after your little ones hearts. You can learn more about it at http://www.floracuisine.co.uk. Gladys. Xx (Vernon's Mum)
Appalling punctuation; faux-folksy delivery; the double kiss at the end, as if trying to sell rendered fats on behalf of some giant food conglomerate to the anonymous masses is akin to a friendly message. All awful.
There's more. Here are the tags used on the video:
Flora, Vernon Kay, Vernon and Glady's, Cuisine, recipes, healthy, olive oil, 45% less saturated fat, saturated fat, cooking, baking, frying, roasting, Vernon and Flora, Flora and Vernon Kay, food, advert, kitchen, sneak peek, commercial, howto
I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time browsing Youtube for '45% less saturated fat', 'olive oil', 'Vernon and Flora' and 'kitchen'.
I suspect a video search for 'roasting' might be a bad idea if you're actually keen to watch videos on low-fat cooking. Then again, given Vernon's predilection for digital wank fodder, who knows?
Here's a few keywords I would've used to tag the vid:
knobend, lanky, charmless, shameless, irritating, sexting, gloopy, gak
Want more? Here's Vernon and Gladys cooking up a treat with incomprehensible French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
Incredibly, Kay asks Novelli what his first thoughts were upon hearing of Flora Cuisine. Sadly he doesn't reply with "My first thoughts were 'What the fuck are you on about?'; my second thoughts were 'how much money are you offering me?". I'd have a lot more respect for everyone involved.
There's more. This has one 20-odd Likes and over 120 Dislikes on Youtube at present. A rate of about one Dislike to 20 Likes is about par for the course on Youtube, so that's pretty effing bad. Judge for yourself:
One last one: remember, it DOES look a bit weird but it's not and you'll find it in the chiller aisle oh for the love of Christ has it comes to this?
The long version of this Skittles advert is pretty dark, as adverts for sweets go. It's very, very good too - though it is rather like the end of some sort of 'hideous, unlikely, ironic twist' short story (man kills wife with skittle in order to claim her life insurance; gets hands that make things into skittles - that sort of thing).
Saying that, so is this amusing, X-rated parody of the Skittles advert. The unlikely affliction of both advert subjects is one to ponder - which would you rather be afflicted with?
Anyone for Skittles? Thought not.
Although he gave his permission for use, Morgan Freeman doesn't find those More Than Freeman adverts very funny.
So there you have it.