• Order
  • play/talk
  • Fades EP


Freshly landed in our inbox was a thoughtful yet perfectly succinct submission from Oregon/L.A. project play/talk (a.k.a. Conner DeSha). We’re always game for dreamy, lo-fi bedroom-pop and this project effortlessly blends elements of the chill, the dreamy, and the new wave persuasion in its brew. Our pick of the mix was “Order” which showcases an audible simplicity that requires no additional effort in part of the listener to give in to its wonderfully hazy and catchy disposition. You can find this track on the beautiful Fades EP which is available over at Bandcamp.

MP3: play/talk - Order


Play Time


Another neologism sculpted by a creative team locked in the basement of some uber cool ad agency.

Although I can’t imagine it’s terribly complex to conjure up such a ‘word’, it does manage to perfectly describe this new method of reaching and engaging consumers. As the gaming industry swells to new levels (with nearly 70% of households playing games online or on consoles – ESA 2009), advergaming offers businesses too big an opportunity to be missed. As the digital native generation become increasingly bombarded with both subliminal and explicit online/mobile advertising tactics, holding their attention for any significant amount of time proves difficult. Therefore, to capture the interest of the target audience, and to keep them in one place for long enough to steal their cerebral capacity from competitors and immerse them in your brand, the advergame offers unprecedented value.

One wonderfully addictive example is Post It’s ‘Draw It’ game. A take on Pictionary, the consumer enters a branded site where they pit their time-pressured drawing skills against other online members (because lets face it, we all love a bit of anonymous competition). WARNING – DO NOT click on this link if you have important work to do. Yes, I realise that just by saying this I have triggered the ‘don’t push the big red button’ phenomenon, but take heed dear reader, you will waste hours of your life on this game.

A more recent example is the Audi app (built in partnership with Gameloft), in which gamers race around a track in an Audi RS 3 Sportback. Each individual completion time is recorded and the fastest racer wins the car. Apologies to you anon-comp gluttons but I’m admittedly a little slow off the mark, and the competition has now closed. No handbrake turns in a McDonalds car park for you this evening.

The Healthcare industry is slowly waking up to the reality that they’re missing a trick by not advergaming. Obviously, tight regulations aren’t conducive to fun gaming experiences, but a few half decent attempts have been made. One notable example comes from ‘HopeLab’, an American non-profit research organisation, who teamed with DDB to create a ‘shooter’ type video game named ‘Re-Mission’. This was intended to increase adherence of young cancer patients to their treatment regime, and was fairly successful in doing so.

However, not all healthcare games have been delivered with the sensitivity and tact often needed, and I’ll leave you with this little nugget.

May I suggest you stick with the Post Its.


The Drug Pusher X

This is gonna sound messed up, but I’m so relieved we don’t have theatre tomorrow because SOMEBODY was TRASH and didn’t read a PLAY for PLAYTALKS.

(it’s me i’m the trash)

The Perfect City Break.

Having eased ourselves into the London work/play lifestyle in a manner similar to a that of a hippo diving into water, last week my friends and I felt it was time to escape the mist of our chaotic bubble, pull the reigns on the pace of life and invest in some well-earned vitamin D. Having critiqued a range of destinations we quickly settled on one city, a city that would capture seven hearts in one fell swoop and trigger a long-distance love affair that I’m pretty certain will be a life-long commitment.  

Despite soaring to increasing popularity in the brutal tourism sphere, the magical wonder that is Marrakech proved to be a city-break bordering on absolute perfection. Riad Dar Vedra, nestled down a little alley in the centre of the Medina, became our hub, our harbour from which we set sail each day to test waters new. Despite the odd donkey seemingly on a mission to take you down, the manic scooters daring to rush by within an inch of your feet, and the prayers from the nearby Mosque providing a not-so-welcome greeting at 5am every morning, the chaotic hustle and bustle of the Medina provided a setting that enabled one to feel content in the thought that they were a million miles away from normality.

For a want of culture yet calm, discovery yet relaxation and dynamism yet peace, all was provided. In abundance, with elegance and without doubt, in style.  What did it for me, ignited the je ne sais quoi of true romance, was the setting itself. The city exudes a true rugged, traveller-esque feel, fuelled by the low economic development from which many of the city’s obstacles are founded. Yet within the basic features, the architecture and the handicrafts, are set such fragile intricate details that this voyage of discovery in a largely untouched city, is in fact one of subtle beauty. 

A few must-do’s whilst in Marrakech:

Jad Mahal - perhaps one of the best restaurants I have ever been to in terms of ambience. If you don’t feel like moving far after eating, the entertainment is fantastic and even better, there’s a club downstairs

La Comptoir Darna - a great bar serving delicious cocktails and shisha (the razzmopolitan gets my vote). The music is also guaranteed to get you up and dancing

Les Bains de Marrakech Spa - there are a lot of amazing spas in Marrakech. This is one for those not wanting to break the bank yet still experience relaxing treatments in an amazing setting

La Mamounia - a hotel that is definitely worth a visit, even more so as Sex and The City 2 was filmed here

Theatro - crazy club with good music (mostly UK chart), good drinks and good atmosphere

Kosy Bar - Terrace bar with a fantastic view over the Mellah quarter 

Djemaa el fna - the main square full of handicrafts, food stalls, snakes, monkeys.. basically anything and everything

So whilst I dwell in my nostalgia and misery at being back under London’s grey skies, pining for summer to take full swing, I urge you to start planning your Moroccan love affair - it’s really not one to miss out on.  

The Engager XX


After years of waiting, I am no longer a virgin. Aged 23 and three-quarters. Stop your sniggering. I don’t mean of the ‘sexually-challenged-late-to-achieve-puberty-nervous-wreck-when-I-talk-to-boys’ sort, or even the ‘greater-entity-worshipping-bible-abiding-unsuprisingly-young-to-wed’ type. Rather, a ‘commute-to-work-on-the-tube-with-a-generic-morning-paper-and-a-generic-brand-polystyrene-cup-of-coffee’ virgin, which thankfully justifies the fact that my deflowering occurred fully clothed at 8am in a crowded public place.Yes, as you quite possibly already suspect, I am one of those annoying “Yeah, like, I totally live in Laaaaandan, and I’m just so TRENDY with my Oyster card and….OH EM GEE! There’s Big Ben!” big smoke newbies. I’m sure you all know one. They’re the type of irritating people who say ‘big smoke’.


If you’re a London native you may be reading this with a smug, eyebrow-raised, Jafar-like (yes, he of Aladdin fame) smirk on your face. Firstly, wipe it off - you look daft. Secondly, you should be incredibly jealous of my (albeit naive) sunnyoutlook on city life. ‘Why? You incredulous fool!’, I hear you guffaw. Well, it basically boils down to this: I actually ENJOY the commute. I take mildly sadistic pleasure in playing tug’o’war with elderly ladies for the last Metro (FYI, other reading materials are available of an A.M), successfully swiping my Oyster through the barrier (on the fourth attempt. No, I do not want to seek assistance, but thanks for asking so LOUDLY and ANGRILY), legging it towards the incessant chirping of a closing tube door and throwing myself whole-heartedly into the armpit of a middle-aged IT worker with a phobia of Imperial Leather. Ooooh tingles.After emerging from the depths of the tube station (being sure to keep to the left, to the left, for fear of an excruciating and untimely death) and shielding my eyes from the blazing su….. No no, silly me. Wrong country…shielding my eyes as the wind blows grit horizontally along the pavement, I stop and watch as my fellow tubers scuttle off to work, clouded in a mist of oblivion. I, however, am still SO unashamedly goddamn excited about living and working in London that every sight offers up pure, unadulterated photoreceptor joy.

I got a bit giddy the other day as I walked along the side of the Thames, and took some perspective on It All. Zooming out to the bigger picture every now and again is a pretty healthy thing to do (not clinically proven but I’m going with it). It suddenly makes all the stupid stresses over soggy ballet pumps and weather-induced frizz evaporate. And I’m grateful for the fact that this incredible city still allows me this delight, and I haven’t yet been worn down into a desensitised drone. No offence.So I implore you, as you navigate your way through underground tunnels with unseeing eyes and weave through the masses with the trained agility of a ninja, take ONE SECOND out of your determined, unblinkered scurry towards the nearest Starbucks and just STOP.  Please. And take It All in.

The Drug Pusher


Take Your Click

Whilst caressing my weekly hangover on Sunday morning, I searched for comfort in my unhealthy obsession with documentaries. Hello 4OD. Perusing the list of possible options, “Love, Virtually” – a documentary by a 30-year-old Marie Claire blogger on the trials and tribulations of finding love online, caught my attention. Opening my eyes to the tricks of the trade, I found the mass exodus of lonely souls to the online arena in search of their soul mate to be rather intriguing.  Whereas online dating used to be an activity only discussed in hushed whispers between closest of confidantes, it’s now become a lot more socially acceptable, in fact it’s become the norm. Apparently, one in five people meet online and, one of the major players in the field, believes that their site is currently responsible for 5% of marriages in the US. That’s huge.


A friend of mine hasn’t had much luck on the dating scene for what I deem an unacceptable amount of time. One evening recently, slightly intoxicated be it so, she agreed to go on a date if I signed her up to a website. So I did. Hello Making her profile was actually great fun. I could even recommend a few choices for her which was also rather enjoyable. As my other friend put it, “this is amazing, it’s like shopping on ASOS, but for boys instead”.  In no more than a couple of weeks my once lonesome friend was texting a guy and after a few flirty exchanges, he called her up and asked her on a date. In fact, they just went on their second date last weekend. And she really likes him. And he really likes her. What more could you ask for?

So there goes it, maybe this whole online dating malarkey isn’t so bad after all. Psychologists have deemed it the big thing of the future. I’m not so sure. There’s still great value in instant attraction and human interaction. That’s not to say that one day I couldn’t be swayed. I would contemplate it and this time two years ago I most definitely wouldn’t even do that, so who’s to say what my view will be in another two years? They say love is a game, but perhaps now the game is being made easier. A new form of online shopping has landed and shopaholics worldwide are queuing up to take their pick.


The Engager XX

Techno techno techno



Somewhat disappointingly (it’s getting to that stage), I’m one year older in a week and to cele… commiserate, I’m planning on going to a minimal techno extravaganza at a location that, as yet, is ‘TBA’. I’m a big fan of those three letters. Not only do they squeal with unrepressed excitement at the thought of debauched madness and noises that, but to the trained ear, sound like someone banging repeatedly on a saucepan, but they also seem to enhance the appeal of the event in question, and exponentially so. Even I look at events like this and think: if it’s got a ‘TBA’, it’s gonna be good.

In the interest of all things ‘branding’, this piqued my, er, interest. I debated whether it was a marketing ploy or simply a logistical matter. Was even the greenest of grass roots club promoting turning to subtle psychology, akin to some of the big boy brands? Reading meaning where it’s perhaps not due, I wanted to probe further.

So, what is it about this cheeky little acronym that’s so appealing? Well, it is it’s very subtlety that screams ‘EXCLUSIVITY’. You want in, to be the first to know it’s (fingers crossed) grimy little secret: Which East London disused carpark is it in?; Will I be able to get a 6am cup of tea there?; Where’s the goddamned techno at?! It creates a community in its mystery. Those aligned to the cause converse amongst each other. Debate starts on Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else these enthusiasts convene in the online (and offline) space. It’s exciting stuff and, when the venue is eventually revealed, you’ve got just enough time to don your non-slip trainers and get on your way.

I wonder if ‘TBC’ creates the same level of mystique. Does the crux of the issue lie within the word ‘announced’? For me certainly, there’s not as much magic in ‘confirmed’. That definitely sounds logistical and, as we know, logistics are bloody boring. 

Interestingly, these themes of exclusivity and exclusive community are tricks more widely employed by luxury brands. Take some of the real high-luxe category with their private rooms and £-heavy limited editions for example.

But techno is far from luxury. So could it be a sign of techno purism - a ‘you’re only coming if you really like it’ mentality? Less of the nu-rave, more of the pure-wave? Well, since every promoter is only as good as his ticket-stub collection, I guess the more likely explanation is that it’s a bloody effective get-everyone-well-excited-and-make-tickets-sell-out-super-quick marketing party trick. That or they really don’t have a clue where the goddamned techno’s at. And if that’s the case, they’d better find out sharpish or they’ll have a very angry birthday girl on their hands.

The delightful event in question (thank me later promoters):

The Brandette x