TUC march for ‘A Future That Works’

Old Man ProtestPensioners RevoltingReturn of the nasty partyUnity is strengthHerts' NUTThe Front Line
Get Britain BuildingA Future That WorksDave Prentis at the frontNever to young to start protestingSay it loud 'Pleb and proud!'Coventry Pensioners
General strike?Protest chicNelson's protestGames Maker turned Demo MakerNot a deficit denierBig society? My arse!
Political choirsAusterity is failingSelling public services will increase cost of livingEnglish protesterProud to be a plebDog Steward

TUC March 20 October 2012, a set on Flickr.

Despite drinking a few beers and half a bottle of red wine I struggled to sleep last Friday night. Like many people I often toss and turn when I know I’ve got an early start.

The early start was, relatively speaking, quite exceptional – breakfast at 4am in the morning ready to meet outside Swansea’s Guidlhall at 5.30am.

Dawn showed no sign of breaking as I quietly joined my fellow activists. As we waited for the coach to arrive the autumn chill began to bite. At least I had been to bed, a brave chap had been in Cardiff the night before, enjoying a few pints with old pals, and had caught the early train.

The coach finally arrived, approximately half an hour late, and we set off for London.

There was an air of excitement on the coach, hushed by the sleepy yawns as everyone settled into their seats and attempted to get some rest before the day’s march.

A few hours later we were passing the spectacular James Bond theme window displays of Harrods.

After zig-zagging across London we finally alighted the coach in Aldwych and headed down to Embankment to take our places towards the front of the march.

The day’s march was peaceful and had a family-friendly atmosphere, I noticed several kids protesting with their parents.

After walking for two to three hours we arrive at the rally in Hyde Park to listen to the speeches.

Bob Crowe, Mark Serwotka and Len McKlusky went down a storm. My own union’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, less so.

But the frosty reception was saved for Ed Miliband, who struggled to be heard above the boos coming from the activists gathered towards the front.

That said, they’ve probably done him a favor – he may now be seen as not quite so ‘Red Ed’. His speech certainly spelled out some of the tough decisions ahead in creating a ‘One Nation’ Britain.

We headed back to our coach at around 4pm, stopping off for a quick pint and to pick up a few cans for the journey home, content that we’d made our point.

Perhaps, the time has now come for less posturing and more action. The activists’ calls for a 24 hour general strike certainly make you think.


Adain Avion

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Adain Avion - Bodies in Urban SpacesAdain Avion - Bodies in Urban SpacesAdain Avion - part of the London 2012 FestivalCome on inAdain AvionAir con

Adain Avion, a set on Flickr.

London 2012 Torch Relay

The flame's in the lamp, look!Olympic FlameLondon 2012BasketballInspired by London 2012Slam Dunk!
Swansea Air Cadets BandHolidays... we mean the Olympics are coming!We are Premier LeagueEnjoying the rideCarrying the torchWenlock
ZumbaKissingLondon 2012London 2012 Olympic TorchLondon 2012It's your moment to shine now
Hitching a rideLondon 2012 in SwanseaHigh five!Hiya!Kissing torchesTwist and Pulse

London 2012 Torch Relay, a set on Flickr.

I’ve just got my hands on my first digital SLR camera and these are some of the first pictures I’ve taken.

My years commissioning photography are coming handy and I’m getting a great buzz from chasing the shot.

Who knows, I may be able to add photography to my set of skills? Then again…

Top advert to feature Star Wars

Assist my training to become a Jedi marketer you will?

Just for fun I thought I’d conduct a straw poll, nothing scientific (sci-fi maybe!), to decide which is the top advert to feature the film Star Wars or any of its characters.

I’ve listed the most recent three. I’m sure there have been others, if you can think of any and deem them worthy of consideration feel free to add them to fourth ‘Other’ box and maybe post a link in the comment box.

Thanks for taking the time, and may the force be with you!

The force is strong with Vodafone

Vodafone have called on Yoda ahead of the 3D relaunch of Star Wars The Phantom Menace to show off its new RED Box service.

Yoda using the force

It seems that not even Jedi master Yoda can compete with the mighty Vodafone

The commercial opens with a young couple sitting at the bar in a sushi restaurant. The guy is fiddling with his mobile while his partner, obviously getting a little frustrated with the way their date is going, asks “You’re not going to start swapping your numbers over now?”

It’s at this point that Jedi master, Yoda, buts in offering to help by using the force to transfer the valuable data. Unfortunately for Yoda there’s no need. The handy guys at Vodafone have created the RED Box that transfers numbers, image and music files, in their stores for you.

Enough to clean up Vodafone’s ‘dark side’ image?

After a year of negative media coverage for Vodafone, largely generated by UK Uncut’s campaign against the company’s alleged tax evasion, it seems that the brand has turned to the force to clean up its tarnished image.

Whilst the ad makes better use of a Star Wars tie-in than the Currys PC World commercial featuring the evil Darth Vader, Vodafone need to show greater sensitivity to a changing mood among UK consumers as austerity bites. Maybe making demonstrable donations to selected charities that help reduce inequalities in society will generate more positive media coverage in 2012.

Nonetheless, the ‘Yodafone’ commercial is creative, but I think the recent Volkswagen ad, showing a young boy dressed as Darth Vader trying to use the force to perform a variety of tricks including switching the car lights on and off, with its wit and charm beats it.

What do you think?

Muppets’ Orange Show commercial is a phenomenon, doot-doot-de-doot-doot…

Orange have long had an association with cinema – think Orange Wednesdays or Orange BAFTAs.

You’re always reminded of this association in the cinema through their creative short films that remind audiences to switch off their mobiles and let the phone ruin the movie.

I’ve always liked these commercials, the ‘Lord of the Ringtones’ being a personal favourite, and their latest offering, featuring the Muppets, doesn’t disappoint.

The Muppet’s theatre is saved from closure by their new sponsor, Orange. The comic capers of the Muppets showcasing the benefits of owning an Orange phone are obviously funny.

However, the way the film sends up Orange is not only funny, but reveals a brand confident in itself and customer offering.

Ultimately, the Orange Show commercial featuring the Muppets is creative and perfectly executed. I couldn’t stop chuckling whilst switching off my mobile phone.

What do you think? Check out the ad for yourself and let me know.

Virgin, right on the money?

The first airline to offer individual TVs to passengers. Tilting Pendolino trains to improve speed and safety. Commercial space travel. Virgin has a rich history of entering new markets and shaking things up a little, now it’s got banking in its sights.

Virgin, sometimes viewed as the consumer’s champion, has a track record of waking up the competition. Its strong company ethos on delivering quality and value for money for its customers challenges rivals to raise their game.

Never one to stay still, Virgin is entering the world of retail banking. Through its purchase of Northern Rock the company is expanding its Virgin Money brand, giving it a presence in the high street, especially in the north east.

As can be seen by the TV commercial, the launch of Virgin Money aims to draw on this heritage and promises to change the shape of banking for better.

But will Virgin succeed?

They propose to charge customers £60 a year for current accounts, a move going down like a lead balloon among a public with an already cynical view of the banking sector.

Nevertheless, if the new Virgin Money stores are anything to go by, banks could very well become more comfortable, relaxing and welcoming places, with people to greet you rather than the host of self-service machines and telephones you find in a branch of HSBC.

However, Virgin will need to challenge the established banks – becoming the most transparent bank, explaining clearly the rationale for its charges, being exciting and innovative, and aligning itself with the concerns of consumers.

Right on the money? You can bet Virgin will make banking better.