Thursday, 28 April 2011

Party Like it's a Royal Wedding

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm actually looking forward to it. It's one of those special events, something you'll look back and say "I remember when...".

I paid little attention to the wedding of Charles and Diana. Don't know why; I was a kid and it either didn't grab my attention or my parents didn't care to watch it, and in the days of one TV and no VCR, you watched what the parents wanted and that's that.

As a final edition of my Tat Countdown to the Big Day, here's the entry from Poundland below. Note how much is left -- I don't think many street parties are planned for reading.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Royal Wedding Wannabes

Wedding fever is in the air, and on the shelves. Have nothing remotely related to the royal wedding to flog? Fake it, baby.

That's what Claire's did. Note the sign reading: "KEEP CALM AND PARTY ON" followed by "William & Catherine 29th April 2011." Below that is the weak-ass Claire's version of royal wedding party gear. (No offense to Claire's -- it's a fun, girly shop -- but wedding tat HQ it ain't).

The most nearly sorta kinda wedding-related merch they have is a tiara ( you can just barely see it in the second row on the right, below the red headbands). There's also a sash (probably intended for "Hen Dos") that reads: "Bride to be." That's pictured below.

Everything else just seems to be whatever Claire's had in Union Jack colors. Maybe some people will dress up in fake pearls and the poor-woman's fascinator (a headband with some red ribbon on it) to enjoy the wedding.

A wedding-watching party actually might be fun; I read on some interview that a woman was going to invite friends over for tea and scones and watch the wedding. Kind of like the "Friends" finale for the older generations.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wrath of the Royal Wedding Tat!

The anti-memorabilia royal wedding memorabilia has landed! These Royal Wedding Sick Bags were £3 at But Is It Art? in Reading's city centre.

The punny "Throne Up" printed across the top is enough to make me need one of these bags, but at least it's not another cheap mug or disposable tablecloth.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Best royal wedding entrance ever!

If only real weddings could be this much fun. Check out a T-Mobile commercial envisioning a royal wedding that's too cool for class (the upper class, darling).

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Royal Wedding Trash & Treasure with RadioTimes

As you may have heard (whether you wanted to or not), the royal wedding is nigh. This rare chance to air loads of TV shows in any way related to royals and weddings won't be wasted by UK channels.

There are several shows about how the couple met, how they'll marry and even only slightly related shows like Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding and Come Dine with Me Royal Wedding Special, all exercises in questionable taste that will be a joy to watch.

Nor is the opportunity to focus on the Big Day when reality morphs into reality TV wasted on RadioTimes (basically a TV guide with articles and radio listings added in). The mag offered young readers a competition to design cover art for the Royal Wedding Souvenir Issue (April 23-29 issue). A 7-year old girl created the charming cover above, which I will definitely save.

The guide also gives extensive listings and articles on royal wedding viewing options. However, the best show of the week won't even air. Probably because it's not real, though it sounds entirely plausible. According to a tongue-in-cheek column poking fun at wedding programs in the RadioTimes (Pg. 9), an expert on the Antiques Roadshow lost his shit so spectacularly that the royal wedding special was cancelled.

The episode which supposedly was "devoted to collectibles issued in honour of the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton had to be abandoned when one of the experts went berserk, smashing ceramics and shouting, 'You idiots! None of this tat is worth anything!'" If only such sweet dreams could come true, I'd have that blooper-reel footage on a YouTube loop right now.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Return of the Royal Wedding Tat

I've revealed the cheapest, tackiest royal wedding memorabilia from Wilkinson and a fairly alright royal wedding calendar from the 99p Store, and now I'm on to making a fool of myself by taking pictures in Primark for your amusement.

If you don't know the store, Primark makes K-mart look like a high-dollar operation. Crowded aisles, crappy products, and an all-around broke-ass vibe. I don't much care for it, but the hubby wanted cheap socks, so in we went.

I discovered a whole display of royal-wedding related clothes. Yippee! None of them came home with me as that place is just too crowded and the spousal unit had wandered off, so I couldn't pass it on to him (in keeping with my low-spend idea, I would've only gotten a pair of socks). Here's what I found:

The shirts are £5, the socks £2. Didn't note the price of the belt, which oddly reads: "Belt up and get the beers in." Um, OK.

My personal favorite was the shirt below, which played on the Sex Pistols' iconic Never Mind the Bollocks album cover and subsequent T-shirts:

I'm not sure who would wear any of this. Maybe the day of the wedding, at street parties? I will fall off the couch in glee if I spot these on people along the procession route the day of the wedding! Those lining the streets are asked to dress nicely for the event, so it would be the height of tacktastic fashion sense and a bit rude to wear these while waving to the passing couple. Will they or won't they? I can hardly bear the suspense!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Royal Wedding Tat Strikes Back!

Will and Kate make it official next Friday, April 29, and the tat is mounting. I already showed off my 99p royal wedding calendar, and this week I found stores loaded with more cheap crap than I could shake a ruby-encrusted sceptre at. Today I'm showcasing the loot at Wilkinson (which is kind of like K-mart in pricing, but without the clothing section, disarray and general air of hopelessness).

The toothy couple merited a whole endcap of goodies, most of which cost £1. The items at the very top above bearing a big photo over a Union Jack are commemorative bunting. The table clothes were sold out (more's the pity).

A few of the items made it home with me. The Union Jack cushion below is something I'd been after for awhile, and I snatched it up in an instant when I saw the price tag - £5. It looks an awful lot like this one on Amazon for £24.99 or this one at John Lewis for £28. Score!

And I couldn't resist the royal wedding "tea towel." It's classy, too, made of 100% polyester and shiny as a new commemorative coin with badly rendered reliefs. I'm sure it's just like the Queen uses.

Finally, I made off with a mug (on the left beside the bell), suitable for sipping your tea as you watch the ruckus surround the wedding on TV. Tacktastic!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Beary nice graffiti

Graffiti is generally a bad thing. It's like permanent littering. It's also a great way to show you're not the brightest bulb in the box when you want to leave your mark yet have nothing to say.

Then there's the graffiti that's artistic, it's art adorning an urban landscape. (A bit of Banksy, anyone?)

And then there's what I found on the river walk beside Chocolate Island recently, left by someone without any artistic talent but who wanted to do more than scrawl his name or a few choice curse words. Someone who had a can of paint and some stencils. Someone who likes bears and loves you.

Granted, the scenic area looks better without this little addition, but it's a whole lot cuter than most graffiti bored teens think up.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Mflow music rocks

My obsession of the week is finding steals, deals and new songs to love on mflow. It's a fledgling music downloading site that weaves social networking into your buying and rewards you with smokin' deals for doing so. I'm guessing the deals are so hot because the users act as advertisers, trumpeting their purchases to friends online.

What got me so addicted is the "Easter Egg" promotion, which runs until Easter Sunday. If you link your mflow account to Facebook (you could also use Twitter or Buzz), and press "like" on any album with an Easter Egg logo by it, the price of that album changes to 99p. This includes lots of new albums (many just released this year) as well as loads of great older albums. The idea is that you search around the site to find the Easter Eggs, but of course deal-finders are on this like mad and sharing their finds on hotukdeals.

Hotter yet, if you refer a friend and they sign up through your invite link, you both get £1 of credit. I also found a code online you can input in the "redeem codes" section of your account to gain another £1 credit: REDDITCREDITFROMDAN. Another code makes all individual tracks on the site 20p each for about 12 hours: BIRD20P.

To sweeten the pot -- and get you to promote the site -- new users get five free "flows" of individual tacks during the first week. Each track has a "flow" button by it; click it and it will ask to link your flows to Facebook (or whatever you're using). Once that's done, if you "flow" the song it will appear on your Facebook page as a track your friends can listen to in it's entirety with a link back to mflow. Right after you press flow, you'll be offered the option to download the track for free (up to five songs). I love free things, and I love music, so I'm really digging this deal.

I signed the hubby up, and with the referral credit and credit from the code I input, we each had enough cash in our accounts for two free albums before I even reached for my credit card. We also got five tracks each through free "flows" (Ok, I got 10 tracks as I commandeered his flows). Even if you refer no one and just sign up, you can use the code I mentioned above and get one free album and five free tracks. Very worth the effort.

One small downside: you have to "top up" your payment pot rather than just paying for what you buy as you go. This can be done in £5 increments via credit card, or £10 via paypal. It's not really a big deal as you're sure to find a lot you want (you could get five sale albums for £5), but it could put you in the position of having to put £5 in when all you really want to spend is £1.60. Still, if you buy even a few individual tracks every so often, you'll eventually use it.

Mflow shows the latest buying activity on-site in Facebook-like updates (but using a username rather than your actual Facebook name if you don't want to share that). If anyone buys a song from the link where you recommended it, you get a small percentage of the price.

Just to give you an idea of what's on offer, some of my album buys include: Kings of Leon, Florence + The Machine, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Mad Men Soundtrack, Glee Christmas Soundtrack, Mumford & Sons, The Script, and some compilation albums. I used my free flows for tracks on albums that weren't part of the Easter Egg sale. At these prices, it's been a good way for me to try some new artists. You can listen to all songs in their entirety before buying if you're so inclined.

This deal should also work from the States. I routed my laptop through the VPN I use to watch Hulu, which shows my IP as being in the U.S., and mflow still let me login and download. The normal prices of albums are probably more than you'd pay in the States, but the Easter Egg deal makes them much cheaper than you'll find on Happy hunting!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow...

A rare double rainbow arched over Reading last September. I forgot to post the photo (Didn't I? If it's on here somewhere, you're just getting double the pleasure). I'm still looking for that pot of gold.