Welcome to the Observation Blog

This is The Observation Blog. It is the window on the internet into the world of me, Jimmi Cottam. From the bizarre and strange to the true and delightful, here lies stuff that goes on around me. And this is my chance to get my opinion out there because anyone can write a blog and put it up on the internet. You could say this is what I do when I get bored but in some ways...wait, yeah. It is. But seriously, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and have a goosey...I'm not stopping you from seeing the broad spectrum of what an "ordinary" person sees and goes through day in and day out. Have fun and enjoy!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Website Watching: The Bradford Exchange

Alas, a fresh new topic to keep us all going! This is Website Watching. Like Advert Watching, Website Watching is me going through various websites and seeing what is what and why. There are a lot of websites on the internet; you may have been on some today. But there are sometimes hidden gems that get over looked or missed. So I am going to bring them into the light for you. For this post we start off with a shopping website called The Bradford Exchange. And yes, I will keep these posts clean, if you know what I mean...

The Bradford Exchange is an online shop that sells sought after collectibles. I originally wanted to start a post commenting on how bad advertising is inside magazines and newspapers was but I thought I needed to branch out a bit more. Bradford are one these many adverts. Thankfully, the website illustrated this factor even more and so we can happily continue...

It is a simple online shop. That's not such a bad thing these days. Look at Amazon and eBay etc. But where The Bradford Exchange differs from a normal shop is the fact that it sell nothing any sane person would want. Take for example, this:

It's a telephone. It's got that retro vibe about it - in a day and age of mobile and cordless phones, this is a throwback from the past to the present day. Or is it? A retro phone with a ckkkkkkkksshhh-chika-chika-chika-chika-chik rotary dial is cool. This isn't. Now, I love Elvis Presley as much as the next guy; he made great tunes that anyone can listen to to this day. But for Elvis to be immortalised as a phone? How do you explain it to other people? What makes it special? It doesn't have the rotary dial, so that's that crossed out. It's not cordless so that's that crossed out also. Here are some quotes from the websites actual description:

"A remarkable addition to your home or a unique gift for an Elvis fan, the Ultimate Elvis Presley Telephone is sure to attract strong demand"

"Now you can make the King of Rock 'n' Roll part of your daily life with this first-ever fully functional antique-style Ultimate Elvis Presley Telephone"


Point one: A remarkable addition to your home - Really? It's tacky. No one wants tacky in their house. They want kitsch and quirky. Not tacky!
Point two: Attract strong demand - From who? I know Elvis was known for his ego but even he wouldn't have a phone with his face on it. Would he? No, definitely not.
Point three: Make the King part of your daily life. If the case states that Elvis needs to be in your life twennyfourseven, then, yes, fork out nearly £100 for this REAL WORKING PHONE! Not something that sits in the corner looking like a phone and doing nothing but collecting dust. Yes, it is an actual phone and it actually works!

Okay, Elvis maybe just a small bit of Americana, but Bradford go even further...with movie cowboy John Wayne. Here is a shopping list of the all John Wayne products from Bradford:

John Wayne Timeless Hero Wall clock - £99.96
John Wayne: Legends of the West replica rifle sheath Wall Decor - £79.96
John Wayne: An American Legend Knife - £29.99
John Wayne American Icon illuminating Cuckoo Clock - £149.95!
John Wayne American Legend Sculpture - £99.96
Badge of Honour shot glasses - £24.99
Lone Cowboy John Wayne 100th Anniversary Glass mug set - £59.97
John Wayne Centennial Collectors plate - £29.99
John Wayne The Duke Stained-Glass Table Lamp: Unique Home Decor - £179.95!!
The Duke John Wayne: American Hero Collectible Figurine - £59.98
John Wayne: An American Icon Collection - £49.98
John Wayne Bar Set - £149.95
The Duke Replica Pistol Wall D├ęcor - £49.98
An American Legend Illuminated Lantern - £99.96
John Wayne: Galloping Thunder Sculpture - £49.98
John Wayne Stained-Glass Panorama - £99.96
John Wayne: Hero Of The West Limited Edition Illuminated Stained-Glass Panorama - £99.96
John Wayne: American Legend 16-inch Accent Lamp - £79.96
John Wayne : Courageous Lawman 100th Anniversary Glass Mug Set - £59.97
Handcrafted John Wayne Shot Glass Collection - £24.99
John Wayne Straight Shooter Collection - £49.98

(Page two and breath)

Hero For A Century Collector 100th Anniversary Plate Collection - £29.99
John Wayne Authentic Handcrafted Radio - £99.96
John Wayne Perpetual Calendar Collection - £29.99
John Wayne: Lawman - £79.96
‘The Duke’ Tribute Plaque - £99.96
John Wayne Thunder Across the Plains 100th Anniversary plate - £29.99
Hard-fired porcelain John Wayne Knives Collection - £29.99
John Wayne: An American Legend Glass Mug Collection - £59.97

For the hardcore John Wayne fan - and by hardcore, I mean you actually believe you are John Wayne himself - everything with his face on cost altogether £2089.17. I haven't even spent that on instruments. I know little about John Wayne. All that I do know is that he was mostly a cowboy actor and judging by his paraphernalia, he was a keen drinker; he lived in the dark; hated china plates and thought he was an 'American Icon.' Again, why would you want his face on your radio? Who looks at a radio for a start? What next? The John Wayne Laptop? Nobody needs that much rubbish unless you really are going crazy. But crazy enough for...Oh my giddy God! What the hell is that?!

I know the internet is full of weird and disturbing crap but this is a whole new realm of weird. Okay, maybe there is a market with John Wayne and Elvis but compared to something like this...Oh, I'd rather not know the person who spends another £100 buying what looks like the link Darwin missed out of the Evolution Chart. Little Umi is the creation of the demented Wendy Dickison. Honestly, she must have woke up one morning and literally thought "what isn't there enough of in the world? Buses? No, we've got a couple of them...Clouds? No, we've got them too. Weird monkey dolls...Nope, no one is that disturbing to make something as deranged as that. But wait. Just put some people clothes on it and it's normal. Hurray, let the money rolling begin!"
It goes on "...You'll be entranced by Little Umi's gentle eyes, thick dark lashes and her all-over wispy red hair, meticulously rooted by hand for a totally natural look." You actually mean to say that there is a man or woman putting the hairs on this thing for an actual job? How far do you have to stoop to do a job like that? Were they rejected from Mattel for being mad and putting too much hair on Barbie and so had to be moved to do this? It makes perfect sense. And as far as being entranced by the eyes, I think the term is insomnia. You will never want to sleep again because every time you close your eyes, you will see the dark ones of a weird chimp-child staring back at you. Get it away from me now with a random click.

Okay maybe it wasn't a random click but it was less disturbing than the thing on the previous page. It is worth a mention though. With the royal wedding looming this year, this has got be up there with the plates and Tea-towels.

Kate Middleton must be reveling in horror at this. A figurine of herself. She famously waited 9 years for Prince William to pop the question. After seeing this, she'll be hoping it was 10 years. Because another year will give her a chance to get so far away from things like this. It doesn't even look like her! We'll maybe if she'd been given a gallon of botox injected into her face. Or is that the expert hand painting. It's worth it's money though...twenty quid! I can't see Kate getting given one of these on her big day. Mainly because she already knows what she looks like, never mind being a figurine. Expect the unused ones to be turned into 'The Royal Collection: Cheryl Cole - The Peoples Princess from the Telly.' And, why oh why oh why hasn't William been turned into a porcelain model? Probably got something to do with if he wants it doing then so would Harry. And then they're dad. And eventually the Queen and Albert. And then it'll go into the minor royals like Zara Phillips and Sarah Furguson and Camilla. I think they're trying to cash in on it in case something disastrous happens. Like a divorce. Just goes to show; you should have beaten William to it. You had 9 years! But you failed to ask Kate to marry you so you don't feel left out, you can now own your own Kate Middleton.
Oh no...I don't believe this...A question has been answered!

Well that answers that ol' chestnut. The same weirdo's buying Kate Middleton are the same people buying the chimp-child.

Now, moving cheaply on, The Kate thing was priced at just under £20. So what about the not so pricey gifts. The answer is don't buy them either. They are just as bad as each other. There's nine pages of the rubbish. They can't sell it so they bang down the price and see what happens. I can't list them all, I'm sorry. If you want to buy a gift for someone, don't rule this out but put it at the top of the list then put Toys R Us next because the toy shop will have more you want. I guarantee that. Go to Toys R Us and see what I mean. You will find something of 1) value, 2) entertainment, 3) that has character and 4) isn't tacky. You can the get it out of the way and done and never return!

On the plus side I do like how the website subtly and subconsciously tries to make you buy their stuff with a notice at the side that says "you do not have any products in your shopping basket yet," and I can't for the life of me see why...

You can visit the Bradford Exchange at http://www.bradford.co.uk/. Although I don't suggest you do.

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