Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Peter Crouch, Pringoooals

Peter Crouch, professional gangly robot dancer and sometime footballer, once said that if he weren't a footballer, he'd be a virgin. He's probably right - I don't believe that guys who do the robot get laid all too often. I expect though that the day that a robot is created that can successfully dance the 'human' is the day that we, as a species, have to accept our new subservient future. In fact, it may have already happened, and these androids have flooded our dancefloors. Be afraid, be very afraid!

Anyway, I apologise, this blog is meant to be about celebrities and the food they endorse, and, as such, this kind of conspiracy theorising would only be apt if someone like Jim Corr were to endorse some food (Jim Corr's New World Hors D'Oeuvres?)

So, back to Crouchy. At the 2006 World Cup, Crouch was dating quintessential WAG Abigail Clancy, before he dumped her by fax, which puts him in the exalted company of Phil Collins (however much Phil tries to deny it). Clancy went on to date Jason Statham for a bit, which does not work in Crouchy's favour here, as no-one compares to the Stath (Jase, if you plan to endorse any food - Oxo Lock, Stock cubes perhaps - you can be sure to get full marks from me). However, not only are Crouch and Clancy back together, they are engaged, ensuring that Clancy will finally be able to progress from the G-faction to the W-faction.

Abbey was once in a pop group called The Genie Queen, managed by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark singer/bassist Andy McCluskey (Andy, you could also expect to get full marks from me - Granola Gay bars?) We are only left to assume that it was due to having such a shit name for a pop group that they never had an ounce of the success of McCluskey's previous pet project, Atomic Kitten (actually, scratch what I said before, Andy, I'd find it hard to stomach giving the man who gave the world Kerry Katona much more than half marks).

While it's hard to argue against Crouch's superb games-per-goal ratio of 1.85 for England, it's undoubtedly his goal-celebrating antics that led him to front the Pringles attempt to get a piece of the World Cup pie, as evidenced in this advert (with Anelka, Kuyt and Fabregas presumably thrown in to appeal to the international market)....

Furthermore, the Original and Salt & Vinegar flavour tubes both reference Crouch's robot. The Texas BBQ Sauce tube features Crouch holding a corner flag kebab skewer of red onion, tomato, pepper and Pringles (I hope this is not a serving suggestion - I'm not sure actually barbecuing Pringles is the best idea), while the Sour Cream & Onion tube has Crouch kicking into a Sour Cream dip while a groundskeeper pushes a Sour Cream lawnmower in the background. I have no idea what this is meant to signify, but I'm sure Jim Corr knows a thing or two about the Sour Cream Illuminati.

Cite the Gary Lineker/Walker's precedent all you want, I'm not convinced crisps are the best thing for a footballer to be endorsing. Not that Pringles are crisps, mind, but, as the packaging tells us, a 'savoury snack'. The distinction is clear - lawyers once successfully argued that the 42% potato content of Pringles was not sufficient for them to be called crisps, and the snack was exempted from VAT for a period. It makes you feel a little shortchanged though when potato is fleshed out with so much flour.

When I eat Pringles, I tend to eat a load in one sitting, but afterwards I'm left with a general feeling of dissatisfaction. I guess they're like heroin. Or masturbation. My favourite flavour though: Sour Cream & Onion. Least favourite? Salt & Vinegar. A little too sharp for my liking.

Peter Crouch: 6/10
Pringles: 5/10
Total 11/20

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Paul Newman, Newman's Own One Two Thousand Island Dressing

And so it comes to pass that, for the first time, COP turns its eyes to a celebrity who has shuffled off this mortal coil, so apologies if I speak ill of the dead.

For a self-confessed cinephile, I haven't seen many Paul Newman films. As a Hitchock fan, I have seen Torn Curtain, the Cold War thriller in which Newman stars alongside Julie Andrews. I'm sure someone decided Butch Cassidy and Mary Poppins were a combination for surefire romantic chemistry, but they're certainly not Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief or Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest. Cary Grant and anyone, really.

Actually, I rather like The Towering Inferno, which to some extent is remembered as the McQueen/Newman film, in the same way that Heat is the De Niro/Pacino film and What Happens In Vegas is the Kutcher/Diaz film. But is it McQueen/Newman or Newman/McQueen? The poster clearly tells us that it's actually more of a diagonal relationship, with, in both name and picture, Newman above McQueen, but McQueen to the left of Newman.

Not only this, but they also have the exact same number of lines in the film. These lengths taken to ensure shared top billing were rather apt as the film was a co-production between two major studios. It's this kind of behaviour though that would have had everyone involved blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

Newman was on Nixon's official Enemies list and generally a Democrat supporter, and therefore not a 'baddie'. There's nothing worse than finding out that the likes of Kelsey Grammer, Tom Selleck or Vicent Gallo are Republicans and, as a result, never being able to watch Frasier, Magnum P.I. or that scene in Brown Bunny where Chloe Sevigny actually gives Vincent Gallo a blowjob in the same way again.

In the early '80s, Newman co-founded the Champ Car racing team Newman/Haas, and a range of salad dressings, Newman's Own. Since the beginning, Newman gave all after-tax profits to charity, a business model that I cannot fault. Bottles proudly state that over $250 million has been donated since 1982, and it's nice to know that some of the COP overheads can help the less privileged.

You might wonder why this dressing is called Two Thousand Island (with One crossed out on the label). At first I thought this might be one of those references to the turn of the millennium that now seem amusingly quaint, but I guess it's because, as the label boasts, it "has twice as many islands as any other brand!" By 'islands' they mean the little bits of gherkin and tomatoes in the sauce, an archipelago of fruits masquerading as vegetables. I can't really vouch for their claim though, it's pretty tricky to gauge a islands-to-sauce ratio without the relevant equipment. It's a bit far to expect that this dressing is thus twice as good as your common-or-garden Thousand Island, but it is solidly good, and the chilli lends it a nice tang.

Paul Newman: 8/10
Two Thousand Island Dressing: 8/10
Total: 16/20

Monday, 3 May 2010

Chris Hoy, Kellogg's Bran Flakes

Chris Hoy won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2008, by winning three Olympic gold medals in a sport that Brits generally don't care about unless it's the Olympics. The award should really be called 'Sportsperson who the public deems to have been most successful in that year by popular vote', but that's probably a bit of a mouthful. I'm not going to be the first to point out that Hoy, like many of his predecessors, doesn't really have much of a personality, but I'm going to feel bad about it because the guy's just got married, and his wife is probably going to read this.

Furthermore, Hoy's sport is a bit boring. Track cycling, that is. There's got to be a reason why track cyclists tend to move to road racing once they've picked up a medal or few, it can't be entirely because there's more money in it. Track races are either over too quickly or they go on so long that it's impossible to tell which lap different riders are on. Contrast: if someone's further up the road, they're ahead. Simple.

Brilliantly, Wikipedia tells us that Hoy was inspired to take up cycling by E.T. (which has a citation, and therefore must be fact). We must be glad that he was not also inspired by Drew Barrymore's descent into pre-teen drug addiction.

Anyway, I guess it's because of Hoy's achievements, rather than personality, that he was chosen as the new face of Kellogg's Bran Flakes.....

Did you see how he nailed that punchline? We can be pretty sure that he improvised that, which would serve him well on Whose Line Is It Anyway, but seeing as that's not on anymore, he'll probably have to settle for Mock The Week.

Hoy plugging Bran Flakes has turned the world upside down for me. I always assumed that Kellogg's Start was the cereal of sports champions, turns out I'm wrong. Actually, it's a shame he isn't endorsing Start, as it's between Corn Pops and Golden Grahams on the list of cereals I haven't had for a long time and would like an excuse to try again.

When I first saw the above advert, it made me wish I was French. Pastries or Bran Flakes is a bit of a no-brainer. While it is honourable for Hoy to endorse a healthier cereal, I was expecting this review to follow a 'boring person, boring food' template. I had Bran Flakes pegged as being like Fruit 'n Fibre without the good bits - they could just call it Fibre. However, having eaten through a packet of Bran Flakes, while I would still prefer a pastry or a bowl of Fruit 'n Fibre, I can't put it better than as Chris 'says' on the back of the box:

"The substantial flakes stay crunchy in the milk and have a lovely malty, wholemeal taste."

Chris Hoy: 5/10
Bran Flakes: 7/10
Total: 12/20