Monday, April 24, 2006

Catch me if you can

The news is awash with the launch of the government's Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, its latest rubber cosh with which to thwack the unhealthy tumescence of maladaptive internet perverts. Sly-winking supremo, Jim "lath me with unguents" Gamble, is cock of the walk, helming a 24hr team of police officers who will perpetually lurk in chatrooms and the like to monitor and collect paedophiles.

It's difficult to find solid estimates of how much this "bringing together [of] law enforcement officers [and] specialists from children's charities and industry" will cost, but it doesn't seem unfair to assume it won't be cheap. Perhaps what's needed is a little 'outside the (prepubescent) box' thinking...

Our stately internet is full of legal, consenting adults indulging in a variety of frotting, gurgling, pants-down activities which, unless you're a Southern US state, is perfectly reasonable. One of the problems such individuals face is finding meatspace partners to act out their online fantasies. I suggest a grand database of fetishists be constructed, based on Microsoft software running on AOL's hardware resources and leveraging VISA's age-checking facilities (all three being CEOP partners), pairing up the compatible who would pay for such a service by volunteering a chunk of their time to monitor & report child-grooming minxes online. The "charge" would be determined by ease of pairing and uniqueness of proclivity; research estimates that 24% of men and 36% of women have had a rape fantasy, either perpetrating or experiencing, and it seems reasonable to assume that some of these would gladly exchange time for opportunity.

If it works then I fully expect a peerage.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Love with a key

If I were editor of Vogue magazine my mantra would be "Fashion Follows Fringe". This seasons' "new black" always seems two steps behind the chosen garb of whoever is edgy and slightly unusual - witness geek chic, gypsy style and frumps'-favourite boho. I guess it gets harder to find untapped seams of fresh creativity, judging by Cartier's latest jewellery collection.

This, lovers, is the Cartier Love bracelet - a band of gold fastened by a tiny, ornamental screwdriver onto the wrist of your comely wife or obedient mistress. Pictured below it is a polished stainless steel slave collar, available from Bondage (NSFW), purveyors of fine BDSM equipment. It fits neatly around the neck of your slave and unlocks with, you guessed it, a tiny screwdriver.

Issues of ownership and control aside, in some ways Bondage Collars' finest is better value than its H. Samuel counterpart. For a start it's made-to-measure so that you (or, more accurately, your slave) can wear it 24/7. It also costs significantly less - undercutting Cartier by at least $2400, that leaves you plenty to buy all the NSFW riding crops, handcuffs and (very much NSFW) throat funnels your heart desires.

Where one fashionista goes, the other houses follow. That said, I look forward to measuring my partner for a Swarovski crystal chastity sheath (you guessed it, NSFW) and leaving my aunt a clitoral clip underneath the Christmas tree.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fucked Thumb Syndrome, or, The Mobloggers Lament

With a bang and a flash of LED flame, Helio enters the US carrier market. "Helio?" I hear you mutter, "who the mascara-arse are they?" and rightly so... let's boil them down to "MySpace on your mobile"

Reading's interview with the imaginatively-named Sky Dayton, Helio's CEO, one thing is made abundantly clear: milking the concept of "young, passionate consumers" is still going strong. Let's tune into some Sky..

" networking is happening, MySpace, etc., but nobody’s taken that mobile. That’s really where people really want to interact with that stuff, is when they’re out in the world, right? They don’t want to be blogging about what they did last night; they want to be blogging about what they’re doing right now. They want to be taking pictures and uploading"

Don't get me wrong, Sky, but when our go-getting social networker is in the midst of his partying/shopping/abseiling isn't s/he going to be more interested in, well, doing that rather than broadcasting it? If you've ever tried to update your blog via a mobile then you'll be familiar with fucked thumb syndrome as your digits spasm riotously while T9 milks your creativity dry. "So upload some photos" I hear you bleat, but how expensive is that going to be? The sort of young MySpacers services like these are aimed at don't tend to have the disposable income to be blasting off chunky jpegs left right and proverbial centre.

I'd quite like to be proved wrong, just so I could be bitter and sarcastic about it, but I don't think I will be.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Stable Partemple's Urban Pottage

number three in a series of bulb

While soaping up my underarms this morning I couldn't help but notice Dove's new Campaign for Real Beauty advertised on the side of their body wash bottle. Apparently they're pledging £100,000 to educate girls and women on "a wider definition of beauty".

With 90% of females aged 15 to 64 wanting to change at least one aspect of their body, it seems obvious that something needs to be done. However, is Dove's plan the best one? Some of the studies would seem to disagree...

Research tells us that solidarity in groups is best promoted when that group has a common cause. A 2003 study finds that audiences dislike young, attractive actresses. The obvious solution is for Dove to spend its money on nose and boob jobs for an elite squad of eminently-hateable young women. With an average breast enhancement costing £6000 and a new nose just £4500 that's nine surgically superior uber-femmes for a nation of saggy housewives to scorn. Sacrifice one of our troupe and you could have a coach to take them around the country, thrusting their silicone assets in mumsy faces.

The net result would be an upsurge of vitriol and bile, bringing our women together and encouraging them to get on with whatever it was they were doing before Dove suggested they should have a wash and a good moan.

Stable Partemple is a para-futurologist at the Think Special watchdog sub-committee. He lives in London with himself.