A critic, a monkey and Phil Collins all walk into a (candy) bar…

Posted September 27th, 2007 by logan

Why the name Tom Ewing isn’t any bigger than it currently is is beyond me. His ongoing piece for Brit blog Freaky Trigger – in which he has endeavored to review, with a pretty good semblance of success, every Number One Hit in the UK since 1952 – has occupied more of my leisure time than Seinfeld re-runs, Gamecock football and earnestly trying to shave “L.K.Y.” into my pubis combined. Ewing’s at his best and most provocative though when penning the “Poptimist” column for Ryan Schreiber’s hipper-than-thou-willst-ever-hope-to-be online rag. (Even mentioning it’s name, in print or otherwise, requires a level of cool aloofness that I myself have apparently not yet attained – at least that’s what this chick I tried to hit on last night told me anyways.) Regardless, in this past Tuesday’s eighth installment, Ewing – with his typical wit and lucidity – opines about this spot for the Cadbury company out of Britian. While it’s more than safe for work I guarantee, it could be hazardous to your monitor if you’re presently drinking anything. So put down that chipped Fugazi mug and check this out:

As a lifelong Phil Collins enthusiast (and concomitant apologist), I was pissed as all get-out when the rumor mill started churning that indeed it was Buster himself in the ape suit. I thought to myself, “I’ll never be able to explain this one.” Turns out I don’t have to. While the primate family has been good to Lord Collins in recent years (and no, I don’t have a good explanation for Disney’s Tarzan either), it’s actually simian screen specialist Garon Michael (Congo, Instinct, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes) behind the kit. Whew!

As for Ewing’s comments, he’s spot on when he says, “[the ad] does magnificently something music criticism finds desperately hard – isolating a moment in a track and communicating it effectively.” And concerning a topic that’s been a hotbed of debate recently on this ol’ site here, Ewing goes on to note:

“Several years ago you’ll remember a great fuss over a Nick Drake track being used to advertise Volkswagen, and I felt that behind at least some of the dudgeon was a sense that marketers simply oughtn’t to know who Drake was. Now telecoms giant T-Mobile can use Vashti Bunyan and Arthur Russell in quick succession on their ads, and it seems natural that ad agencies hire people with thorough, credible tastes and an understanding of what obscure music might resonate with outside its core audience. With all those ads, though, the sense remains that the music is there to add exotic colour, and receives nothing creative in return. Maybe the gorilla ad marks a shift – an advert which cares about its music (even if that music is well-worn and corny) enough to add something to it.”

One more thing, if this ape looks a helluva lot better than Kubrick’s, it should. It cost six million quid to make.

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