Friday, 1 May 2015

Look, Dobbin - it's got an astrolabe!

I saw this poster recently, from which I have trimmed off the product name out of sheer spite. 

Elegance is an attitude. That's what Simon Baker thinks, and you can tell he means it, because he's signed his name under it. And then typed his name under that, in case you can't read his signature. Simon Baker, you will discover if you Google him, is an incredibly famous actor; and in his important opinion elegance is an attitude. Elegance is not something you can learn, or buy, or get from owning a particular product, presumably... it's an attitude. It's hard to describe what that attitude is, but you know it when you see it.  It's wearing a suit and tie when you show your watch to a horse. It's signing your name under all the philosophical quotes you come up with, like Aristotle would have done if he'd thought of it. It's being in black and white. It's an attitude. Simon Baker has it, obviously. Simon Baker's horse has it. Maybe three or four other people in the world have it. Everyone else will just have to try and make up for their innate lack of it by buying a ridiculously over-priced watch. 

Not me, though. Because as it happens, I too am one of those lucky possessors of that rarest of attitudes... elegance.


Anonymous said...

oh my god I need to have your watch, it's not even out yet in Europe, where can I buy it????

Anonymous said...

this is the best photo ever made and I'm so glad it exists

Lothiriel said...

Your watch advert from JFSP was unquantifiably better than Simon Baker's, so that you know.

Also, thanks to your post I've just discovered that the term "John Hancock" has become, in the United States, a synonym for a signature. If that's not elegance, I don't know what it is.

Jü said...

This blog post, sir, has officially made my evening.
(Bonus points for respecting the horse's privacy instead of dragging them to the camera by the bridle like a certain Mr S.B. did).

Anonymous said...

You make the world a better place, John.

TJ Tamlin said...

I hope that watch is from Marcus's world famous collection of watches.

EustonBankBranch said...

Don't worry about Baker. He's a mentalist.

Simon Harries said...

String. Class :-)

Linda said...

Is that a candy watch?
Like a candy bracelet, but better, because HOMG!
Giant-watch-face-candy-button thing?

I NEED your watch of deliciousness, please!

Mary M said...

John Hancock was the president of Congress and the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. His signature is three times as large as anyone else's. His signature became a metonymy for any signature the same way that the pen is mightier than the sword is a metonymy for the written word versus military action.

Mary M said...

This advert is on the side of the building next door to where I work. It is five stories high - about 50' tall and 30' wide. The horse's nostrils are as big as a horse.

Longines calls the famous people in their ads "ambassadors." Like the old cars.

For every elite market of people who go to horse races because they aren't ever going to be invited to the Oscars, Longines have hired culturally recognizable "ambassadors." Aaron Kwok and Chi Ling Lin for China; Kate Winslet and Simon Baker for anywhere that used to be part of the British empire; Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi for those who remember tennis.

Longines also has a thing for gymnasts. Perhaps this is because contorting language into advertizing speak is how one sells a $5000 watch as doing more than letting you know when the race is on.

LeeAnne said...

I think you might've missed the point. Elegance IS wearing a suit and tie when you show your watch to a horse.

... Because horses are the arbiters of elegance.

Anonymous said...

I've spent the last minute or three giggling. Thank you for that on an otherwise gloomy Monday.


Kate said...

"Poor Joey Ramone, It's a funny old world."

Lillian Bellamy said...

MARTIN: Look, I’m not stupid. I realise most of the watches in shops like that are fakes, and that’s why I went for this one. This … this was the one he didn’t want to show me.

Says it all really

Moony said...

Horses Know Things. Once, upon a distant moon in another galaxy, they were the watchers of time.

I can't stop laughing and am entirely distracted from work but hey, apparently elegance is far more important. The horse says so. And life is all about your attitude, right? Hee hee. Loving yours in your Picture of Truth.

Mike said...

That's a very sinister look Simon's giving that filly, I wonder if he's been affected by the recent law passed in Denmark?
Either way, I wouldn't let him near my horse...

...if I had one.

TheRealEmily said...

I didn't know Apple had hired you to model their new watch.
You were great on the Vote Now Show, as always. You (deservedly) got the most number of laughs and applause!

gtbear said...

Sorry John but you forgot the 'Elegant' Designer Stubble but you got the facial expression Spot on!

TaB said...

Still giggling from your post, though I sobered up in the presence of the lovely Casio watch on your wrist.

Anonymous said...

Careful Finnemore, I believe he's now one of the Au$$ie mafia in Hollywood. I remember googling him before he was a star and getting some rather eye-popping images of his "elegance" that I doubt were photoshopped, since he was hardly known back then. Who said you can't make youthful indiscretions disappear on the Net? It all depends how close you are to Murdoch. Ask Hugh Jackman, aka "the Godfather."

Anonymous said...

Thank you :)

Siân said...

Oh dear, IT are not going to be happy with me. Coffee sprayed everywhere. But it was totally worth it.

Anonymous said...

I am married to a genuine, if retired ambassador. He wears a large, cheap Timex so he can read it without glasses.
If I were the Timex Company I would not want him advertising my wares; he looks comfortably shabby which is suave in some circles but not trendy enough to sell watches.


Anonymous said...

Horribly off-topic, sorry, but Amazon in the US and Canada seems to still be offering to sell people the Cabin Pressure A-Z cds, hasn't shipped a single one and still has everyone who ordered it waiting indefinitely. Forever and ever. Apparently it's now not going to be available at all in the US and Canada?

I realize that distribution is not your division, but would there be an appropriate direction you could point toward where those of us who have been limbo for 6 months could ask how we get the full series CD box set in Canada and the US? Amazon is bloody useless.

Tim said...

Hello John. Are there any other links to buy the complete Cabin Pressure box set, as the previous commenter mentioned Amazon says they are offering it but sadly they are not because the deal with a company called Blackstone Audio and the BBC is no longer valid. When I talked to Blackstone Audio they suggested I try shopping at the BBC store itself but not sure whether they ship to North America or not.

Unknown said...

Seen this email come through from BBC Audience Services...

With Great Pleasure with John Finnemore
John Finnemore, writer and star of Cabin Pressure and of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, presents his own favourite pieces of writing to the audience at the BBC Radio Theatre.

Date: Friday 19 June
Venue: BBC Radio Theatre, London
Doors open: 6.45pm

To apply for tickets, visit

We hope you can join us!


Not going to be able to go, sadly, but I wish you well with your performance!

Anonymous said...

Well then *new wallpaper set*

JessieP said...

Hey John - I didn't know how else to ask but as a comment... I pre-ordered Cabin Pressure A to Z near the end of march... and today I got a message from Amazon saying, that they were unable to fill my order. They said they're out of stock. But I preordered... so how can I get cabin pressure a to z!? Do you know anything about what happened or why? and will they resupply? I was so excited and I'm very upset :(

Julian said...

Doing some research it seems that a number of important and good-looking people have also put their name to this statement, not just Simon. I wonder if it's some important social campaign I've missed, like the new 'No To H8' or something like that?

PurpleSparklePony said...

Dear Mr Finnemore,

I'm having a guess that the lack of writing here means you're insanely busy on something else. With any luck it'll be at least half as good as your other radio work, although half as good would probably mean half the entertainment and that, while there would be a certain joy that we have a new show, it would be somewhat diminished by it being not quite as good as your previous work and ... what's all this talking directly to one's fears of failure and never being recommissioned, ultimately heving to retrain for a new career without knowing what that should be . . .

(actually, I can vouch for retraining, it's been bloody wonderful doing something real (by comparison with the rest of my working life, not yours, that's been well spent from what we can see))

Ah, ehm, yes.

Yours faithfully,

(The undersigned)

Also, you don't half get some rubbish in these comments.

Another also. (If you actually read the comments.) Your work, even should it be half as good will still be fabulous because the way you seem to regard the world is just silly enough to point out the truth and the absurdity of it all.

The great Douglas Adams once wrote that the excessive use of exclamation marks was the sign of a disordered mind; what so for parentheses?

Right, enough dodging work.

Unknown said...


I think they say "In Loco Parenthesis)

I guess that means you're a train spotter

PurpleSparklePony said...

Once upon a time, in the mid-90s, I lived in a small city in a country which shall go unnamed, but it's quite close to Germany, Austria, Poland and the Slovak Republic. Needless to say, being a small city it had very little to offer the spontaneous traveller or tourist. Not the sort of place that, while driving through, you might imagine has strange and arcane religious festivals of the sort found in Spain, perhaps. On my way to work as (because what does one do in odd towns in Abroad) a language teacher, I witnessed two men dressed in long beige shorts, wearing sandals with white socks to the knees, white t-shirts and backpacks. These two men were taking pictures of the tram system. Not of anything else, that I could see. Not of the really quite lovely octagonal former pump house of the waterworks nearby, not the traffic nor the ordinary passersby.

Moral of the story? If there is one, it's that I'd rather be a trainspotter than a tramspotter. It goes straight past such words as eccentric and bizarre to plain weird.

PurpleSparklePony said...

No, I tell a lie. It wasn't the mid-90s. That decade was spent dancing as much as I humanly could. It was the mid-00s. Much less interesting to type, and it just doesn't look right.

Unknown said...

Since you asked me for a tale of bad fashion, travellers and inaccurate decade identification, I think I have just the story to keep you amused for at least 30 seconds...

Mesaj said...

Thank You I am.

Unknown said...

I dunno, John. You say he's not very famous but I went to see his Wikipedia page and it turns out he's so busy that he's barely had time to keep it up to date with all his work and earnings. Poor guy.
Still, he probably got to keep the Longines watch and that is bound to help him be a classier twit.

Unknown said...

Every day I come to Forget What Did to see if there is a new blog entry. The next thing I do every day, is to tell myself that John is busy creating a new sketch or routine for us to enjoy on Radio 4.

Can't wait for a change to to the routine though! ;-)

Unknown said...

I have what I consider is a great comedy radio script which I would appreciate your thoughts on. Its based in a primary school

Unknown said...

@ Michael Gregory: I would suggest signing up with a creative writing class and get the teacher to review it. If it's any good, they should be able to point you in the right direction for submitting it to The BBC. And if there are any problems with it (like Mary Sue characters, cliche heavy, etc), then they can help you correct them

Anonymous said...

For those of you still looking for a source for the complete Cabin Pressure set, I ended up buying mine at after Amazon fell through.

PurpleSparklePony said...

I heard on the Beeb the other day that we can expect something new in October, so looking forward to that. I'm sure details will follow. :D

RN said...

Looks like a Patek Philippe to me. Was the shop keeper reluctant to part with it?

Tim said...

Hi John. so a friend of mine is going to go and teach in Belgium for two years so I naturally shared season 4 episode 2 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Program with her. Not sure whether she ever actually watched it lol but I still can't get your Belgium song out of my head, because it's brilliant.

web lol said...

kul post

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Sabri said...

I have the same candy watch, but it says 7:17! Maybe they produced different candy watches for every hour? Why???

RDM said...

Oh how I howled with laughter when I saw John's photo at the end of the post....I am a fan because you are a genius sir! (Ps I've just discovered your!

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