logo
logo
twitter facebook facebook
Glenn Vedder
twitter facebook facebook
Followers 81 Following 60
Glenn Vedder 2021-07-20
img

If you’re in the market for a Masked Singer/Love Is Blind mash-up of a dating show, then we have good news.

New Netflix show Sexy Beasts is just that.

In an image-obsessed world, this bonkers series flips the Love Island approach to dating on its head and takes an “it’s-what-inside-that-counts” approach to finding a group of singletons lurrrrve (hopefully).

Great! Another excuse to gawp at a load of hot young singletons

Errrm, not quite.

Oh. So it’s not a Love Island rip-off?

No. Think more Love Is Blind meets The Masked Singer.

Y’what?

Exactly.

Sounds ridiculous

It is. Allow us to explain. Sexy Beasts is all about inner beauty – personality over looks (kinda). So each eligible singleton, and three possible suitors, don a range of prosthetic disguises including a dolphin, a mouse, a beaver, a panda, a zombie… you get the idea.

They then choose who they click with most based on vibe alone after heading out on fun-filled (ice-sculpting, life drawing, axe-throwing) dates. Then it’s all about the big reveal.

It sounds terrifying… and a little familiar

That’s because it’s actually a reboot of a short-lived BBC Three series that bombed back in 2014.

Sexy Beasts originally aired on BBC Three in 2014

The guy doing the voice over sounds familiar too

That’ll be Rob Delaney of Catastrophe fame

Rob Delaney

And is it?

What?

A catastrophe?

Not quite, but the reviews aren’t exactly glowing. 

The “fundamental flaw” of the show according to Variety is that the cast “generally seems drawn from a particularly eligible segment of the population. The amateur bodybuilder who asks his dates to feel his muscles... the six-foot-tall model from New York who is tired of guys only noticing the way she looks.”

The Guardian agreed, stating that “the exclusive participation of strong 8s to indisputable 10s on the desirability index is a limitation of the show’s stated experiment in non-physical attraction” but still found it “highly entertaining”.

Meanwhile Digital Spy thinks the show “falls flat” because “with so little time to get to know each contestant, it’s hard to feel all that invested in the possible relationships that we see forming. The interest instead is all tied up in the anticipation of discovering what everyone really looks like.”

Pah. What do so-called critics know? I’m in. Where can I watch it?

The show lands on Netflix on Wednesday 21 July.

Can I get a sneaky peak beforehand? 

The trailer is all yours...

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-03-13
img
The Sex And The City cast are returning in a reboot (bar Kim Cattrall, right)

It might be 2021, but there’s a bout of TV reboots coming out which are getting fans nostalgic for the nineties and noughties.

Frasier, Gossip Girl, Sex And The City and Friends are all making comebacks. Almost 20 years since Gunther last cast Rachel a flirtatious smile in Central Perk, something’s pulling them back in to order more coffee.

Could it be the cash? It’s been reported that HBO Max will pay each Friends cast member a cool $2.5 million when the group reform later this year for an unscripted show looking back at the hit sitcom, while SJP and co are rumoured to be getting paid over one million dollars per episode for the Sex And The City reboot.

Perhaps nostalgia for bygone times when the world was a simpler, non-pandemic place, plays a part in audiences’ desire to see these times reflected on screen. A Drum survey suggested so, proving comedy, nostalgia and family viewing shot up under lockdown.

But what must these reboots do to bring the feels of yesterday, and crucially, not feel tired and outdated - especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Certainly re-runs of Sex And The City and Friends can be an uncomfortable watch.

We spoke to four industry experts to hear their thoughts on the future of TV reboots.

Asio Highsmith, actor: “New York is kind of past Sex And The City’s influence at this point in time”

Now working in property management, Asio played one of a handful Black characters in Sex And The City, a partner of Samantha’s called Chivon

Chivon and Samantha in Sex And The City

“TV has started to be more representative of what’s going on right now. These writers are listening to what Instagram, Twitter and TikTok are saying. It’s a universe or galaxy that exists today that did not exist in 2000. That was a long time ago, right?

“New York has changed so much. I think Sex And The City definitely influenced it a lot back then, but I think that New York is kind of past its influence at this point in time. 

“Back in the day there were a lot of questions, people wondered why there wasn’t more of an ethnic or Black presence on the show. 

“There are so many things they could do by bringing a couple of Black girls on the show… bringing the Black women’s background to the show. I’m pretty sure they’ll be college educated, well-rounded Black women having their ups and downs in the city along with the other girls. That just seems like a no-brainer to me.

“It’s good to add some spice to a New York situation, bring it closer to a real situation. That was the issue with the other one, it wasn’t represented as well as it could have been back in the day, with colour on the show.

“I’m currently not acting, I’ve gotten into real estate, but I think about the show all the time. I shot on my birthday, I think it was my 26th birthday so everytime my birthday comes around I always think of the show fondly. They brought me out a cake and sang me happy birthday on set, it was a very special moment that I’ll never forget.”

Ginnia Cheng, comedian: “My absolute dream would be to see Carrie type out on her little laptop, ‘Is he right? Am I racist?’. And if she admits ‘Yes, I may be a little bit - but I’m willing to change’, I’d only love her more.”

Ginnia is a comedian working with the BBC’s Writersroom sessions, designed to help the broadcaster produce more diverse content

Ginnia Cheng

“Growing up in the 90s and 00s, girls of colour just got used to not seeing anyone who looked like you on telly. It’s embarrassing to admit it wasn’t until Charlotte adopted an Asian baby in the very last episode of Sex And The City I realised - hey, that’s the first person of colour in the main cast! 

“But we’re sick of shows adding ‘characters of colour’ just to tick the boxes. The responsibility shouldn’t lie solely on these new minority characters to carry the diverse and inclusive storylines. It should be down to the main characters we already know to dive headfirst into the issues that have been raised. 

“The truth is - as much as I adore them, if they were real characters, they would so totally get it wrong. We all do. It would be hilarious to watch them get it wrong – but also heartwarming to watch them grow, and caters to those of us clinging on due to nostalgia. 

“Luckily, both Sex And The City and Gossip Girl centre around characters who make observations and ask the crucial questions on everyone’s mind. My absolute dream would be to see Carrie type out on her little laptop, ‘Is he right? Am I racist?’. And if she admits ‘Yes, I may be a little bit - but I’m willing to change’, I’d only love her more.

“Of course, I would support the addition of characters of colour – but they must feel authentic, and they must not carry the weight of representing their entire race on the show on their shoulders alone.”

Alissa Jeun Yi, reboot writer: “An exciting reboot is not about regurgitating something someone’s done before.”

Alissa is a TV writer and performance artist working on the reboot of an iconic 90s British series, but the details are still under wraps. 

Alissa Jeun Yi

“I recently worked on a reboot where the team were not only passionate about the original series, but driven to highlight the experiences of a more diverse range of characters and talk about issues facing society now. 

“What surprised me was that no one wanted to ‘replicate’ a cookie cutter version of the original. It was an incredible show, so that would have been a rather Herculean task! 

“An exciting reboot is not about regurgitating something someone’s done before. We should work hard to honour the ‘well-loved’ spirit of the original but reimagine it for a time and an industry that in terms of representation and the telling of diverse stories, need to do better. 

“Reboots like this can not only reignite the love for the original, but bring loyal, older generation audiences and younger, completely new ones together. With our reboot, I hope people are curious to watch both the original and the version inspired by it – and, irregardless of whether or not they were there for the original - get something out of both. 

“The original and the reboot should reflect that we live in a world that changes. They should not be afraid to speak to different times and different places; and this is how they can speak to each  other.”

Doctor Deborah Gabriel, academic: “New spin-off series would perhaps be a better way to go, since producers should start with diversity, not try to add it later on.”

Dr Deborah, founder and Director of Black British Academics, is an expert in race, education and social justice and a consultant in equity, diversity, inclusion and social transformation.

Dr Deborah Gabriel

“Popular American comedy dramas like Sex And The City, Gossip Girl and Friends – all making come-backs in 2021, are rooted in very different socio-historical contexts to today. In the Black Lives Matter era audiences demand equity, inclusion and cultural authenticity. 

“But it is not simply a case of adding Black and Brown characters to all-white casts and plots that do not deal with the real-life, intersectional experiences of Black and Brown people. That usually creates tokenism and stereotypical representations. 

“When rebooting old series producers must avoid assimilating Black and Brown characters into storylines that revolve around white lives and merely reproduce white privilege. New spin-off series would perhaps be a better way to go, since producers should start with diversity, not try to add it later on. 

“We need holistic representations of Black and Brown people that reflect the diversity of identities, genders, cultures and communities.”

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-01-22
img
This is not the solution to our climate problems; it's a sweetheart deal for Big Ag.
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2019-10-04
img

Last year, Vernon Unsworth, a cave explorer who advised on the rescue of kids trapped in a Thailand cave, got in a spat with Elon Musk.

Musk labeled Unsworth a "pedo guy" in a tweet—and, in an ill-considered email to a reporter, later called him a "child rapist" who married a 12-year-old girl.

The claim about marrying a 12-year-old (the woman in question says she was actually 33 when she met Unsworth) came from a private investigator to whom Musk paid $50,000 to dig into Unsworth's private life.

Musk argued the high price tag was a sign that he was taking the issue seriously.

Musk spent $50,000 digging into critic’s personal life

But now BuzzFeed is reporting that the private investigator Musk hired is a convicted felon and scammer.

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-07-15
img

The Italian historic coachbuilder Pininfarina may have stopped designing cars for Ferrari, but has sure been busy lately. Just two weeks ago, the firm announced it’s going to create a 1000hp electric truck for the EV startup Hercules, and on Wednesday revealed its utterly sleek Teorema concept. Credit: Pininfarina It looks very futuristic, doesn’t it? The Teorema is Pininfarina’s first 100% virtually developed concept car and aims to offer “an all-new interpretation of fully electric, autonomous mobility.” Designed inside out The design teams in Cambiano and Shanghai created the interior experience before developing the exterior, starting from a scalable electric skateboard chassis…

This story continues at The Next Web
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-03-01
img

Drip, drip. Drip, drip. Small droplets of blood fall from my finger into the tiny test tube. Pricking myself with the needle was less painful than I’d expected, but gathering the sample is a slow process. The pamphlet tells me it can take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on blood flow, and some women need to prick twice. 

As I stand alone in my bathroom, afraid to look away in case I spill a drop, the thing that’s keeping me going is the idea this might help answer a big question: when should I have a baby?

The hormone test is part of Grip, a new at-home ‘fertility MOT’ launching in the UK on March 1, and it’s designed to rule out the four main risk factors that make it harder for women to get pregnant: ovulation issues (often linked to polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS), blocked fallopian tubes, thyroid issues, and low ovarian reserve – ie. the remaining number of eggs in your ovaries.

The test won’t tell you if you will or won’t get pregnant, but it might influence some life choices. “Think of your Grip test as a risk profile, rather than a yes or no answer,” the website tells me. “If you know your risks when you’re still young, then you still have all the options to do something about them.”

If you’re not on hormonal birth control, you can send your blood to the Grip lab and be tested for all four conditions for £139. If you’re on the pill, have an IUD or an implant, this skews the first three results, but you can still have your AMH levels checked for £99.

AMH is a key indicator of ovarian reserve and for me, it’s the big one: do I have a decent amount of eggs for my age? Should I hurry up with this motherhood malarkey, or can I get away with a delay?

I massage my finger to squeeze out another few drops, in a technique the bright orange packaging names “milking”. My face looks pale grey in the bathroom mirror. I secure the test tube lid pronto, then sway to the kitchen for a Jammie Dodger. 

The test requires at-home blood collection.  

“How do you feel?!” Grip’s energetic co-founder Anne Marie Droste asks me over the phone later that day. The test had to be carried out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then wrapped in protective packaging before being popped in the postbox. It’ll take at least five days until my results are in. 

“I am a little nervous,” I reply. “It’s one of those things, isn’t it – do I want to know, or is ignorance bliss?”

Droste reassures me that’s exactly how she felt before her first hormone test. Two years ago, at the age of 30, she quit her job and was about to embark on an extended round-the-world trip with her boyfriend. Family raised the topic of babies – and whether she planned to “pop home” to pop one out – and for the first time, she felt confronted by her fertility.

Unsure if she even wanted kids, Droste who’s originally from the Netherlands, visited her GP. She was told about fertility hormone testing, but advised these tests are usually only given to women who’ve been trying to conceive for a year. The situation is similar here in the UK, where tests are at the discretion of local NHS clinical commissioning groups (and the enthusiasm of your GP).

NICE guidelines say a women who’ve “not conceived after one year of unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse... should be offered further clinical assessment and investigation.” The guidelines do not cater for single women who may also want answers, or women in same-sex relationships who’d like to plan future IVF. 

For these women, the only guaranteed free option is to turn to Google, says Droste, where you’ll find age-based averages on fertility – and not much else.

“I think it’s really harmful for women to have to decide things based on national averages,” she says. “There’s nothing that has a bigger impact on our lives and careers and happiness than whether or not we decide to have kids, so it seems really archaic to me that we have to make those decisions in the dark, on our own, without any information.”

Grip co-founders Ling Lin (left) and Anne Marie Droste. 

Wanting answers, Droste paid £600 for tests at a private clinic, which revealed she had a slightly low egg reserve for her age and was considered above average risk for early menopause. She’s since decided to freeze her eggs. 

“I’m still really not sure if I want kids, but it highlighted that I definitely wanted to have the option of kids,” she says. “Even though it wasn’t the answer I wanted per se, I now know what I’m in for. I understand the risks I’m taking by waiting, rather than being in the dark and pretending everything is probably going to be fine.”

When Droste shared her experience with two trusted friends, Noor Teulings (a fertility doctor) and Ling Lin (a product manager, who was single at the time and considering egg freezing), they conceived a bigger idea. “It sounds really lame, but we had lunch that day and decided maybe we should be building a company that allows people like us to have this information,” Droste explains. 

The trio co-founded Grip in March 2020 and launched in the Netherlands in May, where they’ve already sold 3,000 kits. They expected their core market to be women in their 30s, already trying to conceive but frustrated by the one-year waiting time. Instead, their average user is 28 and curious about her future. She wants to be proactive about her fertility, rather than wait until something is wrong. At 29, I’m a textbook client. 

“She [the average customer] doesn’t want to have kids for the next few years and is really aware that the last time she learned anything about her hormonal cycle or her body is when she was 16 and in sex ed,” says Droste

“It feels like we’re living in this era of hormonal awareness, in which we’re demanding better answers about what’s happening in our bodies. And what’s happening in my body, what’s happening to me personally. We don’t want the average woman’s story.”

The packaging has certainly been designed with millennials in mind: bright colours and feminist slogans are accompanied with fun instructions – “Do the Macarena to get your blood flowing to your fingertips!”

The message is clear: this is an empowering test, made for empowered women, by empowered women. 

The test – which you can access after answering a few quick questions online – is the first step in the Grip process. After sending off your blood, you’ll receive your fertility report. You’re then offered a video call with a fertility doctor to discuss what your results mean – and what they don’t. “We can tell you, for example, what your ovarian reserve looks like and if you’re likely to enter early menopause, but we can’t say, for instance, anything about the quality of your eggs, or how long it might take for you to conceive,” explains Droste. 

You also have the option to be added to a closed forum on the Grip app, with women who’ve had a similar diagnosis to you. Each forum has around 10 members, plus a doctor, who’s there to give general information to the group about next steps, such as diet changes to lower your PCOS risk or egg freezing in the case of low ovarian reserve. 

“It’s really hard to go through something this emotional on your own, so we’ve really tried to foster this idea of togetherness,” says Droste. “But it’s still overseen by clinical professionals.”

It’s advised you discuss any unexpected results with your regular GP, as they’re the ones who’ll need to refer you for future treatment, if it’s required.  Around 40% of tests flag “something that could be worked on” according to Droste. The Grip team call customers three months after their test results to see how they’re getting on. The majority (78%) of customers say they’ve decided to move their baby plans forward. 

It’s easy to get swept up in Droste’s enthusiasm, but the next day I call Dr Marta Jansa Perez, director of embryology at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), for an independent opinion. She tells me she is not convinced women are fully supported by the service.  

“If I’m honest, I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole thing,” she says. “I think in principle it’s good to empower people to asses their fertility so they can plan their lives better. But I’m a bit sceptical about how much people read into the results and how much support they’re really given to interpret those results.”

Dr Perez’s biggest concern, is that women are not offered counselling before undergoing tests and the follow-up consultation with a doctor is optional, not  compulsory. The guidelines set out by NICE for fertility services stipulate that counselling should be offered “before, during and after investigation and treatment, irrespective of the outcome of these procedures”. 

“The worry for me is that people will get the report and not take it any further,” she says. “Interpreting these results... it’s so nuanced and so tricky and delicate and it has such huge implications for people’s major life decisions, that I think a kit like this can be a bit misleading, really.” 

Conditions such as PCOS can’t be properly diagnosed without a scan, says Dr Perez. You could also be told you have a good ovarian reserve, only for it to rapidly drop later. The tests have the potential to give both false cause for concern, and false complacency. 

“This has the potential to have long-term consequences for people, have mental health effects, or effects fertility health wise,” she says. “There’s no certainty behind any of these tests. Ongoing support is very important – not just one chat over the phone. People need to have a chance to discuss things on a long-term basis.” 

The British Fertility Society also urges caution around AMH testing packaged as ‘fertility MOTs’ – pointing out that these tests were originally developed to inform decisions around IVF treatment, not assess your natural fertility. 

“Many women with low ovarian reserve will conceive without any problems whilst others with a good ovarian reserve may take time and need fertility treatment,” it says. Dr Perez further points out that in heterosexual couples, struggles to conceive come from the man around 30% of the time – but this isn’t emphasised on Grip’s site. 

“It’s a bit like those genetic profiling tests that people are doing,” she says. “You see a snapshot of your genetic background, but essentially they have no further implications. I think it’s a bit two dimensional, it’s not holistic enough.”

Some medical professionals raised these concerns when Grip launched in the Netherlands, says Droste, but she stands by her system. 

“In healthcare in general, there’s this historical tendency of needing to coddle women. And this idea of us needing to protect women from information – even though I think it’s really well intended – it’s actually really harmful,” she says. 

“For some reason, I’m assumed to be smart and have a career and I’m allowed to take my entire income to a casino or the stock market. Yet when it comes to medically validated data about my body, suddenly people think I’m going to turn really erratic and won’t be able to make any reasonable choices based on that data.

“I think it’s time the medical community recognises women for being rational about their bodies.”

Droste concedes the test isn’t for everyone and believes women who are on the fence about testing should feel able to talk it through with an independent counsellor or GP. “I’m not trying to diminish the fact that yes, we should create spaces where it’s emotionally safe to think about this and it isn’t for everyone,” she says. “For some people, it will cause them to be scared and they definitely shouldn’t test.”

........................

Five days later, my phone lights up. “Hi Rachel, it’s Anne Marie from Grip...” My thumb hovers over the screen before I open the message. 

It turns out to be pretty anticlimactic. There’s been a mix up with my test and they don’t have enough blood to give me an accurate result. The instructions incorrectly told me to fill the tube until my blood reached the line – as is the case with the tubes in the Netherlands. But the British tubes are smaller and need filling to the top. These things happen, when you’re using a preview prototype, and the instructions will be reprinted before the launch.

My first reaction? Relief. It takes me by surprise.

Droste offers to send me a new kit with the amended instructions, but I decline the offer – for now. The voices of the two women have been whirring around my head all week. I need more time to process everything they’ve said. And that’s my biggest issue with Grip: you don’t talk to another human being about the implications of taking this test until you’ve already sent them a vial of your blood. When you finally get to the company’s doctor, they’re hardly impartial. 

Would the results have felt empowering for me? Or more confusing? I’m unsure – and I want to feel certain about that if and when I decide to take the test again. I completely agree with Droste’s feminist rationale in theory, but theory is not enough for something so undeniably and emotionally charged. 

One thing is clear, though: I’ve learned no test can tell you when to have a baby.   

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-01-16
img
For those thinking "job done", think again. A recent study shows most outside links shared on Parler were from YouTube.
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2019-09-10
img

Someone at eBay or Microsoft has had a sample portion of their soft pornography collection exposed to the world, thanks to an email icon on messages from eBay switching to display an alluring image of a woman not wearing very much in some sort of erotic scenario near a window.

Users browsing their email messages on Microsoft's mobile app version of Outlook noticed the change, with the rude alternate icon only attaching itself to emails sent from eBay UK.

It was noticed by more than one person, so wasn't the case of a personal icon swap or someone's idea of a joke.

eBay would appear to be blaming someone at Microsoft for the shame, as a spokesperson for the auction site told The Register: "We are in touch with Microsoft – one of our email service providers in the UK – who is actively investigating the root cause of the matter."

An update to the app has reverted the email icons to normal now, so don't bother checking.

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-05-09
img

Why are you giving yourself a kick in the innovation economy?

China has protested India’s decision to prevent local carriers using made-in-China 5G kit in network trials.…

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-02-26
img

Just ask any marketing person—it’s their job to keep demand for a product or service high. So they depend on advertising and other methods to create brand recognition and a sense of demand for what they sell.

These days marketing firms are even more clever, recruiting social media influencers who promote a product or service directly or indirectly—sometimes without disclosing that they are a paid lackey. 

We’re getting better at influencing humans, either by using traditional advertising methods, such as keyword advertising, or, even scarier, by leveraging AI technology as a way to change hearts and minds. Often “the targets” don’t even understand that their hearts and minds are being changed.

To read this article in full, please click here

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2020-09-25
img
A second wave of the virus, the upcoming November election and US/China trade relations threaten recovery in 2021, a veteran investment banker says.
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2019-08-13
img

In yet another example of companies doing whatever the fuck they like with no repercussions, UK property developer Argent has been sneakily using face recognition tech without telling anyone.

Argent is currently in the middle of developing a site in Kings Cross, and now that its stealth use of face recognition tech has been brought to light thanks to the Financial Times, it's on the defensive, explaining how necessary the use of the technology is "in the interest of public safety" which is a crock of shit.

"These cameras use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems in place to protect the privacy of the general public," a spokesperson said.

Bearing in mind that the local council wasn't even aware that Argent was using face recognition tech, for which you need to provide some measure of legal justification for under the EU's data protection law, this should be cause for concern.

When pressed to disclose what these other systems are that are being used, the spokesperson clammed up.

So that should definitely fill you with confidence.

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-03-31
img
Facebook will allow users to make major changes to how its News Feed works in an upcoming update, the social media giant announced on Wednesday.
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-02-05
img
The actor may be biased, but he's a little excited.
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2020-08-28
img
Wait why do I want an Amazon microphone on my arm telling me to be happier? Plus LG Wing video leaks and more tech news today!
collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2019-08-05
img

July was huge for Netflix, with the release of Stranger Things season 3 (alongside new Queer Eye and Orange is the New Black).

But that's in the past.

The critically acclaimed and flat-out awesome GLOW is getting a season 3 release in August.

That show absolutely rules for kids and adults.

Mindhunter's second season also comes out in August, as does volume 3 of Dear White People.

Oh, and the first five Rocky movies are hitting Netflix this month oh dear lord.

collect
0
Glenn Vedder 2021-07-20
img

If you’re in the market for a Masked Singer/Love Is Blind mash-up of a dating show, then we have good news.

New Netflix show Sexy Beasts is just that.

In an image-obsessed world, this bonkers series flips the Love Island approach to dating on its head and takes an “it’s-what-inside-that-counts” approach to finding a group of singletons lurrrrve (hopefully).

Great! Another excuse to gawp at a load of hot young singletons

Errrm, not quite.

Oh. So it’s not a Love Island rip-off?

No. Think more Love Is Blind meets The Masked Singer.

Y’what?

Exactly.

Sounds ridiculous

It is. Allow us to explain. Sexy Beasts is all about inner beauty – personality over looks (kinda). So each eligible singleton, and three possible suitors, don a range of prosthetic disguises including a dolphin, a mouse, a beaver, a panda, a zombie… you get the idea.

They then choose who they click with most based on vibe alone after heading out on fun-filled (ice-sculpting, life drawing, axe-throwing) dates. Then it’s all about the big reveal.

It sounds terrifying… and a little familiar

That’s because it’s actually a reboot of a short-lived BBC Three series that bombed back in 2014.

Sexy Beasts originally aired on BBC Three in 2014

The guy doing the voice over sounds familiar too

That’ll be Rob Delaney of Catastrophe fame

Rob Delaney

And is it?

What?

A catastrophe?

Not quite, but the reviews aren’t exactly glowing. 

The “fundamental flaw” of the show according to Variety is that the cast “generally seems drawn from a particularly eligible segment of the population. The amateur bodybuilder who asks his dates to feel his muscles... the six-foot-tall model from New York who is tired of guys only noticing the way she looks.”

The Guardian agreed, stating that “the exclusive participation of strong 8s to indisputable 10s on the desirability index is a limitation of the show’s stated experiment in non-physical attraction” but still found it “highly entertaining”.

Meanwhile Digital Spy thinks the show “falls flat” because “with so little time to get to know each contestant, it’s hard to feel all that invested in the possible relationships that we see forming. The interest instead is all tied up in the anticipation of discovering what everyone really looks like.”

Pah. What do so-called critics know? I’m in. Where can I watch it?

The show lands on Netflix on Wednesday 21 July.

Can I get a sneaky peak beforehand? 

The trailer is all yours...

Glenn Vedder 2021-05-09
img

Why are you giving yourself a kick in the innovation economy?

China has protested India’s decision to prevent local carriers using made-in-China 5G kit in network trials.…

Glenn Vedder 2021-03-13
img
The Sex And The City cast are returning in a reboot (bar Kim Cattrall, right)

It might be 2021, but there’s a bout of TV reboots coming out which are getting fans nostalgic for the nineties and noughties.

Frasier, Gossip Girl, Sex And The City and Friends are all making comebacks. Almost 20 years since Gunther last cast Rachel a flirtatious smile in Central Perk, something’s pulling them back in to order more coffee.

Could it be the cash? It’s been reported that HBO Max will pay each Friends cast member a cool $2.5 million when the group reform later this year for an unscripted show looking back at the hit sitcom, while SJP and co are rumoured to be getting paid over one million dollars per episode for the Sex And The City reboot.

Perhaps nostalgia for bygone times when the world was a simpler, non-pandemic place, plays a part in audiences’ desire to see these times reflected on screen. A Drum survey suggested so, proving comedy, nostalgia and family viewing shot up under lockdown.

But what must these reboots do to bring the feels of yesterday, and crucially, not feel tired and outdated - especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Certainly re-runs of Sex And The City and Friends can be an uncomfortable watch.

We spoke to four industry experts to hear their thoughts on the future of TV reboots.

Asio Highsmith, actor: “New York is kind of past Sex And The City’s influence at this point in time”

Now working in property management, Asio played one of a handful Black characters in Sex And The City, a partner of Samantha’s called Chivon

Chivon and Samantha in Sex And The City

“TV has started to be more representative of what’s going on right now. These writers are listening to what Instagram, Twitter and TikTok are saying. It’s a universe or galaxy that exists today that did not exist in 2000. That was a long time ago, right?

“New York has changed so much. I think Sex And The City definitely influenced it a lot back then, but I think that New York is kind of past its influence at this point in time. 

“Back in the day there were a lot of questions, people wondered why there wasn’t more of an ethnic or Black presence on the show. 

“There are so many things they could do by bringing a couple of Black girls on the show… bringing the Black women’s background to the show. I’m pretty sure they’ll be college educated, well-rounded Black women having their ups and downs in the city along with the other girls. That just seems like a no-brainer to me.

“It’s good to add some spice to a New York situation, bring it closer to a real situation. That was the issue with the other one, it wasn’t represented as well as it could have been back in the day, with colour on the show.

“I’m currently not acting, I’ve gotten into real estate, but I think about the show all the time. I shot on my birthday, I think it was my 26th birthday so everytime my birthday comes around I always think of the show fondly. They brought me out a cake and sang me happy birthday on set, it was a very special moment that I’ll never forget.”

Ginnia Cheng, comedian: “My absolute dream would be to see Carrie type out on her little laptop, ‘Is he right? Am I racist?’. And if she admits ‘Yes, I may be a little bit - but I’m willing to change’, I’d only love her more.”

Ginnia is a comedian working with the BBC’s Writersroom sessions, designed to help the broadcaster produce more diverse content

Ginnia Cheng

“Growing up in the 90s and 00s, girls of colour just got used to not seeing anyone who looked like you on telly. It’s embarrassing to admit it wasn’t until Charlotte adopted an Asian baby in the very last episode of Sex And The City I realised - hey, that’s the first person of colour in the main cast! 

“But we’re sick of shows adding ‘characters of colour’ just to tick the boxes. The responsibility shouldn’t lie solely on these new minority characters to carry the diverse and inclusive storylines. It should be down to the main characters we already know to dive headfirst into the issues that have been raised. 

“The truth is - as much as I adore them, if they were real characters, they would so totally get it wrong. We all do. It would be hilarious to watch them get it wrong – but also heartwarming to watch them grow, and caters to those of us clinging on due to nostalgia. 

“Luckily, both Sex And The City and Gossip Girl centre around characters who make observations and ask the crucial questions on everyone’s mind. My absolute dream would be to see Carrie type out on her little laptop, ‘Is he right? Am I racist?’. And if she admits ‘Yes, I may be a little bit - but I’m willing to change’, I’d only love her more.

“Of course, I would support the addition of characters of colour – but they must feel authentic, and they must not carry the weight of representing their entire race on the show on their shoulders alone.”

Alissa Jeun Yi, reboot writer: “An exciting reboot is not about regurgitating something someone’s done before.”

Alissa is a TV writer and performance artist working on the reboot of an iconic 90s British series, but the details are still under wraps. 

Alissa Jeun Yi

“I recently worked on a reboot where the team were not only passionate about the original series, but driven to highlight the experiences of a more diverse range of characters and talk about issues facing society now. 

“What surprised me was that no one wanted to ‘replicate’ a cookie cutter version of the original. It was an incredible show, so that would have been a rather Herculean task! 

“An exciting reboot is not about regurgitating something someone’s done before. We should work hard to honour the ‘well-loved’ spirit of the original but reimagine it for a time and an industry that in terms of representation and the telling of diverse stories, need to do better. 

“Reboots like this can not only reignite the love for the original, but bring loyal, older generation audiences and younger, completely new ones together. With our reboot, I hope people are curious to watch both the original and the version inspired by it – and, irregardless of whether or not they were there for the original - get something out of both. 

“The original and the reboot should reflect that we live in a world that changes. They should not be afraid to speak to different times and different places; and this is how they can speak to each  other.”

Doctor Deborah Gabriel, academic: “New spin-off series would perhaps be a better way to go, since producers should start with diversity, not try to add it later on.”

Dr Deborah, founder and Director of Black British Academics, is an expert in race, education and social justice and a consultant in equity, diversity, inclusion and social transformation.

Dr Deborah Gabriel

“Popular American comedy dramas like Sex And The City, Gossip Girl and Friends – all making come-backs in 2021, are rooted in very different socio-historical contexts to today. In the Black Lives Matter era audiences demand equity, inclusion and cultural authenticity. 

“But it is not simply a case of adding Black and Brown characters to all-white casts and plots that do not deal with the real-life, intersectional experiences of Black and Brown people. That usually creates tokenism and stereotypical representations. 

“When rebooting old series producers must avoid assimilating Black and Brown characters into storylines that revolve around white lives and merely reproduce white privilege. New spin-off series would perhaps be a better way to go, since producers should start with diversity, not try to add it later on. 

“We need holistic representations of Black and Brown people that reflect the diversity of identities, genders, cultures and communities.”

Glenn Vedder 2021-02-26
img

Just ask any marketing person—it’s their job to keep demand for a product or service high. So they depend on advertising and other methods to create brand recognition and a sense of demand for what they sell.

These days marketing firms are even more clever, recruiting social media influencers who promote a product or service directly or indirectly—sometimes without disclosing that they are a paid lackey. 

We’re getting better at influencing humans, either by using traditional advertising methods, such as keyword advertising, or, even scarier, by leveraging AI technology as a way to change hearts and minds. Often “the targets” don’t even understand that their hearts and minds are being changed.

To read this article in full, please click here

Glenn Vedder 2021-01-22
img
This is not the solution to our climate problems; it's a sweetheart deal for Big Ag.
Glenn Vedder 2020-09-25
img
A second wave of the virus, the upcoming November election and US/China trade relations threaten recovery in 2021, a veteran investment banker says.
Glenn Vedder 2019-10-04
img

Last year, Vernon Unsworth, a cave explorer who advised on the rescue of kids trapped in a Thailand cave, got in a spat with Elon Musk.

Musk labeled Unsworth a "pedo guy" in a tweet—and, in an ill-considered email to a reporter, later called him a "child rapist" who married a 12-year-old girl.

The claim about marrying a 12-year-old (the woman in question says she was actually 33 when she met Unsworth) came from a private investigator to whom Musk paid $50,000 to dig into Unsworth's private life.

Musk argued the high price tag was a sign that he was taking the issue seriously.

Musk spent $50,000 digging into critic’s personal life

But now BuzzFeed is reporting that the private investigator Musk hired is a convicted felon and scammer.

Glenn Vedder 2019-08-13
img

In yet another example of companies doing whatever the fuck they like with no repercussions, UK property developer Argent has been sneakily using face recognition tech without telling anyone.

Argent is currently in the middle of developing a site in Kings Cross, and now that its stealth use of face recognition tech has been brought to light thanks to the Financial Times, it's on the defensive, explaining how necessary the use of the technology is "in the interest of public safety" which is a crock of shit.

"These cameras use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems in place to protect the privacy of the general public," a spokesperson said.

Bearing in mind that the local council wasn't even aware that Argent was using face recognition tech, for which you need to provide some measure of legal justification for under the EU's data protection law, this should be cause for concern.

When pressed to disclose what these other systems are that are being used, the spokesperson clammed up.

So that should definitely fill you with confidence.

Glenn Vedder 2021-07-15
img

The Italian historic coachbuilder Pininfarina may have stopped designing cars for Ferrari, but has sure been busy lately. Just two weeks ago, the firm announced it’s going to create a 1000hp electric truck for the EV startup Hercules, and on Wednesday revealed its utterly sleek Teorema concept. Credit: Pininfarina It looks very futuristic, doesn’t it? The Teorema is Pininfarina’s first 100% virtually developed concept car and aims to offer “an all-new interpretation of fully electric, autonomous mobility.” Designed inside out The design teams in Cambiano and Shanghai created the interior experience before developing the exterior, starting from a scalable electric skateboard chassis…

This story continues at The Next Web
Glenn Vedder 2021-03-31
img
Facebook will allow users to make major changes to how its News Feed works in an upcoming update, the social media giant announced on Wednesday.
Glenn Vedder 2021-03-01
img

Drip, drip. Drip, drip. Small droplets of blood fall from my finger into the tiny test tube. Pricking myself with the needle was less painful than I’d expected, but gathering the sample is a slow process. The pamphlet tells me it can take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on blood flow, and some women need to prick twice. 

As I stand alone in my bathroom, afraid to look away in case I spill a drop, the thing that’s keeping me going is the idea this might help answer a big question: when should I have a baby?

The hormone test is part of Grip, a new at-home ‘fertility MOT’ launching in the UK on March 1, and it’s designed to rule out the four main risk factors that make it harder for women to get pregnant: ovulation issues (often linked to polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS), blocked fallopian tubes, thyroid issues, and low ovarian reserve – ie. the remaining number of eggs in your ovaries.

The test won’t tell you if you will or won’t get pregnant, but it might influence some life choices. “Think of your Grip test as a risk profile, rather than a yes or no answer,” the website tells me. “If you know your risks when you’re still young, then you still have all the options to do something about them.”

If you’re not on hormonal birth control, you can send your blood to the Grip lab and be tested for all four conditions for £139. If you’re on the pill, have an IUD or an implant, this skews the first three results, but you can still have your AMH levels checked for £99.

AMH is a key indicator of ovarian reserve and for me, it’s the big one: do I have a decent amount of eggs for my age? Should I hurry up with this motherhood malarkey, or can I get away with a delay?

I massage my finger to squeeze out another few drops, in a technique the bright orange packaging names “milking”. My face looks pale grey in the bathroom mirror. I secure the test tube lid pronto, then sway to the kitchen for a Jammie Dodger. 

The test requires at-home blood collection.  

“How do you feel?!” Grip’s energetic co-founder Anne Marie Droste asks me over the phone later that day. The test had to be carried out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then wrapped in protective packaging before being popped in the postbox. It’ll take at least five days until my results are in. 

“I am a little nervous,” I reply. “It’s one of those things, isn’t it – do I want to know, or is ignorance bliss?”

Droste reassures me that’s exactly how she felt before her first hormone test. Two years ago, at the age of 30, she quit her job and was about to embark on an extended round-the-world trip with her boyfriend. Family raised the topic of babies – and whether she planned to “pop home” to pop one out – and for the first time, she felt confronted by her fertility.

Unsure if she even wanted kids, Droste who’s originally from the Netherlands, visited her GP. She was told about fertility hormone testing, but advised these tests are usually only given to women who’ve been trying to conceive for a year. The situation is similar here in the UK, where tests are at the discretion of local NHS clinical commissioning groups (and the enthusiasm of your GP).

NICE guidelines say a women who’ve “not conceived after one year of unprotected vaginal sexual intercourse... should be offered further clinical assessment and investigation.” The guidelines do not cater for single women who may also want answers, or women in same-sex relationships who’d like to plan future IVF. 

For these women, the only guaranteed free option is to turn to Google, says Droste, where you’ll find age-based averages on fertility – and not much else.

“I think it’s really harmful for women to have to decide things based on national averages,” she says. “There’s nothing that has a bigger impact on our lives and careers and happiness than whether or not we decide to have kids, so it seems really archaic to me that we have to make those decisions in the dark, on our own, without any information.”

Grip co-founders Ling Lin (left) and Anne Marie Droste. 

Wanting answers, Droste paid £600 for tests at a private clinic, which revealed she had a slightly low egg reserve for her age and was considered above average risk for early menopause. She’s since decided to freeze her eggs. 

“I’m still really not sure if I want kids, but it highlighted that I definitely wanted to have the option of kids,” she says. “Even though it wasn’t the answer I wanted per se, I now know what I’m in for. I understand the risks I’m taking by waiting, rather than being in the dark and pretending everything is probably going to be fine.”

When Droste shared her experience with two trusted friends, Noor Teulings (a fertility doctor) and Ling Lin (a product manager, who was single at the time and considering egg freezing), they conceived a bigger idea. “It sounds really lame, but we had lunch that day and decided maybe we should be building a company that allows people like us to have this information,” Droste explains. 

The trio co-founded Grip in March 2020 and launched in the Netherlands in May, where they’ve already sold 3,000 kits. They expected their core market to be women in their 30s, already trying to conceive but frustrated by the one-year waiting time. Instead, their average user is 28 and curious about her future. She wants to be proactive about her fertility, rather than wait until something is wrong. At 29, I’m a textbook client. 

“She [the average customer] doesn’t want to have kids for the next few years and is really aware that the last time she learned anything about her hormonal cycle or her body is when she was 16 and in sex ed,” says Droste

“It feels like we’re living in this era of hormonal awareness, in which we’re demanding better answers about what’s happening in our bodies. And what’s happening in my body, what’s happening to me personally. We don’t want the average woman’s story.”

The packaging has certainly been designed with millennials in mind: bright colours and feminist slogans are accompanied with fun instructions – “Do the Macarena to get your blood flowing to your fingertips!”

The message is clear: this is an empowering test, made for empowered women, by empowered women. 

The test – which you can access after answering a few quick questions online – is the first step in the Grip process. After sending off your blood, you’ll receive your fertility report. You’re then offered a video call with a fertility doctor to discuss what your results mean – and what they don’t. “We can tell you, for example, what your ovarian reserve looks like and if you’re likely to enter early menopause, but we can’t say, for instance, anything about the quality of your eggs, or how long it might take for you to conceive,” explains Droste. 

You also have the option to be added to a closed forum on the Grip app, with women who’ve had a similar diagnosis to you. Each forum has around 10 members, plus a doctor, who’s there to give general information to the group about next steps, such as diet changes to lower your PCOS risk or egg freezing in the case of low ovarian reserve. 

“It’s really hard to go through something this emotional on your own, so we’ve really tried to foster this idea of togetherness,” says Droste. “But it’s still overseen by clinical professionals.”

It’s advised you discuss any unexpected results with your regular GP, as they’re the ones who’ll need to refer you for future treatment, if it’s required.  Around 40% of tests flag “something that could be worked on” according to Droste. The Grip team call customers three months after their test results to see how they’re getting on. The majority (78%) of customers say they’ve decided to move their baby plans forward. 

It’s easy to get swept up in Droste’s enthusiasm, but the next day I call Dr Marta Jansa Perez, director of embryology at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), for an independent opinion. She tells me she is not convinced women are fully supported by the service.  

“If I’m honest, I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole thing,” she says. “I think in principle it’s good to empower people to asses their fertility so they can plan their lives better. But I’m a bit sceptical about how much people read into the results and how much support they’re really given to interpret those results.”

Dr Perez’s biggest concern, is that women are not offered counselling before undergoing tests and the follow-up consultation with a doctor is optional, not  compulsory. The guidelines set out by NICE for fertility services stipulate that counselling should be offered “before, during and after investigation and treatment, irrespective of the outcome of these procedures”. 

“The worry for me is that people will get the report and not take it any further,” she says. “Interpreting these results... it’s so nuanced and so tricky and delicate and it has such huge implications for people’s major life decisions, that I think a kit like this can be a bit misleading, really.” 

Conditions such as PCOS can’t be properly diagnosed without a scan, says Dr Perez. You could also be told you have a good ovarian reserve, only for it to rapidly drop later. The tests have the potential to give both false cause for concern, and false complacency. 

“This has the potential to have long-term consequences for people, have mental health effects, or effects fertility health wise,” she says. “There’s no certainty behind any of these tests. Ongoing support is very important – not just one chat over the phone. People need to have a chance to discuss things on a long-term basis.” 

The British Fertility Society also urges caution around AMH testing packaged as ‘fertility MOTs’ – pointing out that these tests were originally developed to inform decisions around IVF treatment, not assess your natural fertility. 

“Many women with low ovarian reserve will conceive without any problems whilst others with a good ovarian reserve may take time and need fertility treatment,” it says. Dr Perez further points out that in heterosexual couples, struggles to conceive come from the man around 30% of the time – but this isn’t emphasised on Grip’s site. 

“It’s a bit like those genetic profiling tests that people are doing,” she says. “You see a snapshot of your genetic background, but essentially they have no further implications. I think it’s a bit two dimensional, it’s not holistic enough.”

Some medical professionals raised these concerns when Grip launched in the Netherlands, says Droste, but she stands by her system. 

“In healthcare in general, there’s this historical tendency of needing to coddle women. And this idea of us needing to protect women from information – even though I think it’s really well intended – it’s actually really harmful,” she says. 

“For some reason, I’m assumed to be smart and have a career and I’m allowed to take my entire income to a casino or the stock market. Yet when it comes to medically validated data about my body, suddenly people think I’m going to turn really erratic and won’t be able to make any reasonable choices based on that data.

“I think it’s time the medical community recognises women for being rational about their bodies.”

Droste concedes the test isn’t for everyone and believes women who are on the fence about testing should feel able to talk it through with an independent counsellor or GP. “I’m not trying to diminish the fact that yes, we should create spaces where it’s emotionally safe to think about this and it isn’t for everyone,” she says. “For some people, it will cause them to be scared and they definitely shouldn’t test.”

........................

Five days later, my phone lights up. “Hi Rachel, it’s Anne Marie from Grip...” My thumb hovers over the screen before I open the message. 

It turns out to be pretty anticlimactic. There’s been a mix up with my test and they don’t have enough blood to give me an accurate result. The instructions incorrectly told me to fill the tube until my blood reached the line – as is the case with the tubes in the Netherlands. But the British tubes are smaller and need filling to the top. These things happen, when you’re using a preview prototype, and the instructions will be reprinted before the launch.

My first reaction? Relief. It takes me by surprise.

Droste offers to send me a new kit with the amended instructions, but I decline the offer – for now. The voices of the two women have been whirring around my head all week. I need more time to process everything they’ve said. And that’s my biggest issue with Grip: you don’t talk to another human being about the implications of taking this test until you’ve already sent them a vial of your blood. When you finally get to the company’s doctor, they’re hardly impartial. 

Would the results have felt empowering for me? Or more confusing? I’m unsure – and I want to feel certain about that if and when I decide to take the test again. I completely agree with Droste’s feminist rationale in theory, but theory is not enough for something so undeniably and emotionally charged. 

One thing is clear, though: I’ve learned no test can tell you when to have a baby.   

Glenn Vedder 2021-02-05
img
The actor may be biased, but he's a little excited.
Glenn Vedder 2021-01-16
img
For those thinking "job done", think again. A recent study shows most outside links shared on Parler were from YouTube.
Glenn Vedder 2020-08-28
img
Wait why do I want an Amazon microphone on my arm telling me to be happier? Plus LG Wing video leaks and more tech news today!
Glenn Vedder 2019-09-10
img

Someone at eBay or Microsoft has had a sample portion of their soft pornography collection exposed to the world, thanks to an email icon on messages from eBay switching to display an alluring image of a woman not wearing very much in some sort of erotic scenario near a window.

Users browsing their email messages on Microsoft's mobile app version of Outlook noticed the change, with the rude alternate icon only attaching itself to emails sent from eBay UK.

It was noticed by more than one person, so wasn't the case of a personal icon swap or someone's idea of a joke.

eBay would appear to be blaming someone at Microsoft for the shame, as a spokesperson for the auction site told The Register: "We are in touch with Microsoft – one of our email service providers in the UK – who is actively investigating the root cause of the matter."

An update to the app has reverted the email icons to normal now, so don't bother checking.

Glenn Vedder 2019-08-05
img

July was huge for Netflix, with the release of Stranger Things season 3 (alongside new Queer Eye and Orange is the New Black).

But that's in the past.

The critically acclaimed and flat-out awesome GLOW is getting a season 3 release in August.

That show absolutely rules for kids and adults.

Mindhunter's second season also comes out in August, as does volume 3 of Dear White People.

Oh, and the first five Rocky movies are hitting Netflix this month oh dear lord.