Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

German Adverts in English

Monday, 8 March 2010

I saw a poster at the airport in Berlin which I found strangely appealing. I don’t know why, but there’s something very poignant about it. Poor Kevin Costner. I think it’s the sort of advert that’s better done at the height of one’s career. Otherwise it might suggest… you know… that all he ever thinks about, whatever he’s doing, is how to recapture that 1990s feeling when Dances With Wolves was fresh out. When he felt like a star. HE JUST WANTS THAT FEELING AGAIN. But I’m not sure it’s an advert that would actually make anyone else more likely to fly Turkish Airlines.

  An advert I saw on the side of a passing taxi was far more effective. Much better from a sales point of view. I have never really been tempted to go on safari before.
But this sounds like my kind of safari.



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David R at 9:14 pm on March 8th, 2010

My favourite desert is the sponge pudding and custard desert. Yum… sponge pudding and custard as far as the eye can see.

I’m not too keen on ice cream deserts though. I find they melt way too quickly, leaving you up to your knees in sticky slush.

Del at 9:55 pm on March 8th, 2010

Victoria, sorry to be a pedant but I believe that Tam Dalyell was the originator of the West Lothian Question, not Enoch Powell.

Paul at 10:17 pm on March 8th, 2010

Poor, poor Kevin Costner. I always thought he was a great actor who had simply chosen some really poor films…
The ad reminds me of a poster I saw for the Communism Museum in Prague. It stated, I hope with a deliberate sense of irony, that it could be found above McDonalds… Appealing, but also ever so slightly wrong!

Tim Clague at 10:27 pm on March 8th, 2010

When I was in Berlin airport I saw the security guards pull the head of a girl’s doll and look inside. Kind of creepy. And I was standing next to Sophia Myles - which was kind of nice.

MarkP at 11:33 pm on March 8th, 2010

A chance to see the Tapioca playing at the watering hole. The rather shy Spotted Dick lurking in the long grass and herds of mousse sweeping across the Serengeti.

Tom Traubert at 11:47 pm on March 8th, 2010

Costner’s a trier, isn’t he? Never managed to dislike him like everyone else seemed to. A big (in fact, mega) budget Les Dennis.

Rainbow at 12:32 am on March 9th, 2010

Enjoy your safari. Help yourself to the mandrillbrodt but steer clear of the chocolate mouse.

Victoria Coren at 12:41 am on March 9th, 2010

Worry not Del, I can out-pedant anyone: I believe the term ‘West Lothian Question’ was coined by Enoch Powell *in reply* to Tam Dalyell…

Kevin Costner’s “A Perfect World” is one of my favourite films. It rather disappeared without trace, but it’s great.

David R at 1:45 am on March 9th, 2010

I suppose if you went on a dessert safari, you would need khaki napkins, and special dessert binoculars to enable you to zoom in on those elusive apple tartlets running wild.

Quite a few desserts to look out for here:

Philip at 9:57 am on March 9th, 2010

So they spelt ‘desert’ as ‘dessert’, resulting in a joke that doesn’t particularly work. Bravo.

Also, why do you insist we view your cleavage? I’m not necessarily complaining. Just seems like an odd thing to do.

Phil at 10:48 am on March 9th, 2010

I love foreign celebrity adverts. I think it’s because they’re so unlike what we have in England, where if anyone dares exploit their celebrity with any sense of joy, they are pounced on for being conceited. Other countries are slightly less jaded and cynical, and so celebs seem much more relaxed and at ease.
Then again I’m hardly an expert commentator; I still chortle when I see a photo of some Latvian ice cream called “Turd” or some such lost in translation whimsy

Alex at 11:13 am on March 9th, 2010

Yes, Del is quite correct. It was Tam Dalyell who first posed the West Lothian Question in 1977 (when he was MP for the then West Lothian Constituency).

Nothing whatsoever to do with Enoch Powell.

How are such mistakes allowed to be broadcast on national television ? Does no-one check/edit these things beforehand ?

David Young at 11:59 am on March 9th, 2010

By far the worst advert in current circulation is the one for Ladbrokes that I see on Sky TV when I’m looking at the TV monitors in the VIc. It shows bookmakers at a racetrack doing ‘tic-tac’ with subtitles suggesting that they are making fun of how hopeless some of the horses are.

The feeling it leaves you with is that the public has no chance of beating the bookies, as the latter know much more. It’s hard to see how it’s meant to encourage viewers to bet on horses. It certainly reminds me why I don’t.

Rainbow at 1:06 pm on March 9th, 2010

I agree with Phil. I don’t ‘necessarily’ visit this site to be outraged by a quarter-inch of cleavage and some lame jokes at the expense of our proud partners in the European Union, you odd person. Oh, wait a minute, yes I do.

MDW at 1:16 pm on March 9th, 2010

Calm down Philip nobody is insisting you view any cleavage, they’re your eyes to do with whatever you want

As for Costner, great actor - if you build an airline he will come

Victoria Coren at 1:52 pm on March 9th, 2010

Look, I too am more of a fan of Tam Dalyell than Enoch Powell. I’m not trying to shove extra glory onto my great hero Powell by stealing someone else’s words. But the fact is, he coined the term. Tam Dalyell raised the issue of Scottish MPs being able to rule on matters in England but not their own home towns; because Tam Dalyell was the member for West Lothian, Enoch Powell (in his reply) decided to call it “the West Lothian question”. He’s not the author of the question, he’s not someone I admire or like, but he’s the coiner of the phrase.

PS. Sorry Philip, you are right, it is simply the case that I insist people “view” my cleavage. (great turn of phrase). INSIST upon it. You should have seen me bothering the neighbours this morning. Those poor people were just trying to get on with their breakfast.

DH at 2:26 pm on March 9th, 2010

VC your joie de vivre seems to have temporarily deserted you….ennui….you need a spark…other than work or poker perhaps….

ps. I’m pretty ignorant generally but E Powell was an outstanding Classical scholar; I’m sure you knew that anyway!

Philip at 2:41 pm on March 9th, 2010

I’m outraged by neither the joke, nor the cleavage.

Victoria, I have enjoyed reading your articles but was disappointed at some of the content here. That is all. I apologise for my turn of phrase, since, oddly, it was that that you didn’t like.

David Bodycombe at 5:15 pm on March 9th, 2010

Here’s the notes from the official OC script for the “____ Question” grid (which are verified by the company that also do Uni Chal):

“The West Lothian question: term coined by Enoch Powell in response to a problem posed by Tam Dalyell (MP for West Lothian) in 1977 which asked why MPs in Scotland, Wales and NI had a say in policies affecting England, but not the other way around.”

OC Question Editor

RomanticRecluse at 6:20 pm on March 9th, 2010

This thread could be the answer to an extremely difficult Only Connect Round 1 question: what connects Kevin Costner, the West Lothian Question, Spotted Dick and my cleavage?

Add in references from three more threads and mix them up and you could have the most fiendish connecting wall yet.

Sean at 6:32 pm on March 9th, 2010

Just finished your book For Richer, For Poorer, really enjoyed it. Used to live in Berlin, try “The Cafe Klo” it’s a good laugh

seven2off at 7:17 pm on March 9th, 2010

I think your cleavage is very nice.

David R at 8:09 pm on March 9th, 2010

Well the advert is quite funny. The poor advertising team were probably highfive-ing each other, saying, “This is our best ad yet!”, not realising they made such a big mistake. As for the desert advert, well that’s funny too.

P at 8:46 pm on March 9th, 2010

Looks like some of the morons that comment on the Observer page have ramped up their stalking behaviour.

Phil at 9:55 pm on March 9th, 2010

Haha; there are not many blogs in which the OC question editor himself steps in to resolve a dispute. That’s just fantastic!

Kevin at 10:58 pm on March 9th, 2010

CATFIGHT ALERT…CATFIGHT ALERT….CATFIGHT ALERT….Only joking, seriously, very disappointed with Philip, thoroughly errant behaviour.
Not the attitude of a Gentleman, one expects.
Somehow, the original derogatory tone does not fit with the subsequent ’ I’m not complaining ’ theme.
Of course, VC may only have herself to blame, as she will insist on courting the pink set, after all.
I stress the ’ may only ’ however.
I think VC looks very nice.
Keep up the Glam, Vicky.

Lego at 2:10 am on March 10th, 2010

You know what the Turks said, don’t you? “If we poster him, they will come.” Badum tish!....Hmmm, yeah. I actually loved that sentimental, schmaltzy nonsense of a movie *slightly embarrassed smilie*. Don’t tell anyone, though.

Kevin kinda looks a little weird these days, not older, just…hmmm, different. Maybe too much makeup or botox, or like he’s swapped some DNA with Steve Brookstein.

Men grumbling about too much cleavage, what is the world coming to?

Philip at 11:47 am on March 10th, 2010

P - My comments were clearly not moronic. Nor have I ever commented at the Observer website. I’m also not sure what constitutes stalking, in your opinion, but I’m fairly sure I’m not an example of it.

I regret the tone of my original post, and apologise for it. But I think there is an at least reasonable criticism in there somewhere, which seems to have been lost in the clique of this site. I’m even being mocked by the random word generator which has just asked me to input the word ‘tool’!

Kevin at 12:00 pm on March 10th, 2010

Nope, Lego, you appear to be somewhat behind the times. Tranquillity has been restored.
Although one cannot vouch for VC, Philip is on record with his contrition, albeit unconvincingly, and would appear to have gracefully bade his farewell, hopefully, having not performed a twirl as he made his exit, which would have been somewhat in poor taste.

I expect that Philip is now in no doubt that VC is leader of the gang, in this neck of the woods.
I have to say that I have also learned something here, as I have always previously thought that the WL question occurred much later, in the 1980’s, or even 1990’s, than the actual 1977 occurrence.

Victoria Coren at 12:58 pm on March 10th, 2010

This is all getting a bit meta. No more posts about Philip’s post - thanks for apologizing Philip but if the moderator thinks a post is unpleasant then she doesn’t put it up anyway and I never see it; she rightly guessed I’d think yours was funny.

Let’s talk about something else now. Mmm, nice to see an end to that snow, isn’t it.

RomanticRecluse at 2:41 pm on March 10th, 2010

Nice to see an end to that snow?  Are you mad?  Snow is awe-inspiring.  It looks, feels and sounds great, even making grim places seem bearable.  It brings back memories of childhood and Christmas.  It encourages play (sledges, snowballs, snowmen), rest, art, patience, calm and peace.  It brings wildlife closer to people (and is there a creature on earth that doesn’t look cuter in snow?) and brings people closer together.  What could be nicer than cuddling up to someone under an extra thick duvet on a cold and snowy night, except perhaps sitting on a rug in front of a coal fire with a mouthful of crumpet?

I’d like a good eight inches every night.  Wouldn’t you?

Sparkly at 2:53 pm on March 10th, 2010

A bit disappointed that you’re not at the Blackbelt live event this weekend; one thing less to worry about I suppose. This will be my first deep stack event with 45 min blinds, I only ever play comps with 5-6k in chips & 15-20 min levels. I guess the only adjustment I need to make to my game is just be more patient?

The Tim at 4:29 pm on March 10th, 2010

Oh, so you never saw the one concerning the view of your cleavage when I described how it looked so ******** and how nice it would be to ******** ********  Only Connect ******* ********.

KlooRhee at 5:46 pm on March 10th, 2010

I like snow, but I like almost all kinds of weather. Being polite I always agree with others complaining about it….so yeah it’s great to see it go ;)

Thinking about that advert a bit I came to question who’s the target audience? It obviously had an effect on you (because it’s in English, of course… :)) so I’d say that a big proportion would remember Kevin Costner from The Bodyguard and that could be reassuring. Also I’d heard somewhere that there’s quite a large minority of people from Turkey living in Germany. And I heard somewhere else that people of Turkey are mad about Hollywood. 2 cents there.

“A Perfect World” is a great movie and thank you for reminding us because I almost completely forgot about it.

BTW Love the photo…

Victoria Coren at 6:59 pm on March 10th, 2010

Sparkly - I’m not playing in the BlackBelt Live event but I will be visiting - I’ll be in the Vic at some point on Sunday and probably also on Friday afternoon so you might well see me there. Good luck! I agree it’s a good idea to be patient when you have enough chips to be - I have written some thoughts on it here which you might want to look at.

Kevin at 2:09 am on March 11th, 2010

Eight inches of snow?
Wow! you really do want jam on it, don’t you, RomanticRecluse. Nevertheless.

’ There’s a time, there’s a place ‘
’ There’s a smile on your face ‘
’ With eight inches of snow ‘

’ What can a girl do? ‘
’ Where can a girl go? ‘
’ For eight inches of snow ’

Mike at 7:43 pm on March 11th, 2010

Enjoying the pedantry.  I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the egregious misuse of the comma in the Costner advert.  I hold him personally responsible and consider it his greatest embarrassment since Robin Hood (Colon) Prince Of Thieves.

The Tim at 8:14 pm on March 11th, 2010

Fascinating stuff - I just can’t get my head round Texas Hold’em - in the old days of one draw poker it was so much simpler i.e. only play when you’ve got a big pair. - Aces and Kings, Jacks up or better.

BTW I never expected my last post to get through your censor, sorry.

RomanticRecluse at 1:05 am on March 12th, 2010

Kevin, maybe you’re right.  Eight inches is ideal and I think I’d struggle to cope with twelve inches or more but I’m grateful for any at all.  Perhaps the greediest thing was wanting eight inches every night, especially since that much can keep me satisfied for days.  Perhaps the best thing is to have eight inches in one night (as long as it’s so hard and fast watching it makes me dizzy) and then when it’s down to a dissatisfying two inches I’d like a fresh six inches on top.

A boy can dream, can’t he?

Kevin at 10:21 am on March 12th, 2010

I expect it may well constitute the next phase in the context of women’s rights. The right to a hard man, that is. It sure can get rough out there.
Although some women are on record as being more comfortable with a less aggressive, easy going fellow, there are times when only a hard man will do.

MDW at 12:01 pm on March 12th, 2010

Is it just me or is thread a bit odd

Just me, I’ll get my coat then

RomanticRecluse at 2:48 pm on March 12th, 2010

Kevin, I’m getting confused.  I’m talking about the pleasure that a deposit of a white sticky substance can bring and you’re talking about a hard man.  I’m coming at this from one direction and you’re coming from another.  Maybe someone needs to take us both in hand and thrash this out until a satisfactory conclusion is reached.  I think I’d be up for that.

Kevin at 3:03 am on March 13th, 2010

What I cannot understand is the first round of the Only Connect quiz programme.
How can anyone possibly make a connection using only one picture? I am completely baffled by this.
Has anyone ever scored 5 points in this round?
I bet not. Does anyone have the answer?
I would have asked this a couple of threads back, but I wasn’t around then.

Kevin at 1:10 am on March 14th, 2010

OK, fair enough.
We have all heard of ’ The Man With No Name ‘
Also ’ Think the unthinkable ‘
So now ’ The Man Who Asks Questions ’ that no one can answer.
PS. Has everyone else noticed that VC is looking better than ever on this series of Only Connect.

Andrew at 2:56 am on March 14th, 2010

Dear Victoria

I have just started reading your book and I absolutely love it. It is the one thing that is guarateed to bring a bit of joy to my days right now. Thank you!


Kevin at 3:10 am on March 14th, 2010

She, Very Beautiful.

Leo Da Vinci at 11:04 am on March 14th, 2010

Who’s looking at the cleavage? I love the long wild hair, the beautiful neck, the pout, that expression and beauty. What’s it all about Vicky?
I want to paint you nude…and you don’t need to wear any clothes either.  xx
And then we can have a bit of the old Jam RolyPoly…or a dessert.  xx

DH at 12:02 pm on March 14th, 2010

Ms. Coren for next week’s tutorial I want an essay on the neurological and phenomenological differences between ‘sympathy’ and ‘empathy’, references to poker being unacceptable.

David Bodycombe at 10:31 pm on March 14th, 2010

Kevin, the teams often mutter the right answer on clue 1, it happens several times a series (e.g. the Gamblers in their heat sussed the bingo calls question). To date, no-one has dared go for it.

But… I would add that letting the first clue sink in is good tactics. Teams who take the second clue quickly tend to score low.

Kevin at 2:07 pm on March 15th, 2010

Well, thanks for that. I expect it is never going to happen, in terms of a team taking all 5 points, from that particular round of the quiz.

It is too much of a potential gift for the other team, when there is all still to play for, in terms of advantage.

If the round was later on during the contest, then it might be worthwhile for a team, losing heavily, to take a punt in order to close the gap.

However, I expect the rounds are in sequence, for a specific purpose, thus this round could, potentially, upset the balance, in any other slot.

Nevertheless, I think I will hang on to my new moniker, like the one Clint once had.

David Bodycombe at 4:23 pm on March 15th, 2010

Kevin, remember that if a team buzzes early, all the clues are revealed to their opponents and they can only pick up one bonus point. If you were even 40% confident of knowing the right answer, you’d probably be best off taking a punt. However, such is the genius of the format that teams are wary of doing so. I have seen teams guess the right connection on clue 1 and STILL take all four clues.

Off camera, several teams have claimed that they would have got a 5-pointer if only they had the other teams’ question. And I know a lot of viewers got the “Racehorse: 18” one the other week.

The order of rounds is largely down to their logical order of developing the theme of connections rather than their points value, although as it happens they work out quite well in that department also.

kardashian at 11:44 pm on March 16th, 2010


I like this place. It’s like an impress Victoria Coren marketplace.

Like the gym, but with less testosterone.

Kevin at 11:40 pm on March 17th, 2010

Be sure… very sure, for what you wish for.
For it may well be testosterone that makes the world go around.

RomanticRecluse at 1:20 pm on March 18th, 2010

Is it really testosterone that “makes the world go around”?  According to Google the main causes are the sun’s gravitational pull, love, money, people, The Book Of Eli, the rock band Kiss, Fern Halper’s data, music, cheese and denial.

And if you type “round” instead of “around” the causes include God, maths, scat and yaoi.

Kevin at 12:37 am on March 19th, 2010

Well, no, I do not think that testosterone makes the world go around, although I expect it is, almost certainly, responsible for the evolution and advancement of humanity above all other organic life forms on earth.

To give the ladies their due, it has to be said that if there were no women there would be no men, as one of my sisters pointed out when we were infants.

RomanticRecluse at 5:11 pm on March 19th, 2010

I don’t know if testosterone is responsible for the evolution and advancement of humanity above all other organic life forms on earth but then I think testosterone is like radioactivity: it exists and it is safe in small doses but high levels of it can be extremely dangerous.

kardashian at 11:44 pm on March 19th, 2010

To paraphrase . . .

“The men on Vc’s blog. They know 364 ways of making love, but don’t know any women”

Kevin at 11:56 pm on March 19th, 2010

You may well be right, RomanticRecluse, right on the money, so to speak. As is often the case, the woman’s perspective is an invaluable resource, on the right course, to a balanced perspective.

Victoria Coren

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