Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
August 14, 2009 3:10 AM   Subscribe

Fancy a coffee with Dominic West? Rather tasty British actors in slightly ridiculous soft focus sell instant coffee, using sexy literature.

Take your pick. Dominic West reads an extract from Lady Chatterley's Lover, Dan Stevens reads Madame Bovary, Greg Wise reads Lust Caution. Pride and Prejudice, Les Deux Amants, and Middlemarch also feature. This might be aimed primarily at the ladies.
posted by tiny crocodile (58 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
They deserve to have successful careers and all, but I kind of hope the actors from the Wire don't become too ubiquitous. Who's this Dominic West? That guy is Jimmy McNulty, and I want him to stay that way.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 3:15 AM on August 14, 2009


That's the first time I've ever heard Dominic West not trying to sound like an American.
posted by dortmunder at 3:15 AM on August 14, 2009


Unsurprisingly, he sounds like that most of the time.
posted by mek at 3:38 AM on August 14, 2009


Jimmy McNulty is from Sheffield...?

Well that's my brain gone 'splody and it's not even lunchtime yet...
posted by twine42 at 3:46 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


And he went to Eton. Hence the somewhat plummy tones.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:47 AM on August 14, 2009


Does anyone drink instant coffee in Britain? I haven't seen anyone drink it in the US in decades except when camping.
posted by octothorpe at 3:49 AM on August 14, 2009


Does anyone drink instant coffee in Britain? I haven't seen anyone drink it in the US in decades except when camping.

It's drunk widely here, but tea is still the most popular hot beverage. Very few people have decent coffee making facilities at home.
posted by knapah at 3:52 AM on August 14, 2009


This is what makes McNulty's setup as a Cockney john so funny, acting like an American acting like an American's idea of a Brit. Idris Elba (Stringer Bell) is British too.
posted by drowsy at 3:58 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pepsi Black?
posted by i_cola at 4:01 AM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


And Carcetti (Aiden Gillen) is Irish!

(Sorry, it's still blowing my mind.)

That said, Dominic West can do whatever Dominic West's heart so pleases, because I'd watch that man read the phone book, if he looked up occasionally and grinned. Although I might drool a little bit.
posted by kalimac at 4:16 AM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


tiny crocodile's "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin." is a MetaFilter post about a maker of instant coffee that tries to expand sales to women by employing three attractive male actors to sit before the camera as if having coffee alone with the viewer in a comfortable study while he reads aloud a seduction passage from literature. In this scene, several gentlemen MetaFilter members try with little success to make the discussion of instant coffee seem even vaguely interesting, but the eyes and minds of the ladies are drawn to the faces and voices of the actors on their screens. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
posted by pracowity at 4:28 AM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


This is bizarre...

octothorpe, because tea is the primary hot bevarage of the UK, coffee-making facilities are far from common - having lived here over four years now, I've still not seen anyone with the sort of drip-brew coffee machine that is practically a legal requirement in Denmark, for example. As a result, a few hardcore coffee fans will have percolators or french presses, but most people that drink coffee at home, drink instant coffee. It'll only be to break up the tea, anyway.



(An utter aside, nobody from elsewhere should knock the British for drinking tea over coffee - tea as it is served here is quite different to any tea you can get in most of the rest of Europe, certainly, being much stronger and richer, almost equal to a decent coffee in sheer strength)
posted by Dysk at 4:36 AM on August 14, 2009


Coffee isn't, er...*exactly the purchase I'm...um, contemplating
posted by njbradburn at 4:36 AM on August 14, 2009


They deserve to have successful careers and all, but I kind of hope the actors from the Wire don't become too ubiquitous.

Lester Freeman was on the BBC's Culture Show yesterday doing a report on musical theater at the Edinburgh Festival... apparently he wrote Five Guys Named Moe. Mind blown!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:38 AM on August 14, 2009


Does anyone drink instant coffee in Britain? I haven't seen anyone drink it in the US in decades except when camping.

I haven't found a nice statistical table or anything of the sort, but a couple of recent articles about Starbucks (they are developing an instant coffee, apparently) say this:
Instant coffee reached its peak of American popularity in the early '80s, but its market share has since dwindled. Only 7% of American coffee drinkers consume instant coffee, said Mike Ferguson , spokesperson for Specialty Coffee Association of America, the world's largest coffee trade association.
and this:
In the UK, for example, instant coffee has no stigma and makes up more than 80% of the coffee drunk at home.
posted by pracowity at 4:39 AM on August 14, 2009


McNulty, noooo!

Actually, the whole thing comes off like parody. Are you sitting comfortably? *slight smile* Then let's begin.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:20 AM on August 14, 2009


Before Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Anthony Head was famous in the UK for a series of instant coffee commercials in which he romances a neighbour on the basis of their shared taste in said coffee. These became so popular that tabloid newspapers wrote "will they/won't they" articles speculating about the next step in the relationship, and a "new Gold Blend advert" became a noteworthy event in its own right.
posted by Electric Dragon at 5:27 AM on August 14, 2009


Jimmy McNulty is from Sheffield...?

Via Eton though, so him and Sean Bean didn't exactly grow up side by side. I bet he doesn't even now why Sheffield is wonderful.
posted by biffa at 5:38 AM on August 14, 2009


"We are here at the Major Crimes Unit, where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with Folgers Crystals. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:41 AM on August 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


These became so popular that tabloid newspapers wrote "will they/won't they" articles speculating about the next step in the relationship, and a "new Gold Blend advert" became a noteworthy event in its own right.

Nescafe brought this entire campaign over to the US (under the "Taster's Choice" brand) to similar results. The Taster's Choice Couple was pretty popular for a while around 1990 or so. Never made the Anthony Stewart Head connection til just now. That's pretty neat.
posted by Spatch at 5:42 AM on August 14, 2009


tiny crocodile: Take your pick... This might be aimed primarily at the ladies.

All due respect to you ladies: you all can have Dominic West, but only after me and me mates are all done with him.

Ahem. Urm. Anyhow...

Selling instant coffee to you UKians (heh) is probably pretty successful, about like selling instant tea to mainlanders, but even I, who haven't regularly quaffed the stuff in years, know that coffee is instant already; like tea, it only takes five minutes or so, which is quite fast enough, frankly. Not to mention the fact that, despite the tenor of these adverts, Real Coffee Is Not French but Italian.

Ah well. The world may be going to hell, but the sleazy Greek dude across the street still makes coffee thicker than a goddamned milkshake, so I can get by without too much pain and suffering.
posted by koeselitz at 6:13 AM on August 14, 2009


Every time I meet an American who doesn't own a drip coffee machine, I'm vaguely unsettled. I hadn't even thought of an entire nation who eschews them. Thanks for the nightmares.
posted by TypographicalError at 6:20 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


biffa: I bet he doesn't even now why Sheffield is wonderful.

Little rowhouses? Perpetrating graffiti on High Street? Cabaret Voltaire?

</american who's never been across the atlantic>
posted by koeselitz at 6:21 AM on August 14, 2009


TypographicalError: Every time I meet an American who doesn't own a drip coffee machine, I'm vaguely unsettled. I hadn't even thought of an entire nation who eschews them. Thanks for the nightmares.

They really are fucking awesome at making tea [unattributed Douglas Adams article there] though. It is an entirely different experience.

A culture only needs a single awesome, hot perk-me-up beverage, methinks, and I really prefer tea anyhow at the end of the day. It is sad to see coffee reduced so, however. But not really anything to cry about.
posted by koeselitz at 6:27 AM on August 14, 2009


Instant coffee is wonderful terrible stuff. Just bought some for camping.
It's supposed to taste bad, isn't it? That's part of the mystique.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:29 AM on August 14, 2009


On Americans without coffee percolators: I was surprised to hear that many Americans don't own electric kettles. In the UK instant coffee is what most people drink on their homes or workplaces. Many of us also drink fruit juices made from concentrates. We don't have toaster ovens either. Just toasters.

On Dominic West/The Wire: I am constantly surprised at how many threads from the TV show are still being woven. Real cops and real baddies in the show. Freamon writing Five Guys Named Moe. Omar. Snoop. Marlo. Cheese. Prop Joe. Stringer Bell. Man, I'm gonna miss those guys.

On Sheffield: It's the city in the Peaks. So much going on, so many interesting places to see. Lots of people wearing various forms of Gore-Tex and fleeces.
posted by xpermanentx at 6:42 AM on August 14, 2009


rmanentx: We don't have toaster ovens either. Just toasters.

Toaster ovens were really more of a fad here, too, I think; I mean, the whole point is to have a small, dry equivalent to a microwave that didn't turn everything into a soppy mess, but we have ovens for that, really. I don't know many people that actually have one of the things, although of course that's merely anecdotal.

xpermanentx: On Sheffield: It's the city in the Peaks. So much going on, so many interesting places to see. Lots of people wearing various forms of Gore-Tex and fleeces.

Hmm. So I'm just going to go with the Cabaret Voltaire, then.

*stumbles off to make some tea - roasted Japanese green, to be precise - whilst humming "why kill time (when you can kill yourself)"*
posted by koeselitz at 6:54 AM on August 14, 2009


xpermanentx, I think that Americans don't use electric kettles because they're pretty slow to boil using standard US 110 volts and a kettle on a gas stove is usually faster.
posted by octothorpe at 7:13 AM on August 14, 2009


Toaster ovens were really more of a fad here, too, I think

They've made a bit of a comeback, but as far as I can see, mainly on the selling point of being able to handle a 12" pizza.

Upside: we almost never use our oven, full stop. Even for pies. That's a pretty big box you need to heat for something usually small sitting smack dab in the middle of it.

And tea? I make that in a drip coffee maker of course. Doesn't everyone?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:19 AM on August 14, 2009


I bet he doesn't even now why Sheffield is wonderful.

The paternoster lift in the university Arts Tower?
posted by cillit bang at 7:22 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet he doesn't even know why Sheffield is wonderful.

Little rowhouses? Perpetrating graffiti on High Street? Cabaret Voltaire?

It's the city in the Peaks. So much going on, so many interesting places to see. Lots of people wearing various forms of Gore-Tex and fleeces.

The paternoster lift in the university Arts Tower?


I'm given to understand that it's because its full of tits, fanny and United.
posted by biffa at 7:40 AM on August 14, 2009


This is what makes McNulty's setup as a Cockney john so funny, acting like an American acting like an American's idea of a Brit.

I've always wondered about that. It's hilarious, but I wonder how it came about. Was it the show's writers screwing with him, or did he come up with the idea after having his accent mocked by cast and/or crew members?
posted by ob at 7:59 AM on August 14, 2009


This is what makes McNulty's setup as a Cockney john so funny, acting like an American acting like an American's idea of a Brit. Idris Elba (Stringer Bell) is British too.

I had no idea. Now I have to put it up there with Hank Azaria doing Apu affecting an American accent. "Let's take a relaxed attitude toward work!"
posted by ignignokt at 8:14 AM on August 14, 2009


Before Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Anthony Head was famous in the UK for a series of instant coffee commercials

We still joke in our house about crying at the drop of an international coffee commercial. I'm glad I get to enjoy the commercials (to the extent that a non-TV-watcher does these days) without having to drink the coffee.
posted by immlass at 8:31 AM on August 14, 2009


That's the first time I've ever heard Dominic West not trying to sound like an American.

I had, a couple of times, though to be fair the last time I saw him was him trying to sound vaguely Australian, in (the mostly missable) Breaking the Mould, or how much of an asshole is Alexander Fleming.

No, I saw a print advert for this the other day in something and sighed a little, but this is a whole new level of cringeworthy.

Ah well, still makes me want to go back and watch The Wire a third time already!
posted by opsin at 8:39 AM on August 14, 2009


Sheffield is wonderful first and foremost for the beautiful thick Sheffield accent. Sean Bean wouldn't be half so attractive if he didn't have his Northern accent. Christopher Eccleston's is brilliant too. ("If you're an alien, why do you sound like you're from the north?" "Lots of planets have a North!")
posted by jb at 8:48 AM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


And tea? I make that in a drip coffee maker of course. Doesn't everyone?

That, sir, is an abomination. But I gather you poor ex-colonials never took any kettles with you.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:01 AM on August 14, 2009


I went to university in Sheffield... best thing was Tetley Bitter.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:07 AM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


It doesn't really matter. To me.
posted by stevil at 9:18 AM on August 14, 2009


That's the first time I've ever heard Dominic West not trying to sound like an American.

English in Spice World, French in Hannibal Rising, (very English-sounding) Greek in 300.

I drink both coffee and tea most weekdays (not at the same time).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:35 AM on August 14, 2009


English in Spice World , French in Hannibal Rising , (very English-sounding) Greek in 300 .

You have just named three films I am very unlikely to watch, ever. Not even the Dominic West bits on Youtube, curious through I am to hear his French accent.
posted by dortmunder at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2009


A note for anyone wanting to buy tea in the US - avoid Harney & Sons. I bought some English breakfast and Earl Grey and both were horrible. I've had to fall back on Tazo, which is just above barely drinkable.
posted by djgh at 9:57 AM on August 14, 2009


"Rather tasty" British actors...
I don't think those first two words mean what you think they mean

in slightly ridiculous "soft focus"
ditto on those two...soft lighting, maybe? Still, i'm seeing a lot of pot bellies, wrinkles, and no chin...
posted by sexyrobot at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2009


Well obviously, sexyrobot, you'd prefer hard shiny surfaces and blinking diodes, but really it's a matter of taste.
posted by tiny crocodile at 10:30 AM on August 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Toaster ovens were really more of a fad here, too, I think

I have one. I don't have a toaster. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. It performs the same functions as a toaster, yet you also reheat (or even cook) things more quickly in one because it takes less time to preheat. I love it.

(That said, I think I am kinda unique in that regard.)
posted by hifiparasol at 11:12 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found the constant camera activity to be distracting and the blood blister on his fingernail and dry, ragged cuticles were off-putting.
But what finally made me turn it off was how they cut to a steaming cup of coffee right as he said the word 'loins'.
posted by Brody's chum at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2009


*sigh*

Why don't people read aloud more? That has to be one of the most charming past times ever.

I remember seeing something about Joss Whedon holding parties where they would each take a part and read Shakespeare plays. I can think of no more delightful thing if these parties also included mulled wine and hot cider and a crisp fall evening.

I need more art-geek friends.
posted by Bibliogeek at 2:52 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dominic West's real voice is even more sexy than Jimmy McNulty.

Excuse me. I need new pants.

Idris Elba (Stringer Bell) is British too.

I saw a bit of a movie that had him in it as a British character and I thought he was American... and I was WICKED IMPRESSED by the "realness" of his British accent.

Way to hum, self. Way to hum. I guess this now makes me wicked impressed by his real-ness as Stringer Bell.

(His American accent is equally convincing as Charles Minor in The Office.)

xpermanentx, I think that Americans don't use electric kettles because they're pretty slow to boil using standard US 110 volts and a kettle on a gas stove is usually faster.

BALD FACED LIE. I can boil water in my electric kettle in 2 minutes. Takes at least 5 on the gas stove. My mother finally broke down and bought one after using mine in Iceland (where such a thing is a requirement for life) and exclaimed "Wow. That really IS faster."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:42 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding the kettle issue: Canadians have the same 110 volts, and most of us have electric kettles and have since before I was born (late 1970s). We are a bit behind in the technology - cordless and automatic kettles with Taylor switches took several years to get here, and are still a bit expensive, whereas they are just standard in Britain.

I just figured that it was because hot tea is more popular in Canada than in the US. We're pretty evenly split between tea and coffee drinkers (and have a great many people who drink both, depending on time of day and/or mood), whereas it seems that hot tea is relatively less popular in the US. If you have a coffee machine for coffee, and you don't drink tea, it seems silly to have an electric thing that just boils water when you can have a cheap stovetop kettle for the occasional use. Whereas in my house, the electric kettle is used dozens of times a day for both coffee (in a press) and tea - and the drip machine we have stands unused.
posted by jb at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2009


xpermanentx: I was surprised to hear that many Americans don't own electric kettles.

It occurred to me today: we actually do have a lot of electric kettles here, at least in my experience. However, they are called by a word of what appears to me to be Chinese-American derivation - 'hot pots' - and they are almost exclusively used by college students to make Top Ramen.

At least that's, uh, my experience.
posted by koeselitz at 10:56 PM on August 14, 2009


And, which this is the wildest speculation, I think the association really kills the whole electric kettle for a lot of people here. My memories of electric kettles - it's so weird to call them that instead of 'hot pots' - are of plasticy things coated with a sickly yellow residue from having been used dozens of times to make a multitude of Top Ramen flavors without having been really cleaned properly.

I may be the only one who thinks so, but even though I know that grapefruitmoon's right and they boil faster- I don't think I could bring myself to boil water for tea in one. I'd keep thinking I tasted a faint hint of MSG.

posted by koeselitz at 11:00 PM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It occurred to me today: we actually do have a lot of electric kettles here, at least in my experience. However, they are called by a word of what appears to me to be Chinese-American derivation - 'hot pots' - and they are almost exclusively used by college students to make Top Ramen.

At least that's, uh, my experience.
posted by koeselitz at 6:56 AM on August 15 [+] [!]


That reminds me. When I was in my first year of university and living on campus we had a curious incident involving the disappearance of the electric kettle from our floor's kitchen. After a deep and thorough investigation, we ventured up to the top floor of our building.

It was there that we discovered our poor kettle, damaged almost beyond repair as some genius had decided to use it as the best means to boil some root ginger. Sigh. The tea never tasted quite the same again...
posted by knapah at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2009


The way to enjoy instant coffee is to realize that it is not coffee. It's a different drink. Actually sometimes quite a nice one when you stop expecting it to taste like coffee.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:57 AM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another Eton-educated British actor you almost certainly thought were American: Damian Lewis, who played the lead in Band of Brothers and Life.
posted by Hogshead at 7:14 AM on August 15, 2009


If we're playing the undercover brit game, then another other surprise might be Apollo off BSG.
posted by biffa at 8:31 AM on August 15, 2009


If we're playing the undercover brit game, then another other surprise might be Apollo off BSG.

Yeah, that shocked the hell out of me when I heard him on an interview panel. It's not right.

His father is American, I believe.
posted by knapah at 9:18 AM on August 15, 2009


I saw Jaime Bamber (Apollo) in a Hornblower episode, and I was thinking, "hey, pretty good English accent there." Hugh Laurie in House fooled the casting directors into thinking he was American.

But when I first saw John Barrowman in Doctor Who, I thought, "Oh dear, here's another badly faked American accent - the Brits are as bad at North America as we are at faking them." Sadly, that's how he really talks, having been raised in the States.
posted by jb at 6:51 AM on August 16, 2009


For those interested, this is apparently what Sheffield sounds like, anyhow.
posted by koeselitz at 12:11 AM on August 18, 2009


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