Category Archives: Bit of a laugh

My top ten ‘NO!’ words.

I was in a meeting yesterday discussing US English versus English English, when my client reported that a colleague of his found the words ‘powered-by’ too American for their UK market (not guilty).

How To Spell Spam.

An interesting piece popped up on Yahoo News last week; an account about a council tax scam where fraudsters contact you to say you’re due a financial reward as a thank you for paying your bill by direct debit.

Now I don’t know about you, but the concept of my local council financially rewarding me for paying tax would be enough to make me click  ‘SPAM’ faster than you can say ‘seriously unlikely state incentive’. However, clearly enough people were falling for this to warrant its broadcast, albeit hidden within the confused jumble that is Yahoo’s landing page. So I read the whole thing and there – towards the end – was a paragraph about spelling.

Fab Twaggies

A clever combination: Twitticisms + great illustration = Twags. From Kiersten Essenpreis at Twaggies.


My Own Private Ardagh-o

I took a guinea pig to the vets this morning. Before I tell you what the receptionist said to me when I walked in, I’m going to point out that the guinea pig in question was named by my daughter when she was five. It might also help to picture the receptionist as an extremely efficient, quite scary, very loud, immaculately turned out, rather posh middle-aged woman who looked like she holidayed in John Lewis.

Right, so, there I am struggling to get in the door carrying a cardboard box that’s lurching wildly from side to side when I hear: “Pebbles Starling?” I had an instant need to laugh out loud.  Which I know is quite childish, but I find the application of human surname to animal alias, really, really funny. I don’t know why. I just do.

Eye Drops Off Shelf – the wonder of headline writing

I spent part of yesterday advising on sales copy. My client felt their existing copy wasn’t punchy enough and was – in parts – ambiguous. We talked a bit about ambiguity and then got onto the inevitable conversation about ambiguity in newspaper headlines, like this: “Stolen Painting Found by Tree.” Clever tree. And these: “Miners Refuse to Work after Death” and “Police Found Safe Under Bed.” Lovely.

From ambiguous to apparent, it’s always possible to swing too far the other way. Two cherished but quite hopeless headlines from the States: “Official: Only Rain Will Cure Drought.” And this one from the Collinsville Herald-Journal in Illinois: “Economist Uses Theory to Explain Economy.” Great!

Finally, from apparent to accomplished, my all-time favourite headline from Private Eye – on the library strike in Essex: “Book Lack in Ongar.”


Boogie Mama


I went dancing last night. When I say dancing, I really mean just moving around to music. When I say moving around, I really mean shuffling. When I say shuffling, I really mean transferring weight from left foot to right foot in an ill-advised attempt to ‘get-down.’ Quite what I thought was going to happen once I’d ‘got-down,’ I don’t know. Discover the inability to ‘get-back-up’ no doubt.

I’m at the age – obviously – when the words ‘get-down’ can still refer to dancing rather than canine instruction. Which also explains my chosen style of strutting – see above.  But once the novelty of musical movement had worn off and the pitiful glances tipped into hostile glares, my prancing partner and I amused ourselves by producing a mental Venn diagram of dancing style and age.  What we realised is this:

If you’re under 20 you can pretty much do anything you like on the dance floor and get away with it.

If you’re between 20 and 30 and female, you’ll spend most of your floor-time with your arms above your head.

If you’re between 30 and 40 and male, you’ll dance like you did at your school discos. Thirty years ago.

If you’re over 40 and dancing like Beyoncé, you should go home.

If you’re over 40 and dancing like Ashley Banjo from Diversity, you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you’re over 40 and dancing like Fred Astaire, congratulations.

Who’s in the house. Etc.

What’s the (second) Big Idea?

Early flying machine I Antique Scientific Illustrations
I’ve been reading a few blogs by fairly well-lit individuals in the business and marketing world. Some appear to conjure up new concepts on a regular basis. Quite aside from how exhausting this must be, it made me think about whether it’s actually possible to come up with more than one Big Idea.

One or two of my subscriptions include the blogs of successful business gurus, considered experts who are watched by a certain sector of Corporate plc for the next big thing – this on the basis that they’ve already delivered one widely adopted Big Idea. But are subsequent pearls of wisdom original new ideas of value and reason for contact, or just the same story set in a different scene?