Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcome to the new site

Contemporised, amplified, beautified… The new site is finally here and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The whole process has been a pleasure, courtesy of the ever-talented-and-easy-to-work-with Lee Harding who made more than a few smart suggestions and creative changes.

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).

The Great Wall

Guy Laramee

More incredible art from books. Guy Laramee and The Great Wall project. Take a look here.

Too many words, part two

I had a notification from my kids’ school this morning. It’s an update to their behaviour policy. Paragraph two says, and I quote:

“Students in Year 7 tell us that they are particularly concerned about disruption to their learning occasioned by a small number of their peers who do not find the immediate attendant sanctions sufficient to deter them from repeating such behaviour.”

I think the last time occasion was used as a verb, we still used shillings. And sanctions being ‘attendant’ – rather than just er, sanctions made me smile. But beyond all that, just far too many words. Try this: “Students in Year Seven tell us they are fed up with peers who repeatedly disrupt lessons.”

Tsk. Detention for the Deputy Head me thinks.

Brian’s Books

Following my post on Thomas Allen’s book art photography, I’ve been directed to Brian Dettmer’s work. Dettmer’s pieces are quite astonishing. They’re hugely detailed; a result of his using surgical tools to carve into a book one page at a a time. Take a look at his site to see work spanning five years.


Saatchi’s copy claptrap

Newspeak-006I know it’s not nice to slam other people’s copy efforts, but this one really is screaming out for a virtual red pen. Charles Saatchi’s new show British Art Now has an accompanying catalogue which honestly defies belief. Here’s an excerpt all about the artists:

“Articulated as doublespeak, they hand-make the virtual, cite history in fugue fervour, and find the poetic and enduring in the cacophony of pop cultural din.”

Great isn’t it?

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.