Tag Archives: Writing
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.
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.
Another one? So soon?
Wikipedia call it jargon.
Head meet desk.
I 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?
I absolutely love this. New Math by Craig Damrauer – a wry approach to maths for word and language lovers. An addictive site – review at leisure.
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.”
I was asked yesterday what the theme of my blog is. I thought I’d share my answer: I don’t have a theme. I write about things that interest me in the hope that you might:
a. Find it interesting
b. Discover how I write
c. Discover something new
That’s it really. I’ll write about copywriting only if I think I’ve got something useful to share with you. Otherwise, you’ll see all sorts of comment from design and photography to innovation and (cough) dancing.
I’ll be making the comment function a little easier soon, but in the mean time, keep emailing me.
I love this extract from Vanity Fair’s ‘The First of Elvis’ article – a profile of photographer Al Wertheimer who followed Elvis in 1956:
“He dared to move,” says Wertheimer. “Singers just did not move onstage in those days. You stood there like Frank Sinatra or Perry Como, and you sang from the waist up. Elvis broke all the rules. He moved his hips. He charged the microphone. He was introducing something that was just not acceptable to grown-ups and the more conservative groups. I have the William Morris guys getting him into a corner, and they’re giving him advice: ‘Now, Elvis, look, you get up there, you sing your song, but don’t move too much.’ Elvis dutifully listened. He wouldn’t argue with them. But once he got onstage he did what he wanted. And it created such a sensation. Not because you could hear him sing—there was too much screaming going on. The kids loved it. And the kids were the ones who bought the 45s.”
Nothing quite like ignoring the William Morris guys.
Read the full article here.