Wednesday, 30 September 2009


There's nothing more that I detest,
than old ladies - with bad breath.
Stale old teeth, that rot in gums,
with smells that should belong in bums.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


There's a call to lower t-shirts in any public place,
To cover up bare bellies that wobble in your face.

I blame the super models for setting such a trend,
With their skeletal flat tummies and clothes all carefully hemmed.

Its the height of summer fashion for girls it's all the rage,
Tops, stop short of covering spare tyres - of any age.

Wearing high cut T-shirts, displaying big pink hearts,
They parade the shopping centres with guts that should play darts.

Bring back the shrink wrapped gut i say, all toned and tucked and nice;
- the one that doesn't overhang,
- the one that's out of sight.

Back into high waist Levis, that's where tummies should be put!
Away from public view again. Lets banish public gut!

It's definitely a suitcase of - the emperors new clothes.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Way back, (but not too far back mind!) when I was at art college, my old lecturer used to wander the studios and corridors chanting a little phrase that has haunted me ever since. Now just to put this into perspective we were usually chasing him to see what he thought about some concept or other… “What do you think about this Jim?” - “Jim I’ve got this great idea…” - “Jim how would you improve on …” and unless he could see that we were carrying reams of scribbled on layout paper, he would more often than not turn on his heel wave us away chanting, “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”- “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”

What he wanted was to SEE our thoughts, not HEAR them. A sketch, an outline, stickmen, marks on paper - some kind of visual commitment to accompany our thoughts. “Don’t just talk about it – get it down on paper and show me” - “Draw it” - “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”

Following Jim’s lesson, my experience is that creatives that just talk about their ideas and haven’t committed them to paper haven’t formulated anywhere near a strong enough thought - and are usually just practising the rhetoric. The process that happens between brain and hand makes ideas real.

One of my most prolific writing partners always drew as he wrote. Even though he was the guardian of the written word, manic scribbles, cartoons, shapes and stick men, always accompanied his thoughts. Often he would just sit scribbling to illustrate his chat and of how he saw the problem in his head. Random but committed. And his work was better for it. Thoughts were out of his head and down for discussion.

I was reading about Leonardo and how he scribbled ALL of his thoughts down and the article read that “The explosion of creativity in the renaissance was intimately tied to the development of graphic illustration.” That is… THEY SCRIBBLED EVERYTHING DOWN! Check out Leonardos’ sketchbooks sometime – they’re not unlike a common worksheet or sketchbook today ( His Ideas, scribbles, sketches, thoughts and renaissance coffee stains… they’re all down on paper…
Anyway the point here is that several hundred years later, his ideas are still being discussed and indeed used today - unlike the conversations that he had, which are long, long gone.

SO in the words of Jim Lockley my old lecturer. “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE” Make your thoughts visible. Words OR pictures, get them down on paper. Your work will be a lot stronger for it. Cheers Jim.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I was fourth to present, and right up to the moment I stood up in front of the 300 or so open-eared individuals, I rehearsed, re-wrote, practiced, and concentrated on my script, completely ignoring the other three speakers that spoke before me. I went on stage, delivered a decent, seamless talk - complete with prompted jokes, and timed pauses. The audience laughed at all the right points, responded well to the content and ticked all the right boxes on their “conference speaker satisfaction survey”.

But on the train home, I read an article about an outdoor concert that was the complete opposite of my own experience. One I wish I’d read before I’d spoken. It read that during an open-air solo piano performance, a small airplane flew above the audience. Backwards and forwards, looping the loop and buzzing about just enough to be a distraction to both the pianist and listeners alike. But rather than be put off by the distraction, the pianist began to improvise midway through his recital to accommodate the engine’s hum as if it was another instrument. The airplane becoming his partner in an exquisite, unique duet. Quite, quite amazing…

But the amazing thing here wasn’t the pianist’s skill in improvising his piece to fit with the plane’s hum – his skill was in recognising the opportunity! The opportunity to be brave, to go ‘off-script’ and to try something new –creating something totally unique and absolutely memorable.

Something I’d missed with my own performance. I’d been so lost in my own script, that I’d failed to hear any visual and verbal gems from the previous speakers. Pearls that I could have used to my advantage. Now of course it’s important to be prepared and to do all the hard work before any sort of gig - this will obviously enhance any results. BUT part of that preparation I believe, should always be to prepare to accept the role of chance. Maybe even build it into the overall plan?

Since reading the article, I now relinquish the control that arguably I never had in the first place, and during any presentation – large or small, now try to pick up on the slightest ‘hum’.

Try it. Try listening for that distracting hum. Don’t be worried that something might send you in a different direction – be brave. You never know where you’ll end up.