An hour ago I was stopped outside Heals on the King's Road by a guy collecting for the Painted Children Charity.
WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life
If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just
Thursday, 31 December 2009
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Many of us, I am sure, have heard the story about the founder of Scientology.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:16
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
I think I mentioned the other day that Steve, who arranges these matters for me, has reset our thing-a-me-bob machine to allow a deluge of spam to come flooding in. This makes life pretty tedious, but there are small compensations in some of the messages.
For the most part my time was wasted, which is probably just as well. All the same,I believe I have developed as vivid an imagination as anyone about the esoteric side of these matters. Nevertheless, nothing in my wildest dreams can cope with the picture conjured up by something that came whizzing my way an hour or so ago.
Its subject line read "Ebony Girl With Big Booty On Her Knees". How the hell can the poor girl walk without falling over? And if you wanted to get friendly with her, where exactly would you find the right opening?
It really makes me wish I had paid more attention in my anatomy lessons all those years ago.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 04:47
Sunday, 27 December 2009
After the second world war, when I was already middle aged, ha! there was a joke going round about a crate of sardines.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 18:16
Saturday, 26 December 2009
The greatest pain for me in the last few days has been a plague of spam.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 17:29
You don't need to tell me Christmas can be stressful.
39 years ago the lady I was then with sat on the banister outside our flat in Harley Street on Christmas morning and threatened to jump if I didn't marry her.
Since the flat was a penthouse, this was a compelling argument. Nevertheless, horrified by the madness of it all, I left the house and rushed off to Euston to take the train home to Mother. Right strategy, maybe, but wrong tactics -- there are no trains on Christmas Day.
When I got back it turned out she hadn't jumped and about a year later we did marry. Then followed dreamlike years of ecstatic happiness - we were madly in love with each other - punctuated by nightmares, because every few months she would try to kill herself. Although I was no model citizen this was not an ideal menage.
Eventually she left me for a Swedish lawyer with transvestite inclinations, then came back, then left, then came back, then vanished. I regularly search for her on the internet - though I don't know quite why.
When I began this blog I planned to tell stories like that about my life, but somehow I got side-tracked, then sidetracked again - and so on. Rather like my present (and I pray last) partner who eventually flew off to Rome with BA on the 23rd after giving up on Alitalia.
Her plan was to take the train home - but there was no train, so she caught one to Naples where she stayed the night with a friend before being driven across the peninsula back home.
On Christmas Day she was rushed off to hospital with a virus. Not much cheer there either.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:23
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
I sent this to a few thousand people, but if you didn't get it, here it is. There's music, so turn up the volume.
Christmas is near. The students have turned in all their work and there is really nothing more to do. All the children are restless and the teacher decides to have an early dismissal.
Teacher: "Whoever answers the questions I ask first and correctly can leave early today."
Little Johnny says to himself "Good, I want to get outta here. I'm smart and I'll answer the question."
Teacher: "Who said 'Four Score and Seven Years Ago'?"
Before Johnny can open his mouth, Susie says, "Abraham Lincoln."
Teacher: "That's right Susie, you can go home."
Johnny is mad that Susie answered first.
Teacher: "Who said 'I Have a Dream'?"
Before Johnny can open his mouth, Mary says, "Martin Luther King."
Teacher: "That's right Mary, you can go."
Johnny is even madder than before.
Teacher: "Who said 'Ask not, what your country can do for you'?"
Before Johnny can open his mouth, Nancy says, "John F. Kennedy.."
Teacher: "That's right Nancy, you may also leave."
Johnny is boiling mad that he couldn't answer any of the questions.
When the teacher turns her back Johnny says, "I wish these bitches would keep their mouths shut!"
The teacher turns around: "NOW WHO SAID THAT?"
Johnny: "TIGER WOODS. CAN I GO NOW?"
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:32
Well, at 4:30 this morning the love of my life went off to Italy, having parted with an arm and a leg to fly Alitalia, who have the rare distinction of being the worst airline in Europe with among the most overpaid staff - and have been bankrupt for years.
Could these matters be related, one wonders? Anyhow, Alitalia cancelled their flight - even though BA were still flying there. So it seems Alitalia also have cowardly pilots (who are chauffeur driven to the airport, by the way).
While waiting and praying with other stranded travellers, one girl fainted. So everyone - except the BAA staff - rushed to help. They put her on the ground with her legs up in the air. Finally the BAA staff intervened. Not to help, but to put a screen round her lest other passengers be shocked by her disarray.
When the other passengers wanted to seat her on a chair, they were told it was against health and safety regulations.
How is it possible for grown up people to concentrate with such manic intensity on all the wrong things whilst ignoring the right ones? Even at Christmas, fuckwits rule everything. Which reminds me: the last time I checked the boss of BAA was an ex advertising man, like the twat who gets paid a million a year for failing to run the Royal Mail.
Angels and Ministers of Grace defend us!
Posted by Drayton Bird at 06:45
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Five years or so back I was staying with my friend George Machun, who is some sort sort of professor at San Francisco State.
I managed the unique feat - remarkable even for someone as technologically asinine as me - of trying to boil water by putting a light under an electric kettle. I nearly burnt the place down.
George forgave me, and sends a regular flow of good jokes and vitriolic political comment.
I liked this one.
A man boarded a plane with six kids.
After they got settled in their seats a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked,
"Are all of those kids yours ? "
"No. I work for a condom company. These are customer complaints.. "
DAMN, I WISH I COULD THINK THAT FAST.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 13:11
Friday, 18 December 2009
My paper this morning gave me not one, but several good laughs.
First there was a picture of Her Majesty the Queen getting - "almost unnoticed" it said - on the train at King's Cross to go to Sandringham.
Unnoticed by whom I wondered? By the photographers who had sod-all to do yesterday, so thought, "Tell you what, guys, we've got nothing much on, so let's just go down to King's Cross Station round about 11.30 just in case something interesting happens."
God, the media make you puke, don't they?
But they're just taking us all for idiots; a revealing contrast with the Copenhagen antics of The Obscene Toad who yesterday gaily gave away £6 billion of your money and mine to poorer countries so they can fight global warming and he can feel good.
What a financial wizard the man is! Here we are, the worst placed of all advanced economies because of him, pissing away money hand over fist, printing banknotes, in danger of losing our AAA credit rating ... and what could be more sensible than to throw another few billion in the direction of countries run by people whose main skill is stealing money from stupid Western Aid donors?
That's enough rubbish for today, folks, before I throw up.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:20
Thursday, 17 December 2009
This has been a funny old day. Actually, a funny old month, mostly spent scrambling desperately to do all the things I've stupidly agreed to do.
This is not a new state of affairs. I'm always agreeing to do more things than any sensible person, let alone one of my advanced years should, then spending days and nights trying to catch up.
So today first I did a webinar on the old Guinea Pig Trail which went down a treat according to the delegates. Then I did another which was an utter catastrophe as NOTHING worked the way it did when it was tested last night. Utter humiliation.
God, I hate technology.
However, things seemed to be looking up when I heard that TanishaBrewer is following me on Twitter. Now what made me think someone with a name like that might be young enough to be my grand-daughter and have silicone tits? I don't know - second sight maybe - but so it proved. I see little future in our relationship, though. Can't stand silicone.
On another matter, my friend Denny Hatch sent me to http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/146138 which does a good old demolition job on the climate change loonies. I know little about climate change, except that 35 years ago I was paid to write part of a book about it which was mainly concerned with the likelihood of a new Ice Age.
What I do know is that the whole thing seems to be little more than an excuse for a lot of wankers to spend millions of our money to go posturing. And what concerns me far more is that we've made a dreadful mess of our countryside. There aren't as many birds, butterflies, bees and such around as there were - anyone who remembers will agree - because the country has been filled up with the most dreadful rubbish.
Talking about dreadful rubbish, last week when I was in New York I saw a poll revealing that members of Congress are regarded as being even less trustworthy than used car dealers. I imagine the same would be true here.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 17:05
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
I just read that a choreographer called Freidman, "fears X-factor winner Joe Elderberry's debut single The Climb could lose the Christmas number 1 spot to the re-released Killing in the Name by Rage against the Machine. "It could happen," he warned.
Meanwhile, for those of you who read books, here are two that gave me great joy in the last week.
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" by Paul Torday is equally good. It's funny, touching - and contains a wonderful description of a government that is quite clearly based on the Bliar's. There is an odious press secretary, and the end is most uplifting when the character in that role gets killed as a result of a lunatic photo-opportunity. If only ...
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:03
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Readers may be astonished to know that in my fiery youth I came close to being a communist.
One of my mentors was a wonderful man called Rufus Leven who had been on the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and I was greatly moved by "The Common People, 1746-1946", by G. D. H. Cole and Raymond Postgate**.
This book described how ordinary people in this country had been right royally, disgustingly and comprehensively screwed for centuries by the upper and mercantile classes.
What has changed? Today everyone is being screwed again, but the positions have changed. I am not referring to the obscene and murderous Bliar or the Fatuous Toad, now off to Denmark to save the world, the conceited buffoon. No: I decided this after watching the man who leads a union laughably called Unite (clearly a misspelling, as Dis is missing from the start of the word) explaining why his British Airways members are going to strike over Christmas.
The point at issue is that they refuse to agree to changes at Heathrow which they have already accepted at Gatwick.
His reason is that these changes were "imposed" upon them by management. This is just linguistic sophistry and - far worse - stupid.
What is this man doing? He is mortgaging his member's futures to make a point. It is quite similar to the situation at the Royal Mail, except that the Royal Mail is badly run by overpaid, clueless idiots, and the union leader there is fatter and uglier than the man at Unite.
But both are screwing their members and neither has to worry about his future, because their pensions are secure.
**Small world: Postgate went on to found The Good Food Guide, which did so much to transform British cooking. I have always been proud that my parents' pub restaurant was in it from the very first edition in 1952.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 09:26
Monday, 14 December 2009
Latest despatch from the wonderful world of Google - plus monkeys reveal why social networks are so popular
I feel like shit today after whizzing over from the Land of the Free, but I was amused when I read this phrase from David Naylor about Google's new “real time search”: "I don’t think ‘clusterf**k’ is too strong a word" - see the rest at http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/google-real-time-search.html
This was brought to my attention by Michael Rhodes, who showers me with good stuff - in fact if you go to his blog you'll see a hilarious piece about an unbelievably smug, condescending Australian bank commercial. That's at http://www.happydude.co.uk.
My last little nugget before dat ole jetlag gets me in its spell came from KenMCarthy over lunch yesterday in Montclair, Noo Joisey. It seem someone did some research with monkeys which revealed that they preferred snorting cocaine to attending to what they should be doing. No surprise there; they would do well in advertising creative departments. Then when the beasts were given a choice between drooling over pictures of very good-looking monkeys (as seen in the simian equivalent of Hello or Grazia) they preferred it to doing coke.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:32
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Two people in the last 24 hours have told me that whoever among my motley crew does the optimising has got me down as Drayton Bird Ass.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:07
Friday, 11 December 2009
A friend wrote (very amusingly)about the blog written by someone close to her - and asked me what I think he should do - as follows.
He has been writing what he thinks - and as she put it -
It has landed him not just in hot water but in a scalding vat of oil.
He has managed to get himself barred from his local pub, alienated half the local female population (admittedly not hard, given the touchiness of this breed of woman), embroiled himself in somebody else’s employment tribunal and, last but not least, have the editor of the local newspaper phone and scream ‘Libel’ down the phone (he just expressed the very valid opinion that this particular rag was a pile of steaming crap).
Yet if you read the articles, you would think them fairly harmless.
One good thing – he is getting plenty of traffic in his infamy.
However he is quite bewildered by the buckets of vitriol being chucked at him from different corners.
Does he continue to basically say what he really thinks and hang them all? Or should he adopt a more anodyne, a milder approach and stick to subjects such as bronze age monoliths (where the only people you could offend have been buried for 3000 years in stone cairns)?
As you can all imagine, I was flattered to be asked. My view is that if there is nobody he has his eye on among the local witches and the pub is nothing special he should take the advice given by Polonius in Hamlet: This above all: to thine own self be true.
He should do what he thinks is right. And it certainly will continue to get him more and more readers, which I guess is why he is writing.
My view is that if you're not offending someone you're probably boring everyone. Which is why most blogs are not read.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 20:38
Yesterday started at 4 am and finished at 2 am today, if you see what I mean.
I woke at 4 am, all too keenly aware that I had no idea of how to get to La Guardia from Brooklyn. Panic, panic. (I’m good at that).
Got on the internet and found I could go there for $2 on the subway and bus. Yippee! It did take an hour and half though ... then an hour waiting to take the flight to Charlotte, N.C., then another wait to catch the plane to Ashville... then a cab to the Biltmore Hilton.
Things improved as I waited to see the lady I was to meet. I had lunch in the Roux restaurant. Nothing to do with the famous French chefs, but - guess what? – the food would not have disgraced them. Though they would NEVER charge as little as $30 for a light meal with wine.
I cheered up no end, and cheered up even more during my meeting. This is a smart lady I am doing some work with for my Commonsense Marketing, and she talks real sense. Also she agreed with me a lot. I like that in a woman.
But then began the journey back, with a long stopover at Charlotte ... and half a rack of excellent ribs at the airport ... and me missing my first flight because of the misleading signs ... then arriving at Newark after midnight ... and finally Brooklyn and bed.
What was all that about? Just another day in Paradise? Relief at having survived?
Anyhow, now you know where to eat in Asheville.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:23
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:00
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Sir John Scarlett who was the intelligence boss at the time - and had the grace to look guilty himself yesterday - says The Grinning Turd's claim that spies had 'established beyond doubt' that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was 'quite separate from the text of the dossier itself' and that he 'sexed up' the strength of the intelligence with an 'overtly political' foreword making the case for war.
What came out of this? Well, £15 million and counting for Tone and Cherie. Countless thousands dead, troops betrayed by general incompetence and the Monstrous Toad's unwillingness to spend money on what was needed - as opposed to what is not. Also counting.
The shamelessness of these wretches almost defies belief. In earlier times they would have been beheaded. Now they get paid squillions for autobiographies, lectures, consultancies and so on. Mind you, the Turd's autobiography will be filed under Fiction in the Obscene Publications section
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:10
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
An friend who works for RAI - the Italian equivalent of the BBC - commented on how they bury news over there.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:38
Monday, 7 December 2009
Cherie "never stops worrying about money". Where it came from? The Bliar's ingenious tax arrangements? What?
The Bliar's friend Berlusconi was, as all the world knows, funded by the Mafia, employed at least one Mafioso killer, works hard to frustrate the astonishingly courageous work of the Italian magistracy to fight the Mafia and only stays out of jail by changing the law at regular intervals.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:58
Sunday, 6 December 2009
That was what they used to say on the dear old BBC before the corporate buffoons ruined it.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:19
Friday, 4 December 2009
This is just to thank all of you who took the trouble yesterday to wade through the techno-chaos at www.draytonbirdlearning.com...
And an even bigger thank you to the 20 'live' guinea pigs who signed up yesterday on top of the original six.
I just have room for four more on top of the original six, then the site will be "turned off" on Sunday evening. I don't understand all this, but it seems you'll still be able to see it, but you won't be able to join. I don't want to inflict too much of this cruel and unusual punishment, but i
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:55
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Every day we are all subjected to small irritations ... like my bloody Drayton Bird Learning site which would have me tearing my hair out if I had any left.
Like the dreary email I got today from the semi-literate person who is, when not making tea, amazingly paid to write the messages that sell railway tickets,
Dear Mr Bird, go further with your Senior Railcard.
Get into the festive spirit this year with a trip to one of many Christmas markets using your Railcard. As well as finding some unique presents, you'll be able to listen to carols, roast some chestnuts and sample some delicious mulled wine.
Alternatively take a winter walk and discover some of our beautiful countryside.
With the 1/3 of all Standard and First Class rail fares - including Advance fares, you can afford to treat yourself this Christmas.
I appreciate this is one of the bi-products of the great Bliar's commitment to "education, education, education". It didn't make me throw up - just cast a pall on my life for a few seconds, just as every sight of words like " iconic", "robust", "holistic"," strategic" and "vision" do.
And goodness knows it's not a big deal compared with the misery we'll all face in the years ahead because of the despicable reptiles who run the banks and our lives - but if you're going to do a job, why not do it properly?
I have found that rewriting little messages like that can actually double sales ... thus, in the end, getting more out of the money spent on marketing ... and, I suppose, keeping those fares down.
These are small things, rather like cleaning toilets, that nobody thinks about, do they?
But they matter. Because if you get the small things right, you may just - barely - have a chance of sorting out the big ones.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 22:24
A London Lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a Glasgow Copper.
He thinks he is smarter than the Cop because he is a lawyer from LONDON and is certain that he has a better education then any Jock Cop. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Glasgow Cops expense.
Glasgow Cop says, 'Licence and registration, please.'
London Lawyer says, 'What for?'
Glasgow Cop says, 'Ye didnae come to a complete stop at the stop sign.'
London Lawyer says, 'I slowed down, and no one was coming.'
Glasgow Cop says, 'Ye still didnae come to a complete stop. Licence and registration, please.'
London Lawyer says, 'What's the difference?'
Glasgow Cop says, 'The difference is, ye huvte come to a complete stop, that's the law, Licence and registration, please!'
London Lawyer says, 'If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my licence and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.'
Glasgow Cop says, 'Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir.'
The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.
The Glasgow Cop takes out his baton and starts beating the f*ck out of the Lawyer and says 'Dae ye want me to stop, or just slow doon?'
Talking about slowing down, my Commonsense Marketing site had some glitches yesterday -- but should be up today. Still not perfect, but that's why I want little furry animals ...
Posted by Drayton Bird at 06:08
Monday, 30 November 2009
I swore I'd be asking for real live, loveable guinea pigs today ... but relax: it'll be tomorrow. Sod the internet.
Meanwhile, now we know for sure that two lying shits caused the deaths of over 100,000 Iraquis and quite a few of ours too, here's something they even found funny when I was in Peru: http://www.draytonbird.net/draytons_blog/mylove.wmv
Posted by Drayton Bird at 13:25
Friday, 27 November 2009
And if you're reading this and wondering what the hell I'm talking about, go here and you can vote on the three elements of my idea
Anyhow, next Monday I shall be asking for real live Guinea Pigs who want to try it for 28 days free to see what they think. I've already learned a ton from the comments of everyone who saw the videos - two people said things today that have made me change my mind. But I'm sure I'll learn even more.
So, thanks a million to all of you who took the trouble to vote.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:05
This, which is apparently a Russian wedding photo is one of the most watched images lately. I can't imagine why. The girls in the office thought it was horrible, but the guy in the picture seems to be smiling for some reason. Maybe it's the champagne
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:22
Thursday, 26 November 2009
This is the one the Sunday Times wouldn’t print. Maybe because it says what we all think?
"Get me a rope before Mandelson wipes us all out"
I've given the matter a great deal of thought all week, and I'm afraid I've decided that it's no good putting Peter Mandelson in a prison. I'm afraid he will have to be tied to the front of a van and driven round the country until he isn't alive any more.
He announced last week that middle-class children will simply not be allowed into the country's top universities even if they have 4,000 A-levels, because all the places will be taken by Albanians and guillemots and whatever other stupid bandwagon the conniving idiot has leapt onto.
I hate Peter Mandelson. I hate his fondness for extremely pale blue jeans and I hate that preposterous moustache he used to sport in the days when he didn't bother trying to cover up his left-wing fanaticism. I hate the way he quite literally lords it over us even though he's resigned in disgrace twice, and now holds an important decision-making job for which he was not elected. Mostly, though, I hate him because his one-man war on the bright and the witty and the successful means that half my friends now seem to be taking leave of their senses.
There's talk of emigration in the air. It's everywhere I go. Parties. Work. In the supermarket. My daughter is working herself half to death to get good grades at GSCE and can't see the point because she won't be going to university, because she doesn't have a beak or flippers or a qualification in washing windscreens at the lights. She wonders, often, why we don't live in America.
Then you have the chaps and chapesses who can't stand the constant raids on their wallets and their privacy. They can't understand why they are taxed at 50% on their income and then taxed again for driving into the nation's capital. They can't understand what happened to the hunt for the weapons of mass destruction. They can't understand anything. They see the Highway Wombles in those brand new 4x4s that they paid for, and they see the M4 bus lane and they see the speed cameras and the community support officers and they see the Albanians stealing their wheelbarrows and nothing can be done because it's racist.
And they see Alistair Darling handing over £4,350 of their money to not sort out the banking crisis that he doesn't understand because he's a small-town solicitor, and they see the stupid war on drugs and the war on drink and the war on smoking and the war on hunting and the war on fun and the war on scientists and the obsession with the climate and the price of train fares soaring past £1,000 and the Guardian power-brokers getting uppity about one shot baboon and not uppity at all about all the dead soldiers in Afghanistan, and how they got rid of Blair only to find the lying twerp is now going to come back even more powerful than ever, and they think, "I've had enough of this. I'm off."
It's a lovely idea, to get out of this stupid, Fairtrade, Brown-stained, Mandelson-skewed, equal-opportunities, multicultural, carbon-neutral, trendily left, regionally assembled, big-government, trilingual, mosque-drenched, all-the-pigs-are-equal, property-is-theft hellhole and set up shop somewhere else. But where?
You can't go to France because you need to complete 17 forms in triplicate every time you want to build a greenhouse, and you can't go to Switzerland because you will be reported to your neighbours by the police and subsequently shot in the head if you don't sweep your lawn properly, and you can't go to Italy because you'll soon tire of waking up in the morning to find a horse's head in your bed because you forgot to give a man called Don a bundle of used notes for "organising" a plumber.
You can't go to Australia because it's full of things that will eat you, you can't go to New Zealand because they don't accept anyone who is more than 40 and you can't go to Monte Carlo because they don't accept anyone who has less than 40 mill. And you can't go to Spain because you're not called Del and you weren't involved in the Walthamstow blag. And you can't go to Germany ... because you just can't.
The Caribbean sounds tempting, but there is no work, which means that one day, whether you like it or not, you'll end up like all the other expats, with a nose like a burst beetroot, wondering if it's okay to have a small sharpener at 10 in the morning. And, as I keep explaining to my daughter, we can't go to America because if you catch a cold over there, the health system is designed in such a way that you end up without a house. Or dead.
Canada's full of people pretending to be French, South Africa's too risky, Russia's worse and everywhere else is too full of snow, too full of flies or too full of people who want to cut your head off on the internet. So you can dream all you like about upping sticks and moving to a country that doesn't help itself to half of everything you earn and then spend the money it gets on bus lanes and advertisements about the dangers of salt. But wherever you go you'll wind up an alcoholic or dead or bored or in a cellar, in an orange jumpsuit, gently wetting yourself on the web. All of these things are worse than being persecuted for eating a sandwich at the wheel.
I see no reason to be miserable. Yes, Britain now is worse than it's been for decades, but the lunatics who've made it so ghastly are on their way out. Soon, they will be back in Hackney with their South African nuclear-free peace polenta. And instead the show will be run by a bloke whose dad has a wallpaper shop and possibly, terrifyingly, a twerp in Belgium whose fruitless game of hunt-the-WMD has netted him £15m on the lecture circuit. [Obviously written before Rumpy Pumpy got the job].
So actually I do see a reason to be miserable. Which is why I think it's a good idea to tie Peter Mandelson to a van. Such an act would be cruel and barbaric and inhuman. But it would at least cheer everyone up a bit in the meantime.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:07
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
How many modern writers have given as much pleasure as P. G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler?
Chandler was perhaps the best crime novelist ever; and he had a huge influence, inspiring films like Chinatown and many others. Wodehouse began as a writer of musicals, which may be why his stuff works so well on TV.
A while ago I learned to my childish pleasure that both went to Dulwich College at the same time as my grandfather. And this summer I was thrilled to bits when one of my relatives gave me this picture. In the middle holding the cup is P .G. Wodehouse (though with his name misspelt) and second on the top right is Grandpa.
Their Headmaster, A. H. Gilkes - clearly a great teacher – must have influenced the boys considerably. He gave no quarter to "word sophistry or posing" according to Chandler's biographer Tom Hiney. Maybe that is why both these great writers have such a satisfyingly simple style.
Conversely you will notice that word sophistry and posing are de rigeur for the marketing drones who fill meetings and documents with turgid oceans of polysyllabic tripe. Maybe they help in getting ahead and extracting money from weak minds, impressed by what they don’t understand. Look through almost any marketing document and you find that for wordy drivel it is in the same class as any politician's speeches. This is a shame, as many who do not have weak minds care a lot about clear writing.
In a survey some years ago, US business leaders were asked what change they would most like to see. They didn't talk about accounting or strategy. Mostly they pleaded: "can't someone teach people to write better?"
Since neary all business writing is aimed, one way or another, at clarifying or persuading someone of something, this is important. Good writing is not easy - I've been struggling at it for decades - but it is simple.
Here are seven pointers.
- Never use a word more than you need.
- Don’t use a long word if a short one will do.
- Don’t use jargon.
- Don’t use clichés.
- Edit at least five times.
- Read out loud for sense.
- Study Chandler and Wodehouse to see how it’s done.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 18:49
Those of you who are connoisseurs of ugliness will know that a few million have been pissed away on the astoundingly ugly British Olympics logo, which is the visual equivalent of dog shit.
Now I see the corporate idiots who mismanage AOL (fondly known to those who have suffered from their service as Arseholes On Line) have found their design soul-mates by getting the same firm to design a new logo.
You can just see what masquerades as thinking behind this. Quite simply, some boardroom monkey got sold a bill of goods under the heading of "rebranding". CorporoTwats just love rebranding because it calls for so much less thought or effort than trying to produce a better service than their competitors. You just pay some wankers in ponytails to do a new design and - hey, all the punters are just bound to say - "Ah. AOL have a new logo. Let's all forget about the shit service they gave me and switch back to them." Right? Wrong.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 06:45
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Posted by Drayton Bird at 18:28
If only more people listened to the advice of "Not hiring MBAs" began one comment I got yesterday. It was from Phillip Burmeister who told the story of a mine in South Africa that had to close thanks to bunch of newly employed MBAs screwing it up. They never thought they needed to include driveways for trucks to the extract the ore... That was after they fired all the mining engineers because the engineers didn't know enough about business.
The second from Brian Steele told the tale of the MBA boss in the West Country who was so “busy pouring out spreadsheets by the dozen that he missed the fact that the company was losing money hand over fist and after a blazing row I left as did most of my team. Just six months later the business went into liquidation with almost 80 good people losing their jobs. As you might imagine I'm not over keen on MBAs although I'm sure there are a few good ones about.”
He’s right there. My old boss Sir Martin Sorrell has a Harvard MBA, if my memory serves me right. But that is not what impressed me about him. He has three far more important characteristics besides native talent. First, he never gives up even when most people would go into a corner and curl up. Second, he works astoundingly hard. Third, he always replies almost immediately to messages - or he has to mine - which is astounding in someone so busy running round the world.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:55
Monday, 23 November 2009
The picture has nothing to do with Google. It's me in the Old London bar in Minsk last Sunday, and it's there just because I like it.
Now to business, with a statistic for you.
The penetration of mobile phones in Romania is 130%. Yes. More mobiles than people.
How about home computers? A fraction of that.
Don't think Romania has nothing to do with you? It’s the same everywhere. More mobiles than computers. Usually a lot more.
While you think about that, here’s a little quiz.
1. Which is easier to use? A computer or a phone?
2. Which is quickest to turn on?
3. Is it easier to respond via text or via e-mail?
4. Are you always as close to your computer as you are to your phone?
5. Can the mobile now do many things a computer can?
6. How soon before it can do all – and more?
The answers to those questions explain why last week I did a video interview with Henry Cazalet whose business is text marketing.
I think anyone who misses the boat on this will end up like a lot of those who failed to realise the implications of the internet. On the street.
I was greatly intrigued by what Henry said - especially the figures on what happens if you add text response to your ads, and I will be putting the interview out as part of the Commonsense Marketing Programme I mentioned on Friday. These interviews are all with people who can help you do better - or avoid doing worse.
Now, here's what my friend Glenmore told me about Google’s latest venture, which is relevant, to say the least.
They’re going to launch a system offering free calls - along with what sounds like a hell of a handset.
For the first time, one company will control everything from the software in users’ phones to the services they use to make calls and surf the web.
The Googlephone will have a large touchscreen display and a processor almost twice as fast as Apple’s iPhone 3GS.
And thank you again for so many replies to my Friday blog. I e-mailed the oldest part of my helpful ideas list and got a very high response.
Many of you wanted a clearer idea of what I was on about. You can do so if you go to http://www.draytonbird.net/dbl/index.asp. You will see 3 very short videos there If you vote, you'll then get more details.
Then if you're still interested, well, I will be looking for a few real live guinea pigs soon** I should say that we already have a few people who want to ahead anyhow, so let me know if you're interested.
** When I was lecturing in Peru a few years ago I discovered that the national dish is guinea pig. Like a cross between chicken and rabbit. Not bad, but I wouldn't make a habit of it.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 13:12
Saturday, 21 November 2009
First of all, thanks to everyone who responded to my little plea yesterday. And if you were thinking of doing so but didn't get round to it, please do. All contributions gratefully received.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:28