Where there’s a will

Sometimes a word just bugs me. Not in a words I like and dislike kind of way (kerfuffle springs to mind on the positives). No, the word that’s got my goat lately is ‘unwilling’.

You see, in the 4G contract sale that didn’t raise as much as expected, the reason was said to be the fact EE hadn’t sold as many contracts as expected. This was because people are ‘unwilling’ to pay more for faster downloads.

Really? Is the term you’re looking for really ‘unwilling’? Or is it ‘unable’? The fact we’re in a big fat financial crisis that means people are struggling to pay for food and energy seems to have been ignored. That food banks are springing up around the country and payday loans are prevalent has gone unnoticed. That faster download speeds might not be top of the average Joanna’s priorities has not been recognised. It intrigues me to wonder who coined this expression. Was it an impressive piece of political spin? Or lazy journalism by people far removed from real life?

I’d be willing to pay more. And I’d be willing to pay more to be awoken every morning by three chirpy little birds flying to my window and tweeting reggae tunes before being chauffeured to work by a bi-lingual Dalmatian on a candyfloss-powered motorcycle. But alas, no matter how much willing I show, I am currently unable.

 

 

Dear Blog

I’m sorry.
I haven’t forgotten you.
I promise one day I shall come back to you and lavish you with words.
Just not today.

Quote #2

 

 

Thank you to whoever typeset this wonderful quote so beautifully (so I could grab this screenshot many moons ago).

 

Not black and white

Pantone have created a new colour guide – 110 colours that represent skin tones. You can see more about it here.

 

It seems like quite an odd thing right away, but when you consider its uses it’s a wonderful thing. Not only in fashion and cosmetics, but in creating prosthetics. I’ve always been amazed at the fact sticking plasters are almost exclusively available in a that odd pinky peachy so-called ‘flesh’ tone. Only one flesh tone doesn’t exist – as these 110 colours show.

And as my niece pointed out as a 6 year old, “People aren’t black and white. Zebras are black and white.” You can’t argue with that.

 

EDIT: My indepth research A quick google search saw ‘plasters for black people’ come up on autotype and a 2 year old Guardian article talks of them being available. (Couldn’t find any on Boots website though.)

Not funny

So there I was, happily working away. I’d reached a time for a pause so I checked Twitter. And I came across this (courtesy of @sodelafo).

Now please don’t watch this if you’re not prepared to weep. Because this is emotional. This is someone’s pain – raw, uncomfortable and inescapable.

Once it stopped, I stopped working. Instead I picked up my sleeping son and held him. Felt the weight of him on me, his warmth. Nestled my head in his soft hair and listened to his gentle breaths. And I remembered just how lucky I am.

I don’t know what else to say. I was going to say, rather flippantly, that this is the reason you shouldn’t stop to read Twitter while you’re working. But you know what, this is the reason you should.

Quote #1

I love a good quote. And where better place to collate them all than right here on my blog. Never mind old favourites for now, here’s one I came across the first time a few days ago.

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

Marie Curie

Blog questions

Loathe as I am to use the word ‘blogosphere’, it seems it’s filled with advice on how to write a good blog.

(I’ll add proofread to the list having just typed the end of that sentence as ‘how to write a god blog’. Though that could be interesting…)

I have no doubt that the acres of advice out there includes some great tips and a useful starting point for many, but the thing that I wonder is why they never seem to ask what the purpose of your blog is?

Do all blogs have an identical porpoise? (Yes, that was a joke.) Surely identifying its purpose – if any – is crucial to choosing the right advice. Dentists can give you lots of useful information, but it’s generally better when they start with an idea of what you want to achieve.

One of the key things that crops up again and again is involving people, inviting feedback, starting a conversation. (I’m back to blogs, not dentists – keep up.)

There seems to be an assumption that writing a blog is about interacting with others. Yet there’s a contradiction there with another widely proffered piece of advice – that you should start writing a blog ‘for you’.

The invitation for feedback is one that can be seen right across the breadth of blogs out there. It’s particularly prevalent on brand blogs and blogs which have become so popular they’re effectively brands themselves. I noticed one brand blog recently where every post included an invitation for a response – a ‘what do you think?’, ‘tell us what you think’, ‘do you agree?’ tagged on to every single post.
It became so repetitive it was embarrassing, coming over as a desperate afterthought. It shows a lack of faith in what has been written being interesting enough to warrant a response without a prompt. Like someone going round asking ‘do you want to be friends?’, ‘can we be friends?’, ‘let’s be best friends’.

Of course, there’s only one way to end this post now.

What do YOU think?

Copywriting car crash

This upsets me.

It was recently at the top of the Video Viral chart. It didn’t stay there for long. I’m not surprised. A celebration of 80 years of one the greatest toys ever created – and they created this. I hope they’re hanging their (square, yellow) heads in shame.

You have a great brand. You have a great story. You have a significant budget.

Like the product itself, here was a brief that was full of potential. A little inspiration, a little innovation, a little imagination and you could create a magnificent little film to celebrate Lego’s history.

I can just about get over the pronunciation of Ley-go. But who in their wrong mind wrote this horrendous excuse for a script?

It reads like a factory tour presentation video. And a badly written one at that. I couldn’t watch it all. Yet I couldn’t help but skip to see if it improved. It only got worse. The man who invented Lego had imagination, talent, innovation coarsing through his veins. Yet they imagined, as he was inspired to create Lego, he said:

“Children have only been offered ready-made solutions. They need something different that will strengthen their imagination and creativity.”

He didn’t. I’m sorry – he just didn’t. No one speaks like that. Only terrible third-rate marketing presentations to fourth-rate accountancy folks drone like that. And even then they deserve to be shot.

Even if they insisted on following this dull format, at least give the man some personality. Ready-made solutions? It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to buy Mega Bloks.

Lego fans deserved so much more. These are people who will do things like this.

Lego should apologise to them for this 17 minutes of shame.

They should remember that once upon a time they brought you this…

Simple. Imaginative. Joyous.

Just like Ley-go should always be.

Book love

I feel so lucky that I love reading so much. I’m trying to install a love of books in my son. He might not be old enough to read yet, but he already enjoys the pictures. And what are words in a book but pictures waiting for your mind to form?

Libraries, bookshops, particularly secondhand ones… there’s something magical about them. So much there simply waiting to be discovered. Interpreted. All hidden away, dormant. Until that dusty cover is opened.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-ebooks. Anything that gets people reading is great by me. I’ve even been known to enjoy well-written shampoo bottle copy before. (Aussie Haircare if you must know.)

But what could be better than something you can enjoy anywhere (in whatever format) and that has the potential to take you anywhere. Stretched out in the sunshine or curled up with a cuppa, there’s little can beat getting stuck into a great book.

There are the ones you read in one sitting, others that are a worthwhile struggle, some that you would rather read by torchlight under the covers than abandon for a few hours.

Sorry – but I’m going to have to go now. I need to get a few chapters in before sleep beckons (and then attacks).

Sometimes we don’t know where things will take us. Sometimes that’s the point.

Today I inspired someone to do nothing.

Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much of an achievement but it’s one I’m very proud of. A good long chat with a fantastic friend (one with a clinical aversion to sitting still) led to her proclamation that I had inspired her… to do nothing.

 

Of course, when she says nothing she means reading a book, watching the world pass by, simply sitting. There can be a lot goes into doing nothing. There’s a lot went into our conversation about doing nothing. Including a talk I watched earlier – John Cleese on Creativity. (I’ve had it ready to watch for so long I’ve forgotten who’s blog to credit finding it with – apologies if it was yours.)

 

One of the things he talks about is the importance of play. Play has no outcome, no goals – its purpose is play. But it’s through play that we discover things. Things we sometimes didn’t even know we were looking for.

 

Even committing myself to sitting down to watch the 36minute YouTube video felt like doing very little (I can’t bring quite myself to class it as nothing – I might not have the time to put it into practice lately, but I certainly know how to do nothing). But that particular ‘nothing/very little’ was instrumental in a great conversation that served a vitally important purpose.

 

I hope to continue doing very little in order to inspire nothing.

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