I'm still mourning for bacon, but you've got to hand it to Scoop Brown (as I think he's now called), that was a well run campaign. Despite the bullying and the ungracious way they embraced victory, Andy, Rob and Famous Rob deserve their day in the sun too.
Next up, sausage takes on Lamb and this time is has to be the humble wurst. Marcus's sound argument for boycotting eating sheep toddlers should be enough. But sausages are not only more versatile, they make better sandwiches (espescially when mixed with bacon) and pigs in blankets are simply genius.
By the way, if you're vegatarian, vote any way, vegetarian sausages are great, lamb is, well meat. A vote for sausage could well save an innocent creature.
Plucky optimists that we are, we're trying again this Thursday at Arts Cafe Leeds. People will start wandering in at about 7.30, If you're around we'd love to see you. Sausages are off the menu.
I was at a CIM breakfast seminar on 'The value of blogging' this morning. I learned two things:
1. Marketing folk are terrified of new stuff and blogs scare them witless. Blogs represent 'loss of control' and at best, a new way to get valuable feedback. The idea of being authentic, interesting and talking to people on their terms hasn't entered the heads of even the people who profess to be new media gurus.
2. Never ever forget that just because something makes perfect sense to you, it does to others. This morning was a useful reminder that you must always be ready to persuade, no matter how obvious something might seem to you.
By the way, I met a lovely grey marketing specialist who thinks that sexually transmitted diseases will be affecting the older generation more than youths, thanks to the divorce rate and less comfort with safe sex. Makes sense when you think about it.
The British Social Attitudes Survey was out this week. While facts are nothing without ideas to bring them to life, or understanding 'why', stuff like this is still useful:
Some thoughts on how to change things from Bulb Magazine. I like especially like 'hate the sin, love the sinner'. It's easy to berate people for not getting your point of view, it's hard to figure out how to be more persuasive (I exclude sausages from this)
Recipe for a change Maker:
A simple idea rooted in reality: Something simple reflecting real needs
Hope: People will put a lot of effort in if they think there's a chance
Understanding: The more people understand, the more it frightens those that wield the power. Understanding the roots of the problem is the key to positive action
Trust and consistency: It's essential to inspire trust, which in turns needs consistency- of principles at least
Determination: It can be lonely, since you're up against the established views shared by most. If you threaten those in power, you'll be ignored by most. Be ready to take flak.
Ask the right questions
Hate the sin, love the sinner: Lasting change means convincing the people who initially loathe what you stand for.
Be both patient and impatient: Be resilient and persevere, but be ready to pounce on opportunities when they come
Work quietly: rather than seeking attention.You'll be respected more for it in the end.
Also, here's some varying views on the concept of home. Interesting to see how personal the interpretation is.
Thanks to Scamp, I've found David Bonney's blog. Thanks to David, my group got first prize at the APG Training Network back in the day. Now, with a rigour that could settle the argument about blogging being bad for planning , he's posting all sorts of meaty stuff about the power of negative emotion in advertising. Good to find out what he's been up to since last we spoke too.
The world economy has grown at a rate of 3.2% since 2000. Capitalism is doing well. Or is it? They're beginning to mix psychology with economics and they're finding that affluent countries are not getting any happier as they get richer. No one would be foolish enough to discount the need for world equality, or a solution to global worming, but economists are beginning to view their discipline as 'how to make more people happy'. Not so 'gay' after all.
One problem they're looking at is the way we turn luxury into necessity. We take things for granted that other generations could only dream of - but as soon as we reach a better standard of living we become numbed to it's pleasures. In the 1930's they thought that richer societies would free people up to enjoy more leisure -but instead we're working harder to enjoy the things we think will make us happy, only to find we end up taking them for granted. So we work our socks off to get even richer, which forces the rest to keep up as well.
So if relentless consumerism is destroying the planet and it doesn't make us happy anyway, what could fill the gap? Are humans simply hardwired to never be satisfied with what they have? One fellow thinks not, he thinks it's about experiences - but not the current trend for quality time with loved ones. Just like physical things, we'll never beleive we have enough. Rather, maybe we can make sure what we actayully DO fulfills this restless drive, instead of being an end to having more stuff.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi handed out pagers to thousands of people and asked them to log their mood when prompted. Of course, most were happiest pottering in the garden or eating, but a lucky few loved losing themselves in their work. This happy state he calls 'flow' - the kind of work that stretches you, gives you clear goals and sense of control. Amazingly, if these things lack, we try and 'sculpt' our jobs to compensate -hairdressers serve as emotional confidants to clients and call centre staff cannot resist helping people on the other end of the phone.
In Republic, Plato put forward the idea that the only just society is one where everyone does what they're best at. Maybe this stuff shows how right he was - as long as it's work we can lose ourselves in.
On the Radio 4 this morning I heard the results from the what is claimed to be the biggest memory survey ever. They got ten thousand people to reveal their earliest memories, self defining memories and public event memories (I remember where I was when Kennedy died for example). There was lots in this stuff but it was 'self defining' memories I found most interesting.
These are recollections that are incredibly vivid and have had a profound effect on your life - the course it's taken and how you've lived it. One person mentioned the shame at getting told off in junior school making them really bad at taking criticism, while, another embraced their half Swedish heritage for the first time thanks to the peace they found on a mountain near Stockholm. Unsurprisingly, it's the senses that bring these memories crashing back into the consciousness, and they will dramatically affect what we're doing at the time.
Todays cars are designed to make us feel impregnable. We can drive at high speeds and feel in control, while we're cocooned in our own little kingdom. People drove far more politely on Thursday night, maybe because they felt a bit more vulnerable than usual. Driving in the strong wind hasn't been a barrel of laughs, but I've enjoyed feeling like I'm really driving, as opposed to the car driving me.
Sorry, I'm sure you're as sick of Big Brother as I, but I can't help it.
From 'good hearted working class girl' to 'foul mouthed dimwit' in the space of few days. Has anything revealed the cruelty of the media better than this sorry spectacle? No one would excuse the bullying meted out to Shilpa, but the meticulous assasination by the media seems just as bad.
Britain feels pleased with itself for punishing this pathetic creation of celebrity obsessed times for her terrible crimes - I wonder how many have noticed the double standards in the unwillingness to forgive someone who is so obviously a product of under education and upbringing? That doesn't strike me as tolerant either.
This week David Cameron wrote in The Telegraph that he would opt out of the EU Social Chapter. That means lots of things, but in particular, part time workers would lose most of the basic rights afforded to full timers. This is cuddly, 'Hug -a Hoodie' Cameron, ride a bike to work Cameron. But as long we all know how evil Jade Goody is I suppose it doesn't matter eh?
This is a brilliant article from The Guardian on the development of motorways in the last 50 years. You'd be pushed to find a more searing example of the changes in our cultural tastes than roadside services. Out with Little Chef and in with M&S Simply Food.
On the drive in this morning I played an old compilation tape. It included these four, in this order. it felt really, really good.
Paint a Vulgar Picture -The Smiths (alledgedly about Paul Young)
Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunny Men
Under Pressure - David Bowie singing live without bloody Queen
Thanks to the culmination of darkness, the weather and post Christmas comedown, today is supposed to be the most depressing of the year.
So, contrary so and so that I am, I'm rejecting the temptation to pull the duvet over my head and call in sick. Instead, I'm going to be annoyingly upbeat.
Reasons to be cheerful this morning:
So there you go, not too shabby for Andrew.
Not only am I having a day out of the office tomorrow, if I ever get home tonight, I'm having a total computer embargo. Need some time to think and wander around some stuff.
Have a good weekend and here's a picture I like, just because.
While tidying my desk, I found this old cutting from a newspaper about age and sex. A global study (doesn't say by who or what for) using 30,000 people (doesn't say how they were recruited) has found that over 40's have the best sex. Since I'm 33 and feeling it, I'll welcome this new knowledge with open arms, despite it's dubious source. Two interesting asides:
1. Men tend to be more satisfied than their female partners.
2. Australians claim to have the highest satisfaction rate.
I'm liking the thought of challenging the institutionally chauvinistic notion that only the young have the right to get their nooky, and older people doing it is a bit icky. Feels like part of the wider occurance of people staying younger in their heads for longer.
On the other hand, isn't one persons definition of 'good sex' someone else's idea of a ghastly mistake?
I can't get home. The cursed weather has blocked off all my driving routes home. Good excuse to stay late and do some work, but first I'm going to tidy my disgusting desk.
I've already posted in Lets See what Happens for the first time in months.
From my point of view, I like planning blogs because:
a) Most good planning blogs don't just talk about planning, which makes it a great source for finding thoughts to store for a rainy day.
b) Even better, l like the way good ideas get better and bad ideas get smoked out, a kind of blog Darwinism I suppose. Lots of new thinking is put out there, good ideas get talked about, commented on, developed and improved. The not so good either gets ignored or crumbles under the sheer weight of ananysis is gets. I think this helps us all to experiment, try new stuff and learn from each other. I for one get very lonely in a one man department.
Apart from calling me cool, in her comments on the John Steel post Carol wondered if John Steel began to explain what planning really is, and if it's at odds with the realities of where some of us work:
"Do YOU think he explained what 'account planning' is? With all this talk of not being stuck in a professional evironment, well, wouldn't that make an employer (and a client) a bit nervous? I've got friends who are actually clocking on.
Can you imagine it? "From 10:45 to 12:30 I did some account planning". I think we do it 24/7, funnest job in the world."
For what it's worth, I think he did. He showed planning as stimulating the best ideas that will solve the business challenge. Information is crucial, but that's nothing without the intuituion that helps start looking in the right place, and using what you find correctly. That needs freedom to look and think in the first place.
Beeker's done a far better representation of last night than I. I'll go back to nonsense about tea and swimming.
Another reason all that training was worth it. Did all 195 steps, not even out of breath.
Only thing I had time for last night, I just wanted to feel that overwhelming rush of humanity you only get in London (if you live in England).
By the way, it's so much milder down there. People drinking coffee outside, it's freezing up here.
So I did a flying visit to London to see John Steel's talk on pitching. While I didn't have time to catch up with some people while I was down there, I was hoping to bump into some familiar faces at the event. Carol was one, but she couldn't make it. So for her and anyone else that couldn't be there, here's what happened. Sorry if it's been post rationalised into my blinkered view of the world - I'll be interested to see what others think. Incidentally, I wonder who was there that I 'know' as a blogger?
First of all, I was expecting more on actual pitches and less on working practices, although much of what he said was useful and made sense. He talked a lot about good powerpoint, which most people would know (wouldn't they) - specifically, less slides, more visual, use as props, not script.
By the way, he's a terrible name dropper, but maybe if you're working peers are Martin Sorrel, Andy Berlin and Jeff Goodbye, I suppose hat's unavoidable.
He recycled much of what was in 'Truth Lies and Advertising', but it was great hearing. Like the way the Porsche work would never have happened with normal work practices, or creative ways of doing research. He also used blinding good anecdotes.
By the way, I managed to do my swimming challenge. It's official, in late December I was as fast as I was at fourteen. It's taught me one or two things:
This article from The Independent discusses the UK's increasing love for fine foods and throws up some interesting stuff:
The growth of retailer premium private label food ALONGSIDE organic and fairtrade maybe shows how much ethical buying is status as much as morality.
Intersting to see that M&S may well lose out on two fronts - from competition from the supermarkest AND cooking from scratch (largely thanks to celebrity chefs).
By the way, I love Sainsbury's 'Try something new today'. Rousing customers out of 'sleepshopping' uses a great insight, but it's the way the idea can be executed down a mundane product and price ad that I you see how well it works.
Of course Sainsbury's returning to a 'real food hero' positioning was obvious, but few appreciate that doing it any earlier would have been a mistake. They had to sort out distribution first. I used to work on another supermarket and we all knew that Sainsbury's shoppers WANT Sainsnburys to do well. They love it there and feel closer to it than customers of any other supermarket. Simply making sure the shelves were stacked properly would win old customers back - not sorting this would just piss them off again.
The genius of the current strategy is that encourages current customers to to buy more, and possibly upgrade, while giving new customers a reason to visit, forage and explore. Very, very clever.
And so to the Times. This was the last planned paper in this experiment, but I may as well push on and do the Star, Independent and Guardian in the next week or so.
First of all, it's a lot to get through - 32 pages on pure news, with opinion sandwiched in the middle. By the time I got to the world section, I was worn out.
While not as straight as The Telegraph, the stories are delivered in a serious manner and seem pretty objective. It's interesting to see that, similar to The Guardian, they include 'briefings' from experts next to the big stories and issues. Very useful, adding more context, but there's a danger that these can slip into opinion rather than analysis.
I never watch ITN News for this reason. reporters on site never seem to deliver the facts, instead they tell is what they think the facts mean.
My own personal view is that I like reading stuff with a bit of meat, some argument - but that's only because I listen to a lot of straight news on the radio. It comes down to whether you want more depth and discussion to add to what you know, or you just want to know what's going on I suppose.
I found the comment section a good read. Dense with strong arguements, well backed up, I espescially liked Mary Ann Sieghart's analysis of David Miliband. Incidentally, I find it sad that our country seems to pick looks and likeability over experience and talent, but there you go.
The world section was meaty, and I have to admit that I prefer it to The Guardian. While the Guardian's international coverage is equally robust, on reflection, the delivery is quite biased, sometimes with more 'background' and briefing than actual fact.
The sport was packed with a fair cross section of stuff that wasn't football, although I found the writing more 'tabloid' than I expected.
But after all that, I simply couldn't be bothered with Times2, which may have been a shame, but it wasn't helped by a layout that suggested everything was going to take ages to read. I just don't have the time.
So I'll be coming back to The Times for international news, but overall, I got a little bored. On the other hand, if I've missed the news, this may be the place I go.
Few would disagree that Global Warming has moved from a peripheral issue to one of the defining challenges for mankind. But on the grand scale of Earth's history, it's still pretty cold. The polar ice caps have come and gone many times.
The last 'Ice Age' never ended, we're still in it. It just happens that we're in an 'interglacial period' or a bit of a lull. No one is entirely sure why these lulls ebb and flow, but if nature was allowed to run its course, we'll be plunged into a worldwide freeze again before it gets very, very hot.
When stuff like this is so finely balanced, it puts our messing with the climate into perspective.
All it takes for an Ice Age to come about is one bad summer where less ice melts than usual. More heat from unmelted snow gets reflected, even less ice melts, less heat again, more ice and on it goes.
They believe that at one point, the entire planet was covered in ice and it took a volcanic eruption to to reverse it. Meteroligists believe this gave us the most chaotic weather ever, with winds whipping up tidal waves to skycraper levels.
Incidentally, there was brief reverse of our Ice Age lull in the 15,000's, when the Arctic Ice Sheet went as far as the Orkneys, and humans were responsible for it's end thanks to the Black Death. The catastrophic loss of life resulted in abandoned farmland being covered by trees, and the extra carbon dioxide absorbtion dropped the temperature.
So we move on to the Sun. I'll review today's Times on Monday.
This is the paper that alledgedly decides British General Elections, easiest the nations best selling newspaper. If you want to get into the mindset of the people, this is a good start.
First off, Page 3. Today it's Keeley. It doesn't stop with the press though, you can text a number and get more saucy pics on your mobile. A British insitution or a bastion of sexism? Dunno.
Front page is devoted mainly to David Beckham's move to L.A. Which is fair enough, according to a Learning Skills Council survey last year, he's still a big role model.
The Paper follows a similar format to The Mirror, a bit a news, a bit of opinion and loads of gossip and lifestyle. Which is fair enough, this what they want to know about.
The main front section news stories are The Home Office fiasco and a deperssingly small report on Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq.
Naturally the subtle tone is at odds to The Mirror. As opposed to John Reid 'sorting out' the problems, The Sun has him 'knowing nothing'. The opinion section includes, 'labour has lost the war on MRSA'. The Sun's true colours are clear. It's unclear yet if Ruper Murdoch will support Cameron or Brown, but he's certainly had enough of Blair.
So that's the tabloids finished. I can also tell you that the Express is a watered down Mail and the Star is not really a newspaper. Is it a problem that there is little real, factual news? I suppose not, I don't believe you can ram serios issues down people's throats if they're not interested. These papers give their audience exactly what they ask for - The Mirror's slump in sales when it went serios shows that.
I was a bit harsh on the Mirror yesterday, since their bending of the facts is no worse than the Sun. All papers have an agenda, red top or no (although we'll see what the Times is like), all use fact to fit whatever they want to say. I've more of a concern with the Mail and the Express that pretend to be serious.
That said, I find it disturbing that the tabloids choose what to report. it's one thing to have a more fun balancem it's another to only report on the things you want to people to know.
Thanks to the newspaper project, naturally I've been thinking about what really matters to people and how to include them in politics, espescially the young and by happy coincidence I found this at PSFK. Myspace US is launching a competition called where members post a 60 second film of their views on the state of America and what needs to change.
It seems a million miles smarter than Webcameron, which strikes me as thinly veiled propaganda, viewed by the young as an old fart trying to be down with the kids (This anti-debt campaign is better, seeded on the web, but it's still older people tell kids what to do).
Isn't it a universal truth that the young think the old haven't a clue? Espescially when it concerns what really matters to them. At the same time, social media and it's endless niches mean that kids can shut out the adult world more than ever, and they have a very strong bullshit detector. Asking them to tell US what we should do, on their terms makes a lot of sense. If they they're not interested in our agenda, asking them to help us set it seems very credible, and we may just learn something.
I had a conversation on the phone last night with an old friend. It doesn't matter what it was about, but it reminded me that when you get older, friends become like family.
I don't mean in the surrogate family sense - you know young people who have all moved away to different cities - but real family. People you've grown to love and belong with - like it or not
At some point in your life you realise there's some people you know better than anyone. You have a shared history that no one else will ever match. Others have come and gone along the way, but these are the people you've chosen to be your friends for life, consciously or not. They're not perfect, they wind you up but you love them anyway. Just like your real family.
It's a wonderful, comforting thing, but like all relationships, it needs work. With marriage, kids, work and whatever else, it's easy to neglect them, just like you sometimes forget to call Mum. But, apart from Mrs Hovells, I don't laugh with anyone like I laugh with my lot, no one else 'gets me' and accepts my faults. I'm odd, always have been, so are they and that's a real joy.
One's thing for sure, the days of Piers Morgan are well and truly over. A while back he tried to make the Mirror a more serious paper and cover issues in depth. Sales plummeted.
No wonder then that the front page is devoted to Leona from the X Factor. Most of the paper is devoted to the gossipy lifestyle stuff we saw in the Mail, in fact the only real difference is that The Mirror is clearly pitched at a lower income bracket. The sport is virtually all football hyperbole with some racing thrown in.
Interesting on page two, which is like a longform contents page with a precis of what will be covered - basically sport, showbiz and opinion. The news bit is a couple of snapshots not covered elsewhere.
This is where The Mirror first reveals it's loyalties. 'Blair to make his personal plane journeys carbon neutral' and 'a massive 95% cut in government websites will be launched today ...to slash red tape...and give a better service to the public'. That's it.
Two news pages. One devoted to the US air strikes at the Al Qaeda tatgets in Somalia. The title, 'PAYBACK'. Interestingly, the other page is scathing article on the home office. Sounds like they're not so loyla after all, except a caption reads 'Mr Reid has demanded a majot probe'. 'A probe is already underway to discover how he was left in the dark'. In other words, it's not the government's fault and they'll sort it out. Neat.
As for Kevin Maguire, with the only 'news opinion' in the paper, he has a pop at Cameron glossing over his priveledged background and manages to turn the Ruth kelly private school affair into a pop at the Tories as well, as 'the small band defending (her)splurging of £15,000 to buy private tuition....is dominated by Tories'. 'do not underestimate (Gordon Brown's) fury over the row she triggered. Very clever.
So the is perfectly pitched to it's audience. Lots of interest and lifestyle. Nothing wrong with that, it's what sells, but what little real news there is little more than thinly veiled propaganda. The only reason I prefer it to The Mail is that it doesn't use limited, bent facts to prove it's argument.
'Let's see what's out there'.
Jason's got an interesting quote on planning. Gemma's new blog is already a place for useful advice like this and this. Love have some sober reflections on the future. Interuption is a word you here a lot these days, Marcus has a post that gives another perspective and is also a cracking read. One Woman Running is planning coffee for young creatives, but planners don't seem to like any coffee morning without them and are muscling in. Jason from LB Toronto has interesting thoughts on how to treat your target audience. Now that Rob Mortimer has got broadband sorted, he's rearing himself away from the Wii and posting regularly again. His review of last year is up to the usual Mortimer standards. This post from Helen about episodic storytelling made me thing about the value of a good story. Beeker's having fun with unplugged night. JamesB continues to give us meaty stuff to think about, like this post on human relations and materialism. Rob is scared of the Iphone and he's got some wide observations on the rubbish they sell in airports. Finally, Scamp has some good advive on getting to meet creatives and meeting Gwen Yip. Good for teams after their first job, great for planners looking for ways to develop relationships in other departments,
I tried, I really tried. But the headline of yesterday's Daily Mail didn't start us off well. The leader screamed, "A lesson in hypocrisy" and went on to describe the alleged double standards of Ruth Kelly (cabinet minister) who's is sending her child to a £17,000 a year private school. The rights or wrongs of this are up to you, maybe you think people in government are honour bound to make an example, maybe you think people have the right to do what they think is best for the kids. But the tone of the article persuades you to one point of view only.
The rest of the news section carries on in pretty much the same way, I can honestly say that I find it hard to find out what happened yesterday. Most of it is argument, with few facts. When there are facts, they are skillfully used to highlight one side of the story. This is fine for editorial of course, but not for the 'news' section (in my opinion).
For example, there's an article that discusses the rise in the cost of living. The headline reads, 'The sums that sink Labour's (notice Labour. not government) claim of 2.7pc inflation rate' - before you go further they're making your mind up for you. The government puts the rise in the cost of living since 1997 at 15%. It's based on the retail price index, which they rightly point out leaves out housing costs and council tax.
But here's the rub. 'The tories say that the typical family is paying £9, 925 more in mortgage payments. in tax.....'. There are more things the tories say, but notice that the government figures are official, yet the Tories 'claim'. But this 'sinks Labour's 2.7% claim'. Now they move on to state some figures, but this is in the last third of the article where most attention spans have gone. Helen suggested that part of this little project should include Andrew Marr's excellent book, A short History of Journalism and I think she's right. For now, one thing I remember is that articles are designed to get the story out in the first paragraph, as the further someone reads, the less likely they are to take it in. People skim the first para and decide to move on, or not. One last thing, nowhere do they mention what the rise in average income is compared to the rise in the cost of living, and anyway, mortgages have risen with the free market, surely a Daily Mail staple? Or they after a bigger state?
The comment section is huge. There's David Seymour convinced that pay as you throw rubbish collections are a money making wheeze, not about recycling. He may have a point, but at least it will encourage us to waste less. A good thing surely.
The Mail then comes into its own, with about 15 pages of Hello magazine type gossip, style, diets and health. If you thought The Mail wasn't a housewives paper, this should change your mind.
Then the sport falls in to the trap of the front of paper. Less results and analysis, more headlines,and mostly football.
So overall, I got what I was expecting. Opinion, lifestyle and and little else. But of course, bearing in mind the audience, it's easy to say this is fine, it's what they think, so give them what they want. It does become a bit frustrating when these factoids get quoted to you though in conversation though.
I like this post on the Howies blog about songs to makem you run faster, and the selection was good too. I can't run anymore (thanks to worn out hip cartiledge) but I do swim, so I demand someone makes a decent personal music player for the pool. Or is there one already?
Her indoors has her birthday four days before me, so we had a big birthday bash at the weekend , leaving yesterday as a nice quiet day. I finally got to watch The Thick Of It, which was absolute genius.
I got lots of books, CD's and stuff which was jolly nice.
Mrs Hovells is very good at choosing clothes.
Good wine is one of life's greatest pleasures.
As is Mrs Hovells's lasagne. Is there anything more heavenly than the smell of slowly frying garlic?
So the first experiment in truth.
First of all, it's a broadsheet, something I'm no longer used to. It felt a bit unwieldy at first, I wouldn't read it on a train, but it felt delightfully grown up to hold an old style serious paper again.
The Telegraph in brilliantly written. Apart from maybe The Guardian (though I'm biased there) I find it the best written paper in the UK. The sport section is probably the best there is, full of stuff that's written with the same rigour and attention to detail as the front page stuff. This is not common.
I was mortified at the size of the international section. With only five pages covering not very much, I don't expect Telegraph readers to know much about life beyond these shores if this there only source of information.
I found the front of paper well balanced and easy to get through. There was just enough detail, but not too much to get through. Overall, the tone seemed fairly well balanced, I felt I was reading facts as opposed to opinions, although I got annoyed at two things and interested in another:
1. The front page headline says, "Brown pledge to challenge Bush over war on terror", when actually he just said that he would speak his mind.
2. On page two, there's an article about a cabinet minister who has taken a child out of state school and into the private sector. The text begins with 'LABOUR faced fresh accusations', not 'THE GOVERNMENT'.
I was very surprised at the lack of opinion articles. Some would call this a good thing, since a newspaper is, well, about news. I on the other hand quite like this, if it's not at the expense of space for facts. They have a neat trick of pointing you to comment and opinion online, but when the web can give you instantaneous news, I wonder if the future of papers is more argument in paper and more facts online.
That said, I enjoyed Janet Daley's article, titled, 'If the eco snobs had their way. none of us would go anywhere. The thrust of her argument is that just as more people can afford travel, eco issues will price it back out of their reach. She doesn't think it's fair that only the rich will be able to afford extensive travel in the future - but my answer is that it's only know we'll be paying the full price.
What really worries me is this, "It is certainly possible that the premises of the environmental campaigners are sound: that we are in mortal danger and this is the result of human activity". POSSIBLE!!!??? Isn't the only argument how bad, not if? She does go on to mention that she's not a scientist, so won't put forward a scientific argument (which doesn'r really help her case?), but the she uses Malthus' 19th century predictions that only plague, war or natural disaster would save the world from mass starvation in the next fifty years.
Of course, technological innovations saw them through with new intensive farming methods, and she argues that innovation and technology can save us again (if there's a problem at all) . But for her to argue against doing what we can now, instead of hoping for nuclear fusion or a hydrogen fuel cell seems like madness to me. We got lucky back then, who's to say that we will this time? This breathtaking complacency astounds me. Of course, we've all been wrong before, but her argument seems similar to someone with a lump on his testicle not seeing the doctor, that way he won't have to worry about having cancer and even if he's got it, there will be a cure anytime soon, Won't there?
I enjoyed disagreeing with her, so despite the thin comments, I'll be coming back to the Telegraph for opinion to test my own bias. I'll also flick through for some quick news too, it seems fairly well balanced.
One last thing, aesthetics. The typeface and layout make it feel stuffy, old and backwards. or maybe that's the point.
Next northern planning summit is in Leeds January 18th.
It's at Arts Cafe and we'll have grown a bit. 7 While everyone else is having coffee, we may indulge in something a bit stronger. Simon Griffin from Love in Manchester will be joining us, which may mean an expedition over the pennines in the near future, it's only fair. I'll be looking forward to grilling him about Yorkshire Tea.
JamesB may be staying at mine. Don't know what he's expecting (although there is vague mention of full English), the first time we met ended up sleeping in his own garden. We haven't put the tent away from summer yet, might not bother now just in case.
Scott's got these mini city models in the office. I've gone on about architecture before, as has Famous Rob. It's funny how no matter the high street's may get homogised up close, the individual character shines through when you step back a bit. It's just a bunch of shapes, yet you instantly recognise:
Before Mr Agassi came along, my favourite tennis player was Lendl. Odd, when there was the delightfully mad John McEnroe or Becker's Wagnerian serve to choose from, but there you are.
I admired about the way he always worked on his weaknesses. He had an endurance problem so he modified his diet to become the fittest player ever, McEnroe kept exploiting his weak backhand, so he developed on of the best topspin backhands of the era. Even his weak volleying improved to the point he was unlucky to not win Wimbeldon.
Sometimes it's not the things that you're great at that lead to success, it's improving those weaknesses that hold you back.
The two Robs have got me thinking as usual. See the post below, The Kraken has awoken and they're getting all agitated about the media and politics. Quite rightly in my opinion.
BUT, who am I to comment as someone who only reads the Guardian every day. Am I objective? Doubt it. So in the interests of balance, I'm going to read a different newspaper every day next week and comment on what I find. Not only will I be able to test my limp wristed liberal tendencies, I may well learn something.
Monday is The Telegraph
Tuesday is The Mail
Wednesday is The Mirror
Thursday is The Sun
Friday is The Times
I've left out The Independent because I read it sporadically when I fancy a liberal comic. The Star is not a newspaper and I read my Mum's Express when I go stay. I'll post as I go along.
Sometimes a few numbers can throw up all sorts of juicy questions and directions.
Here are some excerpts from the 2007 edition of the wonderful Schott's Almanac:
Foreigners within populations as a percentage of total population, which maybe sheds some light on the emotional immigration arguments in the UK:
Luxembourg 38.6%, Australia 22.8%, Canada 18.2%, Germany 8.9%, Spain 3.9%, France 5.6%, UK 4.8%
Top global locations for Googling 'porn':
1. Birmingham UK 2. Manchester UK 3. Brisbane Australia 4. Melbourne Australia 5. Delhi India
Items lost in hotels:
1. Mobiles and chargers 2. clothes 3. toiletries 4. false teeth (!) 5. laptops
Percentage of Uk dwellers who believe they are living comfortably:
1986 1994 2002 2003 2004
24 29 39 44 40
By analysing the entire text of individual works, amazon.com created a service that enables purchasers to compare readability and complexity of the books they're browsing, here are some selected stats:
Zadie Smith On Beauty Dan Brown DaVinci Code Levitt Freakonomics
Fog index* 8.7 9.1 11.1
Complex words 9% 12% 14%
Rob has bitten off more than he can chew. Instead of revealing 5 things like the rest of that got tagged, he's rashly promised to answer any ten questions you want, maybe the least thought out post in history.
The only catch is that he can choose which ten to answer. Since there is more than ten juicy ones already, Famous Rob Mortimer thinks we should leave it there so he has no choice at all (he's not as nice as he comes across obviously).
I've shied away from reviewing creative work, why bother when you've got Famous Rob. I can't resist commenting on Vodkat though, shamed as I am that it's from a Leeds agency. I've already banged on about the need for regional agencies to pull their socks up, enjoy Exhibit A.
They had it all- semiotic proposition with legs,"22% drink, with a kick and attitude, you know where you stand with it", co-creation (casting normal people 'with attitude'), even user generated stuff. What went wrong? They forgot to get the execution right.
Maybe the idea was bigger than the budget, I hope that's the reason, but they've taken every opportunity to sap all the meat and romance from the brand (you have no idea they are not just bad actors for example) and left you with, well, you decide. There's a lot of talk about the need for execution to be part of the strategy - here's why.
My post festive waistline proves I'm a lover of good food. I love cooking and playing in the kitchen, but not like the stuff in this article on nano technology from the Observer.
I loved Charlie and the Chocolate factory, but I never dreamed that chewing gum as a meal would be possible, but this stuff is here right now. While it's all very exciting, as a lover of real food, with all it's sensual brilliance, it's traditions and rituals, I'd still want food to enjoy and take time over. Just because you can, it doesn't always mean you should. Heston Blumenthal take note.