relationships

Have you ever seen Buster Keaton's movies? You haven't?  Well, I would like you to remedy that right now. It's Friday, and there are few better things to do on a Friday than brew some tea (or wonderful coffee, if that's your bag), bake some scones, and settle down to some classic Buster Keaton. And [...]

Have you got a paddle?

Do you ever use direct mail? I bloody love direct mail. There isn’t really that much of it anymore, and what there is tends to be a bit crap.  So if you’re doing it well, it works. You can have a lot of fun with it too, with what we call ‘lumpy mail’ – and [...]

Like a drunk clutching a lamppost

A few words of wisdom from David Ogilvy, legend of the ad world: "Use research for illumination - not for support, like a drunk clutching a lamppost." Market research is an important tool in the business box, but when it comes to actual, real-life predictions it's about as reliable as Nic Cage on a bender. [...]

Instant rage

What makes you instantly ragey? Everybody has something that pushes that button.  For me, there are three things. Anti-vaxxers. They are putting their children, your children, and the entire population of the planet at risk. There is not now, and never has been, any evidence to connect vaccinations with anything other than decreased levels of [...]

Did you have a secret language as a kid? My brother and I did. It was called Haigey-Paigey (I'd forgotten about that until literally just this second as I write this).  We also spoke Obby-Dobby and Pig Latin. Joe apparently didn't have any secret languages at all, because he was the youngest of six, so [...]

Why gossip magazines do so terribly well

The success of those dreary magazines you find in dentists’ waiting rooms used to baffle me.  You know, rubbish like Heat and Take-A-Break (is there any publication, apart from the Daily Wail, more depressing than Take-A-Break?). The constant ‘news’ about the latest z-list ‘celebrity’ and their drunken shenanigans. The focus on politicians’ private lives, rather [...]

The Irish really go all out for the politics. In the UK, you hear on the TV and the radio, and in the newspapers about manifestos and election lies and empty promises, and debates, and all the rest...  But – in my experience – you never see politicians around on the street. The odd billboard [...]

How to avoid asshats on stag and hen dos

Top tip for you: don't fly to Dublin on a Friday evening. Your flight will be full of asshats on stag and hen parties. It was moderately awful.  Dublin, on the other hand, is lovely so far. Why are groups of people so appalling? It got me thinking, because I'm very comfortable in my own [...]

Punch your prospects in the nuts!

Would you like to be able to write better headlines? Statements that'll punch your prospects in the nuts (in a nice way)?  Sure you would, right? We all would. So today I'm going to share with you two pretty splendid resources – and they're freeeeeeeeee! First one comes courtesy of awful women's magazines. Look through [...]

Do you speak Polari? I bet you do, after a fashion. See, Polari is one of the secret anti-languages, spoken by outcasts to avoid The Man. You probably hear an anti-language spoken regularly without realising it. And many of the words we use freely today had their origins in less open times. Like “drag”, “camp”, [...]

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