Showing posts from April, 2018

A Loathsome and Leprous Slanderer

James Gordon Bennett Senior is often associated with euphemism’s such as “cor blimey!” and “would you believe it!”. He was educated in the village of Newmill near Keith in rural Scotland-shire and, in later life was widely feared and indeed hated by many.
Described by one reputed enemy as "an obscene foreign vagabond, a pestilential scoundrel, ass, rogue, habitual liar, loathsome and leprous slanderer and libeller" he specialised in “kiss and tell” stories. It seems that in 1836 for example, he offered a reward to any woman prepared to “set a trap for a Presbyterian parson and catch one of them in flagrante delicto.”
Familiar rhetoric perhaps? Well, given the ‘Slime Ball vs Mob Boss’ headlines in this weeks papers and the ‘kiss and tell’ antics of Stormy Daniels, all is not well in the land of Trump.
Tomorrow seemingly, Jim Comey’s ‘kiss and tell’ tale of a deeply disturbing presidency is due for publication – hence the proliferation of major-domo articles exposing the tum…

The Halo Effect - A Strapline too far

As subliminal messages go the Halo Effect is a sublimely subtle psychological concept. In essence a marketing concept and a route to unimaginable riches, the Halo Effect seemingly encourages us unsuspecting and blatantly thick consumers to assume that two and two make five. Apparently, the food-retailers have this down to a fine art. Or, at least their PR firms do. Joanna Blythman’s splendid article in today’s Guardian explains the phenomenon quite clearly when she writes that “When it comes to labelling, food retailers run rings around their customers, and mainly get away with it. They weave a lexicon of feelgood terms – ‘fresh’, ‘handmade’, ‘artisan’, ‘local’, ‘farmhouse’, ‘healthy’, ‘natural’ – into their marketing messages.”
The halo effect in marketing allows a brand to positively anchor its reputation to a popular item. So, if you want to sell sausages you might just want to avoid descriptives which suggest dead stuff. A negative brand image is a big no no and at the very least,…

Empire Windrush

On the very day that UK PM Mrs T was forced onto the back foot by the Empire Windrush scandal, we learn that local boozer behemoth Wetherspoon has announced its intention, via Twitter, to forgo the benefits of the digital age. No more Twitter and no more FB presence it seems. The corporate concern seemingly fears Russian trolls and mangers at the companies thousand or so drinking dens have apparently expressed relief that, alongside having to order hostile staff around and generally piss off the company’s customers, they will no longer have to reply to e-mails complaining about appalling service, odd tasting beer or dodgy food.
Maybe the announcement is designed to mimic Michael O’Leary’s PR grabbing policy of feeding disturbing information to anyone who will listen. Ryanair’s pronouncements on pay-as-you-go-in-flight-toilets and standing-room-only are well known. Perhaps Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin will do a follow-up announcement telling pub-goers that they are banne…

Beaker People

Well, it has been an interesting day. A splendid NHS physiotherapist advised me to walk a few more steps each day and it did not rain much after 4am. Not that I was even awake then, but it does seem appropriate to comment on the event. How often, after all, does one get to have a take on the British weather. The nice therapist asked what I did. Retired or employed perhaps. Well there is no easy answer to that question. After passing the official retirement age questions such as this are often asked alongside those questions designed to expose dementia. I am guessing that the wrinkles give it all away. Or, perhaps it is the stench of daytime adverts flogging funeral plans. Seemingly my offspring might be faced with an unaffordable bill of between £3,900 and £6,900 to lower me into the ground. God help them is all I can say since I, of course, will be out of the equation. On the plus side, the writing of the new book is doing well. I have now got as far as the Beaker People. All good then.

Amazon and the Struggling Author

Amazon makes little sense really. Until yesterday at noon, I had a seller account. I could list surplus books, excess photographic equipment and even old worn-out walking sticks. Today none of that is possible and Amazon is demanding a resounding £26 per month for my custom.
You must be Joe King is my response since, not only is the single-breasted lady intent on depriving me of a pound or two, but she is seemingly intent on completely confusing me. It’s the same with the selling of my latest book. Well, my only book if truth be told. Yesterday, Amazon were flogging my tome at a massive 31% discount. That’s not good really since my author’s royalties are based on the gross sales price. So, if a copy of my book sells at the full £12.99 recommended purchase price, I make about a pound. For a discounted price, I make much less. I am guessing that both my publishers, god bless them, and Amazon make much more dosh than poor old me. But that is, of course, the fate of the prolific author.…

An Alphabet Soup for the Curious

It’s been an interesting day. After visiting a grave at Old Deer, we found ourselves with a very flat tyre. Normally this is not a problem of course, you simply jack up the car and get on with the business of sorting it all out. However, on this occasion, following the jacking up and the mandatory loosening of several wheel-studs, the car fell off the jack and grounded. I swear it was not my fault. Yes, I leant on the bloody thing and yes, I gasped in anticipation of imminent re-hospitalisation as it rolled backward towards me. But, in the big scheme of things, it was nothing to do with me really. If the driver, not me I can assure you, had applied the hand-brake none of this would have ever happened. Fortunately, I survived the encounter unscathed aside from a sense of survivor’s guilt. Should I have done something to prevent the catastrophe? Should I have taken the blame? Nah. And double nah.
What to do? Thoughts of asking Green-flag to the rescue were quickly put aside and an octog…