Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas Survival Kit

Stigmatic at the thought of having to boil your turkeys? Then stem the bleeding with my helpful Christmas Survival Kit of things. Simply assemble them in a single, always-at-hand location and you too can avoid those common seasonal pitfalls such as botched suicide and freezing to death in a doorway. So, get your kit out for the lads and let's make this the least harrowing Christmas on record! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho, said the reindeer etc.

Special glasses for wine.
Prices may vary.

Dry, vintage - it doesn't matter. Just make sure it's bumper!

3. PORN:
Whatever you're into this time of year, get something much stronger than usual.

4. PETS:
Pets are really good this time of year, reminding us just how humble and hairy the Baby Jesus actually was.

All of these products are available NOW in shops all around Britain TODAY! Why not buy them and have a boozey porno-petting Christmas "yule" never forget!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Porn for Copywriters: B.S Johnson's "The Unfortunates".

B.S Johnson has to be one of the most underated British writers of the last 100 years.


Ok. You see that slash in middle of "form/content"? Well, radical formal experimentation (which became Johnson's trademark) sits right on top of it and it. And radical formal experimentation swings around on "form/content" like a drunk on a scaffhold, scaring the children and generally behaving like a prick.

Big Modernists like Joyce and Beckett alienated a lot of readers with their high-mindedness. Burroughs' essays and theories read better than any of his cut-up novels, whilst Perec and many other OuLiPo writers simply became known for their virtuosity. BSJ on the other hand didn't just experiment. He innovated by realising that the evolution of writing lay not in it's content or structure, but in its presentation. Burroughs never shut-up moaning about the physical confines of the novel. BSJ escaped them in one effortess stroke by embracing... design. Yep, that's right folks. Design: that old sworn enemy of the writer. Fonts, layouts, even holes cut in pages found their place in Johnson's work and these devices were integral parts in the very architecture of his novels, elevating them from merely prose or content to physical objects and artifacts. Unfortnately as a result, his work fell out of print (or should I say production) for many years. But In 2004, the nice people at Picador published a B.S Johnson Omnibus (which I can't recommend enough) as well as "reproducing" some of his more important works. Among these is The Unfortunates, which until yesterday I'd never seen a copy of. And what a lovely thing it is too. Here's a sniff:

It looks just like a book but wait...

...It's actually a box. Inside: a neat pile of unbound pages and some crucial instructions...

Isn't that kinky, eh? Form and content all loved-up and hand in hand. Sigh...

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

"Ceci n'est pas une pipe?"

-Ey up, mutha. 'as thee gitten any dog mince?
-Aye, lad. Up theer. Next t' cat's th' eggs.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Modern Copywriting: 101

Modern copywriting, eh. You know the kind. The kind that uses short sentences. Like this. And where we always use a Royal We. Like that. And where we're always happy you're just like us.

We're all about being plain and simple. We're matter-of-fact and honest. We don't need to shout. This isn't the voice of irony. We're just here to help. Because reading things like this is fun.

We've made lots of friends recently. On the sides of drinks cartons and on TV. People think we're great. But we've been around for ages. We're familiar and faithful and much, much older than you'd think. You'd probably love to know where we came from, wouldn't you. Would you like me to tell you?

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that...

somethig what i found in the news paper on satday

Here's a great little article that was tucked away in The Guardian's Review section over the weekend:,,2227650,00.html

Dealing with the subject of obscure words, author James Meek (no relation to Joe I understand), makes some fantastic points about language in general. Although paraphrasing to buggery, he takes the good old fashioned Asistotelian, ontological viewpoint, reminding us of the need for a hierarchy of diction; clear, concise, humdrum language for everyday clarity and technical, exotic, downright weird words for "distinction". And this mixture is essential. Not just to enrich but also to engage. (At that point I came over all twat-headed and dug out my battered copy [aren't they all?] of Plato's Republic to re-read his cave allegory, breifly re-living all my undergraduate semiotics, word/image courses like some tedious old shit). Anyway, post-nostalgia, I finished the article which went on to quote Sir Ernest Gower's The Complete Plain Words. I've never read it but maybe I should. Not only is it one of those ace little 1950's era Penguin paperpacks, it also (evidently) makes the point that "ostentatiously avoiding long words can be as annoying to readers as over-using them."

I'll drink (Innocent) to that.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Last Minute Christmas Shopping.

It's an annual Christmas dilemma isn't it: what to buy the Situationist in your life? Something knowing, world-weary and ha-ha-larious, that's savagely ironic and elegantly puerile? Then look no further than The Aquarium Gallery's Christmas Shop. There's some lovely stuff here, including James (KLF) Cauty's Christmas single. Ok, so his art is embarassingly shit and makes Banksy look like Noam Chomsky, but the concept for the single almost, almost makes up for it - genius!


I always had my suspicions. I just needed proof. Well, Master Osbourne the truth is out - exposed on the Freeview menu for all to see. Those squishy cheeks and jam-jar glasses of yours... I knew there had to be a reason. So that's why your mum is so patient and tolerant on The X-Factor...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

My Parents Are Seaweed

Concerned your child is illiterate? Then allay your fears with my heart warming new picture book! It tackles illiteracy head-on by containing actual words like "insurance" and "environment." Future titles include "My Friends Are Majolica" and "My Nanny is a Gas".

Warm-Up Act

If you're reading this blog so close to its inception, chances are you've been invited/asked/told/ordered/advised to do so. So, thanks for dropping by and sorry there isn't more here to hold your attention. We're still in the embryonic stages I'm afraid, so I'll have to insist on laboratory conditions for the time being: white coats are over by the door, as are your safety goggles. Come, let's make our way over to the microscope for a closer look. (If one of you would be kind enough to get the light)...

Ok. So. I know it doesn't look like much, squirming on the slide like this at X100 magnification. So far, there are no distinguishing features. There's a little picture and a profile and a silly name. It looks, acts, behaves much like any other (yawning, boring) blog. And in some ways I guess it's redundant; eclipsed and out-done by the billion and how-ever-many ad and design blogs, spaces, e-rants and web-wanks already out there. So to be honest, I just couldn't see the point of having one. But as I peer into the eyepiece now and see my blog wriggling, headless, limbless and blind, I'm already beginning to imagine what it might grow into. To be (uncharacteristically) poe-faced for a second, a blog is simply about communication. And as someone who (whenever I can) makes a living out of communication, I figured it'd be good practise to have somewhere to, well, practise; somewhere to experiment and reflect. Likewise, an agency MD once contended with me that copywriting is simply a poor man's creative writing. Hopefully I can disprove that once and for all.

So, my little zygotic bloglet. Let us plant you in Mother Internet's artificial womb and see what happens. I have high hopes for you. And if it all goes tits-up, no matter. I can always destroy the evidence in the incinerator...