Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Listorama: Pub quiz team names

The Shite Stripes
Kwisatz Haderach
Slice of Fried Gold
The Kaiser Cheats
Actual Bodily Harm
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
The Fantastic Three
Greenland Ice Sheet
Done A Runner
Mine's A Cider
Gay Dalek
Lottie's Legends
Karl's Crew
The Flying Iannucci Brothers
Crispy Duck
Doomsday Clock Snooze Function
Lily Allen's Bloody Dog
The Third Attenborough Brother
This Is Davina
Michael Owen's One Knee
The Team With No Name

Source: Roasted, The Observer Magazine, 28 Janaury 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Proposal for a new university

Developed with John Mc over dinner last Thursday:

Institution name: Da Hood University

Subjects: All traditionally offered, plus course options in Pimping and Dealing

Degree awards:

1st: Major Skillz
2:i: Props
2:ii: Shout out
3rd: Wack
Pass: Wiggedy wiggedy wack

Scholarships will henceforth be known as 'Blingships'; Exhibitioners will be known as 'Puffys'.

Favoured recreational activity will be: Pimp My Punt.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Round up (slight return)

Apologies for bulky nature of what follows. Seems like there's a lot that's been going on; thought I'd fill you in on some of it. To whit:

1. 26 recommendations for January here. In addition the Common Ground website is up, and looking for contributions from all parts of the UK.

2. and / or / if are close to going live, so please forgive the single page that you see. Instead revel in this quote, to be found on the back of Simon L's business card:

Herbert Alexander Simon (an economist and Nobel Laureate) had something interesting to say about information:

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficient among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

What we do helps people allocate that limited attention span efficiently.

3. Mitchell and Webb as PC and Mac, respectively. Roles they were born to play. Seriously. 'Pie chart' is brilliant.

4. Richard Armitage, former deputy US secretary of state, describing US foreign policy:

"Look, fucker, you do what we want."

As quoted in The Economist, 20 January 2007.

5. From the FT on Saturday, in a piece on why the supremacy of English football is an anomaly:

Jacques Herzog, the prize-winning Swiss architect, built the Munich stadium for last year's World Cup and is building Beijing's Olympic stadium. Explaining why English stadiums are his favourites, he says: "The people become the architecture."

Think that's more than enough to be getting on with...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Listorama: Possible horror film festival names

Sandyman 002

(That's not one of them, just a spoof horror film from years ago...)

The Real Burning Man
The Reel Burning Man
Blood and Treasure
Flim of Blood
A Nightmare on Leicester Square
Town of Horrors
A Festival Called Malice
Slash (and burn to DVD)
24 cuts a second
The Gore Screenings
Frights! Camera! Action!
Tapestry of Horror
Blood Complex
Eat film, drink blood

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Commercial: 9 rules on how to run a focus group

Focus group

1. Don't call it a focus group. 'Meet up' is far better.

2. Hold it on behalf of a really cool company, run by really lovely people. Like, oh, I dunno, these people.

3. Have half of the company come down for the evening.

4. Have it in a really fab, old-style boozer in Clerkenwell.

5. Invite an interesting cross-section of enthusiasts: voluble, knowledgeable, passionate.

6. Keep said enthusiasts well-lubricated all evening.

7. Showcase lots of really interesting new ideas and products.

8. Involve people in visionary conversations about where the company might go...

9. ..and encourage these now excited, early adopter customers become advocates to the wider world.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fiction: Rutland Weekend Horrorvision

"Why did Martin Amis phone you from prison? Something to do with football. Better than a trip to Ipswich?"

"Martin’s been banged up after banging on about sexporninforeligiomoney for too long. He blames Barnes, not least because Mart was arrested in Leicester, which is, as we know, the home of pies.

"Anyway, after famously falling out with Jools over the quality of the mid-90s pies, he now thinks that the way to get back at him is to organize some form of charity footer match, involving the lags that’s he’s currently residing with at Ashby de la Zouch open nick. And then some high grade pimp-pumping violence. He called me, to see if I’d be in on the caper, bring the coshes, and if I had some way back in to talk to Jools and suggest the idea.

"Anyway, it’s all good research for his latest tome, working title, Rutland Weekend Horrorvision."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tag: Five Things

Following a request from Ewarwoowar:

Oh, alright then. Here are those five other things:

1) I once had an era named after me on Wikipedia. I know! Alas, the entry now reflects a more truthful representation of the past.

2) I once had a technical pull with Kristin Davis here. Now, I know you're thinking, (and it helps if you say this in a Bill Hicks' 'hysterical' tone: "There's no fucking way!" But trust me: she looked me directly in the eye and smiled. I like to think I was the most attractive geek in there.

3) This is the song that changed my life:

I wrote about that here.

4) I was once published in a book with Zadie Smith. You're right. I wasn't very good. Still ain't, really.

5) My current favourite word is 'flatember'. This, and other choice cuts from The Thick Of It Christmas Special can be found where indicated.

That enough for you? Oh I almost forgot: search Technorati for meme, planning meme, tag five things.

Oh, and the chain breaks here. As it always does.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Listorama: Company for Elizabeth David when dining at Annabels

Taken from the FT on the weekend just gone; an extract of notes that Elizabeth David gave to Mark Birley on the food menus of his club Annabel's. It's a fantastic piece of writing, of course, and also illustrates the way in which taste at the top of the English/international jetset has not changed that much in forty years.

But what really catches the eye is the following passage:

"Now we get to the Plats du Jour and general impressions of existing menus.

Here there is confusion and incoherence. Rothschild, Versailles, Edwardian-style grandeur, Maxim’s Belle Epoque manner plus Raymond Oliver’s style pompier have gone into this pot along with currently smart fads and fancies. Picking from a handful of sample menus I find the following company:

Duc de Chartres, royal prince;



Henri IV;

A cardinal, anonymous;

Waleska, an Emperor’s mistress;

Arnold Bennett;

A marshal, anonymous;

Marie-Térèse, an empress;

Romanoff, an Imperial house;

Colbert, an admiral

Plus some nebulous Dianes, Suzettes, Vefour and Chateaubriant (the “t” is wrong, whatever any pedant may say. It’s like insisting on calling lobster américaine armoricaine) plus some place names such as Albufera, Clamart, Nantua, which have meaning only for those who spend their lives reading Escoffier and the Larousse Gastronomique. (Monte Carlo and Vichy do, I suppose, mean something.)

While I don’t know how much these exalted names mean to Annabel’s customers, either as personages or as associated with particular dishes of a rather grandiose nature (exceptions are Arnold Bennett and Colbert), the overall impression created by the menus is one of somewhat formidably ambitious and expensive cooking."

Which, one might have thought, was precisely the point.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I got snagged

Laura Barton has written a wonderful piece today, on those songs that you just have to play and play and play and play and play and play.

'Get Lucky' by New Young Pony Club has been the main one me in the last few months, but this week I got snagged on 'Wrote For Luck' by Happy Mondays. Why? This couplet:

You used to speak the truth
But now you're liar
You used to speak the truth
But now you're clever

Lyrics available here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


A round up of some lexically-inclined gubbins that you might not be aware of:

1. Wordie - it's the most fun that you can have with a dictionary and your clothes on.

2. Flicktion - A project by Andrew Losowsky ('Madrid hypertext multimedia author'), using doorbells in Florence as a jumping off point for his tale. You can see text and images here, or obtain the full text from Lulu.

3. A great paper from Ray at Grow via Brand Channel is well worth a read, not least for the provocative claim that we are getting closer to the age of the soverign consumer. He doesn't mention the notion of personalised/individualised production (mass customisation on demand, object printing), but it's a good summary of an inspiring future positive.

4. As noted in The Guardian on Saturday - Indexed. Genius, non?

5. Nick at Ewarwoowar is in throes of a project exploring tongue twisters in foreign tongues. Find out more here.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Ok, ok, it's a little bit of a cheat. Rather than digressing about the region of Somalia, it's to get you go and visit, a new blog run and written by a professional trader/gambler.

Interest declaring time:
Matt is a friend of long-standing, but that aside, the blog is a deft and well-written insight into the attitudes and approaches needed to succeed on one of the new frontiers of online gaming.

Carry on, gents, carry on.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Commercial: Uberpup @ Loved

Uberpup Loved tee (detail

Hot off the press... Uberpup is now designing tees for Loved, a brand beloved (arf!) by the fashionista and the public alike, it says here. All sizes, and all sexes available. Above is a detail from one of the designs.

Go get. You know you wanna.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The sub-editor's fear of the semi colon: Sport magazine

Just a quick note to celebrate the French, and-recently-launched-on-the-London-streets Sport magazine, which for my (non) money is the best of the free publications currently available.

Not least for the quality of the subbing; viz the following caption to accompany their 'Frozen in Time' picture from 15 December 2006 issue, accompanying a picture of five Asian men body-building:

Oh sweet Jesus!

We've done fighting horses, we've done fireball cars... why, we've even done a gigantic half-man, half-bear boxer from Russia. Clearly, then, it was only a matter of time before we dug out a picture of five pea-headed musclebags flexing off in micropants. Officially, it's a shot from the under-70kg bodybuilding at the Asian Games, which ends today. Unofficially, it's a whole bowl of wrong. And yet, Sport just can't help but stare at them. We're not alone though, right? No? Oh.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Listorama: Meg Rivers Cake Club

Here's what you get in 2007 if you sign up; via The Observer Magazine, yesterday:

January: Amaretto & Pecan
February: Marmalade
March: Chocolate
April: Simnel
May: Apricot & Orange
June: Teatime selection
July: Elderflower & Gooseberry
August: Cherry
September: Almond Fruit
October: Teabread and Tiffin
November: Parkin
December: Christmas cake