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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yearnote: 2011

I really can't get my stuff together (and truth be told, don't think that enough that is that different happens to me to warrant them) to do weeknotes.

But I thought even I can get my stuff together to do a yearnote.

It has been a busy year. Two new bathrooms at home, for starters.

Then there was a trip to St Petersberg:


We had two new lodgers come and join us on a permanent basis:

When Malachite and Asturias met Aldous the Poetry Bat... 3

Then we left them for a bit and went to Glasgow for a short while:


Somehow I managed to get promoted too.

And picked up an award for a poem too (not my hair).

I made a wedding in Italy with 30 seconds to spare, and when I got my breath back, managed to read a poem:


There was an exhibition:


And a birthday treat, at Camp Nou too:


All in all, not too bad. See you on the other side, and happy 2012.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Commercial: Genevieve Conaty's 'Your Own Brand of Candy'

OK, I'm wildly biased as I've known Gen for ages now, and I know she's a genius, but if you're looking for something different to listen to this Christmas, you can't do worse than her debut album which came out a few weeks ago.

Imagine a sun-kissed Aimee Mann, singing with the lyrical wit of Neil Hannon of tales of summers, ice cream, romances between feeders, that sorta thing. (And if you recognise the artwork, that'll be because Uberpup had a hand in that.)

Seriously, it's lovely and wonderful and you should get you some candy now.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Listorama: Facebook status updates vol 22

BetaRish (is)...

is a secret state

as it starts to spin out of control

Would that you would change the world thrice, not just once

What you do in your head, you do in your head

is standing on the sidelines with his hands tied, watching the show

is disintegrating celluloid

Rishi D, on a mission

is ready for the gridlock

wants birthday party cheesecake jelly bean boom

is fighting warriors of smoke

will step back in line

is not Devo

Everything’s always the same until the moment it’s not

is riding the joy joy papose

has the space blues

is a stenographer

wants a vote on the resolution amongst the full members of the council

Kiss kiss hoof

is on the sea floor, the mammal you adore

Let the Albert Hall shake. Off to see PJ Harvey

Pumpkin eyes are watching you

Do you think All Saints the shop celebrates All Saints the day?

is a genius, showman, powerbroker, creative paladin…

is later than expected

The bath of caffeine isn’t working

is down on the disco floor

can’t sing, isn’t pretty and his legs are thin

is pattern spotting

Post hack ergo propter hack

The moment before the moment is the moment that matters

Christmas card shoot with Malachite and Asturias not quite going to plan

is part tiger

Sincerity is the curse of the blessed

has been nothing but supadup nice to you

is seeing through new eyes

is a spoilt Elizabethan child

is building a Potemkin life

is a shower scudding through London

Bloody hell, this is late


Tick follows tock follows tick

I must go now, to where I am going to

What you do in your head, you do in your head

is a gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover

At Camp Nou

So yes, I managed to successfully make it past what they call ‘The Messiah Year’

Thanks you all muchly for the birthday wishes. You are all too kind, and I love you all

is launching Call Centre Creative this morning


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Commercial: What Tim Cook's Apple will be like

Rather counter-intuitively, the most revealing anecdote about the future of Apple to be found in Issacson's monumental-yet-slight (a wonderful trick of the higher American journalese) biography of Steve Jobs is this one, concerning a meeting Tim Cook early in his role as chief operating officer in 1998:

...Cook was told of a problem with one of Apple's Chinese suppliers. "This is really bad," he said. "Someone should be in China driving this." Thirty minutes later he looked at an operations executive sitting at the table and unemotionally asked, "Why are you still here?" The executive stood up, drove directly to the San Francisco airport, and bought a ticket to China. He became one of Cook's top deputies.

My point is: Cook is not that different from Jobs.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Fiction: Paris

I wrote this for a competition; I failed to get the entry in. Ho hum.


12.30 was a bad idea. She’d always known it was a bad idea, that it was going to be a bad idea. But she hadn’t felt able to say no to him.

Hadn’t that been the truth of their time together? Adam had found something that bypassed her usual – her extraordinary – defences, that she’d spent the decade establishing, fortifying. She was pleased, no, proud, of the citadel that protected her against any chance of inappropriate love.

He first found it, the ability to short circuit her desire to say no, one night, one random night at the Proud Galleries in Camden, filled with canapés and champagne and cocktails and conversation, all of it heady and flirtatious and inappropriate, all at once. He hadn’t even bothered to hide his wedding ring; the challenge was on her, clearly, obviously.

To her surprise, she accepted with barely a demur. The citadel shook, and yet it didn’t shake. Funny how the rules you make for yourself are the easiest to break.

It was their third or fourth time sleeping together – about 10 days later – that Adam suggested doing something different. He’d thrown this over his shoulder as he was getting dressed, and she was expecting, on the previous days’ evidence, some sort of request that would have her diving to the box below her bed, the contents of which she hadn’t investigated for some time, and only fitfully remembered buying. But no.

“We should start meeting in the morning, first thing. I’m better then.” She had blushed at this. “It’s OK; I’ll say I’m running to work. I might even do it sometimes.” She’d accepted this too. But once, she’d teased him about how he’d arrived at her door already sweaty, and how she should be the one to get him into that state. That had elicited a grimace, a grunt, a cold fuck.

She didn’t say anything like that again.

Adam’s policy had had to change after she’d taken the job in Paris. It hadn’t merited much discussion, and she had been glad of that. Because she’d have thought it a bit odd that it would be this that he’d choose to make a scene over; and it would pre-suppose that he actually had a greater claim over her than either of them might have cared to acknowledge.

The pretence had lasted about two weeks, just enough time for her to get settled in the flat behind Sacre Coeur which had been arranged for her, and to find the true, necessary landmark of her neighbourhood; the best stop for coffee, breakfast and a cigarette, all to be grabbed and consumed in a five minute walk between shutting her building’s front door and descending into the Metro, the sliver of carnet fluttering between her fingers.

It was while she was making the reverse parabola the second Monday night that her phone started being impatient in her handbag. It was his signature style never to hang up, however long she fought to ignore the ring, a battle which Adam always won, but which had the paradoxical effect that, on his side at least, the conversation was always a breathless rush of pleading demands and wheedling cajoling towards the inevitable. She hadn’t missed it, that tone, and yet now that the mobile was unstoppable in its insistence to be answered, she had, she did, she did.

So the early mornings continued, “just in a different city”, but her curiosity was never roused enough to ask him how he made the logistics work. She idly wondered about it from time to time – which hotels he booked, as he must have done, as he never stayed; the ruse of the running gear, the route he took to the flat.

How he always made it up the Rue Lamarck, only just out of breath, like he was demonstrating that he was making some effort, sure, but holding the rest back for her.

And now this. A change; an uncertainty. He said over the phone that it had to be lunchtime, 12.30, and she was about to try and be larky and say he wasn’t taking a sufficiently Francophone approach to his infidelity, what with their trysts being between 7 and 9, not 5 and 7, as they always were in the films. But before she managed to fire this little bit of gentle repartee off, he’d fallen very silent, and then suddenly blurted out: “Give me a chance to win you over again.”

‘A chance to win you over again.’ She examined that thought from every possible angle, as she made her way down through Montmartre at 12, a hastily confected excuse phoned into the office giving her a chance to get ready for him.

It was revealing nothing, the more she looked at it, and she was distracted by the three couples she passed, kissing openly, celebrating the clichés of being together that she’d never be able to do with him.

And now here she was, outside the Hotel du Nord, the canal beside the Quai de Jemmapes glittering with menace. She was holding a spray of flowers that refused to act as a parasol from the spits of rain that had started to fall.

Then it clicked. Why 12.30 had been a bad idea. Lunchtime is for people in love, she realised. Not what we have. And it was then she knew he wasn’t going to come.