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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reportage: Orchestrating commerce

He is standing by a wall covered in print outs of different web pages, 12 columns wide, six, seven rows deep. No chair for him; instead his computer is placed upon three document boxes, and then a tray with a snarled lip, so he can stand and type. With his headphones on, he looks like a conductor of a laptop orchestra, all digital rhythms and spreadsheet symphonies. I assume it is these he is trying to whisper life into, or heart out of. It is a mountainous challenge, clearly, and one that cannot be solved by the sloth of simply sitting down. You lazy bones! How will you conquer the vistas of the market like that? Straighter spine! Deeper insight! Contemplation only when it helps you thrash everyone else! He holds his headphone microphone delicately in his left hand, like he's drinking a cup of tea out of the Queen's bone china on a Sunday afternoon, and begins to systematically cajole his unseen interlocutor.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Listorama: Facebook status updates vol 28

BetaRish (is)...

has stepped aside, and might be stepping back later


is both over- and under-deployed

sees life in tetrameter

is thinking about lunch already

Post Bodeans sweats have kicked in already. Have I beaten James Bartram?

is still mostly BBQ

s tng vwls

gives missed calls

is descended from one of the first pilgrim families

is a rogue factional element

is a link that’s safe to open at work

is accented

was the week that was

is a kingdom to conquer

Waiting for a train to Paris, innit?

My tickertape parade has not arrived yet

Thank you for the birthday wishes. You’re all marvellous

is back, older and no wiser

is clinging on to nurse, for fear of worse

is making desire paths

Wisdom is knowing when to duck

Robot or rentier?

Three dozen day

is not above giving unsolicited advice

Shakespeare is looking out of the window, taking notes

is counting down

What do vampires do during the week?



Final day on Berners Street

Tired, emotional &c

Staying put for Christmas

Merry Christmas all you good, good people

Can you get oblong eyes from reading too much?

That Was The Year That Was, it is over, let it go

You are welcome to your first day

is a bit late with this

is waiting to log in

isn’t happening

Uh oh, the insomnia’s back

Winter comes with a splutter

Needle has met hip. Now pain be gone

So how does this four day week thing work?

is attempting to get it together?

is pretending to be a creative director

supposes he should start

Neigh more horse jokes please


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Reportage: At the barbers, 29 December 2012

The most unremarked upon pleasure of sitting in a barber’s chair is that you can listen. That I am as near to blind as counts once I sit down helps to focus the ears on what’s around me. Once all you can see is fuzzy, furry, indistinct, it draws attention to the fact that so much of late modern life is merely there to distract the eye, so that we don’t see what we should really see.

My barbers, as fine as it is, could really do with a dose of Pawson-esque cleansing minimalism. Why does the mirror need a bowler hat and the handle of a furled umbrella athwart it, let alone wallpaper of an Ottoman-nodding heritage, with flocks of black swirls gamely battling for your retinas? Busy busy busy! Oh for some coolly precise and calm white brick ceramic tiles! Still, I must make my eyes rest and my ears work.

I haven’t told you about the coffee and the cigarettes. Did you know, realise, that most people who manipulate hair for a living subsist on caffeine and nicotine? And does it change your view of a man wielding a razor to know that? That he might be jittery? I estimate that my man, and his other men, are the only people who aren’t tourists in the city drinking little sips of mocha and latte while they work. What is the right prescription, between alert and a nick, a slip or a sleep? I fear to find out. The red and white stripes must have a tannic brown added to them soon.

A girlfriend is waiting for her gentleman’s hair to be finished being cut. They talk about where they might live, and whether they can pester the nice man in Heals they’ve pestered before. It is done. Heads turn to her. ‘It’s fine.’ She tries again. ‘It’s nice. No, it’s nice.’


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

So, hello then, onefinestay

So right about now, I'm somewhere in an eyrie above Clerkenwell, fumbling with my laptop and doing those nervous things that you normally do on the first day of a new job.

That's because I'm settling in to my new role as head of brand at onefinestay.

I'm tremendously excited to be moving client side, and especially to one of London's unambiguous start-up success stories. Though truth be told we can't really call ourselves a start-up any more, after the achievements and momentum of the last three years.

I'm also lucky in that onefinestay-land is not entirely uncharted territory for me. I've been very fortunate to have worked with the founders since 2009 on defining the brand, and the rest of the business as and when they might have needed me. It's great to be doing it full time now.

The pitch, which you will hear multiple variations of over the coming years is simple: we give you the chance to live like a local in some of the world's greatest cities, by staying in beautiful and unique apartments, with none of the hassles associated with holiday rentals or the cookie-cutter boredom associated with hotels, boutique or otherwise.

We have lots and lots of ambitions, hopefully some of which I'll be able to share with you here from time to time.

And Air B'nB watch out - we're coming for you.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Yearnote: 2012

Another year. I have been thinking over the last few days that I might struggle to fill this slot. But as it turns out, I needn't have worried. As it turns out to have been another busy year.

For starters, I ran my first half marathon, around Bath, for CoppaFeel! (I enjoyed it so much, I'm doing it again, in March.) I ran my second, in October, around a bloody freezing Greenwich, with a gammy leg and all.

I was anthologised, twice; first in Adventures in Form, and then in Lung Jazz.

I was also fortunate to have poems published at Dog Ear, Verbatim Poetry, Poems in Which, And Other Poems, The Great British Bard Off, and other places I have no doubt forgotten.

I did some stuff for the Brautigan Book Club, which was ace:

And I told you about Penny Secrets yesterday.

On the prose side of things, I had a short story published by the lovely folks at Bad Dollar.

I also won a short story competition courtesy of the lovely folks of And Other Stories.

During my sabbatical, I wrote 17,000 words of something that might see the light of day at some point.

And I also built Tower Bridge again.

Lego Tower Bridge

There were trips to New York and Paris


A Room for London

A Room for London 21

and the BT Tower.


And towards the end of the year, I bagged a bronze DMA award.

Which obviously meant it was a ripe time to move on to pastures new.

Which I'll tell you about tomorrow.