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

Monday, January 09, 2006

Some principles

(or an attempt to explain why I’m doing this; that is, in the sense of keeping a blog, rather than the sense of writing this particular post here and now, lest you were afeared that I was about to get existential on yo’ reading asses.)

Pt 1: t, or why I do this stuff
Recently, I was on my way to British Library, and had just passed the St Pancras building site. I in turn was passed by a man had a ‘t’ on his tracksuit bottoms. The letter, on the top of the right thigh, grey-white on grey, was an old-skool ‘t’, like the t in the Telegraph, Daily, Old English being the closest approximation.

And seeing it prompted an utterly unexpected memory: of how I used to mess around with rub-on transfers of letters, kiddie-play typography. I think some ended up on a pencil case, others on a school project or newsletter or somesuch.

It was heartening to be reminded suddenly that I am not just messing about with ‘design’ on a whim, or a chance lucky streak at university, but instead playing out something that has slightly longer-standing (if up until then, previously forgotten) roots.

Pt 2: the challenge
Words come easy. Good words are harder. Placing them in the right order is harder still. It’s only others’ judgement that prevents you from saying that it is an impossibility.

Pt 3: a further note on who I think I am
“[William Small] was one of those people of whom everybody becomes increasingly fond, with a charm that is hard to pin down. Slight and delicate, he was completely unthreatening and absolutely open to ideas, able to pick them up and play with them, bringing to bear his own crisp intellect. He carried no heavy philosophical baggage or commercial ambition and was blissfully non-judgemental. To his ‘extensive, various and accurate knowledge’, wrote James Keir, he added ‘engaging manners, a most exact conduct, a liberality of sentiment, and an enlightened humanity. In short, he was a perfect addition to any network – unassuming in himself yet accelerating the flow of information between others. Even more valuable, he proved an instinctive diplomat who could ease potential conflicts while somehow managing not to betray confidences.”
Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men, p 84


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