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, September 06, 2006

History: making, repeating, grieving

Making (1)

Common Ground has made it to Guardian Unlimited's Books pages, with a full extract of Ali Smith's piece about Hugh Miller. You can read that here; find out more about the project here; and buy the book here. Did I mention, I received a postcard from Julian Barnes, saying that he enjoyed my piece? That's one way to make a young man's heart develop arrhythmia.

Making (2)

The Universities of Surrey and Exeter are working on a project researching the reactions of shoppers to the arrival of the supermarket in early post-war England. They would like help in answering questions such as: Was this transformation of shopping (from counter service to self service) desirable or inevitable? What part did shoppers play in this transformation? How did shoppers react to new self-service formats? Your help if you were shopping between the years 1945 and 1975 would be particularly appreciated. You can find out how to get involved here.


A few years ago now, I had a Chinese meal at the Golden Dragon restaurant, on the corner of Wardour and Gerrard streets). With a few exceptions, it turned out to be my last, in part because of the subsequent gastroenteritis - two weeks off work, six weeks of feeling ropey, oh my god levels of weight loss. So imagine my surprise to read that today, the said same establishment was fined £22,000 for having cockroaches. And mice. And mouse droppings. And black mould. The question is not whether I believe the protestations of the owners that they have cleaned up their act - Mongol horses would not drag me back in there again. No, the question is, do you believe them?


My work laptop was one of a number stolen from the office this past weekend. I realised today why I have been feeling grumpy and ill-communicative since then. It's because a large chunk of my e-history was on there, and nowhere else. Ideas, praise, celebrations, flirtations, streaks of worry on 7/7, jargon, meetings never had... it's just galling to think that now they'll be lost to the capricious whims of characters to be found in the back rooms of pubs on the Old Kent Room (I assume; and stereotype greatly).

Back-up everything; and use a pen and paper whenever possible.

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