The noise of waters

I offer you three snaps from a stroll along the Regent’s Canal, just off the Roman Road in East London. Drawn by the Olympics, some barges have moored and their owners are selling bits and bobs to passers-by. There’s art, herbal remedies, coffee, food, books. You’ll find them there for the next three weeks. The Palm Tree pub just opposite is a cracker, by the way.

Word on the Water is a bookshop on a barge. Or as they charmingly style it, a bookbarge. The boat looks like the perfect way to float across an ocean of words. A transport of delight.

Chapeau Bateau has sailed into the potentially treacherous waters of punning and out into the clear blue sea of gentle wit. Hats off.

The Thames Water van was on a street nearby. ‘We love water’ suggests these providers of London-based aquatic solutions are making a noble effort to sound friendly and engaging. I’m just not sure the entire message rings true. Does Thames Water really ‘love’ water? Perhaps – and it’s quite a striking line. But is that ‘love’ of the resource/product really why it carries out quality checks? And what does ‘Keeping water good for you’ mean? I don’t think ‘keeping’ and ‘good’ agree.

It might have been better to be brave and go all-out down the informal ‘love’ route, dropping the other lines. As an aside, I’m not convinced that naming a section of your website ‘Got a problem?’ works (imagine a Thames Water representative saying that to a retired Colonel from Tunbridge Wells). There’s clearly a desire within Thames Water to communicate to the world in a fresh way, it’s just that the tone doesn’t feel settled.


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