Author Archives: tom

Apostrophegeddon

Writing is not about rules, but communicating ideas. Any company that rejects a job application because of a misplaced apostrophe is barking up the wrong tree. The most original thinkers I work with struggle to tie their shoelaces.

Posted in Advertising, Art, Authors, Books, Brand, Business, Campaigning, Colloquialisms, Copy analysis, Corporate communications, Crisis communications, Design, Education, Free speech, History, Jargon, Media, Plain English, Poetry, Politics, Reading, Storytelling, Tone of voice, Vocabulary, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

50 shades of sorry

Sorry is one of the most subjective words in the English language because it can be infected with so many nuances. Far from expressing genuine contrition, governments, businesses, public figures and (sorry about this) you and me use apologies to divert attention, manage expectations, resuscitate reputations, and even implicate the victim. 2013 has already seen […]

Posted in Brand, Business, Celebrities, Colloquialisms, Copy analysis, Families, Jargon, Media, Politics, Relationships, Storytelling, Tone of voice, Vocabulary, Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Noisy perfection

I am sitting in the Bodleian Library with Dr Christopher Fletcher, a Fellow of Exeter College, member of the English Faculty and Keeper of Special Collections. On the table between us is a yellowing manuscript of translucent pages inscribed with a neat copperplate script in brown ink. It is the autograph draft manuscript of The […]

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Heavenly bodies

A hop, skip and jump from the Olympic VIP entertainment suites where regimes with appalling human right records are enjoying a break from torturing their citizens, is a simple, humble encampment of Eelam Tamils. Gobi Sivanthan is on hunger strike to raise awareness about Black July, 1983. According to Tamils Against Genocide, this is the period […]

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You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

Just back from touring Italy with The Ham and Cheese Company – part of the breakaway faction from Borough Market now trading in Spa Terminus – Bermondsey. We travelled from Bologna to Parma to Siena to Roma meeting people whose lives revolve around making marvellous food. The idiosyncratic hams and cheeses we sampled along the […]

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War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength

Question: What do racism, ostracism, despotism, sectarianism, fanaticism, nationalism, evangelism, symbolism, jingoism, patriotism, puritanism, factionalism and totalitarianism have in common? Answer: Euphemism.     Just back from Berlin and the Topography of Terror project, which catalogues the horrors of the Nazi era through images and texts. The building is located on the site previously occupied […]

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Poetry in motion

I am sitting in the works canteen of LMS Engineering just outside Brussels with the founder Urbain Vandeurzen, and brand consultant Michael Wolff. The complex of offices and research labs is so immaculate you could eat your lunch off the surfaces – and we are; scallops simmered in white wine sauce, poached salmon and creamed […]

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Hoxton Bienniale

Just recovering from the launch party of the 5th Hoxton Biennale. The months of preparation are as exhausting as they are exhilarating, but it’s worth all the effort when I see the streets, cafes, bars, galleries and public buildings filling with heart-stopping works of staggering genius.

Posted in Art, Jargon, London, Photography, Tone of voice, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

The Look of Love

Most of the fundraising projects I work on are with destitute human rights foundations struggling for survival. Exterior events always seem to take place in the doldrums of winter on the streets of London, New York, Paris, Madrid or Den Haag which may sound glamorous but involves dripping tents, mobile blind spots, failing generators, obstreperous […]

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WORDSTOCK – One Amazing Day

WORDSTOCK began as a twinkle in our collective eyes at a 26 Board meeting: Could it be possible to attract 70 people who are mad about writing and communications to a wordstorming Saturday somewhere in central London? And if so, who so, where so, when so? Approaching likely punters was the easy bit because 26 […]

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