Saturday, 30 May 2009

What makes great telly?

Well, it's been a long time since I sat in front of a show and applauded the television. I am not in any way, shape or form, embarrassed to admit that I loved watching the Britain's Got Talent final tonight. It was truly cracking and I was chuffed that Diversity won. Judging by how long it took me to get through on the phone, I kind of thought they might be in with a good chance. Yes, you know I'm going to spout on about creativity, but hey, don't you think that's what made them win? Yes, they are an incredibly talented dance act, but what a great imagination their choreographer has (as well as a devastating smile!). It's all about thinking outside the box, or maybe in their case, inside!

Imagine the scene as Stavros Flatley & son sat at home one evening and came up with that act. Wouldn't you just love to spend Christmas round their house? My sides hurt, I laughed so much and I think Simon Cowell was rather thrilled to be called part Greek!

I had another special reason for enjoying tonight's show. My son has been away for a week with his Dad and I got him back today. We sat cuddled up on the sofa and enjoyed being reunited. I know it's good for him to spend time with his Dad, but it doesn't stop me missing him. I even turn a deaf ear to his answer to my question - "shall we audition together for next year?"

"No", was the reply. "I'm much better than you Mummy". Ah well... he may have a point. Mind you, I have this strange urge to receive a Simon Cowell put down. I'm almost tempted to rehearse the worst performance ever just to see what he says...

I actually feel full of creativity now. Unfortunately I've also had a glass of wine too many (yeah, that's one glass!) so the chances of me finishing the novel this evening are slim, but at least I'm blogging. I feel like a proper writer - watching TV then dashing to the pc to write up a story about it.

I'm off to dance my way to bed now and practice my singing. I don't care what the critics say, Britain's definitely got talent!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Marathon Woman

The subconscious is a remarkable thing. Last night, whilst in the land of nod, it decided to remind me about the other recurring dream I had forgotten to mention in my post of yesterday. And how did it do this?- why by sending me on a 26 mile run of course. Yes, I frequently exert myself over a marathon's course in my sleep and I might point out that I do very well at it - barely a bead of sweat marks my brow. Yesterday, I got to participate in the little-known Kettering marathon, a walk in the park dear readers, a mere walk in the park!
PS: that Emma Baker still hasn't read my blog, or she'll surely have commented on it by now... One more day Emma, then the photo goes up!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The stuff of dreams

I have a number of recurring dreams which intersperse themselves among the downright weird and freaky. Recently, for example, I dreamt I was at a large dinner party and was lucky enough to be seated next to Charlie Chaplin. He was really rather charming and can actually speak which was never particularly apparent in all those silent movies he obviously preferred to star in. I can't think why because he spoke with a most cultured accent! This was the first dream about the 'little tramp', but by no means the first about famous folk. Naturally we all dream about being seduced by Hugh Jackman every now and again, but I have a persistent sleeping fascination with Kevin Spacey. According to my dreamworld we are in fact best buddies with a friendship going back years. Regrettably I have never actually met the man in person though I used to hang out near the Old Vic which he owns. Well, I say hang out, that makes me sound like a wino loitering in the loosely named gardens opposite the theatre. I'm afraid, I was rather dull and worked for a local financial institution. [here comes a digression: I was going to say that I would have been unlikely to have bumped into a Hollywood A-lister at 3i plc, but I did meet the occasional celeb there - I literally got tangled up with Michael Portillo in the revolving doors, shared a lift with former Radio 1 DJ Peter Powell (very short, looks like a builder) and almost burst with excitement when I spotted Sir Trevor McDonut sitting in reception (very distinguished, looks like a newsreader).

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, dreams. I frequently have to go through the panic of realising that my finals are imminent and I haven't done any revision or preparation and wake up with a cold sweat and the urge to stroke my degree certificate.

And finally, one which perhaps I should not share but loosely involves trying to find a public convenience with a door... Let's just leave it at that...

What is all this waffle and, more importantly, why? Will I wake up soon?

Emma Baker

See... I told you I'd written about you! I was going to add a (perfectly lovely) photo but thought you might never speak to me again...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Here comes summer...

Well, this is it, the sun is out. I dug out the flip flop sandals today, pulled on a surf chick skirt and top and strutted my stuff in the sunshine. Having fallen into bed at 10pm last night (on a Friday - how sad!), I was up with the lark (or maybe it was a pigeon) and out in the garden. Channel surfing the other night, I stumbled upon the Chelsea Flower Show and something that none other than Ken Livingstone said really got me thinking. He was discussing the therapeutic powers of gardening. So, I approached the weeding this morning from a different tack - this was not painful chore, it was relaxation. And, do you know what? He was right. Well done Ken, all those years in politics not wasted... I had a very pleasant potter and admittedly a small skirmish with the bindweed which had sent in reinforcements while my back was turned, but I soon sent it scuttling back under cover. Soon I'm off out again to allow someone else to unleash their creativity on me for a change - having a hair cut! Living la vida loca!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The N-Factor goes on a diet

As in novelty and yes, it's wearing a bit thin. I appear to have discovered a limit to the interest I can take in broadcasting, digital switchovers and transmitters. And, far worse, it is making me so tired that I have neither energy nor inclination to pick up a paintbrush or put pen to paper. In fact, yesterday I received a sternly worded letter from my poor fledgling characters who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to stretch their wings into a fantastical land of adventure and mystery for weeks. They were not happy I can tell you. I mean imagine, there you are poised on the cusp of a life-changing experience; ready to fly with unicorns and dragons and fight for honour and justice and what happens? Well, nothing that's what. Doomed to spend what could have been a magical existence trapped instead between the pages of a notebook (and not even one of my inspirationally designed ones either!). I feel quite sorry for them. I'll come and get you out soon... I promise...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Now see where it led me...

My Etsy wanderings took me here. Naturally I had to join - all those creative souls to spout lyrical with, I can't wait! I can feel hours of play coming on, but must sleep (and write my book).

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Never mind Swine Flu, I have well and truly caught the Etsy bug. I just can't resist jumping from delightful creation to inspiring artwork and drooling uncontrollably and dreaming of creating my own such gems. Unfortunately, the time I spend surfing causes a little problem with my actual do-ing moments. Similarly, when I can finally tear myself away from handmade notebooks and bright shiny things where do I find myself? Writing about it here! Well, hopefully salvation is on its way in the shape of some actual Etsy purchases of crafty bits and bobs to turn into my very own attempts at mixed media art. At the very least I know I'll enjoy the creative process. Who knows, maybe I'll even stick the finished attempts on Etsy! Watch this space...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Britain's got talent

Oh Kirstie, how I fell under your spell... Yes, I did tune in to your remaining episodes. Yes, I was inspired by the creativity of the artisans whose crafts you helped bring to public attention. And, yes today I did find myself sniffing round a salvage yard/architectural antiques centre. I didn’t buy anything though I was tempted by some intricately curly bits of old iron railing and I felt I couldn’t leave without an old chimney. Regrettably, my purchase was hampered by the lack of anyone to actually serve me and while waiting for the ‘loveable rogue/friend of Kirsty character to finally surface, I talked myself out of it.

Blogging has been a trial this week as technology and fatigue conspired against me, together with a trip away with work. You know you’re getting old when you spend a day team-building with the Belbin model and remember it so well from all the previous sessions you’ve attended over the years that you could practically join the facilitators and present it yourself! I was also really disappointed when I turned up and the room had no trapeze - well we were promised a 'high performing team event'. Instead we got desks and powerpoint! That said, I did enjoy the session and managed to take away a few interesting new points – as well as find an opportunity to sing in front of my new colleagues – that’ll teach those pesky facilitators to encourage us to come up with a ‘creative’ presentation!

I came up with my own internal communications model this week, which I’ll post on WrightStuff website when it’s finished. It involves dictators, firing squads, the United Nations and management consultants. Rather fun!

I can feel frustration setting in again though as another week goes by and I fail to make any creative progress. I have a mind bursting at the seams with ideas but no time or energy to sew them back up into something inspirational. Far too much driving around the country this week – although that did mean I did catch Heston on Chris Evans with his 'sweetshop smell in an atomiser'.

I'm feeling a little better now as I'm back on a computer that actually appears to be working (not mine!) and debating where the most talent can be watched on TV tonight - Britain's got... or Eurovision? I strongly suspect the former!

Friday, 8 May 2009

You couldn't make it up...

I'm (slowly) reading Gary Barlow's autobiography. He dispels some of the myths built up around the band's formation, the tiny white lies that their manager, Nigel Martin-Smith, created to help market the band in their early days. Little untruths about real ages, how they met, what jobs they did... all harmless stuff. The stories were fit for purpose; they may well have been entirely unnecessary but what is interesting is that they existed. If they existed, those little lies that meant very little, how many more are there out there and do they really matter? How much of what we believe is actually real? When is it OK to make up a past or present and when can it alter the very course of the history it is seeking to protect? As the Telegraph today fills us with the expenses and second home antics of our politicians, who do we believe? Whose agenda tells us the real story?

In my role as communicator, I believe we should remove as much as the corporate spin as we can. Honesty is the best policy and if that means saying "sorry, we can't talk about that but as soon as we can we'll let you know", then that's the way to go. Employees are not school children, happy to accept all we tell them ("because it just is"). Maybe they can intuitively guess when they're being lied to. Or, in the case of Take That fans learning that Mark was never the tea boy at the recording studio, maybe they just can't believe that anything you say remains the truth? What harm can one little corporate exaggeration or bad piece of news brushed under the carpet make? I'll leave it to you to ponder and return to my book where our hero is about to discover the fragility of fame.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Having fun

I'm really enjoying my new job although to be honest I've not done much other than learn a great deal and talk comms but I guess that's important too! Soon, I will be required to put my money where my mouth is and conjure up all these engaging communications I have been promising. Tomorrow sees the latest digital switchover to complete in the South West and I will be making sure we celebrate this event with all the excitement it merits. Not for me some factual intranet piece - no, I shall be putting my journalistic hat on and looking for the interesting human angles. I did attempt this today by attempting to collar two of the senior team but they obviously had wind I was on the prowl and went to ground. Having got lost twice on the way back from their desks, I was forced to retire storyless for now, but no less determined. Tomorrow as they say, is another day...

Fear not dear readers if you offended by another odd background (yes, the plain old green really was much classier), I am attempting, as I write to create my own design... (if it goes back to green you'll know that this proved disastrous)

The little fella is Digit-Al. Glad to see he is H&S compliant before he climbs that ladder.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Err, right...

Hope you've not just eaten. My first attempt at a funky background to my blog may need some work... You have to admit though, it has potential. I found this site while zooming around from Etsy to blogs and stole some inspiration. Many more hours of fun to be had methinks...

Friday, 1 May 2009

When I grow old...

I shall wear purple (Jenny Joseph)... and listen to Radio 2. I felt my age this morning while motoring to work. I was really enjoying Wake up to Wogan. It wasn't his geriatric ramblings, the amusing anecdotes nor the terribly useful travel bulletins. It was in fact the music. Now, these days Radio 2 can be relied upon to be a bit more cutting edge than it was back when I was forced to listen to it when Wogan was on the first time around. The other day they even played Doves and Bat for Lashes. Today however, was a different story. How I enjoyed singing at full volume to 'Can't smile without you', 'Beyond the sea', 'Tired of being alone' and I did indeed 'listen to the music' - very loudly. Ahh, there's nothing like a good old tune where you can actually hear the lyrics...

Double standards?

Crikey, I just read wot I wrote and was astonished! I actually advised my readers to go shopping for craftware instead of creating one's own. What shocking double standards from the woman who is currently teaching herself fantasy novel writing, soap and bath-melt making, watercolour painting, collaging, photoshop-ing and generally just 'creating'! Or, maybe... I was just trying my hand a being a TV critic...?


While I was labouring over the ironing, I stumbled upon a televisual experience which at first seemed right up my street - the Kirstie Allsopp homemade home. Our home-grown home guru renovates her new abode on a budget (undisclosed!) making many of the essential accessories herself or sourcing them from local reclamation yards. If you're posh or possibly just a mug, these particular finds are called 'architectural antiques'; if you're not it's just a load of old junk. Our Kirstie being a switched on sort of gal about town makes sure she's not swindled by Steptoe's grandson and picks up a couple of tidy bargains for under a tonne (although you never do actually get to see the moldy curtains swish gracefully at her windows, nor strangely does the garden gnome ever see the light of day again...).

Feeling suitably virtuous with her recycling, she then heads off to tap into the talents of some local crafting talent. As she fashions a poker from recycled steel, pulls together a purple lampshade to revitalise an antique lamp and knits herself a draught excluder, we the viewers are expected to wish to follow suit. Indeed, Channel 4 have kindly provided links to courses in 'quilt-making' and 'how to become a blacksmith without burning down the shed'. We sit at home enthralled as Kirstie's new home takes shape. She really has created a delightful home, but what she seemingly fails to acknowledge is that she has had the HELP of the experienced artisans to create her 'homemade' joy. Pity the poor souls (in every sense of the word) spending the next year in night school learning all these myriad tricks of the trade and worse still forking out vast quantities of cash buying all the kit to make this stuff ... My advice? Go shop on Etsy.
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