Man of Aran: A Story For Our Times

I started off thinking I’d post on this because it was a thing of beauty, even though it’s not very current – and then I realised, it sort of is current, in a funny kind of way.  (And anyway, why need we always privilege novelty over substance? Shore isn’t the News of the World.) There’sContinue reading “Man of Aran: A Story For Our Times”

Organ Freeman: Thaler on Nudge

Professor Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge, is one of the most sought-after people in the world at the moment. His behavioural economics (BE) snowball is now well down the hill, has taken out some skiiers and is about to roll along the valley, chasing people around like that giant bubble thing from The Prisoner. HisContinue reading “Organ Freeman: Thaler on Nudge”

Chairman of the Board

I’ve had a really stimulating day today moderating an online community for some NPD work – with more to come this evening and the next three days on and off. The training from 20/20 in the States was really clear I think, though getting set up is never as quick as people tell you. We’veContinue reading “Chairman of the Board”

Ancestry: taboos eroded by science

Branding gets into the tiniest nooks and crannies, doesn’t it? Including our own biology.  For £340 you can buy the “Matriline and Y-Clan DNA Combo” pack from Oxford Ancestry Limited, run by Prof. Brian Sykes of Oxford University (whom you may remember from BBC’s Blood of the Vikings series). You send a DNA sample toContinue reading “Ancestry: taboos eroded by science”

Summer’s Almost Gone

… as Jim Morrison once sang, rather miserably. I’m not in that mournful place yet, but I have been away for what seems like a whole season, physically and mentally (and no, I haven’t been sectioned yet). So, a quick list of the highlights of the summer, in no particular order: Britain has been tornContinue reading “Summer’s Almost Gone”

The life of a diplomat awaits

This is one ambassador’s reception where a handful of Ferrero Rocher is about the best the guests can hope for. I have agreed to become an “AQR Ambassador” – hoping it will be more like “Ambassador to the United Nations” than “Austin Ambassador”. Thanks Rose Molloy and Andrea Higgins for suggesting this, though Andrea explainedContinue reading “The life of a diplomat awaits”

“Countries” and the UK: who do we think we are?

I was of course thrilled, as an Ulsterman, at Rory McIlroy‘s first major title win last night. Brilliant for what many Northern Ireland football fans call “Our Wee Country”. I’m always amused and intrigued by the semantic fog we disseminate, though, when we refer to parts of the UK as “countries”. It is common usageContinue reading ““Countries” and the UK: who do we think we are?”

Drive-by shoutings

The greatest living pop lyricists, Half Man Half Biscuit, play Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Friday. Yes, they are still going. And like the Fall, some of the recent stuff is among their best. Their last album, CSI: Ambleside, boasted the classics Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess and Took Problem Chimp To Ideal Home Show. TheyContinue reading “Drive-by shoutings”

Stewart Lee’s anti-marketing

Really enjoyed this little snippet – actually a trailer shown before the start of the second series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, but I’ve just seen it. (It’s time-shifted media consumption, you understand, not my being a bit all over the shop). Stewart Lee’s Social Network Marketing. The topical element to this is that theContinue reading “Stewart Lee’s anti-marketing”

Stampede of the Social Animals – more BE

David Brooks is the latest author to bring the reality of what goes on in the human mind into the public realm and the popular consciousness, with The Social Animal. Here he is talking about it (thanks RSA!) David Brooks video. Good timing as I’m reading Richard Layard‘s Happiness at the moment (in short, hisContinue reading “Stampede of the Social Animals – more BE”