Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Moment Alone

Margate | 1045 Hrs.  | Monday October 20th 2014| 23 degrees| Light Southerly
                          Today's forecast for the same time and place: 12 degrees | overcast| Westerly Gale

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


The advance publicity said it was 'for gentlemen on a journey'. It said the launch issue would be a road trip from London to Rome.

...Early this morning I wrote and posted a highly critical review of Road Book magazine [UK edition]

... Then I thought how I would have reacted when I was a magazine editor

... And remembered 'if you cannot say something good, then better stay quiet'.

... So that is why I have removed it and posted this instead.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Say What?

Effective communication depends on each party sharing common tongue, terminology, slang and understanding of body language.

It also helps if they don't all talk at once, a point that seems lost on some radio and television producers. It helps even more when there is a shared socio-economic background.

This acronym will have meaning to people who are heavily into text and twitter that is different from my translation.

I have met several wealthy individuals and a couple of exceedingly wealthy guys. As a result I know that they have very highly tuned crap detectors that can sense a scam as it appears on their horizon.

The person who wrote the sales pitch below clearly missed any and all of the above observations. To me it screams 'amateur', 'English is not their first language', and 'how the hell did it ever get posted on the internet?'

I was intrigued enough to explore further. I have edited out the website address because it delivered the following message ... this domain is registered with Go Daddy and may be available to purchase. Go Daddy is a free web hosting organisation. Hardly what one would associate with the message being attempted in this masterpiece of gobbledegook!

If you click on the picture it might enlarge, but it still won't make much sense!

OMG courtesy of acronyms

Sunday, 19 October 2014


Being in love
Is akin to toothache
When you have either
You can't imagine what it was like without
When you don't
You can't imagine the pain
Many people
Have avoided dentists for too long
Colin  - The Star Process - published  2005

Friday, 17 October 2014


If you have ever bought something on line, there is a fair chance that you will have come across some 'promotional offers' from Vistaprint.

A few years ago they were printers of pretty crude, cheap and cheerful business cards. Then someone told me that they had upped their game and may even have been taken over by Amazon.

Out of curiosity I checked out their back story which is a pretty impressive example of entrepreneurship in action to create a global brand. Unless the Amazon connection is too recent to have made its way into Wickipedia this would appear to be an urban legend or wishful thinking.

Anyway, after seeing umpteen promotions I thought I would give them a chance to see what they could do.

Although I am not exactly computer proficient it only took me around fifteen minutes to find a standard design that appealed, slam a few words across the front, create a flip side and place the order. My finished cards were delivered by courier, in a box large enough for an order ten times the size, from an address in Holland.

They were all that I expected them to be. And yes, Vistaprint had indeed upped their game since I last saw examples of their output.

But more to the point, my views on content have changed over the years. Some say that electronic organisers and social media have made business cards redundant. I disagree - probably because |I don't use social media or clever phones/tablets/pads/devices.

Once upon a time it was essential for your cards to list name, title, qualifications, job description, products and services, contact numbers and address. Maybe a photo too.

Not any more! Given the relentless increased frequencies of largely unsolved identity theft crimes, it would seem counter intuitive to give out too much personal information to total strangers. In my case, as I no longer have a business, I don't really need a business card at all. So, in the interests of research I justified my modest outlay by thinking of them as calling cards which was, after all, their original purpose in Victorian times.

That is why mine carry my name, blog address and an email address that is only used on cards. The flip side suggests that people who wish to contact me should do so via email. No home address or telephone numbers because I don't want unsolicited calls or visits at inconvenient times.

These cards serve as compliment slips when I send small items by post, as return to sender items inside spectacle and camera cases, journals and anything else that might get mislaid. They are handy to leave with shops that 'will let me know' when an ordered item is in stock, galleries who want to tell me about new exhibitions and places where I am asked to 'leave your name and he'll get back to you when he comes in'!

We once used a handyman named Hugh Wan Sim. It wasn't his real name. It was because when we phoned and asked for Ray, a voice at the other end asked 'Who wants 'im'?

Yesterday Coffee Break

Less than 24 hours ago, Patrick Ng of Hong Kong took this photo during a business visit in Seoul, Korea. It was on my Margate screen a few minutes later.

Don't just pass on by.

 Reflect for a moment on the wonders and advances of recent technology that allows us to send and receive photographs around the world in seconds and that it doesn't cost us anything to do so once we have access to a computer.

Then reflect on Patrick's talent for seeing a picture and look at more of his work at

Or simply click on the link to his Scription site on the right of this page.

Back to the picture ... morning sunshine, rattan seated chairs - with cushions so that you don't leave waffle-arsed,  a man-tote bag, a camera [obviously out of sight as it is being used to make the photo] a journal and coffee. Bet there was a cute lady barista lurking in the shadows.

There is always a flaw isn't there?

Mine is that I just do not like coffee in cardboard or plastic cups!

By the way, Patrick's photo is copyright so don't you even think of stealing it!

Me? I just borrowed it for non-commercial purposes to praise his talent.

And to remind us that even although it was raining in Margate at that moment, it was sunny elsewhere in the world. It always is. Without fail! So smile!

Thursday, 16 October 2014


I went to sea when denims were work wear, whether as jeans, overalls or bib and tunic designs. After cleaning the cargo tanks of crude oil we would soak our denim trousers and shirts in a bucket of kerosene, wash them out in hot water, scrub them with the soft soap used to wash down paintwork and then tie them to a convenient ship's rail with rope long enough for them to rinse in the sea for an hour. After a  final fresh water rinse they would be laid out on the deck to dry. True, they would be as hard as boards for the first hour or so of the next wearing and yet they always lasted really well.

Now they are  fashion items. There was a time when I would wear Levis 501's or Wrangler brands. That ended when I told the immaculate man behind the counter that I was looking for 32" inside leg and 32" waist. He took one look and said 'Ooooh, sir is kidding himself isn't he?' He seemed to quite enjoy verifying the inside leg length and rapidly checked the waist where indeed, I was kidding myself.

One Christmas I was presented with a pair of Valentino jeans by someone who really should've known better. I really did mean it when I said  'Oh, you shouldn't'. The fabric was luxuriously soft, the cut was cool and the workmanship was beyond reproach. There was a snag however. They could only be worn indoors with my consenting adult of the time.

I was once told that if something wasn't available it should not be put on show. The backside showed my fine contours off a treat. The front side was a different and all too graphic story. Although encased in denim, my primary gender features were clearly discernable and any hint of excitement would not only have revealed my religion, but also whether I drove on the left or right. I am sure my voice went an octave higher. I recall that they had cost Madame almost £300. She never once said, 'is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me' either.

At about 1/3rd of this price you could buy a superb pair of denims from a Welsh company branded as Hiut. They have a fascinating back story and their regular newsletter contains some interesting  sites to visit after you have drooled over their own products. I am not too sure about their tag line, 'Do One Thing Well' as my mischievous mind mentally adds ... and everything else badly.

Now my waist is even bigger than it used to be. The problem is that it is 37". In the bargain stores I can buy 38" and risk indecent exposure when I take my belt off in airport security, or be forever holding my belly in [Waist? What waist?] if I buy 36". Which is a pity because I really do like denims. I cannot wear slimfit obviously and being tallish, look a bit like a telegraph pole if I wear anything with narrow leg design.

There's another problem. The lady who bought the pricey Valentino pair is part of a very high maintenance history and has been replaced with a younger model who keeps me on a tight financial rein. So I cannot even afford Hiut. Sorry guys. Even tho' you offer a 37" waist it has to be High Street bargain stores for me these days.

Take a look at their site,, read their story and explore the newsletter which is better than average. Then ponder why this small company makes trousers instead of jumpers as they are based in Cardigan.
Gentlemen. Please adjust your dress before leaving.