January 2020


Perlenbacher is from Lidl.

It’s a non alcoholic lager.

It’s pictured here:

It costs £2.37 for 6 bottles.

So that’s 39 1/2p for each bottle.


With Perlenbacher.

There’s less of an aftertaste than Becks Blue.

It’s 13p a bottle cheaper.

It tastes nicer.

There are 70 calories in 1 bottle.

And I now have 1 to 3 bottles each night.


I sleep slightly less.

But better.

There is no nightly head-swim.

That familiar feeling after 2 or 3 bottles at (say) 5%.

I thought I’d miss that feeling.

I don’t.

And when I wake up in the morning I am far more alert than I used to be.



All of this is creating more room in my life.

And because I am not cramming that extra room with more work.

I am a much more relaxed person.




Two Things.


I’ve changed two things:

  1. I’ve dropped the amount of alcohol I drink by about 80%*.
  2. The extra ‘room’ that creates. I leave empty. To think. And relax. Even though I am actually more busy than I have been in years**.

Give it a go.

And the cost of exploring this route to a better life?


* ALCOHOL: When I drink alcohol on 1 or 2 nights a week now. I drink far less. And I don’t actually enjoy it as much. I am more discerning. And I mix in the non alcoholic drinks. Which I now prefer taste-wise to alcoholic lagers and IPA.

** EXTRA ROOM: You know what. If what you are doing matters.  And you are good at what you do. And the value of what you do is abundantly clear. Those people wanting what you do. They wait. Who knew?!

I was listening to Radio 4 this week.

I think I had someone in the car with me.

So I was showing off.

Formative Years

They were talking about formative years.

And more specifically.

They’re taking about which ‘block’ of early years were most impactful on how we are as adults.

0 to 5.

6 to 10.

11 to 15.

Or 16 to 20.

For me personally, it was probably 13 to 18.

The general consensus was much younger though.

o to 5, I think.


Izobel is 3.

I’ve never been a daddy before.

And I’ve had all manner of feelings and learnings and discoveries in the last 3 years.

They range from the bizarre (Is she really here? Did I imagine that she was actually born? I wonder if she got swapped over in the hospital somehow?)

To the dark (She’ll probably die. Or get lost. Or be stolen. Or eaten by a dog. Or get really poorly and need medication that I cannot afford because I should have fucking worked harder so it’s all my fault that she can’t be mended. Or be bullied and I’ll go into nursery and punch a 3 year old and end up in prison so I can’t look after her any more).

To the  much lighter (It’s the best time for girls to be girls. She will grow up watching football played by women and men (as opposed to football and women’s football). Stereotypes are being killed by the day (Izobel wants to be a doctor or a pilot or a vet or a ballerina or a boxer. Or all of them). This is my chance to put right all the shit that I had to contend with as a young person).

You know.

The usual feelings and learnings and discoveries that new daddies have.

Decisions and Attention. 

If I had to sum up what being a daddy is like.

In just a couple of words.

Those words would be ‘decisions’ and ‘attention’.

I am making decisions for another human being, every second.

And I want Izobel to feel like she has my attention almost all of the time.

That she is listened to.

And valued.

And worth investing in.

Because of course, she is.

Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos Psychiatrist.

And so it is that I will now get to the thrust of my story.

Here is a cut-and-paste article from Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos.

Published 6th January 2020.

It’s a 45 second read.

It made me think.


And if you’re a daddy or a mummy or similar.

It may be useful to you, too.

(The headline makes it sound morbid. 

But it’s not, really.

It’s slightly dramatic in the early part.

But it’s good overall).

Here it is:


There is a silent tragedy that is unfolding today in our homes and concerns our most precious jewels: our children.

Our children are in a devastating emotional state! In the last 15 years, researchers have given us increasingly alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in childhood mental illness that is now reaching epidemic proportions:

• 1 in 5 children have mental health problems

• A 43% increase in diagnosed ADHD

• A 37% increase in adolescent depression has been noted

• There has been a 200% increase in the suicide rate in children aged 10 to 14

What is happening and what are we doing wrong?

Today’s children are being over-stimulated and over-gifted with material objects, but they are deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

• Emotionally available parents

• Clearly defined limits

• Responsibilities

• Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep

• Movement in general but especially outdoors

• Creative play, social interaction, unstructured game opportunities and boredom spaces

Instead, in recent years, children have been filled with:

• Digitally distracted parents

• Indulgent and permissive parents who let children “rule the world” and whoever sets the rules

• A sense of right, of deserving everything without earning it or being responsible for obtaining it

• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition

• A sedentary lifestyle

• Endless stimulation, technological nannies, instant gratification and absence of boring moments

What to do?

If we want our children to be happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and get back to basics. It is still possible! Many families see immediate improvements after weeks of implementing the following recommendations:

• Set limits and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you have control of the helm.

• Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what children NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your children if what they want is not what they need.

• Provide nutritious food and limit junk food.

• Spend at least one hour a day outdoors doing activities such as cycling, walking, fishing, bird/insect watching

• Enjoy a daily family dinner without smartphones or distracting technology, let everyone feel valued

• Play board games as a family or if children are very small for board games, just let the pretend to play it

• Involve your children in some homework or household chores according to their age (folding clothes, hanging clothes, unpacking food, setting the table, feeding the dog, etc.)

• Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure your child gets enough sleep. The schedules will be even more important for school-age children.

• Teach responsibility and independence. Do not overprotect them against all frustration or mistakes. Misunderstanding will help them build resilience and learn to overcome life’s challenges,

• Do not carry your children’s backpack, do not carry the homework they forgot, do not peel bananas or peel oranges if they can do it on their own (4-5 years). Instead of giving them the fish, teach them to fish.

• Teach them to wait and delay gratification.

• Provide opportunities for “boredom”, since boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. Do not feel responsible for always keeping children entertained.

• Do not use technology as a cure for boredom, nor offer it at the first second of inactivity.

• Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, shopping centers. Use these moments as opportunities to socialize by training the brains to know how to work when they are in mode: “boredom”

• Help them create a “bottle of boredom” with activity ideas for when they are bored.

• Be emotionally available to connect with children and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

• Turn off the phones at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distractions.

• Become a regulator or emotional trainer for your children. Teach them to recognize and manage their own frustrations and anger.

• Teach them to greet, to take turns, to share without running out of anything, to say thank you and please, to acknowledge the error and apologize (do not force them), be a model of all those values you instill.

• Connect emotionally – smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, play or crawl with them.

Article written by Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos Psychiatrist.


Here’s an advert that you can cut and paste if you like.

If you are a business looking to recruit someone into your Marketing Department.

Or indeed, to set up your Marketing Department.

And you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.

Job Description. 


Our busy Engineering Business is expanding!

And whilst we employ an Accountant to look after our day-to-day finances.

And a Finance Director to lead our Accountant and to help the owners of the business make informed decisions around how we handle money, margins and more.

And an Operations Director to lead on systems efficiency and flushing out waste.

And an external Health and Safety Advisor to focus completely on the creation and maintenance of a safe working environment.

And an external Cleaning Company to make sure that we have a presentable, hygenic and clean working environment for our team and visitors.

We now require just one, lucky, skilled and capable BrandMarketerPRDesignerCopywriterPhotographer to help us to fix on a meaningful brand position, to create an appropriate brand framework, to integrate that brand, to develop various marketing strategies for a segmented market place (once you’ve segmented it), to develop the most appropriate ranges of marketing tactics for the strategies that you create and put in place, to use strategic public relations expertise in order to create content for and get us into our industries most significant and appropriate specialist publications, plus a range of non-specialist publications that make sense in the context of our marketing strategy and their readership with the correct mix of timely brand and campaign messaging, to design and roll out the correct mix of digital and off line business communication tools, to write in a clear and on-brand way (and make sure that everyone else does too or else what’s the fucking point of just one person doing it) and to take on brand photography that is both technically perfect, diverse and creatively engaging.

And ‘Do Social Media’.

And to make sure that every element feeds into and from each other.

And to make sure that every element is aligned to the strategic objectives of the organisation.


You will be supported and led by a team that don’t know what they want, what you need (or want), and therefore wouldn’t recognise success even if you did somehow manage to deliver on any of the fluffy business and brand communications objectives that we (might) set.

We offer no career progression because, naturally, if we don’t understand where we are now, we will be clueless about where we want to go (and therefore where you might end up) in any aspect of our business communications and brand building activity in the future.

The salary will be competitive (this means as close to £20k and as far away from £30k as we can get it because that’s what Bob at my friend’s welding company pays his brother’s daughter’s boyfriend) and we will get you one of the more expensive IKEA chairs because that’s what we think you want because that’s what we saw a designer sitting on in a June 2003 copy of Creative Review.

You’ll need your own camera and laptop and software and whatever other things you think you may need.

Because we don’t know.

Please send a cv to … (you complete this bit).

You’re welcome.

Photo: Ashleigh King / Paul Scurrah.

The first run of The A Team in the UK.

Was from 1983.

To 1994.

That was my 15th year.

Through to my 26th year.


The characters were good!

Well, I thought they were.

Somehow wholesome.

Wholesome and yet shooting people at the same time.


The A Team were in my life.

And then they weren’t.

And that was that.

Mr. T.

Here’s a 59 second video of Mr. T being interviewed.

One of The A. Team lead characters.

I like it because it exposes (another) silly media person.

And shows something quite nice about Mr. T, too.

Here it is: .

Here’s what Fred Rogers said.

When he was asked what one thing.

Above all else.

That we should teach our children.

Mr. Rogers said:

Learn to accept and expect mistakes.

And deal with the disappointment that they bring.

Fred Rogers, TV Host & Producer. 1928 – 2003.


This is a good thing to teach all children I think.

But only those aged between 1.

And 100.

What you most want to find.

Will be found where you least want to look.


You may not know exactly what it is.

Or exactly where it is.

But you know that it exists.

You can feel it.

The Forest.

Imagine a forest.

Imagine that the thing you most want to find is within that forest.

And then imagine you must enter that forest to find it.

Here’s what to do.

Make sure that you enter the part of the forest that looks most dark to you.

Make sure that you enter the part of the forest that looks most frightening to you.

Most unfamiliar.

And most challenging.

This is because the paths that you know.

The paths with which you are most familiar.

Well; you’ve trodden them before.

You have mastered them.

And you still don’t have the thing you most want to find.

New Paths.

If what you are doing is not working for you.

In your pursuit of what you most what to find.

Then it is where you have not gone.

That you need to go.

Because at the end of the darkest paths in the forest.

Lie the greatest treasures.

You can only get one idea into a headline.

All good journalists know this.

And so do all good brand builders.


Almost all businesses with ambitions to be a brand say too much.

They overcomplicate.

And very often it is because of fear.


Great brands only say one thing.

And it is the fear of that one thing.

Being the wrong thing.

That gets in the way.

The Rules.

Know the difference you are trying to make.

Ask why you are the one to do it.

Ask, why now, too.

Make sure you’re doing something that is desired by your target audiences of course.

Make sure it matters.

And make it’s something that you can own.

(This means that when targets talk about your brand.

Without mentioning your actual name.

Your name arrives in their mind automatically).

And of course.

Don’t over complicate.

Keep it simple.

That way.

If you’re patient.

You’ll discover that brand-rich businesses.

Are rich businesses.

Since I’ve been carrying this big, heavy sandglass around with me.

My life has changed completely.

And for the better, I must add.

Because I’ve stopped wasting time.

A Reminder.

Carrying such a big, heavy sandglass around.

Is inconvenient.

It makes me so tired.

And sometimes.

When I look at it.

And I watch the sand moving.

From the top half.

To the bottom half.

I get teary.


It such an important reminder for me.

Especially because my sandglass.

Is heavier at the bottom.

Than it is at the top.

Izobel’s Sandglass. 

Izobel’s sandglass is exactly the same size as my sandglass.

And, just like my sandglass.

The sand trickles from the top half.

To the bottom half.

In exactly the same way.

And at exactly the same rate.

And even though she is a teeny-tiny 3 years old.

She carries her sandglass with such ease!

In fact, she doesn’t even notice it’s there.

But she will.

In time.

The Sand. 

These days.

I set my heavy sandglass down next to me.

Wherever I am.

And whomever I am with.

And as my eyes flick between the sand.

The falling sand.

And this person I am choosing to spend that sand on.

I look for things.

I look for things in whoever I am with.

I look for generosity.





And warmth.

And if I see these things.

I am comfortable spending sand on that person.

Sand that I will never have again.

And if I do not see these things.

I leave.

And I go to wait for Izobel.


Since I’ve been carrying this big, heavy sandglass around with me.

My life has changed completely.

And for the better, I must add.

Because I’ve stopped wasting time.

There are some things in business.

That should never, ever happen.

And one of them.

Is stupid people driving liveried work vans.

Stupid People Driving Liveried Work Vans. 

There was a stupid person working for a company called Priority Transport driving a liveried Priority Transport work van this morning.

In Newcastle.

This particular stupid person parked the Priority Transport advert that he or she was driving in one of those yellow box thingies.

Leaving a queue of traffic sat at a green light.

Traffic that included me.

Taking a photo of him from the passenger seat (here it is).

As Lisa drove Izobel to nursery at about 7.40am.

The Stupid Person Driving a Liveried Work Van From Priority Transport.

The stupid person driving a liveried work van from Priority Transport made sure that as many people as possible saw that the company he worked for employed stupid people to drive their Priority Transport liveried work vans.

Affecting perception of the Priority Transport brand.

Making me and hopefully anyone else that saw the stupid person driving the liveried work van from Priority Transport.

Or anyone that may read a blog about the stupid person that drives a liveried work van from Priority Transport.

To make a mental note.

Never to use Priority Transport.

And never to refer Priority Transport.

To anyone.

Because Priority Transport drivers are inconsiderate.

And stupid.


Building a business is hard.

Building a brand is harder.

But weakening even the strongest of brands is actually quite easy.

As the stupid person that was driving his or her liveried Priority Transport work van in Newcastle this morning, proved.