Last weekend.

In Jesmond.

In Newcastle.

I came across this:


It’s a nice thing.

It’s a little wooden house.

On the edge of a green.

Containing books.

And written on this little.



It instructs:

Take a book.

Leave a book.


My Izobel.

Aged 3.

Took a book.

And next week we will leave a book.

But the nicest little thing about this nice little thing.

Is the nice conversation that I then had with Izobel.

Because, as we didn’t buy the little dinosaur book she chose.

Izobel learned about generosity.

And it made her want to leave one of her books there too.

Two things. 

I left this experience thinking two things.


Niceness breeds niceness.


Someone has to start.

And that got me thinking of a third and fourth thing.


That I can start a nice thing.

(I’m thinking).


So can you.

(Please think too).

I have a three word answer to questions like this.

Michael, why are you trying to create the best hand knitted jumpers in the world?

Michael, why are you trying to create the most talked about daily blog in the world?

Michael, why are you trying to create one of the first Brand Communication agencies that only works with businesses wanting to make a contribution?

(As opposed to working with brands that just want ANGELFYSH help them to flog as much stuff as they can.

To as many people as they can.

Whether the customer can afford it or not).

Three words.

My three word answer is always the same.


Someone has to.

I don’t know what else to say, really.

Please go here. As there are clips with this story:


If three of the main ingredients of total, total brilliance are bravery, creativity and staying true to a bold and vivid vision.

A vision that is likely to shock, arrest and polarise.

Then ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ is one of the most totally, totally brilliant films ever made.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

I love this film even more at 51 years old.

In 2019.

Than I did when I was 19 years old.

In 1987.

When it was released.


Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a reminder about real life.

And how raw and amazing real life can be.

A reminder also that real life is – mostly – confusing.

As well as broken, bruising and fucking hard.

A reminder that – of course you are going to fuck up vast chapters of your life.

Over and over.

But it is also a reminder that life.

All life.

Should be celebrated.

Not in a pathetic, silly, pointless and unauthentic Instagrammable way.

But just as it is.

Being Human.

Being human means being dysfunctional.

At least sometimes.

And being OK with it.

I love the poetry of the clip below.

There are so many amazing clips that I could have chosen from this film.

But this one, if you’ve not seen the film before.

Or maybe even if you have.

Might just leave you sat silently.

Wide mouthed.

Eyebrows high.

Staring at the screen.

Rita Sue and Bob, Too.

Rita, Sue and Bob are some of most beautifully written and played out characters I’ve ever seen.

As they chronicle the reality and confusion of growing up if you are ‘a Rita’.

Or ‘a Sue’.

And chronicling the reality and confusion of not growing up if you are ‘a Bob’.


If three of the main ingredients of total, total brilliance are bravery, creativity and staying true to your vision.

Then ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’ is one of the most totally, totally brilliant films ever made.

And here are cast members and wider team discussing it in (I think) 2017.

Listen how tenacious Michelle Holmes (Sue) was to get the part:


The answer to everything?


So try this.

Pop to Google.

(The search engine that is used for 92.6% of the world’s Internet searches.

The search engine that makes 40,000 searches every second.

3.5 billion searches every day.

1.2 trillion searches every year.

The search engine used by millions and millions of people to help drive decision making.

And drive lives.

And drive destinies).

And ask Google to do this:

Google. Create something new for me.


Google can’t do this.

Google can’t have real, alive, unique ideas.

Yes, Google can answer most of the questions you ask it.

But newness?


Google can’t create new.

Because Google looks backwards not forwards.

Google isn’t brave.

Or adventurous.

Or creative.

Or beautiful.

Google lives in the world of the probable.

Based on existing information.

Based on what went before.



You live in the world of the possible.

Not the world of the probable.

(If you want to, that is).


So turn Google off.

You choose your next move.

You can be brave.

You can be adventurous.

You can be creative.

You can be beautiful.

And you can start today.

But not with a click of a mouse.

With a click of your fingers.

That’s all it takes.

What gift creativity is.

Go create.

I used to LOVE ‘The Word’.

That thing with Terry Christian at the helm.

The twitching Mancunian.

I used to LOVE ‘The Word’ even though.

When measured against traditional ideas of television programmes at the time.

Like presenters being able to speak.

And remember lines.

And know which camera to look at.

It was shite.


Tiswas was the same.

Chris Tarrant and Sally James and Lenny Henry.

Just mucking about.

Teaching children that being unstructured and off-the-wall and messy and a little bit naughty and spontaneous is OK.

(In fact it’s not just OK. 

It’s what children are for).

Vic and Bob

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer were the same.

Nailing teddy bears to walls.

Frightening a bald man with chives.

Just odd.


I am not sure of the exact formula for Shite-But-Good.

But the framework for successful Shite-But-Good definitely contains:

  • Being restlessly and endlessly creative.
  • Running at ideas as opposed to analysing them (literally) to their death.
  • Not giving a shit what people think.
  • Doing things for the first time.
  • Doing what you enjoy.
  • Being happy.
  • Being in a good team of like minded people.
  • Being brave.
  • Failing and being OK with failing.
  • Not judging.

Give it a go.

You’ll love it.


And by the way.

A band called OASIS made their TV debut on The Word.

On the 18th of March 1994.

With a tune called Supersonic.

Here it is (


Any time you do a thing.


Anything whatsoever.

It could be the last time you ever do it.

So if you need just one reason to do it fucking amazingly.



The best that you ever, ever, ever did it in your whole entire life.

This is it.

This is not just a story about storytelling.

It’s personal.

Because it’s about your storytelling.

A Difficult Truth.

The way that you tell your business’s story is very likely to be nowhere near good enough.

This is a difficult truth.

It’s because most business leaders don’t value storytelling enough.

So they don’t invest in storytelling enough.

Which is strange.

Because it is one of the single biggest reasons that businesses don’t maximise.


I am fascinated by how world-class storytelling actually works.

And I want to drag you into my world.

Just for a moment.

I want to expose you to my curiosity around world-class storytelling.

So I have explored one of the most sophisticated and difficult kind of storytelling possible.

Storytelling without words.

No Words.

TV and film Scriptwriter (and ANGELFYSH team member) Debbie Owen is currently (amongst other things) creating stories and scripts for BBC flagship, CASUALTY.

I have listened to Debbie talk about her TV and film scriptwriting experience for years.

And I know that Debbie has worked on lengthy scenes and sometimes entire productions – as a scriptwriter – that have no words at all.

I wanted to find out more.

Debbie Owen

Scriptwriting is storytelling.  And story doesn’t have to be told verbally.

Every story will have characters who need a journey, with actions, motivations, purpose, emotions. Whether those characters speak or not doesn’t matter.  We must still feel for them and care what happens to them.

As a scriptwriter, I write the words the actors say… but I also write how they deliver those words.  I write the pace, the pauses, the tone, the emotion.  I write how they feel, where they move, what they wear.  I write the atmosphere, the style of the space, day or night.

I visualise every aspect of the scene on the page, so that the director and the actors know exactly what I have in mind.  Then they can accurately interpret my script onto the screen.

A script without dialogue, is still storytelling.  And it still has to relay all of the above.

Here’s an example:


A sparsely decorated room.  No ornaments, the pictures are screwed to the wall and have Perspex fronts, the TV is housed inside a wooden box with a Perspex front.  Chairs, too heavy to throw, are arranged in social groups.

At the back of the room are 2 doors: 1 internal, with a spy hole, leading to the rest of the ward.  1 external, with a small window, leading to a courtyard.

Around the outside of the room, a track is worn in the carpet – someone walks the same path, over and over.

DOUG sits, nervous.  He stands, he sits, he doesn’t know what to do.  This is all new to him.

He moves to the internal door and tries the handle – locked.  He looks through the spy hole, but he’s on the wrong aside to see anything.  He knocks.  Listens.  Nothing.

He moves to the external door – locked.  The outside world is so near and yet so far.

OFF:  from beyond the internal door, a scuffle can be heard getting closer.  Heavy breathing and fighting coming from unseen, unknown people.  DOUG’s terrified.  Are they coming in here?!  He backs as far away from the door as he can… and waits.

That’s storytelling.


Your business has a story.

Or if it doesn’t.

It bloody well should have.

And you need to find it.

Then tell it.


Because an impressive story told badly.

Or a bad story told impressively.

Is just as bad as no story at all.

In all these circumstances.

Your business is treading water.


Debbie shows that it is possible to connect and evoke deep emotion and connection without one word being spoken.

So what a shame it is that almost every business I see is not maximising as a business because they are not connecting.

They’re just using (normally far too many) words to tell me what they do.

And there’s no story.

It’s bland.



They sound the same as everyone else in their category.

And the business owner is surprised when nothing changes.


There is a really important reason that I have taken the time to write this story.

It’s because great storytelling is transformational.

It is endlessly rewarding for your business.

And everybody in it.

So please.

Focus on and invest in beautiful storytelling.

And if you cannot do it yourself.

Call me.

As a very young child.

I never accepted.

That toys can’t fly.

I used my imagination instead.


I’d pick up a toy.

With my little hand.

And an outstretched arm.

And one achy shoulder.

And I’d lock my eyes on the scaled down aeroplane.

Or rocket.

Or Pterodactyl.

For hours.

Because I never accepted that toys can’t fly.


My eyes edited out my hand as it supported the tiny aeroplane’s flight.

And my young mind edited in the clouds.

And the engine noise.

And the other aeroplanes that were chasing me.

At four years old I was good  at visualising.

At four years old I was good at focusing.

And at four years old.

You were great at this kind of thing too.

Toys Can’t Fly.

So why is it that.

As adults.

Such fanciful ideas – born from visualisation and focus – are harder to muster for most people?

You see, I am still imagining.

I am visualising and focusing on growing a brand that creates the best hand knitted jumpers in the world.

I am visualising and focusing on evolving my Brand Collective to become one of the UK’s first to only work with contributive businesses.

And I am visualising and focusing on developing a publishing brand that encourages people to tell their own story, too.

And just as I edited out the hand that held the aeroplane as a child.

I edit out negativity.

And naysayers.

And all the other things that can potentially hold me back.



It’s a bit harder to believe at 51 years old.

Harder than it was when I was 4 years old.

But it’s just as magical.

And that’s why I do it.

Many great tunes start very, very quietly.

They build.

Great brands are like this, too.

Lean in.

Great  brands slowly draw people in.

They get you to lean in.

To listen.

They take you with them.


Great tunes show restraint as well.

They’re not showy just for the sake of being showy.

Just because they can be.

We know that Christina Aguilera can hit and hold the high notes as well as anyone in the whole wide world.

But in ‘Say Something’ by ‘A Great Big World and Christine Aguilera’

She doesn’t.

We wait for it, of course.

We lean in.

But it doesn’t come.

And that’s as it should be.

Because great tunes.

And brands.

Show restraint.

And they are doing it on purpose.

So we lean in.




Be brilliant.

Be really brilliant.

But show restraint too.

And go slow.

Because if you re worth waiting for.

We’ll wait.

And in the meantime.

Make us lean in.

And before you know it.

And before we know it.

You’ll have us.

Go here:

If I were a cat.

I’d not be a House Cat.

I’d be an Outdoor Cat.

Outdoor Cat.

It’s because I think that’s what cats are made for.

Being outside.


Buggering about.

Nearly dying 9 times.


Being creative.

Taking risks.

House cats.

House Cats, it seems to me, stare out of the window.

They stare at the world.

Through half-open eyes.

Blinking slowly.

Purring randomly.


And all that punctuated by jumping down from the window ledge.

Sauntering into the kitchen in slow motion.

And dropping their big tummies down onto the kitchen floor.

Next to their reliably filled food bowls.

To graze.

Outdoor cat.

Whilst outside.

The other side of the window.

Outdoor Cat is going bonkers.

Successfully climbing trees.

Or successfully falling out of them.

Stalking the early bird.

That is stalking the unsuspecting worm.

Where sometimes the food chain clicks in and everyone is full.

Or sometimes the food chain fails and everyone goes hungry.

That’s the way it is with Outdoor Cat.



What are you in life, then?

An Outdoor Cat?

Or a House Cat?

And are you happy where you are?

If not.

Pop to the door.

Go on.

Give it a little shove.

It’s open.