Taking my brain but leaving something cleverer

I have to write a thing.

A very focussed, incisive business thing.

It has to, briefly, summarise a complex situation, it must list the alternatives for improving a critical situation, it should explore the high-level pros and cons of the alternatives, and match the organisation’s strategy with the most appropriate solution.

I like writing this kind of thing.

Constructing and then putting a well-written, soundly-argued piece of logically-driven writing in front of the highest level of a £ multi-billion organisation is to expose my writing, and the thinking behind it, to a readership of intensely critical thinkers.

Normally I rise to the challenge.

But today there is a small problem.

My brain won’t work.

I’ve been staring at the first page for half an hour.

There’s a title.

And that’s it.

The more I stare at the sheet, the more my brain refuses to cooperate.

Which is why I’m writing this piece, obv.

This is an attempt to kick-start my intelligence in to productivity.

The weird thing is not that my brain seems to have evaporated overnight.

No, the weird thing is what I see when I look at the (almost) blank piece of paper.

The number ’43’.


How can my eyes look at a blank sheet of paper, but my head chooses to register the number ’43’?

I’ve been staring at this non-existent number (if you see what I mean) for the last half-hour, trying to get going.

I’m still not hitting any kind of a ‘get going’ stride.

In racing terms, cantering swiftly out of the starting gate would be good, but right now I’d settle for leaving the paddock at a stiff walk.

*pauses for another stare at ’43’ which isn’t actually there*

This isn’t writer’s block.

This is an indication of something far more sinister.

I believe that sometime during the night I was visited by aliens.

They sneaked up to my slumbering form and, through some kind of telekinetic mind-meld thing, they extracted what little intelligence I had left.

I am hoping that writing this will get at least one cylinder firing.

But here’s something that I would like to give you.

A present.

If you have the Chrome browser, click on the link below (in Chrome, obviously) and watch the most awesome piece of design I can ever remember.

The tune’s not too shabby – have Arcade Fire ever done something not worth listening to?

But the accompanying video will knock your socks off

Trust me.



A break but not broken (a horse for one bin)

Due to an overdose of Scott Mills on BBCs Radio 1 the phrase ‘A horse for one bin’ appears to have become not only my default phrase but also my default sentence. Sorry. But have you seen this website?

Because my employers have enforced a longer than usual Christmas/New Year holiday on me (I finish on 19th December and restart on 5th January – and no, that’s really not nice because I don’t get holiday pay!)  we’re taking a little overseas break.

The outward journey is logistically complicated and begins with (probably) going up to Soph’s mum and dad on Christmas Day evening, spending the night and Boxing Day there, driving down to a hotel near Gatwick airport on Boxing Day, getting up about 05.30 on 27th, getting to the airport, checking in, having breakfast and then flying out, arriving at somewhere just a little bit warmer at 11.15 local time.

We’ll travel back on the afternoon of 31st December and should arrive home just in time to celebrate the turn of the year.


I’m looking forward to it immensely.


p.s. Memo to self: get currency sorted!

Writing for the readership…

It’s appropriate to begin with this…

I’m struggling with a piece of work for a customer in London.

I have to write a service level agreement (SLA) which will form a contract between two parts of an organisation that are shifting towards a client/contractor split.

I’ve been given an SLA template – a copy of an existing document – to work from.

It sucks.

It’s one of the most badly written things I’ve ever seen – definitely the worst I’ve had to work with.

So why is it that it’s acceptable for business documentation to be poorly written?

Why do we have lower standards of reader-friendly copy when we pick up a business-related piece of prose?

Awww, c’mon!

It’s not really acceptable at all, is it?

Rise up friends, rise up and strike a blow for business literature (and probably business literacy!)

Burn those badly-worded reports; take out and bury those inartculate, illogically-written briefings.

Rewrite these things, use pith not verbosity by all means, but let’s turn them in to things that are – if not a joy – are at least easy to read!

Oh yes!