Why brands fear getting verbed

23 February 2016 0
Why brands fear getting verbed
Photoshop is one of the world’s most successful trademarks. How do we know? Because it’s one of a tiny number that have received a very special honour: they’ve been verbed. Only a select few trademarks become verbs. You can google stuff, you can hoover your floor (at least you can in Britain), and there was a ...

Reboot, remake, recycle

25 January 2016 0
Reboot, remake, recycle
What was the last film you saw that told an original story based on original characters? Genuinely new films are getting rarer and rarer. In 1995, only three of the 10 highest-grossing films were sequels – several others were based on novels or TV series, but were new to the movies. In 2005, six of the 10 biggest films were sequels, prequels, ...

I’ve gone freelance

20 October 2015 0
I’ve gone freelance
This desk, acquired and assembled by my other half as a birthday present, is testament to the fact that I’ve finally gone freelance! After a decade working in-house for various publications, I handed in my notice this summer and am, as of now, a self-employed writer and editor, working mostly from this very desk. To ...

Is “socialist” a dirty word?

19 October 2015 0
Is “socialist” a dirty word?
This piece by Timothy Egan in the New York Times explores how the US public understands the term “socialist”. His point is that, while the word “socialist” may terrify people, actual socialist policies, don’t. To me it seems that part of this is because Americans tend to equate “socialist” with “communist”, whereas over here in Europe we ...

Football reporters get the red card

12 August 2015 0
Football reporters get the red card
As a non-fan, I find the world of football strangely fascinating. Not the game itself, I mean – that bit’s dull as ditchwater – but the whole world of football and how it works (or perhaps how it doesn’t work). Y’know: the hilarious Fifa circus, the endless hoo-hah over transfers, the annual outrage at the price of the new ...

Win, win, win, win, win

06 August 2015 0
Win, win, win, win, win
How many times can you win in one situation? We’ve all heard of win-win situations – but now  we’re seeing the rise of win-win-win situations. The image this conjures up for me is of a Mexican standoff being resolved amicably, with everyone putting down their guns, learning an important lesson about life and sitting down together to share some ...

Michael Gove makes an “impact” at the MoJ

28 June 2015 0
Michael Gove makes an “impact” at the MoJ
In his latest effort to ingratiate himself to the population, that lovable rascal Michael Gove has been sending memos round his new ministry telling everybody how to write. Included in Gove’s list of pet language peeves which staff at the Ministry of Justice will henceforth have their wrists slapped for using in official correspondence, is the ...

Why ‘Man bites dog’ doesn’t cut it as a headline anymore

27 June 2015 0
Why ‘Man bites dog’ doesn’t cut it as a headline anymore
A few years back I remember pondering how the web was killing tabloidese (with inspiration from a piece in The Times by Carol Midgley). Since then there’s been an even bigger change in online headlines. Once upon a time, if a man had bitten a dog, the headline would have been, “Man bites dog” – leave out ...

Content in context

22 March 2015 0
Content in context
Content is a big deal these days. If you work in media or marketing, you’ll be hearing a lot about content. Even if you don’t, you may be thinking about it as a way to help promote your business. My job title recently changed from a series of variations on “editor”, to “head of content”. ...

Rules that are there to be broken

01 September 2014 0
Rules that are there to be broken
I enjoyed this very sensible piece by Steven Pinker for the Guardian, on grammar rules that it’s OK to break – sometimes. Pinker says of grammar rules: Supposedly a writer has to choose between two radically different approaches to these rules. Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought to be used. They uphold standards of excellence and a respect ...