Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Foot in mouth disease

I thought today may be the first working day when I didn't post a blog, but as I watch the sun sink over the Wye there is too much worth sharing.

This morning I weighed up a round trip of about 150 miles, parking, munchies and two of us out of the office, and still decided in favour of going to the Materials Recycling Week ( http://www.mrw.co.uk ) RWM 05 (there'll be a link off MRW I'm sure) exhibition at the NEC. About 2 hrs later, having diverted to pick up Emma at home, we arrived.

At first it didn't look good. More big bits of kit than you could shake a WEEE directive at. Great for an ex-Civ Eng who still has a poster of Raymond Baxter on his wall (RIP Tomorrow's World), but perhaps not so relevant to our core audience. And Emma's toecaps, while dainty, can express 'Focus' in a very sharp manner.

But as we scooted up and down the aisles, we did find a few nuggets of gold. People who we could help, and people we may be helped by. I was especially taken with a young man from DEFRA who got quite taken with Junkk.com and vowed to make 'them' take note. I have to say, from councils to community groups to govt. departments, there is a promising new generation I have high hopes of engaging with positively.

Anyway, pitches were pitched, cards were exchanged, and I truly look forward to seeing a fair bit more professional activity of the site very soon.

The thing that helped us most in this was my deciding to take my laptop sling with me. This simple but (if I may so, and despite feedback from a few grinches who have said the exact opposite) stylish example of reuse (I must finish my vacuum cleaner rucksack... soon!) caught a lot of eyes and opened up a lot of conversations.

One of which was with Penney Poyzer (between the Google links and MRW's posts, I'm not too sure how her name is spelled), the host of BBC2's 'No waste like home', to whom we were kindly introduced by the lovely Anna, Rebecca and (whatever the male equivalent of lovely is, becuase he really is a nice chap, and I sit here still singed by the attitude of most editors) Paul of MRW. Thanks guys, and I hope the link is a good 'thank you' start, and I will add to your blog soon... promise.

Anyway, back to Penney. And the reason for today's title.

Followers of this blog will remember that I have not been overwhelmingly complimentary about the show in the past, though looking back my blogs were, I feel, balanced in what was good and what was bad. At least on a personal basis, which is what a blog is!

So finding myself presented to the frontperson I was basically thinking to myself 'Whoopsidaisy', or words to that effect. In the end I decided to 'fess up. And here a very nice thing happened. It is obvious from the show that she is a very pleasant and gracious lady (though I think the script and editing does her few favours, as in real life she is a different, and much more interesting person), but she immediately accepted that there may be alternative viewpoints, and did so with good humour. She even waived aside our apologies for driving there (she had trained in) by pinting out that we had car-shared, a fact that had not occured to us.

She also seemed to express more than a passing interest in Junkk.com which, from someone much further advanced towards the Holy Grail of public awareness (to our... er.. zero. When will that launch plan kick in???) was more than welcome. I might also add that, having appreciated more her professional background, it was very encouraging.

I sincerely hope we will be able to engage with her some more, and more often. I overheard her comments in the press briefing (see MRW, above, I guess next week, to read it) and this is one highly informed, passionate yet pragmatic lady. She is also, like us, not so bound by various affiliations to be 'on message' to the detriment of objective public communication, which was one area with which I had felt the TV series was not doing such a good job. That said, it does seem to be getting better each week, and I'm sorry I missed the last episode.

I have also just read Rebecca Allmark of MRW's review of her book, and it looks like it is more what we have been advocating, and one we will buy. Without having read it myself I will hold comment, but by way of atonement to a very nice person, and astoundingly youthful grandma, let me point you in its direction:


Penny, I hope we will talk more, help each other... and, in so doing, the planet.

By coincidence, her next show features student life. And next week we hit London's University Fresher's Fairs to see how we can inspire students to save money and time via reuse.

Coincidence? No. I'd like to think it's karma:)