Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sunday - Day Of Rest!!!!?


Up early. It was a lovely day, and as I had nothing else to do I decided to set off. It gave me a chance to notice, and reflect, on just how many aircraft pass overhead every few seconds. Something repeated at countless points around the globe every minute of every day. It has to be a major issue. Frankly, it is also a reason I could not move back from our lovely country location to my favourite area of London, which is the West. It is simply too noisy and too polluted. I don’t want my kids living with what drops out of a jet engine.

Last day, and I’ve nailed down everything possible. It does seem that things are going walkies from stands as the bargain hunters swoop, and often feel all is fair game.

Pretty quiet at the stand, though the rest of the show was a zoo as the bargain hunters swooped. So much for the ‘it gets better towards the end’ claim. Frankly little we were told to get us there had much basis in reality. Yes we did meet some lovely folk who will move the Junkk.com cause along, but nowhere near enough to move us to the next level of site users we need to talk turkey with media buyers.

I complete this ‘show daily’ on the following Tuesday (Monday being somewhat of a blur as the sheer scale of stuff to catch up on, including sleep, sunk in).

The show closed at 6pm and a mighty cheer went up from all exhibitors, which must have been disconcerting to the visitors. That many hung around for ages afterwards shows how much anyone paid attention to the muffled Tannoy messages.

PJ had driven the van up, and it took us form 6.30pm to gone ten to strike the site and load up. Exhausting. It was a small miracle to get it all back in.

To all who helped make the show bearable (fellow Junkk.com stand item donors, exhibitors and presenters and, of course, lovely visitors)... I thank you. To those who tried to spoil things... well... nuts to you.

No one said saving the planet would be easy, but it can still be fun:)

Saturday - And An Appeal TO Help


Arrived to find an appeal from a fellow exhibitor, Emma Baxter. Basically she is part of a Scout group based in Watford who are trying raise funds for an expedition to Kenya to support a worthy cause.. Called the YES project, it is on www.yes.or.ke. You can reach Emma on arielbax@aol.com.

Visited by a very nice couple who ‘got’ it. And the lovely lady partner, Hermione, turns out to be a freelance writer. She felt our story would be of interest to her readership… of 1 million. Fingers crossed, eh?


If I had been at Junkk.com Towers the last few weeks, I’m sure we’d have managed to pop in a good-natured wind-up of our own, but sadly this year I’ll just have to restrict myself to those I have seen. Thanks to the BBC News several have been spoiled by them pointing them out (what next guys, telling us the ending of movies?), and so far I just have those in my morning Mail.

First up is that the President of the EC, Jose Barroso, has opted for a Volkswagen Toureg. How I laughed! That’s like our Minister for the Environment opting to take a helicopter to speed up her travel round the country. That said, who could blame him? It is the car of choice in the ‘I’ve saved my 20%’ commercial’.

Next is one that I’m pretty sure is an AFJ, but actually seemed to be quiet a good idea! This was using stencils to imprint bard codes on fruit as they grow. The piece highlighted time and cost savings, but I thought it would also help with reducing sticker waste - not that it is that significant. Still, every little bit helpsJ Not sure what it would do for the flavour of the skin, though. And if anyone can tell me the ‘AFJ hint’ behind Tesco spokesperson Martin De La Fuenta & the Jonagold apple cited, I’d be grateful.

Finally, there are the ad spoofs. So far I am amazed how bad they are. A long timer ago the BMW ones were awesome (I remember being taken in by a key-ob actuated ariel light to help find your car). The one they did to day was DIRE. If you can’t do it well, don’t do it.


I’m getting out of here in the nick of time. The District Line from Richmond to Turnham Green has been closed for repairs. Maintenance is a fact of life, and disruption an inevitable consequence. But my experience this morning (and tonight and, blissfully, last one tomorrow morning) was dire. To steal/adapt a saying, this was a case of donkeys lead by asses.

Nothing was done right. Scores of O/T sucking minions lolled about the station forecourt, but apparently none had thought to mention to the milk float driver who parked there that getting a bus out may not be possible. Or notice that he’d strolled off. Once released, the bus then did a tour or Richmond before getting back to where it started.. Similarly, it went past Stamford Brook, which is further up the line, without stopping. At one point a passenger was giving the driver direction.

God help those who need to work Monday. And god help the cause of using public transport if this is how it gets planned an executed.


We know the media injects the maximum spin on any story, and often if there is not one around actually makes stuff up. But usually there is an element of ‘no smoke without fire’. I do not intend to refer to any specific story, but it is really getting under my skin that so many unnamed sources are briefing so many journalists about so much. The value I place on any party’s policies, what any politician has to say or what I read has been taken to near zero.


I am no great fan of the current US and UK governments, but an aspect of the recent visit by Condi Rice to Jack Straw’s constituency threw up yet more reasons for me to further worry about the state of our media, especially our state media (if I can call the BBC that).

You kind of expect the likes of the daily mail to be looking to paint anything like this with an unflattering brush, but I was a tad intrigued by the news coverage I saw regarding the protests to her visit.

While citing great local feeling, the footage I saw only seemed to pan a cross a line of about four schoolgirls, with a couple of adults behind, making a stretch of about 4yards long and two-ish deep.

Should this be picked up else where ever make it to the farcical self-analysing Newswatch ( I have long since given up writing in, as, like today’s, it involves a cosy set-up where a BBC mid-level responds to criticisms by saying ‘oh, I think we got it about right’) I’d love to see if a wider angle may be produced.

In fact I am thinking of setting up a website called the Critical News review review, to start targeting such things and leave them up there to rumble until adequate answers are found.


As any reader of this blog will appreciate, I am in slight despair at the level of intelligent investigative or even analytical journalism in the environmental filed, despite the incredible relevance and impact it all has on our lives.

However, whilst finding it was consigned more to a snipe in a column of City Hall gossip in the Evening standard, I was caught by the following (in its entirety): ‘How best to drive up London’s poor recycling rate? By spending £14909 from the City Hall coffers on four giant cans to replace the props worn out by countless PR stunts. Twenty-five events in 18 months left the cans damaged beyond repair.

At first I thought this unfair. Though we do our thing on a wing and a prayer, from my ad days £15k is not that much to get anyone to do, much less make anything.

However, amortised over 25 events one starts to wonder. And if they are the ones I think they are, when I saw them I wonder just what they were made out of in the great re-scheme of things. And having watched them blow across they filed at Camden’s Green day I didn’t foresee a long, healthy future for them.

One also has to ponder the associated costs of transport, assembly, strike down and, of course, staffing. Several bored staff handing out gazillions of leaflets does add to the cost (not to mention to the environment) … a lot.

It’s not that one does not do this, as it is necessary in any effort to get a message across, but that there is accountability for whether it is done in the best way and whether the results were worth it.

I will, for instance be interested in how WRAP, sponsors of The Ideal Home stand, see the value of their investment. One major reason for me to take our stand was their involvement. I’ll ask, but whether I’ll be told is another matter. It will be interesting to see if more powerful media voices will ask such questions at all, let alone as asides, and certainly as part of a dedicated effort to trace the vast public funds being wasted on waste.

Long, good(ish) Friday


Counting down to the end. It has been a loooooong haul. Surprisingly, where yesterday was busy, today was pretty quiet in comparison. Penney Poyzer kindly popped over for a last chat as today is the last of her lecture series. She has chums in Ross, and I hope she will take me up on my invitation to visit.

Some of the stands have run out of stock and closed up already, so rather than a ‘big finish’ it may fizzle. I have been warned that the last day is a zoo as the bargain hunters scavenge about, and you need to nail everything down to avoid the pilfering.

On the way home I picked up a discarded Evening Standard. Glad I did. It had a very good article by writer Will self. Another I can add to my small, though growing list of thoughtful journalists discussing our green dilemmas.


So the downturn in fortunes at the likes of B&Q are heralding the end of DIY? It may be true, but the reason that I heard being cited (with the support of a few BBC show celebrity designers) was that folk are opting to get it done by a 3rd party. That smacks of another disconnect. Who the heck are these people that can afford to bring in a designer and/or contractor at the drop of a hard hat just for a simple bit of DIY?

B(ungs) C(reate) C(overage)

I sent in my first text to the BBC news today (Emma will be impressed, except for the time it took me). For all the good it did me. I almost fell off my chair when their breakfast news business bod Declan popped up in an ASDA overall and conducted a 3 minute commercial for the supermarket chain. At one stage I thought he may actually sing the company song and recite the mission statement.

As they have now become an advertising channel (as the government has shown, it is possible to create revenue in creative ways in return for a bit of grace, favour… or, in this case, coverage), I wrote to ask for a refund. So far, no reply.


Like the talking heads trotted out on the TV today, I take no pleasure form the woes befalling Wembley, and like them I am not privy to the full facts of it being double the budget and twice as long in delivery. But I am not surprised.

The Britain I now witness is run by mediocre hype-spinners and bean-counters, who flit from job to job racking up fancy salaries based on short-term financial results and no fear of being held to account for the consequences down the line.

Hence it is now almost inevitable that the cheapest bid will win, so most pitches are pointless. But as a client, unless you are very careful the reason it is the cheapest will often result in all that we are now witnessing. And no amount of compensation or penalty clauses can make up for the damage to your reputation if you miss deadline.

It is also inevitable that if you allow too many cooks to stick their oars in the pie, it will end up tasting of camel. What I sense in situation is an agreed brief, budget and timeline being blown away by constant revisions.

Fortunately, this may be a rare situation that does not affect me much, though doubtless the public purse will end up getting tapped. Sadly, our national reputation is already pretty much tainted.