Friday, September 29, 2006

I wonder what her carbon offset was?

Space tourist in Earth touchdown

Maybe we can ask an expert: Branson unveils Virgin spaceship

On account of how he's now gonna save the planet. Here's what Grist had to say about it: Branson with the stars. They were obviously thinking of different ones to me.

Maybe I'll enter that show to win a trip, and insist on using the train. Bet it all gets covered by the media. Big news. Big dilemma.

Late News (kinda proving my point above):

This from the Indy: Two million air miles will buy you a ticket into space.

I was going to take the paper (of all papers) to task for ignoring the enviromental consequences, but it seems that it's all covered:

"A sub-orbital space flight will give a clear view of the curvature of the Earth and the thinness of the atmosphere, an experience that Sir Richard hopes will turn more people on to environmental activism."


"The entrepreneur, who last week said he would plough $3bn of the Virgin group's profits into the development of green fuels, hopes SpaceShipTwo will have practically no carbon dioxide emissions.

"When Nasa ships take off, the amount of energy they give out could power New York, but today we have to come up with all the new technologies to make sure this is a green spaceship," he said."

I look forward to hearing about these, as I hadn't heard of them to date.

Cuss(tomer) Service

This is not about the environment, or ads, but it is about the internet and, so it counts.

I just had a call from a fellow from HSBC - who are one of (we kept them on when they stopped being free, but don't use them any more to avoid charges. Maybe they'll get fed up one day and try and bail, at which point we'll charge them back in turn the £160 'fee' that we never mentioned for our participationn in their 'free' service) our business banks - advising that as we hadn't signed up for some new online doo-hicky yet, our access was about to get cancelled.

Now, big up to them for following up. However...

I didn't recall our getting this, and asked if it was send Recorded Delivery. Oddly, the gentleman on the end of the crackly line didn't seem to know what aspect of our postal system this was. And having had it explained, our conversation went no further as he simply explained that '[he's] from technical and wouldn't know about such things', and hung up.

I just concern myself that important stuff like this may or may not be being send by a secure system, and that delivery can be presumed before one gets to the point of or actual withdrawal of a service.

Nice to meet you, to meet you... worth it?

I've been doing a lot of networking lately. A lot. One day I was at a breakfast in Cheltenham, a lunch in Birmingham and an evening awards do in London. Pity the poor Yuppie facing a 10-minute taxi ride home who, at 11.30pm, said 'what do you mean... you drove? Call yourself an environmentalists!'.

And I've been doing all this with two hats. One of course, and the other my hopefully soon to be re-ignited copywriting career, to help pay the rent and keep bubbling until it's self-sustaining.

Fortunately the two are complementary. You usually only have a few minutes to pitch at these events, and technically by having two strands my time is halved. However I have found it works that I start with me the freelancer creative, and as examples of my work here's my night job...! At which point I can flash the ideas card, Folda Holda and our credit card re:use 'flyer/picture frame' (pictured) as examples of innovative creative thinking at work.

Two guesses what people ask to hear more about, which can be a mixed blessing.

Speaking of mixed, so are my feelings about the value of these things.

They can cost a lot, depending on 'membership' (and hence sign up and annual fees) anything from £10 - £40 a gig. There's also getting there. My range took in Telford, London and Swansea recently. Travel and opportunity costs. And, of course, time. Breakfasts are best, if a killer on the sleep patterns. Forget lunches; they kill a day. Evenings can be OK, but you miss the kids and the rush traffic to them can be a pain.

And when you get there? Well, for sure there'll be a solicitor, an accountant and a life coach. Maybe a lady selling potions. I'm pretty well covered for some and beyond help on others.

And having now covered several in the same geographical area, there are those who look at you and say 'we've met'. Usually the chap who really liked your work and was going to get in touch but never did.

So far, so give it a miss. Or... not? Because there's always 'that one'.

Like the other night a rather charming banker who was fascinated in and chatted for ages with me about it all. And who also knew DickS trawbridgee of 'It's not easy being green' fame (I have of course written to offer links... no word as yet;(. Or the PR lady whose client does have a new eco-product.

The main issue is geography. This area is glorious but other than as a holiday weekend destination does not house the movers and shakers I need for either or my ad capabilities. But then again, they do have dinner parties with those I meet.


Leaving the line?

This I couldn't resist. A senior editor at the Telegraph had a horror train trip, and as he is lucky enough to enjoy a pulpit from which to share his frustration, did so. Were it that lesser mortals, or those who pay their own salaries ('sorry I'm late' doesn't cut it with my boss, or his clients, so it's out of pocket for me), had the same opportunity.

However, having expereinced in a concentrated period all that our transport systems can offer, I had to contribute. I just don't know how those who have to do it daily manage. And dread it if I have to join them. Here's my reply:


But to this, and all the other stories that will be shared (watch this space... mine follows shortly), will come the response that these are but inevitable, isolated incidents. As I do not have the figures (and there will doubtless be many, proving both sides' claims) I can only go on what I know.

I live in Ross on Wye. Mostly I need to visit London for my work (and, as an ex-Londoner, with my family on social trips – that’s a factor of four on costs with some options).

There is a lovely collection of bricks at the end of the road where the train line used to be (nice one, Mr. Beeching).

To use the train, I could bus it I guess to Gloucester, but that would mean getting up at 4.30am to make the 7ish effort to arrive for a morning kick off. So it's a car then. The same one that my wife often has to drive hers to pick me up from Swindon to collect when the connection fails, as I've come back too late or had to wait until after 7 something pm to get the cheaper ticket. This can be, by the way, around £70. So I can't do short notice, change plans or travel 1st class.

Fuel to & fro costs £25. Parking, if required (not if I stay with a chum) £8-£20. And try lugging a demo kit or porty on the rush hour tube.

Save the planet? See my family? FEED my family...keep competitive?

It's a no brainer. If my clients could accept the world's first ethical copywriter and bear the ADDITIONAL costs of my using public transport, and the ADDITIONAL time (and hence opportunity cost) consequences of my travelling with same, all would be tikeddy boo. Fat chance. So it's the car, then (Or, longer trek, a budget plane).

Trouble is, the other day I had to dive off to the A40 when the M4 was closed (all day!) and then head home when the M40 ahead was also removed as an option and I stood no chance of getting where I was meant to be in time - and had no intention of sitting in a jam heating up Oxfordshire.

So it's obvious. Stay at home.

Now, about that job I’m pitching for..."

Don't do as we do. Do as we say.

As a persistent critic of much that our media se4rves up, it is worth reminding ourselves of the value of having thriving, curious, questioning independent checks on all that is done for us, and to us in our name.

This from an email for the BBC about last night's Newsnight:


It's official - the government is destroying the rainforest. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown may have emphasised the importance of the environment in their conference speeches, but there is saying...and doing.

Newsnight has discovered that the government is using rainforest timber in the House of Commons as part of a £5 million refurbishment. I'll be asking the minister for the environment, why.

Sadly I am these days well abed before the programme airs, but I'm hoping to find out the answer online if I can.

And whether there will be a fine and/or prosecution on par with popping a crisp packet in the wrong bin on the wrong day. It would be too much to expect anyone gets held tangiblyresponsiblee and personallyaccountablel, and of course the only people who will suffer from any financialpenaltyy will be... the taxpayer. Interesting system.

Of course, we could be fair all round and say that mistakes do get made, and those in the House (or the household) may not know what others are up to, and it's a bit much to come down on them hard. Sometimes a bit of slack is all we need... so long as it works both ways.