Thursday, August 31, 2006

Times change, (sales) values don't........................

Just came across a piece of A4 paper with some comments penned by my first sales manager, Tony Butler. Tony was one of the best in the photocopier business.

This is all about getting that order. ( please read him/her for him)

1. Did I commit him to performance of the machine?

2. Did I commit him to cost of machine?

3. Did I ask for the order?

4. If I did not get the order - did I commit him to when I will get the order?


Monday, August 28, 2006

EMMY Awards

Took place in Los Angeles last night. One of the highlights was the reunion, on stage, by the three original Charlie's Angels stars - Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Rawcett-Majors and Cheryl Ladd. They appeared as a tribute to Aaron Spelling who passed away recently.British stars including Kelly Macdonald and Ricky Gervais were among a host of British award-winners at last night's Emmys. Dame Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons and Richard Curtis were also honoured at the prestigious event.

Now in presenting terms, that would be brilliant. Imagine being the MC or event host at a top bash like the EMMY or Oscar awards. Having to mingle with all those top stars of screen and stage. I couldn't think of anything better - can you?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pluto - no longer a planet ( a spot of weekend fun )

I had to laugh last week. So the "experts" now reckon that Pluto is not a planet and it has been removed from the list of planets. A kind of galactical excommunication.

So many times in the past we've heard from the experts or "they", whoever they are. In my view, an expert is an "ex" as in has been and "spert", as in drip under pressure!

Besides, who are these people who can just decide what is a planet and what isn't? Isn't there some outer space omnipotent corporation who decides these things? Let's suppose there is - but if so how do we contact them? And even if we did, how do we go about presenting our case?

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend...............

Friday, August 25, 2006

What can we ban next?

I totally agree with Alan Stevens comments below. How pathetic can you get? Have we sunk to such depths that a TV company has to change it's output to ensure that "old" Tom & Jerry cartoons don't depict smoking. What's going to be banned next?

TV Presenters with green ties?


Corporate golf days in Surrey?

After a tough decision-making process, I have decided to award the MediaMug trophy this week to Ofcom. They have upheld a complaint from a viewer about Tom And Jerry cartoons on the TV Channel Boomerang. The complainant did not like the fact that Tom (the cat) was seen smoking. The regulator said : "We recognise that these are historic cartoons, mostly produced in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, at a time when smoking was more generally accepted. The smoking usually appears in a stylised manner and it is frequently not condoned, but the level for editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high." So there you are. We all know smoking is bad for you, and that kids should be discouraged from taking it up. However, images of cartoom characters beating each other senseless with clubs and baseball bats and blowing each other up is acceptable, but smoking isn't. Hmm.

"This information originally appeared in "The MediaCoach", a free ezine produced by Alan Stevens, and available at"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Customer Service - I don't think so..................

I reckon over the last two years, I have spent over two hours of my time, queuing at a certain well known High Street bank. The bit I can't stand is when the teller then has the gall to ask you "is there anything else I can do for you today". My normal retort is "get some more staff". In a pleasant tone, of course. Then the usual excuses come flooding out - Staff sickness, training days and so on...........the best one I've heard is "well, in a recent survey, most of our customers like the way we do things in our branch". As you will have gathered, I am not most customers.

OK, so nowadays we are all geared up to internet-banking. Or so we are told. Well, call me old-fashioned, but what's so wrong about a bit of personal service (with a smile).

Diversity training ( or common sense ) appears be lacking in this organisation. Of course, in this bank's Annual Report they'll no doubt be pages written on how " in touch" they are with their customers and how bright the future will be for those of us who seem to spend endless hours tutting and cursing under our breath whilst queueing - our national obsession.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Four Days In Provence

No, not another book by Peter Mayle, but another stay by me (and friend) at the home and gite (pronounced jeeeettt, not git) of my dear cousin, Michael Altman. He has built up a magnificent reputation with a variety of travel organisations with his particular style of accommodating an eclectic mix of mainly British tourists. On this occasion however, we were also joined by Canadian and French visitors.

On arrival, one is presented with two barking dogs, a welcome drink and in my case an excellent 4- course meal. These are normally served every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the non self-catering guests at around 8pm. Luckily, my upgrade to a decent rental car, ensured that my dash from Nice airport (which started shortly after 7pm) to junction 36 on the A8 was covered in good time. The final meandering along the D54, near to Draguignan, only took a few minutes.

Throughout the year, Michael also accepts parties of guests who want to learn Provencal cooking and others who enjoy a corporate-style golfing break. Nearby are jewels of any southern French trip. The gorgeous villages of Bargemon, Callas and Tourtour. For the slightly more motoring adventurous of you, there are magnificent views at the Gorges de Verdon......and for the totally mad you can do something called Bungee jumping. What you do is give a total stranger about 75 quid. He then straps your legs together to a thick cord, then tells you to stand on the edge of the bridge and jump-off.

My lovely companion and I, preferred to lounge on a private beach called "Wyc" ( prounounced Vick) near Les Issambres, a delightful little place between Frejus and Ste. Maxime. And speaking of SM, this is where we took a boat, known in France as a Verte Vedette, to St. Tropez. The trip takes only about 15 minutes but is well-worth the £15.00 return trip for two people. Despite the soaking we took on both legs (or sea-legs) of the journey, this was the highlight of my long week-end away from dull BBC radio news presenters, diversity training; Polish immigrants, corporate spokemen from the bloody water companies justifying their huge profits blah, blah, blah,and so on...........

give yourself a break, just book up at Michael's

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Personal Responsibilty

Corporate spokesmen, in recent times, have been pointing out the continuing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. This takes many forms. From pro bono work to "environmentally-friendly" manufacturing.

From my perspective, I feel that all of us has a duty to perform our own social responsibility. Over the past couple of years, I've been a "corporate spokesman" for a very special charity -
Breast Cancer Campaign. I'm reguarly invited to speak at fund-raising activities where I present BCC's progress since 1988 when the Charity was launched. Next year, I'll be trekking in Africa for this wonderful cause.

You can follow my progress here

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


You know, I'm so lucky. Twice in the space of 40 minutes in Marylebone this afternoon, I found not one but two free parking meters, each with over an hour left!

It's all about "sending out signals" to the universe!! What one thinks about - one gets, or putting it another way, establish what you want and go and get it.

Confused? then read "The Way of the Dog" by Geoff Burch

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Professional Speakers Association Meeting

Last Saturday, I attended my local PSA chapter meeting in Central London.

There were two brilliant speakers in Paul Bridle and Graham Jones. Paul explained his background and gave the audience of 50 people some excellent tips on how to get on in the speaking business. He pointed out the importance of branding and marketing oneself, speaking styles and how to get into the international speaking circuit.

In the afternoon, Graham Jones pointed out the importance of blogging - and how professional speakers need this fairly new internet tool.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gypsy Tart

What is a gypsy tart?

For those of you who don't know, this excellent dessert item from my school dinner menu of many years ago, comprised of:

Condensed milk
Demerara sugar

Both of these items were whipped and spread over a pastry base. The appearance was that of a smooth pale brown creamy topping. Mmmm.....delicious.

I was reminded of this by Lord Roger of Northwood (that's Northwood in Ramsgate) rather than the other one in Middx. Both he and I, attended schools which fell under the auspices of Kent County Council, and as such, in those days, had autonomy for creating some superb school meals.

Friday, August 04, 2006


As another football season approaches, are you looking forward to it? Or is it, as in my case, a slightly cynical, here we go again ( if you excuse the "chant" pun ).

Following my boyhood team in the magnificently named, Ryman Premier League, against such exciting teams as East Thurrock, Borehamwood and the old enemy "Ramsgate" does excite a little. But the anticipation I had just a few years ago, when the likes of Hereford, Yeovil, Boston and Accrington Stanley were the oppo just isn't there. Margate FC, I'm afraid, for a variety of reasons really missed out on the "big-time".

However, one musn't look back - under Robin Trott's guile and hard-nosed management style, I'm certain the "Gate" will be knocking on the door of Conference ( albeit Conference South ) football come April 2007.

Yours very optimistically........................

Thursday, August 03, 2006


This was written by an Israeli journalist, Ben Caspit, of the Ma'ariv newspaper - this'll give 'em somethin' to think about - maybe............................

An Israeli Defense – A Letter to the Leaders of the World

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders of the world. I carry these words from Jerusalem, as a response
to the difficult scenes displayed from Kana. Every human heart contracts when viewing these
scenes. There are no words powerful enough to provide comfort with this type of a disaster. And
still, I look you straight in the eye and say loud and clear: Israel will continue its military
operation in Lebanon.

The Israeli Defense Forces will continue to attack targets from which missiles and Katyusha
rockets are being fired at hospitals, old-age homes, and kindergartens in Israel. The IDF has
been instructed to continue to hunt down Katyusha reserves, launching pads, and gun barrels
through which these savages bomb and attack Israel.

We will not hesitate, we will not apologize, and we will not be weakened. If Katyushas continue
to be launched into Israel from Kana, we will continue to bomb Kana. Today, tomorrow, and the
following day. Here, there, and everywhere. The children of Kana could have been sleeping
peacefully in their homes, uninterrupted, had the demonic messengers not taken over their land
and turned our children’s lives into hell on earth.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time you understand: The Israeli State will not longer be stomped
on. We will no longer allow anyone to take advantage of highly-populated areas as a front to
bomb our citizens. No man will be able to hide behind women and children with the sole
purpose of murdering our women and children any longer. This anarchy and irresponsibility is
over. You can denounce us, you can boycott us, you can stop traveling to Israel, and if it will be
necessary we will stop traveling to your country.

I am the voice of six million Israeli citizens who are being bombed, symbolic of the six million
Jews who were exterminated and cremated into ashes and dust by savages in Europe. In both
cases, those responsible for these atrocious and sinful acts were barbarians lacking in any
human decency who had one simple goal: To obliterate the Jewish race off the face of the
earth, in the words of Adolf Hitler, or to erase the State of Israel off the world map, in the words
of Mahmud Ahmadinijad.

And just like you didn’t take things seriously then, you are ignoring them now. That, Ladies and
Gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen. Never again. We will never again wait for the
world to rescue us from the gas chambers. We will never again wait for a salvation that will not
come. We now have our own air force. Israel can now stand up to those who want to kill us.
They will no longer be able to hide behind their women and children. They will no longer be
absolved of all responsibilities.

Every place from which missiles are fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for
our attacks. It needs to be said clearly, one time, to the entire world. You are welcome to judge
us, ostracize us, boycott us, and defame us. But kill us? Absolutely not.
Four months ago, Ehud Olmert was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the post of
Prime Minister, based on his plan to unilaterally withdraw from 90% of the occupied territories,
which are part of the heart and soul of the Jewish people, with the sole purpose of ending most
of the occupation and allowing the Palestinian people to turn over a new leaf and pacify the
tensions until the conditions for a permanent settlement between us would be ready.

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the
internationally recognized border and gave the Palestinians an opportunity to build themselves a
new reality. His predecessor, Edud Barak, ended the long-term Israeli presence in Lebanon and
withdrew the IDF to international lines, allowing Lebanon to flourish, develop, and base itself as
a democratic country with a strong economy.

What did the State of Israel receive in return for these? Did we have one moment of peace and
quiet? Was our outstretched hand greeted with an encouraging handshake? Ehud Barak’s
peace initiative at Camp David released upon us a wave of suicide bombers who shattered and
blew up more than 1,000 citizens, women and children, into pieces. I don’t remember any of you
this enraged back then. Could it be because we didn’t allow close-ups of the dismembered
teenagers at the Dolphinarium? Or the broken lives of those celebrating Passover who were
butchered at Park Hotel in Netanya? There’s nothing we can do, that’s how it is here. We don’t
display dead bodies in front of TV cameras. We mourn quietly.

We don’t dance on the rooftops when the children of our enemies are killed. We express true
sorrow and remorse. All these are the animalistic rituals of our enemies. Today they are our
enemies. Tomorrow, they will be yours. You’re already acquainted with the murderous flavor of
this terror. You’ve tasted it. You will taste it again.

And look at Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. What we get for it? A shower of
Kasam missiles on otherwise-peaceful towns, suicide bombings and attacks, and the
kidnapping of a soldier. I don’t remember you reacting with such panic and fear at that time
either. And here, for the past six years the withdrawal from Lebanon has been struck with the
words and crimes of a dangerous Iranian messenger; an extremist who has taken over an entire
country in the name of religious fanaticism and is trying to take Israel hostage on his way to
Jerusalem and ultimately Paris and London.

An enormous infrastructure of terror has been established by Iran on our borders, threatening
our citizens, getting stronger in front of our eyes, waiting for the moment when Iran becomes a
nuclear stronghold, waiting to bring us to our knees. Don’t get me wrong: we are not going down
alone. You, the leaders of the free world, the enlightened world, are going down with us.
So today I would like to put an end to this hypocrisy. I can’t remember such a reaction to 100
citizens being killed each day in Iraq. Sunnis killing Shi’ites who kill Sunnis, all of whom are
killing Americans, and the world is silent. And I am having a difficult time remembering a similar
reaction when the Russians wiped out entire villages and set fire to large cities in order to
depress the mutiny in Chechnya. And when NATO bombed Kosovo for nearly 3 months, and
crushed a civilian population, you all looked away. What is it about us, the Jews, the few, the
persecuted, that awakens all of this cosmic justice? What is it that we have that the others

I stand here before you today, loud and clear, with my head held high, looking you straight in the
eye, not apologizing. Not giving in. Not whining. This struggle is for our freedom. For our image.
For our right to have a normal life within our recognized and legitimate borders. This is also your
struggle. I pray and believe that you will understand it now. Because if you don’t, you might
regret it later. When it is too late.

*** This letter was written by Ma’ariv journalist Ben Caspit.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


For years I would look forward to August 1st. Why? well the "old" style car registrations would come out on that date. Some buyers would even drive away their new car at midnight!

One would try and outdo ones friends and family by saying" I saw three T registrations today, how many did you see?"

Now we have this absurd 06/56 March and September arrangement with three letters being the vehicles identifier.

Perhaps I need to go on a change management course.