Archive for October, 2004

John Peel R.I.P

John Peel

One of the best pics from the BBC image archive…

Dyson: Against the Odds

just finished James Dyson’s Biography: Against the Odds

His engineering approach and back shed attitude, coupled with his British Indefatigability, means he comes out of the books like a sort of Fred Dibner for the design world.

Choice cuts include:
The problem is this. When marketing began to emerge as a separate and identifiable skill, some time in the fifties, it quickly came to be considered as a distinct managerial area, and ultimately the area around which all others in a company should gather to determine their movements. This was fine, for marketing was still something that began inside the factory and was a process that continued all the way to the consumer, and kept producer and user in delicate harmony. But then is started to move away from its roots. Marketing became more portable, agencies sprang up that did nothing else, and gradually, and inevitably, marketing and advertising became detached from design and production.

Ahhh, so true. Here’s another:
A journalist what came to interview me once asked, ‘The area where the dirt collects is transparent, thus parading all our detritus on the outside, and turning the classic design inside out. Is this some post-modern nod to the architectural style pioneered by Richard Rogers at the Pompidou Centre, where the air-conditioning and escalators, the very guts, are made into a self-referential design feature?’
‘No’ I replied ‘It’s so you can see when it’s full.’

The house I rent has a Dyson, an old DC02, the first ‘pull along’, it’s a bit knackered now, and resembles the battered up robot in Disney’s the black hole. But it’s still going. It’s interesting to see how much his technology has been imitated, as well as his colour scheme a la iMac. Particularly derivative are Hoover, with their new The One. God what a rubbish name, there’s a train company called The One somewhere in England, and it buggers up all the platform announcements in this deregulated age, e.g., “The One 1:51 service is at platform 1”. Anyway, Which? voted The One a pile of shit, and it’s no looker either, cherry red and white? Wasn’t there a toy robot from Tandy with this colour scheme in the 80’s? Anyroad, Vac wars are well and truly on, and up for grabs is the verb, so this weekend I’ll be ‘Dysoning’ my lounge.

PS. Strangely Chuck Norris’ autobiography is called ‘Against all Odds’. It’s, well, odd to think of one lanky galloot tinkering with vacuum cleaners in his shed in the UK, while in the US Chuck’s putting stunt men in hospital with shattered vertebrae.

A genuine offer at the BBC Sandwich Bar…

Bush House Restaurant
Lower Ground Floor
Centre Block


4th to 10th October 2004

Buy any Large Tea, with a Scone, Butter, and Jam portion (£1.26)


Wooo a whole sixpence, I’m actually saving 6p… I know the BBC isn’t allowed to make a profit but this is ridiculous.

Look kids! Life beyond a logo

Been a lot of this sort of ‘No Logo’ thing recently, only mostly in a bad way. I give you, a tale of two brands.

French Connection has finally dropped the awful FC:UK thing. thank fuck for that one might say. It was a one-liner that went on for far to long. the simple pun FC:UK was poor, but when it got to ‘fancy a fcuk’ or ‘I don’t give a fcuk’ in a hippy typeface, it made me scream! Why stop there, if the aim is to be edgy and daring, what about ‘FC:UK dead dogs’ or ‘FC:UK spastics’?

Let’s face it, FC:UK as a brand is mostly popular with people who… don’t. As shown by booze industry stool pigeons, The Portman Group here, when French Connection tried (and failed) to launch an alcho-pop in 2003.

So now they have a new ad out, which guess what.. sends up the previous campaign! Who’d have thought it eh? According to The Independent, the logo will be replaced by a series of ironic, self-referential phrases such as “Don’t make us say it”, “Something beginning with F”, with no other clues as to which brand they represent.

Jesus you can imagine the pitch… How lame of TBWA, (who’s flashtastrophy of a site don’t work in Safari, and look at their US page, it’s a full on ‘ironic’ under construction flash page!)

I’ve seen the ad, It’s rubbish, first I thought it was that HSBC one, that also featured a denim clad guy travelling across South America on a bike, then when the words came up I totally misread the typeface and thought it was for GAP, because, like most of the Western World, I’m mentally attuned to glaze over when commercials come on. Here’s the thing in it’s shitty entirety.

The Economist on the other hand, have been cleverly playing with their brand for ages. They’ve used one colour and one typeface to great effect. This is supplemented either toying with the title, such as switching it to Morse Code, or appropriating words and phrases from economic circles and popular culture.

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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
October 2004
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