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.

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