Wednesday, 29 August 2007


After 4 years with my current firm, and nearly 10 years in consulting, I resigned today and am currently negotiating a release date.

I am going to do my MSc and then set up a new venture, Bloom Psychology, with someone I met during my last course.

I am so excited about doing it, relieved to have made a decision, pleased not to have to do any more consultancy and above all, I can't wait to get going with making Bloom a success.

To everyone who has offered me their support and advice over the last few months, thank you.

Farewell to Big Brother

I know my addiction to yet another reality programme will come as no surprise to any of you, my Zookeepers, but this one has been brilliant.

And I'm not talking about the 'highlights' such as the astonishingly damaged Charlie or Ziggy and Chanelle's weird romance.

Since then, nothing really has happened - and this has been the secret of its brilliance. All we've been left with is a genuinely good set of people, interacting in all their glorious human frailty. Essentially, they have all rubbed along, made mistakes, had fun....and nothing has happened.

We even have semi-heroic characters such as Liam, a man oozing rugged decency, the angelic Twins, and Brian, a hero who'll never understand why, who must win.

These are decent and loyal people.

We've read a lot about our broken society and the teenagers who are breaking it. Without belittling any of that, I still feel that whilst Britain is churning out young people like this, all is not lost.

Monday, 27 August 2007

The darker side of knitting

Thought Elise might be amused by this.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

The T junction looms

I had a really wreteched week at work. Every hour passed in a day. And after every day I counted it off as I left the office, whilst dreading the next.

For reasons I will go into later, this long road which I started 3 years ago is leading me to a point where I have to go one way, or another.

Up til now I have been doing something which is classically me: hedging my bets.

So, I have been studying in my spare time, taking sabbaticals, making plans, but all the while keeping my nice, safe, highly paid consulting job.

But that can't go on forever. Bill Cosby once said the key to failure was trying to please everybody, and he's right.

So soon - very soon - I have a decision to make. No more hedging. Of course, I can always go back, that's what everyone is telling me. But I know that isn't true.

I either turn left, and console myself perhaps by buying a beautiful house, a car, expensive holidays. That's not so bad. Or I turn right, and wave goodbye to all that, but do something that might improve the world by a fraction.

And of course, if you will indulge me in another quote: the real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.

So, left or right?

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Local Hero

I just bought Local Hero by Dire Straits for my little ipod. I hadn't heard it for years and years and was instantly transported back to dancing round a front room in Brisbane in 1991 when I was staying with friends. For some reason their little girl had it and loved it and kept playing it and insisting that everyone dance along. Now, I don't like disappointing little girls, or even big girls, so I did.

As an interesting aside, the next day the family all went out and locked me inside the house. There was no way for me to get out. So eventually I had to break out of the window, breaking the protective gauze from what I remember. A neighbour saw it and reported the whole thing to the Police. What a lark that was!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Saying no

No I don't mean saying no to those pushy boys who try and get you into bed on a first date - the nerve! - I am talking about saying no to....


I am not sure that anyone has ever done this in our office before, but it looks like I am going to have to try it if I want to retain my sanity.

During the course of a day I get lots of requests to do stuff, and the stock answer is just to pile them onto the plate and get gorging. Well, I can't be bothered any more.

After all, if I responded to every request to my inbox I would have:

1. A set of fake luxury watches
2. A lot of cheap viagra
3. A Russian wife
4. Shares in a Nigerian tech stock
5. A bigger penis
6. A much bigger penis

So let's see how it goes.


I sat down at my desk and no one said good morning. I listened to people bragging about working through the weekend. I saw a (very attractive) sandwich lady march in, shout out 'sandwiches!' and get completely ignored.

Is this normal?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Richard Dawkins

This one was better. He aimed fairly and squarely at 'alternative' medicine and generally hit home.

Essentially all alternative medicine is the placebo effect dressed up. Without any of the rigorous scientific tests that real medicine has to go through, it has none of the development costs, therefore can afford to spend more time with people.

In an era where people crave attention, and are eager to embrace their spiritual side where religion once sat, alternative medicine captures the placebo effect for more and more of us.

What really riles me is the NHS pending money on it. Not only that, but the NHS is refusing treatment for kidney cancer to those in certain unlucky postal areas, whilst we are spending £300m on tattoo removal each year.

Can that be right? If the NHS refused to pay a penny to reverse anything we have done to ourselves by choice, and if it refused to use treatments not sanctioned by peer reviewed science, and if it stopped paying sodding management consultants, how many lives could be saved?

Sunday, 19 August 2007





My cousin's Seinfeld DVD

So I bought my cousin series 8 Seinfeld but it didn't come in time to give it to him which has resulted in me partially blacklisting Amazon (I will buy from the marketplace but not from them, ever again, for as long as I live. This is my commitment to any company that makes my blacklist. Don't cross me buddy, I'm like ice).

Anyway, I now have the DVDs and have been indulgently watching Seinfeld after a break of maybe 6 months. Will Ben notice the furtive smudges? Who cares?!

Watched the Little Kicks last night, with commentary from the writer and Jason Alexander and Julia Louis Dreyfus. God I love it. It's modern day Shakespeare!


Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Management Consultancy

Another day as a management consultant done. Oh the value that I love to add for my clients.

Monday, 13 August 2007

The Enemies of Reason

I am really looking forward to Richard Dawkins' programme this evening, the Enemies of Reason. Richard Dawkins is a bit of a hero of mine, as The Selfish Gene is, I think, the best science book I have ever read.
However, I have an uneasy relationship with him, as I do all of my heroes. These doubts are twofold:

1. I don’t actually hate religion as I know that my Mum effectively owes her life to it. He attacks religion with such relish that, whilst I basically agree with him, it makes me uneasy.
2. For all the evidence he will pile up this evening against ‘new age therapies’ there is a nagging feeling in me that knows that even science cannot explain everything. The scientific method is itself flawed, as anyone who has ever studied statistics will testify.

I think the area I can wholeheartedly agree is the area of funding. The NHS should not be supporting anything that cannot be empirically tested, after all, this seems the only ‘proper’ test of efficacy.

Leaving the issue of funding aside, I share the same doubts about horoscopes and inviting angels to sit on your shoulder as Dawkins.

But a nagging doubt remains: if those same angels offer one crumb of comfort to one dying person, who am I to argue?

Today's forecast

Is much brighter, thank you. There will be some glimpses of vim, patches of vigour, and the occasional outbreak of zest - though this will fade towards the evening.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Party Poison

Went to party. Was having a great time. Drank something weird. Poisoned myself. Bed for whole weekend. Granny wondered if my drink had been spiked by someone seeking to take advantage....I'm going with that! Now scraping myself off sofa for toast.

Don't even fancy toast.

This is bad.

Friday, 10 August 2007


Off to party with young gay people at my cousin's 30th birthday party - not that there's anything wrong with that!

Another step...

Another step closer tonight. As I near the precipice I feel totally scared, but never more determined and never more sure that I'm doing the right thing.

That doesn't mean sure, of course.

My biggest fear is that my life is so full of half finished ideas, novels, projects, half read books, half baked promises. I hope this isn't one of them.

I don't think it will be, because this time my life kind of depends on it.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


it takes time to build a relationship.

I hadn't been getting on that well with my new trainers. We didn't argue, but sometimes it's just not been like my old pair of trainers, and they've caused me pain.

But today, after a rest day yesterday I set a new World, Commonwealth and Olympic record with 16:25 for once round Victoria Park. This beat my old record by 10 seconds.

Sometimes you just have to work at things and they come good.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

A post mainly about fingers and toes

I am proud of my feet and toes. There, I've said it. They never smell, they are in perfect order (as in the big one is biggest - no coup d'etoe for ME), and someone once told me I had very high arches. I could have been a foot or toe model I expect.

But I am ashamed of my fingers. They have all been broken at least once, and one of them I didn't even bother to fix and now it's bent. They are all fat and stubby like chipolatas. But godammit, where would I be without them? Eh? I'd have to get an enormous laptop with huge keys so I could type with my elbows, that's where. Or get one of those voice synthesisers like Prof. Hawking. Not my style. I'd want one with the voice of Sid James or Keith Chegwin, but Texas Instruments don't do them.

In honour of my sausage fingers, here is a list of my favourites, in order:

1. Index
2. Middle
3. Little
4. Thumb
5. That other one

Sunday, 5 August 2007

We look.. but do we see?

This is a fun game for all the family when going for a walk or a run. Imagine a landmark you'll be passing in about 10 minutes. Describe it in detail, either to yourself or better, someone else. The other person asks questions: what colour is it? how many flower beds are there? how many bars are there on the gate? how tall is it?

Then as you approach, stop and look and compare your description with reality.

In the brilliant Art of Travel, Alain de Boton argued that the best way to remember something is not to wave your camera phone and take a photo, but to paint it.

The brain's natural reaction is always to create a nice, easy stereotype to remember and to imagine bits around that stereotype; but try making it work harder than that.

Too often we look, but we don't really see, and we hear but don't listen.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Performing with Presence

Went on an astonishingly good course at Maynard Leigh about effective presentations. All their courses are run by actors and are about translating acting techniques to the 'world of business'.

It's a cliche to ask how much of a presentation do you actually remember, because the standard at work is so unbelievably bad everyone knows the answer is somewhere between bugger all and ooh! look at Jeff's hideous tie!

I spent most of the time presenting ideas for the new business and it all went very well.

It was like trying on new clothes and expecting people to just laugh.

But no one did.

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Nobody wants to give me any recommendations.

What about if I show you this?

4 songs...

What 4 songs shall I get next for my ipod?

Your recommendations please.

The first 4 suggestions songs will be bought, and I will also celebrate your recommendations by dressing in some of my famous lingerie as an erotic reward.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Is sport getting worse?

Now I am as obsessed by sport as anyone, but is it gradually becoming rubbish?

Tour de Farce
Decline of West Indian Cricket and too much cricket
Football - suffocating from wealth
Rugby - rich nations stealing from the poor
Tennis - even more boring now than it ever has been
Athletics - best Doctor wins
Racing - fixing

I think I may take up Crown Green Bowling.