At certain points in your life, death is a possibility.

At times like these you’ll be asked to name your next of kin. You may be asked to write it down, an act which can turn slander into libel if you’re not their next of kin.

So why next of?

Why not last of?

There might be something in this. Imagine the more distant the relation you nominate, the more remote the possibility of your death. This is not as contrived as you might think as murdered people are usually known by their murderer.

But less seriously, it’s not about you – it’s about them. It clears their name when you peg it. Administratively, it’s an alibi.

Next time you’re asked to name someone, use the name of the person asking and see if the paperwork disappears.


She was a knitter, of conversation and of wool. She kept the cold at bay with the speed of her tumbling hands. 17 hours a day she’d purl and weft and weave away keeping her bodily temperature up in a house without heating. The only source of warmth was the open fire which she fed impoverished wood and scraps from the alley. The house had been built in a hurry 70 years ago, but now had floor to ceiling insulation made from the constant clack-clack-clack of her needles. Once the word got out, the energy giants moved in and built a campaign around her thrift. The comfort killed her.


Back in 1955, Gordon Moore who went on to found Intel, declared: “every 18 months, computers will become twice as powerful and the costs will will halve”

This crazy zig-zag sum isn’t restricted to technology.

It also applies to mankind.

Next week, the 7 billionth child will be born as the world tries to do with half the money it thought it had.

This the ultimate test in resources as we try to find the equation for sustainability.

But can the population cope with this rate of thrift?

Answers please, twice as many using half the words you think you need.


There’s only one story tonight. The news calls it a humiliating end, hiding in a sewer. He won’t mind. He meant it to end this way, to go down like a rat without the glory and the pomp. History is always told by the victor. War is a one-sided coin.

Cameron will claim a share of the bullet, as much as the insurgents who hauled him out the hole and pumped bullets into his belly. The BBC will once again fall off its impartial horse as it trots towards the bombastic tone of all broadcasters. By next thursday, 35 people will be tried for the assassination, although this technicality will be swept under the rug for the greater good of the Libyan people.

Why is it war blurs suicide with murder?


When mid-lifers like us were kids, strawberries were a rarity, unless you were rich. So was Arctic Roll (did your teeth just go on edge?). If we were lucky, our mum’d whisk up an Instant Whip or an apple crumble might appear on a Sunday.

But strawberries…strawberrries were like caviar (as for caviar, we made do with cod roe in batter from the chippy). But when a punnet did finally arrive, we’d each be given a berry (or 3) and take enormous pleasure in yanking off the stalk – when I say stalk, I mean the green leafy hat that sits on top.

Theses stalks used to just flop out as raspberries still do. But here and now, in 2011, they’re bastards to pull out. Try it. See what a total mess you make of it, like some back-stage scene in a snuff movie. They’re implanted like teeth. The only way to lop them is to lop them with a knife. Are we all scalping strawberries in this day and age, or is it just me being a cackhanded patsy?


It’s broken and there’s no point in mending it. Money has cancer. Incurable cancer of the most aggressive strain and no amount of research or intellectual investment will save money from eating itself. As a species, we’re standing around, scratching our heads and our arses, wondering whether to say something. It’s as if money is a relative, one of our own flesh & blood and we’re clamming up pretending it’s not really happening, that it’ll pass and get better.

Why are we in denial? Is money an addiction, irrespective of how much or little we have? We value money over oxygen. We treat money as a form of food that feeds us and sustains us more than food itself. Yet it has no nutritional content and no aerobic gift. We assume it is endless and in doing so we make it worthless. We let money corrupt our sense of judgement. It distorts our ability to measure, to weigh, and most crucially, to evolve.

Money is inanimate yet we have put it on a pedestal fit for the most intelligent creature ever to grace the earth. So how about we agree it is an animal? An animal that is the ultimate virus. A virus that’s killing our species off, as fast as we procreate.

If we phase money into extinction, it won’t be the answer, but it might just be the start of the end of the question.


There’s a place that doesn’t quite exist yet. But it’s very close to being born. Or rather being reborn out a landscape of grit that once bore tin when tin was worth the weight and might of gold. This place has 51,000 or so parents, or guardians, or freeholders, or trustees, all of whom make it boom. Not once, but twice, double beats – a boom-boom. They make it tick. Their roots are as deep as their pride. If ever a community pulled a place up off its knees, it’s here and (soon to be) now. The place has a name and its name is Heartlands. Off the A30 aorta, if you’re passing,


  1. BUMFLYER – counter-cultural anti-social media movement on streets in ex-soviet cities whereby gang members flash their arse to CCTV. Manifesto based on debased and defaced facebook mission statement.
  2. AFTERLIFE.ORG – seance society that communicates with the dead via mediums.
  3. STALKA – uber-transparent club of fans who stalk non-celebrities, turning them into real-life stars as a result.
  4. GOOGLE + 1, + 2, +3, etc – we’ve all been sold a duff’un. Google + was the first wave of obsolescence and must be updated daily or serious bad luck might head your way.
  5. MAP.ORB –  ongoing volunteer-led project that aims to create a lifesize map of the world at a a scale of 1:1
  6. BAILOUT – tracking device hooked up to GPS used by crown courts to decide on legitimacy of alibis.
  7. PULS8 – sounds like a nightclub in any provincial town but it is in fact a new health app network that transmits your pulse rate to ten nominated friends, family or colleagues to come to your rescue in the event of reaching 150 beats a minute or more.
  8. UNSUBSCRIBE CAREER – diametrically opposed to LinkedIn set up by students making a living from unemployment.
  9. LOSER – sister site to above base on accumulate losses of its members on alternative stock market.
  10. PIP – brave new sub-brand set up in honour of Apple founder to usurp mother brand by 2019.


Dear Steve

Thank you for encouraging us to explore new thoughts, new ways and new words, re-inventing how we think and how we do.

We get it now.

It’s about learning to undo the past as well as embracing the future.

Above all else, you’ve taught us that technology is just a bunch of shapes, sounds and signals that make us feel.

My condolences to your family and all your friends at Apple.


Yes, it’s a word.

No, it’s not my word.

Presenteeism is a term to describe the way we come to work early and leave late when we don’t need to. It’s the modern employees’ way of over-compensating for their sense of worth in the workplace. The trouble is that bosses the world over are wise to this scam. They can smell your desperate flag of indispensability.

If you’d really like to demonstrate your indispensability, hand in your notice tomorrow. Whether you have a plan b or not, you can bet your boss will think a whole lot more of you.

It’s something Steve Jobs would have admired, god rest his ebullient soul.