On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

It is both poetic and poignant that the armistice signed at 5 am on 11 November 1918 was intended to come into effect six hours later, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The decision was deliberate; but it also meant that fighting in the First World War’s main combat … More On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal

I am always intrigued by the way that, every so often, western society is seized with a ‘social panic’ in which some recent and usually small-scale event becomes evidence of a supposedly deep-seated problem that is going to bring society crashing down in ruin. The archetype, for me, is New Zealand’s Elbe Milk Bar scandal … More Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal

Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

1. Ernest Eldridge’s monster Fiat, Mephistopheles Back in 1923, British racing legend Ernest Eldridge bought an old Fiat racing car cheap after it had ‘blown’ a couple of cylinders at Brooklands. He lengthened the chassis and installed a 21.5 litre aero-engine developing 350 hp, driving the rear wheels by chain. He promptly broke the standing-start … More Three deco-era things I don’t own… yet…

How to get a very strong visual brand for your books

Branding has always meant the experience people get when they engage with ‘the brand’. You know – if you buy this product, you’ll have a wonderful barbecue experience on the beach with great friends, even though (to me, anyway) this has nothing obvious to do with products such as carbonated cola drinks containing sugar and … More How to get a very strong visual brand for your books