Here are some of the interesting things that I’ve done in the last week:
Talked to some of the region’s leading artists about a project lighting up the outside of Selfridges.
Chatted to an engineer about adjusting the gun turret flaps on the roof of a new Jaguar F Pace.
Listened to a mad American taking great delight with her new Chewbacca mask. No, not Bradley.
Watched a troupe of Brazilian dancers flounce around the streets with a drum band for the opening of a new restaurant.
Driven to work a couple of times with the roof down.
Spoken to Graham Norton the morning after a big Eurovision party in Stockholm.
Provided Mom’s old typewriter as a photo prop for an exciting Birmingham Press Club story.
Giggled at a Swedish chocolate bar called Plopp.
Tutted at the price of return flights from Dusseldorf next week.
Plus, the team have also given the website a jolly good overhaul too. Which is why they want me to blog.
Now, which is the best of those that I should be blogging about? Should middle-aged men be blogging at all? People get a good chance at exposure to my opinion either by reading Clive’s Goat in our Fluffless newsletter, or being within earshot in the pub.
I’m going to go for privacy. It’s the week when super injunctions are being talked about, when everyone knows who ‘the couple in question’ are. A newspaper editor was being interviewed about it on the Today programme this morning and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person willing him to slip up and reveal the name that everyone knows. But hopes of him furnishing us with the details were as delicate as a candle in the wind.
When I asked Graham Norton for a selfie outside the Business Lounge at Arlanda, it was clear that he was up for a flight that was far earlier than he would have wanted. And that somewhere in Stockholm, the Eurovision party was probably still going on. It might not have been the best time for him to be accosted by a fan, but as the professional that he is, he smiled for my camera, said thank you when I told him that I was ‘loving your work’ and quickly moved on. I chose to only share the resulting photo amongst my Facebook friends, rather than in the wider domain of Twitter, where it could have attracted some adverse comments about celebs being pictured before make up. At the same airport, friends spotted our two British Eurovision boys. Apparently they were looking grey and lost. Their flight must’ve been too early too.
The point is that quite rightly, we did not share pictures of people the morning after, choosing to just speak about it instead. On the whole the media is respectful of people’s privacy and individuals using social media should be respectful of other people’s privacy too, whether they’re celebrities or not. I cannot confirm or deny the existence online of a video that might show me dancing in a tent to trashy Europop, whilst the tiniest bit the worse for wear. But I can confirm that I was consulted before it went online, being persuaded with the argument that ‘it looks like you’re having a lovely time’.
On very rare occasions something appears in a social media feed that we’re looking after that wouldn’t meet anyone’s guidelines for truth, honesty or even sanity. If it’s a valid opinion, however misguided and doesn’t contain any profanities we will usually let it stand with no reaction. Only if it’s offensive would we block or report it, and I reckon the number of interventions we’ve had to make in the past twelve months is at an all time low. It looks like the great British public are behaving well, which is nice. So, please carry on as you are.
And of course, don’t go online and be a ******** (that word was edited, in line with the previous paragraph. Shame, I thought I might get away with ********). It’s only you you’re making look stupid and no one will love you for it. Not even your mom.
STOP PRESS: (Do you remember when there used to be a little stop press column on the back of the newspaper?)
I dashed off to the Opus at Cornwall Street debate on the EU on Friday evening, before I had the opportunity to finish writing this, which gives me so much more to report. I can see the arguments on both sides of in and out, and I think that a lot of the damage has already been done just by calling the referendum. But that can’t be undone now. As well as listening to the debate, which you can listen back to below, I had the opportunity to chat with the panelists. Probably the most prominent, for the ‘Out’ campaign was Gisela Stuart MP, who put up some compelling arguments during the debate, and afterwards went on to describe how she feels that the EU’s future is probably time limited anyway. Following on from the privacy comments I made earlier, I won’t disclose the more fascinating parts of the conversation, which, if I weren’t representing clients in every European country might have convinced me that now is the time to leave. But I have an office in Brussels and no intention of doing anything now that will upset the apple cart.
Another great suggestion of mine, expressed to a very eminent professor of politics, was that in place of the planned Queen’s Speech, Her Majesty should have sent everyone home for twelve months, to have a jolly good think about what it is important. No more new laws for a year. Re-conviene next spring with some really good ideas that have had some proper thought, instead of the incessant flow of tinker, announce then U-turn. I could just imagine her saying: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you. If there’s a problem.” That idea didn’t seem to excite any of the political experts. It seemed to work for Belgium. Never mind eh, I tried.
Trinity Mirror’s editor in the Midlands, Marc Reeves - no relation - did a magnificent job of chairing the debate and took soundings of opinion at the start and at the end, also asking people to indicate if anything they’d heard had changed the way they were going to vote. There were very few, who had changed their mind, but one notable reaction was from Australian-born panelist Fiona Allen. She chairs the Hippodrome Theatre and said that one of the big attractions of travelling across the world to take a job in Great Britain is that it is part of Europe. Concluding the discussion she said that she’d began the evening being 80 per cent convinced that Britain should stay in. At the end, she was one hundred per cent convinced.
So a busy week concluded with some pretty grown up conversations, where we were able to speak to some people whose opinions matter and share our ideas. Big thanks to Ann Tonks and Irene Allen at Opus at Cornwall Street for hosting. The next of their ‘in conversations’ series in July is about bees. That one’s chaired by the BBC’s Dr David Gregory-Kumar of BBC Midlands Today and Farming Today fame. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m sure that the Opus kitchen won’t be able to resist doing something clever with honey for dinner afterwards.
I suggested installing a hive in the corner of the restaurant to focus everyone’s attention, but I’m fairly confident that idea fell on deaf ears, just like pausing parliament.