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October 2011

Another successful consultation

You may remember I blogged a while back about a Brent Council online survey regarding the branding and messaging for its new recycling initiative. The one that led me to reflect that, in many instances, "consultation is a hollow, life-sapping, time-wasting distraction for people who are too lazy, lily-livered and feckless to make even the smallest decision for themselves." The full post is here.

Well, you'll be pleased to know the consultation exercise is now complete and the new initiative has been launched. After much consideration, they've gone with 'recycle more' in a friendly lower-case font, against a green background (interesting innovation there), along with a picture of an ethnically-balanced group standing cheerfully beside some bins.

Picture 5

Good work, Brent. I'm glad we were able to help.

WrapperRhymes unwrapped


It’s National Poetry Day and I’ve realised I’ve never written on this blog about a poetry sideline I’ve been working on for a while.

WrapperRhymes is a collection of poems written on wrappers, inspired by a poem Ted Hughes wrote on a Tunnock’s Wrapper in 1986.

I came across the Ted Hughes poem via Twitter and fell into conversation about it with @byleaveswelive (the Scottish Poetry Library), @inpressbooks (independent poetry distributor Inpress Books), and @effektive (Glasgow design firm Effektive Studio). It became obvious that there were many more WrapperRhymes waiting to be written, so a site was born.

Greig Anderson at Effektive created the brand and website, and did a brilliant job of it. It has a clean, clinical look that contrasts nicely with the messy handwritten wrappers that form the content (often very poorly photographed by me).

What fascinates me about the whole thing is the idea of having an ‘original version’ of a poem. There’s a very direct relationship between the poem and its physical expression on the wrapper. It means each poem is a one-off – only one copy of it exists. This is something that poetry in general lacks – yes, there’s a certain thrill in owning a first edition of a book, but it’s usually still one of several hundred copies. But there’s something special about a poem that only properly exists in one form.

Hopefully one day we’ll put on an exhibition of the poems in their original state.

In the meantime, submissions are very welcome. You’ll see many of them are light-hearted tributes to their product, but I think there’s also scope for more oblique and personal poems – maybe using the brand name as a cue word for a poem on something entirely different. I’m convinced there’s a potential Waste Land to be written on a bumper bag of Wotsits.