Home The Author The Book Reviews FAQs More Stuff The Other Side


RSS Feed 

Monday, October 23, 2006


In praise of Australian copywriting

... because I used to be a copywriter and I know how difficult it is. And the copywriting on Australian public signs is nothing short of brilliant.

What makes it distinctive to a person used to the circumlocution and indirect language of English signs - which are aiming to be polite - is that there's an energetic directness of phrasing combined with a kind of 'don't blame me, mate, it was your mistake' shrug. Signs threaten you from all directions, usually with fines - but they don't tell you you're liable to a fine, they tell you that you'll get fined. Rather than giving you the neutral information that you might want to think about, they say flat out that if you do something stupid, then it's your own lookout. Really, the icon for 'public service announcement' in Sydney ought to be a down-to-earth little stickman pointing and laughing. Two particularly good examples:

1. On ferries, trains and other places worried about terrorism:

If you see something, say something.

It goes on to say report suspicious packages or persons, but in terms of being both general and common-sensical, it's terrific.

2. My absolute favourite, posted on the walkway above the crocodile enclosure in the Sydney aquarium (best place in the world, go there, go go go), and pretty self explanatory:

Do not enter.
If the fall does not kill you, the crocodile will.


Anyone else have favourite signs or slogans?

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Early inner life

Hello all,

Right, I'm off on holiday. I'm going to Japan, Sydney and New York, and I'm going to be gone for a month. It'll be a month where I shall seek out computers to keep posting, but there may be some times when I'm trapped on a tour bus or marooned in the outback, lamenting my inability to communicate with you . . .

So, in the meantime, do talk amongst yourselves. To which end, I have a question for everyone, and I'd love to hear from as many people as possible:

In childhood, what was your inner landscape like?

Talking to people, it seems that some, at least, had very specific locations for their fantasy lives -not necessarily as elaborate as Angria or Gondal, but a general trend towards place types.

When I was a child, my inner landscape was an English woodland, though I wouldn't have put such a precise name to it back then. I wasn't one of those girls who imagined being a princess or a pop star: I wanted to be a fox, an otter, a deer. If I reach back in my mind, I find that place still there: brown oak leaves covering the ground, with dark earth peeping through; towering trees with ivy on them; shallow green streams with clicking pebbles and cool, swift currents; bars of gold sunlight slanting through the canopy. Of course, it wasn't the only daydream I had, but something about it captures the texture of my childhood fantasies, and looking back, I remember it in the same way I remember my old bedroom, my primary school classroom: as an environment that has a definite place in my memories.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, says that, probably due to his fondness for Saturday morning cartoons, his inner landscape was a ruined city, an urban wasteland with monsters hiding in the rubble. Not, I should add, a nightmare city, just a fairly stark one with a lot of interesting creatures and grotesques. Another friend tells me that her landscapes, while varied, tended to revolve around the notion of a hidden door, a secret entrance or exit that would take you from one world to another. Both of them are creative people, and you can see clear signs of their initial dreamworlds in their work nowadays. The same thing happened with me, I think: proofreading my first novel, I was surprised to note how obsessed with trees I was. The story kept returning to parks, and descriptions recurred of bark, of grass underfoot, of leaves, of specific breeds of tree.

So what's yours? Did your dreamworlds vary, or was there a particular kind of place you kept coming back to? And what was it like?


July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   March 2007   May 2007   July 2007   October 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   August 2010   September 2010   November 2010   January 2011   May 2011   June 2011   November 2011   December 2011   January 2012   February 2012   March 2012   April 2012   May 2012   June 2012   July 2012   August 2012   September 2012   October 2012   November 2012   December 2012   January 2013   March 2013   April 2013   May 2013   June 2013   July 2013   August 2013   September 2013   October 2013   March 2014   October 2021   June 2022  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?