A Day in Court – Observations from Real Life

I was wearing my best clothes for I did not own a suit then. I sat swilling bad coffee around a greasy mug contemplating whether by 2pm I might be doing the same thing behind bars under contempt of court.

When my Barrister arrived we sat down for the briefing. As his Superman ringtone went off I squinted at him over the melamine laminate table. He cleared his throat and stared at the portfolio before him. 

Of course the obvious game was people watching which was better than that of the English beachfront in the height of summer. I spent the time constructively glaring at the back of the Defendant’s head hoping to wither his resolve.

He showed a glimmer of strength in a weak ratio with life’s atrocities. He wore glasses that were too large and he was perpetually pushing them up on his elderly beak with a shaky finger. He was not turning to look at me but I could tell he was not sure how it had come to this. He was hard of hearing and the judge himself stood up to adjust the acoustics of the room by opening and closing windows, doors, moving barriers of stacked books and an alarming quantity of bibles. His Barrister, who actually looked like the type of girl I would get to know at a family wedding, turned occasionally to look at me.

The older man’s story was muddled and his concentration waned as the length of each answer was drawn out and diminished with every word. My own voice wavered also and I stumbled over my words, he and I, together in this party for the brave and soulless, with a blonde angel looking on from the back of the room.

He held his head in his hands briefly as the Judge made his ruling and as we all filed out of the room I found myself silently apologising to the defeated being who made one last gesture by holding the door open for me. “Thank you” I whispered, to the man who had once almost killed me.

Fantastic Mr Fox – an encounter

Urban foxes – we see them all the time, usually scooting across the road in front of the car at 5 a.m. or perched up high on their wheelie-bin thrones.

Yes, their fur is the traditional red colour, but it resembles the faded edges of velvet curtains that have hung in the window for fifty years and their eyes look like lemon sherberts dotted with ants.

Today I am not dressed for the occasion. Certainly I am not fit to be blessed with the presence of nature. But maybe today the fox with his equally ragged attire found it easier to come a little closer.

I got out of the car and shuffled over to the fence where the garage is and waited while the cold grass crept up into my shoes. We spoke silently for a few seconds, our eyes locked together. And then, as though it was a magic spell all of it’s own, my smile sent him scampering back down out of sight – although I did feel that if I had waited some more we could have played this game together all day.


Perfectly Polite Penguins and the Use of Alliteration

Alliteration. The perfect tool for capturing a toddler’s attention – and trust me, that is no mean feat. I have read a lifetime of children’s books. Next to a good sing-song rhyme, the use of alliteration has the potential to keep kids coming back to the same story time and time again.

When looking for ways to capture an audience we can do worse than taking inspiration from the way children’s fiction is written, for alliteration helps form the building blocks to making words memorable. And who doesn’t want this for their brand?

Perfectly Polite Penguins is a book I purchased for my three year old to help him navigate those turbulent tantrum years. In the story, Polly, a naughty penguin who likes to throw fishy snacks and really needs to get her shit together finally comes to the realisation that it’s not all about her and is able to reintegrate into a society of Perfectly Polite Penguins.

Another favourite is Fussy Freda, a terrifying tale with box office potential about a young girl who refuses to eat what her parents cook until she begins to shrink and is eaten by the family cat. It’s perhaps still a little more censored than the story of a cannibalistic old lady who lives in a house made of gingerbread, but for me (and my three year old) the additional use of alliteration gives this story a impactful double-whammy.

A quick glance at pop culture shows that it is literally littered with alliteration. ( See what I did there? ) Coca-Cola and Mickey Mouse are now clever literacy devices that evoke nostalgic emotions for many. The rhetoric of politicians and the most memorable phrases of the greatest minds known to human kind have all used this memory-tool.

Is it sometimes over-used, dare I say it, cliche? Yes. It won’t suit all brands so proceed with a degree of caution. However if like me, you’re still a fan of the good old-fashioned flipchart and marker pen brainstorming method, then by all means go mad. Next time you pass a book shop pop in and browse the selection of early years fiction for you may just be picking up a valuable business tool. Remember, the same rhythmic patterns of our pre school years still resonate with the psyche of adulthood.

The best piece of advice I can give above all else and however you decide to use alliteration for your content, always, ALWAYS be a perfectly polite penguin.

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