The Notices

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  1. Hello hello,
  2. Welcome new people, who’ve arrived via Tone Knob. Lovely to have you here. You’ll notice things are considerably more… meandering.
  3. Much housekeeping: I have a new website, made by the truly excellent Scruples, who specialise in a kind of ‘premium minimalist’ vibe. Send all praise to them. Send crowing emails about that typo you’ve spotted to me.
  4. *Xmas Gift Klaxon* the new site means I can now ‘offer’ (or ‘bother you about’) the lovely little hardback edition of On Reading. It comes with a hand-printed lino print of the ‘book-faced man’ illustration I made for the cover. There’s 150 of them.
  5. You might have, ahem, noticed that this newsletter is no longer called the 'Journal of Messy Thinking'. It’s now called ‘The Notices’. Yes, I know this is needlessly irritating. Sorry. There are reasons. They are not interesting.
  6. Anyway. I think this may be my favourite explainer video ever: The British Shipping Forecast explained in the voice of the shipping forecast. (It’s a unique tone of voice really: simultaneously completely neutral and unchanging yet also warm and reassuring.)
  7. Bonus knowledge: Peter Jefferson, who was the voice of the Shipping Forecast for over 40 years (hear him here) recorded a ‘sleep story’ for the meditation app Calm – of him reading the EU's GDPR regulations. A perfect storm of snoozeability. (Would that be ‘hurricane force 12’ on the Beaufort Scale?)
  8. While we’re explaining things: Redefined. Reimagined. Reinvented. Unbullshitted.
  9. And while we're talking about bullshit, I've run the numbers and can confirm that this is precisely 103% bullshit.
  10. Hilariously, given I called my studio That Explains Things, I’ve only recently found the tribe of folks who call themselves ‘sense-makers’. If that's also your jam, you might like information architect Abby Covert’s keynote from this year’s World Information Architecture Day. It's full of sentences like this: In an effort to up the pancakeyness of their menu, International House of Pancakes had made pancakes unfindable as a quest’. (h/t Lauren Pope.)
  11. Rabbit hole warning: Daniel Epstein on ‘defamiliarisation’ as a way of seeing the world afresh. Tons of great examples and links. And also, Fraggles.
  12. Related: The writer David Cain has an excellent knack for 'defamiliarising analogies': ‘listen to your mental chatter as though it’s a TV in another room, rather than a speech you’re giving’. (That’s an extract from this post).
  13. Also: I’ve been reading Brian Eno’s Year With Swollen Appendices, his 1995 diary. Amazing how many entries could be Oblique Strategy cards (a box of defamiliarisation): ‘Cheap meal with expensive wine’; ‘When in doubt, tidy up’; ‘What do you say to a man who has killed a lion with his bare hands and is sleeping with your wife?’.
  14. That’s all, folks. Tip a quid. It goes to Arts Emergency.

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