"Real Artists Ship"

Colin Johnson’s blog

Archive for August, 2015

Abbrvs (2)

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Sent this perfectly reasonably titled file as an email attachment to some colleagues:

00 A fullPack.png

Unfortunately, it ended up in the email attachments window looking like this:

00 A Fu...ck.pdf

…I’ll get me coat…

Joke (9)

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Have you seen the new Waitrose ad? “New Cranberry and Goji Berry Granola—so cranberry-y it even turns the milk light fuchsia.”

The bells, Esmerelda, the bells…

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Church bells are surprisingly controversial. To people like my friend Greg, they are a micro-artform. Not content with annoying his own neighbours at early-o’clock on a Sunday morning, when travelling he emails the bell-brigadier of the local tower and asks if he can join in in their latest attempt at ringing grandbob-sire-rhesus-negative, or whatever fancy pants name the community has chosen for that particular permutation of a subset of the positive integers.

On the other hand there are people who see it as a form of noise pollution, analogous to erecting giant neon signs around the neighbourhood that flash “go to church” at inconvenient times of the night. A particularly annoying subset of these people are those to whom I am trying to sell my house at the moment, who tell me that it is “lovely, but I don’t think I could cope with the bell-ringing” (two out of three viewees so far). I should have been warned. A couple of decades ago, I was surprised at the level of vitriol that the proposal to include regular quarter-hour daytime peals in the church clock restoration generated amongst local residents (the connection between clock and bells having broken down decades ago). Overall, it seems to be one of those things that many people like the idea of in general, but when it is proposed in a specific location opposite someone’s house, they object to.

I’m largely on the side of the ringers. Having lived opposite a church for ages, and lived in a university hall where there was a regular quarter-hour bell for a while, I’m astonished that the brain adjusts quickly to filter out the bells very quickly. People don’t believe me when I say that.

And btw, I made up the term “bell-brigadier” earlier, though I think I am going to write to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers right away and propose that they adopt the term immediately.

Informality (1)

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

I am a fairly informal person, but occasionally even I get a surprise, like this recent email from HMRC:


In just a generation we have gone from addressing each other as “Sir” and “Madam” to the point where one of the stuffiest parts of government says “Hi!” to me. To people of my father’s generation, who struggled with their doctor referring to them by their first name, this shift would have been almost incomprehensible.