The impact of the global recession has hit VisitScotland’s Framework for Change ambitions hard. Even with the injection of energy from Homecoming Scotland our tourism economy has failed to grow at the rate demanded in this economic vision. So, the additional £5m that Mike Cantlay announced for ‘guerilla marketing’ this summer and autumn has to be welcomed. It looks like a clear demonstration of logic, and we don’t always say that when we are critiquing public sector initiatives.
The logic is blindingly obvious. The pound is weak, making the UK a cheap destination; so let’s increase our marketing in Europe. What’s more, there’s a ruddy great cloud of volcanic ash hanging over us that’s making most people terrified to book flights to Europe (me included); so tempt people to stay at home – Cantlay claims 40% of us have never holidayed in Scotland.
I’m impressed with Cantlay’s decisiveness and ambition. Really impressed. He’s acting like an entrepreneur and spotting opportunity – not prevaricating about the bush as the opportunity drifts away like ash on the wind. (Obviously though, Malcolm Roughhead and his team will be the real architects of the plan.).
He claims the £5m additional spend is but a pebble, but pebbles create ripples. And his willingness to take a risk and very publicly throw that pebble into the pool surely has to be applauded.
Sure, you can debate whether the money is being spent in the right way, but that’s a question of tactics that I do not have the right to interrogate. What I admire is the boldness of strategy and a willingness to put VisitScotland into the firing line, although I suspect it wiil turn out to be the line to receive plaudits some time hence.
He points to Obama’s effective investment in tourism marketing in the US believing that this will have a similar effect. Will it? Only time will tell, but for sure this is a very public and welcome act of aggressive marketing at a time when “cut” is the loudest word in most public sector boardrooms. I hope it cleans up at the awards this time next year.
Midlake are greedy bastards. Not satisfied with making perhaps the album of the year (The Comfort of others) they have colluded with bandless stablemate John Grant to make eh, perhaps, the album of the year. So expect to see Midlake feature heavily in the year end lists.
This is a very Midlake album. It has their arrangements, touches and noodles for a start. It strays back into Van Occupanther territory in that it explores 70’s soft rock influence (Barry Manilow, Elton John) as opposed to 70’s folk which caught their ear in The Comfort of Others.
But this is not a Midlake album. It is most assuredly John Grant’s. Stridently gay in its copy and occasionally whimsical, it packs a meaty punch.
I was blown away on first listening and then it got better. The gayness of it is very evident. But it’s what makes the album, because it gives him lyrical richness. He combines a mix of ‘fuck you’ attitude and humour. I have to say the only downsides of the album is when he overindulges in the humour and when Midlake over-noodle on the keyboards.
It’s a thing of very great beauty. If you like Anthony and the Johnsons but hated his voice this might be more to your liking, Because it’s outrageously mellow.
For fans of Midlake this is required listening. (In fact I will hazard a guess that some of you who saw Comfort of Others as a retrograde step will find this re-engaging you.)
This is a great record in anyone’s language. If it sells 5,000 copies in the UK I’ll be amazed. Please be one of them?
Jeez. Do I like a rant?
Bad service is top of my list of ranting (see recent O2 pishereama). So it’s nice to be able to report a company having a good customer attitude and great service.
I’ve bought my last two pairs of specs from Optical Express and paid richly for the privelege (£700 a go including the “free” second pair).
Anyway, the new pair I just got a fortnight ago don’t work. Or not for my eyes. Top of the range varifocals they are. But they don’t work. What’s worse is that after only one week I dropped and scratched them.
So, I went to see the lovely ladies in The Gyle Centre Store and told them my concerns.
New lenses. No charge. (mainly because they realised that the change of lens style that I had ordered just doesn’t work for some people.)
Brilliant service. With a big smile.
I love that shop and anyone that wants new specs would be recommended to go there.
So. I’m not just a moaning old git. Am I?
Originally uploaded by mark gorman.
My best shot of the day at the most enjoyable Suntrap open day.
Originally uploaded by mark gorman.
an oldie but a goody.
Very clever. Surprised no-one saw it before.
In case you didn’t know Germans (and Americans) shout “Gesundheit” (Good health) when someone sneezes.