Category: November 2016

Definitive History

Opened a whole can of worms with the last post – a can that is incomplete without a large hot beverage, a comfortable seat, and complete immersion in Empire Magazine’s feature website, The Definitive History of the West Wing.

Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.

A Tour of the West Wing

Take a 15-minute tour of the set from the West Wing.

If like me, you’re nearing double figures for complete run-throughs of the greatest TV series ever, there’s so much joy here.

If not, that’s ok – you have time yet to go back and watch again.

Huge thanks to the West Wing Weekly, my favourite podcast of this and the next three or so years.


“When it comes to songwriting, for me there needs to be prolonged periods of silence. It’s 80 per cent doing other things – playing pool, making a cup of tea, eating a sandwich, going for a walk.

“Too many people sit down to write and they’ve already got a formulaic idea or a structure in their head.”

Foy Vance

I sense a huge amount of truth in Foy’s words. I get morose sometimes that I don’t seem to be able to create the number of new songs (or other creative content) that I did ten years ago.

I’ve realised that some of this is because ten years ago, I spent large parts of most days effectively doing nothing. The result was perhaps 30-40 songs a year.

By comparison, I’ve ‘finished’ one composition throughout a hectic 2016.

How do we strike the balance between intentionally carving out protected time to think, to ponder, to create, to be – without turning it in to an antithetical pressure cooker?

Hillary for America

Whatever else comes out of the aftermath of the recent election across the pond, I think one thing I found particularly interesting was the strength of the Democratic ticket’s brand.

Campaign branding is an interesting, sometimes mind-boggling thing (shout out to Nixon Now). Hillary for America’s symbols illustrated just how far the most scalable, adaptable branding can go. Simplicity seems to be key in allowing the imagery to sit comfortably in almost any context.

…a great brand system is modular and adaptable. It can move and shift to align itself with the requirements of the problem being solved. A great brand system is a playbook that can be referred to over a period of time to build equity.

–  Stewart Scott-Curran

I’m realising the real challenge when involved in curating a brand is not just thinking of all the contexts in which that branding might appear – but anticipating other contexts that we haven’t even thought of yet.


I know many ministers who are doing their best, really their best, to be a servant to their congregations, and trying to impart something. But they often feel trapped in all this organisation, with social functions driving them crazy. I have a feeling that the more people come to church as a social centre, the less it becomes a place of worship.

The story of how Dick van Dyke was driven away from organised Christianity – he was once a Sunday School teacher, and later a Presbyterian elder – is a sad one. But I think this line is a fantastic insight – and from a book that is full of them.