Sugar acid neutraliser


Toothpaste now comes with “sugar acid neutraliser”. There’s a name for that.

I might have expected that, since the moment of its inception, toothpaste was about the business of neutralising acids. Surely it’s the acids that cause the decay, and the decay the bit that hurts. So neutralising those acids would seem to be a fundamental part of being toothpaste. It’s what they’ve been about all along.

Only now, that very function appears to have been added to toothpaste as a whizzy feature. Now! With! Added! Sugar-Acid! Neutraliser!

But hang on, isn’t there a name for acid neutraliser? Isn’t it ‘alkali’?

Toothpaste. Now, as always, still an alkali. I should work in advertising.


Talk track

PowerPoint presentations are no longer just presented. They now have a “talk track”.

No, I’ve no idea exactly when it happened, but in the time since PowerPoint slides stopped being presented and started being talked to, there has been a further mutation in the awful corporate lexicon.

It is a development which provides additional confirmation that everyone in offices fundamentally believes they are working in media, tv and probably film, rather than whiling away the precious hours until death on a nondescript business park just outside Swindon, or wherever it is.

Shall I add this into the slides?

No, the slides are a bit busy. Just include it in the talk track.

And by talk track, let us be clear, we just mean “the things you will say when you present it”.

So “include it in the talk track” is just a new, blustery, way of saying “say it”.

Not for the first time, I get a strong sense that we have broken the world.

Police – Follow This Van

Has Follow This Van ever prevented a crime?

Presumably the police can’t, or don’t, follow every van that has a follow this van sticker on the back of it.

Presumably the discerning criminal is not hugely deterred by the fact that the very vans they would like to target have a follow this van on the back of them.

One might expect the fact that they’re obviously G4S vans carrying loads of cash might serve as an obvious clue as to what the police should be prioritising: erratically driven cash vans speeding through the suburbs with a shotgun sticking out of the passenger window.

I’m not convinced the sticker adds a great deal.

Saint Pancreas

The pancreas was never knowingly beatified, not that southbound Northerners would know it.

One of the additional horrors of the 7am Northern Crisis is listening to fellow passengers declare that they will shortly be arriving at “King’s Cross St Pancreas”.

Is it really so difficult to distinguish between St Pancras International, popular destination for the start of all kinds of exciting European rail travel (as well as ghastly places like Luton, Margate and Nottingham) and St Pancreas, popular destination for cancerous cells and insulin?

Presumably my fellow travellers believe that it’d be a good thing to name a station after the patron saint of digestion, rather than, say, a martyred 14-year-old. Pancras, now there’s a station name.

St Pancreas: that’s not even a thing / place.

Shabby chic. Or just “crap”.


A new, ghastly, genre of home d├ęcor is taking over Gumtree. If it’s crap and knackered it must be Shabby Chic.

Having recently used Gumtree to dispose of an old table, I was struck by how many of the items vying for my potential customers’ attention were badged as Shabby Chic.

Now as far as I was aware, Shabby Chic was supposed to refer to one-off statement pieces of furniture, whose beauty lay in their iconic nature, and whose well worn agedness lent additional appeal. Like a well-tempered leather chaise longue, or an original Eames chair which had seen better days but whose value was enhanced by the fact that it had been sat on quite a lot. The concept was probably just invented as a magazine-filling ruse in the late ’90s.

A few googles later and it turns out that the rules for declaring something as Shabby Chic are rather more straightforward:

1. This is an old piece of tat that has been rotting in my garage.


2. I have applied some wearisome DIY techniques to this item, and now it looks like someone has forgotten to varnish it properly.

Hence, this is badged as Shabby Chic:


And so is this:


And this:


In fact Shabby Chic seems to have become the default way of passing off rubbish second hand furniture as if it’s worth something. It would be so much easier, and more accurate, to just label it as ‘tat’, perhaps subdivided into ‘clutter’ and ‘gruesome’.

Shabby Chic might have been a thing once, albeit an invented one, but now its ubiquity means it’s anything but.


“We are going to have to carry on, irregardless”

I sometimes wonder if other people’s ears just don’t work. Because they hear a word like regardless and combine it with a word like irregular and create something new and completely awful in their own head that they clearly think sounds ok.

There are loads of them.

“Was that sentence dramatically incorrect?”

“Is this change irri-vockable?”

“Are you adverse to marketing?”

“I’m not sure of the pronounciation“.

“Let’s continue to conversate