We should replace Kevin Roberts with a black northern woman

The chairman of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, Kevin Roberts has been shown the door for his comments on women in leadership positions.

I don’t think his opinions are mysogenistic, just lacking in facts and figures, and any connection with real people. But that’s advertising for you.

In UK advertising, women make up more than half of junior agency roles, but this drops to 30% for women in leadership positions, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

When it comes to those from black or Middle Eastern backgrounds, the numbers are even smaller, accounting for only 13% of agency staff, according to the IPA.

Almost 2,000 Black and Middle East people have left the creative industry since 2009, now they’re just 5.4% of the total workforce.

Overall, women in the creative industry increased from 53,750 in 2009 to 69,590 in 2012. Women represented 36% of the workforce in 2012 compared to 27% in 2009.

Advertising has always been a bit of an elitist industry. But surely it is one of the industries that should be more sensitive to the man and woman on the street.

Without an understanding of their everyday needs and desires, how can they be expected to communicate and ‘sell’ to them.

I’ll be interested to see what happens to Kevin Roberts now after his amazingly naive comments.

Could it be a good thing? Will it open up the advertising industry to more scrutiny about its hiring policy?

Will they ask the question, ‘Could the best man for the job be a woman?’





Excuse me, you have thousands of spiders on your face

Your face is home to thousands of microscopic organisms whose closest relatives are spiders.

They were first spotted in earwax in 1842 and scientists say you could have at least two of them on every eyelash.

Before you arachnophobiacs go to the bathroom and rip your faces off remember this: they’re tough little bastards. Even if you somehow get rid of them, they’ll be back in 6 weeks.

There are two species of mite which choose to live on your face: Demodex folliculorum and D. brevis.

D. folliculorum are found in hair follicles and pores, while D. brevis resides deeper down in our skin’s sebaceous glands.

Specialists reckon that their presence is symbiotic; they get food from us and we get immune responses from them.

There is some evidence that they can cause blepharitis – an irritation of the eyelid – but that’s not proven

It doesn’t matter how clean we are, we carry around a zoo of parasites, symbiotes and bacteria.

Bacteria cells in our body outnumber human cells 10 to 1, but only make up 1 to 2 % of our body mass – although they do make up half our body waste.

The Belly Button Biodiversity study (yes, it exists) found about 1,400 different strains of bacteria living in the navels of 95 participant – 662 strains previously unrecognized.

So the next time you feel alone and worthless, know that thousands of lifeforms depend on you.

You are their world.


Blame it on the Brexit? No, blame it on the bank

I’ve kept my gob shut because I know opening it causes trouble. But despite my silence I notice LLoyds is blaming its next round of redundancies on Brexit.

It won’t be the first.

When all this Remain/Leave started you knew there was going to be finger pointing whichever way the vote went.

The sad thing is Lloyds is going to cut 3,000 jobs even though it has reported a 101% increase in pre-tax profits – £2.5bn for the half year to the end of June 2016 – in the same period last year, it made £1.2bn.

Lloyds is already carrying out 9,000 redundancies and 200 branch closures.

 The bank blames it all on people banking differently and the effects of interest rates staying low after Brexit.

If people are banking differently, adapt. Put more people on the phones or answering queries on the internet. When was the last time you phoned your bank and got a real person without sitting around for half an hour in the queue?

What irks me more is that taxpayers stood behind the bank which received a £20.5bn bailout during the sub-prime collapse.

Now Lloyds is going to repay all those loyal employees with redundancy. While all the people at the top safeguard those big fat bonuses.

Personally, I would rather sacrifice a few fat cats sitting at the top and keep more of the people who actually do the work.

But that’s just crazy-talk.






Our brain in our stomach

In 1992, Dr Michael Gershon, an expert in the field of neurogastroenterology, started looking in to ‘the second brain’ – a collection of neurotransmitters and nerves that runs the length of our digestive system.

Research showed that the same genes that form connections in our ‘head brain’ do the same in our ‘gut brain’.

This ‘gut brain’ may be the answer to a huge number of problems: joint and muscle pain, skin conditions, mood problems, allergies, sleep problems, general immune dysfunction, emotional or mental problems, motor neurone disease, rheumatoid arthritis and some forms of diabetes.

They’re saying a hormone created in the enteric nervous system can control bone mass and counteract osteoporosis.

Dr Alan Ebringer of London’s Middlesex Hospital has linked ankylosing spondylitis with a type of bacteria that feeds off carbohydrate in the bowel.

Many patients have resolved their long-standing conditions simply by switching to a low-carb diet.

UK general practitioner Dr Sarah Myhill, has made the connection between chronic fatigue and poorly functioning mitochondria, caused by allergies, diet or faulty digestion.

Karen Ward beat Crohn’s Disease by using foods classed as anti-inflammatory. While Kiasha Patel’s mother treated her 14 year old daughter’s inflamed gut with diet.

Our emotional well-being could be found here too. 95% of the body’s serotonin can be found in the gut, not the brain.

Now researchers are examining how the human biome – the trillions of bacteria living in the gut – triggers our nervous system and influences our emotions.

What we eat could just be the way to cure all types of physical and even mental illness.

Personally I don’t see the day when the doctor prescribes a bacon-double cheeseburger for a cold, but I live in hope.


Why ban marijuana? Harry Anslinger didn’t have anything better to do

Several US states have legalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and immediately prescriptions for ‘over the counter’ drugs dropped by $165m in 2013 – it could have fallen by $468m if all the other states had done the same, the University of Georgia estimated.

“People are using marijuana as medicine and not just for recreational purposes,” said lead researcher Ashley Bradford. They’re helping everything from pain to sleeping disorders, anxiety and depression, glaucoma, nausea and seizures.

Marijuana has been used since before 7,000 B.C. The hemp plant was used to create the first woven fabric and over the centuries was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and oils.

What went wrong? Harry Anslinger

In 1929, Harry was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition and the whole thing was a disaster. Alcohol prohibition put gangsters in control of whole neighbourhoods.

When alcohol prohibition finally ended Harry Anslinger was afraid – his massive government department had nothing to do.

Up until then, even he had said that cannabis wasn’t a problem. It doesn’t harm anyone and it doesn’t make people violent.

But when his department needed a new ‘evil’ he chose cannabis – and supported it with the story of Victor Lacata.

In Florida, Victor Lacata, hacked his family to death with an axe. Anslinger explained “This is what will happen when you smoke ‘the demon weed’.”

He wrote to the 30 leading scientists on the subject and asked is cannabis dangerous? Twenty-nine wrote back and said ‘no’.

One scientist said yes, and Anslinger presented his findings to the world. The press took the story hook, line and sinker.

In a panic that gripped America, marijuana was banned. The US then told the world to do the same.

Many countries refused. Places like Mexico thought their drug policy should be run by their doctors. Their findings showed no proof that cannabis caused any problems.

The US ordered Mexico to fall into line and cut off supply of all legal painkillers until they did. Inevitably, Mexico was forced to launch its own drug war.

Then a leading American doctor, Michael Ball wrote to Harry Anslinger. He had used cannabis as a medical student, and it had only made him sleepy. Maybe it needed to be studied.

Anslinger wrote back. “The marijuana evil can no longer be temporized with,” he explained, and he would fund no independent science. Then, or ever.

For years, doctors produced evidence that Anslinger was wrong, and he became threatening again, saying they were “on dangerous ground” and should “watch their mouths”.

Today, most of the world is still living with the ban on cannabis that Harry Anslinger introduced, in the nation-wide panic that followed Victor Lacata’s killing spree.

Years later, somebody went and looked at the psychiatric files for Victor Lacata.

It turns out there’s no evidence he ever used cannabis.




Joking about the attack in Nice isn’t funny

I don’t care who Bill Maher thinks he is or what a satirical ‘genius’ he may be. But turning the attack on Bastille Day where 84 people died into a joke isn’t just disrespectful, it’s inhuman.

Bill Maher tweeted “The NRA says what happened in Nice, France cld have been stopped if everyone in the crowd also had a truck.”

Try telling that joke to the mothers of the kids who died that day? Or to husbands who lost wives? Kids who lost parents?

This man is as public figure and should know better than to turn a tragedy into a background for one of his ‘jokes’.

What’s worse is that American people followed it and laughed with him. At a fucking tragedy. What’s wrong with them?

Of course the joke seems funny because it is happening to other people half the world away. Not in their own back yard. When it does those Americans with tears pouring down their faces ask God ‘Why this is happening to them?”

How about ‘payback’?

For decades America has supported terrorism. They trained Al Quaeda then got upset when they blow up their World Trade Centre in 2001. Their freedom fighters suddenly became ‘terrorists’

New York and Boston bars used to have collecting tins on the bars specifically to help fund the IRA. They were quickly removed after the Boston bombings in 2013

The US Government has promoted global instability by funding and training terrorist factions. It keeps the military funded, provides an excuse to send troops into trouble spots and gives them the excuse to keep their citizens under control and under more surveilance.

I have a joke for Bill Maher, how about we send one of those trucks through your house loaded with explosives and set it off?  Wouldn’t that be a blast?

Sorry, too soon?

Keep young and beautiful. Well, keep young

Scientists in Switzerland have discovered a way to reverse the ageing process. Or so they say. Pomegranates could help human cells recycle themselves.

Pomegranates contain the ingredients to help build a molecule called Urolithin A This not only lets cells renew but also prevents muscle deterioration and diseases associated with ageing.

As we get older, the mitochondria in our cells start to fail and build up inside them, which weakens tissues.

This leads to lack of energy, lack of activity and therefore lack of appetite – all the things you associate with getting older

“Urolithin A is the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean-up process,” according to Patrick Aebischer, one of the researchers.

There have been cries of ‘amazing’ as test results on laboratory rats has shown lifespans have increased by 45%.

Pomegranates contain the building blocks of the molecule, which gets converted into urolithin A by the gut. From there, bacteria in the gut determines how much of the molecule gets created.

Some people who don’t have any of the right bacteria won’t feel the benefit, yet. But researchers are working on a product called Amazentis.

Who knows, this could be the Fountain of Youth they’ve been looking for? Or it could be just another clever marketing gimmick to get us drinking pomegranate juice.

Me? I’m off for a pint of Guinness. I won’t live longer. But I’ll enjoy the time I have, thank you very much

Nice weather. What’s nice about it?

The sun is shining and everyone is saying what a lovely day it is. Rubbish. It’s hot and sticky. I’ve got a river of sweat running down my back and down the crack of my arse like Niagra Falls. There’s nothing nice about that.

People are sitting out in the sunshine wearing sandals and flip-flops. For that reason alone they should be shot but no the sunglasses are out and they have decided to wear as little clothing as possible.

There are acres of white flesh glowing in the sunshine. Next they’ll be complaining about sunburn or even worse.

What possesses people to immediately throw off all their clothes and walk around in what is effectively high levels of radiation? You wouldn’t walk through a nuclear reactor wearing a bikini and flip-flops, so don’t do it in this weather.

I myself am sitting in an air conditioned coffee house today. Watching the world go by. My laptop doesn’t like this weather either. The tracker pad is confused by too many heat sources. And the fan inside is going crazy.

If it could speak it would be telling me to put it in the fridge but no, If I have to work he was to work as well.

On the bright side, I haven’t heard anyone say, ‘Now tell me there’s no global warming.” But give it time. The day is still young. And too fucking hot.


Time flies. Especially at Richard Nicholson’s 50th birthday bash

Richard, or Nicko as we used to call him, turned 50 last Friday and on Saturday we gathered in the White Bull at Cannon Hall Farm to wish him all the best.

It was a great affair, the venue was wonderful. Bar at one side. Buffet at the other and a band who knew a thing or two about how to play good music for the crowd – lots of 80s and 90s music for us oldies.

Myself I opted for lashings of Speckled Hen and a snacklet just to line the stomach. I talked to old friends. made a few new ones, hopefully. And before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

Where did the evening go? Nicko himself said it went too fast and he didn’t get much chance to talk to people. But being the centre of attention, the poor lad was drawn from one conversation to the next and somewhere along the line he also managed to lose a fair few pints. Or so he says.

I still can’t believe that the old gang is slowly but surely turning 50. Time marches on but what is reassuring to know is that Nicko, Did and Tree still behave as they did when I first met them. Like big kids.

Thank you to the Nicholson’s for inviting me. Wonderful evening. Even if it went a little too fast.

84 dead and I can’t say a word

It has been a couple of days now since the Bastille Day lorry attack and I still don’t know what to say. I’m angry, I’m sad, and I just want it all to stop.

2016 will go down in my mind as probably one of the worst years in history. The liars and murderers are taking over the world and I feel powerless.

My heart goes out to the people of France, to everyone who has lost loved ones and to anyone who witnessed the horror – that’s something they’ll never forget.

At the moment they are saying #PrayForNice and #NousSommesUnis – messages of hope. But right now I really don’t feel there is hope for this world.