Spread the love this Valentines Day not with an Elizabethan Sonnet, but with one of these…

Hugh Grant, on a greetings card:

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Or any one of these emotionally repressed valentines cards for us Brits here.


Conversely, you could go for one of  these much less uptight chappies:



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From the pure poetry that is – (thanks Martin H for discovering them)


Finally there’s always this miserable bugger, guaranteed to have your beloved falling at your feet in a collapsed heap of undying adoration.


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From Mister Bob Brian


Fresh off the back of these hugely cynical could-be-christmas cards by Mister Bob Brian, I thought I’d do another really joyful post to end the year with!

My new favourite wordsmith is the poet Wendy Cope. One of her most beautiful pieces of work is this, in my opinion, which I first read on a tube card panel. If you don’t know her work already, I implore you to look it up!

She has also written two really rather wonderful poems about Christmas.

If you’re someone who loves Christmas, you might want to look away now.

If on the other hand, you’re someone who has a somewhat dysfunctional family unit, you might appreciate the dark sentiment behind this one.

I personally think it’s a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Either way, merry Christmas one and all!


A Christmas Song

Why is the baby crying

On this, his special day,

When we have brought him lovely gifts

And laid them on the hay?


He’s crying for the people

Who greet this day with dread

Because somebody dear to them

Is far away or dead,


For all the men and women

Whose love affairs went wrong,

Who try their best at merriment

When Christmas comes along


For separated parents

Whose turn it is to grieve

While children hang their stockings up

Elsewhere on Christmas Eve,


For everyone whose burden,

Carried throughout the year,

Is heavier at Christmastime,

The season of good cheer.


That’s why the baby’s crying

There in the cattle stall:

He’s crying for those people.

He’s crying for them all.


Like I said, it’s not the chirpiest!

Next up, there’s this UTTER GEM.

I’m not – but it made me laugh out loud. So true!


A Christmas Poem

At Christmas little children sing and merry bells jingle,
The cold winter air makes our hands and faces tingle
And happy families go to church and cheerily they mingle
And the whole business is unbelievably dreadful, if you’re single.

By Wendy Cope




…is one sentence you’ll never hear Funnyman, Director and Twitter-Guru David Schneider say.


He came to BMB recently to give us a talk about Comedy, Tweeting, and the time he almost killed Steve Coogan.

It was ruddy brilliant. The only let down (as a planner pointed out afterwards) was that we didn’t nip across the road for a wheel of Neal’s Yard Cheese to wave at his olfactory organ. Because, as it turns out, David Schneider gets at least five ‘SMELL MY CHEESE’S a day.

FIVE! Not just on Twitter but in the REAL WORLD too.

Other interesting facts and tips we learned at Schneider School:

– Alan Partridge was very nearly a DJ in Milton Keynes, until Mr. Iannucci pointed out that this wasn’t quite silly enough. So Alan ended up in Norwich. Now, Schneider’s way of describing when something isn’t quite amusing enough is: ‘It’s a bit Milton Keynes’.  Which makes for a good yardstick whatever you’re writing. Is it a bit pedestrian? Can you push it further? As far as… Norwich?

– When you’re directing an actor, the worst thing you can do is ‘perform’ how you want a line to be read. Then all they’ll do is mimic it. Better to try and get them into the moment, so they get there authentically.

– Even if its a crazy idea, be as REAL with it as possible.

– In the infamous ‘Smell my cheese’ sketch, the fork was so close to Schneider’s face he almost drew blood.

– Schneider once very nearly stabbed Coogan to death. In a manner of speaking. In this scene where he plays Tony Le Mezma,during filming, he accidentally sent one of the knives flying towards him. As if by magic, the knife missed him by a milimetre.

– He’s obsessive about detail. He reckons us advert people are too. That’s one of the reasons he’s keen to direct some more of them.

– His ultimate rule: When you’re directing, always be able to explain your creative choices. Saying them out loud to someone gives you one last chance to check you’re not bullshitting. Never, ever, just say ‘trust me, it’ll be funny.’

After entertaining us with a veritable cheese-board of Alandotes, Prof. Schneider moved on to a crash-course in Hashtaggery:

– In his view, the ‘direct sell’ approach always bombs on twitter. It’s all about being tangential, like these lot. 

– Timing is everything. Being the first to react gives you instant purchase. A mediocre joke pays double if the timing is bang on.

– Twitter is a fertile testing ground for jokes. Tim Vine and Betfair Poker being two of his favourites.

– With the right ghost-tweeter, the dullest of dullard brands can have a personality. Bolts are pretty boring creatures, but there’s something amusingly incongruous about the idea of a bolt being funny isn’t there?

– 98% of Schneider’s Twitter followers think he is Ross off of Friends*.

But it wasn’t until the final lesson at Schneider School that my life-long commitment to not joining Twitter was finally smashed into little pieces.He pointed out the obvious – that 140 characters is a great way of training to be  pithier, punchier and preciser in your writing (never been my strong-point, I won’t lie). And in that sense, he argued, all copywriters worth their salt should be on Twitter.

That was me told. So, I’ve given up being a luddite and started Twittering, as has Nat. See you there over there! Brevity is the soul of wit, and all that.