19 February 2009

OK, I want you to come up with a good name for a punk rock band...

... watcha got? 

That's...erm...good. :}

Almost as good as the name chosen by a band in Florida.....but probably not quite as viral, or disruptive.

The band is called This Bike is a Pipe Bomb ....catchy huh? 

The trouble is, fans are putting their stickers on their bikes, which is great till you park it at an airport.

Story here

Still, I don't suppose for a moment that the band suspected they may get any free publicity from their name choice.

Cynical? Moi?

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Addendum: The more I think about it, the more angry it makes me.

Particularly in relation to the story I blogged about earlier.

Security is the bane of all our lives, but these selfish arseholes thought it would be clever to generate publicity for themselves out of everybody else's inconvenience & fear.

Calling yourself 'This Bike is a Pipe Bomb' and making convenient long-thin stickers to go on bicycles was only ever going to result in one thing - security scares.

Pursue it, to its logical ending: After a few scares and the resulting free publicity, word begins to spread. More & more bikes turn up in public places. What do people charged with our security do? Divert resources to investigating what they, by now, know are harmless bikes? Leaving other avenues un-protected? 

What happens if the whole thing does go viral? Kiddies swamp airports, stations, libraries, etc with the bikes, and then one day a real terrorist takes advantage of it and leaves a TBIAPB bike with a real bomb?

These little shits are not genius marketeers. They are just stupid semi-terrorists. 

(Their music is ok though)

Aircrew have a lot to put up with

Apparently a pilot for Swiss International Airways had a hissy fit at London City Airport's staff security checkpoint yesterday, causing a 2-hour delay for his passengers as all the security drones and petty officials held a protracted enquiry into his outburst. (original story in The Sun)

The tone of all the coverage and comments is laughter and derision (he dropped his pants and asked if Security wanted to "check this" as well), but I can't help feeling slightly sympathetic.

He obviously was 'having a bad day' and, as a professional pilot, he certainly shouldn't have lost his cool, but aircrew must be truely sick of the ridiculous security they are subjected to.

We passengers hate the tiresome omnipresent security regimes at airports, but even the most frequent flyers don't have to endure it at anything like the frequency that aircrew do. And why? As one of the Sun commentators points out, the only people who could down a plane without needing to smuggle something (weapons/explosives) through airport security, are the pilots.

I bet there are thousands of airline pilots today, reading about this incident and thinking how close they themselves have come to doing the same thing.

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Addendum: A glance at the thread (I knew there would be one) on Pprune.org suggests I'm right.

18 February 2009

Yeah.....been there, knew that!

Sometimes I impress even myself.

I just read an item about Tots To Travel, who specialise in toddler-friendly holiday rentals in France and Italy, launching a portfolio of properties in the UK to capitalise on the trend towards domestic holidays.

When I went to add it to the listings for companies specialising in holiday rentals in the UK, I found:
Tots to TravelOnline agency specialising in villas for families with toddlers in France and Italy, and from Jan 2009 in the UK starting in Anglesey, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Shropshire. 


(Lookin smug, Alastair! Feelin smug, Alastair!)

13 February 2009

Press Releases: Acrobat or Word?

I've noticed a definite increase in the use of Acrobat in the last 6 months or so.  Fair enough. It's a good, stable, and now widely-used, platform for displaying stylish documents.  (Brilliant for newsletters!)

But, personally I'd prefer a Word doc.

It's not a big deal. But the way I tend to work (I guess, like most people) is by copying chunks of it into my editor and then hacking & slashing it to extract the names, phrases, prices, numbers, urls, etc that I want in my copy. 

I just find that easier with Word. With Acrobat it's fractionally faffier - you've got to switch to the selection tool and it doesn't word-wrap into plain text editors.

So, if you are a PR sending me a release as a .pdf attachment, you could make me happy by just copying the text into the email body.

(Or, if you want to make me really happy, you could go to Realwire and send me a SMNR with all the components I want laid out ready for me to assemble. Example




12 February 2009

No blueprints? Shame!


When I saw the Haynes logo on a press release just now, my mind went back to all those days spent with cold cups of tea and a socket wrench on knee-bashing driveways with bits of un-assembled clutches lying about and a copy of the relevant Haynes manual, dog-eared with oily fingers! 

All those beautiful cut-away drawings and part numbers... 

And I know that in recent years Haynes have published some rather exotic 'Owners Workshop Manuals' in exactly the same style for Spitfires & Lancaster bombers

So it is a bit of a disappointment to see that the latest Haynes publication is on Concorde, but it isn't a manual, just a coffee table picture book. Ho Hum.


11 February 2009

A 'Twisitor Centre', huh?

Interesting idea.

The tourist office in Portland, Oregon has created what somebody is calling a "twisitor centre" (or "center").

Basically, they've set up a twitter account, http://twitter.com/travelportland, and they're monitoring for tweets tagged #inpdx

The idea is, you can ask something touristy in a tweet - eg. "what date is the Rose Festival?" - and somebody will  get back to you.

The upside for them is that it is a public channel. The downside is...that it is a public channel! When I looked at it this morning they were trying to fend off the attentions of what seemed to be a local who was determined to ask awkward political questions! 

06 February 2009

L'esprit d'escalier (what I SHOULD have said)

That's twice this week I've been caught completely by surprise when, out of the blue, a visitor to Travel-Lists phones and asks advice about a travel company or destination.

On both occasions it's been somebody phoning from abroad and so on both occasions, within seconds of putting the phone down I've realised the advice I gave off the top of my head was not the best and there are some way better suggestions... but I don't have their number and Caller ID doesn't work!

How frustrating!

The French have a phrase for a similar situation: l'esprit d'escalier - "staircase wit". It dates back to the 18th century when you would attend soirees in elegant Parisian drawing rooms (which were always on the first floor of town houses). L'esprit d'escalier is realising, only as you are leaving the party and walking down the stairs,  the clever remark you should have made in that conversation a few moments ago....if only you had been quick witted enough!

(PS If you are the guy from Sweden who called me just now about travelling to the Canaries. Ring back or email, I've got some much better recommendations than the one I gave you!)

05 February 2009

I want that bath!

Valentine day suite at the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street HotelEllie Marsh from the Radisson Edwardian's PR company called me this morning to push a Valentine special offer at their Bloomsbury Street hotel. 

Normally I wouldn't touch it. 

Valentine day offers make the most  un-original, dull, copy in travel media. Every hotel has a Valentine Day package every year......"So, you're telling me that later today it'll get dark, and then tomorrow it'll be light again? yawn!"

Still, she did put in the effort to phone (horrible job, cold calling!) so I asked her to email it.

Glad I did, because it's not a bad offer, and there were some pics... including this bath. I love it! 

From time to time, you do come across some good baths. (Among the ones I remember with affection are the Tree House at Tongabezi, Zambia and in one of the turret rooms at Banff Springs)

Do you have any favourite hotel baths?