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How to kill a pig – Jonathan Wilcock Freelance Senior Copywriter

Tales of the Uninvited #1: How to kill a pig

I’m not saying you should be a vegetarian. That’s your choice.

Eat what you want. It’s your body, your taste buds and your conscience.

It’s just that sometimes when there’s a story to tell, you’ve simply got to tell it.

You are what you eat

I’d been an omnivore for 26 years. An omnivore of the most adventurous kind I might add. Water buffalo, iguana, snails, frogs legs, brains, trotters, … If it could walk, fly, swim, slither or break wind I’d eat it.

I was raised on ‘proper’ food like tripe, tongue and chitterlings.

At 18, the hippy bit of me loved the idea of going veggie, but not as much as I loved a bacon buttie.

Then things changed.

Welcome to Jamaica

We got married. In Jamaica. Jamaican style.

My fiancée’s parents had gone back to Kingston after having been in the UK since the ’60’s and it was her first time back in JA since she was 7 years old.

I’d been to the Caribbean on holiday, but this was a whole new level.

Time to crank up the sound system, make some stupidly strong rum punch and invite the neighbourhood.

We were there for a whole crazy month.

Most of the time we ate fresh fruit and veg brought over by cousins from St Anne. Mango, plantain, yam, gungo peas, avocado… we picked guineps, ugly fruit, ackees and mangerines from the back yard. Fish was salted or tinned. The occasional bit of meat came from the supermarket up the road. All was irie in the shadow of Jack’s Hill.

Then one day a goat turned up. It was cute. Pretty little thing.

Little did we know that the proceedings leading up to the big day would involve the mass slaughter of half the island’s livestock including Gary (he looked more like a Malcolm, but Gary stuck).

Thankfully I was saved from watching Gary bite the dust, but I was there for seven chickens and the pig.

How to kill a pig the old fashioned way

First catch your pig.

If a pig doesn’t want to be killed, it’s going to tell you about it. The scream as it ran around in muddy circles was distressing. Like a domestic smoke alarm and nails down a blackboard all at the same time.

Two lads, distant cousins, armed with carving knives, ran around the pen, knee-deep in pig poop while I watched with a mixture of horror and hypnotic fascination.

After ten intense minutes of chasing, the little porker was roughly wrestled to the ground. Legs bound with rope, its throat slit and the knife inserted to pierce the heart.

All this in the 90+ degrees of relentless Jamaican sun.

The next sequence of events felt like I’d just walked into a deleted scene from Apocalypse Now.

A huge oil drum of water was boiled over an open fire, the pig dunked (to soften the hair) and shaved with the same knife that had ended his shorty piggy life.

Then the corpse was hung up – back feet uppermost – from a tree.

Split from neck to gentleman’s department, his steaming guts spilled out onto a bed of banana leaves.

While the country boys set to, severing the head and hacking the torso into bits, my dear old mother-in-law (rest in peace), tucked up her skirt and got in amongst it.

Up to her ankles in guts, she squeezed yesterday’s breakfast out of the poor little things innards and sorted out which bits were for the pot and which were for the dogs.

Quite an education.

I never got round to giving the pig a name, but it only seems proper now to call him Providence. You see, this little piggy didn’t go to market, but he did have a huge influence on the rest of my life from that moment on.

The wedding feast

Macabre mammal massacre aside, we had a wonderful time and a magical wedding day. The sun shone. Both Mums and Dads were there, a few mates from the UK made it and we met a load of the Jamaican posse that my wife hadn’t seen since she was a little girl.

We danced and drank and partied into the night.

The buffet table groaned under the weight of wedding cake, rice and peas, and fried chicken (that I’d plucked with my own fair hands as their bodies twitched and spewed blood from the holes where there heads used to be – but I’m killing the romance of the moment).

There were Providence chops, Providence ribs and bowls of Providence tail stew.

And pride of place, a massive dish of Gary head soup (with the head still bobbing about in it).

That was my very last meaty meal.

I can’t remember if it tasted better than Tesco-caught. I was too busy asking forgiveness from the Great God, Mighty Quorn.

That was almost thirty years ago.

Bacon sarnies still smell tempting today, but that fateful afternoon in sunny Brownstown, Jamaica, has left its own unique taste in the mouth. Bring on the falafels.

And the moral of the story?

If you want to avoid becoming a vegetarian, don’t give your meat Christian names.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Virtchew Kale Jonathan Wilcock Freelance Copywriter

Nescience Foods launches ‘Virtchew’ Freeganitarian snack range

100% Freeganitarian (Free-range-organic-vegetarian) wholefood snack range, VIRTCHEW, is set to take the virtuous foods market by storm.

The new range of sweet and savoury snacks promises a zero carbon footprint, healthier alternative to ‘virtchewally’ everything else on the supermarket shelves.

Nescience Foods’ CMO, Johann Kaltcowic said, “The enormous growth in planet-conscious eating over the last decade has caught much of the food industry napping. Consumers refuse to put just anything inside themselves anymore. Virtchew is the first totally Freeganitarian range in the UK. No additives, no GM, not one single ingredient that causes harm to the consumer or the planet.”

Since 2013, there has been a 14000% increase in vegetarianism in the UK, with an estimated 18.5m people now classing themselves as vegetarian and a further 4.7m choosing a ‘flexitarian’ diet.

Virtchew is set to launch in all the major supermarket chains later this year and has already been valued at £15m. Its first clear-conscience products will be savoury protein power bars in three innovative flavours – KillahKale, RadikalRadish and ChillaxChilli.

Virtchew Chilli Jonathan Wilcock Freelance Copywriter

Commenting on Virtchew’s Freeganitarian credentials, Kaltcowic said, “We toyed with making the range vegan, but focus-grouping revealed that our consumers are much more likely to accept Freeganitarianism as a lifestyle choice compared to Vegorganism. It also sounds nicer.”

For further information ahead of launch, please contact Product Imagineer, Nichola Jacknowt on 07703 563241.

Ends –

Note to journalists – there is no such thing as Freeganitarian, Nescience Foods or the Virtchew range.
Note to copywriters – always double-check your research sources.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter. You can drop me line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Freelancer Doldrums – Jonathan Wilcock, Freelance Copywriter

How I slapped myself out of the freelancer doldrums

As a little kid, I remember seeing a cartoon that left a deep impression on me. A character had been banished to a fantasy land called ‘The Doldrums’ and given the task of digging a tunnel through a mountain – with a pin.

If you’re a freelancer, you probably know what this feels like.

The phone hasn’t rung for days, the only emails you get are spam-flavoured and it seems like the world’s forgotten you.

Was that my last brief ever?

Will my next job be directing old ladies to aisle 23?

Well, this happened to me a couple of months ago.

After several juicy projects, the well dried up.

Any earmarked briefs had gone AWOL. Half promises were broken, clients went on holiday, Brexit had hit.

That was it, the end of a lovely career as a freelancer.

Or it could have been.

Luckily I had two secret weapons – Everything and Nothing.

I employed the two with equal gusto.

Everything

– Wrote three blog posts and pushed them out into the big wide world.

– Hit LinkedIn mercilessly like Tyson Fury v A Ripe Strawberry.

– Twittered so much it put the dawn chorus to shame.

– Gave myself ear burn chatting to old compadres on the mobile.

– Answered a stupid amount of freelancer job ads and posts.

– Met Art Directors and designers I’d been meaning to catch up with for ages.

– Set myself an imaginary brief.

– Did my year’s accounts.

– Went admin crazy – clean desktop, a squillion old emails deleted, files all ship-shaped…

Nothing

– Went for long walks by the sea.

– Had breakfast out and coffee with the missus.

– Read a couple of cracking books.

– Went to the flicks.

– Lay on the beach daydreaming.

– Raided charity shops and had an 80s/90s DVD blowout.

– Spent time with friends…

Not sure I was conscious of it at the time, but with hindsight I can see how this approach worked for me.

I banged on a load of doors – it’s a numbers game, so theoretically, the more doors, the more chances of someone being in. At the same time, I didn’t let it get me down. I trusted that something would eventually click and gave myself the space to actually enjoy the process.

And the result?

Of course there are no guarantees, but some of those doors opened.

I picked up four new clients, turned project work into a retainer and best of all, those doors have led to other doors seemingly opening themselves. I’ve had two projects come via recommendations from people I’ve never met, never mind worked with.

As Coleman Cox said, “I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”

So, if you’re struggling to find freelance work, treat yourself to a healthy dollop of Everything and Nothing.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter. You can drop me line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Don't Expose Yourself – Jonathan Wilcock Freelance Copywriter

Is it good to expose yourself online?

I just saw a snippet of a TV programme where they were talking about people posting pictures of their boarding cards on Instagram.

The expert spoke about the hidden data that scammers can glean from these images and how in some cases, it leads to burglary.

What starts off as “Hey guys, look at me, I’m off on my hols” turns into having your house turned over while you’re sipping Daiquiris in Marbella.

This got me thinking.

We’re all at it. Through our social accounts and blogs, were exposing ourselves for the world to see. Dirty laundry and all. And if we think there are no possible negative outcomes, we’re fooling ourselves.

You need to get noticed

I’ve worked much of my career in advertising, so I’ve had it drummed into me that to get noticed, you need to get noticed.

Bold opinions and big ideas get talked about and help build brand presence.

I can’t argue with that.

The thing is, having a public profile only used to apply to products and brands, not individuals. The exception perhaps being politicians on the election trail or celebrities needing to be seen at the right events with the right people.

Joe public, like you and I, was just an observer.

In the late ’60s, Andy Warhol said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”.

At the time, there was obviously no such thing as the Internet. So even if someone did make the headlines of the local paper for nicking traffic cones (not a real story), that 15 minutes would quickly fade into the mists of time.

Now everyone’s at it, wittingly or unwittingly, promoting ‘Brand Me’ and clamouring for their 15 minutes of global celebrity.

Hello world

“Look at me. I’m eating tofu, I’m walking the dog, my baby just hiccuped, I’ve got a silly hat…”

All pretty innocent stuff, but there are potentially more dangerous undertones to be found if we dig deeper.

“Hey look at me. I’m pro foxhunting, I’m an atheist, I’m a Conservative, I’m depressed, I’m angry…”

We very quickly build up a picture of the online notoriety-seeker. His or her digital portrait may be totally out of kilter with their true persona, but unless we know them in the real world, this online version is all we have to go on.

There are people on LinkedIn and Twitter that feel I know intimately. If we passed each other in the street however, we’d have no idea that we were connected in data land.

One person on LinkedIn, let’s call him ‘Mad Bob’, constantly rants about politics and swears angrily about anything that’s the slightest bit PC.

He’s probably as nice as pie, takes his Mum to tea every Sunday and says his prayers. I don’t know; but the way he dumps his views online draws a very vivid picture, and not a pretty one.

Subconsciously, I’ve already decided I don’t like him.

Should you really expose your private bits in public?

There are certain things I feel maybe we should only share privately with our loved ones, or ought to be left swimming around in our own noddles.

Unless you’re an activist driven by an unrelenting passion to change the world, or at least have nothing to lose by publishing your innermost feelings and opinions, sometimes silence is the best option.

I’m on Twitter most days. Why? I learn stuff, I connect with other creatives and I gain exposure for my business.

To twit or not to twit?

Everyone knows that Twitter isn’t a great place to ram commercial messages down people’s throats, but it’s a perfect platform for selling your wares in much subtler ways.

On Twitter I don’t pedal anything other than my sense of humour and hopefully, in a roundabout way, my copywriting skills.

I keep it light; with silly jokes, gentle banter, links to stuff I like and signposts to my blog; that sort of thing.

I steer clear of politics, religion and negativity. I’ve gone into more detail about online negative criticism on my guest post on the Lucidity blog, but tweeting about politics and religion can also open up a can of very angry worms.

Going back to basics, sometimes we need to remember why we’re using social media.

Q. Why am I on Twitter?
A. To get exposure for myself as a Freelance Copywriter.
Q. Any other reasons?
A. To connect, amuse myself, learn stuff… but ultimately it’s a self promotion tool.

For me, social media isn’t a chance to furiously beat my chest, scare little children, troll the innocent, expose the guilty, promote bigotry or proselytise.

I want to make friends and influence people, not get my head kicked in behind the bins at the back of the sixth form block.

The point is, if you’re using social media, you are exposing yourself.

From an advertising point of view, this is really good, but if you’re also exposing your political, religious or sexual persuasions, it can be really, really bad.

At best, you might attract people who live in the shadow of the dark side. At worst, you could be hung out to dry with a potential audience of around 3 billion.

What about Mad Bob?

I’ve been seriously tempted to dis-connect, or whatever the term is, from Mad Bob on LinkedIn.

The only thing holding me back is that he might be notified by an uncaring algorythm, track me down and drink my blood.

So for now at least, I just ignore his posts and read stuff by people I’ve decided I like.

Sorry Bob.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

30 Stupid Faces PagePic – Jonathan Wilcock

How do you doodle-do?

I got my rugged good looks from my Dad and my doodling skills from my Mum.

Being this handsome is a curse, but doodling… ah doodling.

There’s something about a bit of noodle-doodling that soothes my soul. And a stroll through my doodle-doings is just as rewarding.

I love flicking through old note books and looking at the contents of my subconscious mind scribbled in the margins. 9 times out of 10 it’s a face. They’re usually bizarre or grotesque (according to some psychologosts this means I am mistrustful and needy), but for some reason, the human face seems to be a recurring theme.

30 Stupid Faces
Last month, I set myself a little Twitter challenge: to draw and post a 30-second ‘stupid face’ every day for 30 days. The rules were simple, 30 seconds, just let the hand do the work with no thinking or planning, and no editing. Doodling with a direction, if you will.

Some came out pretty well in my humble-ish opinion.

I don’t think I’ll win many awards or commissions, but here’s November’s rogues gallery for your amusement.

30 Stupid Faces – Jonathan Wilcock

Doodling is fun, but there’s more to it than I’d imagined.

On the Epilepsy Action blog, handwriting analyst, Ruth Rostron says:
‘Doodling helps relieve boredom and frustration and the urge to doodle gets stronger as stress levels rise. Doodling is like a safety valve that allows pressure to be dispelled in a playful and creative way.’

On the Harvard Health Publishing blog, Dr. Srini Pillay says:
‘Doodling keeps you from falling asleep, or simply staring blankly when your brain has already turned off. The permission to “free-draw” keeps your brain online just a little while longer.’

And going even further, in her 2011 Ted talk, doodling evangelist, Sunni Brown says:
‘People who doodle when they’re exposed to verbal information retain more of that information than their non-doodling counterparts… it has a profound effect on creative problem-solving and deep information processing.’

So, if you want to boost your creativity and brain power, switch off your devices, pick up a pen and get a-doodling.

But, quickly before you hit the off button, here’s one last tour around my doodle-addled bonce with 6 more stupid faces (as ever, I over-delivered on the brief).

30StupidFaces Extra 2 – Jonathan Wilcock

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

We're drifting apart – blog post by Jonathan Wilcock, freelance copywriter

We’re Drifting Apart (handling life in the creative department Part 2)

Are you a Copywriter or Art Director working in a two-person creative team?

You know the quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…?”

If you’ve been beavering away as a team for more than the honeymoon period, you’ll know why it goes on to say:

“…it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

Makes you wonder if Charles Dickens was an adman.

Being in a creative team can be like waltzing on rose-scented marshmallow clouds. Ideas, banter and giggles. Riding the crest of a big fat sexy creative wave, winning awards, rising through the ranks; you and your mucker against the world.

Then again, it can be a bloody war of attrition.

We're drifting apart 2 – blog post by Jonathan Wilcock, freelance copywriter

How to survive in a creative team

I’ve worked with a dozen creative partners over the years.

Before I go any further, may I take this opportunity to thank you all for some magical moments and also to apologise for any episodes, tantrums or AWOLs that I may have subjected you to along the way.

Without you, I wouldn’t be half the creative Herbert that stands before you now, so here’s to you, Ladies and Gents.

A recipe for success

When the planets align, the synergy of Art Director and Copywriter working together in harmony is a joy to behold.

We're drifting apart 3 – blog post by Jonathan Wilcock, freelance copywriter

Now, this beautiful relationship can go one of two ways:

1) The creative work flows and the boss loves you. Your production rate goes up, you’re given the best briefs and the portfolio just keeps getting better.

2) You’re the star team and everyone wants to hang out with you. You’re having a right laugh. It’s all 8-hour lunches and sleeping under the desk. What deadline? One more for the road? Ay-I-reallyreally-luv-you-yermybezfreninth’world-fanzee-a-kebab?

It’s great to be mates. But, if the work isn’t being done, the cracks will eventually show. When you get to the end of the year and you realise that you’ve done nothing portfolio-worthy, and half of your salary went on fine wine and pork scratchings, you know trouble will be poking its snotty nose around the next corner.

A recipe for disaster

Creative teams can be thrown together in all manner of ways. You meet at college, through a headhunter, online at singlecreatives.com or you get hired and the CD shoves you in a cell with a stranger that you’re going to have to learn to get along with.

We're drifting apart 4 – blog post by Jonathan Wilcock, freelance copywriter

Here are the signs that it may not work out the way you’d both hoped.

1) One of you is in 2 hours before the other every day, trying to make up for lost time.

2) You won’t share ideas until they’re almost fully formed.

3) You enjoy the days that your partner is off more than the days they are in.

4) You never do anything socially together, not even popping out for a coffee.

5) They close their laptop and look guilty every time you walk into the office.

6) You have their picture on a dartboard at home.

How can you rekindle the magic?

If you work with someone 5 days a week, you spend more time with them than your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse…

Like diving buddies or Arctic explorers, you rely on each other for your survival.

And like an old married couple that stare into space at the dinner table, sometimes you need to spice things up.

1) Get out of the office to walk and talk to each other.

2) Get out of the office to chat ideas over a cuppa or a pint.

3) If you’re not getting the best briefs, nick them or make up your own and come up with something for the book that gets you excited.

4) Be honest with each other. If they’re driving you mad, get it out in the open (don’t forget to tell them why you love them too).

5) Do something together that takes you out of your comfy jumper zone: white water rafting, karaoke, pottery classes, whatever makes you feel slightly uneasy, but in a nice way.

What do you do if the magic’s completely fizzled out?

If you’ve stopped learning from each other, if it’s getting progressively more difficult to tease decent work out, or if you want to smashtheirflippinfaceineverytimetheyopentheirstupidmouth; it’s time for action.

We're drifting apart 5 – blog post by Jonathan Wilcock, freelance copywriter

Stick two creative egos in a room together 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for two years and the oddest things can happen.

I worked with a creative partner who went completely off the rails. One minute they were their usual lovable selves, the next they were tearing up my layouts because they were convinced they could see the devil in them.

I tried to cope with it for a few weeks, but in the end I had to talk to the Creative Director.

Cut a long story short, we were split up and teamed with different Art Directors and Copywriters from the same department. My new partner was a genius and we had a fantastic time until mass redundancies hit (see my previous post ‘Problem Schmoblem‘).

Last thing I heard, my previous creative partner found his niche in fine art and the guy he ended up with went on to do great work at some of the best agencies in town.

If you’re in an unhappy, destructive or non-productive creative team; move on as soon as you possibly can. Life and your career are far too short to plod along miserably with a Copywriter or Art Director who’s the wrong fit.

And if you do find the Yin to your Yang, play nicely together. You’re career may depend on it.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Problem?Schmoblem! – Freelance Copywriter, Jonathan Wilcock

Problem? Schmoblem! (handling life in the creative department Part 1)

At the risk of getting a bit deep and philowotsical on you, I’ve come to realise that problems are our friends.

Without problems, we would grind to a halt.

Not that I’d wish great big problems on anyone, but the right problem has a habit of manifesting itself at exactly the right time for the right person.

Let’s take redundancy as a good example of a fairly juicy problem.

Being a member of the creative department in an advertising or design agency is a fairly precarious place to be. The curse of the big account win, followed by the big account loss, leaves us all vulnerable. In a money-saving exercise, even the senior creatives and creative hotshots are at risk.

If you’ve been in advertising or design for 15 years and not been made redundant yet, you’re either some sort of bullet-dodging superhero, so badly paid that it makes no sense in getting rid of you or you’ve always been self-employed.

Redundancy saga 1
Two years into my advertising career, I was called in to the Creative Director’s office and given the bad news. Something about recession, budget cuts, wiffle-waffle and the sound of mashed potato hitting a sponge in an echo chamber with the reverb button set at 11. The Head of Art bought me a bottle of Champagne and told me it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me (while I stared into space).

I spent the next 3 months in a daze, wondering what the hell I would do next. No one was hiring and more and more creatives were being shown the door. The competition was intense.

Then out of the blue, a senior Art Director who’d also been made redundant from the same agency (bless your cotton socks Keith) got me in for a chat with the boss at a big PR Agency in Bloomsbury. They’d been invited to pitch for a project, jointly funded by Harrods and the Spanish Government, to promote a month of Spanish fashion and culture at the world-famous Knightsbridge store.

This was my first foray into freelancing and culminated in three weeks in Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada and Toledo), Art Directing press ads and a TV commercial. I was working with a great photographer and commercials director, was on a fab day rate, being paid to see the world, staying in stupidly expensive hotels and hanging out with beautiful models. Crumbs.

Problem?Schmoblem!2 – Freelance Copywriter, Jonathan Wilcock

Besides the fact that I’d managed to worry myself to the verge of a nervous breakdown after being made redundant, things were pretty good.

Redundancy saga 2
Fast-forward a couple of years, I was working in Soho’s Greek Street with the very lovely John Jessup. An old college friend had introduced us and it was a smashing little agency. I’d enjoyed freelancing, but it was good to be back splashing about in the full-time pool.

Then great news, the agency was going to merge with another bigger, better agency, headed up by some serious creative big-hitters. Exciting times, but they were going to be overstaffed, so it was back into the CD’s office for the “sorry, but…” pep talk.

Now this time I took the news very differently. No blind panic or “nobody loves me” dramas. With a nice little pay-off in my pocket, I picked myself up and waltzed out of the door with every confidence that things would work themselves out.

I disappeared to Kashmir for 6 weeks and forgot all about ad land, came back raring to go and pretty much walked straight into my dream job.

Redundancy Saga 3
A proper, big agency with proper, big accounts. A creative department of 32, two Creative Directors, smack-bang between Soho and Seven Dials… what could possibly go wrong?

Problem?Schmoblem!3 – Freelance Copywriter, Jonathan Wilcock

Ha! About 3 and a half years in, having survived one mini round of redundancies, a new CEO came in and decided to have a spring clean.

I was out on my ear again and fell back into freelancing. This was to be probably the most creatively consistent and stable patch of my career. 11 years, great work, wonderful people and no one could make me redundant. In your face – the man!

Then one thing led to another and I got back on the PAYE rollercoaster – Creative Director then Agency Partner then full time employee – and jumped back off in 2017.

The point is, on the surface and especially when you’re in the thick of it, redundancy is easily mistaken to be a bad thing. With the wrong mind-set, it brings pain, worry, confusion, fear, anger…

Seen from a different vantage point, every redundancy has added depth to my life experience and strength to my character. It’s opened new doors and shown me new possibilities.

It’s only life (or, it’s all good, especially the bad bits)
Nothing goes too smoothly for long. Life is meant to have ups and downs. We just need to work out how to deal with them.

So if you’re facing redundancy or any other life-changing ‘problem’, know that no matter how bad it may seem; it’s exactly what you need to help you move on to the next chapter.

It may be easier said than done and I’m sure that many will disagree, but for me, the best thing to do with a problem is welcome it in, tickle its tummy and make it your friend.

Oi, what’s your problem?
If you’re facing problems of a creative nature, give Uncle Jonathan a shout and he’ll help you you through it with a new blog post (maybe, no guarantees).

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Traffic Island Discs Part2 – Freelance Copywriter Jonathan Wilcock

Grab a hi-vis vest; it’s Traffic Island Discs #2

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a distress signal.

Lost and lonely on a cold, damp traffic island somewhere in Gateshead, I asked some Twitter chums to join me and bring three good tunes, a book and a luxury item with them.

Looks like we’re in for quite an odd party – eclectic playlist to say the least. Grab a hi-vis vest and join us for another spin of Traffic Island Discs.

The chillout tunes
Nica Libres at Dusk – Ben Howard
Time – Hans Zimmer
Inca Roads – Frank Zappa
Song #3 – Stone Sour (NB. André Spiteri chills out like no one else)
More Than This – Roxy Music
The Man With a Child in His Eyes – Kate Bush
Strawberry Letter 23 – Shuggie Otis
Small Hours – John Martyn
Cigarettes and Coffee – Otis Redding
Sorry About Your Irony  – El Ten Eleven
At The Bottom of Everything – Bright Eyes
Going to California – Led Zeppelin
Watch Over You – Alter Bridge

The shake-you-up-and-wake-you-up tunes
Blockrockin’ Beats – Chemical Bros
One-Armed Bandit – Jaga Jazzist
Expansions – Lonnie Liston Smith
A Message to You Rudy – The Specials
Higher State of Consciousness – Josh Wink
Throes of Perdition – Trivium
Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie
Who Knows Where the Time Goes – Fairport Convention
Right Here Right Now – Fatboy Slim
Is It Wicked Not To Care? – Belle & Sebastian
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
Powertrip – Monster Magnet

The nostalgia tunes
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘N Roses
Just Looking – Stereophonics
Beeswing – Richard Thompson
Simple Feeling – Heartless Bastards
Hotel California – The Eagles
Starlings – Elbow
So What? – Miles Davis
Movin on Up – Primal Scream
Scarborough Fair – Simon & Garfunkel
A Dream of You and Me – Future Island
The Yabba – Battles
Square Hammer – Ghost
I Just Can’t Help Believing – Elvis Presley

The books
Bleak House – Charles Dickens
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Murther and Walking Spirits – Robertson Davis
No Matter What – Debi Gilori
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling
Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
A Month In The Country – JL Carr
Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man – Nina Lyon
Naive, Super – Erlend Loe
500 Bus Stops – John Shuttleworth
Winter of the World  – Ken Follett
The Third Policeman – Flann O’Brien
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

The luxury items
A flask of tea, a laptop, a towel, coffee, a bottle of Glenrothes 12yr old single malt, a reflective jacket, a typewriter (with paper), a tea caddy, a crate of cider, a big blanket, good health and a driver.

With the driver (a cheat, but thanks anyway Ben McKinney), looks like we’ll all make it off the island alive, but we’ll be very hungry and some of us will have stupid hangovers.

Thanks for your contributions: Ed Prichard, Morton Waters, André Spiteri, Kevin Mills, Ben McKinney, Claire Hawes, 100 Designs, Craig Wright, Ben Connell, David Pennington, Green Fuse Copy, Hollie Sherrington and Annie Writes.

Any other suggestions? Gizza shout.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

Traffic Island Discs – Jonathan Wilcock

Traffic Island Discs

You’re hitchhiking to Edinburgh and you’re dropped off somewhere in Gateshead. After a protracted visit to a working men’s club and several yards of subsidised ale, you find yourself wandering and befuddled, but remarkably chipper for someone who’s forgotten what day it is.

Ahead, look, an oasis, a green and pleasant land to rest your weary head for the night. Snuggled up, safe and warm, the only things missing are three righteous tunes, a good book and one luxury item to make your sojourn in this slightly scary urban jungle a little more comfortable.

Welcome my friends to Traffic Island Discs (based on a true story).

As a follow up to ‘The Non-Movie Buff’s Top 10 Movie List‘ and ‘The Official People’s Top ‘You Gotta Watch’ Movie List‘, here’s my homage to one of Radio Four’s oldest and best-loved shows (thanks for the blog post idea @_MortonWaters).

Here are the rules:

Choose three tunes: one to soothe and gently lull you to sleep, one to perk you up/get you busting a few moves in the morning and one that pushes all your nostalgia buttons as you slurp your first cuppa of the day.

Choose one book: something to raise your spirits/help you make it through the night/let you know everything’s gonna be all right.

Choose one luxury item: it won’t get you off your island, but it’ll make the experience more bearable.

So, shooting from the hip, here goes my choice for Traffic Island Discs.

Tune 1 (the chill-out one)
Albatross by Fleetwood Mac
All of a sudden this little island of mine is starting to feel a lot more tropical.

Tune 2 (the bouncy one)
Phat Planet by Leftfield
Cobweb removal services c/o Neil Barnes and Paul Daley.

Tune 3 (the “aaah, that takes me back’ one)
Marcus Garvey (and Garvey’s Ghost – the dub version) by Burning Spear
Winston Rodney’s voice, the bass line, everything really.

The book
‘Sathya Sai Baba, The Embodiment of Love’ by Peggy Mason and Ron Laing
Opened my eyes, made me cry, re-set my compass.

The luxury item
Arm & Hammer sensitive toothpaste. I’ll just use this stick as a toothbrush.

Tuned-up, inspired and with minty-fresh breath, I head off into the great unknown.

Care to join me? What would your Traffic Island Disc essentials be?

Tweet me @Jonathan50Wh4t1 or pop your comments here.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk

The People's Movie List – Jonathan Wilcock

The Official People’s Top ‘You Gotta Watch’ Movie List

I wrote a blog post entitled ‘The Non-Movie Buff’s Top 10 Movie List‘.

Then I asked the Twitterati what movies they’d want to see in their own list.

Crumbs, that got tongues wagging.

As a highly intelligent (some might say hugely intellectual) creative person, I am in no way endorsing this list. There’s been no editing or quality control whatsoever. Don’t blame me, the people have spoken. Oh whatever, here it is:

The 39 Steps (1936)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The Godfather (1972)
Rocky (1976)
Grease (1978)
The Warriors (1979)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Alien (1979)
Escape from New York (1981)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Back to the Future (1985)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Commando (1985)
The Goonies (1985)
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Highlander (1986)
Running Man (1987)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Withnail and I (1987)
Predator (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Die Hard (1988)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Total Recall (1990)
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
It (1990)
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Goodfellas (1990)
Wayne’s World (1992)
Unforgiven (1992)
Speed (1994)
Forest Gump (1994)
Braveheart (1995)
Se7en (1995)
Before Sunrise (1995)
The Rock (1996)
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Con Air (1997)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
A Room For Romeo Brass (1999)
Magnolia (1999)
Fight Club (1999)
Memento (2000)
Heist (2001)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The Prestige (2006)
Gran Torino (2008)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Inception (2010)
Tyrannosaur (2011)
Prometheus (2012)
Goosebumps (2015)

Stats time: 4 Arnies, 4 Ridleys, 3 Clints, 2 Meadows’, 2 Cages and only 1 de Niro.
18 from the ’90s, 17 from the ’80s, 1 each from the ’30s and ’60s and nothing from the ’40s or ’50s.

Of the 60 films in the list, I’ve seen (or at least remember seeing) 45 of them. Of those, I reckon I’d watch 25 again, any day of the week.

Thanks to everyone who cast their vote. If you didn’t and your favourite film isn’t here, tough – this is now The Official People’s Top ‘You Gotta Watch’ Movie List. End of.

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me line here, or email jonathan@sowhatif.co.uk