Copywriters on the rack #18: Penny Brazier
Hello and welcome to Copywriters on the Rack. Hope you’ve had your Weetabix.
Who are you and what do you do to pay the bills?
Hi! I’m Penny Brazier (aka @penthemighty) and I write lovely words for people to read.
What was your career path to get to where you are now?
A very wiggly one. I trained as a TV production researcher, then worked as a drama script editor for many years on everyone’s Nan’s favourite programme – Heartbeat.
When the show ended, I set up a fitness business (circuits, PT, post-rock Pilates, heavy metal aerobics, the usual). Eventually I realised I was better at marketing myself and the gym I worked in than shouting at people to do another ten reps. So it was back to words and writing.
A decade of ping-ponging between in-house and freelance copywriting and comms roles ensued. I’m finally happily settled as a freelance copywriter and comms consultant (second attempt).
What’s the best thing about your job?
Getting to write all day. Zero office politics.
What’s the worst?
Guilt about taking any time off.
Ah guilt. One of my all-time favourite emotions. How do you fill the gaps when you’re not doing the various day and night jobs?
Music in all forms. Listening to it, playing it, writing it, writing about it, talking about it, shopping for it, watching it live (hopefully again soon).
I also have children. They’re normally telling me to shut up/turn it down.
Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s go rogue.
What was your nickname at school?
With a name like mine you can really go wild. I got Penny Lane, Penny Crayon, Can I Spend A Penny, Miss Moneypenny, Oh Penny (crap toy with unfortunately catchy jingle from the early 90s). Nothing too offensive, fortunately.
Write me a poem about TOENAILS
Peruse them or use them
To pluck the violin
Rip them or snip them
Just put them in the bin.
What’s the stupidest thing you did as a teenager?
I think I was quite sensible all things considered. My mum’s pet name for me was “Saffy” (Julia Sawalha’s character in Ab Fab) which says everything really.
I did get banned from performing at school after we put on a charity concert and played some songs with enthusiastic swearing in. With hindsight, a total overreaction on the school’s part, especially given the amount we raised for Children In Need.
Definitely made some mistakes involving boys, but that’s how you learn who to run away from in your twenties…
Who would win in a fight, a grumpy unicorn or a rainbow with a hangover?
It’s got to be the unicorn. The rainbow was a no-show. Went back to bed with a McDonald’s.
Write me three straplines for:
1) The Lepidoptera’s Defence League
Power to the Pupae!
2) Apple’s new in-nostril snozzphone
iThink therefore iNose
3) Sage and Onion ice cream
The stuffing of legend
What would you like to come back as, if there’s a next time?
Can I just be me, but 15% more cheerful and with the knowledge that chilli vodka roulette is always a supremely bad idea?
Draw me a picture of a marmoset with attitude (yes I know you’re a writer, but do it anyway).
Copywriting is like snorting mayonnaise, discuss.
It’s basically the same thing — you hold your breath and just do it.
Invariably ruining a perfectly nice family meal.
What is love?
A psychedelic cocktail of pain, pleasure, madness and melancholy.
Or maybe it’s just letting someone else have the last biscuit.
Let’s stick with the first version (especially the pain and melancholy). Pick a random pic from your camera roll and tell us about it.
Here, have a picture of a small slinky toy eating from a bowl of raisins. This is my five year old son’s most treasured possession, he’s called “Longy Long” and sometimes he goes on adventures when my son is at school. Longy likes eating raisins and apples, plays the piano very well, and sometimes helps me with writing long-y form content.
Write me a very short story featuring: Alan Titchmarsh, leg waxing and a swarm of killer bees.
I was in the garden when it happened, Charlie. I was lying in the hollyhocks at the time. I’d forgotten to wax my legs before the awards ceremony, you see. I thought a quick strip and rip while the crew were at the catering truck, nobody would be any the wiser. Honey strips, Charlie. They’re natural, you know. You’ll appreciate that.
Then I looked up, and the sky turned black. A moving cloak of death descended on me and my now-partially hairless limbs. They crawled in my eyes, Charlie. In my ears. On my clip mic and script. And that’s when I ran. Ran like I’ve never run before.
The crew said it was like watching a screaming demon emerge from the hellmouth and rampage across the grand prize garden.
I’m sorry I ruined Chelsea for us this year, Charlie.
We’ll try again for 2022.
No hollyhocks though. It’s for the best.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
Paul Ritter in Friday Night Dinner. We only discovered the show after he died earlier this year. He was so incredibly talented. A huge loss.
What’s the last thing that made you cry?
I fell over quite badly while I was running this week and gashed my knees. This morning my cat saw fit to sit on my lap and insert her claws right into the wound. Much worse than the original incident. Definitely getting a dog now. This is war.
Write me dictionary definition entries for ‘Wilcock’s Lexicofantabulous Compendium of Oddities and Soddities’:
(noun) A wasting disease of the eyelids caused by sharing mascara wands and binoculars.
(adj.) delightfully ramshackle “See that quaint little cottage? It’s so wonderfully glorspuckety!”
(noun) A medieval spoon shaped like a bee’s proboscis.
What would you do with your last tenner?
Buy a tin of really nice chocolate biscuits. You know, like the ones you get in M&S at Christmas. Shortbready with chocolate an inch thick. No, you can’t have one.
Seriously Penny, I don’t think you’re in any position to refuse me the whole pack if I wanted it. Now, make up your own question and tell me whatever you want to get off your chest.
Penny, will you tell us what you think about the Beatles?
God the Beatles are overrated, aren’t they? And yet, when other artists cover their songs, they often elevate them and make them into something quite magical. This leads me to wonder whether my strong feelings about the concept of the Beatles as a band, their image, legend, and fanbase, are hindering my objective appreciation of their back catalogue.
Give me three reasons why I should let you go.
1) The bees are coming Jonathan
2) The bees
3) RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
And before I remove the shackles, tell us where we can find you online.
For procrastinatory nonsense and music chat:
For deep thoughts next to pictures of unrelated items:
And LinkedIn here:
Cheers Penny. When the bees show up I’ll add them to my box of tricks.