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Copywriters on the rack #33: Graeme Piper

Hello and welcome to Copywriters on the Rack. Oh those spiked gloves? They’re for… err… deep tissue massage, now if you would just lie down, we can begin.

Who are you and what do you do to pay the bills?

I’m Graeme Piper from DropCapCopy and I identify as a freelance copywriter and copyeditor. My lifestyle/hobbies/habits are currently funded by a bunch of lovely direct SME clients and creative agencies who know the value an actual, human copywriter can bring to the table.

What was your career path to get to where you are now?

I was barred from going to Sixth Form at school by my parents (because I’d ‘waste’ it like I’d done with my previous 5 years at school, apparently). So I found myself on a YTS scheme (remember them, old people?) for design and print which meant I got a job with a local litho printer while going to college one day a week.

I stuck at the printing game for a good number of years after that. I then segued in the the world of (ahem) ‘desktop publishing’ on one of those newfangled Apple Mac things. After picking up considerable skills in QuarkXpress and Photoshop, I found myself working in a small, boutique design & print agency (AKA: a one-man band who wanted to expand into a two-man band).

That all led to my last role as a ‘Mac Artworker’, then Assistant Manager in the marketing department of a large company in Exeter. That’s where I started writing copy for brochures, web pages, blogs and the like. I quite liked that bit, so decided to be a freelancer on the side and attempted to coerce people (nicely) into using me to write for their businesses. I finally broke the shackles of employment in 2016 to go freelance properly. Eight years later, and here I am.

Broken shackles? There’ll be none of that here, young fellah mi lad.
What’s the best thing about your job?

Doing good work that makes it easy for clients come back to me. And doing good work that attracts new clients to me. And nothing beats the feeling of producing good copy that’s written for humans first – and that copy being approved by the client. And actual payment. Plus, late breakfasts and extended lunch breaks.

Whats the worst?

The sheer shithousery of losing work to AI so a client can save a few quid. Yes, it’s happened.

How do you fill the gaps when youre not doing the day job?

Point me in the direction of the nearest bookshop. I used to say ‘record shop’, but that s***’s just way too costly these days.

Now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s go rogue:

Youre locked in a cell with 2-foot thick stone walls and no windows. Outside the solid steel door, two fully tooled-up guards keep watch in shifts, 24 hours a day. Armed with only a rubber Richard Nixon mask, four pack of Special Brew and a cotton bud, whats your escape plan?

Firstly, I’d relish the peace and quiet for a bit, making no attempt to escape. But once that was over… I’d swig a can of the ‘Brew for dutch courage before putting on the mask and doing my best Nixon impression to confuse the guards.

Once they’re sufficiently freaked out, they’d unlock and enter my cell. As they were preparing to beat me to a pulp (claiming I’d ‘fallen down the stairs’), they’d get distracted by the remaining Special Brew (this prison officer lark doesn’t offer many perks) that I’ve already laced with sharpened pieces of the cotton bud’s central shaft (hopefully a plastic one and not the better-for-the-planet papery ones).

As they choked and gagged, I’d make a run for it with the lifelike Nixon mask, still donned, before peeling it off and escaping through a network of tunnels, then appearing through a sewer grate and into an unmarked van above it, Mission: Impossible style.

Write me a poem about carpet tiles.

How I love a carpet tile,
Its soft shag always bringing a smile.
Cheaper than carpet, but always upmarket,
And easy to replace once in a while.

Who would win in a fight, Drake (the rapper/singer) shrunk to the size of a duck or a duck blown up to the size of Drake?

The supersized duck would seem a clear winner: massive beak, huge, flappy feet and all that. But its bulk would struggle to eliminate the mighty shrunken, mini, actual Drake who will probably outmanoeuvre him for the win, shouting “My real name’s Aubrey, y’know!”.

Write me three straplines for:

1) Bring Your Grannie to work Day
Bring the day room to the boardroom

2) Wendy’s Cockroach Burgers
Fuel yourself with the nuclear option

3) The Pifco Auto Baby-to-Grown-up Language Translator
Translate eternal gibberish in seconds

Draw me a picture of a zebra trying on a wedding dress (yes I know you’re a writer, but do it anyway).

This is horrific, isn’t it? But it’s as good as it gets I’m afraid.

Write a 107-word brand narrative for The People’s Movement to Remove the ‘b’ From the End of ‘lamb’.

We are the fire starter brand known as The People’s Movement to Remove the ‘b’ from the end of ‘lamb’ (TPMTRTBFTEOL).

As with most brands, it all began with a simple idea: why should one letter control the look, feel, and pronunciation of a word?

Led by cunning linguist and champion of word simplicity, Lexi Cographer, we aim to liberate ‘lamb’ from the grasp of useless consonants. And our message is getting through to people, as we urge them to ditch this irrelevant character.

So why not join us? With each new supporter, the TPMTRTBFTEOL can bring much-needed change to redefine language, one word at a time.

Copywriting is like night sweats, discuss.

Being a freelance copywriter means, by default, you sign up to frequent bouts of heavy sweating caused by underlying conditions such as no clear brief, looming deadlines, scope creep, and late payments. At least with night sweats, you can sleep.

Snog, marry, boil in salad cream: Hermione / Harry / Ron

Boil them all. Zero s***s given.

Now we’ve got some of that lovely anger out of your system, what is love?

Does anybody love anybody anyway? (woah-oh, woah-oh, woah-oh, ooooohhh…)

Hmmm… what would you do with your last tenner?

Buy chocolate and crisps.

Pick a random pic from your camera roll and tell us about it.

Mac users will be well used to this sight. I mean, I’ve been using Macs since 1996 and I’ve seen a lot of bad decisions come and go, but this is still the most mental thing they’ve ever done. I took this and vented about it on Twitter. I mean, is the person who designed this still employed? What about the person who signed it off?

Write me a very short story featuring: The cast of Towie, the cast of Made in Chelsea and a camel with hiccups.

After a night of booze-filled glitz and glamour at another of London’s awards ceremonies, the Chelsea and TOWIE stars made their way to the the frenzied, coke-fuelled after party. But before the debauchery could really begin, they saw a camel with hiccups who was desperately trying to relieve his gaseous condition.

Realising they weren’t actually hallucinating, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins suggested closing his nostrils and holding his breath. Made In Chelsea kingpin Spencer suggested a nice cup of tea. “One hump or two?” laughed Jamie Lang. “One” replied the camel. “Can’t you see I’m a f***ing Dromedary?”.

Amid the laughter and hilarity, the camel was cured of his hiccups and both casts went on a  massive bender until 6am the following morning. The camel was never seen again.

Make my skin crawl.

We love your copy, but we’ve made a few… changes.

Make my heart melt.

Can I make the full payment up front in the next 5 minutes?

Write me dictionary definition entries for Wilcocks Lexicofantabulous Compendium of Oddities and Soddities:

1) Eggfnorn
An ancient English term for the coming of spring.

2) Melch
The excess drippings of low-quality metals that have been melted down to make paperclips.

3) Pollock’s Shivers
An intense attack of the fear common among creatives. Named after US 20th-Century US painter, Jackson Pollock, the ailment is caused by the sudden realisation that a deadline is actually tomorrow, rather than a week next Tuesday as originally thought.

If you were alone on a desert island for a month, what 6 items would you take with you? (they have to fit in a Morrison’s bag for life and yes, you can keep the bag).

– Kindle (Pre-loaded with books)
– iPhone (with Apple Music subs)
– A 36-pack of crisps (is there such a thing? There ought to be)
– One of those massive Cadbury’s chocolate bars
– Nail clippers (I have standards)
– A massive knife

Make up your own question and tell me whatever you want to get off your chest.

Why does everyone feel the need to park outside my house? I mean, there are all sorts of places you could park along this road. Places that are actually nearer to the person you’re visiting. In fact, there’d be even more if people weren’t constantly parking on the pavement when they’ve got a perfectly good driveway they could be using. FML…

Give me three reasons why I should let you go.

1) I’ve answered your inane questions.
2) This really has taken too long.
3) I know where you live.

True, but now I know where you are ticklish. Egor! Bring me the ostrich feathers!

Anyway, before I remove the shackles, tell us where we can find you online.

Say hello on Twitter (never ‘X’)
Like my stuff on Instagram
Connect with me on LinkedIn
See what I do at

Thank you Mr. Piper. I hope you had a thoroughly miserable time.

Time for another? Check this out – Copywriters on the rack #20: Felicity Wild