The Creative Edinburgh awards

I’m excited about a new awards scheme that has just been launched.  I’m Chair of Creative Edinburgh and I think it’s a great way in which to profile great creativity emanating from Edinburgh which has just been elevated from medium to large city status with its popultation creeping over the 500,000 mark for the first time.

This city needs to shout more about itself and what’s great about it so join me in taking an active part in putting the great into Greater Edinburgh.

It’s free to nominate a company or an initiative that you admire that’s come out of Edinburgh and the categories are very broad.

Creative Edinburgh will celebrate creative work that contributes to the city’s economy.  It’s not an art award.

Design, digital marketing, advertising, product design, visual arts, film, music, writing, theatre, architecture; they all qualify.

Check it out here.

Extraordinarily brave advertising from the most unexpected of sources

After years of skydiving and rollerblading Bodyform are forced to admit what “the Curse” is really like.

It’s a response to a facebook post that soon went viral.

Here’s what it said…

“Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen … lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger”

I suspect this response will go more viral.

Cheetahs are appealing

As some of you may know my Sister Emily has given up years of her life, literally, to hand rear wild Cheetah cubs in RSA.The charity for which she does this sterling work is called Cheetah Outreach and has, post 2012 rearing season suffered a cataclysm.  I will let Emily’s partner, James, take over here by sharing the email he sent me earlier this week and I ask that you my dear reader and friend do what you can to help either financially or in kind.  At the very least please share this message with your own social networks in the hope that it reaches caring eyes and hearts.


Dear Markiemark


About a year ago, Emily regaled us with tales of the Kalahari and many kindly supported our fundraiser for Cheetah Outreach (CO), the charity that Emily has done the cub-rearing for these many years, as seen on TV !! It did well, raising nigh on SAR 50,000 for CO and £650 for Wildlife Heritage Foundation for which we thank you. Although this letter is rather long I plead with you to read it through as it asks a question of you at the end, well, three.


This year, Emily and I were together on the cub-project and ten cubs came to Eikendal, in four litters of differing ages. It was, as ever, exhausting and sublime and we’ll send pictures in an email soon, so as not to get spammed on this one! When we left the cubs, but a few weeks ago, Yell, Coll and Broch were back in Pretoria at de Wildt, Zingula and Ailsa were up at the main facility like big girls, and the wee five were still at the cubhouse amongst the vineyards. Emily has since been in constant contact aiding their nurture, so has not really stopped – she lives and breathes with cheetahs in mind! And talking of cheetahs, I need your help. 


There has been a grave disaster. Four nights ago, at dark late o’clock, after electrical storms and much deluge, a dam broke on the vineyard hill above the cub complex and the earth moved. Ton upon ton upon ton of mud slid through the Anatolian shepherd dog enclosures, taking all with it. A goat drowned,  but miraculously the dogs survived; several were found along the motorway some miles away, so very luckily unhurt. The wee wooden cottages abutting the main ops centre of kitchen and cubroom were smacked by a wall of mud, trapping folks inside whilst the waters lapped through to the very cubroom door; towels, fleeces, sand-bags and volunteers saved the day. The cubs were emergency evac-ed to the main facility some twenty minutes drive away in the darkness and everyone retreated from the assault.


The whole cub complex is now under a metre of mud and all ops switched to the CO main building at Paardevlei. Cubs and volunteers are squashed into whatever rooms they have, like London in the Blitz though fewer bombs, making do with the little they saved, higgledy-piggledy but, as ever, primarily succouring the cubs. The pictures that Emily has sent through all these years of cubs running in the garden, cubs sleeping in the cub room, cubs playing on the porch are now but artefacts, antediluvian memories of space that is no longer there.


All are pluckily braving it well, staff, volunteers and cubs –  but cataclysms have aftershocks. From the surviving comes the immediate coping and then the rebuild. I have little ability from here to aid, save to contact past supporters and plead for help to meet the inevitable strain on already overstretched finances and manpower. Charities are closely related, as cheetahs, and so when an ailment strikes such as the credit crunch or other biscuits, it weakens the whole and makes epidemic the danger of crisis. There is so much less to go around. A sudden event can make that fatal difference. This is a call to arms. And alms.


As Dawn Glover at CO puts it, “Although insurance will cover part of the disaster, they do not cover the very expensive clean up or the very expensive private kennels we currently have the dogs in while insurance agents, assessors and structural engineers get to grips with the disaster and decide how much damage has been done”.


If you are in South Africa, I do so hope that you get a chance to visit CO and the cheetahs. The main op at the facility will still be open 10-5pm 7 days a week on the R44. Only you will know what is going on behind closed doors! Meeting a cheetah will convert and inspire you and then I won’t need to ask you for any help you can give, be it your skills, your time or your address book! You will be proffering it. If you are not in South Africa, then I ask you to help as you can. Do you know folk there who might spread the word? Do you have a spare wine estate with a modern cub-rearing facility on it in the area that you’re not using? Can you spare a dime?


Donations are being gathered through on the same page we used last year  ( ) and even better for CO through direct international transfer to them. Donations can be thought of as how much they cost, or how much help they give 


Cheetah Outreach direct donation : 


Bank Details :

First National Bank

Adderly Street, Cape Town

Branch Code:  201409

Account Number: 62030813241

Account Name:  CCF – Cheetah Outreach Trust


First National Bank, 82-84 Adderley Street , Cape Town 8000.

Swift number: FIRNZAJJ

Bank Tel:  + 27 (0)21 487 6000


On line donations :


And PLEASE PLEASE Forward this email to folk who might care, or care to help


As ever,



Glastonbury Browser wars

So, this morning turned into an interesting web browser experiment.  I finally got my Glastonbury tickets but only after refreshing Chrome, Safari and Firefox website browsers which all failed to connect to the See Tickets site fr 40 minutes or s.  Always at least 10 of each on the go at any one time.

Anyway, all of a sudden I was through, on Firefox, then again, on Firefox, and again, on Firefox and again and again and again and again and agian and again and again.  All on Firefox.

Guess what my favourite web browser is?

Well done Mozilla!