Miranda Leslau PR

PR in Black and White

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Miranda Leslau PR - PR in Black and White

unionjack

As all eyes focus on today’s Scottish referendum, I started thinking about my own views of Scotland and how a separation from ‘Team GB’ will impact on not only people but business too.  Also, I consider a slightly nostalgic view of generations past and the implications for a shamed David Cameron and ‘Team England’, should Scotland ‘go it alone’.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland.  I love the place.  It has a magical quality.  Perhaps I was so drunk I was hallucinating most of the time.  This is possible if not probable.  Scotland’s people are proud, hard-working and wild.  England could learn a lot, apart from the wild part.  Pubs help with this.  Scotland is famed for five of my favourite things: salmon, fishing, great beef, whisky and ‘beefcake’. 

I have spent many crazy nights supping on quite a few drams of the ‘liquor of truth’ when I worked as a whisky PR, many moons ago.  Along with my then agency colleagues, we almost missed flights, got escorted through airports for being in the wrong terminal (travel PR’s no less), danced the night away post-shinty matches, experienced 24/7 light and witnessed a well-known Scottish Earl smash open a Castle wall with his head.  Just because…

I have sat in an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking Loch Lomond in the freezing November rain, happy as a larry, imagining that the Monster will pop out and say ‘ROAR’ to me.  Just taking in the partial view (due to the sheets of rain pouring down my glasses) and feeling at home.  So for me, Scotland will always be My Beloved Scotland and their people must choose for themselves.

But that is part of the problem.  No one really has a clue what the short, medium and longer term implications of such a change will include.  Winston Churchill and Maggie Thatcher will probably turn in their grave should the vote be an un-challengable YES.  I can understand why.

Britain used to be great.  Today, there is less passion, clearly unity, care, commitment and a terrible sense of apathy and blame culture.  Resting on our laurels and harking back to the Empire has passed its sell by date, sadly.  We came together for The Olympics but such highs go back to normality fairly quickly.  I do wonder what would happen if there was a world war and we had to go into battle, as did our grandparents and great-grandparents.  Scotland wanting to move away highlights these points and should make David Cameron sit up and think.

If Scotland votes YES, this probably says more about the state of England today than Scotland itself.  The beloved Union Jack (as I know it) won’t look the same without that flash of blue that we have all grown up with.  Not only will re-branding every piece of tourist paraphernalia need to be changed but also every team GB sports kit and logo etc.  These changes will cost English business as much as it will cost Scottish or Welsh.  The latter isn’t part of this discussion but who knows, may take its lead from Scotland.  And then our flag would just be white.  A modern day artist might re-name it ‘England – Gouache on Canvas – Team Bland’.

What will happen with the whisky industry?  Will different taxes and laws apply under English sale of goods as well as at airports?  Will people start sneaking off on booze cruises to Scotland or hop over with their cars to stock up on whisky like we used to do back in the day with short breaks to Calais in France?  I think Beaujolais season is round about now as it happens.

The bottom line is that no one actually knows how this will pan out.  For any of the parties involved.  Legal teams, officials and governmental big wigs will sit round tables and pontificate over the minutiae of six zillion page documents.  But paper is not people.  It doesn’t help Och Eye or Joe Public come to term with change and generations of history before them.  And for the voters today, probably 50 per cent are digging their heels in and 50 per cent haven’t got a clue what to do.  Such is the state of any type of ‘British’ politics today.  From a PR and human perspective, this will all take time.  England’s leaders seriously need to take a look at how this fares for Wales as well as the future of England overall.

In reality, change can be a good thing. I can’t answer this.  It can wake people up and take them where they need to be.  I love Scotland and want its people to make the right choice for the Land.  For England, I fear for its future, truly and sadly.  I only hope and pray that if Scotland goes it alone, England wakes up and makes a positive change for its people and communities throughout its borders.  I don’t want future generations to have to see a blank white canvas, formerly known as Great Britain.       

Abracadabra – The Magic of Life…

magic

Certain songs come to me, usually when I need them.  Ditto dreams.  They often can fill in the detail that I am missing, albeit names, locations, people.  And no, I am not about to be sectioned.  They help me tell a story – when I was younger I didn’t always listen to the words or pictures as I didn’t want to hear them.  But I always had a great imagination, which was noted by my junior school teachers and the prizes I was duly awarded for creative writing. 

Today, aged 44 and a half, I am much more open to my inner voice.  These same images and songs have told me many things: from partner infidelity to family death and future relationships.  And whilst you yourself might not believe this to be true and raise your eyes to the sky shaking your head, I can only share my own experience.   We can and do create our own magic.  It has to start in our head.

The song on replay this week in my head is ‘Magic’ by America from way back in 1982.  I didn’t even know I knew the song (if you see what I mean).  The lyrics tell us that ‘you can have anything that you desire’…and I believe this, within reason and without negative fallout.  But living amidst the backdrop of a fairly cynical and linear ‘grown-up’ world, at what point in our lives and why do we all too often let go of the magic, or allow it to become sinister or secretive?

I love talking to little kids.  They not only tell you ‘how it is’ but they have a wonderful gift for dreaming, creating stories and fantasy worlds that somehow tend to become grey (more of ‘Grey’ later on) and distant as we age.  Children paint pictures of princesses and superheroes and live in the indulgent and decadent world of their imagination.   We, the adults, encourage them yet let the day-to-day too often spoil our own ability to reach out to our inner craving for fantasy.  And this, by default, has a knock-on effect.

A great imagination is the gift that helped JK Rowling create the ‘Harry Potter’ series, the unilaterally adored works that brought imagination back to adulthood.  Adults were able to indulge their inner child perhaps because all the other adults were doing the same and it was ‘acceptable’.  And although I disagree with a recent article claiming that Harry Potter told the story of a mental asylum (although who knows) I am proud to say I still believe in ‘magic’ and ‘dreaming big’.  My imagination is still ripe and if I (and others) can’t dream or believe in something more, we have nothing to aspire to. 

A lot of adults are embarrassed to dream and would rather deny themselves mental freedom but why?  Perhaps fantasy is seen as something bad, particularly within certain cultures and where the word has certain negative connotations.  Certainly within relationships, unless partners both have the same level of openness, fantasy can be seen as something taboo or off-limits.  And thus the mind starts to wander elsewhere thus creating secrecy, distance and possibly more.  Fantasy (in the general sense of the word) in daily living should be encouraged.  It allows inventors to invent, artists to paint, musicians to write genius scores and us mere mortals to weep at the end result.  The tears may well be our magic soul crying out for more.  But at least the soul is feeling something…

Many will say that guys are driven by what is in their trousers.  When we talk about fantasy, I truly believe that whilst men of course love looking at a beautiful woman (or man of, course), if a lady (or fellow man) can’t titillate a man’s mind and keep his inner Action Man or Gloria Gaynor satisfied, he may not stick around emotionally.  It isn’t rocket science.  Men love to fantasise about all sorts of things – I am not generalising, I actually can concur only based on my own first-hand experience, for better and worse.  The sex industry thrives on fantasy but it is often seen as ‘naughty’ and private or secret and this can be dangerous.  If men and women allowed more fantasy into real time, I am sure that it could help save some relationships. 

And this brings me to the ladies…’50 Shades’, in my humble view, was truly awful.  So hats off to the author for creating such a worldwide success.  What it does prove though is that women also want fantasy in their worlds and men or fellow women are not bothering enough.  Women still want a man to be a man (in the context of Mr Grey).  I can’t tell you the number of women I know who errr, shall we say, were ‘stimulated’ by this book.  For me personally, I would have been more turned on looking at a courgette in the market although I 100% want and need a man to be a man.  I get the theme, just not the book.  Nine and a half weeks was 100 times better and by the looks of the casting choices, Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke were eight squillion times better looking!!!

The bottom line here is that we all need magic in our lives, both as children and adults, however it is manifested: both for different reasons and purposes.  For children, magic helps create curiosity, develop play and interaction skills and a progression of self.  For adults, it helps balance what can often be challenging and tiring daily routines as well as belief in self and success in business or relationships.  And, as with anything in life, there is the domino effect…magic creates magic, which creates positive energy: we know this from the film ‘Stardust’, a wonderful piece of work derived from the spectacular imagination of Jonathan Ross’s wife.  And I am sure ‘a great imagination’ rolls over into other areas of Jane Goldman’s life (nudge, nudge, Rossy) – not a bad thing when your husband is Jonathan Ross.

Dreams and magic help us go to our grave not saying ‘I wish…’.  And I can’t see Richard Branson saying that any time soon.  Dream big, my friends.  Let America’s ‘You can do magic…you can have anything that you desire’ be your mantra.  I am sure America, the country, would also concur.  Now where is that courgette (wink)…