Archive for the 'Contact Tim' Category

Talk Normal rebrands for the day

Reader Paul Reichel wrote to me on Thursday:


I applaud your intentions, however,

TALK NORMAL is the worst of the ungrammatical

If you titled you site – SPEAK NORMALLY – you would be nearer.

I would like to see this email displayed on your website, but have little hope.

Please don’t  use ‘Street Talk’ to replace Technobabble – the result will be just as bad

Yours, grammatically, a pedant


While he’s obviously correct about the grammar thing, I would refer Paul to the third principle of Talknormalism – or Speaknormallyism, though I’m not sure it trips off the tongue – namely that I don’t believe we need to follow a strict set of rules to speak clear(ly). I’d also point out that the name is meant to be a joke.

But this is a social medium, so I decided to let Paul take over Talk Normal for the day! I’ve changed the header, as you can see, to reflect this rebranding.

Historians: this is what it looked like

Problem: I don’t know what Paul Reichel looks like. So I added a picture of popular Hawai’ian recording artist (and the award-winning kumu hula of Halau Ke’alaokamaileKeali’i Reichel instead. He might be a relative, I reasoned. If not, he’s smokin’ hot – and so will definitely punch up my eyeballs in the Polynesian demographic.

Talk Normal is talking normal again tomorrow. Meanwhile, if anyone else wants a Talk Normal takeover day, make me an offer I can’t refuse.

Three principles of Talknormalism

Evidently I am still getting the hang of the whole motivation thing

Delighted as I am to be mentioned in the Observer yesterday, I worry that some readers might get the idea that I am a grumpy negative old man who thinks everything was better before the internet was invented.

This is incorrect in more than three ways. I’m actually middle-aged and remarkably cheerful, all things considered. Taking into account the decline in the TN Joy Index, I’m looking comparatively more chipper by the hour. I’m such a positive person that I spent 5 minutes inspiring others by creating my own motivational poster (top) using the free app at Big Huge Labs. I encourage you to go there and make your own version to share with us. If I get a few in I’ll put them in a post and I’ll send the best submission a Talk Normal mug and a signed book (or unsigned, if you’d prefer). What an incentive.

I also don’t think we should be stuck in the past. “But what does he think?”, you ask. At risk of telling you all the good bits about the book for free, I’d like to point out the three principles of Talknormalism:

1. Try to be understood by everyone who’s listening. This takes imagination. For example: Professor David Crystal, who is a wonderful writer about the history of the language, points out that there are 400 million native speakers of English – and 1.4 billion more who speak it as a second language.

It makes sense to consider people who don’t speak English first, especially if you’re in business: their domestic economies are usually more successful than ours.

2. Stop trying to sound clever for no reason. Anyone can make complicated things complicated. It takes thought to make those things easier to understand.

3. It’s about attitude, not rules. I would guess that there’s a lot of bad punctuation, in Talk Normal. Were I to be put to the test, I would not be able to remember grammar rules with which to make your writing more elegant, um, with. Therefore, if you want a set of rules to follow, try this book instead. I’m also not against new words and phrases; I make some up on this blog.

Talknormalism doesn’t look back to a fictitious golden age and ask that we preserve it; but we can do a better job with the language we have today. That’s why we need to see your motivational posters, fellow Talknormalists.

You read the blog, soon buy the book

The first Ronald McDonald. Note that Mr McDonald is now the company's chief happiness officer, which makes me want to shove his head down a toilet even more.

To quote John Oliver from The Bugle podcast: “We are back! Is it better than ever? No. It was happening, then it stopped for a little bit, now it’s happening again.”

As Talk Normal starts the Autumn term, I have announcements.

News part one: monetization of assets

There’s going to be a Talk Normal book. That’s right! In a while you’ll be able to read the best of Talk Normal by paying money for it, rather than getting it for free!

But there will be lots of new material too. Before I write it, I have a question:

News part two: crowdsourcing

What would you want to see in the book of Talk Normal?

Imagine it’s the sort of stuff you get only on prescription. Suggest something in the comments, or email me if you are shy. There’s a limited edition Talk Normal mug for any that I use in the book.

News part three: don’t worry, I’m in control

People who should know better put me in charge of the Market Research Society‘s Social Media Conference on 23 September. Are they mad? I had to tell them that I might not make the planning meeting because I’ll be on the way back from Bestival. They would never have had this problem had they booked Brian Conley.

The keynote’s being given by Andrew Keen, who wrote Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is killing our culture. On the face of it, it’s like putting on a Vegetarian Society conference and asking Ronald McDonald to keynote. I’m hoping it kicks off a bit, then at least I won’t have to do the: “No questions? Ha ha well it must have been an excellent presentation ha ha” covering thing after he finishes his speech.

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Friday afternoon: Free mugs and pictures of naked people

ClothingOptionalSanFranNote: there are no naked people in this blog. I’m messing with you. But, if I get a flood of traffic, it’s full frontal all the way from now on. There’s 70 million blogs out there: it’s a war for eyeballs, as the experts tell me.

Meanwhile I note from the stats that the page on Talk Normal that everyone looks at is the one that promises free mugs, so at the end of the week I need to explain how the process works in a bit more detail. If you’re thinking: can I have one of Tim’s mugs? the answer is…

Of course you can.

But you can’t have one yet. Not until you have earned it! Here is the scenario: one day in the future I’m going to wake up and realise that I can’t think of a thing to write. Maybe I’ll post a bogus lament for the passing of the golden era of journalism or start criticising erroneous use of the hyphen, stuff that I know little about and care about even less. When that happens you have my permission to take me out to a patch of wasteland and beat me with spiked club.

To avoid this type of physical harm I’m going to need your help. If you tip me off for a story or give me ideas or request things you want to see, I will occasionally pop a mug in the post in return. It’s community thing.

Or maybe you might decide to write something on your blog about Talk Normal like There’s a new blog in town and it’s one I think we should all be reading and make the time I put into this experiment worthwhile.

Or you’re going to help me prepare podcasts and videos for the site.

But you might have plenty of mugs already and don’t like helping other people. You were probably attracted by the word naked and are still clinging to the faint hope of finding something here that’s Not Safe For Work; if so, these mugs might be more your speed.

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