REVIEW: Richard Littledale’s ‘Who Needs Words?’

It’s only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away – Words, Boyzone  

So sang our generation’s greatest wordsmith – Ronan Keating – about one of Mankind’s most important communication tools.

In Who Needs Words, Richard Littledale builds upon Ronan’s considerable scholastic foundation, to further grapple with the nature of language, meaning and communication – in a manner that is both amiable and empowering (although, sadly, not as tuneful).

Who Needs Words is very much in the same vein as Littledale’s blog Preacher’s A-Z which deals daily with the issues of communication in an age where technology is both facilitating and hampering human connection and conversation. That this is written from the viewpoint of a preacher is almost incidental; Littledale has a great knack of presenting in his thoughts in an accessible fashion that – whilst unapologetically Christian – is not overtly dogmatic.

Who Needs Words is a very easy read – something which is laudable considering the difficult concepts is addresses. Littledale has an incredible gift of being able to take the complex world of linguistics, and explain it in a manner that is unpatronising and conversational (think Noam Chomsky crossed with Bill Bryson). Suffice to say, that as a recent English Lit. graduate, I came away from the first few pages of Who Needs Words with much a greater understanding of semiotics than a whole four years of higher education!

Admirably, Littledale is not just interested in giving his reader an education, but also giving them inspiration to apply. Who Needs Words is intensely practical – and more, importantly – intensely encouraging. With section titles such as “Embrace your vulnerability” and “Enjoy your humanity”,  the book faces the fears and concerns of public speakers and conversationalists head-on, but in a manner that is far from an anodyne self-help book.

Who Needs Words would be a worthy addition to the shelf of anyone who is in the business of communication (i.e. everybody) and for people wish to be a little more self-reflexive and intentional about the things that they say. This book could also serve as a primer for people who are interested in the way messages can be disseminated in the new media age. If it is the Gospel message – then so much the better :)

BUY IT NOW.

N.B. This review is based on an advance manuscript of Who Needs Words which contained some omitted chapters. As such, it may not reflect the totality of the book’s contents or concerns.

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Video: What I do at @idioplatform

Ever since the #givejonnyroseajob campaign ended with me getting a marketing role at idio, quite a few people have been asking how I have been getting on there and what I actually do.

By means of an answer, below is a video of my working day which I created for John Walkers’ #walkerstudioschallenge – an attempt to show businesses the power of video for marketing purposes:

Who said work couldn’t be fun, hey? ;)

N.B. Any similarities to BBC’s hit series The Office are purely coincidental. That’s what my lawyers have told me to say, and I’m sticking to it.

Posted in Humour, Marketing & Branding, Work | 4 Comments

I Blog On A Sunday – @Yinkster

I Blog On A Sunday is a space for guest-posters to muse about blogging, Sundays or Christianity. If you would like to contribute, holla at jonny_rose_23@hotmail.com or@98rosjon on Twitter.

Today’s submission is from Yinka K – a great pal whom I first met at the Christian New Media Conference in 2010. Back then, he was a humble man but having starred in Dave Roberts’ Glimpses he is now Deptford’s most famous celebrity IT support worker and can be found often signing autographs in Nandos.

A Great Track Record

I was in shower singing to myself (as I do), when something struck me. Well it didn’t strike me so much as seep into my eyes… soap. On this occasion I was singing to my God, and had been praising Him for who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. My pastor had recently taught us the benefits of praising God with a sincere heart. So imagine my slight annoyance at the stinging eye (and probably soon to become ‘eyes’) that was putting me in discomfort and trying to ruin my cleansing experience.

I didn’t panic however for a simple logical fact (based on my beliefs). This wasn’t the first time that I’d gotten soap in my eyes. And even though every time the image flashed across my mind of me being clinically blinded by this encounter, I somehow turned out alright at the end, with the help of a lot of water. Now I believe that my God had no small hand in this. And so when it happened again today, I continued calmly trying to douse the eye with water, whilst singing simultaneously. The operation was successful, otherwise this post would have taken a different turn(!) :-p.

You see, that occurrence taught me once again what a valuable thing experience is. And how essential it is to belief in the Christian God.

Christians believe some outrageous things – that their God once parted a sea in half, and held the waves there long enough for thousands, maybe millions of people to walk across the dry land at the bottom of it. They believe that one of His prophets once spent three days inside a whale (as a sort of punishment), and when he had seen the error of his ways, he was let out again, alive. We believe, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth, so as to be able to give all of mankind a clearer understanding of who He (God) is, and so that we can have a friendship with Him forever.

Now thankfully I’ve got a few friends, and I often observe my interactions with them. Having made a few mistakes in past (and current) friendships, I have learnt that the greatest favour I can do them and myself, is to regard them as one whole being with whom I’ve had several experiences; rather than to judge them based on individual experiences. So when one of my friends makes me feel special, I am happy, and feel truly grateful to have them in my life. And when they upset me with something they say or do, I try to remember that like me, they are also an imperfect being with faults, and that given the whole picture, they would probably have chosen not to hurt me. With time, I no longer have to ‘try’ to remember that my friends love and care for me – I just know it, and so forgiving becomes even easier. And I know that they do the same for me, because I often know when I’ve hurt them, and yet they continue to reply my texts and tweets without so much as a -__-.

I think it’s a similar thing with Christians in a relationship with their God. Apart from God having faults, because we of course believe that He is a perfect being, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. When we begin a relationship with Him, we are (hopefully) informed of Jesus’ words that life isn’t going to be a walk in a well-tended garden – it isn’t for anybody. However He assures us that with Him, we have the best chance of having a great life, and making the most of it. And we often hold Him to His word throughout our friendship with Him. And in my experience, He’s never once failed me.

You see it’s a tricky thing, understanding the relationship between a perfect God and an imperfect man, but like all other relationships, respect, love, trust, and understanding are important for it to work. And because of my understanding of God from what the Bible says, I respect His being, I trust His decisions and actions, and I choose to love Him as best as I can every day I spend with Him. Which looks like forever apparently.

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To find out more about Yinkster, you can read all about him and his Apple-hating ways at Yinkster’s World. He is also a proof-reader and contributor at A Day In God’s Will

Posted in I Blog On A Sunday (Guest Bloggers) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest post and video: @LordKenley speaks about #Croydon community and a ‘Damascene moment’

Maybe Damascus ain’t that far away…

Some months ago I had a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment in a Wetherspoons pub in Purley. Not many people can say that.

Up until that moment, I’d always been suspicious of Croydon and its people

It was the first of the tweet ups organised by @98rosjon and up until that moment I’d always been suspicious of Croydon and its people. I’d lived in the area on and off for around eight years and during that time had a number of negative experiences. What struck me most was a lack of community cohesion and spirit. In that pub I first realised that maybe Croydon wasn’t so bad after all.

I went to another tweet up and another and another. At each event the number of attendees grew and I met a fascinating array of people from the most diverse backgrounds. The only thing we had in common was use of twitter and a positive attitude.

The most recent tweet up was the #purleydinnerclub on Monday, 8 August, the evening of the Croydon / London riots. We were all there to eat, drink and be merry but it wasn’t long before iPads and mobile phones were circulating as people kept track of the riots going on just a couple of miles away. The atmosphere was subdued; one individual unsure at first if he even had a home to go back to.

What happened that night and in the following days was fascinating…

Twitter just lit up in the most amazing way; messages of concern for those stuck in the riot zone, good-will wishes to the local community and latterly donations of clothes requested for the new homeless and many, many offers of help to clear up afterwards.

Maybe I had it wrong and this community cohesion spirit always existed. Regardless, it exists now and it’s a pleasure to be involved with it.

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Lord Kenley is describes himself as a “famed writer, broadcaster, social commentator and raconteur Lord Kenley offers his views on life, love and current affairs.” Just don’t take him too seriously.

There are rumours in the society pages of a ‘Lord Kenley blog’ in the near-future, however this is subject to the approval of Lady K and finding the time between his numerous official appointments/court appearances.

Posted in Local community | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Guest post: Punish them, but give copycat rioters something to copy

Neil Ridulfa is a local Coulsdon lad who works in PR for the Museum of Brands. He loves singing and makes occasional media appearances in obscure publications and international radio shows that I’ve never heard of.

This post was originally posted on Neil’s facebook page but he has given me full permission to republish it here (the unmarked bills are in the post, Neil! :P )

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Evil was visible in Croydon on Monday night.  Smoke and flames rising at Reeves Corner made it so.  Shattered glass on pavements made it so.  Blackberry messages saying, “Loot! Shoot!” made it so.

In our heads, we know good people outnumber those willing to spread destruction and chaos. So why would kids copy the rotten few?  Is it because ‘We the Decent’ are invisible?

 - INSIDE OUR BUBBLES

We commute.  We work.  We go home.  We smile at the neighbour.  We don’t speak to him though.  We curse at school kids through gritted teeth.  We don’t help schools out though.  We’re ‘down with the kids’ because we have iTunes.  We won’t talk to kids about music though. Best we all keep our headphones in, eh?

Each time one of us retreats into our bubble, a child loses a role model.  We are all a different illustration of what a good person looks like.  I am a good person.  My brother is a good person.  We are completely different but we are both good people.  The ways in which we show we are good are different, but we both do good. There are kids out there who could end up being like me, or being like him.  Whoever they end up being like, one hopes they end up being good.

However, this will only happen if my brother and I bust out of our bubbles and show publicly the individual ways we have found of being good.

 - DON’T KEEP KINDNESS TO YOURSELF

‘The good outnumber the bad.’  You wouldn’t know it looking at the news.  You would know it if you were out there meeting your community.  I do it at Purley Breakfast Club and Sing Purley, eating and singing – doing what I love most.  Everyone I meet there shows me yet another way of being a good human being.  We keep each other sane and happy because we don’t keep our kindness to ourselves.  We’re out in public, celebrating community spirit.

#purleybreakfastclub meets on last Saturday of every month at Cafe Nino

The more we are out of our bubbles showing the public – the youth – the infinite ways you can be a good person, the better for us all.  Make good deeds as visible as the bad ones.

 - MAKING ‘GOOD’ VISIBLE

Not all British homes are safe havens for kids.

If kids are not lucky enough to have a role model at home, they’ll need one on the bus: offer your seat to someone who needs it.

If a kid does not have a role model at home, they’ll need one in the shops: always say please and thank you to the cashier.

If a kid does not have a role model at home, they’ll need one on the road: drive safely, don’t swear at other drivers and respect pedestrians.

Kids will learn. What they learn depends on what they see.

My message to everyone is, Make Good Visible.


Posted in Local community | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

#purleydinnerclub vs #croydonriots – a tale of two #Croydon communities

I will remember August 8th for a very long time. Mainly for the riots that plagued the streets of London (and – even closer to home – central Croydon) but also because it was the night of the first #PurleyDinnerClub.

#PurleyDinnerClub is the older, more louche brother of #PurleyBreakfastClub. My vision for both groups is for them to be a focal point for tweeters and non-tweeters in Croydon who want to make friends, connect with their neighbours and develop a more community-focussed mindset.

Tonight’s inaugural event was a reminder that although some aspects of Croydon’s community was in turmoil, there are also groups of people who want to change our fine town for the better and make a discernible improvement to the borough. If it’s just through casual meet-ups with our fellow man, so be it!

Now – more than ever – community-minded groups of closely-knit people who talk, take an interest in each other and tangibly (rather than virtually) connect are needed. I hope #purleydinnerclub is able to make a small contribution to this ideal :)

Posted in Local community, Purley 2.0 - A Project | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

#Purley Festival 2011 – A community triumph for #Croydon!

In the last week of June, Purley was host to over thirty events as local residents and business-owners came together to put on a “mini-Edinburgh Festival”.

The entire festival was the brainchild of local party-planner Fiona Lipscombe, who also runs the monthly Dale Road Music Cluband she was ably assisted by Ian Harris of the Jolly Farmers Pub, Purley.

Over a period of four months, Ian and Fiona steered the committee through council red-tape, local apathy and funding issues to deliver an absolutely amazing community experience. I was especially proud to see what Purley could do as a town in light of the cultural cuts made by Croydon council earlier this year.

Purley Baptist lead the opening service (photo: Randall Murrow)

Art Exhibition in Purley (photo: Randall Murrow)

Fiona being interview (photo: Randy Murrow)

On the last day there were over a thousand attendees on Rotary Field, and the entire festival was favourably covered by local newspapers and radio.

The event was a great success and I hope this has spurred everyone on to get involved again next year!

Crowds enjoy the bandstand on Finale Day (photo: Randy Murrow)

Purley Breakfast Club kicks off the Purley Festival in style! :)

Purley's Got Talent at Jolly Farmer Pub (photo: Randy Murrow)

Wendy Ann Ager ran a social media workshop (photo: Randall Murrow)

Jazz night at The Rectory Bar, Purley (photo: Randall Murrow)

Posted in Local community | 3 Comments