A beginner’s guide to airport arrivals welcome signage

By | Conjecture | One Comment

I recently took a trip to YVR to pick my brother from the airport. On the way to the airport I found the time to construct a couple of excellent signs to welcome in my brother and his wife to the country.

At the airport, as I was holding up the sign, I quickly realised the average dwell time on my sign was considerably higher than other signs in the vicinity. There was little doubt in my mind that I’d scored something of a coup in the welcome hall that day.

Buoyed by my success, I thought I’d write this brief article to help fellow picker-uppers pick up their friends and family more effectively at the airport.

1) Include their title even its slightly ambitious, presumptuous or not entirely true. Titles add some intrigue and gravity to the signage.

2) Caveat their title if required. I.e., use TBC. It’s important that there’s limited confusion as to whether or not that’s actually their title or not.

3) Use graphical devices to highlight their name on the sign. Because of all the detail you’ll want to include it’s import that the welcomee’s name isn’t entirely lost within all the informationals.

4) Provide pertinent contextual cues alluding to the purpose of the welcomee’s visit. If you’re not too sure why they’re visiting imagine a best case scenario.

5) Use long words, even if they don’t quite make sense. Endeavoration, for example, as I’ve used above, provides a beautiful excuse for the eye to linger for just an extra moment longer.

6) Use abbrev’s where appropriate i.e. – if you can’t fit everything in that you want to say etc.

7) Arrive at the airport early enough for the person for whom the sign is for, to see it. It’s nice to let other people read your sign too, but when you realise you were too late and your brother has already left the airport, it’s mildly irritating.

Just seven simple steps and you too could be providing light and hope for someone next time they arrive in the airport.


Why do you have your own website?

By | Conjecture | One Comment

A quite reasonable question I’m often asked is; ‘Why do you have a website?’ It’s something I’ve never been able to answer particularly adequately. Personal websites as a rule, habit the realms of obscene narcissism and a strange twitterish belief that other people might actually be interested in meandering ramblings punctuated only by slightly blurry pictures.

So it’s with no small amount of pleasure that I’m proud to reveal why it is in the last 9 months of 2010, that people end up on Putting aside the slight oddity that some people are actually Googling me, according to the stats, visits seem to fall into 6 key articles which I’ve helpfully summarised below:

  • Billie Piper and Baby Winston – possibly one of the greatest tabloid stories to come from the stable in 2008. I revealed that Billie Piper named her child after our fish, Winston.
  • Mongol Centre Explosion – Documenting the phenomenal rise of Mongol Centres on a particular road in West Kensington.
  • Pizza Express finger – A slightly cheap SEM game to hop on the back of Pizza Express and their perpetual 2 for 1 offers, whilst also shedding some light on why their knives are so bad.
  • The ipad and manbags – A timely article exposing how nouveau homme will probably need a manbag to house his new ipad.
  • What is structure and agency? How does this framework help us in political analysis? –  Interestingly, the only non-blog content to feature in the top 30 items is a link to a particularly helpful politics essay exploring, as the title would lead you to believe; structure and agency. Riveting reading.
  • Beginners guide to riding a Shetland pony – A real highlight for me was seeing that my beginners guide to riding Shetland ponies was obviously of real use to visitors. Bonus. Must write more of these.

Poor excuse.

Apple Ping – well done Steve

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Apple Ping – well done Steve, originally uploaded by benaston.

Has Steve Jobs completely lost it with Apple’s new iTunes 10 offering – Ping?

According to Steve, they’ve come up with something completely revolutionary. Get this; Facebook meets twitter meets music – social networking for music. Wow. Ingenious!

Apparently… ‘There’s not a great way to do that [sharing great music – artists, tracks, concerts]’; He then suggests people are currently using email for music networking and cleverly concludes that there must be a better way.

Does Steve really think people are going to forget about the little elephants in the room who are sulking in the corner- MySpace; Spotify or most pertinently, and suddenly decide to use iTunes 10 instead? Suggesting social networking for music is something new and that Ping is somehow revolutionary is mad.

Deluded Jobs. But will anyone bother? Not me.

Purely Academic

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work with the camera, originally uploaded by benaston.

This is an academic piece, based on purely fictitious-ish characters, imagining what life would be like for me if I’d have continued my walk with academia. Credit to Dr Aston for the inspiration.

Kevin should be finishing his thesis soon. Glasses. A wiry man with a neatly shaven head.  Wild, black hair frongs extravagantly from his ears and nose. There is something ageless about him, he’s in his 40s – been around for a while, perhaps too long.

Kevin is clever. Very clever. When you say anything to him he’ll wince and pull a funny face that says with absolute clarity; ‘You’re an idiot’. If you have the audacity to ask him a question he’ll tell you so many clever things in response that you’ll be completely befuddled and forget what you asked him in the first place.

Rosemary hasn’t been around long. She is bitter. Bitter because I got the funding she applied for. She started in October just before me so she’ll be here most the time I am. There will be no reprieve. I’m a constant reminder to her of the price she’s paying.  She had to sell her business to be here.

She is weird. Sits to my left. She mutters continuously to herself. Unintelligible.

It’s 9.45 on Tuesday morning. Rosemary is feeling cheerful. Kevin looks funny. He has come in from the rain and has the appearance of someone who’s been swimming with his clothes on.

Rosemary: “You look as lovely as ever this morning!”

An awkward silence is punctuated only by Rosemary’s muttering. Kevin pulls that face of confusion; someone’s said something that is very clearly incorrect. Perplexed. Annoyed. Kevin finally speaks.

Kevin: “Right. I’m not really sure how to respond to that.”

Rosemary doesn’t realise it’s mean to make fun of how people look, especially when they are people who don’t understand jokes. Kevin doesn’t understand jokes.


I don’t belong here. I’m a creep.