Brexit Goes Up To 11 …

Some of you will recall the famous sequence in the spoof Rockumentary “This is Spinal Tap”. I got thinking about the virtues of economy when I was pondering how much we have been manipulated by lies over the Brexit referendum. In data management terms we are still “drowning in data” on Brexit rather than “swimming with information” and fake news abounds, such as the bizarre story from a man I met in a pub who told me he voted to leave because he did not like garlic! Even more unusual the elderly “Christian” couple in a cafe who said that we must now leave because it was God’s will – My God!

In the spirit of keeping things simple, I decided to use the idea of less is more to simplify Brexit using the medium of just 11 words on single issues. The use of constraints as a spur to sharper thinking is a device I’ve used many times in my writing such as in the book Punk Rock People Management. Here then are some stylised memes. For a longer read, check out our articles at Europa United and The Independent.

Lest we forget the great moment when the amplifiers went up to 11, here we go …

It is clear that Chequers proposal is now officially dead – it will be represented again within the next 9 days and will be again rejected as a “walking wounded” proposal, in part because of the divisions inside the Conservative party.  That will leave the real choice as follows:

No Deal = “Sudden Death Brexit” versus RNR or “Remain and Reform”

Find out more about our plans to Exit Brexit at Exit Brexit.

p.s. Note that there are only 10 of these memes at present.  It would be nice to go up to 11 …

 

Advertisements

Do Rock Music and Economics Mix?

Today marks the global launch of the song “Fiscal Cliff”, a hard rock song about the hard road to recovery! 🙂  The song is available on iTunes, AmazonCDbabyGoogle Play and all the usual outlets – simply click on the White Cliffs below to listen to the song on iTunes:

Click on the White Cliffs to buy the song

Fiscal Cliff tells the story of a broker who looks out over the city one day, reflects upon his life of spreads, swaps, junk bonds etc. and decides that he has caused chaos.  His solution?  To jump the literal Fiscal Cliff!   In the middle of the song, he seeks help with his condition in the form of a consultation with “The God of Economics” who reads him a prayer which changes his mind.  Finally, he decides not to jump the cliff and repents!   Fiscal Cliff was recorded with Bernie Tormé, ace guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan.  The song features a Swiss Banker on lead vocals.  The video includes the destruction of a burning corporate edifice with a flaming guitar, and the moment when Tormé felt he had to physically assault me in the studio when I made a mistake on the guitar solo!

If you are able to help spread the song around the world, I’d be ever so grateful.  Here’s a few things that would help:

  1. Buy a copy of the song on i Tunes or any other music outlet
  2. Ask friends, contacts and colleagues to do the same
  3. Spread this blog via Twitter, Facebook, Google +1, Linkedin, Digg, Tumblr, Last FM, Spotify etc.
  4. Reblog this piece
  5. If you know any journalists, please put them in touch.  We are particularly looking for newspaper, radio, TV interviews in the USA, UK and Europe.   We are in New York shortly for interviews
  6. Anything else you can think of – JDI – Just Do It – seek forgiveness rather than permission 🙂

Check this radio interview out:

Here’s the storyboard and lyrics to the song to whet your appetite, with illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” who were are working with in New York when we deliver the innovation summit:

The Story board for Fiscal Cliff – illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” – http://workmusing.wordpress.com/about/

The Story board for Fiscal Cliff – illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” – http://workmusing.wordpress.com/about/

The video for Fiscal Cliff will follow shortly.  Will it be a hit or a miss?  Let’s see.  Fiscal Cliff is available iTunes,  AmazonCDbabyGoogle Play and all other major music channels.

FC14

Heavy Metal Business – Four Symbols

Heavy metal explained by schoolkids

Four Symbols – Heavy metal explained by school kids

Heavy Metal.  You either love it or hate it.  Nonetheless it has an awesome power from the sheer volume and deathly riffs that lurk within the genre.  Perhaps one of the most doom laden riffs of all time comes from Black Sabbath via the title song of their album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, particularly the riff towards the end of the song (3 minutes 17 seconds on), which competes with Uranium, weighing in at 238 units on the ‘heavy metal’ scale in the Periodic Table.

Heavy metal sounds different to pop music and a quick musical note explains why.  Heavy Metal tends to employ modal scales, in particular the Aeolian and Phrygian modes rather than the upbeat scales favoured in pop songs (Doh-Ray-Me-Far-So-La-Te-Doh, with third part harmonies such as those used in songs by The Beatles, Abba etc.).  Although heavy metal has its critics, it has been argued that heavy metal has the most in common with classical music, especially Bach, Wagner and Vivaldi through the influence of Ritchie Blackmore, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen etc.

As if to illustrate the point, take a listen to Love Sculpture, featuring Dave Edmunds, doing Khachaturian’s ‘Sabre Dance’ in 1968, containing many of the modal scales I mentioned above:

Music theory aside, what can we learn about business from Heavy Metal bands?

From Deep Purple, we get the insight that innovation in business requires discipline as much as it does creativity.

From Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant, we get the insight that, if the industry norms are killing your business opportunity, change the industry norms.

From Black Sabbath, we get the insight that limitations can assist creativity.

From Spinal Tap, we learn that plans are nothing if execution is poor.

Much more on this in The Music of Business, which launches on 31 1 13.  We finish with some more Heavy Metal:

******************************************

About the Blogger:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk

The numbers go up to 11 – Jim Marshall R.I.P 1924 – 2012

Peter displays his six Marshall stacks and his burnt Fender Strat – a total of 18 Watts of untamed power …

Last week saw the passing of Jim Marshall, the father of rock and metal amplification.   Without the Marshall amp, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and a host of other musicians would not have got the classic sound that became a trademark of their music.  Marshall’s great contribution to the world of music was twofold:

The Marshall stack produced a warm fuzzy sound, beloved by rock musicians, unlike its peers such as Fender, which were considered more suitable for jazz.

Marshall stacks were quite simply loud, giving Jim Marshall the nickname “The Father of Loud”.  The spoof metal band ‘Spinal Tap’ coined the phrase “The numbers go up to 11”  and more recently “20” based on the amplifier’s reputation:

No doubt Bernie Tormé will be cranking his Marshall stack up at our “Leadership meets Rock showcase” event in June.

Spinal Tap, John Otway and the not so gentle art of project mis-management

You could attend a 3 week executive masterclass to learn the principles of project management.  To learn about the practical stuff could take you a lifetime and involve learning from expensive mistakes as well as successes.  So, is there a way to learn about Project Management quickly and without risk by examining the spoof rockumentary ‘This is Spinal Tap’.  Of course there is! 🙂  Let’s examine the classic ‘Stonehenge’ sequence to get us started:

It’s obvious to me as a Taphead and sad business consultant with an MBA that the Spinal Tap sequence is a sorry tale of poor project management… 🙂  Just before the sequence starts a drawing of Stonehenge is drawn on a napkin by Nigel Tuffnell, the group’s guitarist and handed to the scenery designer.  This is unwittingly taken by the designer as a definitive project specification.  All the project resources are committed to the ‘model’ based on the dimensions (in inches).  The band is then forced to execute their strategy using a micro Stonehenge model, due to lack of budget to correct the mistake.   They attempt to accommodate the mistake in size by using dwarfs and bringing the Stonehenge model down from the heavens, but it is clear that they have failed.  You may rightly say “Well, this is a Hollywood comedy movie and nothing like real life”.  Au contraire, as a I break into French, as if to make the point seem more important – if I had a dollar for every company that has told me they have wasted millions on poorly specified projects that resulted in delivery of the wrong thing, I would have retired and you would not be reading this blog.  The comparison of the ‘project management gospel according to Business and Spinal Tap’ summarises this:

The Project Management Gospel according to Spinal Tap vs Business

Spinal Tap Business Lesson # 1.  If you are experiencing problems in executing a project, look back several stages to the project definition or proposal.  Fuzzy goals produce fuzzy action.

I had my own ‘Spinal Tap’ moment when I made a large investment of money and time in ‘cult punk rocker and two hit wonder’ John Otway’s World Tour, having done corporate gigs with John at Pfizer and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).  This was a wonderful idea to live the Rock’n’Roll dream on a record breaking world tour, calling at the greatest venues on the planet with a birth, death and car crash all in two weeks, but not necessarily in that order.  The idea was great, so what went wrong?  Poor execution of the strategy killed the project dead.  Watch the trailer video to see the essence of the project idea:

Read more about the comedy of errors that was John Otway’s world tour at The Real Spinal Tap Tour.  What was the project management lesson?

Spinal Tap Business Lesson # 2. Inspiration is essential for innovation, but perspiration is even more important to turn your ideas into profit!  Bright ideas are plentiful but people who are prepared to sweat it out are rarer.

Check out our seminar offerings based on project management lessons from the John Otway World Tour at The F Word.  A recent article about the self-proclaimed ‘Patron Saint of Failure’ can be seen in The Independent.  Check out our posts on real heavy rock bands – Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and our evening out with Bernie Torme.

My new book ‘Punk Rock People Management – A no-nonsense guide to hiring, inspiring and firing staff’ is available for FREE as a pdf.  Please contact me directly here or via the Punk Rock People Management webpage for your copy.  A beautiful full colour print version and a KINDLE version are is also available.

We’ll finish with another classic Spinal Tap song, Big Bottom, a metaphorical tale about the bottom line…

Postscript – I was just sent this additional video by my Web guru Nick Power of ‘The Folksmen’ – faces seem familiar?

“Livin’ Lovin’ Maid” – Maria McCarthy – Author, Rocker, Led Zeppelin fan

Introducing the Livin’ Lovin’ Maid Maria McCarthy, massive Led Zeppelin fan and author of strange fruits – a new book of poems which offer surprising glimpses into our 21st-century lives – the ‘strange fruits’ of our civilisation or lack of it.  Shot through with meditations on the past and her heritage as ‘an Irish girl and English woman’.  The book can be found on Amazon with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer.

Strange Fruits - Maria Mc Carthy

Maria has been a long term advocate of music where I live in Kent and it turns out that she appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths, programme, the home of the legend that is John Peel.  Maria told the story of her infatuation with Led Zeppelin when growing up and I’ve decided to post the story here, following the exceptional reaction to the previous post on Led Zeppelin.  Let’s get the Led out before we get started on Maria’s story:

So here’s Maria’s story of her infatuation with Led Zeppelin and the personal consequences of that infatuation.  I must say I made a similar mistake with T.REX albums, giving them away to a girlfriend in a moment of madness brought on by love but we’ll save that for later…

Robert was my first rock sex God. I had him plastered on my teenage bedroom wall in various stage poses; copious hair flying and shirt ripped open in mid-performance. I later wondered if perm lotion and Carmen rollers had a part to play in those curls, and if the bulge in his Levis was artificially enhanced, like the guy in Spinal Tap with the salami down his trousers. But when I was seventeen, a picture of Plant set in motion the female equivalent of my mojo rising.

In our first year of courting, my husband-to-be and I went to the legendary Knebworth concert where we experienced the glory of Plant and Page in the flesh. And when we moved in together we each had a full set of twelve inch Zepps that snuggled side by side in our newly combined collections. Robert Plant even attended the birth of our second child; he was singing Big Log, of all things, through the headphones of my cassette Walkman as I gave the final push (Editor’s note – no picture provided).

When we outgrew our two-bedroom flat, we sold some of the records to raise a deposit on a house. It made sense, I know. I was nearly thirty, and it was time to put away childish things. There were new priorities.  Two Frampton Comes Alive became one, the by then unfashionable Phil Collins was discarded, and the Zeppelins reduced to one set. We kept my husband’s copies because his signature on the sleeves was a no-no for record dealers.

We moved from London to Kent with our two girls, three cats and one record collection. 800 vinyl albums and countless seven inch singles, requiring special treatment during the move. The boxes were not to be stacked and were marked “Handle With Care.”   But after eight years, I’d had enough of the collections, filling the house from loft to cellar. I had married a hoarder; an obsessive collector of not just records, but also stamps and model trains, videos and music magazines. The house that I had once found spacious became cramped. Where was my space? If I tried clearing things out, to find a haven for my treasured possessions and indeed for myself, he’d go through the boxes destined for the charity shop, and take his stuff back out. I decided it was time for division.

The girls stayed with me along with the cats and some of the records.  My mother was appalled when he took the recliner chair for his new house. There was genuine anguish in her voice when she said, “How could he split the three piece suite?” For me it was the loss of half my Led Zeppelin collection.  When it came to dividing the Zepps I was bequeathed Led Zeppelin Three, Four, and Presence.

I gradually removed the excess shelving from the house. I wanted a slimline life, uncluttered. My love of record collecting was also a thing of the past. For years I was unable to look at second hand records. That was his place; kneeling on the floor at boot fairs, riffling through other people’s former treasures.

Then I met a new man. Whilst wandering around the small Surrey town where he lives, I was enticed by a sign leading down an alleyway to “Vinyl Hideaway”. Before I knew it, I was asking for Zeppelin, like a child starved of sweets, and boxes were laid before me by the two vinyl anoraks who owned the store. We were soon exchanging Zepp stories. They were in awe of my Knebworth experience, shocked at the loss of half my Zeppelins, and I in turn was stunned by their knowledge and extensive collection of first pressings, imports and bootlegs.

I left £23 lighter, clutching Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti – double album gatefold, a picture of a tenement building with cut out windows on the cover, filled with the letters spelling out the title on the insert. I would have bought more, but they didn’t take credit cards.  I walked down the High Street with my LP-shaped carrier bag. Chuffed, in the way that I used to be as a teenager when I carried my Harlequin Records bag before me, so everyone would know I had new records.

With my collection partially restored, my resentment over the great record collection split of 1996 is fading. My forty-sixth birthday brought me Led Zeppelin Two from my lover, and today’s acquisition leaves only Led Zeppelin One, The Song Remains the Same and Coda. Of course, after that there are Robert Plant’s solo albums.

Maria McCarthy’s book strange fruits can be found on Amazon, with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer.  You can find more about her at Cultured Llama and Medway Maria.  Since Maria mentioned the great Spinal Tap, we’ll end with this piece on them, which satirises Jimmy Page’s guitar bowing technique and the use of multiple guitars.  Watch out for a post on Spinal Tap and Project Management in a few weeks time.  Oh yes and do check out our new FREE book PUNK ROCK PEOPLE MANAGEMENT OUT  – Led Zeppelin even get a mention in it.  For more Heavy Metal Business articles – check SPINAL TAP on project management, DEEP PURPLE on improvisation, LED ZEPPELIN on strategy