Monday, August 6, 2007

1955 1955, a robot at the University of Manchester wrote a love letter that could quite easily have passed for an example of automatic writing by a gifted surrealist.

- "The Bitter Victory of Surrealism", Internationale Situationiste, 1, translated by Reuben Keehan, 1958.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Advertising in China

If you had to make a speech to-morrow night, and you had never made a speech before in your life, one of the hard facts of the moment awaiting solution would be to know what on earth you could talk on.

Even if you knew your title for the address, your difficulty would be increased rather than lessened, for your field of enquiry would be narrowed.

If you ever encounter a difficulty of this sort, remember that the Encyclopaedia Brittannica is the public speaker's friend. So is any other reliable encyclopaedia for that matter.

But, of course, there is even a better way, and that is to start preparing now for the day you will eventually speak.

Start this habit to-day. Cut out of any paper or periodical any item that you think interesting, and which may be of use to you in the future.

Just clip out story, incident or speech, or what not, and put the cutting in a vest pocket. Empty the cuttings at intervals into a large envelope, and label it "Newspaper Cuttings."

The next step to be taken is to acquire 26 large envelopes, 8" x 10" will do, and in the right-hand corner letter the envelope with the letter of the alphabet. And on the left, write down the little heading of the cutting, for example:-

Advertising in China.
Advertising and Sales.
Advertising hints.
Advertising, money spent on.
Advertising for Retailers.

And if this is done with all the letters of the alphabet, and cross-indexed in the manner above indicated, you will soon have a rather excellent series of cuttings. You can get a clerk to do the indexing if you wish, and many interest their wives in the plan, although it is better if you do it yourself, because the extracts will be impressed upon your mind.

Another method of keeping these cuttings is to paste them into a newspaper cutting book, but the disadvantage of this is that when you want to use the extract you have either to cut out the page or make a copy, which is really a waste of time.

When your envelope becomes too full, you can still further sub-divide your cuttings. For instance, you can gather together all cuttings likely to help you in after-dinner speaking, and if you do that, get a cloth pocket file, sub-divided in alphabetical receptacles, obtainable at any stationers for a few shillings, and file your extracts alphabetically, clipping a list of contents on each division, so that you will not have to look at all the contents of one division in order to find the extract you are looking for.

The next stage, particularly if you are in public life, is an upright filing cabinet, not necessarily expensive, but this is the means of keeping at hand for quick reference those valuable pointers so handy to the public speaker.

I shall be very pleased to offer you any further advice on the art of gathering subject matter, or to shew my own personal system that I use, to anyone interested.

- William G. Fern, The Master Speaker, 1931, pp. 93-95.