Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

What is a good idea?

Posted: October 11, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in getting in to the swing of it
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Have you seen the new list of guidelines from the Association of Ideas?

Go on then, you sound like you’re going to have a rant, get it out in the open.
Basically this is going to put free-thinking back a thousand years, or at least a couple of weeks – from now on, every idea has to be categorised, bloody labelled!

But you already keep your ideas in boxes.
Yes, for ease of storage and presentation. You can’t have the stock just spread out all over the floor, this is a shop, not a jumble sale. Anyway, these are metaphorical boxes we’re talking about only to be seen in the paperwork – there’s going to be mountains of it.

But surely the paperwork help with the regulation of the Mind business?
Don’t give me that, it’s only the ones who care about the Mind business in the first place that will bother with these new guidelines and while we’re all up to our eyeballs in paperwork, the cowboys will still be out there raking in all the money with their scams which means more complaints, leading to tighter regulation, more paperwork. This is the end, I tell you.

Good grief, doctor doom. It’s a little bit of sorting out.
Tell me, how can you say if an idea is good or bad at the start? Only time can tell that.

You’re acting like a baby – I don’t wanna do this!! It’s too hard!!!
Alright, Squirty cream…

Is that the best insult you’ve got?
No, it’s an example: squirty cream – is it a good idea or a bad idea? It’s rubbish as cream but can be a lot of fun. So where do you put it?

Isn’t that a bit of an embarrassing question?
It’s alright, I’m not going to tie you down to an answer, this is more than fifty shades of grey we’re talking about: not every idea is black and white. Trying to sort this lot out properly is going to be worse than Venn diagrams at school.

It’s a subjective decision, what you think is good I might think is bad.
That wouldn’t bother me at all, you never had any taste in the first place.

I’ll ignore that. Here you are, two boxes; white for good, black for bad. Why are you putting the white box in the black box?
Because it’s a bad idea.

mindstuff logo link

The ‘like’ button,
not the arrow.


What a great idea!

Posted: August 16, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
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The shop of Mindstuff is not working, the marketing’s all wrong; the customers aren’t buying. When customers stop buying they stop being customers and revert to being just people. A shop full of people is no good to anyone – unless you’re into human trafficking which we are definitely against. So how can we convert people into paying customers? That was a bona fide question to anyone out there, because we don’t know the answer.

idea warehouseAnyway, we flung ideas at a wall and saw what stuck. For starters, we tried advertising ourselves as:

‘The Idea Warehouse’.

Yeah, that was a good one. I taped some of our customer encounters (for training purposes, of course).

Have a listen:

Tape hiss – 

Door bursts open, customer runs in.

Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Oh my god! Where are the crowds? They’ve all gone. I’m too late! Is this all you have left, clear plastic boxes? Where’s the furniture?

(Oh not another one.) It’s ‘IDEA’ madam, ‘IDEA’!  This is the ‘IDEA’ Warehouse.
We sell ‘IDEAS’.

Are they flat-packed?

No, they come in these boxes.

But they look empty.

I can assure you they are full of ideas.

I have cash, I need to buy something. What’s in this big funky rubber box here? It says:
‘Top secret’?

Ah, well this is very special, inside this box madam, is something that was developed during the second world war as a rapid response to the threat of alien invasion. Of course it was never used.

Does it work?

You could be the first to find out.

Hmm. I was really looking for something a bit more modern.

Door bursts open, another customer runs in, interrupting the sale.

Do you have the Smoer de bo de bo or the Fykkstakk?

Are you aware you have just insulted me massively in Swedish?

I’m so sorry, I really had no idea what I was saying. I’ll come back when I’m fluent.

Fykk… Now where’s the other customer gone?

You, shop boy! Is everything reduced?

Yes, sir. Can I interest you in…

I’m not sure. Are they guaranteed?

About as much as anything these days. They are exceptionally good value.

I’d have to check on the comparison site.

Well how about…

Hmm. Are they foreign?

All of our stock is qual…

It’s all a bit tacky.

…ity. I’ll go and make some tea.(Talk about hard to please!)

What are these?

Oh, nothing you’d be interested in, ‘Impulsive notions’. I wouldn’t open…

CUSTOMER #3 opens the lid and sniffs in hard.

I’ll take the lot.

Wait, where you going?

I need a tattoo. Of a unicorn.

But you haven’t paid for those.

Here’s five hundred.

I haven’t got change…

Keep it. I must get my head shaved. Bye!

Use the door!

Big crash of glass as Customer #3 leaps through the window.

We so nearly made a profit. Oh well, back to square one. Where’s that idea bucket?

Tape hiss – Boo!

The morale of this story is low.


Posted: June 7, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
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We’re getting a bit low on ideas here at the shop which is just as well because we need the shelf space: in this period of uncertainty, more and more people are wanting to feel safe and secure – we’ve had a run on memories of better times.

Isn’t nostalgia a way of suppressing the future?
It seems that everyone wants a future as much as they want nostalgia but they just don’t want to put in the effort. The fact is that ideas are hard work, they need time and nurturing and there’s no guarantee that they’ll come to anything.

Remember those English summers?
Of course you do.

What sort of memories do have in stock?
Lovely old ones, just ready for reliving. You see, a fresh good memory is cheaper because it’s like an uncut diamond – it’s nice but still raw,
a bit basic looking and rough round the edges – it could do with a time polish. The years do that to memories, takes all the harsh bits off, rounds them up nice and convenient, make them easier to dogest. We’ve got a load of these vintage memories, all different shades too.

You have different colours?
Yes, memories change colour, older living memories veer towards the rose end of the spectrum. Go even earlier to the memories handed down by your grandparents and you’ll find they’re all sepia. Eventually the colour drains out of memories completely, as time goes by you’re left with just black & white, and they’re usually stills. Some memories fade away completely.

Isn’t that sad?
No, because now we’ve got the technology to restore these memories. The Boi took a course. He’s never been busier, sorting out and up to his elbows in rose tint.

Isn’t that dishonest, adding the rose tint?
We’re in the business of restoration, you can’t let sentimentality get
in the way.

But isn’t that the whole point of fond memories?
People will pay a lot for fond memories, with the high demand and rising cost of rose tint, they’ll only get more expensive.

What about making our own happy memories?
Of what’s happening today? Have you seen what’s going on out there? It’s downright miserable, no one in their right mind will want to remember any of it. There’s no such thing as cheap family entertainment any more, rolling back the carpet to have a dance around the piano, these days it’s all about having a wii in front of the tele and that my friend costs money. And with the cut in benefits, gone are the days where we could all have a laugh at someone else’s expense. No, it’s kinder on the family budget to take home a couple
of our tinted memories – that’s the future.

But shouldn’t we be selling the idea of a different future?
Start your own shop then.

mind clearance offer


Posted: May 30, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
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‘There are more questions than answers’ sang Johnny Nash in 1972. The 70s, a different era then, usually dismissed today as ‘less enlightened times’, as if they were bloody medieval or something. Personally, I’d say the 70s were the more optimistic times because it was an age of innocence – there really were more questions than answers, it was a fact – I know, I was there. But then came the information revolution and suddenly we had answers for everything.

They say the 70s were to blame
for bad taste.

Isn’t that progress?
You would have thought so, because people were ticking off lists, drawing lines under things, finally the human race could ‘move on’ intellectually.

But, as the saying goes, ‘a little information can be a dangerous thing’: just because you’ve got answers, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right.

We were told the wrong answers?
In fairness it depends on what the real question was. What you’ve
just said is more of a statement with the intonation rising at the end
of the sentence.

The question was, and still is: Were we told the wrong answers?
Which is my point exactly. If you don’t ask a proper question, how can you expect a proper answer? People were so greedy to know all the answers that they didn’t really listen to the questions; that’s how we ended up in this state.

How can we tell if you’re telling the truth?
I’ve got proof – The Boi uncovered a load of half-arsed answers ‘aat back’. To begin with we thought we only had initial answers but then came a flood of educated guesses, stab-in-the-dark attempts, clutching at straws and some hesitant answers we weren’t sure what to do with.

What did you do?
Well, everything was all mixed up so we had to separate the answers out into short ones, long ones, best ones, worst ones, good ones, bad ones, flakey ones and shaky ones, the quick-fire answers and the plain old totally wrong answers – that’s a lot of answers to get through, we’re short of space as it is.

What use is a totally wrong answer?
Everything has a value, except maybe for those that the Boi left stacked up against the wall overnight. That bleeding damp! But he reckons he can dry them out on the radiator.

Isn’t the cost of ethical disposal prohibitively high?
As I’ve said before you can’t just chuck these things away, they won’t biodegrade by themselves, as Bob Dylan hinted: ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.’ That’s right Bob, it’s not worth risking the fine. So, as we’re living in an age of greeness, it’s cheaper to offload the answers at a loss.

Who would want such a thing?
The random answers we sold to a load of hecklers going to a comedy club, the unintelligible ones were picked up by some bloke who likes to shout at the commuters on street corners. We got rid of the rest of them to first-time parents, kids are always asking questions, it’s easier to have a stack of answers to hand. Keeps the kid quiet.

Has anything you’ve done solved the situation?
Well yes, we’ve now got a lot more space, we’d pretty much shifted everything. Then we suddenly remembered the damp lot by the radiator, well, they’d dried out alright but they were warped. I thought we were going to have to get rid of the lot which would have wiped out all the profit but the government stepped in at the last minute and saved us.

Who paid, was it the tax payer?
I don’t know. No doubt, questions will be asked in the houses of parliament. What I do know is that you won’t get a straight answer.

mind clearance


Posted: May 17, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
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Now there’s an old-fashioned word you don’t hear much any more. You can tell Loyalty’s an old word because it’s got two Ys in it – you don’t get many modern words with that amount of Ys. Yo-yo, for example, that was last heard of in the 50s – your modern day rappers have left out the hyphen to give ‘yo yo’ a completely different meaning.

Another thing about ‘Loyalty’ is the fact that it’s a seven letter word with three syllables which also gives the age away – in the olden days when there were less words they used to pack more syllables into them – e.g. ‘amiable’ = four syllables, compared to the modern day ‘friendly’ which only has two (and one more letter). Point proven.

loyalty card

Apply for yours today!

What is the point?
It has been suggested that we at the shop say a big thank you to all our loyal customers by offering them something in return. So, we’re giving away points.

  • Each visit = 1 point
  • For each comment 10 points.
  • Also watch out for on-the-spot
    ‘point giveaway’ promotions,

(I don’t know what these will be, I needed something else to mention, because the scheme was looking a bit pathetic with only two bullet points).

That seems too good to be true, how can you convince me?
I know, the offer seems too good to be true, you’re tempted but not yet convinced, there’s one detail missing, I forgot to mention: It’s free!


How do I collect my points?
By joining our ‘Loyalty Card’ scheme. Sign up today! The first 100 applicants will get our exclusive platinum status account which means you can start earning points immediately.

When can I get my loyalty card?
When you apply. 

Where else can I use my loyalty card?
Only here at the moment, we tried punting the idea out to a few other sites but to be honest with you they weren’t too keen – busy with some other excuse.

What does my loyalty card get me?
The prestige of having something that is exclusive.

Is that it?
It’s as simple as that.

Biker Squid’s gone belly-up: that is in a financial, and not physical, manner – he’s the only bloke down the pub who hasn’t got a beer-belly. Come to think of it, Biker Squid’s the only bloke down the pub who isn’t a bloke – he’s a squid – I don’t know how he keeps that leather jacket on and don’t ask me how he gets served, although I suppose that’s down to the landlord, Godfrey – we’re all equal in his eyes, as long as we got the money. And Biker Squid’s loaded.
Or was.

What happened to his fortune?
This is the Biker Squid who made the millions, and more, from the printed internet phenomenon. In a way, he deserved it – it was his idea after all, but from the outset I could see it had trouble written all over it – a bad idea waiting to turn sour, but who’s going to listen to a lowly scrap mental merchant (with over 25 years experience) who runs a pokey shop when you got someone with eight arms handing out cash left, right and centre.

Did he give it all away?
Biker Squid weren’t one of these multi-billionaires who was tight with their money, never shook hands with people and only used disinfected toilet paper. No, being a creature of the sea, he liked to splash the cash. Generous he was. He didn’t really have any need for money but that didn’t stop him from making it. His aim was to generate enough wealth to buy everyone in the world a drink.

At six billion people, that’s a lot of money and would be the biggest round anyone had ever got. Biker Squid got so wrapped up in his generosity scheme that he took his big eye off the financial ball for too long. To be honest, he was losing interest anyway. He’d already fallen into the celebrity trap – believing his own publicity. Biker Squid tried to break into films but the camera didn’t suit him, couldn’t even get a tv part, nor did he have the face for radio – the most he was offered was a bit part in a book.

Can money buy happiness?
Well, his empire was snowballing with success. The demand for his printed internet magazines kept the presses running 24/7 which didn’t matter because he owned the print shop as well. What did matter was the raw materials – paper, ergo trees.

The infamous ‘SPAM’ issue was
overloaded with junk mail

The biggest market for the magazines was amongst the indigineous village peoples of the rainforest. They had to chop down the trees; to make the paper; to print the internet magazine on; which forced the peoples off the land and into homes that actually had an internet connection which meant the magazine was useless. The whole thing was like the legend of the snake eating its own tail.

Couldn’t he have taken advice?
At this point, Biker Squid weren’t listening to anyone, he weren’t one of those multi-zillionaires that had economic advisors, pampering PAs and spiritual gurus to clean his aura – no, he did everything himself. You could say his vision was clouded by success and it was the ‘Spam’ issue that finally led to the magazine folding. Just the sheer amount of paper needed to print all those needless ads and emails. Shocking.

That was the tipping point?
The tipping point was when Biker Squid heard they were cutting down areas of rainforest the size of whales, because being a squid, he ain’t too keen on whales. It’s not that he’s scared of them, no – for an invertebrate, Biker Squid’s quite hard and he’s the only one I know who’s been tattooed with his own ink – no, he just hates whales. Being a squid means he’s impetuous.

But isn’t whale song beautiful?
He especially hates the singing, all whales think they can sing, just ‘cause they sold a few CDs. You get them in a karaoke bar you can’t get them out again, and the songs just go on and on and on – the sound travels for miles.

Up yours! Biker.

Plus, it’s not the sort of thing you want to hear when your business empire is collapsing all around you. Biker Squid had had enough, he did what any citizen would do – he called the police.

This was how the current world troubles began?
That’s how the bubble finally burst: you got the rainforest in tatters, with the indigineous peoples all hooked on booze and living in houses they don’t want, the whales are in trouble and I think that’s how the world got into recession
– Biker Squid spent all the money down the pub.

Where is he now?
We don’t see a lot of him these days, he pops up now and again. Rumour has it he’s living in a bedsit above the fish and chip shop but his luck’s changed because he’s got a role as a supporting character in a blog.

Can’t we sue him?
I don’t think blaming one individual is going to help matters. Leave him be.

What we should be more concerned about is what happened to these bad ideas. With all this cost-cutting taking place all over the globe, these austerity measures – I bet the governments ain’t disposed of these bad ideas properly. You know what that means:

It will all happen again.

If you missed Biker Squid’s original idea you can catch-up here.

As everyone knows, when you’re stripping down a mind there are seven ‘lesser known’ areas you want to be aware of. What do you think they are?

Big ideas?
Yes, most people think you should start with the big ideas, common mistake, you can’t get past the copyright these days. So unless you want to get involved in a long and expensive lawsuit, don’t touch the big ideas. Guess again.

Long term memory?
Really? Have you got enough time?

Alright, short term memory?
No, that’s no good, it’s like the ‘basket only’ check-out at the supermarket,
seven items or less.

So what’s left?
Well, there’s all the stuff that’s been forgotten but that’s like sorting through
landfill – real hard work and it can get mucky; there are some things people want
to forget – don’t go digging it up again.

Okay, I give up, what are these ‘seven areas’ of the mind?
They are:

  • First Impressions – Initial thoughts, this is where you open up files on every new experience.
  • Second Thoughts – Doubting those first impressions.
  • Third Eye – Intuition, but you sensed you knew that already.
  • Fourth Place – Not meaning just outside the medal placings but the sense of place, kind of like an internal SatNav, and just like SatNav, you don’t always end up where you want to be.
  • Fifth – Sorry, that should read filth.
  • Sixth Sense – Where you see dead people.
  • Seventh Heaven – Belief systems. They’re like fashion only more long-term, in one era, out the next: the flat earth society had nowhere else to go, witchcraft is old hat and as for numerology – its days are numbered.

Groan. I don’t think I can take anymore. Please can I interview on another blog?
What’s wrong with this one?

You! Are you ever serious about anything?
Getting paid on time.

Are we too serious about everything?

mind clearance

A lot of people say to me: “You’re in the mind business, how does it work?” So, I tell them what goes on without droning on in too much detail but I find they ain’t really interested in the actual business, what they really want to know about is the mind itself, which is very commendable. So I think what they are really asking is:

What goes on up there?
As I’ve said before, I ain’t a scientist so I can’t give you all the specifics and fancy terms in Latin – you get it as I see it. Now, everyone knows that information comes into the brain via the sensory organs – ears, eyes, nose, etc. and the raw information is processed into a format that the mind can understand, like thoughts and memories, etc. You know all that already, so I won’t bother elaborating on that aspect further.

wind turbine

A still mind creates no wind.
- Persian proverb

How does the mind store information?
A lot of people say it’s like a sponge, soaking up stuff – information filling up the holes – that’s all wrong. The sponge idea is a good image but purely metaphorical and I believe we’re trying to get to the nub of this matter, the real thing – the actual workings.

Inside the mind it’s like, well if you imagine you’re standing inside someone’s mind – someone you don’t know that is, if you stood inside that ‘person-that-you-didn’t-know’s’ mind and opened your eyes – sorry, I forgot to say you need to shut your eyes first and then open them only once you’re inside the mind to get the full effect – so, you’re in a mind, you open your eyes and you look around. What you’d see you wouldn’t understand. It’s like a complete mess.

So there’s no apparent structure to a mind?
A lot of people attribute the popular ‘four corners of the mind’ image to its structure. This couldn’t be further from the truth, there aren’t any corners – when did you last see someone with a square head? It’s like there is no front or back of the mind either – it’s all the same space with each point connected to all others.

If it’s not square, is it round?
Sort of, but not exactly, the mind is: like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel -“Windmills of your mind”, that song, is pretty accurate.

My head is spinning. Is it really a windmill?
No. Don’t be daft.

So if it’s not square or round or even a windmill, how does the mind work?
It’s difficult to say without getting too technical.

What if you start with a single thought?
I think that’s the phone going. You’ll have to excuse me.

The line: “Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head,”
That’s what it’s all about. Go on, have a Mind Clearance and jangle some words in the comments box.

mind clearance offer

We had an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ moment today sorting through an old box of stock when we discovered we had the original idea for sliced bread. All the museums have been down, the local news team and Biker Squid from down the pub, although he only wanted to know when I was going to buy him back that drink I owed him. So I showed him the sliced bread idea and told him we’re even.

sliced bread

He weren’t having none of it, got the right hump. Showed me his own idea. Argued it was better than sliced bread and I still owed him a pint. I disagreed, I told him straight off his idea was dead in the water but he wanted to float it out and see if it had legs or something, to be honest I didn’t quite understand what he was on about, I just know it was a bad idea. I don’t want to get involved in an arguement. You lot sort it out:

What is Biker Squid’s idea?

There’s a lot of stuff up on the internet right? Right. And still over 60% of the world has never been online, so they’re missing out.

Can you spot the gap in the market?

I think we should create a magazine about the internet for people that don’t have access to, or have never used the internet.

Why don’t these people use the internet?

I know, it’s mad, in this day and age? Some people can’t relate to computers, find them scary but magazines aren’t scary – everyone can operate a magazine plus you don’t need electricity or a broadband connection to read one.
©Biker Squid

Do we have to vote on whether the idea is good or bad?
No actually, I already took the liberty of advising him to stop being so stupid but he didn’t listen, the silly sod remortgaged his house and went ahead with it anyway. Biker squid published his first issue.

I thought he’d be knocking on my door later tonight wanting to kip on the sofa but no, he surprised us all – the magazine bloody well took off. It’s massive all over the world but especially amongst the village peoples of the rainforest. They gave it the big thumbs up. Apparently the magazine is faster than broadband, slight hitch with playing the video but Biker Squid reckons they can get round that in a few issues.

There’s also a wealth of associated businesses that have sprung up on the back of this printed internet phenomenon – on the high street you got the cafes, in the business parks there’s the ISPs providing the blank pages to create your own presence, then you got the shopping sites – Biker Squid’s rolling in it.

Are you jealous of other people’s success?
No, I’ve still got this idea for sliced bread.

mind clearance offer






If there’s stuff you want to clear out of your head, leave it in the comments box. It’s cheaper than therapy and someone else could make good use of your old Mindstuff.

award,Winning this award is not something I’d normally boast about but the fact is we got it and no one else did. (…) I’m nearly speechless.

So now we’re in business: we’re award-winning, the shop’s open and the blog is live – I know that to be true because we’re getting the comments in, mainly stupid ones admittedly but at least people are talking to us now.

Do you only deal in ideas?
This is by far the most popular query, so I can’t have been very clear about the nature of the business. Yes we are one of the top purveyors of ideas but we don’t stop there: our range also covers memories, along with thoughts, the ever-popular dreams and the other usual mind stuff.

If you still haven’t got the foggiest idea, come down to the shop and get fitted up – we’re doing a two-for-one special at the moment. All size IQs catered for.

How do you keep all your stuff?
This is a good question because a lot of people think you can store memories and the like in a jar. No, no, no, I tell ‘em, that’s a common mistake the novice makes. I’m not saying that memories don’t store in a jar, they do and very nicely but a jar ain’t safe, glass breaks.

You drop a glass jar and your contents is all over the floor and most likely in about as good a shape as the shattered glass – dustpan and brush job – except now you’ve got the extra problem of ethical disposal to consider, you can’t just go throwing everything in the bin and hoping the council will deal with it. No, don’t use glass. Use plastic boxes.

Yes, we use plastic boxes because they don’t break if you drop ‘em; they’re waterproof and weatherproof; they store nice on the shelves and you can label ‘em. You can even bury them – they keep underground for years.

Where do get your stock?
Wholesale contacts – strictly trade only I’m afraid. But through our newly offered ‘Mind Clearance’ service, we are getting a few more local suppliers which I need to have a word with you about…

I had the same bags left overnight by the front doors problem again: mess everywhere, only this time it weren’t foxes – a couple of ‘up-against-the-deadline’ “creatives” from a well-known ad agency were rummaging about furiously. Desperate they were, clinging to any old idea. Course they just ran off and left me to clear up again.

So, lads, you know who you are. We’re all trying to make a living round here – stealing ain’t clever, don’t take credit for someone else’s idea.

If there’s stuff you want to clear out of your head, leave it in the comments box. It’s cheaper than therapy and someone else could make good use of your old Mindstuff.