Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Deluge of Journals

Two dreary Professional Planning magazinesYou know, last week I was completely bombarded by planning publications. Yet another issue of The Planner (the business monthly for Planning Professionals) from the Goons in Botox Street then an issue of Planning (the Independent Newspaper for Planning Professionals) from Richard Garlic's Haymarket Press. On the face of it you would think that both publications were aimed at me - as an expert planner and professional of many years standing - yet I felt very remote from both of them.

You do seriously wonder if there is enough planning trivia to go round and how much of these supposedly learned journals are actually just made up. Boring? Let's just say that I only realised I had fallen asleep when my mobile phone vibrated itself off my desk and into the wastepaper basket.
A Big Man - Huw Morris, Consultant Editor of the Goons Rag
The Goons rag, edited by the ever-serious looking and weighty Huw Morris starts off with 'convenient footballs', 'good kickings', 'heading off trouble at the pass' and 'penalty clauses' which 'reverberate for decades'. There is also a lot of forelock tugging and crawling to Westminster ministers, Lord this and Sir that. Honestly I'm struggling to deal with so many cliches and misplaced reverence and respect. Something is wrong with the RTPI in London - why do they pay so much attention to these snobs and Tories? But perhaps this is nothing new.

Let's have a quick look at Richard Garlic's boring little rag - Pickles here, Pickles there, Pickles almost everywhere, Heseltine, the Welsh Assembly (really!), Lady Clark, John Gummer, etc etc. What is this all about - why so much respect for clowns and gentry? It's just the same as Huw's rag. But wait! What's this? An article entitled, "What's it like to work for...?" featuring Savills, Barton Willmore, Nathaniel Lichfield and HALLIDAY FRASER MUNRO! Fantastic! I was enraptured and decided that I would take this fine publication to the executive toilet for a good read later.

Now as many of you know, I dream of being a famous and well respected planning consultant so getting the inside track on the firm that is steered so expertly by Big John Halliday is the event of the week - if not the month! I can imagine the internal CPD sessions at HFM when Big John brings out his big thick pencil with a rubber on the top and demonstrates how to tickle a Councillor's fancy with a few expert strokes! Honestly my double Twix bar and milky tea from Wee Heather's trolley never tasted so good! I was savouring the moment, anticipating my trip to the Thunderbox!

Well I final made it to the toilet - great!  The article is about one of Big John's most trusted lieutenants - a man called Scott Leach - he's a project manager for a 400 home development at Woodside, Aberdeen - I must check this out later as I'm sure it will be the masterpiece of all masterstrokes - straight from Big John's hand. Now as I suggested above, HFM have an internal CPD scheme which, 'aims to help staff contextualise their work as part of the wider process of development'. Doesn't that sound fantastic? Leach moved to HFM from Aberdeenshire Council a few years back and says that things are very different in the private sector. I can believe that! He is no longer walking through a treacle sludge of lazyness, indecision and frequent trips to the toilet to read the Daily Record! Quite wisely though, he gave nothing away about Big John or any of the other geniuses in the company. No matter though - I can imagine what a fantastically creative environment it is in there with plenty of contact with the rich clever people who have made Aberdeen a paradise of culture and entrepreneurialism.
The RTPI Centenary Lapel Badge

One sad note to end with. I received my subscription renewal from the RTPI this week. It included a beautiful little lapel badge featuring appropriately enough, a woman called Lex sitting on a fence. It's a clever logo isn't it? With a very appropriate message. Sadly my badge arrived broken in two - the pin had become detached from the badge so I will never be able to wear it. It's a cheap piece of trash from the RTPI - typical. I was distraught though - I would have been so proud to wear it walking down Union Street in Aberdeen, commanding the respect of all who saw me.

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