Right-Arm Fast Refugees

In a sporting world riddled with meddling bureaucracy, and newspapers offering up double-page spreads that further layer the papier-mâché ego of Kevin Peitersen, the achievements of the Afghanistan Cricket Team are an unlikely triumph of the human, and underdog, spirit.

Their sole, one-wicket victory at the ICC Cricket World Cup over Scotland earlier this month has become the pinnacle of the journey that has quite literally brought Afghan cricket home to a country dogged by political upheaval, invasion, and outright war.

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#jesuischarlie – Why People Should Read: A Response to the Charlie Hebdo Killings.

My reaction developed slowly. I was at work; the chef mentioned a terrorist attack in France. I got home and read various articles from the BBC. I proofread my sister’s dissertation and picked up thought-lost rugby boots. What I learned angered me. I decided to download a picture onto my phone and post it to various social media accounts with the following text:

‘’#jesuischarlie For me, truth that can be found in fiction, satire and art in all its forms is the best education of all; timelessly teaching us more about humanity and being human than any statistic government, doctrine or ideology ever could.

In other words, if more people fucking read, and read widely, the world would be a much better place.’’

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Backpackers: Don’t Judge the ‘Abbos’ – Blog Action Day 2014 #inequality

There are two reasons why I am writing this blog:

Firstly, October 16th is Blog Action Day, a great opportunity for the written word to try and do some global good.

Secondly, during my trip to Australia earlier this year I read Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, or in the US ‘In A Sunburned Country’. It was a fantastic companion; serving as a second pair of eyes and peeling back their weary yet amazed lids to more than one thing that may have otherwise passed unnoticed.

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Brutal Simplicity – Why everyone should read John Williams’ ‘Stoner’.

My mother’s keen eye for a Christmas present that would be wholly appreciated and wholly unexpected is the reason I came into possession of Stoner.

But the reason it came into the back-rooms of the bookshop she brought it from, is a tale far more mysterious. A book that fell through the cracks of western readership in the 1960’s burst to life in 2013; a literary phoenix second only to Dumbledore’s Fawkes.

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Fiji – Part 1 – Bula!

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First (proper) blog post. This better be above average.

I went to Fiji and noticed some things I thought were interesting.

The edges of a fleshed out and dried coconut-bowl are circular in general, yet the edge itself is rough and uneven. This provides a pretty good analogy from which to begin an observation about Fijian society: community in the Fijian sense is circular in structure, and everyone is more or less equal. Sort of. They’re a bit relaxed about the whole thing.

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Management and The Seagull Joke

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A seagull and / or management consultant.

I didn’t get the marketing job, but In the process I was asked to write a bit about management consultants…

When I think of management consultants, I am reminded of a joke my aunt used to tell by a warm, Dickensian fireside, brandy in hand, on a cold, winters night: ‘’Management consultants are like seagulls; they swoop in, swoop out, leave a huge mess and have a large bill.’’

Needless to say, the setting is false, but the joke, and its apparent hilarity, is unfortunately very real (she herself was previously an employee of Gemini Consulting).

Alongside this, the only thoughts I seem to be able to conjure up are of suits, briefcases, and the Big Smoke – an appropriate blend of vague, grey and possibly pinstriped images.

This conclusively reveals my lack of hard knowledge about management consulting. However, it’s a start. Hopefully the joke would not exist if it was not grounded in some sort of truth. The seagull is opportunistic; it sees a situation from which it can benefit, and thus swoops down to take advantage of it.

This could be applied to much business practice, but then again, business is exactly what consultants deal with, and in: it is the immaterial. The service rendered. The tertiary industry that alone makes up 70-80% of the UK’s GDP.

Ok, that’s all well and good, but how do you manufacture the immaterial? How do consultants keep on making money for their firms? In seeking an answer to this, I defer to a quote from the currently popular TV show, Game of Thrones:

‘’Chaos is a ladder’’ quips Littlefinger; a sly, Machiavellian advisor to the King.

Perhaps chaos maybe a little too dramatic, what consultants thrive upon would appear to be change. The role itself is reactionary; if there is no stimulus to respond to, then how can consultants swoop in and advise upon how to navigate a rough patch in the market, and as a result, climb the ladder?

Whilst they may be Herculean in times of change, periods of stagnation would appear to be the consultants’ Achilles Heel. As Fiona Czerniawska writes in her blog ‘Thought Leadership: In Need of a New Leader’: ‘’[thought leadership] was stuck, Groundhog Day-like, in the mindset of 1916…’’. With a global economy slowly clawing its way out of recession, here likened to the near-dormant middle stages of the First World War, companies were beginning to invest more freely, but not in consultancy.

Further impotence would seem be suggested by the lack of ability of the management consultant to create the ‘’chaos’’ in which he or she can thrive. And this is where the comparison with our seagull does finally fall apart.

A seagull may adjust its flight-path along a sandy shore to intercept the unsuspecting child with her cone of deep fried food, and in the chaos that ensues, steal a chip, and fly off in an up-draft of glory.

The management consultant must queue in line at the kiosk, and await his turn in the fried potato pecking order of opportunity.