It's New Bunhill. No Danger

BUNHILL
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The Independent Online
You may have noticed something different about my portrait today: that rather superbly sculpted smattering of hair below my mouth. Your correct response, however, will not be: "What's Bunhill doing with that silly goatee beard?" But rather, in the dignified marketing parlance of the modern day: "Ah, I see old Bunhill has undergone a corporate face- lift; he's been repackaged and repositioned for the Nineties."

In short, I'm now a brand, a premium product, a value-added column. Logos are the new rock'n'roll, they say, and in the fast-changing sector of Olde Worlde diarists one has to reach out to a young audience, optimise consumer awareness and maximise market penetration.

While we've been unable to match the millions lavished by British Airways on repositioning the squiggle in its corporate logo, efficiency savings (we've saved on efficiency) achieved by the celebrated design team of Baseball Cap, Deck Shoe and Ponytail (BCDSAP) have enabled us to produce this cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing trademark.

This is just the start, however. Expect a series of strategic partnerships and cross-promotions as I seek to pay my way and extract value for my masters. Coming soon: the MacBunhill burger (plenty of beef and best consumed with relish), AlcoBun (seems harmless but packs a punch), the Bun Wig (essential when shaved heads go out of fashion) and, finally, the Bun (a bread roll).

One day I'll be everywhere. You have been warned.

On the subject of marketing, this is your last chance to enter Bunhill's new brand name contest. Just think of a fast-selling name for an everyday product - snuff, washing blue, collar studs, that sort of thing. A short list will be sent to the fine fellows at Landor Associates, who will be report back on their feasibility. A bottle of St Giggles bubbly is waiting for whomever comes up with the idea that I would be most likely to spend my thruppenny bits on.

Hot air/Tony Blair

Far be it for me to show fear or favour to parties of any political hue, but it would be churlish not to lend some assistance to Conservative Central Office after the "Demon Eyes" debacle.

It's a shame to drop a good idea because it's been poorly executed, so here's my alternative suggestion based on Cockney rhyming slang: "Demon Pies". Simply superimpose two pork pies on to Tony Blair's mince pies and finish it off with the slogan "New Labour. New Porkies". Maurice Saatchi, eat your heart out.

Many a paean has been penned of late in honour of that endangered species the Routemaster - those London buses that have a gap where the door ought to be. Quite right, too. When it comes to comparisons with the driver- only door-crunchers that now proliferate, it's an open and shut case - as the following scenarios illustrate.

First, you are at the head of a 30-strong queue as a new-model bus pulls up at the stop and traps a line of cars behind it. You've forgotten to get your change ready and you're already feeling the pressure. Fumbling in your wallet you spill coins all over the floor, and as you look up apologetically at the driver, a think bubble appears above his head - "tourist!!!", it says.

Second, in the idyllic world of the Routemaster, you hop on the bus, take a seat and hand over a pounds 20 note to the conductor. He shrugs and smiles and says it's all in a day's work on the buses. You both have a laugh about it and agree you must keep in touch - maybe have a drink some time. Meanwhile, your fellow passengers take advantage of the hiatus to get off without paying. Everybody's happy.

All quite credible of course, but not, if we're honest, the real reason we want to preserve the Routemaster. For the truth we must return to our school-day "rites of passage" when, instead of joining a queue at the stop, we stood back 30 yards from the road at the nearest junction and then ran for the bus as it motored past at 20 miles an hour. With one successful bound, we secured the undying admiration of our peers. With one failed bound, we tripped on the deck, bruised our calves and pleaded "I'm fine, I'm fine" as we stared up into the pitying gaze of a grandmother.

So, you see, the arguments of speed, efficiency and convenience propounded by Routemaster fans are beside the point; when all's said and done, commuters just want to have fun. Now move along inside, please.

Height of nonsense

Predictably, Sir Norman Foster's proposed 1,265-foot Millennium Tower has been derided by critics for threatening the uniformity of London's skyline. Well, I have just two words for these doom-mongers: grow up.

After all, does St Paul's Cathedral still incur the wrath of the heavens? Does BT Tower still provoke angry phone calls from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells? Does the Oxo tower still cause a stir...?

No, the solution for blots on the landscape is to keep the blots coming. As the picture above shows, this is perfectly feasible both economically and aesthetically. First install two giant wind turbines, thus making London the ecological as well as financial capital of Europe and providing valuable air-conditioning to the tower's oxygen-starved inhabitants (should there be any). Then lean a ladder against the tower; simply climb up to the office in the event of the lifts breaking down. Third, build a 1,400- foot Ferris Wheel which will offer a pleasingly panoramic perspective of the City and provide fun for all the family ... but, please, you go first.

And, finally, Bunhill invites... We all know of words admirably suited to their purpose - onomatopoeia like "smack" and "bang", and cumbersome constructions such as "bureaucracy". But how about words that are abjectly inappropriate. To kick off the debate, I nominate "monosyllable" (quite a lot of syllables for a grunt), "gauche" (much too arty a word for adolescent awkwardness) and "breakfast" (if going without Weetabix for 10 hours is fasting then I'm overdue for an angelic visitation). Your correspondence is cordially welcomed.

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