Dark Angels Note 84

Dearest Friends,

Today, we scoot back across the pond to hear from John Dodds, Brand Strategist and Senior Member of boutique consultancy The Sharp End.


1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now. 

I am lucky to be working on a veritable pot pourri of interesting projects at the moment. One is a Chamber of Commerce project I am crafting called “The Great Realisation.” There is so much talk about “The Great Resignation” but that is one only one element of a far deeper change in our society as a result of COVID, that will shape our lives probably forever.

I’m also working with our State Small Business Centres to unearth their uniqueness. There has never been a more important time for any organisation, large or small, to seriously consider who they are, what they do, and what makes them special.

Finally, I’m hoping to finalize my podcast this year focused on inspirational people from all walks of life, exploring what shapes both them, and their craft.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

For quick fixes, I tend to follow copywriters on LinkedIn. Cole Shafer, Nicolas Cole, Eddie Shleyner, George Tannenbaum, and Dave Harland are all writers with wonderful writing tips, great prose, and sardonic humour. For something deeper, I am currently re-reading We Me Them and It.  I’m enjoying it so much more the second time around. Not many people can combine biography, poetry, business writing tips, and case studies so seamlessly. But that’s the magic of our own John Simmons. That is top of a rather large 2022 reading pile.


3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?  

Jamie Jauncey and John Simmons introduced me to the concept of “Free Writing”. This is not to be confused with “Automatic Writing” which I understand has something to do with psychic ability – Darker Angels perhaps?  The whole process seemed rather counterintuitive until I sank my teeth into it. Now I realise that it is a wonderful way of putting pen to paper and getting the show on the road. Something Mica Allan calls a “brain cleanser”.  I also liked the advice by Nicholas Cole in his book The Art and Business of Online Writing. He urges writers “to be more specific.” “The broader we are the more confusing we are”. He gives an example of “she walked into the store” which is broad, “she dragged her feet as she walked into the bodega is more specific”. It’s rather like Neil Baker encouraging us to “go deep” with our writing.


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.

Haha. The dreaded combination of imposter syndrome and procrastination all wrapped up in a neat little package and plopped on the desk. I tend to back away carefully from the desk, make a cappuccino and walk over to the window to watch the birds nibbling away on the bird feeder outside. At this time of year, especially with the snow on the ground, the contrast in colour and variety of birds is very therapeutic. It also adds up to rather too many cappuccinos in January.


5. What’s your desert island book and why? 

The book I would choose to take with me on a desert island would be All Of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver. It is always by my side, and I love dipping into it for a dose of reality, a new surprise, or just good old inspiration. He is an elegant rule breaker. The book is also special to me because it was gifted to me by a dear friend at an important time in my life. The book and the relationship remain as strongly bound as when the book was given to me 22 years ago.


Thank you, John. Carver is always a favourite among the Angels; his poetry is full of heart. And let us know when the podcast is ready for broadcast. We’ll be listening 🎧.


Spring Foundation Course
We’re excited to be running the four-week online version of our acclaimed Foundation Course again. The course introduces and explores our core principles – great for first-timers and returners alike (see the website for more). It’s limited to eight places and will be led by Neil Baker and Jamie Jauncey, with spot visits by guest tutors from the Dark Angels family.

Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month:
Each Monday & Thursday, 7 to 31 March, UK 5.30-7.30pm
US East Coast 12.30-2.30pm
US West Coast 9.30am-11.30pm
Fee: £795, €895, $1095
Limited to eight placesSpread the love and refer a friend or colleague! If they sign up, you get 10% off your next workshop, course or retreat.
Need a refresher? There’s always something new to take from this Dark Angels classic. 10% off for returning Angels!

Drop Susanne an email to save your seat.


John & Jamie In Conversation (Save the Date)
Online Thursday, 3rd March 2022

Join us for an online conversation with John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey. Exclusive to Dark Angels, this will be a convivial gambol around the challenges, questions and stories that lie behind John’s book. More details to follow.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
The Tuesday night gatherings will be taking a break this Tuesday (1st February), but Neil will be back as usual on the 8th, so please join us then.


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.. 

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.