Dark Angels Note 87

Dearest Friends,

Welcome back to our Friday note. This week we talk to the quite brilliant writer and corporate reporting expert, Claire Bodanis. You might also know her as the founder of corporate communications and reporting agency, Falcon Windsor.


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

It’s February. December year end annual reports haven’t quite published yet, March ones are in full writerly swing. So it’s reporting all the way… but perhaps what is rather nice is that I have just started working on my 21st annual report for Tate & Lyle. I didn’t always write them, but I have always been involved in some way or another, and for the last two years have written the strategic report (the story bit for the non-reporters amongst you). The eagle-eyed amongst you might realise that 21 years pre-dates Falcon Windsor; yes – Tate & Lyle were that wonderful thing in clients, they moved with me. It’s why my own book on reporting, as of Oct 21 now in its second edition (Gill did say I could have a shameless plug), is dedicated to my TL client. And even if you’re not that interested in reporting, you might enjoy the read – did you know that all writing was invented for corporate reporting? Find out more here:www.trustmeimlisted.com.

2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

Aside from the answer to question 5 below, Towards a Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times by Anna Rowlands. I went to its launch last night, and pretty fab it was too. But why read it? (Aside from Anna being my best friend!) To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have recommended it if I hadn’t gone to the launch, because I haven’t started reading it yet – but hearing Anna talk about it was utterly inspiring. It’s all about reshaping society in a fairer way – but, although she’s an academic, it’s not just your usual theoretical verbiage (apologies to academics amongst you who are also good writers!). Anna does fascinating and useful work on the ground dealing with real, practical problems for society so it’s a genuinely thoughtful and realistic look at how we could make the world a better and fairer place for all.


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

Read what you’ve written out loud when you’ve finished. It’s astonishing what you find. And yes, even if it’s long – we read our annual reports from cover to cover with our clients, we insist on booking three days into their schedule. They grouse about it the first year, but having done it once, there’s nothing like the zeal of the converted.


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

Have a cup of tea. Although I do that when I’m not stuck too, come to think of it… in fact a cup of tea is the answer at pretty much any time. Although if it’s before lunch it’s Earl Grey; if it’s after, Lapsang Souchong. No milk, just sugar or sweetener.


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

If I were on my own on a desert island – the ultimate horror for an extreme extrovert like me – I’d need something hopeful and uplifting to read. Also something that has wonderful characters so I could imagine that they were there with me; a cracking good story to keep me entertained; and long enough that it would keep me going for a bit, and not have to wait too long before I could start reading it again. What else could it be but The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien? (Which I generally reread about once a year anyway – indeed, I am currently hurtling towards the end of volume II, The Two Towers, with Frodo, Sam and Gollum.)


Lovely, Claire. Thank you so much. Would love to be a fly on the wall in those read back boardroom sessions. And don’t worry, rescue missions will be mounted tout de suite. if you get stranded. 




John & Jamie In Conversation – Desert Island Poems
Online Thursday, 3rd March 2022 on Zoom at 6pm (UK time).
This is a free event, but please register here.

Drop into the desert island where Dark Angels co-founders, John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey, will be chatting about ten poems featured in John’s just republished book We, Me, Them and It. Hear them read by angelic guests, and find out what the stories are behind the choices. It will be a gentle, relaxing and inspiring conversation about poetry’s ability to reach parts other kinds of writing rarely do.


Telling Stories – A One Day Workshop
Join Neil Baker and John Simmons to explore new ways of using storytelling techniques in your business and personal writing. We’ll be working with a series of creative and playful exercises to help you make, shape and remake powerful stories. If you’re new to Dark Angels, the day will be a perfect introduction to our approach to business writing and creativity. And if you’ve worked with us before, it’s a chance to try new exercises and recharge your creative batteries.

Date: 27th April 10:30 – 16:30
Venue: October Gallery, Central London
Fee: £275
Reserve your place by emailing susanne@dark-angels.org.uk.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
This is a lovely hour of reading, writing and communing. Everyone is welcome; in fact invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. 


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

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.