Dark Angels Note 93

Dearest Friends,

Staying with design this week, we welcome super strategist, Michael Gough from London brand agency, Sparks Studio


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

I have been doing two things today. I’ve been redrafting the brand positioning for a client. They’re an IT company set up as a social enterprise to help those at the edges of society learn a skill that will lead to work. I’m having a little tussle with the CEO on how to express the company’s values. We’re on the fourth iteration. It feels close to finalising, but it may also be a long way off. And writing the introduction for the next episode of my podcast, Why It Matters. I’ve just released ‘Why Words Matter‘, a thoroughly enjoyable conversation with the esteemed Neil Baker; next is ‘Why Kintsugi Matters’ with international artist Makoto Fujimura. He uses the ancient Japanese craft of repairing ceramics with golden lacquer as a metaphor to reflect on contemporary life.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

I thoroughly enjoyed Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and his exploration of the human experience through the eyes of an AI robot. The story led me to another book – The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. But I need to build up some stamina to tackle that tome.


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

In a workshop (not a Dark Angels one – sorry 😔), I learnt about the four stages of writing. The idea might have come from Roman and Rapherson’s book Writing That Works. In any case, I’ve found it a helpful framework. The four stages are characters, each with a specific and distinct role:

Madman – start writing, get it out and onto the paper.
Architect – bring structure and form to the chaos.
Carpenter – apply some craft to refine and strengthen it.
Judge – step back and decide if it’s any good.


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

Down tools and do something else; make tea, go for a walk, take out the rubbish, play a record, get beaten at Fifa by my soon to be thirteen-year-old.


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

The Book of God by Walter Wangerin. It’s a wonderfully engaging, imaginative, colourful and human retelling of the Bible’s sweeping meta-narrative. A fresh expression of an ancient story.

Thank you Michael. And congratulations on a great podcast series. Would love to know more about how that came about and how you selected the topics. We’ll grab you another time for that 😉.



Telling Stories – A One Day Workshop
There’s still a couple of places available on this one day course. 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 here.


Online Advanced Course
Jamie Jauncey & Richard Pelletier return in May to guide you deeper into the world of Dark Angels with exercises that build on the Foundation Course and bring a greater focus on developing your personal writing voice.

A mix of live online sessions, fast-paced writing exercises, and time spent on your own, we’ll help you find surprising new ways to explore language, as we draw on storytelling, business communications, fiction and poetry.

The Details
Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month.
Dates: each Tuesday & Thursday, May 2 – 26
UK 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm
US East Coast  12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
US West Coast 9.30 am – 11.30 am

Fee: £795 / E895 / $1095
Full course details are on the website. Contact Susanne to book your place.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
Neil is taking a break from gatherings next week but he’ll be back on Tuesday 19th April.


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

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.