Last week I got two emails from organisations who didn’t quite get it right. The first one was inviting me to apply for the Asian Businesswoman of the Year Awards. That was nice of them, but I think they’ll find that if they looked at me closely I would fail to qualify on perhaps the…

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All the talk about Lance Armstrong lately has got us thinking about our own cycling superstar. What a difference. Sir Bradley Wiggins told the Guardian last year that he’d consider accepting a knighthood as long as he’d be called Sir Wiggo. Now he says that he’ll only apply his title in a comedy way, but…

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When I was a teenager, my town was twinned with a Paris suburb. They got to visit Jarrow and South Shields, and we got the Champs Elysées and Versailles. (They also got Lindisfarne, Durham Cathedral and the Whitley Bay leisure pool, so it wasn’t all one way.) When we were allowed to wander around the…

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Last month we met a business writer who’d been taught never to use adverbs (-ly words) at work. This rule comes from the world of fiction writing, where the modern novelist is looking for page-turning pace, and adverbs are seen as baggage and clutter. There are creative writing course tutors who’ll take a red pen…

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