Celebrate #SpeakCockneyDay on March 3rd – the ‘fird of the ‘fird

The Cockney accent will disappear from the streets of London – it will be brown bread – unless you do something. Linguistic experts predict the Cockney dialect will disappear from London within 20 years.

#SpeakCockneyDay on March 3rd is your chance to do something about it by celebrating what it is to speak, live and be a Cockney, to keep its spirit, sense and slang alive. Cockneys have always had to overcome class snobbery to survive. Now it needs to be seen as relevant to a new generation, a new age, to keep its cultural flame alive

Cockney is more than an accent, or vernacular. It’s a state of being, a character, with virtues of self-reliance, magnanimity, a commercial nous, independence of spirit, egalitarianism, directness, and subversion of pretension and pomposity

Whether born within the sound of Bow Bells, or become a Londoner, or now part of the Cockney diaspora, whatever your place of birth, colour or creed, ‘Speak Cockney Day’ is a time to celebrate Cockney life and culture – and do something to give it a new future.

It is not about being nostalgic, trying to hang onto something that passed its sale date. Rather, it is about preserving a cultural diversity, a richness that defines London and British culture, yet can still add to any new linguistic or cultural melting pot.

Any new hybrid 21st century London language would be better, stronger rooted, by having some Cockney DNA in it. Hence, the need for a ‘Speak Cockney Day’ on March 3rd. A completely non-commercial, independent idea. It’s not pony nor Brad Pitt, but a fight for something worth treasuring.

A creative community, One Minute Briefs created some great inspiring creative to spread the word about #SpeakCockneyDay. I will be sharing their efforts over the next few days on Twitter. Do follow and share.

Why March 3rd?

For ‘Speak Cockney Day’ to survive and flourish it needs a memorable date. Something easily remembered, can be passed on, as well a date that somehow also conveys something of the Cockney spirit

March 3rd – or ‘fird of the ‘fird – with its hint of self-deprecation, seems to fit the bill.

6 fings you can do to celebrate #SpeakCockneyDay

  1. Have a go at speaking or ‘rabbit’ with a Cockney accent. (For the best collection of cockney vernacular on the web check out www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk )
  2. Do an impression of a famous Cockney, a Michael Caine for example, and celebrate the, vernacular and phrases – including rhyming and back slang.
  3. Do a ‘Cockney laugh’, characterized by laughing at others’ misfortune in a forced, repeated way – think of the TV character Alf Garnett.
  4. Do some Cockney dancing as personified by Dick van Dyke in the film ‘Mary Poppins’ or Stanley Holloway. It’s easy. You simply dance holding some imaginary coat lapels.
  5. Have a ruby (curry) with friends and watch some Cockney film classics like ‘Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels’.
  6. Do something for charity to celebrate the innate generosity of the Cockney spirit.

‘appy March 3rd #SpeakCockneyDay

Why Cockney is a cause for celebration – and action

An influential July 2010 report by Paul Kerswill, Professor of Sociolinguistics at Lancaster University, Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety, predicted that the Cockney accent will disappear from London’s streets within 30 years.

Despite the accent having been around for more than 500 years, the report claims it is being replaced in London by a new hybrid language: “Cockney in the East End is now transforming itself into Multicultural London English, a new, melting-pot mixture of all those people living here who learnt English as a second language”.

Conversely, migration of Cockney speakers has led to a ‘Cockney diaspora’ with the dialect, growing out of its traditional East End heartland, to encompass all of London, both sides of the Thames estuary, Essex and wherever Cockneys are in the world.

‘Cockneydom’ is celebrated in music, television and drama – and is a major icon of British culture.

The Cockney vernacular and slang however, has always had a challenge to be accepted. In 1909 the London County Council Conference on the Teaching of English in London Elementary Schools stated, “the Cockney mode of speech, with its unpleasant twang, is a modern corruption without legitimate credentials, and is unworthy of being the speech of any person in the capital city of the Empire.”

Since then, Cockney has superficially become more socially accepted as an alternative form of the English Language rather than an inferior one. Yet scratch the surface of English society, and stigma and snobbery can still prevail. And it is this inferiority complex which could spell the killer blow for ‘Cockney’.

There is a need to assert Cockney – its slang, vernacular and expressions – so it can be a valid part of, and flourish within a new linguistic melting pot that is evolving in London, as well asserting a sense of pride among those who consider themselves Cockney, or admire the Cockney slang and culture.

Yet, an inferiority complex holds back asserting Cockney in the new linguistic melting pot: it’s not saying the old has got to be preserved. Rather, the old can evolve, survive, and flourish if promoted in a new dynamic context.

Any new hybrid 21st century London language would be better, stronger rooted, by having some Cockney DNA in it. Hence, the need for a ‘Speak Cockney Day’ on March 3rd.

How did Speak Cockney Day come about?

I was born in the old East End Maternity Hospital, Stepney and grew up in Poplar. I’m a proud East Ender. As a friend once observed: “You can take Andy out of the East End, but you can’t take the East End out of Andy.”

I have a passion for London culture, even writing a book called ‘Tubespiration – how to get your next brilliant idea on the London Underground’ that combines my other passion for creativity.

My claim to fame is that I once hit a cricket ball under the River Thames (I was playing cricket, when I was kid, near the entrance to Blackwall Tunnel).

Yet I still remember, with some pain, the times being hauled up in front of my junior school classmates and yelled at by the teacher to pronounce my class registration number of ‘33’ ‘properly’: “Green! It’s Thhirty-Thhreeee”.

Needless, to say her efforts were wasted, and in hindsight, profoundly wrong in my view, seeking to impose her cultural values on another.

Regardless,I can now smile about it, and today even celebrate it.

The Vision

‘Speak Cockney Day’ on March 3rd – the ‘fird of the ‘fird – provides a focal point for both celebrating and investing in the future survival of ‘Cockney’.

It’s not about nostalgia, a backward-looking reminisce but rather a positive statement about helping Cockney culture to adapt, grow, and flourish in a new era.

It’s about connecting everyone – celebrities, cockneys, non-cockneys – all who care about our London pride and do your bit keep the Cockney spirit alive, and where possible, help good causes.

It’s a chance to find out more about your Cockney Culture, its rhyming slang, expressions, history, traditions and culture. Celebrate your favourite Cockney heroes, TV shows, films and bands, to enjoy what you think is your London culture so you can help preserve its qualities for future generations.

The day provides a great opportunity to keep the flame of the Cockney spirit alive.

Anyone interested in doing something to help, get involved would be very welcome to get in touch with Andy

Further information

Do get in touch with Andy Green at andy at andygreencreativity.com or phone 07815 884 525 m

Profound new thinking on the future of PR & Comms – do read the winning entries to the Reginald Watts Prize for Insight

If you work in public relations or Comms and want profound new future thinking then ask a group of the industry’s most able under 25-year-olds.

You must read the winning entries to the Reginald Watts Prize for Insight. I was privileged to be part of the judging panel, and I really mean privileged to have had the chance to enjoy some wonderful, inspiring thought pieces.
Reggie was the former Chair of the PRCA, CIPR President, CEO of Burson Marsteller and I was proud to have worked with him and know him as a friend.

The Award, now in their third year, saw Grace MacDougall, Account Executive, Crest Communications take first prize. The standard of entries was so high that had they been submitted at university, each would have gained a first.
The Prize – with trophy and £500 prize – was open to PR and communications practitioners aged 25 and under.

Essays up to 1,000 words, responded to the question: “In an age of a revolution in digital communications how would you define ‘Public Relations’?”. Entries were judged on their demonstration of intelligence, and their forward-looking viewpoints.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “I would like to congratulate Grace MacDougall for winning the Reginald Watts Prize this year. He essay was thought provoking and creative and her win is well deserved. I would also like to congratulate everyone else who was shortlisted for the awards – the quality of entries was extremely high, and they should be proud of themselves. Finally, I would like to thank the judges for their time and expertise.”

I judged alongside Jonathan Chandler CMPRCA, CEO, Quiller Consultants and PR and Communications Council Chairman; Julia Craggs MPRCA, Senior Account Executive, 80:20 Communications and Reginald Watts Prize 2017 winner; and Kirsty Leighton MPRCA, Founder, Milk & Honey PR.

Following Reggie’s passing in 2016, the annual prize commemorates his thought leadership, writing, and forethought. The competition challenges young, aspiring professionals to write thought-provoking essays on the PR and communications industry with a different question is set each year.

The PRCA will be posting all of the finalists’ essays on The PRCA Blog.
Here are the first two entries to enjoy:

Inbound a new way of doing PR and Comms

Does public relations and communications need a new concept of ‘Inbound PR’?

‘Yes’ is the resounding answer from Iliyana Stareva in her new book ‘Inbound PR’, This is an essential read for any forward-thinking Comms and PR professional, and a huge wake up call to a PR industry facing a tsunami of change.

You don’t read this book. You breeze through it. It’s full of profound overviews of the challenges we face coupled with process how-to steps that whisk you from theory to practice, and before you know it, you’re an Inbound PR expert.

Inbound PR is a means of identifying and understanding an audience or public and using its content to start a conversation to build relationships based on meeting a need rather than creating a need. As a result, you build relationships, trust and influence.

It’s all stress-tested from Iliyana’s extensive experience. She bridges thought leadership and thought doing through her work as Global Partner Program Manager at Hubspot. Practising what she preaches, Iliyana has collected her insight, tools and processes in a book.

She argues there are two main reasons why ‘inbound’ is the perfect fit for PR: Read more

Biggest-ever UK-wide Brand Story Tour 2018

I am doing the biggest-ever UK tour to transform the story telling capabilities of public relations and comms professionals. It is taking place in March and April visiting Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and London – with only a few tickets left.

The goal is to enable PR and Comms practitioners move from being tellers of news stories into better storytellers, and outstanding narrative and story strategists, enabling them to be at the forefront as the industry evolves into becoming master storytellers across Owned, Shared, Earned and Paid-for media.

The one day Brand and Brand Story workshop provides delegates with a toolkit with new thinking, strategies and tools to transform how they deliver results at work. The biggest excuse not to do training is ‘I can’t afford to spend a day out of the office.’ The workshop overcomes this by combining working on your own real world challenges coupled with a profound learning and development experience, so avoiding any downtime.

Here’s how one delegate, Emma Wheat of leading food, health and well-being specialists Ceres PR described her experience of the Brand and Brand Story workshop. ”The course really confirmed to me how much more effective and exciting communications can be once a brand story is invoked. Stories attract people, and people are driven to make decisions based on their emotions.” Emma’s full blog can be read here. Read more

Why we need #SpeakCockneyDay on March 3rd

The Cockney accent will disappear from the streets of London – it will be brown bread – unless you do something.#SpeakCockneyDay on March 3rd is celebrating what it is to speak, live and be a Cockney, to keep its spirit, sense and slang alive.

Cockney is more than an accent, or vernacular. It’s a state of being, a character, with virtues of self-reliance, magnanimity, a commercial nous, independence of spirit, egalitarianism, directness, and occasional subversion of, pretension, poshness and pomposity

Linguistic experts however, predict the Cockney dialect faces a diabolical future – and will disappear within 20 years.

Whether you’re born within the sound of Bow Bells, have become a Londoner, or are now part of the Cockney diaspora, whatever your place of birth, colour or creed, ‘Speak Cockney Day’ is a time to celebrate Cockney life and culture – and do something to give it a new future.

Read more

Twixtmas Creative winner

A creative Twixtmas Advent Calendar, featuring 5 different doors to do good in the 5 days between the Christmas and New Year holidays, was the winner of the One Minute Briefs creative challenge, sponsored by my social enterprise Grow Social Capital.

And the winning creative, David Holcroft, is a great example of the wonderful people in our world doing great things to make their world a better place. David is a teacher at Pendleton Sixth Form College in Salford, teaching graphic design and advertising.

“I like to think I do plenty good deeds every day through my work because, as cliché as it sounds, I really do love inspiring and encouraging young people to better themselves.” said David. Read more

End of an era as I sell the Wakefield Media Centre

I am marking the end of an era following the sale of my business, the Wakefield Media & Creativity Centre at King Street, Wakefield.

Being a former ‘Wakefield Business of the Year’, ‘Yorkshire Public Relations Professional of the Year, and ‘Yorkshire Regeneration Pioneer Award’ winner it ends a 35 year relationship with the city and Yorkshire.

I was founder director of the Wakefield Media Centre and former Managing Director of GREEN public relations. I’m now focussing on a new career, based in Barry Island in south Wales, where I am planning to launch in the New Year a new social enterprise, ‘Grow Social Capital’ to tackle the changing levels of social capital in communities across the UK.

I was an active figure in the Wakefield and the Yorkshire business community. I was a former Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Yorkshire group, creating in 1994 the world’s first Festival of Public Relations in Leeds – a week-long celebration of the public relations profession, a member of the first Board for the Huddersfield Media Centre and the Round Foundry Media Centre, Leeds, and also a judge on the Yorkshire Awards. (For my sins I was a member of the panel that bestowed the ‘Yorkshireman of the Year’ award on Jimmy Saville. I did atone with a contrite feature article in the Yorkshire Post many years later.)

For the Wakefield district I served as a Board member on the Wakefield City Centre Partnership, and also the Wakefield Theatres Trust. I set up a residents group at my home on St. John’s Square Wakefield, where on leaving we planted a tree to mark my family’s local roots.

My legacies for Wakefield and Yorkshire include:
• Transforming in the late 1980’s the County’s Yorkshire Day celebrations on August 1st with a national award-winning campaign which raised over 10 years an estimated £250,000 for local charities
• In 1991 saving the Leeds-based Treats Ice Cream company (later to become Richmond Ice Cream) from closure by Unilver
• Conceived and delivered an award-winning creative industries hub, the Wakefield Media Centre, creating new jobs, training opportunities and cultural events in an area hit by the decline of the mining industry and is still running after 14 years
• The ‘Story of Media’ statue on the outside of the Wakefield Media Centre building which I designed with local artist John Milsom
• Opening the first IndyCube co-working centre in England at the Wakefield Media Centre
• Putting Wakefield on the creative industries map with the first major public relations agency to be based in the city and establishing a local creative industries networks, the forerunner to the city’s Cognitiv group, now part of the Wakefield BID
• Creating an Investors in People backed graduate training scheme providing a chance for local graduates to get their first break in PR
• Five of my former staff now running their own public relations agencies in the region
• Was a founder director of the Bully-Banks campaign group which secured partial justice for 18,200 small businesses across the UK who were recognised as victims of bank mis-selling who received £2.2 billion in redress

Reflecting on my time in Wakefield and Yorkshire I became an adopted Yorkshireman and am both proud of helping others during my time, but also sad in marking the end of an era cutting my formal ties to Wakefield and Yorkshire.



We had many good laughs over the years. Like the time I had the idea of inventing a new art form ‘audio sculpture’ by making our Media Centre Britain’s only ‘moo-ing building’ (we broadcast the sound of a cow moo-ing every hour.) I got my old mate Jay Jones, who lives in San Francisco to do a photocall while he was visiting us, posing as a ‘Californian Audio Sculpturist’.


Helping Ireland lead the way in new qualification for Creativity in PR and Comms

I am really delighted to be working in partnership with the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) to launch a new professional qualification in ‘Creativity’ for the communications industry – believed to be a world first – enabling professionals to achieve a competitive advantage in their work.

The course is designed to provide both the strategic and tactical skills to achieve better results in offline and online communications and improve delegates’ management of the creative dimension at work.

Delivered through four linked weekend courses, with assessment based on producing a campaign case study, successful delegates will receive a Certificate in ‘Creativity and Creativity Management in PR and Comms’. Read more

Barry’s first ‘Festival of Ideas’ at the 8th Friendship Festival

I am organising Barry’s first ‘Festival of Ideas’ – a sharing of new ideas, personal passions, and poetry – is taking place as part of the 8th annual Friendship Tree Festival between 11am-4pm on Sunday July 23rd at the Knap gardens, Barry.

The ‘Festival of Ideas’ is a pop-up event aiming to be part platform for the spoken word and part soapbox for anyone in Barry who has anything to say to make the world a better place. It is being organised in my role as founder of the Barry IdeasBank.

It will feature an open mic programme of seven minute slots for anyone who has an idea – so long as it’s not racist, party political, or tedious.

The Festival has already attracted a number of poets sharing their poems along with polemicists speaking on topics such as the need for a universal basic income, why we need to speak to our neighbours, and is there such a thing as ‘Barryitus’?

So, if you’re in the area, bring an idea along with your friends and picnic – and share it.

Read more