Little at large

Did 'E' actually ask for the outer Siberia portfolio?

* Third sector ministers tend to have a shorter life expectancy than Premiership football managers. The latest incumbent, Angela E Smith, is the ninth since Labour came to power. (Is the 'E' to differentiate her from the other Angela Smith, MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, or does it signify a spiritual affinity with misanthropic Mancunian singer Mark E Smith?)

Smith's own tenure is highly unlikely to last more than 12 months, given the date of the next general election and her precarious majority in Basildon, but at least we might get some enthusiasm in the meantime.

Apparently, Smith personally asked Gordon Brown for the charities brief, considered in some circles the outer Siberia of ministerial portfolios. There may have been more people trying to leave the Government than join it when Smith made her plea, but let's look on the bright side.

* We've had the nude charity calendar for years, but now the sector is about to experience something rather more hardcore.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, the charity registered last month in memory of the woman kicked to death in a park in 2007 because she was dressed as a Goth, wants to run an awareness campaign featuring a naked Goth - apparently to drive home the message that we're all the same underneath.

The agency behind the campaign even secretly wants the advert to fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority and be banned, so as to give the fledging charity, committed to educating young people about subcultures, a publicity boost.

* Charity TV adverts tend to be on the sweet side of saccharine - images of helpless children and animals overladen with a commentary so pleading it makes you feel like a kitten murderer if you don't give.

But there is an alternative. An evaluation of Remember a Charity's Last Wishes spring TV campaign found that a dark approach actually works.

Adverts including a biker who wanted his coffin to be in the shape of a motorbike seemed to strike a chord. Stephen George of Remember a Charity said he was pleased because "we used humour for the first time". Humour, eh? Interesting concept.

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