Our enemy is normal

Bleak House was founded out of fear. 

I know that’s a weird reason to set up a business, but it’s a big part of why we started Bleak House, and it’s what drives much of our decision making.

Our fear is of one small and very simple word: normal.

Even the sound of it makes us a little queasy. 

Normal. Say it out loud: normal. Normal, normal, normal.

To us normal means ordinary, bland, humdrum, orthodox, clichéd, a lack of effort, a lack of imagination. A lack of life.

George Orwell (one of my heroes) said “orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”. And the same might be said of normal.

Normal can infect and affect any aspect of our lives. And it does, if we are not vigilant. Normal bed linen is boring bed linen. Normal weekends are boring weekends. Normal dog accessories are boring dog accessories. Normal umbrellas are boring umbrellas and normal hire cars are boring hire cars. You get the picture.

At Bleak House we set ourselves against normal wherever it strikes. Bleak House is anti-normal. So whenever we are thinking about a new product, we are looking for something anti-normal.

Normal bath mats are made of cotton towelling that gets grubby, soaking wet and ends up being little more than a flannel for the floor. So we found a bath mat made of rush matting, a material that loves water and sits proudly in front of your bath looking anything but normal.

When we create content, such as our guides to day trips out of London, we try and stick it to the world of normal.

Normal hire cars are under-powered and bland, with names like the Fiat Despondent or the Ford Inconsequential. So that’s why we wrote about pimping your short-break with a Land Rover Defender. Because, let’s face it. That’s not normal.

You see how it works: the fear of normal drives us on. It’s as much an inspiration for us as the other values of our brand, from our focus on seasonality to our interest in British manufacturing and craft. 

While every business needs a vision or purpose. It also needs an enemy. And our enemy is normal.

After all we called the business, Bleak House and that ain’t normal.

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September's Bleak House Guide is walk through the City of London featuring medieval buildings, atmospheric alleys and some of Britain's most impressive modern architecture.

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