Welcome to www.soof.co.uk


From here you can find out what we can offer you for your venue, whether that maybe a DJ & disco, party, presentation or PA needs. We’ve also been involved in all manner of media & radio since 1992.

You’ll also find a handy checklist to make sure you get the best value for your event & why you should book us.

This blog has changed much since it’s inception in 2009. It was once split into work and personal – now it’s just the one

Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of me and do not necessarily represent those of any organisation I work for.

PS You’ll see this kind of thing a lot around the interweb – it’s as much use as a chocolate teapot – or the word allegedly



Email Etiquette Tips

  1. Be concise and to the pointemail_16-9_rdax_178x100
  2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions
  3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation
  4. Make it personal
  5. Use templates for frequently used responses
  6. Answer swiftly
  7. Do not attach unnecessary files
  8. Use proper structure & layout
  9. Do not overuse the high priority option
  10. Do not write in CAPITALS
  11. Don’t leave out the message thread
  12. Read the email before you send it
  13. Do not overuse Reply to All
  14. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge
  15. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons
  16. Be careful with formatting
  17. Take care with rich text and HTML messages
  18. Do not forward chain letters
  19. Do not request delivery and read receipts
  20. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission
  21. Do not use email to discuss confidential information
  22. Use a meaningful subject
  23. Use active instead of passive
  24. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT
  25. Avoid long sentences
  26. Don’t send emails containing libelous, defamatory, or offensive remarks
  27. Don’t forward virus hoaxes and chain letters
  28. Don’t reply to spam
  29. Use cc: field sparingly


1. Be concise and to the point.

Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an email is harder than reading printed communications and a long email can be very discouraging to read.

2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions.

An email reply must answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions. If you do not answer all the questions in the original email, you will receive further emails regarding the unanswered questions, which will not only waste your time and your recipient’s time but also cause considerable frustration. Moreover, if you are able to pre-empt relevant questions, your recipient will be grateful and impressed with your efficient and thoughtful customer service.

3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation.

This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of the university, it is also important for conveying the message properly. Emails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes even change the meaning of the text. And, if your program has a spell checking option, why not use it?

4. Make it personal.

Not only should the email be personally addressed, it should also include personal i.e. customized content. For this reason auto replies are usually not very effective. However, templates can be used effectively in this way, see next tip.

5. Use templates for frequently used responses.

Some questions you get over and over again, such as directions to your office or how to subscribe to your newsletter. Save these texts as response templates and paste these into your message when you need them. You can save your templates in a Word document, or use pre-formatted emails.

6. Answer swiftly.

People send an email because they wish to receive a quick response. If they did not want a quick response they would send a letter or a fax. Therefore, each email should be replied to within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If the email is complicated, just send an email back saying that you have received it and that you will get back to them. This will put the their mind at rest and usually they will then be very patient!

7. Do not attach unnecessary files.

By sending large attachments you can annoy your recipients and even bring down their email system. Wherever possible try to compress attachments and only send attachments when they are productive.

8. Use proper structure & layout.

Since reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper, the structure and lay out is very important for email messages. Use short paragraphs and blank lines between each paragraph. When making points, number them or mark each point as separate to keep the overview.

9. Do not overuse the high priority option.

We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. If you overuse the high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need it. Moreover, even if a mail has high priority, your message will come across as slightly aggressive if you flag it as ‘high priority’.

10. Do not write in CAPITALS.

IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can be highly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response. Therefore, try not to send any email text in capitals.

11. Don’t leave out the message thread.

When you reply to an email, you must include the original mail in your reply, in other words click ‘Reply’, instead of ‘New Mail’. Some people say that you must remove the previous message since this has already been sent and is therefore unnecessary. However, if you receive many emails you obviously cannot remember each individual email. This means that a ‘threadless email’ will not provide enough information and you will have to spend a frustratingly long time to find out the context of the email in order to deal with it. Leaving the thread might take a fraction longer in download time, but it will save the recipient much more time and frustration in looking for the related emails in their inbox!

12. Read the email before you send it.

A lot of people don’t bother to read an email before they send it out, as can be seen from the many spelling and grammar mistakes contained in emails. Apart from this, reading your email through the eyes of the recipient will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.

13. Do not overuse Reply to All.

Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by each person who received the original message.

14. Large Mailings use the Bcc: field or do a mail merge.

When sending an email mailing, some people place all the email addresses in the To: field. There are two drawbacks to this practice: (1) the recipient knows that you have sent the same message to a large number of recipients, and (2) you are publicizing someone else’s email address without their permission. One way to get round this is to place all addresses in the Bcc: (blind carbon copy) field. However, the recipient will only see the address from the To: field in their email, so if this was empty, the To: field will be blank and this might look like spamming. You could include the mailing list email address in the To: field, or even better, if you have Microsoft Outlook and Word you can do a mail merge and create one message for each recipient. A mail merge also allows you to use fields in the message so that you can for instance address each recipient personally. For more information on how to do a Word mail merge, consult the Help in Word.

15. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons.

In business emails, try not to use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally not appropriate. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-). If you are not sure whether your recipient knows what it means, it is better not to use it.

16. Be careful with formatting.

Remember that when you use formatting in your emails, the sender might not be able to view formatting, or might see different fonts than you had intended. When using colors, use a color that is easy to read on the background.

17. Take care with rich text and HTML messages.

Be aware that when you send an email in rich text or HTML format, the sender might only be able to receive plain text emails. If this is the case, the recipient will receive your message as a .txt attachment. Most email clients however, including Microsoft Outlook, are able to receive HTML and rich text messages.

18. Do not forward chain letters.

Do not forward chain letters. We can safely say that all of them are hoaxes. Just delete the letters as soon as you receive them.

19. Do not request delivery and read receipts.

This will almost always annoy your recipient before he or she has even read your message. Besides, it usually does not work anyway since the recipient could have blocked that function, or his/her software might not support it. If you want to know whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let you know if it was received.

20. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission.

Do not copy a message or attachment belonging to another user without permission of the originator. If you do not ask permission first, you might be infringing on copyright laws.

21. Do not use email to discuss confidential information.

Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board, don’t send it. Moreover, never make any libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.

22. Use a meaningful subject.

Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself. For instance, when you send an email to a company requesting information about a product, it is better to mention the actual name of the product, e.g. ‘Product A information’ than to just say ‘product information’ or the company’s name in the subject.

23. Use active instead of passive.

Try to use the active voice of a verb wherever possible. For instance, ‘We will process your request today’, sounds better than ‘Your request will be processed today’. The first sounds more personal, whereas the latter, especially when used frequently, sounds unnecessarily formal.

24. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT.

Even more so than the high-priority option, you must at all times try to avoid these types of words in an email or subject line. Only use this if it is a really, really urgent or important message.

25. Avoid long sentences.

Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words. Email is meant to be a quick medium and requires a different kind of writing than letters. Also take care not to send emails that are too long. If a person receives an email that looks like a dissertation, chances are that they will not even attempt to read it!

26. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, or offensive remarks.

By sending or even just forwarding one libelous, or offensive remark in an email, you and your business can face court cases resulting in penalties.

27. Don’t forward virus hoaxes and chain letters.

If you receive an email message warning you of a new unstoppable virus that will immediately delete everything from your computer, this is most probably a hoax. By forwarding hoaxes you use valuable bandwidth and sometimes virus hoaxes contain viruses themselves, by attaching a so-called file that will stop the dangerous virus. The same goes for chain letters that promise incredible riches or ask your help for a charitable cause. Even if the content seems to be bona fide, the senders are usually not. Since it is impossible to find out whether a chain letter is real or not, the best place for it is the recycle bin.

28. Don’t reply to spam.

By replying to spam or by unsubscribing, you are confirming that your email address is ‘live’. Confirming this will only generate even more spam. Therefore, just hit the delete button or use email software to remove spam automatically.

29. Use cc: field sparingly.

Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows why they are receiving a copy of the message. Using the cc: field can be confusing since the recipients might not know who is supposed to act on the message. Also, when responding to a cc: message, should you include the other recipient in the cc: field as well? This will depend on the situation. In general, do not include the person in the cc: field unless you have a particular reason for wanting this person to see your response. Again, make sure that this person will know why they are receiving a copy.

NEWS: Poetic start to @velvetcoalminer

image001Velvet Coalmine, the Blackwood festival of writing, rock & roll and coal, has officially begun with a set of outstanding lyrical poets from Wales, the UK and Africa.

Velvet Coalmine, which takes place from 7 to 16 September in multiple venues across Blackwood, will bring the best in arts, literature and music to the town to inspire the community and raise the profile of the area.

 To start the festivities, last night spoken word performers, Tongue Fu filled Blackwood Little Theatre with its experimental live literature, music, film and improvisation. The poetic set included lively recitals from local poet, playwright and performer, Clare Potter plus Africa Writes performing in Wales for the very first time.

Over the next two weeks, Velvet Coalmine will bring some well-known faces to the valleys town including Double Olympic Taekwondo Champion and Wales Sports Personality of the Year, Jade Jones MBE, The One Show’s science presenter, Marty Jopson, and comedian, Mike Wozniak.

With literature at the heart of the festival, there will be appearances from Young People’s Laureate Wales, Sophie McKeand and National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn. While a new playwriting and one-act play competition allows theatre groups and aspiring writers to embrace the event.

Africa Writes, the annual celebration of African contemporary literature in London will bring poetry performances, workshops for teachers, book club discussions and creative writing sessions as part of their tour of Africa and the UK.

Plus, the Children’s Literature Festival will return for a second year, created by Velvet Coalmine with backing from Blackwood Town Council to inspire, stimulate and engage school children through creative workshops with some of the best writers in Wales.

Blackwood, nestled in the heart of the valleys, is one of the most deprived towns in the UK with a higher than the national average level of young people leaving school with either no qualifications or GCSE at grade D (31.4% vs. 25.9%). Velvet Coalmine aims to tackle the issues the community faces, by educating and inspiring the young people who live there.

Iain Richards, founder of Velvet Coalmine, said: “We’ve worked hard to make this year’s line-up truly international, inspirational and aspirational to give everyone in the area an opportunity to engage with the arts. Last night was an incredible start and we can’t wait for the rest of the festival.”

For the full Velvet Coalmine programme and to get your tickets, visit: velvetcoalmine.com

INFO: How to remotely access your voicemail from another device

Dead on battery? Lost your phone?

Follow these instructions on how to access your voicemail from another device

For Vodafone users:

1)    Dial 07836121121
2)    Select Option 2
3)    Enter your mobile number
4)    Enter your pin – When prompted enter your pin or passcode. This is same pin you use when accessing your voicemail from your own phone. If you do not know your pin and you are a Callmaster Mobile customer, please do get in touch with us, we can request a pin re-set for you.
5)    Listen to your messages.

For EE users:

1)    Dial 07953222222
2)    Select Option 2
3)    Enter your mobile number
4)    Enter your pin – When prompted enter your pin or passcode. This is same pin you use when accessing your voicemail from your own phone. If you do not know your pin and you are a Callmaster Mobile customer, please do get in touch with us, we can request a pin re-set for you.
5)    Listen to your messages.

For O2 users:

1)    Dial your own number
2)    Press *
3)    Enter your pin – When prompted enter your pin or passcode. This is same pin you use when accessing your voicemail from your own phone. If you do not know your pin and you are a Callmaster Mobile customer, please do get in touch with us, we can request a pin re-set for you.
4)    Listen to your messages.

REVIEW: @crazyforyoutour @TheCentre #Cardiff


5. CRAZY FOR YOU. Tom Chambers 'Bobby'. Photo Richard DavenportWhat’s not to love about crazy for you?


Classic Gershwin tunes, old style vaudeville humour and some exceptional set pieces makes for one Crazy for you type night out.


20170905_180759877_ios.jpgCurrently on their UK Tour and in Wales Millennium Centre till Saturday 9th September, you’ve got time to spend an evening in the presence of some exceptionally talented people.

Starring Strictly winners Tom Chambers (2008) & Caroline Flack (2014) plus a plethora of musical and theatre talent, what sets this apart from your normal musical happens right at the beginning with the announcement that every instrument played on stage, is played live. What that brings is a different kind of dynamic to the set pieces and choreography – they’re not just singing and dancing, but they’re playing the music. It gives a feel of a raw one off performance – which in fairness they’ve probably done hundreds of times previous and will continue with each new performance.

18. CRAZY FOR YOU. Tom Chambers 'Bobby' and Charlotte Wakefield 'Polly' and Company. Photo Richard Davenport.Special mention about Tom Chambers, now before this all I knew about him was he’d been in Strictly and done “quite well” – yes, I realise this is so far off the mark, but on seeing him perform I thought at first, he was one of the professional dancers in the series and not an actor – to which his Strictly skills are there for all to see, as is his comic timing.

Charlotte Wakefield, although maybe not a name you might know, certainly has musical theatre running through her veins. A performance, although understated at times, certainly could steal the show.

Caroline Flack (why do I want to be Peter Dickson when I read that aloud) does have one moment which showcases her abilities quite well, without having to be compared to anyone else.

Crazy For You UK Tour

Photo Credit : The Other RichardIt’s a proper fun family musical. It’s a Sunday afternoon black and white film to watch after you’ve had your roast beef – that might sound a little trite, but these days it seems musicals like this are few and far between, no matter whether your 8 or 80, you’ll certain find you have rhythm – and no, no one will be taking it away from me either.

Review by Patrick Downes