"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Gong at: #1 Sir Richard Branson

In British slang the word "gong" means a medal. It originated in the military but now enjoys widespread use. When Blighty's Blog throws a gong at somebody it means we admire his or her achievements.

Win a $5 Gift Voucher
Is there somebody you think we should throw a gong at? Send us your suggestion, with your reasons, using the "comments" link below this post. If we agree we'll send you a gift voucher redeemable by mail order or in person at Blighty's Tuck Store. Our only stipulation is that the person you suggest must be a prominent and well-known personality in Britain.

The Virgin King
Some call him "the Virgin King". Indeed, Sir Richard Branson is the head of The Virgin Group, a vast corporate empire encompassing everything from music to space travel.

You Will Go to Prison Young Man
Richard Branson was born in the south of England in 1950 and distinguished himself as an unusual character from an early age. The headmaster at his school told him he would either go to prison or become a millionaire. Branson went on to become a billionaire.

His anti-establishment style is reflected in his outlandish publicity stunts and non-conformist business practices. Branson has set world speed records for crossing the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean and has made several death-defying attempts to circle the globe in a hot-air balloon.

Arise Sir Richard
Branson received his knighthood from the Queen in 1999 following a business career that had already been in progress for nearly 30 years. Starting with a mail order record business in 1970, Branson went on to open the Virgin Records store in London in 1971. A year later he owned a chain of 14 stores and had opened a recording studio.

Branson ploughs the profits from his successful business ventures into new businesses, makes snap business decisions and willingly accepts new ideas from his own employees.

He maintains a casual, easygoing personality and is famous for humble acts like personally serving drinks to passengers on his aircraft.

Spaced Out
The Virgin Group has held interests in everything from cosmetics to telecommunications to airlines. Now the Virgin Group includes an out-of-this-world subsidiary known as Virgin Galactic. Branson's space company plans to offer short trips into space for fee-paying customers. Virginauts will travel in the company's own spacecraft.

Virgin spacecraft comprise a mothership called "White Knight" that will carry the spacecraft high into the atmosphere and a spacecraft module called SpaceShipTwo that will separate from the mothership high above the ground and fly up into space.

On June 19th this year Branson announced: "Virgin Galactic's mothership is on its way to the groundbreaking Spaceport America, world's first spaceport." To the ever higher reaching Branson, the sky is definitely not the limit.

Take This Gong
As a result of his numerous high profile life-risking stunts, his down-to-earth respect for his employees and customers, his spectacular success in business and the reputation he has earned for himself, the thousands of people he employs and for Britain, Blighty's Blog has no hesitation in throwing a gong at Sir Richard Branson.

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