Thursday Projects

focus

c/o Michael Hell

Taking an hour for lunch isn’t easy at the best of times. I try, we all do. Hell, (1000heads creative director) Robbie Dale and I have been trying to schedule a weekly lunchtime catch up for nearly two years now – it’s shocking how this meeting is hardly ever kept. However, the promise of it being there week in, week out at least makes us try to keep it…

Something new is required, a weekly focal point of something where I deliberately take myself away from the office (where possible) and attempt to build something new. Be it a new piece of writing or a new photography effort; the fourth day of the working week – the lunch break at least – is where I’m going to do it.

I started a fortnight ago and have already built something cool for the guys I work with; “1000heads is Out of the Office“.

This week? I don’t know… I might revisit This is my N8, maybe.

So here’s a challenge for 2012: book yourself an hour a week to build something new. Something fun.

Oh, and do it on a Thursday.

Get to it.

 

 

 

 

just friends

“Let’s just be friends” came the reply.
“What? Just friends? Can I ask why?”

Panic flickered across her eye,
she looked away and began to sigh.

Go on, say it. Say that lie…

“I like you a lot, you’re a really nice guy…”
I heard the “…but” as I gazed at the sky

It’s always me, I just wanna know why.

 

— JW, 1995

 

Me and my friends

a parable for the ambitious

I’ve been thinking about the future a lot of late. Not about flying cars or memory implants and what not, more along the lines of having an actual plan.

2011 has nearly come and gone and the blank canvas I stared upon at the crest of the year is once again gushing towards me like a second, more powerful, ocean wave rearing its head up and over the naked shore.

Advice is sought, advice is given and sometimes, in the most surprising places, advice is discovered. Over the past six to eight months or so, the same piece of counsel has been recurring time and time again from a myriad of different vessels.

If I don’t do something about it soon, I fear I will drown in the flood.
“It’s like the old joke…”

It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in.

“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. “Climb in!” shouted a man in the boat.

“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof.

“No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God.

“Heavenly Father,” he said, “I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?”

God gave him a puzzled look, and replied “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Have faith.
Listen to those around you.
Defend ideas.
Be smarter.

But most of all: have a plan.

Whatley out.

fall

It’s Saturday.

Leaves have fallen and the air is crisp; today is the first day I smelt autumn.

I love this time of year.

It’s my favourite season for so many reasons: the deep brown colours, the change of temperature and the quiet, slow excitement of what’s to come. Autumn’s arrival tells me my birthday is near.

Except, things are different this time.

I don’t know if any of you have ever had your birthday ruined before. It’s not a nice feeling. In fact, it’s pretty bloody awful. Close friends will know (as will those who have read the piece I wrote for CALM) that my birthday last year was probably the worst day of 2010.

The day before, was amazing. A great day out shopping & hanging out in town then later, my awesome birthday party. Benny came dressed as Beetlejuice, friends old and new mixed together, hell, even my family came.

Less than 24hrs later, on the evening of November 21st – my actual birthday – my then girlfriend of two years decided that it would be an ideal time to end our relationship over [what I was then told] ‘trust issues’. Wrongly accusing me of cheating, she was up and out of the flat before the week was out.

It nearly killed me. How do you prove yourself innocent when the other party has convinced themselves you’re guilty?

After months of blaming myself, I uncovered the truth: she hadn’t broken up with me over trust at all. She had, in fact, decided to leave me for one of my alleged best mates and was too cowardly to tell me. A chance meeting with the latter (after general avoidance and non-returning of calls) back in March started that avalanche of information.

The night I found out everything, the week before I headed off to Siberia, my friends were stunned. They expected me to be livid, to be more angry. But honestly? When all the pieces finally fell into place? I felt relieved.

Relieved that I wasn’t at fault, relieved that the pain and angst I’d been carrying around for months could finally lift and most of all relieved that I was out of the sick, twisted, horrid mess that I’d mistaken for two people I could love and trust.

Today is the first day of autumn for me. My birthday is just around the corner. I stepped out of the flat this afternoon, took a huge lung full of air and… I remembered.

A couple of weeks ago someone dear to me asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. “I don’t know” I replied. Then I remembered what happened last year. The fake smiles at the party, the secret plans behind my back – I panicked.

“What will I do? What can I do? God, last year was terrible..”

But y’know what? Life is better now. So much better. Life has moved on, love has moved on and, best of all, the people around me are amazing.

When I first started writing this about an hour ago, I was full expecting it to a be low, melancholic exploration of how now the change of season has made me sad. Instead it’s a celebration of autumn, the beautiful season it is and a look up toward the amazing birthday I’ve got lined up for next month.

Bring. It. On.

 

[Private post – made public Dec 23rd, 2011]

I’ve been away…

…to sort a few things out.

A few weeks ago I flew to Moscow for a couple of days and from there, caught the train to Beijing (stopping off for a few nights in Ulanbator, Mongolia along the way). The journey itself was perfect and pretty much exactly what I needed.

To put things in perspective: over the past month I’ve jogged around Red Square in the morning snow, galloped across the Mongolian desert in the afternoon sun and – thanks to a midday downpour – got soaked to the skin deep within the Forbidden City. ‘Spectacular’ doesn’t quite do it justice.

There’s much to catch up on [and a fair amount of moleskinerie to write up] but for now, it’s good to be home.

 

Relationships. Matter.

If you’ve clicked through in the vein hope of finding my next post on why ‘relationship marketing matters to brands’ then sorry, not today. Today is about something else.

Relationships matter.

Your relationships matter. Your family. Your friends. Your loved ones. Your other half. Your soul-mate. The relationships you have with the people that matter, matter.

I would’ve quit my job last year if it would’ve meant saving my relationship. Alas, for me, it was too late. I heard a story today of someone else going through a break up because of work and just last night someone else told let me that, after a particularly bad period, they introduced a work veto; if at any point work gets too much, and has a negative impact on their lives together, then it stops. The work, the fighting. Everything.

Life is too short, too damn complicated and far too sweet to spend it working every God-given day and night on something that – if it really doesn’t make a difference to life or death – really isn’t worth it.

To top it all off, thanks to the endless source of knowledge and amusement that is Stefan Constantinescu, I’ve just seen this

If this is you, then stop. Right now.

It isn’t worth it.

Relationships matter.

Not the one between you and your client. Nor the one between you and your customers. But the one between you, the love of your life and your kids.

Life is short, make the most of it.
Please.

 

Yes, I’m talking to you.