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CREATIVITY

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If all of your work feels like you’re busking.

That’s probably wrong.

But if none of your work feels like you’re busking.

That’s worse.

50odd.co.uk

When I write 50odd it feels like busking.

Jamming.

Riffing.

Trying things.

Learning things.

Some stories feel smart and polished.

And they turn out exactly as I’d like.

Whereas others feel a little weaker.

But they are all necessary.

Because when I am busking.

I am learning.

ANGELFYSH.

I’m the Principal Consultant at ANGELFYSH.

ANGELFYSH is a 15 year old Brand Consultancy.

And I work with clients all over the UK.

Simplify. Codify. Storify.

I help clients to Simplify.

Codify.

And Storify.

Simplify means my clients stop over-complicating and over-communicating, because we find out what the brand really is all about.

Codify means creating frameworks and systems so that the brand can be more easily brought to life across the organisation.

And Storify means I storytell across multiple, coherent media.

(That’s design, marketing, copywriting and more).

But I have to admit that even when I am doing all of this.

Some of the time.

Quite a lot of the time in fact.

I am busking here, too.

I am exploring.

And experimenting.

And creating.

And imagining.

And that’s just the way it should be.

Because whilst the brand theory of Reis and Trout is important to know.

Imagination, spontaneous interpretation, the ability to see and maximise opportunity and a craving for adventure are all important too.

It’s where confident and creative bravery comes from.

And the ability to build and tell a story well.

Busking.

So think about it.

You can tell when you’re busking.

You can feel it.

And it feels good.

Because you’re not worrying about being judged.

You’re just creating.

And I can highly recommend it.

Because busking is when the magic happens.

I have this other business as I think you know.

Called Always Wear Red.

Always Wear Red has its own e-newsletter now.

Called DOWNTIME.

It is twice-monthly.

Sent every other Friday at midday.

Is a 60-second read.

And it is your Permission to Pause.

Here’s How It Works.

DOWNTIME encourages you to do between 60 seconds and 60 minutes of – well – nothing.

For 3 Reasons:

  1. Because you are the person you look after least well. And resting (properly) is an immediate way to begin sorting this out.
  2. Because times we do nothing always generate our best notions and ideas.
  3. Because you always do ‘something’ better after a short period of ‘nothing’.

In Summary, the Times You Do Nothing – Can Mean Everything.

And DOWNTIME contains great things to do when you’re doing nothing.

DOWNTIME.

If you get it already.

Please let me know what you think.

And if you don’t get it.

But like the sound of it.

Please sign up here.

Thank you.

The main reason.

That I don’t get around to doing important things.

Or that important things can sometimes feel unpleasant to do.

Is because of sardines.

Sardines. 

Identifying something that is important me.

Then squashing it into my day.

Like a sardine in a tin.

Is daft.

But I do do this.

Stupid.

I think of something that I’d like to get done.

Or something that I need to get done.

Then I very often do one of these two things:

  1. Allocate too little time to doing it properly.
  2. Sandwich it. Like a sardine in a tin. Between two other things. So that there is no time to explore. Or innovate. Or get creative with it. Or polish it.

Daft.

Important. 

This is me talking to me now.

Look.

If something is important to you.

Pause.

Make time to do it.

Properly.

Forget sardines.

Otherwise you’ll just feel resentful that it didn’t get done properly.

Or resentful that it didn’t get done at all.

And frustrated that there is no one to blame.

But yourself.

More Time.

If something is important.

Allocate more time than you think you’ll need.

Not less.

Squashing important things together like sardines is daft.

So stop it.

So there we go.

Another one gone.

Well; in a month it will be.

Here endeth another decade.

Decades.

I lived for 1 and a half years of the 60’s.

All of the 70’s.

All of the 80’s.

All of the 90’s.

The noughties.

And it’s looking like I’ll make it through the 2010 to 2020 decade, too.

So that’s 6 decades so far.

Dead. 

I’ll leave my 7th decade (2020 to 2030) aged 61.

I’ll leave my 8th decade (2030 to 2040) aged 71.

And, if statistically on-par, I’ll leave my 9th decade (2040 to 2050) dead.

I’ll have died in 2049.

Aged 80.

The List.

The big question for me then.

(Whilst I’m on this ‘decades’ thing).

Is what am I going to do with this next decade, then?

This 2020 – 2030 decade.

What’s on the list?

What will happen to me?

And what will I make happen?

Well; if I manage to stay alive, these things will very likely occur.

I’ll see Izobel become a teenager.

I’ll have no mortgage.

I’ll go bald.

I’ll have a life-threatening or life-shaking health scare.

I’ll get married.

I’ll become increasingly eccentric.

(In both how I look and what I do).

I’ll commit to more fitness – as part of my life, not on the edge of my life.

I’ll drink less regularly.

I’ll need two or three new hobbies.

(These hobbies will. 

I sense. 

Be revisiting things that I used to do.

Or just plain odd.

Or both).

I’ll still be working and I will want my work to be really, really significant and valued by a lot of people.

I’ll be volunteering more.

(I’ll be increasingly generous with my time and my learning).

I’ll live somewhere rural.

(With an AGA and a log fire).

I’ll have a soft-top car again.

And I’ll cook more.

Properly.

Older.

It’s strange as I get older.

I am not really thinking:

Things I want to do before I die.

But I am definitely thinking about legacy.

And in my next decade.

The 2030 to 2040 decade.

(Should I get there).

I will be thinking about legacy even more so.

And all I really want as my legacy.

Based on today’s thinking.

Are two things.

Two things.

I’d like Izobel to be aware that she can change the world.

And that the difference she can make for herself, for other people and for the world could be seismic.

Huge.

Fundamental.

And secondly.

Rather more selfishly.

I want to live forever.

Live Forever.

I want to live forever because I want Izobel.

Every now and then.

To ask herself:

What would my dad have said?

Or

What would my dad have done?

And this is good for me to remember.

Because it guides me each day.

To make sure that, by my actions today.

Izobel.

And Izobel’s children.

Will know the answer to those questions tomorrow.

2011 is my favourite.

John Lewis Adverts.

There have been 13 John Lewis adverts.

The first was in 2007.

And it was called ‘Shadow’.

Set.

Here’s the set:

2007. Shadow.

2008.  Clues.

2009.  The Feeling.

2010.  A Tribute to the Givers.

2011.  The Long Wait.

2012.  The Journey.

2013.  The Bear and the Hare.

2014.  Monty the Penguin.

2015.  The Man on the Moon.

2016.  Buster the Boxer.

2017. Moz the Monster.

2018. The Boy and the Piano.

2019. Edgar the Dragon.

Favourite.

So.

What about you?

Here they all are: https://www.50odd.co.uk/2011-2/.

 

One of my favourite restaurants.

Is Dishoom.

And perhaps the most unusual thing about me expressing this preference.

Is the fact that I have never been.

Dishoom.

I met Dishoom founder Shamil Thakrar in London.

In November 2019.

And I am so certain that Dishoom is one of my favourite restaurants.

(Despite having never ever been).

Because of just two things that Shamil told me.

The first was this.

Shamil said that Dishoom is not a restaurant.

Well, not according to Shamil it isn’t.

According to Shamil, Dishoom is:

A love letter to Bombay told through food and stories.

I love the pictures this creates.

And the sounds that it creates.

And the smells.

And the tastes.

And the atmosphere.

I love the promise that that statement makes.

And because Shamil delivers on that promise.

I love Dishoom, too.

Flathead. 

But it was the second thing that Shamil said to me that sealed it.

And it is a simple story.

It is a story about something that happened shortly after Shamil had been explaining his interior design vision to the team that creates his restaurants.

His designers.

And his builders.

(It is important to note, by the way, that Shamil bases his restaurants on precise eating experiences from a very precise period of time in Bombay’s history.

The year 1960).

The pictures that Shamil creates in the minds of his team are alive!

They are so vivid and beautiful that anyone visiting Dishoom today can breathe in the authenticity of the Irani cafés and the food of all Bombay from that wonderful era.

And it was against this backdrop that Shamil spoke to me about something quite simple.

And something quite surprising.

He spoke to me about flathead screws.

Flatheads.

One day.

As Shamil stood in one of his completed restaurant interiors.

A restaurant that he had painstakingly overseen the refurbishment of for weeks.

Shamil had a niggle.

Something wasn’t quite right.

Eventually.

Shamil walked over to the bar area.

Crouched down.

And gently touched one of the exposed screwheads with his finger.

It was a crosshead screw.

And whilst such a thing existed in the world in the 1960’s.

Shamil knew that this is not how the establishments in Bombay would have been constructed in 1960.

Little things. 

I pass restaurants every day.

So many of them struggling.

So many of them empty.

I see that they are empty as my eyes squint through their filthy fucking windows.

And as my feet crunch through the litter they they leave strewn outside their doors.

I squint to see the waiters and the waitresses inside stood mouthing their complaints about their lack of customers.

As they lean motionless against bars, chairs and walls.

And I think about Shamil.

And I smile.

Because when you get the the little things right.

You’re sure to get the big things right too.

Screws.

In the restaurant I mentioned earlier.

Shamil had every last cross head screw removed.

And replaced.

With the more authentic flathead screws that would have been used in Bombay in 1960.

400,000

Dishoom serves 400,000 meals each month.

(Half of which they give away.

But that’s another story).

And I think I know why.

75 of the top 100 grossing films.

Ever.

In history.

So that’s 75%.

Or three-quarters of the top grossing films ever made.

Have one thing in common.

They’re remakes or sequels.

Originality.

Originality is important.

Being pioneering is important.

And it’s exciting too.

But sometimes.

A thing that was served to one generation.

In one way.

Can be better served to a new generation.

Or a new audience.

In a new, interesting and amazing way.

DJ’s 

I suppose DJ’s are doing this all the time.

Or at least most of the time.

Serving up other people’s music.

Reacting to a crowd.

Being spontaneous.

Creating an experience.

Building mood.

And emotion.

With other people’s tunes.

Remix.

Remixing.

Done carefully and well.

Can be amazing.

Antony.

You know I’m a fan of Antony and the Johnsons.

And I quite like that John Lennon too.

So when I realised that Antony Hegarty (now Anohni) had covered Lennon’s finest tune.

Imagine.

I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.

And whilst it’ll not be for everybody.

I love it’s rawness.

And it’s bravery.

Do Your Thing.

Remix.

Reinvent.

Make it yours.

Just do it really well, OK?

Do your thing with it.

Have a listen: https://www.50odd.co.uk/djs/.