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LOVE & LIFE

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Ask good questions.

Here are three I ask about clothing.

Question 1. Why is it so Cheap?

This is the opposite of what most people ask.

And it’s a great question.

Because the answer to this question will.

More often than not.

Make you like the thing less.

Question 2. Why is it so Expensive?

This is good question too.

Because value is important to me.

But so are values.

And the answer to this question is an opportunity for the brand to make me like the thing more.

So yes, I want to know the materials are superb.

And the makers are talented.

But I am also interested what the brand stands for.

And I may also pay more if it’s been made sustainably.

With patience.

And care.

And with respect for the maker.

Question 3. How Does it Become Mine?

I’m late to the party with this.

Customisation.

Personalisation.

But I also mean how something ages.

How it wears in.

Not out.

As I use it.

I like how great clothing changes over time.

Good Questions.

These are good questions.

And I asking them a lot.

Question 3 reared its head recently, for example.

As I chatted to a friend.

About the Always Wear Red caps I designed and had handmade in Yorkshire.

But they did nothing for my friend.

Because it was his grandad’s flat cap that he wanted.

One day.

He said.

As he glanced down.

Eyes closed.

Picturing the oily, brown, many-times-repaired flat cap he later described to me.

And even though I spent a good year of my life mastering the design and overseeing the making of my Limited Edition satin lined, natural herringbone and blood red felt Always Wear Red caps.

I understood.

And I had to agree that.

For him.

Of course.

His grandad’s cap wins by a lifetime.

I was chatting with Katie Elliott last week.

At one of Katie’s Little Challenges daily online meet-ups.

Booked up.

They get booked up every week.

So only 6 people per session get in.

I was lucky.

David.

We were talking about comparing.

You know.

That thing we all know we shouldn’t do.

But do.

And David Zinger made a tiny comment about comparing.

That has really helped me.

And it might help you, too.

Go Compare.

David pointed out the difference between:

‘Comparing for Information.’

and

‘Comparing for Evaluation.’

And I thought,

‘That’s good.

That’s useful.’

Because I sometimes shy away from comparing.

Because I know that the ‘evaluation’ aspect can cause me bother.

But now I have had my eyes opened to the fact that comparison is sometimes used just to get information.

I feel better.

Comparison not Evaluation.

So there you go.

Go Compare.

But for information.

Not evaluation.

I launched Always Wear Red on Valentine’s Day 2016.

Now 4 years and 5 months later, we’re entering a new chapter.

Chapter II.

So I thought I’d start a new little black book.

For notes and scribbles.

(It’s pictured here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/chapter-ii/).

New Obsession.

For the last 2 1/2 years we’ve been working on our new obsession.

World Class. World Kind. Hand Knits.

I’ll tell you all about that.

And storytell the next part of our journey.

Here: https://www.instagram.com/alwayswearred/.

Please follow, and let us know what you think.

Thank you.

When I delivered a podcast recently.

About what a business should do with its Business Communications during a pandemic.

I summarised with 5 points.

A story about that podcast is here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/5-things/.

Anyhow.

When I was chatting with the viewers at the end of the podcast.

I extended the list by 4 more points.

Quite spontaneously.

On the subject of what to do inside your businesses during the pandemic.

Or anytime, really.

In order to progress and improve.

And here it is:

  1. Don’t moan. Focus on what you have got and what you can do. Instead of what you haven’t got and what you can’t do. Find the opportunities (they are definitely there). Start that side project.
  2. Compartmentalise your time. It’s easy to drift when the world feels like it is pausing. And some of the pressure is off. Keep your discipline. Block out time to do this thing. And that thing. And stick to it. Also, turn your phone off. And your email. And focus. (And by the way, I think that compartmentalising time to do bugger all is just as important as compartmentalising time for work).
  3. Create a mini tribe. You plus 6 people. Zoom weekly. See how you all are. See how you can help each other. Tell each other how you’ve discovered something useful to pass on. Keep to the schedule. And get the mix right. The tribe should contain people that are better than you. And people that are not.
  4. Run your business and your brand as you know you should be. We can all be better. So describe what better looks like. Plan. And close the gap.

I like that list.

And since I am definitely not doing all of them myself.

I’d better get cracking.

Nothing is universal is it?

Nothing.

There is no universal anything.

Universal.

No universal sense of beauty.

No universal sense of rich.

Or poor.

Or happy.

Or sad.

It’s all relative.

The only thing I thought that there might be a universal definition of.

Was a universal sense of what is right and wrong.

But I was ‘put right’ by a guy on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn.

He said LinkedIn were merging professional lives with personal lives because they included Pride colouring in the LinkedIn logo.

I said sexuality was universal as it transcended everything.

I suggested that if you were gay at home.

You were gay at work too.

He said that sexuality was not universal because his religion saw homosexuality as wrong.

We’d moved on!

Because this chap was not just saying that homosexuality is not acceptable as a subject or as a ‘thing’ at work.

This chap was saying that homosexuality is not acceptable as a subject or as a ‘thing’ anywhere.

And that was that.

A dead end.

Leave.

I did suggest the guy left LinkedIn.

Because he was so against a platform that supported a Pride ethos.

Bit he didn’t.

He’s still there.

He did teach me something though.

He taught me that Social Media spats are almost always pointless.

And I suppose he taught me that I even have to respect his point of view.

Even though I really do find his point of view yucky.

As yucky, I suppose, as he finds mine.

Universal.

So I am back to where I was.

Nothing is universal is it?

Nothing.

There is no universal anything.

This really is a thing.

Lynx Body Spray.

With Marmite.

Brand Buddies.

I like this.

Because Lynx and Marmite as ‘Brand Buddies’ tickles your brain.

Because of the parallel brand strategies of the two brands.

They are, in fact, very similar.

And they know that a Marmite smelling body spray is going to get noticed.

And talked about.

And they know that you’re going to either love it or hate it.

And they know that you’re going to talk about whether you are a lover or a hater.

Seduced enough by this strange idea that you might.

Just.

Buy it.

The Point.

And that’s the point.

Getting noticed and talked about is the only way to begin as a brand.

Because if you don’t have that bit.

Nothing else matters.

And do the words lover, seduction, love and hate resonate and point to both brands?

Whether they are alone or whether they are together?

Yes.

Of course they do.

So there is a strange and quite lovely logic to all of this.

And I really like that.

All Lovers.

The product is playfully being described as being, ‘For All Lovers’.

And Jamie Brooks, Lynx Brand Manager commented.

(In a carefully constructed, tongue-in-cheek statement, I might add):

By combining two iconic legends that have shaped dating and breakfast culture across the nation, we have created a product like no other that is sure to get lovers and haters spreading the news.

Get noticed.

Get noticed!

Because if you don’t have that bit.

Nothing else matters.

‘Coco’ by Pixar.

It’s an animation.

And a nice wee film, too.

Coco.

The story is this.

A small boy has a passion for music.

His family don’t want him to pursue this.

Preferring he secured a ‘proper job’.

So the boy seeks the approval of his dead grandfather.

A famous musician.

In order to pursue his dreams.

Those are the headlines of the story at least.

Afterlife.

Anyhow.

The small boy’s grandfather resides in a different world.

The afterlife.

It’s quite pleasant there, actually.

At least according to Pixar it is.

All fun.

And dancing.

And revelry.

And lights.

But there is a problem.

Because just like in the real world.

Your days are numbered in the afterlife.

Forgotten.

Back in the real world.

Your days are numbered because we all live for about 1000 months and then that’s it.

We die.

And in the afterlife.

You only live for as long as you are remembered by someone in the real world.

So as soon as everyone you knew in the real world forgets you.

The moment you are forgotten.

You die The Final Death.

The Final Death.

I wonder.

How long would I last in the afterlife?

Before everyone back here in the real world forgot about me?

And what would they remember me for?

And does all of that even matter?

Well; yes.

It does matter.

To me.

And I think that the formulae for living longest in the afterlife.

Is something like this.

The Formulae.

Just try to matter to as many people as possible in the real world.

Then after you’ve gone.

Because you mattered.

They’ll remember you.

And because they’ll remember you.

You’ll live in the afterlife for a long and happy time.

I have no idea if this will work of course.

I have no idea if the clever people at Pixar are right.

But just to be on the safe side.

Just so that I can stick around in the afterlife for as long as possible.

‘See a few old friends.

I think I’ll give it a go anyway.

Imagine that you are sat on the very front bench.

In a hall containing row after row of benches.

Facing front.

Imagine also that the people sat on the full benches behind you.

Staring at the back of you.

Are all the people you have ever known.

Stand.

Imagine then that you stand.

Stand, and shuffle a very short way to the front of the room.

Climb three small steps.

Slowly.

And then turn.

Faces.

It is a big room.

And you say this.

Silently.

To yourself.

Inside your head.

My.

I have known a lot of people.

And you are right of course.

Because most of us have known.

Or at least have thought we have known.

Many more people than we care to imagine.

Before I Go. 

Then.

You speak.

Before I go.

You hear yourself say.

I just want to stand up.

And say something.

If I may.

And then you pause.

Because this is the moment you realise how important what you say next actually is.

And this is the moment you realise how important who you choose to say it to actually is.

Because you can choose to speak to everyone.

Or you can pick out one single person.

And speak only to them.

Eyes.

Your eyes flick around the room.

You want them to scan smoothly.

But instead they flick.

Flick.

Flick.

Until eventually.

You decide.

And smile.

Before I go.

You hear yourself say once more.

I just want to stand up.

And say something.

If I may.

And then.

Calmly.

You say it.

Alfie Joey is a North East based actor.

Writer.

Comedian.

Impressionist.

Singer

Presenter.

Artist.

Cartoonist.

And probably more.

So yes.

Alfie Joey is a creative chap.

And I’ve met Alfie a couple of times.

So I know first hand that Alfie is an all-round good guy, too.

Angel.

Anyhow.

A few months ago now.

Alfie painted The Angel of the North.

He referenced the red colour he’d used in this particular one.

And he referencing me personally.

In a social media post because of my Always Wear Red brand.

I said I thought the paining was excellent.

And just last week.

Alfie was kind enough to sent it to me.

And here it is in my house: https://www.50odd.co.uk/trigger/.

Trigger. 

I wanted to make a point about triggers.

Triggers are doing something that is the catalyst for something else to happen.

And this kind act from Alfie.

Was in fact the trigger for me to push forward on a couple of quite significant things in my life.

One was passing on a bit of kindness to two other people.

(And maybe they then passed on a bit of kindness to people that know too?)

And  another thing that Alfie triggered.

Rather more significantly, perhaps.

Is the fact that this gift from Alfie was the trigger for me moving house.

Kindness.

A wee bit of kindness every now and then.

Doing something nice just for the sake of it, I mean.

It can trigger things you may never know about.

And you may never be thanked, either.

But that’s not the point of being kind, is it?

The ‘thank you’ bit.

It’s for the sake of doing it.

So give it a go!

Who knows what you might trigger.

(And Alfie.

Thank you).