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LOVE & LIFE

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I get Jenny Curran.

I understand.

Jenny Curran.

I get Jenny Curran.

Because I myself am sometimes like Jenny Curran.

Frustrated by my own limitations.

Excited by the unknown.

Convinced I’m missing out.

Convinced I can do better.

Convinced I deserve better.

Attracted to danger.

Self-destructive, even.

Prone to ruining what I have.

Even when knowing what I have.

Is the best that I have ever had.

I get Jenny Curran.

Because I myself am sometimes like Jenny Curran.

All Bad.

No one is all bad though.

I am kind and loving.

Clear minded.

Interesting and warm, I’m told.

Fun, bright and engaging from time to time, too.

As was Jenny.

And these are some of the reasons why.

Despite her faults.

From the day she went away.

To the day she eventually decided to come home.

Forrest loved her.

A few weeks ago.

I wrote  this story.

Called, ‘Dreaming of ASDA’.

Give it a click for a reminder:

DREAMING OF ASDA.

It’s a nice little story about my 4 year old daughter Izobel.

And the hero of the story.

Was ASDA.

ASDA.

I posted the original story on Linkedin.

Initially, 5,000 people had a read.

And one nice chap suggested tagging ASDA in the story.

To see if they were listening.

To see if they’d do something nice for Izobel.

Because Izobel had said something nice about them.

Lovely Idea.

What a lovely idea!

A chance for ASDA to listen.

A chance for Izobel to get a nice thing.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA listening to an ASDA customer.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA doing a nice thing for Izobel.

A 4 year old ASDA customer.

What a lovely idea!

Huge.

ASDA is huge.

Their annual sales are about 22 billion pounds.

The supermarket category in the UK is huge.

Annual sales for the category are about 200 billion pounds.

And it’s so competitive!

Small margins.

Gigantic volume.

Little things can make a big difference.

I don’t envy all of that hard work.

But I still don’t think it’s an excuse for brands not to listen.

Listen.

This is not about Izobel.

It’s about listening.

And a reminder to all brands.

Big and small.

That of course communication and connection is important.

Of course advertising and strategising is important.

But it’s not as important as listening.

Because ASDA not taking the time to listen to the story if one little girl.

Means that instead of (now about) 20,000 people reading about how ASDA have a great ear for their customers.

Instead of that.

About 20,000 people are reading about how they don’t.

Nowadays.

On my worst days.

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.

It’s not a pantomime piratey feeling, though.

It’s not that jolly.

It’s not that dramatic.

It’s not that colourful.

It’s not that storyful.

It’s just a feeling.

A sad feeling.

A calm, silent and personal feeling.

Inside.

On my worst days.

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.

Being 50odd has to have something to do with this feeling.

Because when I was younger.

I never felt like this.

I never felt like I do nowadays.

On my worst days

Like I am walking the plank.

I smile.

As I walk this plank.

It is not a happy smile, though.

It is a smile of resignation.

As I resign myself to the fact that this plank I walk.

It will end.

I resign myself to this.

And the fact I don’t know when.

Nowadays.

On my worst days

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.

When I made music in my 20’s and 30’s.

It was fun.

Pete and I wrote songs with great care.

Influenced by The Gin Blossoms.

Oasis.

And Iggy Pop.

Careless.

Sometimes, however.

We cared less than that.

Sometimes.

We relaxed.

And that’s when we wrote songs for Buff Carradine.

And lead guitarist Tommy ‘Salt & Vinegar’ Timpson.

(We never addressed or explained the ‘Salt & Vinegar’ part).

Buff Carradine.

Buff Carradine is.

(In his own mind).

Errol Flynn.

Buff wears smart shirts.

Cuban heels.

Lots of aftershave.

Cufflinks.

And he winks at people.

Sleazy.

Buff sings about magicians.

Pink and yellow balloons.

Black bow ties.

Chandeliers.

And his sleaziness creeps unapologetically into the lyrics of every song.

It’s just the way Buff is.

Up In A Balloon.

Anyhow.

Have a listen.

(Pete (Tommy) sings the first two verses.

I (Buff) sing from the first chorus to the end).

Up in a balloon (original).

Creative is good.

Bravery is good.

But Creative Bravery.

Wow!

Now that’s something else.

1+1=3

Creative Bravery is classic ‘1+1=3″.

The whole being far greater than the sum of the two parts.

If creativity is using our imagination and ideas to create something inventive and (at least in part) new.

Imagine doing that whilst being brave!

Imagine doing that whilst being courageous enough and ready enough to face and endure – or if you want to, ignore – anything that anybody said, thought or did to potentially derail you and that which you were creating.

You’d be unstoppable!

Creative Bravery.

Be Creative.

That’s brilliant.

Be Brave.

That’s brilliant.

But true Creative Bravery.

That is so rare.

And so special.

That is where the magic happens.

If you think you’re good at something.

Do it.

Don’t flounce about telling people how good you are.

Advertising the fact.

But never actually expressing yourself in the way you claim you can.

(There’s a lot of that about).

Get off your arse.

And just do it.

Funny.

Imagine meeting a comedian for the first time.

Imagine they told you they were really, really funny.

You’d feel nothing.

Because a good comedian doesn’t need to tell you they’re funny.

They just make you laugh.

50odd.

50odd is 3,650 stories.

1 each day.

For 10 years.

50odd is a reminder to live the life you were born to.

Inside your short, 1,000 month visit.

And 50odd is proof that.

If you look more closely.

And live more fully.

We each have a story to tell.

Storytelling.

Can I tell stories?

Compellingly?

Consistently?

Well?

I’m not sure.

But one thing I am sure about.

Is that there’s only one way to find out.

Once you realise that money doesn’t make you happy.

A very specific kind of tension disappears.

For good.

Tension.

Sometimes in business.

There is tension between the best business to build for making money.

And the best business to build for making you happy.

Because more often than not.

These two things are not quite aligned.

Pull. 

There’s an almost physical pull.

One way.

Then another.

And it’s really tricky trying to work out which way to go.

Until of course you realise that money doesn’t make you happy.

Because when you do.

This very specific kind of tension disappears.

For good.

The first thing Izobel uttered this morning.

The very second she awoke.

Was a question.

This question:

Daddy.

How did we get home?

She asked.

Home.

Being in lockdown.

Izobel and I hadn’t actually been anywhere to come home from.

So I was pleased that Izobel’s 4 year old imagination had whisked her away.

Silently.

Invisibly.

To goodness-knows-where as she slept.

Maybe Izobel was wondering how she got back home to her bed from a glittering palace.

A fine royal habitat.

Crafted from pearls and set amongst the clouds.

Or a spinning purple planet.

Floating way beyond the sun we know.

Buzzing with beings that only she knew.

Or a watery world beneath the sea.

Dark and beautiful.

Where Izobel had ridden seahorses as she snored.

So eventually.

I asked her,

Izobel.

Where have you been?

Where have you just come home from?

Izobel paused.

ASDA.

She replied.

Lockdown.

Lockdown is hard.

Our points of reference are fewer.

Our worlds are smaller.

And whilst I am not worried for a second about Izobel’s racing imagination reigniting.

I do feel sorry for all children right now.

The lack of children playing with children.

The lack of pure childlike adventure.

And the simple, free-flowing ideas that only all-children environments can create.

Shaping stories.

Making magic.

Fuelling dreams.

Soon. 

It’ll not be long, now .

Until our children can once again chat and play with each other.

Spinning tales of palaces.

Planets.

And watery worlds.

But until then.

Until we are back together once more.

Dreaming of ASDA will do.