I have a symbiotic relationship with white van men. As soon as I leave an institution: school, art college, university; or an employer – be they big or small, agency or creative department – the builders move in. Brick dust, stewed teabags, Polish small talk and eventually the latest sciatica-inducing exercise in angularity from Ikea – “Yes it did win a design award but you’re not supposed to sit on it!” – combine to replace the blank canvas where I once teased out a reluctant muse on a daily basis. That’s my space: renovated, refashioned, refurbished, reinvented, reclaimed, or totally rebuilt (check out the wordsmith, huh?) – much the same as my creative output by all those jealous Senior Copywriters. Any Creative Directors hiring out there who are sick of the décor where they ply their craft should get in touch with me urgently.
I suppose I can foresee the future… well, what’s parked around the next corner; though any attempt to impress with my gift goes down quicker than a designer’s punctured ego when their digital masterpiece is downsized to fit my copy – and not the other way round. “It’s not as if we’re talking Lottery numbers; it’s only a bunch of tattooed blokes in a van…” I suspect a conspiracy: a bigger picture. God knows I need one. “I told you that pink Mac Book is a bit small… And as for the looks I get on the train.”
Conspiracy theories are what the internet was invented for. Perhaps it’s the creative in me… if it is I wish he’d get out more. I’ve started dangling blank sheets of paper from my angle poise to tempt this skulking individual out like some copywriting tapeworm. So far I haven’t achieved much. My desk revives memories of the mantra of an old art college tutor – whose distant enthusiasm now seems little more than a part of the conspiracy: “Let’s create an environment!”
This brazen incitement to the health and safety lobby lifts my soul like a Westlife song while my lungs imbibe the wispy smoke from Staples’ finest 80gram browned. Opening the window – defiance has its price – I find myself strangely sympathetic to these bureaucrats whose search for evidence of potential accidents exhibits the same Billy-no-mates air of quiet desperation with which I seek inspiration.
There are many unexplained phenomena in my life like South West Trains, who drinks caramel lattes with extra maple syrup and myopic MDs who perversely always seem to talk about the vision thing. However; I do know for a fact that most times I try to watch Grand Designs I get a ‘No Signal’ message on my TV screen. A passing freelance acquaintance – as in collar up and pass hurriedly on the other side of the road – told me the time to really worry was when this happened on the repeats on More 4 as well. Me neither…
Before you ask… I definitely haven’t missed the digital changeover reminder. It’s just there; that’s it… there; with meerkats and Go compare! for company – up in the psychotic area of my frontal lobe where designers fear to tread and YMCA thumps on a continuous party loop. It isn’t the rats with wings – no; not the sales department on some European jolly, sorry, business trip but the neighbourhood pigeons. They find the new aerial less to their feet-tickling fancy than the old analogue version and have disappeared quicker than those responsible for paying the bill for all those caramel lattes with extra maple syrup.
Could be Kevin McCloud is messing with my karma? Have any of those designers with the hump actually looked in the back of that Ford Transit on their way to Café Ubiquitous? The guru of the self-built environment surfing a wave of Soviet Bloc migration and an AtoZ is a long shot… Put it down to missed deadlines and that annoying trait to let my imagination run amok in the wrong places – anything rather than finish the damn brief.
Paranoid? Oh, you can all think you’re better than me but you can’t know what they’re like. You should have imaginary friends like mine… “Er; Cześć. Nie – not really a good time guys… I have writer’s block: r- i-g-h-t – you have a load of concrete blocks…
“Yeh; looks like a self-build…”