Sunday, November 04, 2007

Brain Food..

Depends what you via Bifurcate.

Time for something not directly about my workplace (aka, getting this blog back on rambling nonsense mode).

It occurs to me that quite a lot of my time as a planner is spent filtering out what I have to, and what I don't have to know, in order to know about a certain subject, whether it be a brand of car, dominos, faberge eggs or Stoke City.

Now, the danger is, with this filter in place (and I'm sure it happens at every workplace, or whenever you just want to relax), you lose the ability to challenge yourself, and at worst, intrigue and inspire those around you.

And it's something which can't always be easily done. But sod that; to be stimulating, you need to be stimulated. It's why I get on the tube every morning and read classic literature and not the latest 'man falls in love with cactus' story from the Metro. I need to be pushed, to be challenged by my reading, viewing, or whatever it is I'm listening to on my iPod.

It's just so easy to rely on random fodder for your mind, something which requires no thought, no challenge your preconceptions. Particularly when you are exposed to so much information on a daily basis. Well, I didn't get into adland, or indeed, do anything in my life, without wanting to be interested and interesting on a daily basis. The need to be interesting should overwhelm everything I do.

Bluntly, I can do that by reading Fitzgerald's account of madness, by going to gigs, by going to the V&A once and a while. Not by being chained to my desk, as much as I like my work colleagues.

And no, obviously I recognise the need to crack on, to do work. But in times where work dominates things, this should serves as a little reminder to myself (and hopefully to others) to make sure I keep on being alive to all the many cultural nuances out there. God knows, there are enough of them..

If anyone has any brain foody suggestions going on in London in the next month, hit me with them..


Michael said...

William, great posting!
I've been talking about that for months and I thought I would be the only one, who thinks that way when it comes to great and effective work.
But even in the ad-world it seems that the many executives prefer another version of effective work. Because challenging people often criticize the work of people, that are doing their job for many years. Many years in that they cultivated many many filters without acknowledging that.

FishNChimps said...

You should go to the King Tut exhibition at the O2. I will refrain from making analogies between shiny and ancient dead things and "life" in ad agencies.

Georgina said...

Totally agree.
Being an account exec in a only-work focused environment it's quite frustrating, to be honest!
How are we supposed to bring that spark of knowledge then?? Why Account Handlers can't be effective and have that food for thought at the same time? I'll never understand this huge gap that separates account handling and any sort of thinking.
And obviously, there's the long hours at work issue....
happy days!

I still like working in adland, by the way ;-)

Willem said...

Hi Will,
I've started reading your blog a couple of weeks ago, which is pretty cool. I just met with Amelia Torode and she suggested I get in touch with you. I'm looking for a first position in an agency at the moment, interested in getting into planning though also seriously looking at AM positions as well. I'd be interested in meeting up and having a coffee/drink. you can reach me on willem_vdh at

On the brain foody side of things, there's an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum I'm planning to go see that looks pretty cool "Weapons of Mass Communication: War posters" and apparently it's free.

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