Okay so week 359 is a bit mad.
We take it in turns to write weeknotes (there’s a rota on the wall), but I wasn’t around for All Hands this week. Matt Jones kept the following notes and emailed them to me afterwards.
Wolf 359 is an awesome star!
It's also where the stand against the Borg takes place.
MW - visits from the taiwanese and swedish. sales meetings. dealing with studio stuff
SP - sales and new project set-ups, capacity planning. LP publications.
VOC - working up proposals, case-studies, target list of consumer products companies, proposition development
NL - bridge code to get claiming working under the new crypto scheme with james, documentation of apis. more cleverness under the hood
AH - going to slovenia, LP production ready boards, bridge production
AB - chuska wrap-up, working on LP
JD - working on realising the service design of LP with denise and nick, a lot of whiteboarding
DW - publications stuff for LP, packaging with alex, sales and proposals
HR - a mountain of scanning, making sure everyone gets paid, helping simon with his studio dashboard spreadsheets
AJ - LP packaging - deadline this week... wrapping up chuska...
MJ - working on sales, helping alex with wrapping up chuska and doing some work on sinawava
JS - ???
So here’s what’s occupying my head this week…
1. I’ve been to a bunch of brilliantly exciting client meetings this week. One of the things that seems to have changed in how we approach projects, in 2012, is that there’s more collaboration with clients earlier in their initial process of developing the brief. We get to poke at much more why the project is happening, and what it’s meant to achieve, and we get to feed in what we find super interesting right now, and our intuitions. So I’ve spent a good amount of time every day this week very enthusiastic about this, setting up brilliant briefs, feeling expansive with ideas and possibilities.
Then for some reason there have been lots of meetings with interesting people this week: a trade delegation from Taiwan, organised by UKTI and hosted by ustwo; a group of executives from the Bonnier Group on a training day; more with individuals. These are good opportunities to speak out loud about projects and about BERG, and I find that talking is an act of recall, improvisation, and renewing of mental tracks during which valuable thinking happens.
Alongside that, to be honest, I’m having a pretty heavy week, dealing with some of that kind of stuff where (a) the best person in the company to deal with it is me, and (b) it’s tiring to think about.
Switching rapidly between conversations that delight me and mental work that grinds me down has its own particular effect: to be fully involved in each activity, the feelings appropriate to the other activity have to be contained or suspended for the moment, and it’s that continual packing/unpacking/repacking that creates a novel kind of tiredness, a kind that I can only describe as – I don’t know whether this word exists outside the UK – radgy.
Which means I’m having to watch myself. If I look at something and I don’t like it, is that a real opinion or am I just a bit annoyed at everything? If I think somebody is agitated about something, are they actually or is it my own agitation I’m seeing?
It’s good to be aware of this I suppose, but phew, turbulence is tiring.
2. Here’s the thing. If you asked me to sum up the mood of the studio this week, I’d say frazzled and radgy. Is that because it’s me that’s frazzled and radgy and so I’m seeing it where it doesn’t exist and focusing on it where it does? Or is it because everyone’s tired at once, certain streams of Little Printer are coming to a head and that’s pressured, a couple of recent projects might have been recently or might be currently in the middle of their “lost in the fog” phase (which often happens but you need to find your way out of it by knack or luck), we’ve had a crunchy couple of weeks of multiple projects at crunchy points anyway, and I’ve not been paying the Room enough attention?
Some combination of the two I suppose. These things happen.
And I guess this says a bunch about my temperament but I’m reminded of running and those real grinds of hills you sometimes encounter that make your muscles burn and your lungs feel like hot raisins. I love that feeling.
Mainly what I’ve been saying this week (about my own week) is “it’s all a lot of fun.” It’s not the kind of fun that I go to the pub for, sure, but it’s the kind of fun where you listen closely to your muscles and you cuddle up to the sting and you feel the push to keeping running up the hill as a resolved exuberance. And boy it stings, you can’t think of anything else.
As fun as it is, you make sure to do your stretches afterwards so that it doesn’t sting next time.
3. I haven’t done weeknotes for a while, and it’s a shame my turn on the rota has fallen on a week I’m feeling particularly introspective!
So let me also say that this week my general (and hidden from the studio) obsession with David Bowie’s 1972 single Starman continues.
Here it is on YouTube:
As you listen, listen out for (from this description by Thomas Jones) the build-up of tension as the song opens, and the sense of as he says “release and climax” when the chorus kicks in. Here’s what’s happening:
What happens is that for the first time, the melody hits the tonic; Bowie gets through 15 bars in F major without singing an F, and then on the word ‘starman’ he hits two of them, an octave apart.
It’s astounding to hear once you know what’s going on, grab your headphones and listen to it now. That first staaaar-maan gives me shivers.
I believe that the reason I can’t stop listening to the song is that here, in week 359, our own chorus hasn’t yet kicked in, and I’m impatient, I can’t wait.