What's your self-isolation set-up at the moment?
I have built a glass prism on the roof of my house. It’s filled with musical notes and shimmers in the light and it feels ethereal, safe and cosy. I have a terrible internet connection, but that’s massively off-set by the views over the countryside that is teeming with new life. I also have a small chaffinch called Derek that flits in and out through a small structural imperfection looking for nesting materials, and I’m having constant conversations with him about the fact that I’m not actually a bird, and even if I was, and I had some, I’d probably be using it myself.
So, it’s business as usual really.
It's lockdown; aside from your family, which four people, past or present, would you most like to be quarantined with?
Oliver Reed. Spike Milligan. Janis Joplin. Mr Benn.
We need entertainment, what's your favourite short film?
This is up there for me, and I’ve recently watched it because, well, it’s very silly. A mind taken to a far-flung place is a healthy mind, as a general rule - and very much amplified by this incredibly surreal moment in time.
If you’re not a short film kind of human, can I offer up the most poetic, profound and psychedelic thing I’ve seen in a while?
You've completed Netflix. And Amazon Prime. And Disney+. It's on the hard stuff; board games. What do you pick?
Can give you three? Yes, I can. All fairly classic, I suppose.
Backgammon. I love the repetitious nature of the game and, much like my typing, it makes loud clacking wood-on-wood sounds that I like.
Scrabble. Bare-knuckle Scrabble. I like fighting with letters in a bag. So far, I’ve beaten N, Q, S, I, L fairly easily. Had a worthy tussle with M and Z, but been utterly pulverised by Y and U. It’s a work in progress.
Trivial Pursuit (kids edition). I don’t have any children but it’s nice to feel empowered and smart. If you do have children, it’s nice to beat them at things.
On a serious note, how do you think this situation will impact you individually, and the industry as a whole?
I’m sure many of us have been experiencing a whole load of complex introspection and re-evaluation of life, asking 'what’s important?' We’ve had time to breathe and take in things that either can’t get in, or confront things we didn’t want in there in the first place. It’s really quite an existential moment.
Perhaps it’s simply because we look at the sky more, or appreciate the smell of rain hitting warm Tarmac and how we feel about loved ones, understanding the fact we can’t wait to embrace those close to us. Appreciating the crunch of leaves underfoot, that we don’t need so much stuff anymore, or that we can help our neighbours.
Equally, from a work perspective, how do we find a good balance of time and still be incredibly productive and efficient from home, and understand the value that adds to business and life.
This will ultimately change the way we interact as a people and how business is conducted, and I’m 100 per cent sure it will be a positive change. Though it will take not just employees and society to change their practices ,but also the government, business leaders and company owners to take on board the needs of their people, and how their structures can change for the better so that when this situation ends, we see a cultural shift in how we collaborate.
People are most powerful when they are at their happiest, and we are staring at the nexus of discovering what that is. I really hope we can take this experience and push those positives out into the ether from an environmental, human and business perspective. I think we can.
Question your remote working policy.
Question your vast office space.
Question your technology.
Question your eco creds.
Question your morality.
Question your charitable contributions.
Define your narrative.
We are an imaginative and creative species, we can do better for the world around us.