What's your self-isolation set-up at the moment?
I’ve spent the last five weeks holed up in a hastily-assembled garage office. Luckily, I called it early enough to get my hands on one of the last remaining Swedish self-assembly desks in Europe. Plus, in a prophetic stroke of genius (that I was roundly mocked for by my wife at the time) I had wired internet run to the garage last year, so I’ve been able to Zoom, Facetime, Slack and Houseparty with as much carefree abandon as a 40-year-old should.
It's lockdown; aside from your family, which four people, past or present, would you most like to be quarantined with?
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Marta Kaufmann and David Crane. The Office and Friends are masterclasses in single camera and studio audience comedy, respectively. Imagine what you could learn.
We need entertainment, what's your favourite short film?
I’d love to have some obscure, black and white arthouse film on the tip of my tongue, but I’m afraid I don’t go in for all that. The Gunfighter springs to mind, though. Funny conceit at its heart, and voiced by Nick Offerman (who you can never really have too much of - ideally as Ron Swanson, but I’ll take him as he comes).
You've completed Netflix. And Amazon Prime. And Disney+. It's on the hard stuff; board games. What do you pick?
Articulate! (that’s their exclamation mark, not mine, btw). Wordplay, frustration, awkwardness, panic, embarrassment... what’s not to like?
On a serious note, how do you think this situation will impact you individually, and the industry as a whole?
I hope that three positive things will come from this. Firstly, that this enforced period of home work will change the old-fashioned attitude that the industry has about people working from home; it’s clearly a viable option for productive and flexible work and I hope that the effort that people are putting in during this bonkers period will be remembered and supported as an option going forward.
Secondly, I think that if this has taught us one thing, it’s that actions speak louder than words. Client/agency teams are getting work out quickly in response to the crisis and I hope that we’ll end up in a place where that is the new normal; fewer delays, less inadvertent procrastination and more output.
And, finally, I’d love to see this period give us more of a sense of perspective about what we do. It’s a brilliant industry, but it isn’t a matter of life and death and it’d be lovely if the kindness and decency that we’re seeing all around us, whether in the news or on all-agency Zoom calls, could become the norm, not the exception.