Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Energizer

It's pink, furry and has long ears
but most importantly it was thought to be the power
that never stops
how the bunny has choked and sputtered
laying on the harsh concrete with no competitors
all other battery brands scattered on the floor
like used and rejected parts
in what became a race against itself
the corrosion crawls its dusty orange way
up the soft and fluffy tail
eating and munching the pristine fur
almost as though the creature was gnawing itself
oblivious, rampant and spinning out of control
suffering from acute memory loss
having forgotten what necessitated its existence
what an existential crisis we have on our hands
one with no alternative, no replacement paradigm
fellow animals having been disposed and discarded
as venture capitalism
spread its victory across democratized lands
morphing, changing hues, tones and alliances
until unrecognizable
in the home country of unfettered liberalization
became sick with the new strain
now we make the necessary corrections
to ensure the buy, purchase, the score
so spending, glorious spending can continue
no matter what twisted fate may await
makes no difference to men
who will likely be fighting in wheelchair combat
when the day of reckoning begins
the pink mass lay like road kill
on a street littered with protest signs
of a powerless struggle
initiated by those chained to the 9-8
by the thick metal of loans, payments and prosperity
they dig into the soft peach necks of bureaucrats and laborers alike
perhaps this form of capitalism
will begin to resemble the social, the commune
where the many are united by the same debts and weight
and the few run free
burdened with nothing but options
and the batteries to kick start
new and improved theological bunnies
running on borrowed hours, unconventional oil and precious metals
until power is expressed by the powerless
and the strangest fireworks light up an eerie night sky
all underneath it
when the real evolution will begin

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Fuck rampant capitalism

(donkey humping what used to be the tallest building in China - the Jin Mao tower)
Went to see The Revolution Continues: New Art from China at the Saatchi Gallery today (I highly recommend it - a view from my lens below).

Monday, 29 December 2008

Huffin' & Puffin'

But the house ain't going anywhere and you can't just push yourself in.

I read an article on Advertising Age about how advertisers could capitalize on the Twitter phenomenon by turning it into an Ad network. Now without going into great detail about the article (all explained here) and not repeating some of the very astute and perceptive comments about the piece, it got me thinking about brands and organizations that get it right.

I think a large part of understanding this space comes from your participation in it, which in turn determines your approach to Twitter. If you enter the community with a 'quick wins, quick returns' mindset, you will ultimately fail. Because it's not about pushing messages (however short) out without a fundamental understanding of what value you could add - what are you giving people that makes you an active and appreciated member of this community?

Some people may actually want to 'hear' a more personal side of a brand as well as get relevant and interesting information - airlines, media companies, and museums are great Twitter examples of this (Jetblue provides people with updates and answers to various travel-related questions while also giving people a feel for the brand; and the Getty Museum gives people updates about their collections and other items that would be important to art lovers).

So rather than focusing on transforming Twitter into an Ad network, and what could be gained from Tweeters, they think about what they could add or give, which is reflected by the quality and sometimes quantity of their followers and the community that forms around their product, service or organization.

I personally think that some brands could make interesting use of Twitter. I'd like to know what's going on at Whole Foods - sales, new products, etc., and would gladly follow if they provided that kind of information, but not as a medium to push out contrived brand messages to attempt to convert me into a Whole Foodie.

What do you think? Do you follow a brand? Would you follow a brand? Why? Which one?

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A tribute doesn't suffice...

My Pops is truly my hero. He is a painter, an artist, a writer despite the difficulties littered on that path. He wakes up every day and does what he loves - what drives and moves him (and on many occasions what has saved him).

I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by his work, swirls and medleys of abstraction spurred my curiosity, and teased and egged my imagination...we often created together (I wrote while he painted as we listened to Bach or Stevie Wonder).

We grew up on the Bowery, where my Pops spearheaded artist loft rights, jammed with friends, painted, laughed, created and contributed to a growing and vibrant community. An area peppered with drunks and drugs slowly morphed and changed as artists moved in and slowly transformed the space through their work and creativity.

This gentrification has since brought us Whole Foods & Gap Bowery, and the New Museum (and unfortunately most of the artists have been muscled out of this once fertile creative ground).

My father is paid a tribute on the New Museum site (Douglas Leichter), but a part of me is upset - is that it? A tribute? My father has the goods - his work is breathing, vibrant, dynamic, redolent with life and pulsing with colors and experiences (i would dare say transcendental).

After his 32 years on the Bowery, a New Museum opens not even a block away from where we used to live, and the focus is still on what's new and not what has contributed to the current life on that street and beyond.

But hey, the fat lady remains silent and 2009 is upon us - a new day, year and time to move from tribute to exhibition, show, to sharing...

Friday, 26 December 2008

finding the meaning of it all...during break?

There are so many things that I want to do, and I blame the 9-7 for consuming my time and obliterating my chances of becoming a great contributor to the fabric of our collectively constructed culture (or carelessly constructed one).

But now that I have time on my side, all I want to do is cook and eat (see evidence to the right), sleep and shut off by watching numbing shows and science fiction movies (I have to admit that Tom Cruise wasn't so painful in War of the Worlds), and a part of me feels guilty. I feel like I am supposed to be doing something.

Time and space have finally arrived and I am stuck in between conflicted sheets (literally and figuratively as I took a sweet nap for three hours today!).

This is day 2.5 of my break, and it should feel exactly like one - a space in between the to do lists and the personal pressure of assigning meaning to rapidly passing days.

So here's to cooking tofu cheesecake (it was actually pretty good, but could have been better), and baking my first turkey (successfully moist!) and relishing the holidays by permitting myself a reprieve from it all...

Happy Holidays ;)

Monday, 22 December 2008

Creativity is dead.

Excerpt from Self Help (Protoganist's (Gabriel) response to his designer's comment: "I'm sick of...I'm sick...I'm sick of you squashing my creativity.")

Beethoven was creative, Pablo, Mozart was creative, Dickens, Dante, Kant, Durer, Newton, Raphael, Aeschylus, Balzac - yes, there have been a few genuinely creative human beings. But you're not one of them. You are not in the least bit creative. You are not even talented. You have a computer. That's all. The same as every other mediocre fucker whose terrible shit we all have to suffer every second of the day. So let's leave that word 'creative' alone for a few decades, shall we? Let's all stop pretending. There are no creative departments in London. Creativity is not copywriting or art-directing, creativity is not interior, graphic or fashion design, creativity is not mimicry or doodle, it is not gesture or token, is not a clever text message, a new and even sillier pair of trousers, or an unmade bed, it's not your shitty computer music, or your shitty homemade films, or your shitty website with a flashing cock, creativity is...creativity is a massive and serious lifetime's endeavour to further humankind's fundamental understanding of itself. Creativity is one hundred and fifty-four perfect sonnets and thirty-eight immortal plays, creativity is one thousand and one hundred and twenty-six master works of music, every one note-perfect, creativity is E=MC2, the Rougon-Macquart cycle, the discovery of planets. What you do is total horseshit. Got that? Total and utter horseshit.

Edward Docx, Self Help

Friday, 19 December 2008

Gangsta rap - a smile for the holidays :)

Brand creativity - from conception to market

Notes from Creativity about CPB moving to become the complete brand creativity factory:

"All of the agency's design efforts are united, and guided, by a big picture belief about how brands really find love and success in today's marketplace. At the core of that belief is not just the (correct) assumption that a great product usually means more to a marketer's success than anything else. It's that brands are at their best when product and communications share a narrative, when the product, and the whole brand experience, are created through an insight-driven marketing process. It's something that gets discussed with greater frequency these days, but it happens surprisingly infrequently. When it does happen, it's obvious (see: Apple) and it's not an accident."

Bogusky continues..."Here's the old approach - as an agency you're given a product, then you come up with your consumer research and figure out what's going on around the product. Then you figure out how to position the product or lie about the product so it seems to answer all the issues around it." A better way, he says is "to take the cultural insights and move them to the beginning of the process. Your cultural and consumer research instructs the product. So it creates something you don't have to lie about. The product not only fulfills a need, but it fulfills it in a way that is very apparent to the consumer. Because that's the other part of it; people have to see that a product has what they want. It has to be very explicit in its design that it solves a unique problem."


Tofu cheesecake and human motivatons

Went to an awesome vegetarian restaurant tonight. We had nut roast with root vegetables and chickpea tagine and freshly baked cornbread. But the killer dish was the tofu cheesecake (might be an oxymoron, but a delicious one). I am going to attempt to make my own version tomorrow (probably not a good idea since we are going to a dinner party and I've never made it before, but hey I guess I like living on the edge). So this restaurant Mildred's adds one pound to your check that will go to a charity that helps the homeless during the hard winter months. Now as they give you the check, you see the pound addition and underneath the bill is a brightly colored card that explains where the money will go and what the charity does - and it also states that this is a voluntary contribution, and that if you don't want to give a pound to help the homeless, you don't have to. Brilliant really - who is going to say "actually thanks for that warm and lovely meal, but I am really not interested in giving some poor homeless cold schmuck a pound" - no one. That's down right embarrassing (or at least it should be) because it is incredibly selfish and thus motivates people in a round about way to help others. I'm not sure how this could be applied to other things in life, and if scaling this up would actually work in the same manner. All I know is that the restaurant already raised £2,000 in a month...i think they might be on to something...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Wanderlust King

Just came back home from an absolutely amazing Gogol Bordello concert. The fusion of gypsy and punk music - two genres that celebrate life and emotion was fracking phenomenal! I was screaming, jumping and swaying in a strange rhythm with complete strangers (beside my love behind me;) and just releasing so many emotions that were wrapping me up like a candy cane. In NYC, you can step in between two subway cars and yell to the top of your lungs (and it is a private moment of sanity and sanctity - posed in between two steel metal cars, swaying and screaming) much like this concert at the Roundhouse. It was a cast of characters - violinist, drums, guitar, symbols,and it all came alive. They played for two hours non-stop - sweat pouring, people screaming, music working up to many long crescendos. No sponsors, no merchandise, just pure fun. A band playing because they love music and the interaction with people who adore the sounds they make. Hopefully business will move the gypsy punk way - giving people awesome gifts that are so appreciated (you don't need to encourage applause (the way the intro band did) - you just receive it because of all that you are giving. So beautiful, so win-win. It's almost 1 AM so pardon the winding train of thought. Gogol rocked me tonight and I feel fabulous (especially fab since I washed off the three layers of drenched clothing I had on). Definitely one of the best concerts I've been to...(I'm going to have to find a gypsy music festival to go to in 2009).

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The other side

Counter-culture has always interested me.

I think it is because I love the idea of finding a different way to live (rather than the churn and choke of capitalism that's especially hiccuping along nowadays)-this can't be the only game in town. That thought propelled me to move to Sri Lanka, Bahrain and London (from my humble Montreal¦New York City beginnings;) and continues to be a source of wonder and excitement (where to next?).

The great thing about NYC and London (I am recently discovering) is that you can live out different 'lives' in one place. But after a while, I still need the rush of change...

Although in London, given the underground scene and lack of sunlight, I may just wind up on the other side of life;)

Magic in the mundane

I went to see the Annie Leibovitz show at the National Portrait Gallery in London a couple of weeks ago and I was really drawn in by this particular image. There is something about the composition that is human, engaging and real. Perhaps it is the ordinariness of the image - a woman in blue socks resting on what looks like an old and comfy red robe near a radiator (that screams NY) and a striped cup - that makes it so extraordinary to me. Magic in the mundane and the everyday. I also want to be transported to this space - it seems so relaxing and safe.

I'm in the middle of a major pitch, sell and 'make it happen' mode before the holidays (and feeling utterly exhausted) and this place seems like one I would gladly dive into...

Leibovitz's work reveals humanity at its purest for me, and does so where we tend to see it the least (celebrities). This is especially driven home by her personal work - she really captures the beauty of what it means to be human (to me anyway).

Hope you folks out there are getting more rest than me.

Monday, 15 December 2008

dietary habits

I was making dinner tonight (two dishes actually - tricolor pepper melange with zucchini, asparagus, red onions and Japanese style tofu with sesame seeds and tamari soya sauce and sesame chicken for my husband). You see, I'm a lacto-ovo (and the very occasional pesco) vegetarian and Hatime, well eats mostly everything (besides pork). We're probably a nightmare couple to invite for dinner - no meat, no pork and no alcohol (all of our preferences combined). Anyway, so this got me thinking, more choices, more personalization, more information creates quite disparate amorphous groups of consumers. Either we get to know the vegans and Atkins audiences intimately, understanding the preferences and nuances therein, or risk irrelevance. Of course, if you are selling dish washing powder these groups may be less importance (or would vegans veer towards bio powder and Atkins a rich and perfumed smell?). Just a guess (gosh - the thoughts that haunt me while cooking...)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Canon EOS 450 D has finally arrived...

I got my early Christmas/Hannukah present - a new camera. I've been waiting and patiently debating the transition from classic Nikon manual cameras over to SLR digital (and Canon to boot). It's arrived. I realise that I still prefer manual functions. I was playing around with it today, taking shots of some of the favourite things around me (the weather is so bleak in London that this was a definite hermit weekend - filled with Weeds episodes, books and some movies) - my Dad's art, specifically, his matchbook pieces. I have attached the front and back of my favourite one here.

We've been doing some research at work for an online mapping client, and discovered that context, more than content, is becoming increasingly important when it comes to mapping. It's what around you that counts and the places, people and experiences located in your immediate vicinity matter the most.

Brands that help bring these contextual layers into relief and bridge the physical and the virtual (for example, I am looking for a Woolworth store in my neighbourhood so I can capitalise on their blow-out sale, but I also want to know which one of my friends is closest to that store so I can grab a coffee at a local cafe and catch-up - my mobile can map this information and even layer my social network onto my current location) have the opportunity to develop rich consumer experiences and to become part of their daily rituals.

So over this rather quiet and indoor weekend, gazing at my father's art is the context I live in...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Graphic novels and poems

I spoke to a friend/colleague the other day who said, "i don't really have time for much more than poems and graphic novels." And then he called himself geeky. Imagine that. I think that rocks - Neruda and Lone Wolf & Cub...

I added some sci-fi to the mix to top his geekiness - turns out he read Vurt, which puts us on the same wavelength (you never know what lurks inside the minds of colleagues). I was pleasantly surprised...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Twilight Dancing

Is it all a strange dream
or am I caught in the midst of someone's sonnet?
Am I the carefully constructed character
in someone else's play?
Reminds me of an old episode of
Twilight Zone
where life as we know it
is locked in a child's toy house
and we, like pawns, or meticulously painted pieces
are moved by a force
much greater than our own
perhaps we are happening to life
and every event has already been
agreed on and decided before our dawn
i was once told that we have three planes
to play on
the waking, dreaming and spiritual
we can traverse and skip across them
that we move ourselves
but to do so, we have to see
the field, the step, the music
emanating from the twinkling carousel
Tonight in your sleep
dream your way
into a self-constructed
paradise of your picking
Be it dancing fairies or moonlit Mars
know that your spirit
knows no boundaries
and you my dear are free

Sunday, 7 December 2008

>>The Territory
We’ve heard it before: the media landscape is changing, power has shifted into the hands of the consumer, who can choose to tune in or out to over 2,000 messages a day, and the traditional push monologue model just doesn’t cut it anymore. Brand communications needs to offer something different to consumers – to go beyond words, beyond ‘saying something' and move into the realm of action – giving something valuable to consumers, whether it be entertainment, information or an experience. In this transformative and cluttered environment, where consumers have too many choices and too little time, it is more important than ever to have insights into what makes people tick, how media is consumed, the changing forms of interaction and communication, and the fast-moving marketplace. But understanding and planning is not enough, in order to create an experience, to pull consumers in and get them to take notice, creativity is key.

Exciting times...

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Huff and puff and blow the stacks down...

Two recent events - The Huffington Post's receipt of $25 million in new funding at a $100 million valuation (the company has 8.8 million people a month visiting the site according to Quantcast), which makes it more valuable than some newspapers; and the almost $2 billion fall of newspaper ad revenue in the third quarter for a record 18.1% decline (according to new statistics from the Newspaper Association of America) underscore the media shift...we are slowly edging closer to a profound transformation...inch by inch.

the shape of travel?

I read that it is actually cheaper to go on an all-inclusive cruise than to stay at home. Gosh times are strange - shall we all become sailors?

Monday, 1 December 2008

root beer dreams

little pieces of soft blue glass
the magician sea lords
grind up and churn out
all over my feet
the root beer waves splash
and i rest
on mosaics of light

Sunday, 30 November 2008

haunting movie

Saw Waltz with Bashir last night and it was a really moving and superbly executed film. The dream/life surrealism of the film and the topic (murder, betrayal, confusion and mayhem) was really brought to life through the visceral animated scenes. The reality of the horrors was brought home in the end, with the usage of actual footage...I highly recommend it.

Friday, 28 November 2008

On the lookout...

Finding wonder in the mundane and the everyday. Opening my eyes even while I'm doing my usual New Yorker sprint. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Coconut dreams

Coconut dreams
hairy nutty desires
parading a teasing suntan lotion scent
in a sea of restful wilderness

juicy pineapple thoughts
secrete sticky substances
all over my parched imagination

subtle and rich coffee spices
waft into the room
luring my presence

attempting to shake off bamboo restraints
that keep me wonderfully tied to mysterious pink beaches
sand made of grapefruit grains
decorated with coriander beach towels

Coconut dreams are shaken down from high trees
and fall like bowling balls
forming a pool table V shape
these tropical reveries are like hot breezes

against oh so cold thighs
so cold that mosquito bites are clearly visible
connecting the dots you construct a map

to find me when i am lost in the 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets
you follow the mango trail
soaking up parts of me in the sun

Coconut dreams
knock, knock, knock on imagination's door
shaped like strange creamy meringue pies

i invite them in
out of the ordered and make believe world
'this is real' they whisper

breath like pina coladas
a frothy and creamy vice that sends me
down into reality beaches

the rotten stink of dreams deferred
consumes all in our collective construction
of what we call 'today' and 'the world'

Coconut dreams
give me white lens sunglasses
and i see nothing at first

until the white begins to recede
like an old man's hairline
moving back slowly to reveal everything

mash potato colours
blended together to form light clouds
that pass through and around me

so much energy
too much beauty
all part of one
seen only wearing white sunglasses in coconut dreams