This week ‘Graphic Design as an Extreme Sport’ takes a literal turn as I found myself watching THE PERILS headlining Brighton’s WHITEAIR Extreme Sports Festival. So we move briefly from the past to the present …. and maybe include a couple of designs!!
I mentioned THE PERILS in the Intro as my current music obsession. They have all the essential ingredients to be hugely successful – talented, great songs and attitude, exhuberant, sexy and consumately professional. The music industry has, as we will see, changed dramatically but it’s good to know there are still musicians out there who are inspirational and exciting.
Ten years ago bands and artists performed to sell their music. Now as the download phenomena gains pace and online companies like SPOTIFY stream music for free, bands rely on merchandising sales for income. With two colleagues we recently founded
with the idea to provide great merchandising so bands can survive by selling items at gigs and online – to keep them afloat before a record deal is offered. As in any business you have to be ahead of the game – complacency is guaranteed to stifle creativity. Jo said ‘Let’s do condoms for THE PERILS’, so we did in matchbook style packaging …
My blog was interrupted again (funny how telling stories seems to breed more of them). I sat outside a bar in Brighton writing, a glass of red wine for each hand on the table, and bought a BIG ISSUE off a young fragile-looking guy who was clearly nervous and embarrassed. He moved to the next table and one of a group of middle-aged tourists said ‘Fuck off you fucking waster’. I should have kept out of it but sometimes you just can’t. ‘Excuse me’ I said, ‘that’s incredibly out of order. You can’t speak to people like that.’ The guy stood up and lurched drunkenly towards me, threatening to spread my face across the pavement and suggesting I have sex with myself. I ignored him but a constant barrage of expletives was by now being screamed into my ear. I looked up at him. His face was crimson, his eyeballs seemed to bob up and down like those joke ones on springs and his fists were punching the air with lunatic abandon. ‘Sorry, did you say something?’ I said. ‘I wasn’t listening.’ Probably not the best thing to say but he was really pissing me off by then. I didn’t consider him dangerous – he was too drunk. I reckoned I could easily move out of his way if he did try to punch me – or just leg it if necessary. Anyway – help was at hand. In a genius move, an Australian guy I’d spoken to briefly a little earlier stood up and stuck his mobile phone in front of the drunk’s face. ‘See what it says on the phone,’ he said. ‘999. Do you want to call the police or should I? Why don’t you just go away.’ Confused by this brilliant self-defence tactic the guy backed down, collected his tribe together and they loped off down the street.
So … what have we learnt about ‘Graphic Design As An Extreme Sport’? Much more than you think I’d suggest. You have already learnt (or at least acknowledged) a few pertinent observations from the colourful cast of characters who have inhabited the stories so far …
DESIGN COURSE SUMMARY – ONE
1. Enjoy your life, and whatever it is that provides opportunity to be creative.
2. Make friends with your enemies.
3. No matter how potentially successful a venture might be, we always need talented people around us to ‘oil the machine’.
4. ‘If you really want to do something, there are always people out there who know more than you and are willing to help.’
5. Always imagine what could go wrong. It usually does – so prepare for that eventuality.
6. ‘ No Matter How Hard You Hit It, A Banana Will Never Sound Like A Drum.’
7. Be ahead of the game.
Not bad for a start. Mastering a craft is one thing but it needs the heartbeat of experience to give it depth.
Next? Back to that club in Covent Garden. Anyone remember BIDDIE and EVE?
Was anyone there when BOY GEORGE was the cloakroom attendant? Did anyone see MICK JAGGER refused admission? Anyone know the club?