Monday, 12 September 2011
Top Secret Project
It has a been a pretty intense week for me, a lot has happened and I think it's all turning out for the best.
In no particular order:
I have finished two pieces of work I'm pretty happy with; after 7 months traveling (5 of those with no working whatsoever) I had forgotten the kind of intensity and frenzy sometimes involved in finishing work to a deadline when everything suddenly goes wrong. Like those times when you are working on a pitch (plus all your normal work load) and whoever is leading - sometimes yourself - declares 24 or 48h before the pitch presentation that everything is wrong and that the whole thing needs to go back to the drawing board. Don't we all love those moments! And wouldn't you [secretly] agree that some of your best work was born in that weird natural high that takes hold of you beyond exhaustion, when your mind and body are pumped full of adrenalin, serotonin, dopamin, and all sorts of other hormones? This week was a bit like that for me.
You guessed it, I can't sleep. It has never happened to me like this before. I've been operating on an average of 1-3 hours sleep for the past 5 nights or so. it's really weird, I'm alternating between moments of intense inspired creativity / productivity, and moments of total exhaustion. I am slightly worried about my health, I know it's not a good thing to not sleep and I usually love sleeping, though I also think I'm OK and there's something going on demanding I give it attention (more on that further down). Today I felt I'd reached my physical limits, I had a really hard time concentrating on the deck I was writing and progress was very slow. Fortunately the topic was very familiar so I was wrote a lot from instinct, and triple checking everything I wrote. I finally finished the deck at 8pm, had a quick bite to eat as I hadn't eaten since the muffin in the morning. I was in bed before 9pm, feeling like I was ready to sleep all night. I woke up [good sign] certain I must have slept several hours, and it was 10pm. I stayed in a bed a while, then decided to get back up and write this.
My friend JB and I have known each other since we were 6 years old, a long friendship indeed. Him and his wife Marion have asked me to be the godfather of their newborn son Marcus, very exciting stuff and I'm really looking forward to meeting him. Nothing religious about it in case you're wondering (and interestingly the word in French is 'parrain' derived from the latin word patruus meaning paternal uncle, so the etymology itself isn't directly related to god; unlike the English word), I'm an atheist and they aren't particularly religious. I don't have godparents so it's a brand new experience and I know my friends see it as an important responsibility in their family as a different adult figure to the parents for their son. I was honoured to have been asked and I've of course accepted.
I've had a great time in Kuala Lumpur this week, I find it a city that really grows on you if you give it a bit of patience. It's really not pretty, that's true. On the other hand, the food is just phenomenal and as I'm meeting local friends it only gets better because they know the best places to eat. The people here are unbelievably friendly - I seriously can't get over it. You know the long face syndrome in the tube / bus / metro in all sorts of capital cities? Totally non-existent here. People smile, say hi, strike conversation randomly, with no ulterior motives than being curious and friendly. That's another reason I'm really loving spending time in Malaysia and I'm in no hurry to leave. And KL is also a big modern place with wifi everywhere which makes my life as a laptop hobo easier.
I've had this crazy day helping my friend out with changing her flights. Still not exactly over, though she's got back home in Paris as planned and Qatar Airways contacted her. I'll update the blog separately when I have a conclusion to report about it.
I discovered a great band playing in a bar close by. Travel in Southeast Asia long enough and good live bands quickly become very noteworthy as there aren't many and the majority of people around the region prefer going to dance to some cheesy popular club classics than live bands. I've posted a few songs on Audioboo if you want to check them out.
I thank the reader who has had the patience to come to this point and must by now be wondering what is so top secret when I'm basically laying out my life on my public blog.
Well, here's the top secret part: I'm pretty sure I now know the main reason I can't sleep. I have a new project I'm extremely excited and terribly inspired about. I just started working on it and I'm keeping under top secret wraps until it is ready to be properly revealed. I'm hoping for the reveal to take place as fast as possible, realistically probably in a month's time, around early to mid October. In any case I will announce the date of the official reveal as soon as possible. Until then, as my photographer friend Vish knows well, Shh!
As I am writing this late at night in Kuala Lumpur and it is already September 12th; so it is early afternoon on 9/11 in New York and memorials of the 10th anniversary must be taking place as I'm writing this. I've decided to publish this post tomorrow, I just wanted to write it now as I can't sleep. I remember 9/11. I was a designer at the time, in a small agency in the suburbs west of Paris. I was shocked beyond belief; actually I hadn't really thought about it in a long time and my eyes are watering with emotion at the memory.
My elder brother Björn who is a chef was supposed to open his first restaurant in Mid-town New York that day and he told me this story. He had been working in the kitchen from really early morning getting everything ready for his opening. His food suppliers weren't showing up. He's stressing out, this is his big day. He picks up the phone and starts shouting at his fish supplier, who says something along the lines of 'You're not going to get your fucking fish today, man. Haven't you seen? Go to your roof!' My brother runs up to the roof of the mid-town Manhattan building, drops the phone to the floor when he sees the giant column of smoke. The first plane had just hit the tower minutes before.
I remember, and my thoughts go to all New Yorkers and Americans on this day.
PPS: After I finished writing this post during the night I was able to sleep again so it's all good. I'm now finishing to amend this post from a super luxury VIP bus on my way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. I'm the only passenger! It has super comfy huge seats, electricity for my laptop, onboard wifi, had a breakfast, personal video screens, it's unbelievable!! So I'm working from my bus.
I love my life, I'm the king of the laptop hobos!