What you write is where you are
I am in Fez.
The land of the Ryad, the date-palm, the date, the hustler, poverty, the brass lamp, feudal politics, Moorish arches, hand-to-mouth economics, sincerity, the lamb tagine and a sales patter to die for. A bright-eyed man of 70 just nearly sold me a chicken. I’m a veggie. But he nearly succeeded.
All that, and colour. Fez is a breathing rainbow. A thousand glass hues. Blues beyond skies or oceans. Arterial reds. Ochres and leaf-greens trapped in inkjet diamonds. Beside all this, my sea-blue eyes are a tasteless grey.
And here I am writing a manifesto for an insurance brand. A grey industry if there ever was. Not a lot to go on, either. Being covered every moment of your life, whatever your life is. That’s it.
But hang on. I’m working on a grey sector, in a prism of a city. If the people of Fez will let me use the spectrum that surrounds their lives, I might have something new.
Here’s a draft. Take note, this isn’t the real thing. Just a test.
After all, we’re insurers.
one who knows that customers are anything but.
In life’s great spectrum,
they have moments that put cobalt bruises on perfect days.
Days when it’s not their fault. But the air is blue.
Times, maybe, when they regret being so innocently green.
Minutes when emotions simply run blood-red.
Or congeal into bloodless, cold-white fear.
We know. Life can be colourful.
But sometimes, far from beautiful.
Not bad for a grey old insurer.
A draft, indeed, I admit. But the makings, maybe, of a challenger brand. Its territory, life’s other colours.
Now then. If I’d have written this at a desk, breathing the same fear-infused air I’d inhaled ten years ago, infused with the E507, E104 and E999 of automatic coffee, in the crossfire of mails about IT training and fire drills, it would have been different.
Like God made little apples it would have been.
There’s a lesson in all this. Get out. Even if you work for CCPDS Mighty Sellem and BigBad. At the bar next door, the park bench, the patisserie, the soda stall, the zoo, the vegan café or in bed, you’ll find new sounds, forms, feelings, odours, songs, wailings and colours that will, in a twinkle, turn into new words.
Time for a pomegranate smoothie.