Where I get words, number three. SOMEWHERE ELSE.

PIC ONE

I love martinis. Plymouth gin, shaken, very dry, with a twist. They’re harder to find in Paris than London or New York. That is, unless I’m prepared to raise a small mortgage, head for the George V or the Plaza Athenée, and jostle with the rich and silent, their alien earrings, Pierre Cardin shoulder bags and integral collagen. I’m not, sorry.

 

But then there’s Harry’s Bar, down the boulevard from Opéra. It’s about as Parisian as Cape Canavaral, but there’s something about the place. Sprint through the ground floor with its cockney accents, hot dogs and rugby shirts, scale the windy oak stairs to the basement and you transcend time. A low-lit, velvety, womb-like, phoneless cocoon. Here, nods replace words. Even Satan couldn’t track you down here. Bliss.

 

I work there sometimes. Never with a martini. Van Gogh, Tennyson and Mozart could do it, but not mortals like me. Maybe one when I’m done. But I’m really not there for the martinis, though they are good.

 

It’s just because I’m somewhere else.

 

I have to be. Working where I eat, sleep and wash my buttocks doesn’t work. My head needs another space. Even fifty metres away. Anywhere. Funny. I saw the importance of walking out when I stopped walking to an agency. It’s an inbuilt human thing, I think. Maybe the reason why rooms were invented. And why open-plan agencies are hard work.

 

And lucky for me, this is Paris. I’m spoilt. Co-working spaces with no air, just the smell of ambition and green tea. Bars where ambitions get born and drowned. Parks where poodles and thoughts stray at will. The Chinese place where the Christmas tinsel never comes down. The brasserie of the botulinum burgers. And all 100 metres away. It feels like 1000 miles.

 

And in other places are other people.

 

Not agency folk but builders, guitarists, spiritualists, grandmothers, non-toxic burger makers, grips, waiters, taxmen, activists, vets,  truckers, gawping tourists, organists, dreamers, dads, washer-uppers, carpenters, light-bulb sellers, coffee reps, runaways, hospital patients, war veterans. All with lives to talk about, to share. Touching, fascinating, inspiring, every one.

PIC4

They are who we talk to when we write. Yet too many of us hole up with our own kind and never talk to them. Maybe it’s one of the reasons why advertising is spiralling out of touch, and commercial communications are seen as alien by everyone not in communications. We assume all folk live, love and talk like agency folk. Wrong.

 

Expand into other worlds, and your mind will follow.

 

And it’s Friday evening. I’m in a co-working space. On the next table is a crowd of students talking about how to build stone walls. Maybe I can put some of it in this car insurance work on mine. Anyway, I was waiting for some feedback, and it’s here. Track n’ change everywhere, as if some algorithmic spider had crawled all over it.

 

Monday, I think. It’s Friday night. And maybe, maybe, martini time.

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