Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The loose ends...

... happen to be on a stout rope. One end's tied to a peg on the ceiling, the other around my neck.

After a month of browbeating the cable guy, the connection's been restored. Now, my new computer's crashed. And this cybercafe lacks inspiration.

A spare laptop, anyone??

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tying up loose ends...

Will be back next week. Happy Dussera. :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

SONGLINES: Bruce Chatwin

‘In Alice Springs – a grid of scorching streets where men in long white socks were forever getting in and out of Land Cruisers – I met a Russian who was mapping the sacred sites of the Aboriginals….’

The opening lines from Songlines create an air of intrigue befitting a whodunit, rather than a travel book. For instance, my thoughts were, who were these men in long white socks? Why Land Cruisers? And what was a Russian doing Down Under?

The rest of the first chapter is equally taut. Dispensing with rambling descriptions that characterize travel writing, Chatwin tells us about the Russian, Arkady Volchok, and his unusual vocation.

Arkady first worked as a school teacher on an Aboriginal settlement near Alice Springs, when he came across the Songlines – the invisible pathways criss-crossing Australia. According to Aboriginal myth, totemic beings wandered over the continent singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants – and thus sang the world into existence.

A railway line was being constructed through Alice Springs and the authorities were wary of treading over the sacred ground. Here’s where Arkady came in. He’d built a special friendship with the Song-men and could work with them to ensure that no sacred site was disturbed.

Arkady was married, even had a daughter of 6, but no longer lived with his wife. Chatwin’s description of Arkady’s union is wonderfully wry…

‘On the Acropolis in Athens, there was a dusting of snow and only one other tourist: a Greek girl from Sydney. They traveled through Italy, and slept together, and in Paris they agreed to get married.’

Likewise, the portrayal of their separation…

‘After a single summer, in a tin-roofed house that heated like a furnace, they began to drift apart.’

The chapter ends with the enigmatic introduction of Arkady’s secretary…

‘…a pliant brown girl in a brown knitted dress. She smiled and said, ‘Hi Ark!’ but her smile fell away at the sight of a stranger.’

Do Arkady and the construction group steer clear of the Songlines? Are the Aboriginals lying in wait to sabotage the construction? Is there more than meets the eye between Arkady and his secretary?

Find out more after I read the book…

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Absolute Lee 2.0

With sincere apologies to Client Servicing

There was one question that remained unanswered during all my years in advertising – why would anyone, in their sane mind, join an ad agency in Client Servicing?

It was undoubtedly the shittiest job in the agency – liaising between bull-headed clients, creative prima donnas, cold number-crunchers in media, impudent cut paste artists and incompetent bosses. The balancing act turned them into vacillating, conniving, annoying dimwits, who were equally loathed and laughed at. They were derided as ‘postmen’ and ‘flunkeys’ and those were the printable terms. To insult a copywriter or art director, you spat out, ‘@$# Servicing!!’ It was hard to like yourself when you were Client Servicing.

The point of this ramble is that in the last month, I’ve come to empathize with this reviled bunch, having unwittingly slipped into their shoes myself.

It started when I decided to revamp the blog.

Nothing too fancy, I said to myself. (All bull-headed clients start out that way.) The intrepid yet unsuspecting Spaceman Spiff volunteered to do the programming, and tossed in a few ideas. Yes, no, yes, no, no, no, no, went ‘client servicing’ (at the behest of the ‘client’).

The old Art Partner called to say, ‘It’s a boy!’

Congratulations, congratulations… psstcanyoudesignmyblog… congratulations. When you’re Client Servicing, scruples mean nothing.

An illustrator friend was similarly arm-twisted for an illustration ‘…which should be distinctive to the blog and also epitomize the essence of it…’ Illustrator friend pulled out his dictionary, forgetting for a moment that Client Servicing uses words to detract from one immutable fact – ‘I don’t know what in hell’s name I’m talking about’.

Thankfully (for still-nonplussed Illustrator friend) one of the illustrations worked in a ‘dipstick survey’.

Next, Art Partner with baby in one hand and mouse in the other, produced two simple, scintillating designs. Spaceman was informed thus:

Day 1: Design 1 is final!
Day 2: Design 2 is final!
Day 3 (a.m): Um.. let’s go with Design 1.
Day 3 (p.m.): Make that Design 2…

It’s not hard to lose friends when you’re Client Servicing.

Spaceman mailed requirements, Art Partner went to work. Art Partner mailed requirements, Spaceman went to work. Client Servicing with a feigned casualness (and having plied them with gmail accounts) huffed and puffed down their necks.

Full circle, it is. From looking down my Copywriter-nose at them to joining their oily ilk. But there’s one thing Client Servicing does quite generously. And that is, allow the names of the Creative team to precede their own on the award form. So here goes:

Design: Monisha K.

Illustration: Avinash V.

Programming: Spaceman Spiff

@$# Servicing: Leela A.

P.S. It’s been a year (already!) on the blog. Thank you all for your encouragement.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

In Absentia

Net connection's down again :-I Hence this absence. Will start 'afresh' next week :-))