Feck Perfunction by James Victore: Book Review.

I keep my business/inspirational book reading light.  Few make the grade, but, for me, these do:

  • Hey Whipple Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan
  • Perfect Pitch and Truth Lies and Advertising by Jon Steel
  • Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott 
  • The Empty Raincoat by Charles Handy
  • Eating The Big Fish by Adam Morgan
  • Nudge by Thaler & Sunstein
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

It doesn’t add up to much after a lifetime of reading, does it?

Not a long list by any stretch of the imagination and what binds them together is creativity in all its forms.  From straightforward “how to write” in Luke Sullivan’s beaut, through the art of pitching and planning by Jon Steel to behavioural economics in Thaler & Sunstein’s acknowledged game-changer.

But yesterday in two short hours I devoured Feck Perfuncction by James Victore.  Another to add to that short list.

So, on that basis, the impact of this book can’t be underestimated in my personal universe.

To kick off with a criticism.  It’s not an inspiring title, in fact it’s rubbish.

It reeks of cleverness and bad punnery, and he does have a penchant for a few slightly cringy chapter heads, but fear not.  This is an instant classic.

So, I nearly judged the book by the cover.  Thankfully it was recommended to me by a remarkable lady that I have been working with lately, Rebecca Shannon of Complement Coaching  – the website’s under construction just now – so I persevered.

He’s an American designer by trade and a teacher (motivator) by nature.

What he manages in 70 one-page essays is to capture the nature of what it takes to rise from the ordinary in your own personal life and allow creativity to drive your own personal voice, actions, purpose and habits.

It gives you strategies for starting out tentatively to achieve dreams and aspirations and for overcoming fears.

It acknowledges that well known fact that creativity is inherent and driven out of children in order to conform and ‘succeed’ and it celebrates weirdness (yes, in a Dominic Cummings way) being unconventional and avoiding making your own judgement calls of your work.

It encourages risk-taking and non-conforming.

And as it wore on, page after page after page made me smile and nod appreciatively.

I found myself photographing pages and sending them to my entrepreneur daughter.  I bribed my son (with vodka) to read it.

This. THIS… would have been my ‘career’ route map had I found it 30-odd years ago.

Instead it’s a bit of a rear-view mirror on my views on life in the creative industries, in fact in any industry where ‘creativity’ can be applied to success.

It’s lovely, it’s imperfect in places but, you know what?

Feck Perfunction.

The best Covid-creativity I have seen yet. Courtesy of young Edinburgh designer Emilie Lumineau.

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New York magazine starts an article on the epic movie  I Am Legend, this way.

A virus hits in 2009, infecting everyone but Will Smith. By 2012, New York is rife with monsters at night yet empty during the day: a spookily beautiful dystopia.”

Although it’s a great film we all know that the best thing about it was the abandoned cityscape that time had created.

So imagine my jaw dropping when I saw Emilie Lumineau’s virus-inspired vision of Edinburgh, should the lockdown continue in the same way.

Emilie is a graduate of Napier Uni and is working in the hospitality marketing sector but it is her private work that has caught me eye and you can see more of it here.

I have to say, it is truly outstanding work.  Simply the most interesting and exciting (and frankly beautiful creative idea I have seen about the lockdown since it started.

Thank you Emilie.

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Why I’ve joined the Nods team as Vice Chair.

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I was a guest at the inaugural Nods Awards last year and was impressed by its enthusiastic rejection of the usual awards puffery.

  • No suits ( I wore my daughter’s purple hat, inexplicably)
  • No drawn out sit-down dinner with expensive wine. (In fact it was a selection of market stalls selling street food in a really cool venue in the Barras called BAAD)
  • No two hour ceremony with so many awards you couldn’t even begin to work out who had won what.  (It was by contrast a little rushed and in need of sharing the work visually more – but it was all done and dusted in half an hour – the criticism was noted and a balance will be struck this year).
  • No overblown entry fees or ticket prices
  • And, most importantly for me, no profit motive – the proceeds went to the STV Children’s Appeal. But this year, and hopefully for the long term, proceeds will go to NABS (Scotland) well that’s an obvious choice is it not given that NABS is the creative (Communications) industry’s representative charity

This all made the event refreshing, more so when the judges are revealed as global giants, the Chair is a Global Giant herself (MT Rainey) and the organisers are Lux Events and CRAK Marketing, two small businesses wanting to put something back.

Many in our industry have bemoaned media owners using Awards as money-spinning bun fights and whilst I don’t wholly subscribe to that point of view there is no doubt this represents a refreshing change.

So year two now approaches, this time the awards ceremony will swap to Edinburgh and the ethos will be identical, although all of the people and organisations categories have been opened up for FREE entry.  This makes sense as people feel awkward paying to enter themselves for an award.  Instead it will be a Nod of recognition to those that deserve it.

Also we have introduced a craft category – a chance for photographers, illustrators, animators, musicians, film makers to enter for themselves – or for makers in agencies to have a bit of a spotlight shone on them.

I hope the industry will support the awards like they did last year.  It’s a shop window for the winners both to clients and to prospective staff and the awards themselves are keenly priced.

You can find out more here.

But, please note, the deadline for entries is 23rd November.  So get your skates on.