• Paul Laver

January...not all bad


Every month, each of our humans have an allocated budget to spend on trying something new and inspiring. As an insight agency, we feel we can only claim to be cultural commentators if we are continually and proactively engaging with the culture that surrounds us. This January, the first month of the new decade, was spent at a conference, the opera, a bespoke live music event, an eye-opening exhibition and at a tarot card readers kitchen table....


Karis: When I got the email saying I’d managed to get tickets for a Sofar (Songs From A Room) gig, I felt suddenly privileged. I hadn’t heard of the event but my friend convinced me to apply for the tickets and the uncertainty around whether you’d get them, the last-minute revealed location and secret line up, made the whole thing feel exclusive. The reality was a bit different; it was hosted in their Hackney HQ which is a converted school hall, and everyone was the quorn sausage snacker type - unfortunately myself included, it was Veganuary after all!





Paul: I don’t like cars much, despite having a long and varied history of researching them across the world. On a personal level, so long as I can feel the wind on my bald head for the two days of summer and it doesn’t rain, I am a happy man. So, to get out of my comfort zone I went to the V&A and explored their exhibition ‘Cars: Accelerating the Modern World’; it was transformative. It got me thinking about the importance and relevance of the car to human development, for better and for worse. To be quite frank, nothing other than perhaps war, has had a similar effect on our politics, psychology, philosophy and indeed our very geography. Fuck the mobile phone, data and AI and all that nonsense, the car has been by far the most impactful, influential and literally world-shaping thing we have created.

This exhibition landed that idea and fundamentally changed the way that I look at the world around me. And it was so good I bought the book!


Charlie: I went to see the Russian State Ballet of Siberia perform Swan Lake. Apart from making me think I really must go for a run, what I found inspiring was the way they married absolute precision and obvious discipline, with something so creative and expressive. It was another reminder that one does not preclude the other, and that’s something I think can be taken into plenty of avenues in everyday life.



Shems and Astrid: Inspired by Paul’s astrology reading of the month before, Shems tracked down a local tarot reader, whose house we popped round to after work one Monday. Astrid was told it was high time she educated herself on men – simply achieved by reading 3 books (see image). Shems was urged to be less giving in her friendships and warned that she would soon be arguing about money with her boyfriend.

Astrid: I found the ritual of the event compelling, the way she methodically shuffled the cards and layed them out was quite hypnotic, as if my future was gradually making itself known one card at a time. Unfortunately, the cards themselves did not massively resonate with me, although Janine said it might be that these truths are yet to make themselves known… Regardless, perhaps the tarot card method could be incorporated into a workshop or kick-off session.


Shems: I felt motivated which was the last thing I expected to feel. I still believe that only I can control my future but it gave me a different perspective and a way to focus on where I want to be. Can I achieve the things she said? How can I get there?



Doug: I missed my trip to the Buddhist Centre and instead attended the MRS Sports and Gaming Conference (quite a different vibe). It was a stimulating whole-day event with some great speakers from the BBC, BT Sport and more. I know a bit about gaming but I was quite shocked when I heard that the prize money up for grabs for Fortnight is greater than winning The Open, the Tour De France AND Wimbledon. Last years $3 million landed in the hands of teenager Kyle Giersdorf, who has now been able to pay off his mum’s mortgage at the age of 16. I guess every day’s a school day.

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