Monday, 16 May 2011


and go for it

What brought this on?

Here I am in lazy Brighton in the best weather we’ve had for ages. The birds are singing, the deck chairs are out and the roses are exploding symphonically into bloom. Maybe it’s the glorious Aegean blue skies early in the morning or maybe it’s the people I’m meeting and what they are saying that’s provoked it but I think it’s time for us all to wake up.

Let’s start with the Brighton Festival.

A huge success in 2010, aiming for better things in 2011, the number of Friends hugely increased and with Aung San Suu Kyi as guest director in the year that seems to mark the nadir for dictators. Magic. “We can really take on Edinburgh now,“ I said. No, I was told, this is little Brighton, little sister of London… Edinburgh has the clout, the history and the gravitas. And the Scottish B&Bs and the weather and the distance and the smugness.  Go for it Brighton. What’s wrong with you?

Emily Baker. Young. Singer. Songwriter. She appeared at an event called “Riding the Wave” organised by the local Chamber of Commerce. I spoke. She sang. We are bound together by virtual greasepaint. Will she make it? Conventional wisdom says she’ll struggle because she’s probably too good musically (eh?) and this is so crowded a field. But life is crowded and as BWW said “the fast always eat the slow.” So be fast Emily. Be newsy. Be ambitious, girl. I’m backing you to win.

Jess Wood. Designer. Very young. Running her own business. Just done a pack design job for Nestle. Great presence. Good work. Needs to rocket to a new level by being more daring, mould breaking and ambitious.  Be fast Jess. Dazzle us with your design-sprinting. I’m backing her too.

And Sussex CCC and Brighton and Hove Albion FC and the Olympics. Self- confident. Classy. Winners.
It’s time for the sceptics, cynics and naysayers to bow out or be ejected. It’s May 2011 and I want anyone reading this to repeat after me:

“Let’s be much more ambitious and take more risks. We have nothing to lose but our torpor”

….or our jobs?  In the case of the gloriously self-employed Emily and Jess not even that. And, anway, if that’s the price of renouncing boredom and despair, so be it.

Vote for ambition. Vote for innovation. Vote for freedom.

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