Lighting a banger in a cow pat and not running far enough away in 1994 was a bad decision as was thinking I could ride over a big heap of loose gravel at the age of 6. Could the after effects of writing ‘The ten commandments to being a furniture designer’ be worse than being covered in cow poop and having to pick gravel out of my knee caps, time will tell, here we go, where heroes dare.
1. Thou shalt be sure to dress like a designer at all times. There are two schools of thought on this one, either go weird and wacky Willy Wonka style, red cowboy boots, bowler hats etc or play safe with the cliché look; a nice neck scarf, Buddy Holly thick rimmed glasses and slightly too tight trousers.
2. Thou shalt name drop at any opportunity. This one is very essential when wooing important people, name dropping is a bit like wearing Wonderbras to attract men, very effective! A little ‘I know so and so’ or ‘thingy me bob told me’, or ‘last week when I was having brunch with what’s his face’ goes a long way.
3. Thou shalt turn in the right social circles. If you’re not hanging with the in crowd with lots of rich, famous and influential people then you should seriously consider swatting up on your infiltration skills.
4. Thou shalt learn how to talk arty farty poetry. You may look the part but if you can’t talk the talk then it’s time to swallow a few flowery dictionaries. The line “I designed it because I like it” will simply not wash.
5. Thou shalt always have the air to be right. Never doubt what you have done, or at least never in front of important people. It’s all about conviction and manipulation, in a nice way of course after all this is the design world not an interrogation with the KGB.
6. Thou shalt have a second job at the beginning of one’s career. This one works on two levels, firstly you can use the old ‘toilet cleaner turned world famous artist’ rags to riches line. Secondly if you not very good at communicating your work you won’t be forced to eat just baked beans for dinner.
7. Thou shalt not expect a reply. Who sends emails or leaves messages these days to get replies? Exactly! The internet was invented for shopping, stalking people on Facebook, watching accidents on Youtube and streaming American TV series. It was not and will never be a communication device to communicate with important people.
8. Thou shalt be patient. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is an expression I’m not a fan of, ’thanks for pointing out the bloody obvious’ is what I want to reply, but a rather damp and soggy ‘yeah I know’ is what actually comes out. Sleeping with a gallery owner or top magazine editor could help speed things up.
9. Thou shalt learn not take it all too seriously. Easier said than done when you are ploughing all your time and energy into a dream but every now and then it’s a good idea to remember the important things. Smash a few balls, crunch some gears, ride a few waves and have a good laugh at some of the awkward situations in which you have found yourself.
10. Thou shalt have talent. Yeah, a tricky one, but it couldn’t hurt to have a little. Just be to clear not Lance Armstrong, gift of the gab, designer shirt, nice daddy, style talent. No amount of sweet talking or seducing will ever replace the power of a simply stunning piece of work.
Bridges what bridges, and anyway I have it on good authority that since we stopped making them out of wood they are a little more resistant to fire.