That was the January 16 that was

MJHB News

I struggle with January: I always have done and always will. The first couple of weeks are always stuck in second gear, my mind is soft spongey and rubbish.


Thankfully the phone started ringing on the 7th and kick started me back into the year and a working frame of mind. Let’s be honest though, it was a rough month, 31 days that seem to say, “hey guys, buckle up because this year is going to be one hell of a ride”. Here are my highs and lows.

Low. The death of a lot of people who had always been there.

I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth when my wife told me that Bowie had died. I’d just been on the rowing machine listening to „Black Star“ which had made me giggle at the time because it had seemed such an unbelievably middle aged thing to be doing. A lot of people (famous and otherwise) have passed away this month and it occurred to me that I have now reached that age where these things happen and will happen at regular intervals. Seriously, back off cancer.

High. Setting up a new company.

A good friend and I have set up a company together. There’s something quite comical about two grown men sitting in front of an ancient notary who is droning his way through the company contract. The company is something we’ve been discussing, planning and arguing about for two years and now we’ve finally done it. So I now have two companies which is a tiny bit odd and really very exciting. More news on this as soon as it is news.

Low. The German Media Congress.

To be honest I’ve become a bit jaded by conferences and congresses and I wouldn’t have gone to the German Media Congress in Frankfurt at all had I not already bought the bloody tickets almost half a year ago. It didn’t disappoint in being thoroughly disappointing. There were tiny moments of smashingness: Jean-Marie Dru has a dreamy voice: heavy with a confidence that only the most senior of Frenchmen can pull off – and Philip Westermeyer’s five minutes on stage was a magnificent display of a confidence that only Philip Westermeyer can pull off. Brilliant. I saw some old friends and made a few new ones but on the whole the congress felt old and stuffy and completely out of touch with the real world. I didn’t bother with the second day and went straight back to Munich in a bit of a huff.

High. The news that Interesting is going to happen again.

So, with the exception of OMR and re:publica, I’m sick of conferences and going to give them a miss for a bit. The good news, however, is that Russell Davies has announced that Interesting is going to happen again this year, in September. I can go to Interesting because it isn’t a conference – it’s Interesting. So I’m going to go – it’s on when the DMEXCO is on – so I’m not going to the DMEXCO and going to sit in an old church hall instead. Excellent.

Low. Mistakes were made.

I’ve made a book. It’s bloody gorgeous and I’m very proud of it. I’ve now got a cellar full of books that are gorgeous but they contain two tiny mistakes that annoy the hell out of me. I’m annoyed because the mistakes were caused by cutting a corner and not concentrating. I’m annoyed because I should know better and was sloppy. Now I have to figure out what to do with the books with the mistakes in them. Bugger.

High. We bought a plastic owl.

We bought a plastic owl. He’s name is Bob and it’s Bob’s job to keep the pigeons off of our balcony. Bob got off to a poor start but it would appear that the local pigeons are now scared of him. Well done Bob.

Enormous High. I finally gained German citizenship.

This is a big one for me and the end of a process that started in March 2015: I finally obtained German citizenship. My dad pointed out last week that, as of this year, I’ve lived more of my life in Germany than in the UK: twenty three years. Mental. I’ll be honest with you: I cried when I was handed the certificate of citizenship because there was something movingly mundane about it; I was surrounded by piles of recycling paper, dust and plastic potted plants and a weary looking civil servant. I’m proud of this achievement because the authorities make it so easy for applicants to give up – and I didn’t. There’s a big ceremony in May with the lord mayor of Munich – I’m quite excited about it, actually.

High: Yes, risks were taken.

2015 was all about setting up a solid foundation for the company and that worked out splendidly. I’ve decided that I’m going to take a few more risks this year and I’ve done a couple of things that were risky and worked out. I took a larger group up into the mountains for a creative walks workshop. It was much larger than I would normally do and it all worked out just fine. I was sensible enough to outsource the logistics: coaches, event, location etc. to a partner so that I could concentrate on my bit. It was a tiny bit nerve wracking but everybody enjoyed the day and we got some cracking work done. Risk is fun. Terrifying but fun.

So that was my January. I wonder what February will bring? Good morning. This was a blog post. Should I end with a question?