What do you do when the people go home?
And what do you do when the show is all done?
I know what I’ll do in the alone of my time
But what will I do with the leftover wine? – Melanie Safka, Leftover Wine
I’m starting this Blog in what has become a regular Interim (if you’ll excuse the contradiction in terms) Moodie Davitt Report Bureau. In fact I’ve spent so much time here of late I might apply for an F&B concession.
It’s late night at Hong Kong International Airport, and I’m holed up in the Cathay Pacific lounge down at Gate 63. It’s their new First Class Lounge, but before you start thinking I am flying around the world in splendour, I’m not. In fact, tonight I’m down the back of the plane (in a middle seat goddamn it) but one of the benefits of having squillions of points and a BA Emerald Card is that I have access to some decent lounges whichever part of the big steel bird I am flying.
Today marks our 15th anniversary at The Moodie Davitt Report. That first humble six-page pdf report (pictured below) seems a long way off. It’s been a long, hard, but wonderful journey since. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Except, maybe, for an upgrade on tonight’s flight.
I’m humbled by the scores of e-mails I have received today, congratulating me and my great team on our anniversary. Like all of us, I am invariably too busy to reflect on what one has achieved, always fighting the next fire, always focused on the next challenge. But maybe, just maybe, before I catch the long flight home, I will raise a toast to all those years.
My long-time and very good industry friend Enrique Urioste (now CEO of Neutral) sent me a note today that made me smile. “I know it was a hard road,” he wrote. “Uncertain results, structure and financing a start-up, finally selling and then re-buying your company.” That’s the insight of a fellow entrepreneur.
It’s been a hard road indeed, and like the roads all of us tread in this business, often an uncertain one. But ultimately what a thrilling one. In a curious and very personal way, this Blog has helped me along that road, giving me the feeling that I am reaching out to each and every reader personally. And I suppose in a way that’s exactly what I am doing.
I’ve just been told that my flight’s delayed for 30 minutes. Why does it always seem to happen on late night flights when all you want to do is get home? Maybe I should hitch a ride with my favourite Hong Kong International Airport pilot (pictured below) – to me the most evocative installation in the whole airport world.
At this time of night (actually early morning) Hong Kong International Airport takes on a very different, almost ghostly, character. The brilliant Chanel and Rolex duplexes are closed for the evening; DFS has mostly done its business for the day; and the various boutiques are all shuttered up. This airport never goes into complete shut-down mode but this is the equivalent of it changing down into first gear. Later…
I’m eight and a half hours out of Hong Kong, just under three hours short of Gatwick. A big weekend lies ahead, working around the clock with Dermot Davitt, our sub-editor Jon Elphick and designer Ray Heath on polishing off our Print Edition for the Cannes show, which is just around the corner.
People look at our chunky Cannes issue each year and say, “You must have a really big team working on it”. The reality is that it’s just a few of us, all of us putting in near around-the-clock shifts to get the job done.
Ray and Jon are both technically freelancers but in reality they are integral members of the Moodie Davitt family. Jon can spot a typo or a grammatical flaw from around 100 kilometers while Ray can make my tired old words sing with his trademark clean, airy design. After every issue of our Print Edition down the years I have sent them each a case of wine as thanks. I reckon they need each and every drop those cases contain to get them over the stress of getting us to the finishing line. What great troupers.
Talking of finishing lines, I’m now just 2 hours and 47 minutes out from Gatwick and I need to get another Cannes feature completed before I land. In fact there might just be time for two. Wedged into my middle seat with two rather large travellers either side makes typing a rather cramped affair but hey ho, nobody 15 years ago said it would be easy. See you along the road, I hope, during the next 15.