Multi-hyphenating on the bright side of life

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I discovered a new word today as I was editing our brilliant Fashion, Beauty & Social Media Editor Hannah Tan-Gillies’ fine article on the equally brilliant joint launch by The Shilla Duty Free at Changi Airport of CK Everyone (the fragrance) and CK One (the underwear).

The former is Calvin Klein’s new sustainable ‘gender-neutral’ scent, while CK One is the fashion brand’s new youth-minded underwear range. You can read Hannah’s story for all the details but the word that caught my attention was ‘multi-hyphenate’, used here in the context of the creative talents (pictured below) involved in the joint promotional campaign.

They include British musician Eliot Sumner, American model Cara Taylor, American skateboarder/photographer Evan Mock, South Korean artist MLMA, Dutch model Parker Van Noord, and rapper Priddy the Opp.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary a multi-hyphenate is ‘someone who does several different jobs especially in the entertainment industry’. For example, ‘Justin Timberlake has continued his growth as a full-fledged, multi-hyphenate: singer/film actor/comedy-sketch player and record-label mogul.’

Putting aside any doubts over my suitability for the youth-minded underwear campaign for a moment, I reckon Coty and the fashion brand’s owner PVH Corp could have saved themselves a fortune and just employed me. I am, you see, the definitive multi-hyphenate. I like to think my writing is entertaining. And several jobs? Let’s tick them off. Writer? Check. Editor? Check. Analyst? Check. Salesperson? Check. Publisher? Check. Company owner? Check. Conference organiser and moderator? Check. And now, to really clinch my inclusion in the multi-hyphenate ranks, I can add Chief Medical Correspondent.

It’s true. Since late January, every working day begins with me analysing the latest COVID-19 new confirmed cases and fatality tolls. It’s a lengthy but necessary job that always starts with China and South Korea before assessing global patterns. I then try to present the findings in a way that is meaningful to my travel retail readership rather than just offering a jumble of numbers.

Add to Medical Correspondent, music curator. Whenever I work from home, and due to COVID-19 that is quite frequently at present, I write and (block your ears now) sing along to music, everything from country to choral to classical. My choice tends to reflect my mood. When I’m writing in the wee small hours as dawn breaks and the birds begin to take their breakfast from the feeders outside my office window, and all is well in the world, it might be ‘Was a Sunny Day’ by Paul Simon.

Was a sunny day
Not a cloud was in the sky
Not a negative word was heard
From the people passing by
Was a sunny day
All the birdies in the trees
And the radio’singing song
All the favourite melodies

But due to a long lingering winter and the COVID-19 crisis there have been few actual or metaphorical sunny days recently. So my music taste has taken a turn first for the darker (a splash of Mahler, lots of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, even Bob Dylan’s Stuck inside of London with the COVID-19 Blues Again*), and, as the situation worsens, is now veering towards a blend of the whimsical and even the absurd.

Most readers will be too young to recall the Carter family (clue: Johnny Cash was married to one of them) but in the depression era late 20s (what is it about the 20s then?) they popularised an earlier song called ‘Keep on the sunny side’.


It’s a lovely, upbeat little number that goes like this:

There’s a dark and a troubled side of life;
There’s a bright and a sunny side too;
Though we meet with the darkness and strife,
The sunny side we also may view.

[Chorus]
Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life;
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life.
Though the storm in its fury break today,
Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear,
Storm and cloud will in time pass away,
The sun again will shine bright and clear.

Pretty apt for our times don’t you think? As a multi-hyphenate I may try singing it in the early morning (while no-one’s around) in my new youth-minded CK One underwear.

But as things have got grimmer – I have opted increasingly for a 1979 ditty, written by one Eric Idle (I sing it in my rare Idle moments), called, you guessed it, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’. Idle was, of course, a member of the comic genius group Monty Python and the song is played at the conclusion of their film ‘The Life of Brian’ as the hero (Brian) faces crucifixion.

The more printable of the lyrics go almost like this:

Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say.
Some things in life are bad,
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle,
Don’t grumble, give a whistle!
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And… Always look on the bright side of life!
Always look on the bright side of life
If life seems jolly rotten,
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps,
Don’t be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing!
And always look on the bright side of life…

I  feel better already. Just as well, for as mentioned, I’m back in gloomy London after my whistle-stop 36 hour visit to Los Angeles. While I got to see precisely none of the City of Angels other than the view from a cab, I did have the good fortune to visit the Tom Bradley International Terminal. While the airport was much quieter than usual, there was still modest trading going on in the main DFS store (I did my bit to boost the retailer’s coffers by buying a (very) decent bottle of Stag’s Leap Karia 2017 Chardonnay from the Napa Valley for around US$50.

But what really took my eye was the breadth, quality and impact of the airport advertising and some of the art installations. JCDecaux is the advertising concessionaire and boy have they brought their A game to town in terms of quality and positioning of digital and static sites. I’ll let the pictures tell the story. Look out for my more detailed story in the next edition of our airport advertising title Sight Lines and also (and always) look on the bright side of life. That’s what we multi-hyphenators do.

*Sorry Bob, it may have been Memphis

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