Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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Well my friends are gone and my (last) hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
– Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song
“Why haven’t you updated your Blog? Is something wrong?” – an e-mail from a concerned reader 7/10/2014
12 years ago I gave birth. An immaculate conception that created a monster. A little one but a monster all the same. Now it’s grown up to be a real life-size monster that frightens the life out of me every day, unpredictable, hyperactive, irrespressible.
It’s called The Moodie Report and, heck, it’s even got children! And you know what? It won’t stop breeding! The Moodie Blog, The Moodie Podcast, The Moodie View, The Moodie print edition, The Moodie e-Zine, The Moodie e-Newsletter, hey even some cousins such as the recently born My Wine Journey and it is rumoured to be with child again. It’s out of control. Please, someone, help!
Let me explain. In the travel retail publishing world, October is silly season. In the autumn of my mid-life, way back in the serenely calm days of running DFNI in the late 90s and early 21st century, things would get pretty busy around now as we put in long hours preparing our TFWA World Exhibition edition.
Looking back, those days seem akin to sitting on a sun lounger by the pool drinking ice-cold Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (actually, make that by a pool filled with ice-cold Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc). The great, great Leonard Cohen (whatever else you do today, log onto Amazon and buy his new album Popular Problems, sit back and bask in the presence of genius), at the ripe old age of 74, once said at a UK concert: “It’s been a long time since I stood on the stage in London. It was about 14 or 15 years ago. I was 60 years old, just a kid with a crazy dream.”
I feel a bit like that. 2002, age 46, just a kid with a crazy dream. The Monster was about to climb out of his cage. Now it’s like this – Dear Abbie – I’m a father at nearly 60 and I can’t control my family!
In the travel retail publishing world 2014-style, at least in The Moodie Report version, things are a little different from the halcyon 90s. For a start we have to deal with one of the monster’s most disruptive children – The Trinity Forum – in mid-September (now a permanent timing for the event). I won’t even begin to bore you with details of how much work around-the-Big Ben-sized-clock that involves for the likes of Dermot Divot (sorry, Davitt, this is not a golf Blog), me and Sarah Genest. Writing intros, speeches, moderating notes long into the night and (just as often) on a piece of paper minutes before you go on stage (or, frequently, while you are on stage).
And the rest of the business doesn’t just stop because you’re up on stage trying to entertain, inform and stimulate 350 people, managing technical hitches and pretending to appear calm when your brain is on the verge of a rather messy stress explosion. There is also that worst-behaved monster’s child of all, The Moodie Report.com, to maintain day and night – big breaking stories at 05.30 in the morning that just make you want to cry when the pressure is at bursting point. How dare you go buy The Nuance Group Dufry! How dare World Duty Free Group be so inconsiderate as to announce it is seeking business alliances! Believe it or not, the stories that most excite me sometimes also draw a barrage of curses out of my inner soul that helps explain why I am surrounded by so many monstrous kids.
Since then it’s been a case of combining the day and night job with the not-so-small matter of trying to produce our biggest-ever Cannes Print Edition, a special ‘Category Insight’ fashion supplement (another young, already badly behaved child), and an amazing (though I say so myself, take a bow Dermot Davitt and John Rimmer, their work not mine) TFWA corporate publication, maybe the best client publication I have seen in travel retail.
I’m thinking of having Dermot and me fitted with a new GPS device that measures our written word count each day. I reckon at our current rate, either of us could have bashed out War & Peace in under a week. Tolstoy you had it easy!
When I retire, a prospect that starts to entice me inexorably, blissfully, magnetically, seductively like the Sirens’ song did entice Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey (by the way did you know that he played golf? Well he did, which gave rise to that old song, Homer on the Range), I am going to write a best-selling autobiography called Free of Duty at Last. It will be twice the size of Don Quixote (940 pages), involve just as much travel (no windmills though I will tilt at a few other things) and I shall knock it all out over a couple of bottles of Cloudy Bay, Matua, Giesen or Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc (maybe two of each), making sure along the way it is embedded with video and podcasts.
I have lost count of how many features this tyrant of a Print Editor called Davitt expects of me by next Tuesday. If I did stop to make the calculation I might just go in search of a family of lemmings and join them on their next day-trip out. Along the way, we’ll crank out another e-Zine, write and give a speech (yesterday at the JCDecaux airport advertising workshop), and ensure ‘the website that never sleeps’ doesn’t reach for the anti-insomnia drugs.
So, dear concerned reader (I knew I had one out there…) that is what happened to my Blog, another monstrous monster’s child. But here’s the thing. You know, I love each and every one of them. Monsters eh? Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. That’s why for me the Monsters’ Ball remains the only party in town.