2018 — Somethings we did, liked and made.
2018 is winding right down, and as we finish up this week the good gang here at Studio Something have taken a wee bit of time to reflect on what made this year a cracker for them! Do we work hard? That’s a ‘yes’. Do we play hard? That can be filed under ‘heck yes’. So here we have it, 2018 — a review! ENJOY.
Getting chased and nibbled by ducks in Vietnam. True Story. Me and my pal stumbled upon the duck farm in rural Phong Kna National Park, where the farmer ran a business which included having a beer, eating the most amazing Vietnamese pancakes, then running around a duck enclosure while 50 ducks quack and run after you. I must admit — ducks are my favourite animal. As you say… I was living my best life that day.
Keeping it Local
Helping out with the Save Leith Walk Campaign — It’s great to see a local community come together, talk to each other, discuss and feel empowered to do and make positive change rather be passive to major developments. I felt immense pride helping out and believe it has highlighted the inequality in the local planning process. The developer has already made major changes to the proposed development, which shows communities can make a difference.
Chans (AKA Tunes)
Young Fathers — Barrowlands Gig — Dry March after travelling. First Sober gig in A LONG time. One of the greatest gigs I’ve ever been. Best live band in the world, great tunes, iconic venue and I remember it all.
An International Puss
This year I’ve been viral sensation on a Thai kickboxing facebook group known as White Mambai, starred on Dutch TV and a Finnish commercial both as angry stereotypical scotsmen.
Fave Work Thing — Second Chancers
Second Chancers: a series of 5 short documentaries about people who have been through or affected by crime and the community justice system and have a second chance at life.
There was a responsibility to accurately tell their stories while making sure it fit the key anchor points of the campaign. To payback, to understand, to learn and to forgive. I met some wonderful people who showed true courage in sharing their very personal stories and i’ve learned not to be so quick to judge. I hope others have as well.
A badass in a spectacular pink dress
I jumped, I howled, I swooned, I laughed, I gawped.
I don’t think I cried, but I felt all the other things, it was cool, it was badass and it was surprising.
Villanelle is my hero.
Chop House Leith’s £30 for 2 steaks, 2 sides deal. This has been a wonderful discovery. If you’ve not, you must. So generous, so delicious. Chop House Leith, have turned hump day into rump day.
Thank god for the bear
In a year that has proven the world has gone absolutely bananas, Paddington 2 gave a little dose of escapism and a marmalade sandwich ‘in case of emergencies’. No weight and a sense of ‘let’s look after each other, yeah?’, just 104 minutes of pure joy and silliness. I laughed my 29 year-old socks off. A perfect film for a Sunday afternoon or a ‘stop the world I want to get off’ moment.
This Twitter account shares obscure words old and new, and is the source of all my chat these days. It has given me gems like the word ‘apricity’, meaning ‘the warmth of the sun in Winter’. Good eh? You’re welcome.
Special mentions to Nauticus Bar (Leith’s newest/best watering hole), Childish Gambino’s, This Is America (because someone else will choose it), and Electric Fields (the best festival in the World) who would have all made the cut if I was allowed a top 7.
Fave Work Thing — Human Fruit Machine
This project is dear to me as it was my first biggie at Studio Something. Never did I think we’d get the idea of ‘so three people will stand next to each other spinning their arms, and on our call will draw fake fruit from a bin in front of them’ through. Let alone be doing it live for 2 hours on Facebook. But thanks to a brave, trusting client, and our wonderful ‘all hands on deck’ team, we made it happen. It’s a project that for me really cements what Studio Something stand for. Approaching a brief differently, fun (in creating and making!) and having the whole team involved.
2018’s been a pretty big year for me. Lots of great things have happened, a couple of really sad things have happened. But 2018 will always be the year I moved home from London. I’d been working there for seven years; living the dream, working my ass off. I felt like I’d done everything I wanted to do in that city, and it was time to come home. And lord does it feel good to be home. Pass me an Empire Biscuit.
Despite listening to Taylor Swift for a spectacular 70 hours this year (thanks for that insight Spotify!), I’m really torn as my favourite musical highlight of 2018: Single wise, Drake’s God Plan and Billie Eilish’s You Should See Me In A Crown were on heavy rotation for me. Album wise I would have said Florence’s High As Hope, Lily Allen’s No Shame and Gang of Youth’s MTV Unplugged were all fighting for that top spot UNTIL, swooping in with a December release, The 1975, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships got my top spot. It’s a spectacular album — there’s elements of Jon Hopkins in there, some sweet, smooth sax, some real “I’m laughing or I’ll cry — I need to set fire to my phone immediately” moments and plenty of pop bangers. It ticks all my boxes. Love it. And Taylor’s album Reputation is probably worth a listen too…
Controversial — but I think Informer might be better than Killing Eve AND Bodyguard. There. I said it. If you’ve not seen it, it’s on BBC Iplayer and it’s amazing. The structure of the story, the way they trail to the next episode, the shots, the costumes, the locations, the pace. It’s just great. I think the characters are what sets it above Killing Eve and Bodyguard — they’re so complex, and you get a glimpse into so many kind of people’s lives and the joy and struggles that involves. But it is very stressful to watch. Would not recommend binge watching. Definitely follow up with an episode of Bob’s Burgers or Rick and Morty for comic relief.
Everything Is Alive is quite possibly one of the best podcasts I’ve ever spent time with. Simple premise — it’s a formal sit down interview with inanimate objects that are in-fact, alive. First episode, Louis — a can of cola. There’s such a clever mix of scripted conversation with loads of really great humour, mixed in with some mad research into some of the weirdest news stories you’ve ever heard. The interview with the voice from the London Tube in episode 7 (linking to the interview with Chioke, a grain of sand and the “Inspector Sands” emergency announcement on the London Tube). You walk away having been thoroughly entertained, as well as some really great and really random general knowledge about… well everything.
Fave work thing — YOYP
I’ve only been here since September, but in my short four months, Year Of Young People was definitely my favourite project to lead on. Not only was it a really interesting brief to engage with a youth audience in Scotland, it was also just lush to work with the lovely team at YOYP, as well as the gang at Old School Fabrications to make this project happen. There’s also Part 2 of the project to look forward to in 2019 which is super exciting.
For the ears
I really enjoyed the episode Rob from Heavyweight’s Second Series. It deals with family dynamics in a really interesting and comedic way.
For the face
Favourite thing I bought that people wouldn’t think I would buy — A moisturiser so good that I can forgive how awful the copy on the packet is. It’s like an ennui-ridden child has written it.
For the belly
I had a very excellent meal at Hotel Pigalle in Gothenburg. My wife saw it on some person’s Instagram, so I guess it is good for something
For the love of flags
I love Twitter accounts that are fun, silly or joyous. They break up all the people shouting at each other or things they are angry at. Every Sherif Bot tweets a sheriff made from different emojis every hour. I like when he’s made out of flags.
Fave work thing -
“I CAN’T CHOOSE AS I LOVE ALL MY BABIES EQUALLY”
- Ian Greenhill, December 2018
This is Going To Hurt — Adam Kay
Anyone who follows me on Instagram (boring content I know right?) will have already heard me banging on about this and after seeing so many people over the last few years recommending it, me now pointing out it’s quality seems a bit like saying toast is good or that ice cream is a good way to finish a meal off. But preach I shall, this is one of the funniest, heartwarming, heartbreaking books I have ever read.
It is about the journey of a junior doctor going from fresh out of medical school to quitting the medical profession over a seven-year period. It gave me an appreciation for anyone who works in the health service in Britain that nothing to this point ever has. Everyone in the country should read it if only just to be a wee bit more patient with overworked, underpaid humans who are trying to make each person they meets day better.
Favourite part of the book is Adam talking about the force that he used once to rip a baby out of a woman with forceps and then watching it being delicately passed from relative to relative with the requisite ‘watch the head’, he commented that the force he had just put on that baby a few hours before ‘you could probably carry it by the head and it would be fine’
All Or Nothing: Manchester City
Yes, it was about the other Manchester team, not the one I ‘supported’ growing up.
Yes, it was about a bunch of ‘overpaid’ pampered sports stars.
Yes, it was a puff piece.
Yes, the money that funds this club is questionable.
BUT I am an absolute sucker for documentaries about sports teams. I became a fan of the old lady when ‘Juventus First Team’ was on Netflix, I hoovered up four seasons of All Or Nothing about NFL teams without having any interest in American Football. I’ve even watched the terrible Liverpool one where Brendan Rodgers utters the immortal line - ‘You’re doing all this for ONE person…yourself! and the players sitting next to you, and the fans!’
I’m not sure I can even go as far as to ‘recommend’ this show about the inner workings of Manchester City unless you are 13 year old me who always wanted to make a no-holds-barred, access all areas documentary about a football team but if you are then this is the one for you. Still, time for me to make All Or Nothing: Heart of Midlothian though. Maybe 2019 is the year?
It’s gotta be. It was a year where everything family grew, at home and at work. 2018 was a year where I surrounded myself with a lot more people. I spent three weeks traveling around the West Coast of America and while there decided to legitimise my family by having a little secret wedding in San Francisco, just Katie, Sonny and I (and a registered ‘marry-er(?)’) it was a perfect day and due to the fact that Katie was cooking up even more family, the day ended with both her and Sonny shattered asleep by 7 as I sat up on my own and drank a bottle of champagne to myself.
And speaking of ‘cooking up more family’ in November this year I added ANOTHER member, little Goldie Grace Laird.
Fave Work Thing -
It was a year when the company grew from being essentially two of us doing the creative work, to a whole team. More briefs, more clients, more responsibility.
My favourite thing about ‘work’ this year was seeing the ideas come to life from the team, not just Ian and I. Emma made human’s into a fruit machine, Rob week in week out found new ways to make Innis & Gunn drinkers smile, Rux and Heather worked with young people create a lasting piece of art to show the world what young people actually think of the world they live in, Ken crafted Feels FM into something that nearly 100,000 young people used as a mechanism to talk about their emotions and mental health and Andy took two incredibly tough briefs and turn them into something much bigger, the first one being ‘Second Chancers’ a documentary series on the Scottish justice system and the second one that’s a big giant secret for now.
And, of course, Ian steering the company, learning about ‘business’, learning HR, learning contracts, truly learning the nuts and bolts, learning everything to help us move from a couple of guys just doing what we enjoyed to a company that is responsible for people’s careers and livelihoods. It’s not easy, there are very few manuals worth anything but somehow we all managed to do our best this year.
Design for life
Thermos design. Perfectly simple.
My favourite film this year… it is currently ’A Ghost Story’ but I’m certain when I watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, that is going to top it. It tops everything.
Casually listening to porn
Favourite podcast this year — My Dad Wrote a Porno, a fascinating and grotesque insight into the mind of an old Irish man’s idea of erotica.
Show me the money
Favourite app this year — Wave your hands in the air for banking! Monzo has been this years delight for me! It makes me want to save money and it makes other banking apps feel like toothache.
Fave work think — Feels FM
Favourite Project of this year — Feels FM. This project was for a great client and for a great reason. It was a lot of fun from a design perspective to try and create something engaging for a wide age-range. I think enough time has passed now that we can look back and forget the headache of creating all the playlists.
I really liked the albums by Michael Timmons and Jetpacks as I’m a total Scottish musician fanboy (we make the best bands/musicians), and they are great listening for my many, many commutes! In a similar vein The Twilight Sad are my favourite band so anything new from them is always a source of high excitement.
What’s on the box?
My FULMS and TV choices are a bit all over the place in terms of style etc. From Hollywood Oscar-bait like ‘First Man’ to Scandi-noir cop dramas like ‘The Bridge’, it’s as clear an indication as any that ‘I like what I like’ and not really swayed by specific genres.
Go shorty, it’s ya birthday
I went to my first overseas music festival, Best Kept Secret, in Holland. It was around my birthday weekend and was like 30 degrees the whole time, which was great apart from the fact we stayed in a cardboard tent… It was the perfect bday time though, loved every minute of the festival and have already booked up to go again next year!
Vida longa lisboa
I’ve loved all the holidays/travels I’ve been on this year, visiting Amsterdam a bunch of times, London, Rotterdam, The Hague — but the best of the bunch was going to Lisbon for a few days. I think I’ve found my new favourite city, hanging about in Bairro Alto and going to loads of amazing restaurants and bars. It took a lot to displace Copenhagen/Berlin as my top European destinations, but Lisboa managed it. Awesome place.
Fave work thing — Innis & Gunn
This year there were many great campaigns but seeing a passion project of mine turn into a work thing was a total dream! Can’t really talk about that (yet) so I’ll also give some big love to the Innis & Gunn Lager campaign. A chance to become the ‘online voice’ of a great brand as they spread the love around my home city, and just generally be sound to folk is a brilliant thing to be involved in.
Volunteering with dog rescues back home even more than I did before. It was so nice to be able to help out and make an actual difference. I also think you can learn quite a lot about yourself when you’re in an enclosure with 20 something dogs that could click at any moment and start a fight.
That’s when I realised being centered is not just something you do for yourself. It’s something that those around you can sense.
Weird how I only got that by spending a day with dogs. Will definitely do it again.
The new lifestyle
Getting “adopted” by Studio Something and all its super nice people.
And I know we were supposed to list non-work things, but Studio Something isn’t just work, it’s a lifestyle.
The hills are alive with the sound of Rux hobbling in Vans
Climbing one of the highest mountain tops in Romania. By mistake. While wearing Vans. At over 2,000 meters high I realised I found a new thing that actually made me happy: being in nature, hiking up mountains and not giving up. Next time I’ll wear proper shoes though.
The podcast I randomly came across this year is one for when I need my mind blow: Philosophize This.
The episode that got me into it was #94 — A Look at Suffering (it’s not as bad as it sounds, trust me). It just made me think twice about all the things we experience.
Also, one of my favourite TV shows I enjoyed in 2018 was Dark. I binge watched the first season in a day. Now I really like German and I’m planning to learn it properly in 2019.
Fave work thing — Studio Something
My favourite SS project was every project I worked on. Whether it was coming up with ideas, searching for music that goes well with the rocket emoji, writing lists, or blowing up a shed, it’s all a process that I get to call ‘work’ in a world that got too serious for its own good. However, if I have to name drop, I will give a shout out to the Gunnpowder Plot, because it was my first ever idea that got made. And also because it involved a kickass explosion.
Studio Something is a creative agency on a mission, a mission to create one of the best companies in the world, by making things people genuinely like. This is a year of learning for us, If you would like to tell us why we are wrong, how we can improve, what we are doing right or if you too want to go on this mission. emailus. tweet us. Get on our mailing list. Whatever, just say hello.