The view from the stage.
With the rain hammering down on the Manifest office once again (it’s August people!), it seems like an eternity since I was stood in Duke Studio’s brand spanking new Yarden, chatting to various creatives from in and around Leeds. It was just last week. Goddamn you, weather. What’s your beef?
Thankfully, the weather gods were on our side last Thursday and the sun shone brightly [insert some godawful metaphor about how Glug is helping shine a spotlight on talent. Like how the sun shines on a sunny day. Yeah, that. That’ll work] for the return of the Glug – a series of creative talks and Notworking™ hosted by yours truly, Mrs Hannah O’Sullivan and new boy Matt Rennie. Being an old hand at the presenting lark (what with Glug 1 and the Manifestival awards under my belt) I felt pretty cool leading up to the event. We’ve got this covered, I thought. What could go wrong? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the HDMI cable you’re using to put the presentations up on the big screen is as temperamental as a teenagers mood swings?!
To be fair, that was the only thing that actually went wrong. And it wasn’t even that bad. Probably served me right for being so cocky.
Back to the Yarden. So, we’d been to see the guys at Duke Studios after the extremely positive reception from everyone after their talk at Glug 1. They showed us round their (about to be) new home at Sheaf Street, and at the time it was a little tricky to see how it was all going to pan out. It was a building site. But, if you know Duke Studios, you know that once they set their minds to do something, they do it. The new Duke Studios is absolutely banging and set us up for five (yes FIVE) talks!
After I rambled on for way too long, our first speaker was Patrick O’Mahoney from NEWSUBSTANCE. They create amazing show designs and bespoke performance structures. They also made a wireframe statue for Mumford and Sons that half of Canada thought was a willy. Patrick is a really, really nice guy. His talk was so genuine and refreshing (I think my wife has a crush on him) – it was a bit of a theme for the first 3 speakers – running your own business is proper fun, but it’s also really, really stressful and taxing.
Next up was Awesome Merchandise. Luke and Charlotte talked through how they set up as Awesome Badges (making awesome badges) and, through demand and extreme grafting and mullets (!) developed and expanded their offering to become more Awesome than you can shake an awesome stick at. And that’s pretty frikkin’ Awesome. I have a lot of time for these two – they’re achingly cool kids who are really down to earth and friendly. They absolutely live their brand, and deserve all the success they’re getting. Charlotte also couldn’t believe I was old enough to be married and have 2 children, so that always gets me on side. PLUS! They kindly supplied the swag for everyone who attended!
Our third speaker was Matt Essam, founder of Creative Life. The concept for Creative Life revolves around the 1,000 true fans theory by Kevin Kelly which explains artists only need 1000 true fans or customers (however you like to look at them) in order to make a good living. Matt, like everyone who had gone before him, was genuinely open and honest about the creative industry and his experience (it’s not *all* spacehoppers and coffee from iPads, y’know).
Fourth up was our ‘light relief’ I guess. Something a little bit different. I’ve been trying to get Robot Food to do a talk at Glug for a while, but, y’know, they’re always a bit busy being awesome, so it was a nice surprise hen I got an email from Simon and Martin asking if they could talk about their new Beer / Jogging initiative Beer Run Leeds. I was all in. Any Robot Food is good Robot Food, right? Martin, Chris and Glen explained the concept and handed out some kick ass badges. And like that, they were done. If you’re a lover of Beer and Running, you should join them. They were definitely a good advocate for the beer part of it last week that’s for sure!
Our last talk came from Music. The Mars Volta of the speaker world, if you will. We generally try to keep talks to 15 minutes, but if you’ve got the content Music have, you show it off. I absolutely loved this. Olly, Dan and Ed talked off the cuff about some of the great work they’d done and what it was genuinely like working at one of the countries leading creative agencies. And the music on some of their videos was banging (natch). And they swore quite a bit too (but that was kind of for charity).
40 minutes later, we were done. And I ended up talking to a fair few people after it who all enjoyed it. And that’s kind of all I remember. I blame Robot Food. Those guys can Notwork™ their faces off.
Massive shout outs have to go to James Clay for supplying the booze, Duke Studios for housing us, Nisha Revill for filming the talks (coming soon!) and Liam Henry for taking the lovely pictures (not the one of Music though – that’s off my phone. Sorry for the godawful quality!).