Purpose

LifePurpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first two decades of this millennium might be remembered as The Era of Happiness. 

Apparently, we all want the stuff, and some bugger’s walking around somewhere who knows perfectly well how to get it, but is keeping schtum.

Meanwhile, all manner of gushing hobbits are banging their swedes on the revolving doors of TED’s headquarters claiming, definitively, it’s in the issues they happen to have struggled with their whole lives: self-esteem; a rubbish job; gratitude for how mind-bogglingly irritating they find their toddler: this is the key it all boils down to, you sweet-but-very STUPID IDIOTS.

Unpopular, but there’s a school of thought that if you haven’t found your life purpose by the age of 40, you should basically stop looking. 

In your twenties you didn’t give a hoot about fulfilment.

You were in the wrong job, battling the legacy of faulty childhood wirings, dating aliens, and drunk 90% of the time.

If anyone asked you what you felt passionate about and what you got out of bed for, the answer would have been martinis and espressos, preferably dancing with each other in a glass.

In your 30s you realised the answer to life, the universe, and everything was to have a house with a picket fence and a herd of funny, same-surnamed muppets. 

You trudged on through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, gathering firewood and doing your bit to help bakeries maintain their turnover.

Then, DUMP!, forty lands, and suddenly there’s you and your soul and your mother on the phone with a new dead friend every 15 minutes.

Aren’t I immortal?, you query. What the hell’s been the point of me? Why aren’t I smiling like a monk?

Sad to say, there was a window in there with a nettle sticking through it that you could have grasped. It might have been the 24 hours before your 38th birthday- hard to tell- when things could have clicked into place, and you would have felt alive and smooth in the breathing area.

But you missed it: shame- now what?

You pump desperately at what you’re good at, as on a resusci anne.

You put out a call to the universe, asking it to provide.

And if you can fit these tasks in-between trips to the osteopath and being put on hold, that’s a definite win.

Alternatively, you could do what any person in a fix would do, and panic tactically. 

Protracted probing into your hidden desires for breakthroughs eats into lotto win fantasies and the downloading of social survival strategies onto your offspring.

Unless you’ve got a hot lead, it can feel like chasing a fairy. 

So, invert the received wisdom.

Take a top-line inventory of yourself from a stranger’s p.o.v and ask, ‘Who, knowing absolutely nothing about me, would find me impressive? Who doesn’t know my average score at University Challenge? Who, relatively speaking, is going to think I’m a sharp-toothed, rip-roaring genius?’ 

It’s not a snidey thing: you’re not looking for losers. Just for one paltry skill gap, otherwise known as a ‘gold-plate opportunitette’.

It doesn’t have to be the sole reason you were put on this earth. You don’t even need to be better than anyone else at doing it.

You just need to find a person who is more clueless at that particular thing than you, and stick your face in theirs.

Seeing as you’re in your own personal witness protection programme, your U.C score may remain a mystery. 

As for the longed-for contentment, that comes from not being exposed and, perhaps, being a bit appreciated.

Does Stephen Hawking want dinner on Saturday night with an eminent physicist, or with Professor Cox, his moon made of cheese, and heart-shaped pupils for eyes?

Alignment with one’s gifts is overwhelmingly special. 

But if you get stuck, remember the other type, too- the one that comes from how you position yourself.

The oldest kid in the class feels like the king.

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Soho Farmhouse

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Once upon a time, the privileged were lonely.

They were forced to huddle in their 80,000 square foot properties, looking at pictures of each other in Hello!

Now there is a place where they can go and ignore each other in the flesh.

That place is Soho Farmhouse, the not-in-Soho, not-so-country-bumpkin latest addition to Nick Jones’ brace of stylish leisure centres for non-hipsters with a party pulse.

Belonging here is serious business. It’s not uncommon for the Aspirational to kill founder members and wear their skin, in the way Hannibal Lector might if he once worked in media, but now lacked the clout for his application to be seconded by a Lord.

There’s a swell of anticipation on the approach, down roads only visible through Celine prescription sunglasses. Based on the feverish development underway, you glimpse a Soho Gloucestershire on the horizon; one field’s being prepared as an underground propolis city for Cowshed toe cream.

The car park would square up comfortably to a premiership footballer’s front drive, motoring prize poodles lined up cheek-to-jowl sporting ‘my other car’s a helicopter’ stickers. You’re not sure where best to slip in: apparently, a Maserati drops £20k in value every time a Honda stops alongside.

Ah, but when your feet first connect with that socially-rich soil, can it matter how you got there? If there’s no-one from security chasing you down at 5 mph in a sleek buggy, then you’re IN.

It feels rather special to gain access to a member’s-only fiefdom, in a county where ordinary people get electrocuted for using the wrong paint colour- like being rubbed all over with insulating smug butter.

The mix of exclusivity with wholesome fresh air is so destabilising, for a moment you fear you might forget to ‘check in’ on your iPhone.

Regardless, it’s important to betray no elation while gliding around these grounds; smiling here indicates you are having a nervous breakdown and heading straight back to The Priory after your weekend release. Or, worse, that you are very, very grateful to have a friend to bring you along.

I stand on the path and drink it all in, feeling very, very grateful.

It’s a phenomenon less country club, more urbal settlement (that’s an odious little truncation of urban and rural).

There are wooden cabins and outhouses and gyms dotted all around, like a 3-D avatar village for aesthetes who eat artisan tempeh and remember Playschool.

There’s a small lake with boats, and steam rising from a cool, heated outdoor pool; bicycles to borrow while the Bentley rests; outdoor sofas with cushions in faultlessly-nice colours; log pits burning; table tennis tables; snooker.

You can go ice-skating, or film-watching, or people spying, and unless you pass a mirror you could up-end every nook and cranny, and you wouldn’t see one solitary unbeautiful object.

God week-ends here, occasionally riding around in an SF vintage-style trap pulled by one of the horses, trying to look like a feature film director.

And entertainment’s not the end of it.

There are stores that offer an opportunity to replicate this perfection at home- delicacies, and dinner jackets, and Elephant’s Breath plants.

Everywhere you look- every turn of the maze you take- tastefully-displayed premium quality wonder goods are available for purchase. The entire premises is, in fact, 100% bullet-proofed against naffness. (Note: Farmhousers don’t find naffness funny; they let their nephew get on with that in Dalston.)

Inside the main food hall, the honey-hued hum of success emits.

Whether gained through fame, hard graft, good looks, or good luck, money is talking.

These are people who live life in capital letters. Their hair is Hair. Their coat is a Coat.

They look at you a fraction too long, in order to conduct on your body a Terminator scan of social relevance.

When they see that not only are you not Amal Clooney, but you’re also not Kelly Hoppen, you have to absorb the disappointed-dismissive balancing essential oil mix that’s sweating from their newly-massaged bodies.

The food is amazing. The service is amazing. Everyone’s shoes are amazing.

There’s a woman with fluorescent teeth playing boules, and a comedian having lunch as if he’s just a regular guy who needs to eat. Children in cashmere wellingtons are being chased around the courtyard by Cara Delevigne wearing a Scooby Doo onesie. What, will Angelina’s lips soon be booking themselves into the cinema room with copper mugs of Moscow Mule?

Where are all the real people? your head spins. ‘Take me back to Kansas.’

Then a teenaged member of staff, with spots and a local accent, asks if you left your antibiotics in the bathroom and- crypes- it’s really happening, after all.

Like squeezy honey, or penicillin, Soho Farmhouse is so necessary you wonder why it hasn’t been invented before.

The answer may lie in the Soho Empire expansion strategy, which mirrors the life stages of an adman: Central London in his heyday (chop ’em up); stints in the States (can I powder prescriptions drugs?); wife and kids in Chiswick, with weekends at Bab house (did you bring the viagra?) whoah, still got it! in Shoreditch (mdma bombs): enjoying his career spoils in the countryside (how could you even suggest it? Oh go on then, rack me up a Cheeky); keeping it real/ feeling a bit shot, tbh, in the Bush (weak tea, 2 Candarels).

Soho Beachhut’s planned in for Bournemouth 2030: ermine-trimmed zimmers and a Soho Font ‘Bowling Alley’ sign re-housed from another location, with the ‘alley’ blacked out.

I wallow in the glow. I never want to leave. Life at Soho Farmhouse is too damn good.

But I falter. Do I belong? With my fake Hermes bag, and unmanicured nails, and my hair that is just hair.

Then it dawns on me. If there’s one thing that fabulous needs more than fabulous, it’s an audience.

So I complete this daydream on a gorgeous sofa in front of the fire with my own (more quietly) fabulous friends.

Drinking jasmine tea, and wondering whose skin would fit me best.

*

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Fan

chk-chk-chk-sasquatch-11

I’ve always thought of fans as a sub-set of humanity, in a corner with people who get bum implants, or who surround themselves with exclusively pink things.

Self-esteem issues canabalising IQ points. An inability to distinguish passion from obsession. That whiff of intense energy lasered into something erroneous, or unworthy of the ardour. Kathy Bates.

Flip a nucleotide in their DNA and they’d be serial killers, I thought.

On Saturday I met a bonafide one, and I might be changing my mind.

Chk chk chk (!!!) are a niche-ish dance punk band with funky electro indie soul bits.

Actually, I have no idea how to describe them, and if you go to a show you too will know less afterwards than when you arrived.

They’re a paradox, because you can’t feel their wired vibe unless you see them, but the nuances of their layered sound only reveal themselves when worming directly through a thin tube into your inner ear.

They make your head feel like a bee hive, with an instrument doing its own thing in each of the little hexagons. (There are quite a few of them, and on this occasion they’d collected a new female singer because they liked the cut of her jib.)

The effect is more soundscape than music, and manages to be self-consciously ridiculous at the same time- so it’s strangely funny too.

The lead singer’s a minor- maybe a major- legend.

He’s almost rubbish at singing: you can’t hear a lyric unless he invites a sing-back, in which case you might catch it gratefully from your neighbour.

He looks like a muppet from Sacramento who gets off stratospherically on freaking out in a garage with loads of jamming musicians and some choice recreationals… which is sort of what he is.

He’s got untamed curly hair that gets so sweaty he has to drape a hand towel around his neck for most of the gig, like an 80s tennis player.

He wears old t-shirts and shorts, has a hilarious faux camp dance style, and is plugged into the national grid in a way you suspect he takes off stage.

He swears like you’re supposed to swear; like it’s going to explode right out of his fucking face into your shitty ugly one that he doesn’t give a fuck about.

He’s all performance, and no performance. He thinks he’s the audience, and the audience is him: an all-out authentic bonkers dude wigging out to his own tunes, believing 100% you’re on board with the party.

So here’s this band playing an eclectic mix of new material to a small Hackney crowd of 300, and a few of us push through to get closer to the stage.

And we end up standing in front of a balding older guy with a buttoned-up check shirt and a salt-and-pepper cropped beard, who’s clearly in the throes of having a bumper evening.

And as the songs ramp up it turns out he’s vocal in his enthusiasm too, rich Northern vowels audible in some belter phrases: ‘Go on, bloody well ‘ave it’, and ‘That’s right- raise the BOLLOCKS off it’, and ‘Say you can see it- ‘e’s sooch a fookin’ geezer!’

Every now and then he turns to seek support from some slightly bemused-looking chums who aren’t giving it anywhere near as heavy duty as he wants it. But then he gets excited that we’re excited, which cranks him up even more.

The set is short. Soon it’s over and our new friend’s spilling over about how these relatively unknown guys rock his world.

He first saw them 3 years ago in the States and thought, ‘What the hell is this?’ But by the end of the gig he was having ‘a near religious experience’, and his Chk Chk Chk love’s been growing and growing ever since until… BAM! up shoots his arm, and there’s a whopping great 3-D ‘!!!’ tattoo under his bicep.

Since then, he’s been catching them whenever he can, he says, this time enticing the bemused mates to drive down with him from Manchester in a day, for this one hour of musical bliss.

They thought he was off his rocker for suggesting it, and don’t seem to have modified their opinion too much in light of the experience.

So there you have it: a lone wolf in his late fifties overflowing with joy and admiration for a man 15 years his junior from the other side of the world, and in no conceivable respect his peer.

And yet, not really admiration for the man, but for his talent, and for the way he pulls it off.

Because here’s the thing. True fanship can lead to hysteria, but that’s because great love breeds great passion. At its core is a monumental generosity of spirit.

There’s an openness and a capacity for wonder less to do with subjugation of the self, more about setting the self aside to make space for awe.

It’s not blind worship, but one person honouring the gifts of another with no vested interest- and what’s that but the very definition of love with a capital ‘l’?

Weakness now seems like surrender; fanaticism, like deep and humble appreciation.

With a throbbing heart in its chest, and a juicy fat smile on its face…

When’s Bieber coming to town?

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How To Write A Novel

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Novelists are in the wrong profession.

They make lies believable in order to illuminate Truth, when they should be writing self-help books about real-life Process.

That’s because writing novels has as much to do with words and imagination, as cooking a meal has to do with food.

The clue is in the verb, or doing word.

This is the difference between mooning over the magic formula of Donna Tartt’s running routine, and sitting your pseud derriere down at a computer without a Starship Enterprise dashboard of accessories to ease the unbearable agony of tapping on a keyboard.

On Family Fortunes, 78% of Our Survey would say ‘Talent’ when asked what successful novelists have in common- and this would be about 92% true.

What’s 100% accurate of 100% of them is that they have mastered ‘Application’.

Application sounds practical and level-headed and about getting your homework in on time.

Actually, it’s more akin to the fruits of 17 years’ regressive therapy.

So if you’re thinking about writing a novel, consider narrative voice and plot structure.

Finesse your style, envision well-rounded characters, and hone a compelling theme.

Do a course, buy books on your craft, and draw inspiration from writers you admire the most.

Then take all of this impressive papery stuff into your little-used study, and pop it away in a draw.

For the first work to be done is personal.

1. Think Negatively

You are almost certain to fail; embrace this.

You have a greater chance of bumping into David Cameron in Streatham outside of election time, than your fiction has of venturing out of Microsoft Word.

Don’t try to believe in yourself, or mouth affirmations in the mirror: ‘Your voice is unique’; ‘Your conjunctions are beautiful’ etc.

Make peace with the misery of your reality, so that you can enjoy the misery of your journey authentically.

At the heart of tragedy is hope.

2. Be Fearful

If the wannabe novelist’s fear set was matched to a sound, it would be the cowering, whimpering, whingey one of a two-year old narcissistic Emperor.

Fear of not completing.

Fear of completing, and it being rubbish.

Fear of completing, and finding it OK, but others thinking it’s rubbish.

Fear of completing, and finding it OK, and others thinking it’s OK, and then not knowing what to do next.

Fear of disappearing up your own arse while doing the above.

A shrink would rather wave Sean Penn clutching a bad film review into their treatment room, than listen to your paralyzing ‘concerns’.

Fear is an advance paycheck on something that might not happen; try to find a senile benefactor to apply this to your novel in a monetary sense.

3. Make Gargantuan Sacrifices

Just because you have dreams about pouring out the immortal closing sentence of your oeuvre in the shade of Eucalyptus trees, doesn’t mean the preceding 79,962 words will waft out effortlessly in monthly quarter-hour chunks.

Same as going on a diet, what are you prepared to give up?

What’s your battle plan?

It almost certainly doesn’t involve ‘you’ time; withdrawing from your friends’ bank of goodwill over beers, by walking them through your narrative arc; or Box Sets of any sort (and, no, ones based on literary works are not research).

Take every habit and adorable ritual that puffs out your day with perceived value, and pulverize it.

Novels don’t get written in spare time; that’s the preserve of Amazon customer service questionnaires.

And blogs.

4. Seek No Support From Friends and Family

There is a school of thought that espouses the virtues of setting an intention, and keeping motivated by sharing it with as many people as possible.

This comes from the same school that gave you the English prize, and encouraged you to read your moving story out to the class, thereby cementing in you the godforsaken notion that you are a gifted writer, and that after you’ve read to them everyone will clap, with love in their eyes.

No-one has asked you to write a novel.

Few people will want to read it.

Most of those you tell you are writing one will humour you, and tell their partner you’re a wanker when they get home.

Your nearest and dearest will pity-whoop and cheer you on, in the same way as if you were coming last in a marathon wearing a Simon Cowell suit.

Stay silent and secretive.

Better for people to regard you as a waste of space, than as a deluded flunker.

5. Stop Being Kind To Yourself

Unless you have a story that so blindingly needs to be told you feel like the woman at the bus-stop, (only with a gag and a laptop) chances are you think you can wait another day to spill 500 more words of your protagonist’s fake journey.

Self-love is the novelist’s nemesis.

Over-ride every single natural instinct in your body, which is hard-wired to protect itself from all energetic output, including the gym, and thank you letters.

Don’t wait until you are flooded with warm, fuzzy creativity.

Don’t ‘check in’ to see whether this is the right time for you, or decide you’ve got a cold, and can’t think of any good adjectives.

You have no deadline, because nobody gives a flying horse if you write a tome, or not.

In fact, they’d consider paying you not to write it, so then they won’t have to read it, and your failure will throw shards of forgiving light on their own cretinous life.

First, visualize the highest-achieving, most venally repellant person you know laughing in your face, and fashioning the ‘L for loser’ sign on their foreheads in the excrement of John Updike.

Then, be your own worst nightmare; if you feel uncomfortable, and out of your depth, you’re doing something right.

6. Have Fun!

You’re not raking over dead bodies.

Nobody’s life depends on you.

You like language, and made-up stuff.

Relax.

Escape.

*

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What Spring Wants

So you’ve trudged through

the days of absent snow

Feeling close to the feeling

of closing down for good

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When you chance upon

a snowdrop clump

Heads bowed in wind-blown

diffidence

*

And you greet it as a sycophant

Over-praising its wise beauty

Egged on by your relief

the seasons might re-cycle after all

*

Inhale, as bluebell forests

lay down their modest promise

in hope the gnomes’ wet mouths

will moisturize the earth

*

In every park the chintzy blooms

(outliving the doom of staring blank into a soul that sees no flowers)

flirt into hearts

Floaty petals coasting

*

Brash Summer brings with Carnival

the blight of white-toothed smiles

Bright show-time lights

for the Optimist

*

While Spring shrinks shy

of admiration

Daffodils a pound a bunch

For the tired, Resurrection

*

At her patron saint Diana

she faintly winks

Her full skirts starched by

Winter’s vital misery

*

Boast and Brag are not her story

Just the reflected glory

of your candyfloss gratitude;

recognition of your rescue

*

More than crocus-focused worship

Spring’s dry desire is

The abject homily

of your blossoming

 

-*-

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Lab Mice Garden Centre Shocker

Scientists have been using mice to better understand the impact on children of grand-scale exposure to garden centres.

In an ambitious study conducted over the equivalent of a two-week school holiday, a dozen juvenile rodents were released into a clutch of the most prominent ‘day trip’ plant emporiums in East and West Sussex.

The unsettling conclusions could have serious implications for grandchildren in all of the southern counties where old people creep.

‘We suspected that serial browsing around garden furniture sectionals and personalised mug stands might have long term effects on the soft brains of kids.

But we didn’t expect to see this kind of damage.’

When the mice first arrived they adjusted favourably to the airy open-plan feel, and incredible choice.

But it took only twenty four hours for them to age thirty years and seek out mice-sized powder blue macs (available next season, in a twofer offer with all-new miniature peace pipe relaxation cds).

One started responding to the name ‘Barbara‘, and repeatedly re-presenting itself at the dwarf bonzai trees, with pawfuls of Baby Bio.

‘It was going gently insane,’ a researcher confirmed.

Other tendencies exhibited by the mice included a declining ability to tell which orchids in glass jars were real- a problem exacerbated by the sheer number of material ones.

‘More worrying still was that they failed to differentiate them qualitatively, even when they knew which was which.

If you translate this into human behaviour, you’re going to get a lot of young adults who place equal value on dead and living things,’ one researcher explained needlessly.

‘Or at least a subset of interior designers who specialise in kitting out 2-star B & Bs,’ added another.

In an effect psychologists call ‘anti-screening’ (a phrase in opposition to the selective hearing phenomenon in pensioners) the mice became quickly accepting of having the piss taken out of them.

On week one they balked at £9 for the brie and bacon panini with salad garnish.

Just seven days later they didn’t find it that dear- particularly when followed by a stale slab of triple- layer coffee and walnut cake.

‘Of course, kids don’t generally pay for their dinosaur lunch boxes, where they can choose four other dolls-house-sized items to supplement the nutritional content of their jam sandwich square.

But the habitualisation principle is the same.’

In one of the study’s darker twists, no one had considered what the repercussions would be if the research subjects were to wander into Pet World, which is between the faux homemade preserves and inoffensive scooped-neck tops.

‘When twelve lab mice whose next gig might be eyeball perfume testing, meet two wannabe-pet guinea pigs, it ain’t going to be pretty,’ said lead researcher Timothy.

‘It was more depressing than Watership Down’, said his colleague, who is now helping out in the Aquatics section of Roundstones in Hastings to help heal his trauma.

At the end of the April fortnight three of the twelve mice refused to leave Home Decor, saying they were waiting for the Christmas decorations to arrive; five were obsessed with cactus coupons: two were toying with Emma Bridgewater polka dot plastic cupcake transporters; and one insisted the beanbag lap-tray with the country kitten scene on the front was not too big: it was just the ticket.

The rest had stopped reading newspapers.

‘Overall, it’s scary that a slice of this generation is being raised on resin geese ornaments with handbags. Systematically. Every half term.

Put simply, what the fuck kind of deviancy will they be into in their 80’s?’

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Against Finding Your Purpose in Life

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What’s the collective noun for ‘start-ups?’ Is it a glut?

I mean, those borne of a glint in the Founder’s eye that tells you they’ve found their purpose in life.

The ones with Alan Watts videos in their Youtube Favourites, who now know what really makes them tick.

Those catapulted out of bed every morning with the conviction they’ve found out why they were put on this earth: organic mole-hair baskets.

Ideally, work should feel worthwhile and rewarding- can’t argue with that.

But where does it say this has to be THE THING that boils you down into your essence?

The bastard working man’s answer to Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in Perfume?

Why does it have to be our driving force- our elevator pitch to God at the gates of Heaven?:

I AM the delivery of eco-friendly banking solutions / the knitter of artisanal rye-flavoured tea cosies/ the carer of LGBT animals. Trust me, the rest was musak.

Isn’t it occasionally possible to integrate these purposes into life without encumbering them with the need to bring home the bacon?

I’m being Devil’s Avocado, natch, to make a connection between something I keep noticing and something I want.

The first is the preponderance of busy little companies wopping a kooky name on their foreheads, and heading off to the internet with a red handkerchief tied on their stick.

‘About Us’ will tell you more about what gives them a dual personal/professional hard-on, than you feel comfortable knowing.

Not that it’s anything other than passion that makes a service good.

But there seem to be so many companies all getting very aroused about the same thing- with just a tiny tweak.

There’s a gap in the market and a market in the gap, but…

…here’s the second thing…

There’s probably a bigger market in bridging the gap between the market and the gap.

So, on the one hand you’ve got a maelstrom of information, services, gizmos, earnest reasons for being.

And on the other, the people who need, want, respond to them.

The eager start-ups are all wanting a slice of that giving pie.

I can offer what you offer. Only better. And with CEO after my name on LinkedIn, and my dietary preferences in the blurb.

Or curating it:

Look, see. I’ve aggregated your news/ house buying options/ washing machine costs, thereby cutting your time investment, and customizing your experience.

The point is this: What if I don’t know what news I’m interested in, or what kind of house I should live in, or what sort of washing machine would suit me best?

I’m not talking about trawling through Which? Guides and ‘Well, at first when I got the dustbuster home…’ reviews.

But the customizing, time-cutting bit that precedes the customizing time-cutting bit.

I’m talking Advanced Boolean pre-Google Searches.

Most service providers, and their middle-men, work on the assumption that we know what we want; we just need help finding it.

This is fine if you have a blocked drain, or know that you’re a family of 4 who want to stay in Cleethorpes, are who are in need of Wifi in order not to kill each other.

But some of the biggest decisions we make in life end up finger-in-the-air at best; based on stale ideas at worst.

Where to live; where to go on holiday; where to send our kids to school; what sort of alternative health route to pursue.

Or professional: what genre of marketing agency to commission; which wholesale fleece supplier to engage; what steel manufacturer to use.

What EXACTLY is it that we’re TRULY looking for?

The start-up glut is surely out there waiting by their passionate phones to give it to us.

However, in order to connect with the fruits of these passions, we need to know what ours are first.

I fancy more businesses operating on the dating game model, where likes and preferences are probed thoughtfully, and matches suggested.

Not jokey, ‘Which city should you really be living in? Berlin’, after 3 unrelated, multiple-choice questions.

But streamlined, meaningful questionnaires that cross-reference our subconscious desires with millions of variables, and tell us stuff we didn’t even know we should be investigating.

Old skool agent expertise, for the 21st Century.

For example: How do we choose holidays?

1. Pick Sun/ snow, Beach/Pool, Mountains/City

2. Bump into neighbour in the park

3. Cruise Owners Direct for somewhere pet unfriendly

Bang! You’re in France. Again. Bumping into your neighbour…

How about:

Q: What are your favourite moments of a holiday? Are aesthetics important to you? What’s your favourite view in a painting? What brand of chorizo do you like? Do you prefer perky or weird in a restaurant? Give an example. Do you like flying? Flying mice? Characterful churches? Germans? Have you got a gsoh? Are you allergic to English tourists? Flies? Intimate massages? Are you a tight arse? What sum is 1.5 times the amount of money you think you have to spend on accomms? Trinkets? Does tipping annoy you? And the wife? Does tipping annoy her? Does your wife annoy you? (That’s another website: click on this link.)

A: Pulau Seliron. Small town on the north coast of Brunei. Wasn’t in this week-end’s Sunday supplement. Your neighbour’s never heard of it. Plenty of tapas restaurants with trinket boutiques attached. Clientele of German comedians. Now bugger off and cruise Owners Direct.

What am I asking for?

– To discover more about my preferences than I have ever bothered to probe.

– To have the world of information brought to my time-poor, self-knowledge poor, fingertips.

– To marry more of all that stuff out there, with all the stuff I now realise I want.

Full-on risk-assessment, pyschological-profiling, aspiration-hunting, dream-burrowing, passion-sniffing, intelligent questions, to help put as big a bespoke life-is-short-smile as possible on my miserable, high-expectations, greedy little face.

Those are my needs.

Now, whose purpose in life is it to meet them?

 

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