“Having cancer was worth it because I got to know you”

 

I’ve been reading a lot about Steve McQueen’s new film, 12 Years A Slave. It looks brilliant and apparently it’s absolutely nailed on for a sackful of Oscars. But one of the things that’s struck me most about the press coverage is that everyone involved seems so thrilled to have been a part of it and so humble about its potential success. Brad Pitt, who’s the executive producer and also stars in it said, “If I never get to participate in a film again, this is it for me. It was a privilege.”

This got me thinking about my own work. And whether I’ve ever done anything I’m so proud of that I’d be happy to walk away from advertising and have it as the thing I’m remembered by. The answer right now is a resounding ‘no.’ I’m hugely proud of a lot of things I’ve done but I love the idea of my best work being in front of me. Achievements are soon forgotten, time marches on and today’s news is tomorrow’s fish ‘n’ chip paper.

In the Mike Leigh film Naked, the unforgettable Johnny asks at one point, “Have you ever thought that you may have already lived the happiest moment in your whole fuckin’ life and all you have left to look forward to is fuckin’ sickness and purgatory?” Which may be one of the most depressing ideas I’ve ever heard. I prefer to take the late, great Joe Strummer’s perspective, which is that the past is gone, ahead of us is pure potential – “The future is unwritten.” The bar I’ve set for myself is so high that I can’t be sure I’ll ever reach it, but I like it that way. It keeps me hungry and honest. And pushing forward in the quest to do something as brave, beautiful and inspiring as the ad above, one day very soon.

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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