Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Excitement in Italy and Antwerp

Giulio, Stefani, Hermanno, me and Francesca

A robbery at a pharmacy in my neighbourhood

Of course when I said in my last post I was just going to drink cappucino and sit on the beach, I was exaggerating a lot. So when I met Hermanno the first day in Italy he told me: "What do you mean, drinking cappucino and sit on the beach, we've got a lot to do". I reassured him that I only wrote that for stilistic purposes. So I wasn't at all surprised that on the first day we went to an Iron Maiden coverband, and that all the other days we went somewhere every night to get a drink, go to bands, watch Italian soccer matches and to meet new people.
What I love about Italy is that people know how to enjoy life. Smoking, eating, drinking alcohol or lying on your bed to take a rest in the afternoon are things that are not exactly encouraged in Northern Europe. Maybe it's because there it's socially more acceptable to work yourself to death. After weeks of working non-stop in Brussels, I felt that I really needed to spend some time in Italy. And spending time in the quiet surroundings of Serre and the vivid city of Salerno was as good as I expected. And the last few days in the exciting city of Rome was the perfect way to end a great vacation.
I'm still enjoying one week of vacation in which I e-mail to people, clean up my house, buy new clothes, watching movies and looking for new inspiration on the internet and in Antwerp. Yesterday, while I was drying my clothes at the laundromat, I heard a few big explosions. At first I thought some kids played with fireworks. But when I saw a woman running in panic in the laundromat and when I saw an army of policemen blocking the streets outside, I realized that something must have happened. At the end of the street where I was in, there was a robbery at a pharmacy and the robber was shot to death by the police. Here you can read the article in Dutch. I don't think the excitement can get any bigger this vacation. If I survive all the parties this weekend I'm going back to work on Monday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back to Italy

After two crazy weeks I finally have vacation. It's funny how your body suddenly adjusts to that. In just two days it's going in lazy-mode. I feel tired even though I've slept about 9 hours. It seems that all the exhaustion that I didn't have time for while I was working, comes out now.

But tomorrow morning I'm going to Italy. As I said in my last post, I will meet my good friend Hermanno. He's a friend of Salvatore and I shared an apartment with him when I was in Sweden. And that is also the last time I've seen him (almost 2,5 years ago!). I even wrote a post about when he left, and you can read it here.

I'm not going to do anything in Italy except for drinking cappuccino and sitting at the beach, so after 2 weeks you can read a post about Italy here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Hannah

Sunday, after spending the weekend partying in Brussels, I brought my teampartner Hannah to the station. Her internship at Duval Guillaume is over and she's going to do the last quarter of the Miami Ad School in Hamburg.

Hannah was the surprise of the year. She's only 21 years, had no experience in advertising before and yet... she proved to be one of the best teampartners I've ever worked with.
It's hard to say what made us such a good team. The fact is that you can never tell what makes a good team. You can bring two award winning creatives together to form a super team and it still is no guarantee that it works. In the case of Hannah I think it's the opposites that work: my experience and her fresh view on advertising, my assertiveness that sometimes is necessary and her ability to actually listen to people.
But whatever it was, it works. In just 2,5 months I've made better work than in the first half year. And a huge European campaign is about to be produced. Besides all that, Hannah is great to work with and everybody in the agency would love to see her back someday. Whatever her plans are after her graduation, I'm sure that she'll have a great career ahead of her.
And I finally have a vacation. Today I woke up comfortably late, the only thing I did so far was cleaning my house and looking at a documentary about Charles Manson. The last few weeks I've worked day and night so I'm going to enjoy a well deserved rest. And on Wednesday I'll leave for Italy to see my good friend Hermanno again.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Remco, husband of Rosalyn, between cans

Another happy couple at the monkey park

On Saturday I went to the wedding of Remco and Rosalyn, two friends of mine. I was there when they first met each other at a party in Paradiso, Amsterdam. Seven years later they still can stand each other and decided to get married.

Instead of having a usual marriage in a church with a priest, they decided to do things differently. More modern, if you can call it that way. It was at a farm next to a forest and the ceremony took place in the evening. In a circle of candles they performed several mystical rituals with Celtic music on the background. It was unlike any wedding ceremony I've ever seen. In the beginning it was a bit strange, but it was refreshing to see that two people made their wedding promise in such an original way.

The next day I went to the 'apenheul', a famous monkey park in Holland. This park is different than any Dutch zoo because the monkeys are running freely to the park, among all the visitors. No fences or walls, they're so close that you can almost touch the monkeys and you have to wear monkey-free bags so the little critters can't steal anything. Only the more dangerous apes, like the gorilla's, are safely on an island.

In the beginning of Apenheul, in 1971, the idea of a park where monkeys are running freely was considered insane by the other zoos. But the founder Wim Mager believed in the idea and it resulted in one of the most popular and most animal friendly zoos in Holland.

Doing something different might sound as a risk in the beginning, but being different is actually the only way to go a step further. And afterwards the risks are never as big as you thought they were. No matter if it's about an animal park, a wedding or advertising, if you're different you'll stand out. Albert Einstein was right when he said: "if at first an idea doesn't sound absurd, there's no hope for it".

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bachelor party Remco

Attacked during a massive fight with balls

This week we had a very busy week. Again I rarely had time to be home on convenient times, my house is a mess and my spare time is mostly spend when I'm sleeping. But that's okay, because vacation is on its way. Just one more week of hard work...

Tomorrow a friend of mine, Remco, is going to marry and last weekend I went to this bachelor party. I must say that I rarely like it when I see a group of people who have a bachelor party. It's stuffed with all the cliché ingredients: drinking, screaming, stupid T-shirts and stripclubs. This party was exactly like that, but nevertheless I can't remember the last time since I've had so much fun. It was simply because you do all this stupid stuff with good friends. One of the coolest things was a massive fight in a pool full of balls (see picture above). It was on the ground floor of a pancake boat which floated through the harbor of Amsterdam.

We decided that one of our friends should get married soon so we can have another bachelor party.