UNIVERSITY V ART SCHOOL

Personally, I tend to find that the more you live in the academic world, the less you live in the real world.
I suppose it has to be that way really.
Being able to write a paper about something is, in that world, more important than actually doing something.
After all, the person who actually did it might not know why they did it.
It might have been an accident.
But if you can analyse it, debate it, argue it, you must have truly understood it.
(Which is why creatives might find planners can be patronising.)
Anyway, university is a little world unto itself, it’s a closed loop.
Ergo, the more illustrious your university career, the further you recede from the world the rest of us inhabit.
This was illustrated to me once by a young account man (names don’t matter, do they Seb?).
He had, apparently, a very fine mind, and an honours degree.
He sent down a brief for the creative department, for me to sign off.
It was the launch of a new product.
The part I’ll always remember is his final sentence: “For details of pack artwork, see attached reference.”
I turned the page and there in the middle of it was a one inch black square.
Nothing else, just a black square.
I called him down and asked if we could discuss his brief.
When he came in he asked if I had a problem with the strategy.
I said, “No, not the strategy.”
He said, “Only I’ve heard emotional and affinity strategies always seem to vex you.”
I said, “I bet you went to a really good university didn’t you?”
He smiled and said, “Yes I did. Cambridge as a matter of fact, how did you know?”

I held up the page with the single black square on it and said, “Because, you twat, you’ve Xeroxed a 35mm slide.”

As Napoleon said, “Generals don’t win wars. Sergeants win wars.”