Good Luck: Discussing The Story of O.L.T., Consumarism & Get(ting) A Life!

You know Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help.
Bill Watterson

12 November 2016
Sometimes we're lucky. Sometimes we're not. Sometimes it's mixed. Sometimes it's neutral.

A long long time ago I had to read an article for class [I think it was 'Goodbye and Good Luck, Mr Kotler' by Christian Bl├╝melhuber], which discusses how luck is created (or like, Bl├╝melhuber talks about marketing and how Kotler's principles are too simple and don't actually, factually, scientifically work and that it needs to be replaced by something else, but what? Luck?). Luck isn't something random, it's something you need to claim, to create. Luck is a creation. (So is bad luck a creation too?).

Lately I've been having -to my own account- a lot of bad luck. One mishap is followed by another. If you're miserable and you know it clap your hands! However, as an apparent creator/actor of luck I need to try to gravitate it towards me. I need to cease and embrace the luck. I need to be (act) the luck.

The other day my sister asked me -last minute- if I could film and edit a short video for her for an assignment. (When I say 'film and edit' it sounds bigger than it actually is. Reality: crappy mobile phone and Windows Moviemaker. I'm a professional film-maker!). We had a bit of a fall out during the making of this. She was tired, I was, well, me. But we managed in the end to get it all on film (or like, on digital nothingness). I closed myself off in a corner, headphones on. Agitated. With her, with myself.

Slowly but steady my stress/anger fell off  my shoulders while I was busy 'creating'. If you're feeling blue, try making something new: trick your brain into not-thinking. Distract it with a particular task. Mindlessly create, concentrate. Breathe in, breathe out, go through the alphabet, manually put a letter in for two seconds. Change the lettertype, change the placement, change it all and put it back in again. The end result was 'acceptable' and luckily she could submit it just in time for her deadline. She was very greatful for my 'hard work' and asked if she could do something for me (she's a good one, she is). (I'm not). (Obviously I took the offer, I know no shame).

I love Olympia Le-Tan. I think her designs are desireble handcraft (or witchcraft) that makes my fingers curl up and the back of my foot itch. Desireble but unattainable (at this moment in time). However: every piece you can grab, you must grab (or so is my philosophy around inspiration. It's gone before you know it! That's why I'm imprompt writing this on my crappy mobile phone. The words are now here, floating through my head. I'm trying to catch them, visualise them, write them, before they pop like a balloon and explode in my face. Little detour: I've been reading Get A Life! by Vivienne Westwood and at one point she describes writing her first/second/whatever manifesto and how actually writing it made her thoughts and intentions more concrete. More real, I guess. It made her not only think and visualise it, but by writing and rewriting it, it became a version of reality opposed to imagination [my words]. It's funny that I think about it the same, but different, I think. As said: words come and go. Thoughts explode in my brain and hunt me, but are never truly accurate when written down. The essence of the original intent gets -when I write/create- lost through -I think- the composure/edit it undergoes when trying to capture it (everything's connected, there's so much to say but nothing makes sense). The original is always better and concrete in my head, if only I could remember it).

Olympia Le-Tan just released a book called The Story of O.L.T. and I wanted it badly. Only it was/is expensive (70 euros Oh la la, I know... like, no no no no). However I saw on a website that they'd sold it for 40 (I guessed it was paperback instead of the glorious hardcover shown on her instagram). 40 is still an astoundingly large amount of money to spend on a (bloody) book. BUT WITH YOUR HELP, dear sister, I COULD BE THE PROUD OWNER OF A VERY EXPENSIVE YET LESS EXPENSIVE BOOK (20/20 is fair right? 20 euros is a 'normal' amount to pay for a new book, right?).* She agreed. (She crazy! She tha best!).

And so, dear children, the story goes. Today around 16:37 the mailman came to the door. With a special packet for a special someone (ME, LUCKY ME). However, it was not a paperback that was delivered, but a glorious hardcover. The hardcover I wanted so badly (and that ONLY for 20/20 euros!). (Apparently there was this special offer or something. Or at least I guess/think there was. Or maybe I'll soon get a bill with a higher amount then 20/20 on it... Who knows... For now I'm happy, satisfied, lucky).

Luck in marketing, I guess (I'm definitely not an expert on this topic), is when people start consuming your product. It doesn't really matter what the product is, as long as it gets consumed all is good. I think you can devide marketing in three parts: the product, the company and the consumer (please correct me if I'm wrong). Luck is the consumer. Luck is me who bought the book. Lucky, in this instance, is the company (company can be seen as a large cooperation as well as individuals) who just delivered/got rid of their product. But what is the product?

In Get A Life! Vivienne says that the problem of the twentieth century is consumption. The consumption of goods, but mainly the consumption of ideas (of politicians, big companies). We, now, need to wake up. Stop consuming and start thinking/creating/Art Loving. On page 32 she states: "(...) in the twentieth century we were not engaged in the world. We took everything for granted - and also the future - so today we're an endangered species. Culture comes from our engagement with the world of a shared experience." On the one hand I do agree with Vivienne and on the other I've got a few 'buts' and 'ifs' to throw into the mix. 

The Story of O.L.T. on the one hand can be seen as a celebration of consumption/consuming. Not only the book itself and that what it contains/shows to us consumers. But also the book itself; as a token of a succesfully consumed product/brand (how else could this book be produced if there wasn't a succes behind it to thrive it?). However something that already struck me -after a quick flick through the book- are the references of, not necessarily nostalgia, but the idea how there's always a child within a grown-up. From the foreword by Pierre Le-Tan (Olympia's father): "It is strange how children sadly disappear when they become adolescents and then adults. It is very difficult to recall how they were, how they spoke. And yet the child never really disappears. For the lucky ones, it helps facing the hard and charmless world we live in." A certain innocence (but also stubbornness) that's particular to someone's characteristic. Personal. Original. 

Through mindlessly consuming we harm the earth and ourselves. Through culture we can overcome/become a bridge over troubled water. This still includes a form of consumption. Only not mindlessly. This calls for a certain innocence (and stubborness).

Yesterday I watched [this] video by Wisecrack on the animation series called Bojack Horseman (I haven't watched it yet, but Stevie from The Velvet Epidemic mentioned it once, or twice). The video went on about existentialism and how in Bojack Horseman (mindless) consuming fills an otherwise empty hole of our existence. The consumption destracts us from our sad life's and world troubles. If this goes away, then what? Vivienne -quoting Aldous Huxley- says that there are three evils in this world (page 5): nationalist idolatry (which has taken over religion), non-stop distraction and organised lying. ("The greatest of these evils is non-stop distraction."). Going by the video of Wisecrack, these are all explored themes within Bojack Horseman and thus tied to existentialism. And perhaps consumarism as a thriving force behind it: I consume therefor I exist and if I stop consuming... well... there's nothing (so then I don't exist?). (Or, as the narrator puts it at the beginning of the video: "The disillusionment that inevitably comes when you look beneath the surface").


*This made me think about my friend Loes who, after I excitedly told her about my new *swoosh* Vegan *swoosh* Doc Martens *swoosh*, said (something among the lines of): 'but how do you know you haven't just paid a lot of money for some crappy plastic shoes? Are they made of plants or something?'. I love Loes. Loes is amazing.