PR is about storytelling, and nothing inspires me more than stories. Particularly stirring are the classic fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, Perrault and Hans Christian Anderson, along with the Greek myths, and the wider folklore of Europe.
There’s a reason these tales have endured and spread across the world: engaging narratives, vivid characters, clear messages, and the all-important pinch of magic. Permeating almost every aspect of culture, and even the language we use ("sometimes you’ve got to kiss a few frogs"), it’s impossible to escape their impact.
Yes, there are aspects of the tales that are outdated and need to change, but stories are meant to evolve with their audience, and that’s why modern retellings are so important. As a new father, I’m enjoying discovering them all over again.
When it comes to movies, no director holds a place in my heart like the master of gothic suburbia, Tim Burton.
Starting off as an artist for Disney on movies including The Fox and the Hound, which he said was a nightmare for him because his ‘cute’ animals looked more like roadkill, eventually Burton was given the chance to make Vincent: a stop-motion short dripping with gothic inspiration from writers like Edgar Allan Poe (who also deserves a spot on this list), and the actor Vincent Price, whom the animation is about.
What followed are established classics: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands. Just thinking about them makes me want to start penning my own twisted tale, and Burton himself is a reminder than sometimes it can take a bit of time to find your creative niche.
Maybe it’s because it’s the decade I was born in, but there’s something about the 1980s that I’ve always found especially resonant.
First there are the movies – Ghostbusters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Die Hard, Blade Runner, The Karate Kid, This is Spinal Tap and Labyrinth, to name just a few; all Sunday afternoon classics that are as familiar and comforting as a cuppa and a choccy biccy.
Then there’s the music – whether it’s the clanging guitars and poetry of The Smiths, the uniquely irrepressible Grace Jones, or the endless pop-pleasure of Duran Duran, 80s playlists are often a go-to when I’m looking to get down to work.
It’s not a coincidence my favourite TV show of recent years – Stranger Things – calls back to all these things too.
Into the Woods
Growing up in the countryside, I feel most at home when faced with endless green expanses and surrounded by wildlife. There’s something about forests that hold a certain magic and sanctuary for me, and are my favoured escape whenever I need to get away from the city.
The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku (meaning "taking in the forest atmosphere") and it’s a cornerstone of their healthcare. There’s a German word for it, too: "waldeinsamkeit" – the feeling one has while being alone in the woods, usually a sublime or spiritual one.
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