So I’m sitting in a hotel in Kuwait City.
I don’t know how I found myself apparently pretending to be an international, ex-pat-type business person – I’m just a simple-minded creative. I like titting about with words and tunes, and sitting about with chums and coffees. I can hardly suddenly successfully convince everyone I’ve actually been some big shot serious person underneath it all, all along. Can I. Really.
So what am I doing in a hotel in Kuwait City?
Well, I can’t be sure, but it rather looks like what I’ve been doing is planning how to muck about with creative stuff for some undeniably nice people I’ve spent the last couple of days sitting around tables of food and coffee with, while trying not to come off as someone pretending to be some big shot serious person. That and making a lot of jokes, obviously.
And it also looks like I’ve found myself in the middle of a significant chunk of work out here in the desert. Between all the wonky English jokes, Julian and I have put together a very serious proposition for our emerging friends out here. It’ll stretch us – it’ll stretch me. But I went out on my own to enlarge my outlook – and I’m looking forward to us helping each other do just that.
The thing about the real global outlook – the one getting on with itself, far outside the tiny ring-fenced reality of the Nick Griffins of this world – is that it doesn’t in fact look like the sleekly soulless Business section of your stock photography website. You knew it wouldn’t – nothing human could possibly exist there. There in that God-awful eternity of hand shakes and thumbs up and hour glasses running out and people in suits punching the air. But I’ll bet even you didn’t realise the new global economy would turn out to be quite so… tacky.
The new world order would appear to be a steakhouse restaurant chain in the lobby of a business hotel chain, themed in a plastic version of the Wild West, administered by Koreans in chaps and stetsons, frequented by Arabs in kafirs and Nikes, and cleaned by the people of the Indus. Observed by middle-aged English businessmen who’ve married Thai women and retired to Dubai. Soon to be invested in by Russian gangsters. And speaking Mandarin.
Is this more or less frightening than 1984? Is it more or less stupid sounding now than the idea of Communist conformity or Nazi purity?
The outlook for the global economy is as multi-coloured as a tasteless fast food logo.
But it’s free.
And it makes us open our eyes to eachother.
Because the reality, when you sit down in the plastic Wild West and engage it in conversation, is human shaped.
The differences between people can be perspective changing – especially if you don’t want to get arrested. But I’m coming home at the end of the week reminded that the reason a simple-minded creative like me can float his little business boat on this bewildering, complex sea of change is because of the similarities underneath the stetson brim. Or the kafir folds.
A person you like is a person you like, wherever you find them. And I like this.
Even if piped karaoke covers of pop favourites forces my fingers into my ears while I’m sitting there, I shall continue to keep my eyes open.