Creative Director & Podcast Host

Bird by Bird - By Ricky Richards

My Dad's Idea Of Virtual Reality

It’s been a hectic few days and I’ve found it hard to carve out the time to work on my journal. This one is going to cover the last few days.

Me and Kris chatting about the space.

Me and Kris chatting about the space.

On Thursday night I went to the House of Vans with Ross to scope out the space for an event we’re helping host in conjunction with Coppafeel. CoppaFeel was founded by a lady called Kris, who at the age of 23 had stage four breast cancer. She subsequently set up the charity to raise awareness of breast cancer, specifically in young people. I got to meet Kris and she really is an inspirational individual. It was clear that she uses every opportunity to share her message and build the company. A very selfless act when you consider her looming future.

I’m looking forward to coming up with a bunch of ideas to help make the event as great as physically possible.

---- Friday----

On Friday we went to visit Kate and Kate, two Australians who run a business called the Smalls, which is a filmmaker network. Their office is just two streets down form us in Shoreditch. Kate and Kate seek briefs from all over the world and then open it up to their network for pitches.

I’d suggested that myself and Ross go over to meet them, to see what new work might become available. Ross talked them through the work he had produced and I showed them what I’d been up to since I last saw them. We left with them suggesting that they would fire over a brief to us for a video with a £20K budget. Not bad for a morning meeting.

The rest of the day I spent working on the Pedigree Chum and Film decks. I’m very close to being finished on them now, which is good because it will be nice to get in front of the client and get a real taste of what they’d like to create.

I left the office a little early so that I could make it in time for my coach back to Devon. I had intended to work on the personal branding course all the way home, but in a typical National Express fashion, the plugs didn’t work.

Thirty minutes into my journey and I was struck with the unfortunate luck of having a young guy sit next to me who was insistent on talking to me all the way home. He also talked loudly and cursed every other sentence, much to the disgruntlement of everyone on the coach. He had blonde, gingerish hair, but more boney and pale than you’d expect of even your most feeble ginger person. He had sunken eyes that we’re a strange yellowy red colour, and he was really skittish.

The first thing he did was offer me a beer which I thanked him for but turned down. By the time I’d got home I’d found out much of his life story, including intimate details from the 35 arrests he’d had. Most of them where violent where he, along with his brothers and friends, had left multiple people unconscious for various seemingly petty reasons. Baring in mind he was only 22. It turned out, in fairness to the guy, he’d had a terrible upbringing in Ilford London. At the age of 18 he found out that the man he believed to be his dad wasn’t. He said it threw him off the rails and into a world of violence and drugs. He said that he’d been on meds for the last 6 months to try and make himself better.

He was actually all right. But the whole time I did get the sense of a malicious side that could be released at any time. He told me he was drinking because it was the first time he’d ever been on a coach without his adult supervisor, who had to keep an eye on him at all times. He said that despite attacking his advisor multiple times, he really respected him because he continued to look after him. He said the main reason he sticks around is because I get him laid. I asked him what he meant by that and he told me that he repaid his adult supervisor by getting him a prostitute several times a year. A fact that I’m sure would go down great with the NHS and his psychiatric therapist.

He was excited about having recently passed his level 2 maths and English. And was soon going to be doing his GCSE’s. His plan was to join the forces. He had to show he was off meds for at least two years so he said it might be a while before that could happen. It’s strange when you meet someone like this. It’s easy to dismiss them as a criminal. However, when I listened to his story, a lot of his reactions while extreme, seemed rational. It was just that the environments he grew up in ultimately lead to a destructive path that snowballed.

He shared stories of getting off the train near his estate, and every time having to make sure he was picked up by car because there would always be several guys there waiting to rob you for no reason. And that sometimes all he could do was fight back which ultimately got him in trouble.

When he left I was definitely relived, but it was an interesting insight. Clearly part of him really wanted to get better and remove himself from the environment he found himself so stuck in, and I wished him the best. He was going to see a friend for a night out. I told him.. "don't hit anyone for fuck sake" and he laughed.

---- Saturday----

Saturday was much more pleasurable. I woke up to a huge cooked breakfast from my dad. His signature dish. Then me and Natasha went to Lee bay to walk over the hills and chill in the sun. It was completely silent other than the sea which you don't appreciate unless you spend most of your time in a place like London where silence is rare.

On the way back to the car we stopped off in the pub and there was some amazing pictures of the area in the olden days. It surprised me that even in a tiny village like Lee Bay with probably only 20 houses, people used to wear suits.

We wanted to go for a walk on the beach afterwards but the holiday makers (or grackles as we call them in Devon) were swarming and there was no chance of finding a place to park the car. We came back and sat in my garden to eat some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream instead. Admittedly it wasn’t a good day for my diet, but I thought for one day I’m going to chill.

After that my Mom and Dad took us out for diner which was really nice. We never eat together and we all had a hunters chicken with bacon and BBQ sauce. It was delicious and nice to catch up with them. We talked about VR technology and I said I was excited about the educational possibilities. My dad said "oh yeah, I suppose you could have a virtual classroom and teacher and books couldn't you? That would be amazing" I told him in a virtual world why would you ever need a classroom? You could transport to the other side of the world, or 100 years back in time. Learning is going to become an immersive experience and he realised that he was drawing on years of tradition that made no sense in a virtual world.

Finally we went to Natasha’s house where her family had pitched up an inflatable cinema screen outside in the garden. We watched a film under the stars which was really amazing. I could hardly keep my eyes open because I was so exhausted but the day as a whole was really enjoyable. It was nice to not look at my computer all day for once.

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Ricky Richards