Tuesday, November 26th, 2019
Sunday, November 24th, 2019
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
I’ve made a few trips to Germany recently. I was in Berlin last week for the always-excellent Beyond Tellerrand. Marc did a terrific job of curating an entertaining and thought-provoking line-up of speakers. He also made sure that those speakers—myself included—were very well taken care of.
While Jessica was out at the sprawling exhibition hall on the edge of town, I was exploring downtown Frankfurt. One lunch time, I found myself wandering around the town’s charming indoor market hall.
While I was perusing the sausages on display, I noticed an older gentleman also inspecting the meat wares. He looked familiar. That’s when the part of my brain responsible for facial recognition said “That’s Dieter Rams.” A more rational part of my brain said “It can’t be!”, but it seemed that my pattern matching was indeed correct.
As he began to walk away, the more impulsive part of my brain shouted “Say something!”, and before my calmer nature could intervene, I was opening my mouth to speak.
I think I would’ve been tongue-tied enough introducing myself to someone of Dieter Rams’s legendary stature, but it was compounded by having to do it in a second language.
“Entschulding Sie!”, I said (“Excuse me”). “Sind Sie Dieter Rams?” (“Are you Dieter Rams?”)
“Ja, bin ich”, he said (“Yes, I am”).
At this point, my brain realised that it had nothing further planned and it left me to my own devices. I stumbled through a sentence saying something about what a pleasure it was to see him. I might have even said something stupid along the lines of “I’m a web designer!”
Anyway, he smiled politely as I made an idiot of myself, and then I said goodbye, reiterating that it was a real treat for me to meet him.
After I walked outside, I began questioning reality. Did that really just happen? It felt utterly surreal.
Of course afterwards I thought of all the things I could’ve said. L’esprit de l’escalier. Or as the Germans put it, Treppenwitz.
I could’ve told him about the time that Clearleft went on a field trip to the Design Museum in London to see an exhibition of his work, and how annoyed I was by the signs saying “Do Not Touch” …in front of household objects that were literally designed to be touched!
I could’ve told him how much I enjoyed the documentary that Gary Hustwit made about him.
But I didn’t say any of those things. I just spouted some inanity, like the starstruck fanboy I am.
There’ll be a lunchtime showing of the Rams documentary at An Event Apart in San Francisco, where I’ll be speaking in a few weeks. Now I wonder if rewatching it is just going to make me cringe as I’m reminded of my encounter in Frankfurt.
But I’m still glad I said something.
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
Monday, October 21st, 2019
You got this!
Friday, September 27th, 2019
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019
I see—and appreciate—what you’ve done with traintimes.org.uk (and I know what you mean when it feels like pissing in the wind). Keep fighting the good fight!
Saturday, August 24th, 2019
Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
Vielen Dank, Oscar—that’s very kind of you.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
Friday, October 12th, 2018
Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
Going to Oxford. brb
Sunday, June 24th, 2018
Thursday, April 19th, 2018
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
I’ve written a book about service workers for web designers! It’s called Going Offline and it’s available to pre-order now:
Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
This evening I discussed HTML from first principles with five brilliant @CodebarBrighton students, and I really, really, really enjoyed it.
Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
Wednesday, May 17th, 2017