The Power of Ideas

Hi Everyone,

Happy Global Scouse Day and welcome to my brand spanking NEW website! Here I’ll be posting the geo-political, socio-economic and pop culture pieces that might possibly seem a wee bit out of place on JinjaIsland.com.

Expect some juicy long-form essays tackling matters of great social import (such as “will Captain America go gay for Bucky?”) as well as reaction to whatever lunacy is going on in the world at any given time aka ‘the news’: war, poverty, democracy, extremism, architecture, festivals, the United Nations, the EU, development, charity, justice, human rights and human wrongs.

GrahamDavidHughes.com isn’t just for well-informed (and occasionally humorous) blog entries (although I will strive to keep you entertained), it’s my CV, or “résumé” as those adorable Americans say – hence the mildly embarrassing enthusiasm spread out over 25 pages of special pleading.

To be frank I could do with a job, so I’m throwing caution to the wind and posting as much stuff online as I possibly can. Yeah, somebody might well steal my great ideas, but who knows, one of them might go all Global Scouse Day on us.

Global-Scouse-Day-caro
Liverpool Chef Dave Critchley, Liverpool Baker Laura Worthington and Your Favourite Ginger Travelling Monkey, Also From Liverpool.

For the uninitiated, Global Scouse Day falls every year on February 28 and is a celebration of Liverpool’s favourite dish (the reason we have the nickname ‘Scousers’). Scouse is a type of stew that is slow cooked on the hob (gas ring) traditionally made with beef or lamb (people can get into rather heated discussions about which is best). There is also ‘Blind Scouse’ which is vegetarian, we’re inclusive like that.

The origins of Global Scouse Day lie back in the mists of time. Well, the early noughties. I have a Scottish friend whose birthday happens to fall on Burns’ Night (she’s also got the surname Burns!), so every year on January 25 we’d head over to her place for a big spread: haggis, neeps an’ tatties, all that palaver. Needless to say, I love any celebration that centres around food.

It got me thinking: why not have a food-based celebration for ourselves, for the greatest city in the world? And why not centre it around the very dish from which we get our nickname? So on my birthday – between Burns’ Night and St. Patrick’s Day – I had a big group of mates over for a party and rustled up a large batch of scouse – with crusty bread, pickled beetroot, Cain’s beer, the works. It became a bit of an annual event, so much so that when I left home to go gallivanting off around the world, my friends kept the tradition alive by making scouse for themselves (and each other) on February 28.

gsd-2
Tasty, tasty SCOUSE.

In 2011 one of those friends, local baker and social media wizard Laura Worthington, decided she would try to get the entire city eating scouse on February 28 because why the hell not, eh? She’s been utterly instrumental in making Global Scouse Day the incredible phenomenon it has become – I can only take credit for the idea, Laura’s done all the hard yakka.

In my hometown of Liverpool today over 160 bars, cafés and restaurants are putting scouse on the menu. Virgin Trains are serving scouse on all their trains around the country. One restaurant is holding a professional ‘Scouse-Off’ with the city’s top chefs. Another is giving free scouse to the homeless. Everton and Liverpool football teams have got involved – a couple of years ago, LFC even got 80s legend John Aldridge cooking up a bowl of scouse.

What’s remarkable about Global Scouse Day is that it has grown organically over the past few years – it’s an idea that has captured the public imagination and the entire city has embraced the concept. But that’s all it is – an idea.

If I had my way, this is all I’d do, travel around the world with a satphone getting calls from publishers, production companies, movie studios, video game developers and advertising execs asking for great ideas. “Here’s the idea, here’s my bank details, cheers” [gets back to climbing Kilimanjaro].

All things being equal, being an Ideas Man or Woman should be that simple, but it’s really not. What I’ve learnt over the last decade is that for the industries I’ve been scratching the door of – TV production, publishing, movies – there are gatekeepers. A vast number of gatekeepers. And for many of these gatekeepers, it’s much easier to say “no” and absolve yourself from any blame should things go wrong.

This makes for a painfully conservative and risk averse system, one that is a nightmare for mavericks and creatives such as myself. To be fair, I can see why the Powers That Be are trapped in this mindset – these industries are simply terrifying in their ruthlessness when it comes to perceived failure – which is why tech companies are running rings around them. Google is not afraid to make mistakes (Google Wave, anyone?!).

I’m not clinging to the corporate ladder for dear life, consequently I have no fear of fucking up. I do it all the time. If an idea doesn’t work out, so what? I can (and will) go to the next one. I have as many baskets as I have (golden) eggs. But if I had kids to support and a mortgage to pay, if I might feel rather differently. If there was a small army of people who could easily take my place at a moment’s notice, I might be more inclined to do everything in my power to avoid responsibility… and therefore say “no” all the damn time.

When I pitched The Odyssey Expedition to Lonely Planet TV, I told them that I was doing it anyway, I was starting on January 1 2009 and left it up to them to decide if they wanted to be involved or not. I didn’t wait for permission.

The same goes for Global Scouse Day and even Jinja Island – I didn’t require the Lord Mayor’s consent to suggest we should eat Scouse on February 28 or have to check with the Man From Del Monte if it was okay for me to come to Panama to buy that particular island.

g7lxvp5n2qf06rahbkly
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool. Eating Scouse. Cos I thought it would be nice.

I’m starting a new video podcast this week called ‘Hughes of the World’. It might be a great success, it might be an epic failure, I don’t know. But again, I don’t have to ask for anybody’s consent, I’m just going to do it.

But that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to give up trying to get my TV shows, books and films off the ground – this is the system we’ve inherited, and one thing you should already know about me: my persistence knows no limits.

So please, have yourself a nosey around my new website and if you can think of anybody who might be interested in teaming up with me and convincing these gatekeepers to get out of our bloody way so we can shower the world in awesomeness, be sure to get in touch.

And, of course, enjoy yer scouse!

 “It’s all-but impossible to make scouse for one, it’s a dish for sharing, for bringing people together – a celebration of where we come from and where we’re going.”

I said that. Me. Do I win a fiver?

Panama City, February 28 2016.