Mash Media MD Julian Agostini on the exhibitions industry creating a natural legacy with its own rockstars.
What an unusually strange and sad month we’ve had with so many deaths of big characters and heroes in our lives.
David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Fry and our industry’s very own Peter Osborne and David Bennett.
At times such as these, people of my age reflect on our mortality; where we are in achieving our life plan and realising our dreams. We all want to put an indelible mark on the world and feel that we’ve made a difference, but that’s a lot easier said than done.
Ever since my big brother forced me to buy Hunky Dory as my first album in Downtown Discount in Billercay (it cost £1.69), David Bowie has been my personal go-to music of choice.
On that album, in the track Quicksand he sang:
“I’m not a prophet or a stone-age man just a mortal with potential of a superman, I’m living on”
Rather appropriate for him and perhaps for all the names mentioned above – and I don’t say that lightly. David Bowie was an innovator, fearless, totally inspirational, a creator and a market leader – all of this can also be applied to Peter Osborne and David Bennett in our own albeit much smaller world of exhibitions.
My old colleague and protégé Mark Brewster, now creator and MD of Explori, once said to me that we all grew up wanting to be a footballer, golfer, rock star, movie star, have our little bit of fame and be remembered forever. For the vast majority of us those things have gone by the time we start work, but what is left for us, is to be great businessmen and be remembered and ever respected for that.
I love that thought and, let’s face it, what an opportunity we have in particular in our unique industry to create our own legacy.
The UK exhibitions industry is sometimes referred to as “the village”, as everyone knows everyone and “you can check out any time you like but you can never leave”. Consequently we know all the big faces within it; our very own rock stars, perhaps.
An exhibition – when you have created it and built not just the structure, but also the whole community, is something that great organisers have poured their very heart and soul into and you can sense that from just one visit to a show of this nature.
It is borne out of blood, sweat and plenty of emotion.
At the end you want to show your mum what you have done.
That’s how it feels, part of you. In recent years, our award ceremonies have celebrated superstars that have helped create something sensational and real – often from the germ of idea. Can other industries really claim that?
Successful, established exhibitions can outlive us, so what a fantastic chance we all have to be immortal.
Our industry is magnificent in so many ways but one of the fantastic qualities is surely that we can still live out our dreams and be rock stars, of sorts, after all.
We can be heroes, as well.
However, are we not in the right place to make something happen that provides a natural legacy?