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Thoughts for the Weekend & this Week’s Links

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Decaff Dreaming.

This week, I’ve left it late. Overslept. I woke at 4 am. It was too early to start work, but I wasn’t sleepy, so I put on a podcast and listened to an interview with a chap called Whitley Strieber. He regularly slept with an alien in the 1980s. I did fall back asleep; perhaps I dreamt his outlandish claims. Nope, I just checked. It’s true. Well, he says it is!

I’ve been off the caffeine for two months now, and, just like the last time I came off the drug, my dreams have gone mental and, at times, horrific. I’ve recently witnessed someone having their head sawn in two. Twice. Gruesome. Last week, I had a fantastic adventure through an undisclosed country that borders Myanmar. I know this because my son, daughter and I crossed the border in a blue taxi. The driver was from Peckham. He smelt of Dettol. We were on the run.

We’d been lined up in threes and bundled into waiting taxis with hundreds of others. While we waited, our heads temporarily changed to a translucent glowing blue outline as silent drones scanned us from above. I got the sense we were in a situation of impending doom. It was run or die.

After hurtling through the jungle and crossing the border, we ended up in this vast high-tech airport terminal in Myanmar. Though many signs still read ‘Burma.’ The architecture was stunning: a cathedral-like nave, dark with shafts of bright sunlight intermittently piercing the six-storey tall ceiling. All distant sounds were muted as if the space had been designed with the acoustics of noise-cancelling headphones. I got the uncomfortable sense of being watched from above.

Along the flanks of the terminal nave were small arched openings with three steps leading up to futuristic silver sliding doors; as the doors opened, we could see steps rising to the right. Ahead was often a grinning, slim figure standing in a niche with a courtyard behind. It seemed we wandered this concourse forever, peering through hundreds of these arches until we appeared in a clean, warm, compact hotel room. This felt comfortable. I should have stayed put. But we needed food. The room service line was dead.

I won’t keep going with this; I am not a novelist. But think Blade Runner without the rain. I got lost, never found my children, peered in more endless arched openings, and then woke up. I tried desperately to get back into that airport dream, to rescue my children and explore the terminal. The disorientation and vastness were exhilarating. The sliding doors and niches gave it a human scale. It gave me the same feeling as the streets of Pompeii. Every door was an opening to an atrium with a fountain and intriguing spaces beyond. A model replicated in most medieval European cities. Girona, for instance. These little courtyards are an oasis away from the busy street. It’s just that this airport was better, wilder and weirder.

I’ve considered building it as a virtual reality environment. I could explore to my heart’s content. But there is more to a place than just looking around it. The joy of exploring is the unknown outcomes, the serendipity. Dreams and Ayahuasca, I hear, bring plenty of that. Maybe sleeping with my VR headset is the future of dreams, exploration and architecture.

Meanwhile, in my waking hours this week, I’ve absorbed a ton of information about personal branding, streaming, affiliate marketing, and social media. Alongside other inputs, I spent six hours (whilst working) watching a Q&A livestream by a bloke called Gary Vee. Every now and then, he offered a nugget, and I’d make a note. It’s led me to all sorts of internet corners, including the social media side of things I rarely frequent. It’s a competitive world out there. There is so much imagery, both static and animated. How does anyone make a go of it? Penetrate this world? It’s overwhelming. In this new creator economy, I’m told you’ve got to be relatable. Even when sleeping with aliens.

In the myriad pathways of my caffeine-free dreams, I’ve stumbled upon a stark realisation: the essence of creativity lies not in the volume of content we produce but in its ability to resonate and inspire truly. These nocturnal adventures, as vivid and bizarre as they may be, mirror the potential for our digital creations to transcend the mundane, teach, support, and connect in deeply meaningful ways. In navigating the vast digital expanse, we need content Architects who capture attention and enrich lives. In the end, perhaps the accurate measure of our success isn’t found in clicks or views but in the sparks of imagination we ignite, the dreams we encourage others to chase, and the moments of wonder we foster in the quiet corners of the human heart. Herein lies the challenge and greatest opportunity: to craft a digital realm as boundless and as profound as the dreams that visit us at night.

This week’s web links, carefully curated to pique your interest, include a battery charger I’ve been using, Pompeii, an inspirational illustrator and crispy potatoes.

I’m always eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the topics discussed. You will always find me at carl@carlarchitect.co.uk

All the best

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This Week’s Links:

I have been using this little slimline charger since December. Totally brilliant. Easy to carry around, barely notice it’s in your jacket pocket. You can pick USB-C or iPhone versions. I’ve just ordered two more to keep in my van and bag.

A villa in Pompeii.

This is an interesting article about French illustrator Jean Giraud, whose work inspired Blade Runner amongst other movies and artists.

Some strangely pleasing interiors in the Scottish Borders.

John Pawson‘s Cotswold farm.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall are on the list for a 2024 visit.

Goldman Sachs on the growth of the creator economy.

Caffeine is a silent killer of success, according to Forbes.

Tucker Carlson proves he has no idea about Architecture. He means Modernism, not Post Modernism.

An exciting internet radio station is broadcasting out the back of a new coffee shop near the sea.

The aforementioned livestream Q&A made it clear that there is an opportunity to help people while making content. Creatively helping people learn and realise their dreams would be a good thing to do. The best bit about teaching students is sitting down and drawing and designing with them. I wonder if there is life in the idea of a live-streamed home design radio (with video) station. For some reason, I always wanted to be a late-night DJ inspired by Midnight Caller.

This looks yummy.

Main image credit: The world-famous high-tech gothic airport terminal in Myanmar (DALL-E)

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