One of the problems with having apprentice creatives trailing you every minute of every day is that every now and then you give them a little insight into the magic that is your life time’s work. Try as you might to protect your hard fought intellectual property rights from the prying curiosity of strangers there’s no avoiding the moments when you utter a giveaway line which illuminates their consciousness and bingo. A hard won trade secret is out of the bag.
The flip chart is a case in point. Many people fail to recognise the potential of the humble flip chart and the outsize pages of low grade papyrus which are frequently lodged onto it with blue tack, hair clips, nails or with whatever comes to hand. Derided by many as a poor mans management tool for corporate Away Days (and yet interestingly accompanied by intoxicating flip chart markers, available in many interesting primary colours of red green and blue plus of course the intensely interesting and alluring black, a colour which never fails to fascinate me when it comes to being a scribe in all those terminal management meetings), the flip chart is coming a poor third in those days of shiny PowerPoint presentations, or even worse those sea sickening Prezi efforts, more of which anon.
What many fail to recognise (apart from Lynn, who now knows only too well the advantages of flip chart technology thanks to me) is that that the flip chart flip is easily screwed up, cut up, torn up, scribbled upon, used as a convenient receptacle for errant dog muck and pretty much any other useage you can conjure up. Its potential for mess is endless and this is what makes it the perfect tool for the magic that is my job.
Lynn has had an epiphanic moment when it comes to the flip chart. When she started as my apprentice, her flip chart requirements were modest. One sheet of A0 flip, two little knobs of Blue Tac and one red felt tip which had seen better days writing on toilet walls somewhere in the staff canteen of the multinational conglomerate. Since her apprenticeship began though, she has taken to the flip chart mission with a vengeance. She carries around unpacked packages around where ever she goes. She’ll unwrap one at the drop of a hat, tear it up, cut it up, fold it, distort it and cause paper mayhem of all kinds. The mess she generates is impressive, even by my standards.
She’ll then proceed to write, draw, scribble or carve out her name on what ever scrap of paper she can find and then stands over her efforts, waving her marker pen triumphantly in the air as yet another corporation problem has been solved. On more than one occasion she has been applauded by her unwitting audience of factory operatives who then proceed to thank her for solving an intractable production problem.
I curse the day I introduced her to the magic of the flip and the flip chart. Something has to be done.