I first met Angus in the winter of 1989. It was a few short months before the Berlin Wall came down and not long after I had gotten over an illness that is too trivial to go into as part of this newsletter.
Later that year, the pro-democracy rallies in Tiananmen Square would come to dominate the headlines but I wasn’t aware of that at the time, I was only two years old.
My brother has always been a malleable figure for me. It was a novelty to suddenly have someone else join our family of three and I quickly set about trying to mould him in my image.
I failed, as most older brothers do. Angus was not interested in cricket, toy planes or endless games of football in the garden. He was far more esoteric.
I come from a musical family, my mum taught piano and ran the music program at our local concert hall (if you’re looking for any more signals of being middle-class then I’ll let you know that I took a briefcase to school at the age of 11) and my brother (and two years later) my sister, both took up the piano and violin with ease.
I’ve long admired my brother for a number of reasons. He channeled his energy into a single activity (the piano) rather than spread himself thinly across a number of different pursuits, as I have done my whole life.
Writing, startups, tech, painting, football (again, it never goes away), cycling, finance. The list goes on. We might aspire to live in a world where generalists are rewarded
but who are we kidding? The world belongs to the specialists.
When we were younger, I used to force Angus to play football against me every Sunday afternoon. The game was simple: one vs one. Me vs him. I always won, of course. He didn’t care, he just wanted the hours to be over.
I like to think that those endless hours in the garden, endlessly chasing a ball around, formed him into the man he is today. I often wonder what his music would have been like had I allowed him to do something he actually enjoyed. It might be a little cheerier. But it probably wouldn’t be as good.
Regardless, this year Angus won an Olivier award for a theatre production he wrote the music for. And me? Well I won four championship trophies playing in the New York Co-Ed Soccer Second Division. So who is the real winner?
Angus is half-way through a year-long project of producing one new single every month. If you are looking for music to work or write to, then I can’t recommend it highly enough. Check him out on Spotify
I’m going to that last one, see you there?
I’m also going to plug this book
by Rob Fitzpatrick and Devin Hunt again because if you do any sortof workshop design or teaching you really should read it.
Looking for a remote UX Writing role? It’s slim pickings at the moment but I think we’ll start to see that change.