February 2015

Leonard Nimoy, Zoopy and memories that last a lifetime

Leonard Nimoy (or Mr Spock, as any kid of the 80s would be remiss not to call him) died today.

As always, this kind of event stops you in your tracks for a bit, to reflect on what this person’s life meant to you, and – more to the point – where you are in your own short stay on this planet.

Leonard sent out his last tweet on Monday this week:

On the surface, it’s easy to see it only for what we think it was. Some inner thoughts shared by a man who could see his end drawing nearer. But, when you think about it, it’s a message of deep encouragement, with a sincere warning for us all.

What Leonard’s trying to remind us of here is that nothing is permanent. Not our childhoods, not our lifetimes; not our incredible highs or indescribable lows; not our wealth or our struggles, not our successes or failures. The only things that live with us forever are the memories we carry of all the ups and downs we’ve been through in the years before. Our job is to grab onto the good times with all our might when they come along, because they won’t last forever.

It’s a hard realisation to come to; that even when you’re at your highest high, you need to pinch yourself and remember that this too shall pass. It’s something I didn’t really think about enough at Zoopy, because I never imagined an ending. There was no final chapter in my mind, just more and more pages.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Zoopy lately. About the lightning-in-a-bottle energy that crackled through the world we brought to life every day. It was a natural, burning light that filled our office and minds with imagination and real meaning. The people I worked with were more a divine congregation on a mission than a team of staff. Our plans were filled with tomorrows, and next months, and next years. Everywhere you turned, ideas burst into loud beginnings of things to come. We’d have brainstorms in cars on the way to meetings, or in the middle of a shoot on a beach an hour out of Cape Town, or on a dirt road in the middle of the Eastern Cape.

There really was no stopping us. Except, as Leonard says, “perfect moments can be had but not preserved”. Eventually, even for us, our time had to come.

Looking back at some of the work we were most proud of, and some that we didn’t have a chance to release, I can’t help but feel that our time came just a little too soon. While most of the time nothing came easy, we had so much unfinished business. Loads of ideas I would’ve loved to see play out on screens everywhere. And, no matter what may have come, at the end of it all I’d still be giving it all we had with some of the best people I’ve ever had the gift of working with. People with heart, who gave a damn about every inch of our business, and every one of us involved in it. It’s something you can’t miss unless you’ve had it. And I do miss it, and them, and our shared dreams and sweat and tears. A lot.

But this is precisely what Len’s annoyingly wise words boil down to: don’t live in the past – squeeze every drop out of the life around you right now, especially when things are going the way you’d like them to be. And when they’re not, be grateful for the memories of when they were. Then use the best of those memories to make where you are right now even better. In other words: live long and prosper.

So this is me, being grateful. For some of the best – and, at times, worst – years of my career. Of my life, really. Thank you to Zoopy for being Zoopy, beauty spots, warts and all. We may not have been able to preserve the moments, but the memories will always be perfect.

What pet should I get?

Oh me! Oh my!
I could just cry!
A new Dr Seuss for me to buy!
It’s almost here.
Not long to wait.
Hurry up July 28!