Apr 27, 2008

Hot Chip & Oceanside

This week I got to see a couple of band performances here. New York hipsters MGMT  and Hot Chip, British purveyors of electronic pop. The Chrystal Ballroom's floor is set on ball-bearings, so it bounces when the crowd move. I guess that at least counteracted the fact that the audience was divided by a corridoor that ran directly down the centre of the stage, seperating over 21's from those not old enough to drink yet. I'm told this is a typical Portland thing, looked kinda weird to me...

This weekend I experienced the amazing  Oregon coast, and also my first non-rainy day since April 3rd, fantastic. Stunning wide sandy beaches, the roar of the Pacific and stunning views. I loved every minute of it. 

Apr 21, 2008


So the main difference is the considerably larger size of W+K Portland. And compared to the starkness of Amsterdam's new building, the Portland office has lots of visual stimulation wherever you go. 

The studio is spread out over a whole 'quad' of the 4th floor with people divided by client into small groups with a Studio Manager. Nike seems to take up a lot of people and remains very much the main client. The large entrance area doubles up as a gallery, currently showing an exhibition of 'work that deeply affected you' selected by W+K employees.


Portland is crazy about recycling. Even if their president doesn't give a rat's ass about the environment, Portlanders do. It's a very liberal, forward thinking city, (toilet signs in braille) has a good public transport system (though not as regular as Amsterdam's) is super friendly and outdoorsy. 

It has a good music scene. It also has more strip clubs per capita than any other American city. Imagine Amsterdam if it was full of Americans, had massive supermarkets and really good customer service (scrap that, had customer service). Mind you, I'm looking forward to being able to buy an alcoholic drink without having to show I.D, and tipping the waiter every time...

Apr 17, 2008

Here I am on my two month job swap in Portland, Oregon - W+K finally agreed to send me and I intend to cram it in while I'm here.

I'm staying in Michael F's place. It's a loft conversion of an old drugs warehouse. The day before I arrived Michael's new neighbour directly opposite was arrested by police for Meth distribution. I'm glad that was taken care of before I arrived... 

It's a beautiful place, like staying in a hotel penthouse suite, except no-one cleans up after me. It's roughly two and a half times the size of my apartment in Amsterdam, I'm thinking of getting a skateboard to get from one bathroom to another. The neighbourhood is full of coffee shops (the ones that sell coffee), galleries, up-market shops and restaurants. It's only three blocks from the Wieden Office.

Portland really is super friendly. I'm still getting used to being asked 'Hi, how are you today' by complete strangers, not being routinely ignored by shop assistants, and having supermarkets whose fresh produce section does not include punnets of furry strawberries.

My first day of work was Founders day, this year, community charity work followed by heavy drinking. For me that meant tree planting and clearance along the river banks of the Willamette River. It's the only day the sun has shined since my arrival.

Hello Vegas

Helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon? Check.

Worlds highest thrill ride? Check.

Shark Reef? Check.

Free alcohol in dodgy gambling establishments? Check.

Limousine ride in preposterous long car? Check.