So what is LongLunch?

It’s come to my attention in the last few days, as we chip away into the London scene, that some people are experiencing LongLunch for the first time. I’m annoyed with myself for not realising that, even though LL has been putting on talks in Scotland since January 2003 (yes! 6 years!), and was in the pipeline for a year before that, that Londoners just don’t know who and what LongLunch is.

So, for those new to LL, what is it? where did it come from? and why should you give two hoots about it?

Seven years ago, the design industry was a different place, the dotcom bubble had well and truly burst taking the big budgets and some giants with it (Deepend anyone?). We were all looking for something, something more than the endless round of award ceremonies and corporate back slapping in Scotland, you know the events, where the bosses all get dressed up for the night and go collect the awards on the designers behalf. There was zero sense on community. Zero opportunity to meet up with mates from college and previous jobs, and some of us harked back ten years to when (as students) we’d been able to go to the Typographic Circle in Scotland (thanks to Scott Fraser and Jamie MacKay). When the likes of Tomato and David Carson had us enraptured for the night before riding off in a bus full of drunk students.

But alas the TC in Scotchland was no more, Scott and Jamie had moved onwards and upwards and had no time left to commit to TC. And the void was massive.

And this was when we decided the time was right, we needed speakers (with help from the Typo Circle guys!), we needed venues, we needed printers, we needed a paper company and we needed to get cracking.

And so in early January ’03 a windswept Mickey Stretton (now at AllOfUs) shouted to be heard at the Berlin Beir Haus in Edinburgh as LongLunch ran it’s first night, in co with (the much missed) BD4D from London. His talk was brilliant, but even more overwhelming was Scotlands response to what we’d put on. We guessed at 40 turning up, we got 120+. The bar was flowing and everyone stayed back for the chat afterwards.

Since that fateful night LL has gone from strength to strength. There’s been Richard Frick the Swiss Typographer and his Cuban poster collection, Andy Altman from Why Not and their Flock of Words scultpure, Nicolas Roope from Poke, Nat and Fred of Airside, Sean Perkins from North, Ben from NB:Studio, Ian and his (recently lost) tDR, Paul and Paula from Form, Adam and his Mainframe, Bruno Maag the type powerhaus, Benrik (Rufus’ faves), An Interview with a Mr Saville, MadeThought, Browns own Mr Ellery, De-construct, Graphic Thought Facility, Angus Hyland at Pentagram, Jonathan Barnbrook, Bryan at SEA, Adrian Shaughnessy, Tony from Spin, the Felt-tip Exhibition for Six Cities festival in Scotland, screenings of Helvetica with the GRV guys and last autumn saw us return to form with Airside doing the first London talk and Fernando Gutiérrez and Morag Myerscough speaking in Edinburgh.

But that doesn’t really explain what LongLunch is, or is about. I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not some big expensive bevvy up at 100 quid a ticket that you need to hire a tux for, it’s not horrid back slapping or sneering at someone else’s work becaue you think you “could have done so much better”. It’s about listening to designers at the top of their game giving you an insight into what makes them tick. It’s about going into work the next day and thinking “you know, I’m going to give this project just that little bit more TLC than yesterday” because last night you go a jolt of inspiration and saw that mediocre briefs can be amazing if you just think that little bit harder for a slightly better idea. It’s about meeting the friends you’ve made over the years, and their friends and old colege mates too, in a relaxed space where you can have a beer and think “thank f*** I’m not an accountant!”.

I’m sure LongLunch means something different to the rest of the LL team, Andy Massey, Rufus Spiller and Andy Neely. I’ll let them chip in their views.

Posted by:
January 29, 2009
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