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Passions that go the distance

Many of us associate the ‘most romantic day of the year’ with flowers and cards, but 44’s Bryan Jones tells us why he’s celebrating love that lasts longer than just one day…

I freely confess to being an old romantic. My playlists are full of songs with titles like All The Things You Are, Our Love Is Here To Stay, and It Had To Be You. My favourite films include When Harry Met Sally, Notting Hill and Clueless. Chocolates and red roses? Yes please.

But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m not so sure.

Maybe it goes back to when I was a lovelorn teenager expectantly opening the envelope to find a card signed with a rude message from my smirking older brother.

Without meaning to belittle everyone who embraces the event, isn’t Valentine’s a day for people who need an excuse to show their feelings?

Fortunately, I spend my days here at 44 working with people whose default position is to be passionate about stuff. They don’t need a special day.

There’s Client Services Director Eddie, who arrives on Monday morning full of dramatic stories about his weekend watching his daughter’s under-15s football team – the talented girls pitting their wits against the Midlands’ finest young players every Sunday morning.

Being number two in a busy internal comms agency is clearly a piece of cake compared to making sure 11 hyper-competitive teenagers remain focused on keeping possession and attacking as a unit.

Staying focused

At the other end of the scale is our Junior Editor, Zoe, whose passions are channeled down a somewhat more serene road.

As well as being an accomplished violinist, she makes the most remarkable pieces of art from torn up scraps of paper. I’m stunned by some of the collages she’s produced. Intricate and perfect – the result of a combination of vision, creativity and concentration.

Then there’s our Head of Digital Projects and Products, Alan Coates. He’s one of the few real-life published authors who I can proudly claim to know. His first book is an ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Sherlock’ thriller called Death in the Jazz Age, and he’s currently devoting time working on his second, Helter Skelter.

Passion and commitment

Now I love writing, but I think you really have to have an incredible amount of passion and commitment to plan, create and deliver a novel. As they might say in the jazz capital of the world, hats off fella!

For my own part, my passions tend to drift around a bit – but community theatre is what I always return to.

At the moment, I’m part of a group from our local theatre in Rugby putting on a version of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

Collaborative and team-driven

Creating theatre is a brilliant, collaborative team-driven activity – and it never fails to amaze me how we disparate am-dram luvvies pull together to produce shows and performances that people are actually willing to pay money to see.

Don’t let me put you off, of course. Have a brilliant Valentine’s Day. Show your loved ones that romance isn’t dead.

For my part, I’m happier celebrating passion and commitment that lasts all year round – whether it be making sure your team has all the support it needs, spending hours creating the perfect design, or agonising over the best angle for a story.

Chocolates and roses to my fabulous friends and colleagues at 44.

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