What’s in a name? That’s the question I have been asking myself this week.
Back in the day, I thought that trading under my name was a great idea. Some have challenged the conceit, but it was the need to create a family business that was my biggest inspiration. I was proud of my father and recognised his sacrifices, which enabled me to have the freedom of thought and mind to become a publicist. My mother never quite understood what my daily grind involved. She wondered why, if I loved media so much, I didn’t apply for a safe job at the BBC. Hanging out with odd circus folk was a worry, especially the exciting itinerant crowd who sucked on gasoline and juggled chainsaws.
The trend for spawning agencies with odd and clever names will always be in vogue. I remained resolute, however; I even registered a trademark; and this week has underlined why I am proud of my family name.
The city of Lublin is pitching to be European Culture Capital. I’ve won a fantastic consultancy to help them with their Social Comms platform. I am loudly called a creative consultant. On the way to the first meeting I managed to hook up with my family in Warsaw. I took along my oldest boy, Janek, to hear and document my father’s history. My cousin Marek has been working at the Warsaw Uprising museum and, now retired, is collating the Borkowski narrative.
Perhaps, when there is more time, I will go into the testimony in more detail in a another blog. In short, a set of tiny heroic actions, along with an absolute determination to survive has resulted in the Borkowski name being kept alive. Because of some cosmic chance and a chain of coincidences, I am breathing clean air in freedom.
The culture I try to create matches the sense of greater existence that this engenders. When I take on a gig, it’s not to run through the gears – it’s to work on a campaign and deliver something out of the ordinary. OK, I may not get it right on every occasion but, when I do, it matters.
Part of my visit took in the Grodzka Project – it’s not so much a museum as a living archive that has rebuilt the Lublin Ghetto virtually. It is astonishing feat of creative will and genius. I defy anyone, Gentile or Jew, not to be profoundly moved by the experience. Two extraordinary men have, with the power of love, reconstructed the memory of half million Lublin Jews exterminated by the Nazis.
If this unknown quarter of Eastern Europe doesn’t win the bid to become the European Capital of Culture, it will be a crime. The Grodzka Project is proof that, even with meagre resources, something of global importance can be brought into existence. This, alone, deserves to be celebrated. But there is so much more here that is worthy too.
200 souls packed into a lecture hall last night to hear my talk on the new world of PR. Thanks to my father, and the dogged belief that my name should stand for a mode of work, I have been able to stay connected to the changes. This informs and inspires my thinking. The gospel of BORKOWSKI will be an unfinished book, always edited and added to because, without curiosity and the belief in change and development, the survival spirit of the Borkowski family could not have flourished.