The Trophy Board (updated for 2013)

business cardsAndy Warhol, so it’s said, never opened any of his post. He merely collected it up, put it in a box, and when that box was full he sealed it and wrote the year on the top. When he died they found boxes and boxes of unopened post.

I’ve never taken the time to find out just how true this story is, but I do know that the first time I heard it, it had a profound effect on me and I wanted to do the same. However, being a somewhat deluded individual, I was fairly certain I could improve on the concept. Who, after all, would want to go through boxes of my unopened post?! Particularly when most of it would either be bills, red bills, final demands or letters from the utility companies informing me that I’d been cut off. I wanted my boxes to be full of interesting stuff.

And so I started to collect things. Ticket stubs mainly. Be they cinema or theatre tickets, raffle tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, pay-and-display parking tickets. But also postcards, greeting cards, thank you cards, business cards, labels, badges, old credit cards, menus, anything that was evidence of somewhere I’d been, something I’d done, or someone I’d seen or met.

I can’t remember what I did with all this junk to start with but eventually (probably in an effort to retain some sort of control over the growing mountain of rubbish) I decided to get a really large cork notice board and pin this stuff to it. And there it hung in my living room – a huge messy board packed with memories. I loved it!

A few months later, on New Year’s Day, I completed the last stage of my ‘Andy Warhol’ project by removing everything from the board, stuffing it in the largest envelope I could find, writing the year on the front in huge letters, and tossing it in the loft. A few days later I started the process again, pinning items to the board as I accumulated them.

Now, many, many years later, I have approximately twenty huge envelopes in the loft, each one with a year written on the front, and each one packed with papery mementoes. Do I ever look in these envelopes. No. Will I? No. What’s the point then?

The point isn’t the envelopes. The point is the board.

It’s a visual reminder of all the things I’ve done this year, and the space between the items is an opportunity to be filled with something else. When visitors come round they stand and admire the board. It’s a conversation piece. Sometimes people ask me to explain an item. Nobody ever tells me it’s a bad idea.

And when I’m tired, or feeling low, or I’m feeling a little like a hamster on a wheel, and that nothing I do ever amounts to anything, I look at the board and I realise that it’s not true. Twenty fat envelopes in my loft say otherwise.

So how is my 2013 Trophy Board progressing?

(If you’re reading this post in an email, click here to visit facebook to view the trophy board photos)

It would be great to see how your Trophy Board develops during the year.  I’ve created a gallery for Reader’s Trophy Boards.  Tag me (or the page) in your photos or send me your pictures via facebook messaging (there’s an ‘add files’ option just under the box where you write your message).


Read about what got pinned to my 2012 board here

4 thoughts on “The Trophy Board (updated for 2013)

  1. Fabulous!!! Love it, Peter.
    I’ll have to start one myself to put on my own writing room wall. I’m delighted to see my postcard promo card for THE SECRET there amongst yours… poking out quite prominently too, I might add. Clever cover design, eh? I’ll have some more printed this August for A FACE TO DIE FOR and maybe even the new book, if I manage to get it out in time. Fingers crossed.
    Off now to get myself another cork board and find a suitable spot on my busy wall for it!!!
    Jan x


  2. Hi Peter,

    I started reading your book yesterday whilst having an unintentional (and very rare) Boxing Day (only realised what I was having whilst reading – have already booked my next one).

    I’m only half way through, but I think it is one of the best books out there. I won’t ramble on, this is just a short note about trophy boards. I love the idea, even though I am a Virgo, and wanted to share something I did earlier this year that was similar.

    Using the movie maker software on my laptop I put together a large selection of photos of my daughter from birth to about six years and added music. The result was a six or seven minute video of the times we have shared together and the fun we have had. It made me realise how much I actually do with her, which gave me a much needed boost as I continually berate myself for not spending enough time with her. It was so much fun to make, and so enjoyable to watch. I just wanted to share the idea. Now it is something I intend to do on a more regular basis. I use a digital picture frame, and one of my first jobs when I get back from holiday is to upload the photos onto it so we have an immediate reminder of shared good times.

    Sorry, I have rambled. Thank you so much for your book, can’t wait to finish it, and have sent a copy to a good friend who I know will appreciate it too.
    Kind regards,



    1. Hi Sharon

      Glad Boxing Day is working out for you, and I love your movie-maker Trophy Board alternative. Great idea.
      Here’s hoping you enjoy the rest of the book. If you have any other feedback please feel free to drop me a line.

      All the best

      Peter 🙂


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