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

The Trophy Board 2011

business cardsSo that was 2011, and I have to say my Trophy Board has never looked so impressive!! I’m quite amazed that the thing stayed on the wall under the sheer weight of the stuff pinned to it.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about you can get up to speed here – opens in a new window).

Click any of pictures at the bottom of this post and use the arrows to see how the board grew during the year (or click here to do that on facebook if you’re reading this in an email).
If I were a more patient man it would have been fun to create some sort of stop-motion animation but… hey, you have to draw the line somewhere!

It being December 31st it’s time to take all the items off, carefully slide them into a padded envelope, then throw that in the loft to join the other twenty or so envelopes.

Here’s what I’ve carefully squirrelled away for my relatives to go through in many years to come.

54 x business cards
33 x tickets
14 x postcards
12 x thank you cards / notes
6 x clothes tags
5 x intineraries / programmes
4 x badges
4 x bank cards
3 x photos
3 x hotel passes
2 x city maps (Rome & Paris)
2 x “certificates of achievement”
2 x party invites
2 x leaflets
2 x pieces of paper cut into heart shapes
2 x packets of chili seeds
2 x key rings
2 x odd things my niece has given me
2 x membership cards
1 x bookmark
1 x lottery ticket
1 x gift tag
1 x playing card
1 x gift bag
1 x valentine card!!

It would be great to see how your Trophy Board develops during 2012.  Feel free to share pics of your Trophy Board on the facebook page.

Here’s the story of my 2011 Trophy Board.