There’s that noise again. I haven’t missed it. OK, I’ve maybe missed it a little bit. There is, however, a lot to be said for the sound of silence.
An awful lot right now.
“Howdee Daaaaveeeey!” from a long way away.
It’s Clark. Heard a long time before he’s seen.
I’ve been in Seattle a couple of hours. DirtFish CEO Justin Simpson and I have already seen fish being thrown in Pike Place Market downtown. Seriously, it’s a thing. And now we’re back in the airport picking up our friend and colleague Colin Clark.
Colin has back-to-backed the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship in Spain with a long haul from Barcelona to the Pacific northwest corner of the United States via a splash and dash in Frankfurt.
And still he’s singing.
“All my life,” croons Scotland, killing Razorlight, “watching America. All my life, there’s panic in America…”
There is now.
Colin and I have landed on planet DirtFish for a week of planning. It’s just over two years since I sat down at the world’s best rally school to consider its move into the media. Back in 2019, DirtFish owner Steve Rimmer, Justin, Trevor Wert (director of marketing) and I plotted a way to direct a few more folk towards the website.
We were wheels up at the top of the 2020 season, with world champion Ott Tänak wearing the colors and lighting the afterburners. What could possibly go wrong?
We all know that story. No point covering old ground. What I do want to cover is the gratitude everybody on the editorial side of DirtFish has for Steve and the Seattle team for unflinching commitment and support through what’s been one of the most challenging of times for the global economy.
And, equally, to all of you. We hoped our stories, videos and voices would bring some eyes and ears to the site and you’ve come in your millions. Thank you.
Last week was about how we’re going to keep you with us, add some more millions and provide even more entertainment in the years ahead. I won’t spoil the surprise, but there’s some mighty fine tales and very funny films coming your way.
Another big part of the week is centered on furthering the connection between the media side of the company and the rally school core. Everybody in Snoqualmie has a story to tell. And so does Snoqualmie.
For the geography-minded, we’re east, inland towards the mountains from Seattle. But not before we return downtown to shut Colin up with one of the finest burger and strawberry milkshake combos known to man. After that it’s a super-quick tourist trip past Boeing’s factory (complete with private runway) and into Lumen Field – home of my new favorite footie team, the Seahawks.
Resplendent in my new baseball cap and feeling very much at home among my people, we continued on to the world’s oldest Starbucks. It’s actually the second Starbucks opened, but number one’s no more. Then the bubblegum wall, which is… well, it’s a wall covered in bubblegum.
Finally, the Space Needle via no end of Googley coolness and the house boat Tom Hanks lived on in the film about no sleep in Seattle.
Hotel. Sleep. Hello 4am. Feeling your pain, Tom.
Frustratingly, breakfast doesn’t start until 6am. A minute past the hour and Col and I are realizing the instructions on the waffle-maker are there for a reason. Jet lag munchies sated, we’re bound for reception and a key left to the DirtFish marketing car.
A fully liveried Subaru WRX is waiting in the car park. And just when you think the day can’t get any better, the fall sunshine sticks its head over the mountains to turbocharge some of the most stunning colors I’ve ever seen.
Nature really is amazing. And almost as good as a big Subaru blower. Engine warm, center diff fiddled with, the boxer beat provides the perfect soundtrack to our ride to work. Which is disappointingly short.
Except there’s nothing, zero, zilch, zippo and nada disappointing about arriving at the ’Fish (nicknamed by Josie Rimmer, Mercury XR4i racer and rising star of the editorial team).
Colin is me two years ago. Slack-jawed and silenced by the sheer quality cool of the place, he walks in wonder. Predictably, Colin being quiet is something that needed documenting; look out for a short social film about his arrival at the mothership.
Sensing a Subaru moment, Justin lures us into the McRae Room with donuts. And for two-and-a-bit days we talk about the future.
It’s exciting. Inspired by some of the world’s most achingly beautiful vistas, strong Seattle coffee and soundtracked by the off-beat thrum of a fleet of WRXs, did you expect anything else?
The future at the ’Fish is bright. And orange. And just a little bit groovy.