April 27 2011
Lucia van der Post
We all have people in our lives who have no apparent material needs or wants. So, come the special anniversary, the time for a present to mark the passing of the years or the celebration of something joyful, we need to think way beyond the usual “stuff”. We need to come up with something original, meaningful, poignant even.
Enter William Stevenson’s company, LivesOnRecord. The notion behind it is rather like making a Desert Island Discs for your nearest and dearest, without the artificial device of having to pretend that you’re going to be abandoned Robinson Crusoe-style and without having to be restricted to music.
How it works (and so far it’s mainly been grown-up children buying this as a present for their parents or grandparents) is that the person whose life is going to be put on record is interviewed either at home or in LivesOnRecord’s Westminster offices on the subject of their life, their loves, their favourite books, music, poems, important moments, past and future hopes. Before the interview, quite a lot of biographical research is done – friends and family (with permission of course) are interviewed for their input.
The result is an intensely personal recording which could include music, poetry, quotations from friends, family, from books. This makes it not just a wonderful present to receive but something for the whole family to treasure down the years. I’ve written before about companies that make bespoke films as very personal presents and while they are wonderful, they can also be much more expensive (up to £5,000 for three minutes). The great thing about LivesOnRecord is that it costs £700.
It’s a new little company but I think they’ve hit on a very good notion and among their first 10 customers were the wife of an ambassador, the chairman and the former company director of FTSE 100 companies, and the chairman of a FTSE 250 company. If you visit their website you can listen to an extract from one of the interviews.