Thank you, everything.

But before, another thank you. Thank you, George. Today, copy king George Tannenbaum’s brilliantly illustrious blog ad aged talked about diversity. Or rather, the lack of it. Like George, I love diversity. It’s why I don’t belong to any particular social set. I hate cliques. My friends range from craftsmen to homeless folk to doctors to MPs to carers to evangelists and I adore them all. I believe nobody should be excluded on grounds of anything. We all have the same DNA, so we are all one and all capable. And today, we should all be acting as one. More…

My take on ageism. A manifesto.

Originally posted on The Jolliffe:
? I’ve lived for 57 years, but copywritten for just 25. I’m a youngster. I can’t see any age gaps big enough to fall down. I’m still learning and still admit it. But that’s fine. I’ve just realised it’s OK not to know everything.  I sit up in bed and wonder what 2060 will bring me. I can’t barely wait. I don’t yet have a career. Just a job I reinvent every day. Every brief is my first. I devour it like a werewolf and hug it till sunrise. My mentors are still legends, colleagues,…

The Hard Bit.

  My career path has been stratospheric. At the tender age of ten, I was spotted by a talent scout. At eleven, I had a recording contract with EMI. At thirteen, I had three gold discs, four BAFTAS and a Golden Globe. At fifteen, I launched two global fashion labels and wrote a bestseller, now a major feature film and translated into forty-eight and a half languages. I’m a regular guest on NBC, the BBC and Channel Plus, up for a knighthood and tipped for a Legion d’ Honneur. Just like that.   Not really. I am but a humble…

A Homage to Collectivity

    Every Monday night in winter, I stand outside in the cold. Not waiting for a train, or a lover, or for a dare. No. It’s because three hundred others need me to.   La Soupe, the charitable kitchen at Paris’s Eglise St. Eustache, feeds that number every night between December and March. I’m honoured to be one of its volunteers. I am neither Christian nor Catholic. Something much stronger draws me here.   As the great bell strikes 6, we’re hard at it behind the cast-iron west gates, shielded from curiosity by sheets of rain-washed chipboard, bathed in…

Starts for start-ups

Starting in 2019, I will be offering some of my time to new agency start-ups, at half my normal rate.   It makes a load of sense.   To begin, start-ups are freelancers’ future big clients. The future of this game we all love is largely in their hands.   Starting up is hard. Bastard hard. In France, social charges hit you before clients do. Renting workspace is like bribing a king. Hiring talent? Like buying the crown jewels.   All the reason to offer start-ups my quarter-century of experience, without them having to work as long to buy it.…

TRULY, SIMPLY, MADLY.

      I loved David Ogilvy. I met him only once, but he might have shown me the way more than my father or other halves.  His mottos steer my days. “Committees can criticize, but they cannot create” reminds me that my job is harder than that of my critics. They know that. There again, “Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work” is my daily prompt to go somewhere fun to write. If I’m not in an agency, I’ll use my girlfriend’s balcony with its birdsong, fat cat, blueberry smoothies  and 24-hour David Bowie.  Or…

My take on ageism. A manifesto.

  I’ve lived for 57 years, but copywritten for just 25. I’m a youngster. I can’t see any age gaps big enough to fall down. I’m still learning and still admit it. But that’s fine. I’ve just realised it’s OK not to know everything.  I sit up in bed and wonder what 2060 will bring me. I can barely wait. I don’t yet have a career. Just a job I reinvent every day. Every brief is my first. I devour it like a werewolf and hug it till sunrise. My mentors are still legends, colleagues, students, even cleaners. Age immaterial.…

What you write is how you feel

  I am a grown man. Yet sometimes I still cry.   Not that I’m jilted or bereaved. Just overwhelmed. By friendship. Success. Relief. A re-found companion. Colour. A delicious chord of minor thirds and flat sevenths. A gesture, scene, present, grin, flash of news. An I Love You. A win.   And relieved, too. That my catalogue of emotions is still there, on the table, open at any page and ready-to-read.   That joy, delight, trust, tenderness, anticipation, expectancy, surprise, disgust, fear, fury, anguish, lust, anxiety, vigilance, panic, passion, disappointment, unbridled cheer, intimacy, aggression, indifference, are there for the…

What you write is who you mix with

    Lucky is my middle name. Before Patrick Collister took me on at Ogilvy like a bereaved puppy, I’d already had two careers.   I was an organ builder first, in a workshop full of mouthy cockneys in London’s Bethnal Green. Every word had four letters and the rest was rhyme. Plates of meat were feet, dry gin n’ rum meant petroleum and you’ll guess what grumble and grunt stood for. The 90-year-old old tea-boy had one bloodshot eye, half a tooth and Superman slippers while our shop foreman boasted the East End’s finest porno stash. Evenings were industrial…

What you write is where you are

I am in Fez.   The land of the Ryad, the date-palm, the date, the hustler, poverty, the brass lamp, feudal politics, Moorish arches, hand-to-mouth economics, sincerity, the lamb tagine and a sales patter to die for. A bright-eyed man of 70 just nearly sold me a chicken. I’m a veggie. But he nearly succeeded.…