Friday, August 20, 2010

As is so often the case, I started off with the intention of writing something short and succinct

You must be as delighted as I am to hear that, next year, I shall be a dad again.

I’ll tell you why you should be so nauseous with happiness.

Last night, the mystery singer made another of his little visits outside my home. He performed an original composition that actually managed to rhyme “black coffeeeee” with “Do you want meeee?” which, as far as I’m aware, is a lyrical first.

Unfortunately I couldn’t quite muster the strength to get out of bed (it was 3am) to record any of his ONE HOUR set. But of course, once the stork delivers my latest miniature insomniac, I’ll be up at that time anyway and able to record this nocturnal one-man-talent show. All for you.

In the meantime, you can make do with an excerpt from this fantastic article wot says having kids is good for art.

Reading it made me cry. Except I didn’t, right, cos I am a REAL MAN.

We were still students when we got married and had our first baby. It must have been hard work. We didn't have a washing machine and we couldn't afford disposable nappies – but mostly we were drugged with happiness. Our only conversational gambit was: "Isn't he amazing?" Friends were mostly delighted, but also slightly appalled. From the first they'd take me aside and commiserate. "That's it now, Frank, the pram is in the hallway."

The full quote – from Cyril Connolly – is: "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway." In fact, we didn't have a pram or a hallway, but in the dark watches of the night I would sometimes look at the Maclaren Dreamer buggy in the corner of the tiny kitchen and think, is that it then? Will I have to go and get a proper job and never write again?

Happily, I had married a woman of terrifying courage who, the day I was offered a proper job, said: "Don't do it, Frank. Go to the library, write something for us." I didn't produce a work of precocious genius, but I did get myself started as a TV hack. Ever since then, fatherhood and writing have been inextricably intertwined for me.

I'm not the only one. The most commercially successful British writer (JK Rowling) and the most ferociously inventive (JG Ballard) were both single parents. Edith Nesbit had three children of her own, and then adopted the two that her feckless husband had with his mistress. She founded the Fabian Society, precursor of the Labour party, and still had time to write 60 novels, among them the most purely funny pages in the language.

My children have been a crucial part of my work in ways that I find hard to account for or anticipate. If I need to go on a research trip for a book or a film, we'll usually go as a family, and I find that – apart from the fact that it's useful to have extra eyes and ears – people and places tend to open up to you more.

It's worth reading the whole thing.

On another note, they've finally done a great follow-up...

to this, one of my favouritest ads ever

Right, that's it. Sorry for banging on.

I'm off on my holidays.

Zut alors! Mange tout!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday morning emotional rollercoaster

We're privileged to work in an industry where you wake up some days and can't wait to get into work. Today was just such a day. That's right, my art director is off.

On top of this, I’m going to France next week, effectively making it a glorious two-week break from him.

I bustled in at 8:30 (it turns out the doors are open at that time) whistling 'Happy days are here again'. However, my chirpy tune came to an abrupt and off-key end as I caught sight of next week’s workflow.

There has been a horrible holiday-booking mix-up. It turns out THE ART DIRECTOR AND I HAVE BOTH TAKEN NEXT WEEK OFF.

That’s right, I could have had the same enjoyable break by staying at my desk. Instead I have thrown away a week's holiday.

And this is only the tip of the horror-iceberg.

The art director has gone to France, THE VERY COUNTRY I’M HEADED FOR. He is in fact only a few miles from me, a realisation that made me do a sick in my mouth.

Mrs RMWLC is dead against cancelling the trip even though the travel company said we could get some of the money back.

This just goes to show that no good ever comes of getting to work before 9.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Littlest Hobo lives

I invite you all to sit at your keyboard and weep at this story.

Then relive this awesome programme intro and let the trickle of tears turn into a flood until you are a blubbering bawling wreck and have to be led away from your desk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The day of fun

Last Friday was our annual allocated day of fun here at Partners.

It’s always a big date in the agency calendar. Last year we went to Thorpe Park, so expectations were high. And we weren’t disappointed, as we rolled up at a lake in Milton Keynes.

Bryan ‘Fun’ Grundy, Head of Fun at Partners and erstwhile guest blogger quickly made us at home with bacon sarnies and cups of tea all round.

But even with this aficionado of fun at the helm, it’s only fair to say things got off to a rocky start.

That’s right. Team building exercises.

Every team building exercise I’ve ever come across is carefully designed to make you cry tears of frustration at your colleague’s inability to perform the simplest task like tie a knot or outmanoeuvre a traffic cone, causing you to snap at them childishly. These were no exception.

Our first challenge was The Matrix. Clearly the organisers have picked up a few tricks from the suits when it comes to the old ‘give it an exciting name and they’ll think it’s brilliant’ strategy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… The Matrix.

To be fair, I'm not sure this photo does it justice. It's hard for a single shot to convey the drama and excitement of stepping on office carpet tiles that have been laid out on an astro turf pitch while your boss directs you on an imaginary course. The final ignominy was being laughed at by some passing schoolchildren.

But then things brightened up considerably with Blindfolded Giant Jenga, an opportunity to get felt up by colleagues under the pretence of ‘finding my team’. I still haven't managed to identify Mr/Mrs Roving Hands in my team but whoever they were, they certainly spiced up my day.

From here it was brilliant fun all the way.

culminating in a drunken dragon boat race. As you can see, Carole here won at both drinking and racing.

As if that's not enough to call it a successful work excursion, casualties were also down this year, with only one member of the studio walking into a metal pole and cracking his head open.

Although I also sustained a hurty elbow in Dragon Boat racing.

By the way, me and a couple of other lonely people have decided to play Blindfolded Giant Jenga here every Friday lunchtime. If you fancy it, please get in touch.