Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Walt Whitman gets Dylan Thomased

American advertising for the post-ironic generation.

I wonder if you could ever do this in this country without giggling half-way through.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Give it up to give it away to get it back

I wonder how it would feel if, say, you'd spent quite a while working on a brief, come up with an idea, for which you'd shown the creative director, as source material, a variety of zoomquilts online and, because he was someone you liked personally and whose work you respected, glowed with pathetic pride when he'd said, 'I think it's a great idea' and then had the idea passed to the client only for them to decide arbitrarily that they didn't want to advertise that particular product, and so you'd seethed with disappointment but eventually let the whole thing go and not ended up working for that agency and sort of moved on with your life, only to notice, just over a year later, an online zoomquilt-style moving POV idea reappear for a different model of TV from the same client under the same creative director amid a flurry of publicity having won arguably the biggest award in advertising?

Now I don't know, but I'd say if that happened, hypothetically, your only option would be just to congratulate the team involved and concede that it's not like you invented zoomquilts or POV advertising or anything, that you were only, at best, if at all, a facilitator in an extremely long chain, and acknowledge that the whole clown bankjob thing really added something that definitely was not present in any of the early iterations of the idea, and to just bear in mind that there is a kind of karma at work in this stuff, and nothing bums your karma harder than sour grapes particularly when given a public airing on a blog. For instance.

Monday Morning Memento Mori MJ Edition

Guess what happens when you mix Demerol, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Soma, Xanax, Zoloft, Prilosec and Paxil?

The Sun
features a full examination of Michael Jackson's corpse, including his various scars.

Now he just needs to come back to life. That's one religion I would definitely sign up for. Imagine the hymns. In fact, imagine a Welsh men's choir singing "Can you feel it?"

Friday, June 26, 2009

A terrible beauty is born

I was on a tube last night and heard someone say that Michael Jackson was dead. At the time I assumed that they were making a kind of incredibly astute art-joke about the power of rumour in an age of mass media and modern culture's pathological denial of death.

It is a unique piece of news that, like finding out that John Prescott was bulimic or that Trevor McDonald wasn't really black, changes the way the world feels this morning.

It's also probably the first thing that has ever happened about which you can safely say that everything that there is to be said will be said, and probably within the next couple of hours. This effect is measurable in the overwhelming sense of failure and futility that I got before I even started to write this post. But then, that's not altogether unusual.

And, A-level students take note, it also makes this press conference into a really precise definition of proleptic irony.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ask me about my penis

I went to see Grasses of a Thousand colours at the Royal Court on Saturday.

K. made me go, because otherwise I just sit there in front of my computer, hitting refresh on my sitemeter.

It's three hours long with two intervals. And make no mistake, my heart sinks when I hear I'm going to see a play that is three hours long with two intervals and that is fine. But I have this theory that certain kinds of art can only get you when you're slightly bored. Or that there are feelings that are like boredom, but are actually just tranquil and open and for cultural reasons we don't have a way of talking about them yet.

So it's by Wallace Shawn who also plays the male lead.

He's not at all handsome, in fact he's bald and bug-eyed and yet utterly riveting to look at, and has carved out a niche for himself in Hollywood, I presume by being unusually intelligent for an actor. He also appears as the teacher in Clueless and as the voice of Rex in Toy Story. Readers of the right vintage will also recognise him here:

Grasses of a Thousand colours is about sex and death. That's basically it. What's the point of going around wanting sex all the time so much it makes you and everyone around you unhappy and then dying?

It's really good, and you've probably missed your only chance to see it already.

As a writer Shawn is especially strong on place.

The play takes place in a future where people talk constantly about their genitals. This is a fun and oddly plausible idea.

The thing that makes it wonderful is that Shawn's character has this long speech about his own penis. He describes it as 'violent and threatening when erect', only it's as though talking about your penis is something people have been doing for years, and it's slightly démodé, and it's something that you have to sidle up to in conversation, the way that celebrities now have to prepare the ground slightly before they can start talking about how much they care about the environment. Like the way that a dog will slowly turn about a few times before he takes a shit.

I thought this was an interesting lesson in writing, that if you have an idea, not to just sit there, smugly with your idea. It's worth trying to have the idea beyond the idea as well.

Can I say that, without sounding like a low-rent Dave Trott with longer paragraphs?

Not Voodoo presents: Brother Phil The Midweek Freak

One of the best things to come out of this whole malign blogging exercise has been the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators who basically outclass the written content at every turn.

This latest is a collaboration with the extremely talented Brother Phil. Together we're touring the nightmare world of hip-hop, with an 80s trading card influence also going on. Please click to enlarge. You can see more his work here, and I suggest you do.

I should stress the Brother Stevie is moving house, but remains prolific and will be back on a Friday, we hope, very soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Into the dangerous world I leapt

I took my nephew skateboarding on Sunday morning. The echoing space under the Westway, filled with the whirr and click of skateboards, provides a really high-quality sonic environment for reading, that is not at all spoiled by the upscale W11 Mums who see skateboarding as yet another field of activity for their offspring to over-achieve in so they can feel ok about throwing up everything they eat, still, at 37.

My nephew, at seven, is by far the butchest member of the Comstock family. A kind of thrill-seeking savant, he basically rode out of my sister on a Harley. In this picture he's the figure travelling at tremendous speed on the far side of the park, not the anaemic looking child closest to the camera, who's faking it in that hoodie that his Mum blatantly bought for him.

This is the rule: you're only allowed to skateboard between the ages of 7 and 17, beyond that it's demeaning to man's natural dignity.

Children have a great time these days.

There's something plucky about a small person who comes round to your house on a Sunday morning so that you can take them somewhere where they can pursue some really basic neural satisfaction.

I suppose the equivalent would be my going round to my uncle's house in Northampton and insisting that he buy me loads of cocaine and then watch, from a sufficient distance that I wouldn't find it embarrassing, while I snort all the gak and then finally, when I'm good and done hoovering up the ya-yo I'd come over all slack-faced and sweaty and jaded-looking and demand that he take me home.

And furthermore my uncle would have to derive some sort of wholesome satisfaction from doing this, actually endorse it and feel like it was just what a man my age should be doing.

Sadly I never had that kind of co-dependent addict relationship with either my own uncle or indeed Uncle Chang. But perhaps a major Bing-session-slash-reunion might be just the thing to re-light the old avuncular fire. I hear that the Boutros Boutros in Northamptonshire is just wow it's so good.

As you can tell from my vintage terminology it's been a very long time since I've had anything to do with cocaine. No one would take it with me anyway because my use of street argot was just too aggravating.

Ok, I'll stop that now.

Children have loads of culture, designed especially for them. We had Bagpuss, Rainbow and Why don't you! They have whole channels of carefully designed media and their brains are finely tuned instruments for learning stuff you've already forgotten.

Here are a few things that my nephews are not impressed by:

  • Tiny remote controlled helicoptors
  • iPhones
  • Video messaging
  • The Wachowski Brothers
  • Porsches

What are your nephews not impressed by?

(Since Scamp has quit (never had you down as a quitter Simon, but you know, you do what you have to, don't feel any obligation to you readership or anything) I'm going to end all my posts a question. This week. Apart from Monday).

Got a really special new feature on tomorrow too.

Monday Morning Memento Mori

Sometimes you just have to get a reading on the global incidence of death in all its myriad varieties, and don't have time to surf the net for the data you need.

If only there were some kind of widget that would employ a battery of morbid logarithms to calculate mortality on a global scale and in real time.

Yes, like everything else you've ever imagined, it's already on the internet.

Just a minute watching it tick over every morning will help you keep your absurd problems in the kind proportion they deserve.

Death has this on his iPhone. And he's got the 3GS before you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Mick Jones Alert

This is an intermittent series in which I track the movements of Clash guitarist and punk idol Mick Jones, asking the question 'Am I stalking Mick Jones, or is Mick Jones stalking me?'

I know from this photo it looks like I'm following him, but he's clever, that's one of the things I've noticed about him.

It is frankly weird how often I see Mick Jones.

I don't just see him in west London either, in fact the sighting before this was in Shoreditch.

It's ironic too, because he is the member of the Clash that I am least excited about seeing. Can I just stress, as I do every time I see him, that he looks terrible, it's like his face is being drawn up and away from his teeth, by a giant invisible hand, and up close, like when I saw him in WHSmiths (he was buying all the papers, all of them), he smells just the way you'd expect a dying rockstar to smell.

He wears black suits on sunny days. I would hazard a guess that mercifully he never, ever wears shorts.

If I have a vision of Joe Strummer on the H&C line I will be sure to snap it on my trusty mobile phone.

The Jones/Strummer dynamic is a good model for a particular kind of creative relationship. One disgusting sentimentalist plus one intellectual with an axe to grind. Lennon/McCartney also fit this model.

I'm having a seriously good time at the moment and people keep sending me interesting stuff. Look, here's a reading group where you can read DFW's Infinite Jest over the summer. And here is my friend Andy's blog about failure and art which as you can imagine seriously rings my cherries.

Also had an enjoyable online discussion with an Australian on the Ideal Murder blog yesterday. I was slightly embarrassed to find myself on the front page of their site (not too embarrassed to link to it obviously), but I don't have a password, so I can't see if my article has sparked a lot of spluttering indignation in the comments from whoever at Mother was on here reading yesterday. (Yes, I'm watching you).

I'm doing a longer feature piece for the next issue that has so far involved interviewing Dan Germain from Innocent. He gave me a lot of free smoothies without asking to touch me inappropriately or anything. I'm also meeting the writer at Malmaison, so perhaps you can guess what the piece is about.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scaring kids for art

This is causing quite a stir on the Botulism Weekly Blog.

Readers seem to be confused about the use of the child.

Scaring the child, really scaring the child, is surely the point. Given the levels of fiction indicated by the Troma horror costumes and the presence of the uncaring mother. In fact, the only thing that's really real in the video is the emotion of the child, the point being that real emotion, as experienced by children, is distasteful on TV.

Doesn't it also say something rather neat about the earnestness of 'kids', even when everything around them utterly fake and stupid?

I think it's a seriously knowing NYU film school type affair. Rather than just a bad video.

And, erm, I rather like it.

That MGMT album is great, but dear God are they boring live.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is this some kind of joke?

Dear Chris Smith –

Recently I was travelling on the Underground with my crew, Black Ryno, Big Ro and Mr. Skripcha.

My companion Big Ro, whose observational skills I had reason to thank God for on more than one occasion, during the long years we spent together at Feltham Young Offenders Institute, pointed out to me a tube card advertisement for The London Dungeon.

It was a notice for an exhibition, which, so far as I could gather, is no more than a prurient survey of the more brutal practices of 18th century medicine.

The London Dungeon’s advertising agency have deigned to use as an advertising device an image of a knife, with the words “DO SOMETHING AGONISING GIVE BLOOD” forming, via a manipulation of the type, the blade of the knife or more properly, dagger.

The copy underneath gave a description of the mercifully obsolete practice of blood-letting, including the evocative words ‘a blunt blade gnawing a vein’.

Imagine sir, that you, as I am, were of just that demographic that lives with the constant possibility of knife attack.

Where even a small disagreement over a paltry quantity of drugs, or an act of verbal disrespect delivered over a grime rhythm by an emcee from a rival crew could and often does turn out very stabbily indeed.

Imagine if every time you turned on the radio, or the television, you saw reports of yet more knife crime.

Imagine that then, on a trip into London’s West End to drink and dance gaily and perhaps, for a moment, forget the horror of your daily life, you were presented with this terrifying message.

Put aside your prejudice for a moment and imagine how I might feel inside. I recognise that it might be hard for you to empathise with me, from the comfort of a life lived in Westminster committee rooms and chauffeur driven Jaguars, but I should say this was part of your job.

Suffice to say that on reading the advert I was so totally overcome that I suffered a moment’s unconsciousness and had to be supported by my crew. When I came round I discovered that Mr. Scripcha had already begun to articulate our demands, these are:

For the immediate withdrawal of this advertisement, as well as a written apology from the creative team at The London Dungeon’s advertising agency, responsible for its conception.

If the Advertising Standards Authority is unable to render us satisfaction, my crew agreed democratically, we would be forced to take matters into our own hands. Again, I trust I can rely on you not to resort to stereotype in your interpretation of this statement.

I look forward to a speedy response from you,

Yours &C &C

G 'da bwoy' C

Monday, June 15, 2009

Craig Raine and the world's most famous arsehole

There are plenty of English poets that I just don't like, but Craig Raine is the only one that I have personal-type beef with.

For those who don't know, Raine is described in Wikipedia as 'the best-known proponent of Martian Poetry'.

Well, exactly.

His long poem 'History The Home Movie' is a book so exquisitely bad that it has its own section in secondhand bookshops, next to 'History'.

He once wrote a poem called 'Arsehole', about his wife's arsehole. The first verse goes like this:

It is shy as a gathered eyelet
neatly worked in shrinking violet;
it is the dilating iris, tucked
away, a tightening throb when fucked.

Funnily enough, if you put "Craig Raine Arsehole" into Google you get this picture:

So imagine my delight on discovering that Raine has been employed by former KGB man Alexander Lebedev to add an air of literary gravitas to to everyone's favourite right-wing daily, The London Evening Standard. This is ironic, given that Raine's wife, presumed owner of the lyrically fibrillating arsehole, is Anne Pasternak Slater, neice of Boris Pasternak, author of Dr. Zhivago an excellent book suppressed for many years by everyone's favourite agents of socialist terror, the KGB.

His first piece (I presume it is just the first since it's not about anything terribly current, so it looks and reads like they've just said, go ahead and write whatever you like) an essay on Jeff Koons and high art appeared about a week ago. It's a hijacking of of Koons's work that allows Raine to push his three ideas and contains examples of writing that are Rainian beyond parody:

Koons is true to the coruscating wattage of flowers and will not, apparently, admit the obverse — those same petals anointed with rust and decay. We are used to the ironies of modernism, its sceptical interrogation of romantic feelings, but Koons is part of a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance, back to Michelangelo's drawings of “ideal heads”, a tradition that admits selection and improvement, a poetic treatment of reality.

All I can say about it is that if you've ever written something, and then woken in the night and been overtaken by a subtle dread and felt exposed and embarrassed, and thought that maybe what you'd written, despite everything, really had sounded pretentious after all, and then wished that you could take it back, only it's out there irrevocably in print, so maybe you'd ended up knotting the duvet in your toes and secretly promised to yourself just to stop trying to attract attention to your ideas and resolved to from now on be an ordinary working stiff, you really should read this article.

Raine is co-editor of a literary magazine, that should be called Arrête!

Monday Morning Memento Mori

What's with this grim and recurrent reminder of the potential imminence of your and my untimely death? Why can't I just lighten up? I mean it's not like something is just going to drop out of the sky and kill you is it?

Well perhaps.

In fact, the Health and Safety Executive reports 40 people killed in 2007/08 by falling objects.

It provides no details of what those objects were though, turning this stat into the proverbial gift that just keeps giving.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hackney: armpit of London

I usually only go to Hackney under cover of darkness, but I can now confirm that it actually looks worse in the morning. Only art students and northerners move to Hackney, and that's because they have no fucking idea. Hackney is officially the only place in London with a greater predominance of betting shops and charity shops than Shepherds Bush. In fact, Kingsland Road is perhaps the only road in London that a native of W12 can go strolling down, twirling an umbrella, chuckling noiselessly and thinking, 'wow, this place is really shit.'

Cheered me right up.

I also happened upon this poster for the new Mother Coke campaign 'Yeah yeah yeah wang splat.'

I don't mind the headline so much, there's something ballsy about its utter disregard for meaning, it's the strap line that bothers me.

You can't see it in the photo, because by that point I'd had to board a bus to escape a pack of feral dogs, and the bus was pulling away from the red light to avoid the 13 year old bus-jackers, with guns, but the strap line is: Open Happiness

Ok, super huge brands like Coke and McDonald's demand a generic line, but isn't there something about this that just doesn't sound like English? I mean, there's not a mistake in it that you could explain to a non-native speaker, it's the old adland imperative plus abstract noun one-two, but isn't it somehow less good than for instance 'Drink Coke', or 'Enjoy'. And isn't its inferiority to do with the indefinably non-native quality of the idiom?

When I was on the D&AD Workshop I remember Dave Trott telling the non-native English speakers that they'd have trouble as copywriters. I'm not sure that's true any more. I mean, they might not be as good at writing, but it might not even matter.

Don't get me wrong, I know some really good non-native English-speaking copywriters, but their strength tends to lie more in the conceptual bit of the copywriter's skill-set Venn diagram than the actual sitting-there-for-hours-adjusting-the-words-till-it-sounds-ok bit, one of the best bits IMHO.

In fact the code of modern copywriting is much less like David Abbot holding forth in the back of a limo and much more like quite an awkward conversation with a really hip Parisian exchange-student with passable English.

Clients mistake awkwardness for originality.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that it's a thing.

UPDATE: Dave Trott's latest post begins 'I went to a gay wedding at a castle in Scotland recently.' Now there's a man who understands intrigue. I haven't even read it yet, but I just bet it's mental.

UPDATE: Yep. Chicken Oriental.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Make ads not art

I've always loved this clip. I love the way you watch it think, 'but how is he going to answer this question in the relatively tiny amount of time left once the interviewer has finally shut up?' And then he does, and with spare time for goggling around the room.

I sort of like advertising, and I really like art, and I think it's very important that the two aren't mixed. Sometimes when you read George Pelecanos and he says things like 'she reached over to turn off the alarm on her Sony Sleepmaster' or whatever you just feel like someone has taken a shit right into your brain.

And Transformers the Movie, that turned into a hideous co-branding gang-bang. Can you imagine being the screenwriter that had to manage this particular branded intervention?

He killed himself soon afterwards.

Don't even get me started on Casino Royale.

A piece of writing can't be a piece of writing with all the demands of its own integrity met whilst also being an advert. Just like you can't make a really good advert if you're trying to get some other message across, even if it's how clever or original or artistic you are.

There's also this clip on YouTube, which, with the translation, is very much like something from a David Lynch film.

I think I'm getting blogging fatigue, it's where you get sick of holding forth to an empty room. I really need an illustrator, just to break the monotony. Are you an illustrator?

Is this the first good anti-binge drinking ad ever?

And weirdly it features a bloke who I spent a long weekend in a caravan in Wales with. He's much less fun in real life I can assure you.

If you want you can listen to his topical radio news show Boo Hoo - It's The News I suppose.

Catamidiate Art

If you spent your teens smoking low quality council estate hash and watching MTV and The Cable Jukebox you really can't help but have a lingering fondness for jiggy R'n'B of the R Kelly, Jodeci and Ginuwine model. In those days R Kelly was just a libido hooked up to a vocoder. Obviously he's matured since then, but only in the sense that he's now much, much older than the girls he's singing about. Out of court settlements notwithstanding, it's clear that Kels has more in common in with Nabokov than might be at first apparent.

A chance conversation with a reprobrate friend of mine led me to this. Don't worry, it won't have the special branch round to confiscate your computer, but it is nonetheless deeply appalling: a musical written and starring disgraced hitmaker Jonathon King. It's basically a long self-indulgent and partly sung rebuttal of the charges of sexual abuse brought against him by the media. King is a a deeply unsympathetic piece of work, but boy, can he write a catchy tune.

R Kelly wrote the hip-hopera during the dark days when Sparkle allegations first came to light and he was dropped from the Jay-Z tour. The turnaround on King's musical was just as short, and with King playing all the parts, and the camera often fixed, it's a lonely man's project. I also sincerely doubt that he paid anyone to come up with those animations.

Creativity is always attached to shame. Artists are the delinquent infants who won't throw away what they've just 'created'. There's a compromise that takes place between what the artist wants to expose and what the internalised society, whose influence manifests as shame, will allow.

By doing the one thing that even Prince probably wouldn't do, both these men have arrived in an extraordinary place. A land beyond shame.

Just watch the first minute of Vile Pervert the Musical and you'll see exactly what I mean.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday Morning Memento Mori

The ideal gift for those with a morbid interest in morbidity, The Grim Reaper's road map provides over 100 colour coded maps 'uniquely representing the geography of death in Britain'. This ball-pool of thanatotic fun contains some real beauties, including my own personal favourite:

86 million years of life were lost in Britain between 1981 and 2004 due to people dying before they reached the age of 75.

Buy it for someone you love.

PS: In the first version of this post I accidentally wrote 'ball-pall', I nearly left it just because it's a fucking weird idea.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


There was an agency meeting this morning. As a freelancer, I always like to go along to an agency meeting, because it's like having my native sense of alienation acted out in a kind of free psychodrama.

It's quite a complex event for me, emotionally. As soon as I'm part of group being addressed by a man with a beard I have to wrestle with the feeling of wanting to be a part of his family, coupled with the impulse to reject the family, before it rejects me.

HR people often talk about work as 'family', which is one of those HR terms that hides something obscene by making it overt.

They swear quite a lot here, which I like. At my last agency the CD would quite often swear at people, not with people, but here they do it as a way of being demonstrably relaxed.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pass me the crayons

I'm worried I'm turning into an art director.

I haven't forgotten how to read, but I find myself really liking this campaign which is almost entirely art direction.

So if during the boom years the fashion was for opulence in advertising, the Peacock's Tail effect, perhaps now the pared-down looks really slick and sensible and cool. It even looked good as a Metro wrap, which is a rogue's gallery for the contrived and poorly thought-through.

And it makes not having an 'advertising concept' look good - it's like those fixed wheel bikes that the trendies round this end of London ride around, which are like haikus about transport. It's not baroquely cheap-looking, like Easyjet or Ryanair, just prudent.

Here's the product, here's how much it costs.

Obviously it's a bit disingenous since Waitrose must have paid MCBD a million quid for it.

It might just work though.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

'A stopped cock is always white twice a day'

In order to write the monograph on Wallace I had to re-read Infinite Jest. I'm not a fast reader, and I don't trust people who are. Stalin told Churchill he could read 400 pages a day and he was a notorious teller of porkies.

(For instance:

'Where have all the peasants gone Kolya?'

'Oh, the peasants? They went skiing.')

I have an average pace of anything less than 30 pages an hour, so that a novel like IJ requires a raw hours investment equivalent to a working week of pure reading.

Anyway, that's why I haven't posted about books for a while. But now I can read other things, and since these days I'm shuttling back and forth with the strap-hanging army, west to east, east to west, morning and evening I reckon I will have finished this biography of Sweeney Todd before the week is out.

I also went to see Joe Dunthorne give a reading at Willesden Library last week. I don't often go to Willesden because well it's shit isn't it?

Joe Dunthorne wrote a book called Submarine, out of the UEA creative writing course. I saw an announcement for the Dylan Thomas Prize last year (first person to write something before the age at which Dylan Thomas died wins) and tried to read as many of the nominees as possible. I managed Submarine and Ross Raisin's book God's Own Country before I gave it up as a pointless and ultimately dispiriting exercise. Submarine is much better than God's Own Country, although they're similar books, coming of age stories, told in the first person by unreliable narrators with distinctive voices (if you talk to agents, and I know a couple of them, that's what they go on and on about. 'Voice'. If I write a novel, the narrator will have a high, squeaky voice.) Ross Raisin's gone for this pared down writing school style, studded with Yorkshire dialect and occasionally these flashily low-key bits of poetry. The narrator of Joe Dunthorne's book has the mind and vocabulary of an adult pedant, but the emotional range of a child – he is the half-in half-out submarine of the title. His book is much funnier, and, oddly, more realistic. He claimed, in the Q&A not to have read 'The Curious Incident..." And I reckon I probably believe him.

Dunthorne clearly does a great many of these readings and book signings, since that's what publishers make you do to sell your book, particularly if you're a young author, handsome at medium distance and charming, in a gangly way. He also read some of his poetry, which is facetious and demonstrated that the style that he uses for the novel is by no means a million miles from his own personal preferred mode of writing.

So during the Q&A I asked him, you know, 'Can you do anything else?'

I took this picture just before I asked him.

I didn't say:

'Because there are at least two kinds of talent. There's talent that can do lots of things and talent that can do one thing.

So if you realise that your preferred written style is that of a precocious 15 year old (which is a laudable piece of self-knowledge that it might take a while to get to) you write a novel about a precocious 15 year old. And it so happens that at this particular moment there is a market for just this kind of work. So cometh the hour, cometh the man. And you get to be the man. But the timekeeping is murder.

You see what screws loads of people with your sort of talent, is that they keep trying to do the same thing, they might even improve at it, but the times move on and they are trapped by ego. The pain of changing is insupportable, especially against the counter-current of resentment they doubtless feel about the fickle nature of public approval. Which resentment is really just a denial of the fact that it was the fickle nature of public approval that got them there in the first place.

The relative advantages of the two kinds of talent can be seen in a comparison of the careers of Guy Ritchie and Madonna.

You might also notice the way that certain veteran advertisers propound the theory that the recession will inevitably lead to a return to the hard-nosed, persuasive-argument-based advertising of the 1970s.'