Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bloggers around the world, unite!

Posted by Hello
My rather fabulous NYC friend Sally (gracing the above cover of NYC photographer Patrick McMullen's latest book "So80s") took up a dare from me to start her own blog. Now if anyone is deserving of their own blog it's Sally cause she, reader, has some helluva lot of stories to tell (sorry Sally - the pressure to deliver!) One of them even involves an encounter with a pre-fame Ms. Ciccone, but I'll leave it up to her to provide the low down on that one at her own discretion.

Read all about her here.

Monday, August 30, 2004

My Waking Life

Posted by Hello
I’m going to see where this one takes me…

For the last two weeks I have meant to change my bedclothes. The last time I changed them was over a month ago. Yes...I know what you are thinking - "Gross!", right? Yeah probably, but you see the thing is I quite like it that way. Some people love the smell of clean sheets - sliding in beneath the covers and feeling that gentle caress that only the best fabric conditioner can buy.

But right now I quite like the smell of me. And the smell isn't that musty "boy" smell that you can detect on most student halls of residence. It's a combination of red Dax hair wax, Clinique Happy for Men and Origins Ginger Shower Gel (I have taken to showering before I go to bed).

My room is a small room - probably the smallest I have ever resided in. Apart from for sleeping I don't use it very much. At previous addresses I have seen my bedroom as a kind of sanctuary from the areas outside, but still within the apartment. I have always been very lucky with my bedrooms. The best being the one I had at 50 Murray in NYC.

This is the first time that I have only lived with one other person. I have always lived with at least two other people - right the way through university and my working life in London. When I lived in West Hampstead - 1996 through to 2003 - I lived with three other people. But now I only live with Vix, and it's all very grown up. She inherited most of the furniture from her father when he died. So the apartment is very furnished in a very grown up way. That said, it is also very comfortable. So for the first time I feel like a proper grown up in a proper grown up apartment. So comfortable that on Saturday night I fell asleep on the sofa and didn't wake up until 7am in the morning, at which I dragged myself to my bedroom and slept for a further four hours until about 11am.

I live in an area of London called Clapham South. It has a "village" mentality, the centre being Abbeville Road - a long street with six or seven restaurants mingled in with little gift shops that sell small nick nacks at high prices. The roads surrounding Abbeville Road are lined with Porsches, BMWs and top of the range Volkswagens.

Clapham South is south of the river Thames. It is the first time that I have lived south of the river. I can only compare living south of the river with how New Yorkers view living in Manhattan with living in Brooklyn. People who live north of the river are the Manhattanites. People who live south of the river are the residents of Brooklyn and maybe even Queens.

The other night Drew and I were watching Will and Grace. There was this joke about how the boys refused to go and visit Grace because they were in Manhattan and she was in Brooklyn. "How far away is Brooklyn from Manhattan?" asked Drew.

"On the tube it's about as far away as Stockwell is from here - Clapham South." I answered. I think that this kinda threw him because Stockwell is about five minutes away. But those are the rules.

On Thursday night my Dad drove up to London to take me out for dinner. We went to Café Rouge on Abbeville Road. My Dad and I have a colourful history. He was only 18 when I was born, and in many ways he feels like he sacrificed his youth in order to be a father. As a result we got along like cat and dog and when I was 23 I refused to talk to him for the best part of two years.

But today we are less like father and son and more like two friendly men who have found a deep and important respect for one another. My Dad told me something that I had not even considered but something that I found immensely comforting. When he left my mum he could not conceive that he would ever love anyone as much as her again. Then he met Kathy, my stepmom of about three years now, and everything changed. For one he has his youth back. I don’t know many 53 year old men as young as my father.

Last night I went out onto the balcony for a cigarette. It was about 10pm and the sky was midnight blue. No clouds and for once there couldn’t have been that much light pollution because you could see the stars. So I focused in on the first one that I saw and I made a wish.

And the star has promised not to tell anyone the secret! ;)

Friday, August 27, 2004

Some things are too fabulous...

Posted by Hello
Look...I know I write a lot about my job, but bear with me, ok? Just let me try and convince myself of a few things...

Sometimes my job is relentlessly full of pretentious muppetry. (See previous Blog entry re Comms review.) But sometimes I am required to do something that has such breathtaking results that it makes me do a stock check and in turn brings me the realisation that I am quite lucky to be part of a creative process that can produce a visual as beautiful and iconic as the above image.

A few weeks ago one of my clients designated to me the monolithic task of single handedly organising an ad shoot with supermodel Erin O'Connor. For those of you that don't really know what I do, one thing I definitely don't do is organise ad shoots...that's the job of the ad agency (see Saatchi & Saatchi, WCRS, TBWA). But in this instance my client is too cheap to hire an ad agency. So over the course of five days I developed a creative concept for the campaign with the photographer, hired hair stylists and make up artists and even chose some frocks for Erin to wear (the dress in the picture - Stella McCartney - I chose that!!)

Anyway - the highlight of all this was arriving at the studio on the day of the shoot, to be greeted by the photographers assistant...one hell of a man (yeah a little on the short side, but that's manageable), wearing nothing but a pair of sneakers and a pair of cut off cargo pants. Bronzed, ripped and gorgeous. He actually apologised for being half naked (it was a hot day) - if only he knew!

So that was the highlight...until this morning when I got the scans from the shoot. I haven't put them all up cause I don't want to bore you? Aren't they great!? Aren't I great???!!!!

Oh yes, Christopher...you are. Yes you are.

Have a fatuous weekend, everyone!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bridget Jones!

Posted by Hello
So this is a little taster of what I have been busy writing in the last week. It's for a paid for advertorial in Glamour magazine, but my client has approved it and I am beginning to feel, more and more, that I too could become a journalist in the style of Heat magazine...

20 Reasons Why We Love Bridget Jones

1 She gave a name (too cheeky to mention here) to the collection of ways men mess with our hearts, such as neglecting to call the morning after a date, flirting then disappearing etc.

2 We can all eat dessert because she sparked the comeback of granny pants and control briefs (Stella McCartney soon reinvented them in high-waisted bikinis).

3 In a highly satisfying twist, she pashed and dashed on the dastardly cad Daniel Cleaver – go grrrl!

4 She made every self-help book hoarding, chardonnay swilling, hairbrush diva feel NORMAL.

5 Anything is possible - even escaping an infamous Thai gaol is possible – on Planet Bridget.

6 She’s the ultimate underdog: the least likely to succeed but the most likely to be adored by everyone for trying.

7 Compared to Bridget, we’re a vision of grace. She commits every clutzy mistake we’ve ever made (only on a grander scale!) then some, but makes them seem hilarious.

8 Her heart is in the right place. She may cringe at her parents and feel like a disappointment, but she always fulfils her daughter duties.

9 The girl’s got guts. She scored a TV job, landed her lawyer hunk, lost the podge and endured life behind bars. That’s a lot of achievements for a little Bridge.

10 She gives us faith: love handles and all, she ousted Mark Darcy’s primped, proper fiancĂ© and won back Daniel Cleaver after his humiliating affair.

11 She never has anything appropriate to say – what a breath of fresh air!

12 Even when she lost the podge she still had a nice feminine layer of flesh – something for us to hug. Never has a carved bicep or hollow cheek reared its freakish head on Bridge.

13 She’d provide all the entertainment at the office Christmas party.

14 She’s a gifted sartorial teacher, always committing fashion experiments (and, frequently, crimes) for us – in wide screen no less – so we don’t have to.

15 Even when her world is caving in, Bridge never gets nasty. In fact, she’s the best best friend a gal could hope for.

16 Bridge is a girl’s girl. You just know that she’ll never become a smug married, even if she wins her handsome Mr Darcy, her fairytale comes true and she lives happily ever after.

17 She’ll NEVER utter the words “tick tock!” in your ear, demand you spill your sex life to a dinner party of smug marrieds or ask (in a loud voice in a quiet, crowded room) why you’ve been left on the shelf.

18 Unlike our doctors, Bridget recognises the healing power of vodka and Chaka Kahn.

19 She makes us laugh out loud.

20 She reminds us of us.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Willy on the Block...

Posted by Hello
I haven't mentioned Will for a while, but as some of you know he is currently on Big Brother in the US. He's been in the house now for about seven weeks, which I find incomprehensible - not that he is still there, but that for me, being caged up that long, I would literally be going out of ma' fragile lil mind!!!

Now Big Brother in the US is very different from the UK Big Brother that we all know so well and so intimately. It is much more of a "game" and from what I can ascertain from reading endless feed updates and watching the odd clip or two, it is one fundamentally consisting of strategy and alliances - with a double dollop of backstabbing thrown in.

There is no public vote on BB US, so the man in the street has no say as to who stays and who goes. Instead it works like this (I think I have this right)...

Every week there is a competition where the winner of a randomly themed competition wins what is entitled "Head of Household". That person then chooses two people who will be put up on the "block". I hate that expression - makes me think of Tudor days when Mary Queen of Scots was doing the rounds.

Anyway, later in the week there is another competition and the winner of that competition wins what is called the Power of Veto. That person can choose to use the veto, and if they do they will choose one person who will be taken "off" the block. The Head of Household then replaces that person with another housemate.

After that all the non-nominated housemates vote for the person that they would like to stay and the person that they would like to go. The results are announced on a live show on Thursday nights and the evictee gets booted out and has an interview with the US version of Davina McCall - CBS anchorwoman Julie Chen. Not like Davina though in that she doesn't have that coquettish little run up to the housemates and she doesn't have to shield them from about 50 paparazzi!

On BB in the UK it is illegal to discuss nominations with any of the other housemates, upon pain of eviction. In the US, because of game formula it is actively encouraged. The only way to survive is to align yourself with a group of people who you are pretty certain have your back covered. There are all kinds of twists and turns that are too numerous to mention.

Anyway the point of me explaining all of this is that Will was chosen as one of the housemates to be put up for eviction tonight, and as much as I hate to say this, it looks like he might be going. Reason - three of the seven housemates eligible to vote seem to be determined to kick him off (he's part of a rival alliance and a strong player). This will mean that there will be a tie-break and it is thought that the woman who will make the break is going to boot Will off.

If he get's booted out Will will become the first person to enter a sequestered house somewhere exotic where he will sit and wait for about five weeks. And then at the end of September he will, with his fellow evicted housemates, form a jury who will vote for the person, out of the final two housemates, who should win.

But this is all subjecture - because things change and I have a funny feeling that Will will live to see another day in the BB house and subsequently be a little closer to the $500,000 prize (and to think that all our Rock Star housemates get is £68,000!!!)

Go Will! (But don't go yet!!!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Me as Dad...

Posted by Hello
Look at the mewling little bugger! All domed head, chubby cheeks and cute. The baby is quite sweet as well.

It's amazing the responses that holding a small child can produce. It can warm the cockles of the coldest heart, it can draw blood from a stone, it can make a grown man cry.

My holding this child ("owned" by my friend Clare - see previous Blog entry) produced a rather difference response - from the baby. About thirty seconds after this picture was taken it puked on my beloved hocky top. Now I don't know how many of you have encountered baby sick in your time, but it's smell and consistency has baffled the most learned scientists and scholars for hundreds of years. It's kind of like that ectoplasm that Bill Murray and co got slimed with in Ghostbusters, except that this stuff is greeny-white and smells like congealed Farleigh's Rusks.

Anyway - yeah, I think I would still like to be a Dad, but when I get emails from the baby's mum saying things like "I left him at the creche so that I could go to the gym for an hour and I very nearly had a panic attack because I missed him so much", it does give me pause.

Monday, August 16, 2004

10 Things I like / dislike

Things I like:
1) the smell of rain

2) waking up, thinking you have to go to work and then realising that it's a Saturday

3) the first cigarette of the day

4) the chocolates you get with the bill at an expensive restaurant

5) the picture of me when I was two, with my Dad pushing me down a slide

6) bumping into an old friend at a huge and busy nightclub

7) opening a new bottle of my favorite fragrance (Sander for Men, by Jil Sander)

8) that my Mum's dogs never forget who I am and are always ecstatic to see me

9) presenting a really slaved over cooked meal

10) Pink Geraniums

Things I dislike:
1) people who dot their "i"s with little circles, or even worse, hearts

2) waking up in the morning, feeling contented and then realising that you have a conference call at 9am and it's 8.45am already

3) regret

4) the smell of laundry that you have forgotten to put out to dry

5) pashminas (so 2001)

6) buying the Evening Standard and discovering that Laura Craik is on vacation

7) being given goody bags at parties and discovering that they only contain products from some random hair care line

8) being made to feel like a child by my boss

9) not having any wine in the house

10) spending good money to see a crap film (Catwoman on Friday night - if you're thinking of going to see it, my advice is...don't)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

My boss is a bitch...

And I have a staus report to write. I promise not to neglect my blog writing duties so much next week. Have a great weekend y'all!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

My most exciting email this morning...

I am not going to even mention the weather as it is just too depressing but I'm sure you will all join me in lamenting the dilemma facing us every morning with these unpredictable tempests, namely what shoes to wear.

Your feet get too hot in proper shoes or trainers and yet with flip-flops your feet get wet when it inevitably pours down! I thought cowboy boots might be the answer until my friend Jane wore her's yesterday and they began to fill with rain!! Disaster!

Anyway apart from footwear woes, I am all fine here and just starting work on this glorious morning. I thought I would share with you the most exciting email I received in the last fourteen hours regarding the October/November issue of "Hair and Beauty Inspirations". This is what I will be pulling information on for the duration of this morning. What joy! Does this woman not understand that I am a man? Yes, yes, yes...a gay man, but still - the only double ended product I know about it is a...

"Hi Chris!!!

We need everything here by next Wednesday, the 18th August. Hopefully there's something on the list you can help with. Thank you!

1. Sexiest hair EVER
Quotes from the experts on what sums up sexy hair for them plus product recommendations and tips for getting sexy hair.

2. Well red
Products for red hair. Quotes from the experts on how to wear it well, what shade to go for etc.

3. Hair Accessories
The best new hair accessories.

4. Green hair products
Shampoos, conditioners and stylers.

5. Berry Nice
The best make-up in berry shades.

6. Chocoholic
All things chocolatey - hair, body, make-up with a chocolate theme.

7. Matte skin
The lightest powders, make-up bases and products designed to create a modern matte finish.

8. Sexy scents
The newest scents to seduce

9. Double-ended products
Mascaras, pencils, concealers etc.

10. Tried and tested beauty
Facial scrubs.

11. Tried and tested hair
Volumising shampoos."

Saturday, August 07, 2004

When you are drunk...

Things that are difficult to say when you're drunk . . .

a) Innovative
b) Preliminary
c) Proliferation
d) Cinnamon

Things that are VERY difficult to say when you're drunk ...

a) Specificity
b) British Constitution
c) Passive-aggressive disorder
d) Transubstantiate

And of course things that are DOWNRIGHT IMPOSSIBLE to say when you're drunk ...

a) Thanks, but I don't want to sleep with you
b) Nope, no more booze for me
c) Sorry, but you're not really my type
d) No kebab for me, thank you
e) Good evening officer, isn't it lovely out tonight?
f) I'm not interested in fighting you
g) Oh, I just couldn't - no one wants to hear me sing
h) Thank you, but I won't make any attempt to dance, I have zero co-ordination
i) Where is the nearest toilet? I refuse to vomit in the street

And as an added extra...

"I must be going home now as I have work in the morning."

Friday, August 06, 2004

Tip of the day!

If your child is choking on an ice cube, don't fret! Just pour a pint of boiling water down the youngster's throat and, hey presto! The blockage is clear.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I'm not a shrinking violet...

I'm not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve or be honest with the way I am feeling. I think most of my friends know that I have been in and out of therapy and on meds for depression for most of my adult life. And if you are reading this and you didn't know that, the chances are that you're not entirely surprised. One thing I am not is consistent, and I think everyone knows that. Consistency is a character trait that would serve me well, but alas, at 32 it is one that I have yet to master.

I began therapy when I was about 14. I developed an obsessive compulsive disorder where I had an irrational fear of germs, particularly that I would scratch myself and somehow contract HIV and die of AIDS. Ridiculous, I know, but bear in mind that I was a child of the Thatcher years and the government's scary campaign featuring tombstones slamming and smashing violently on the ground succeeded in entering my consciousness, frightening the living crap out of me.

Cut to almost eighteen years later, get to know me and and you'll note that I did get over those fears. I now have a healthy respect for HIV and AIDS and other similar boogie monsters. I have reached a point in my life where they don't loom over me. I do my best, I follow the wiser advice and I take my life into my own hands. But the question now is, did I get to that point as a result of the therapy or simply because I came to realise that you can't live in fear all your life (If you did, quite simply, you'd never have any fun.)

I may not be afraid of germs any more. I'd like to say that I am not afraid of anything. But the reality is that I am. I'm not afraid of getting run over by a bus but I do join the ranks of the kind of people who are afraid of the kinds of things such as always being alone and never finding the "one". Waking up and dreading the day ahead because there is one thought that you know will stalk you all day long, no matter what you do, no matter what you try to think. What if my job is completely pointless and therefore I, by default, am pointless? What if my friends don't really like me? Was the last time I was loved be the last time I will ever be loved?

Of course I know that the true answer to these questions is "No, no, no!" I know that deep, deep down inside. But that knowledge doesn't answer the contradiction - why don't I entirely believe it?

Over the years I have seen behavioral therapists, cognitive specialists, regular shrinks and general counselors. Despite this I have to say that I genuinely don't think that I am any more fucked up than the next person. The only reason I saw them was the determination to not be governed by a way of thinking that I could never change. Yes, I may have done some incredibly stupid things and as a result I have hurt a lot of people. I concede to that and I am learning to take responsibility for those actions. But I would argue that I know myself better than anyone. In all my years of being in therapy I have never had an epithany. I have never learned some dark or mystical secret about myself that I didn't already know. The task I set out to achieve has never been to make windows into my own heart. I know my heart. It doesn't need an explanation.

Recently my psychiatrist took me off my anti-depressants. She didn't lower the dosage, gradually weaning me off them...she just cut them out all together. This goes against every strong word of advice that I have ever been told by a doctor...never just stop your anti-depressants. So I never did. But this time I thought, "why the hell not?" So I followed the doctor's orders and I stopped. That was nearly three weeks ago. And astonishingly I don't feel any different, making me think that maybe I didn't ever need them in the first place. Perhaps they were a crutch? There is an argument to suggest that perhaps I have never actually been depressed. If anything I think that I actually suffer from prolonged grief. I don't like change and when things inevitably do, change that is, it can really, really get me down. I think if I had to put my finger on the button it would be just that - that I really, really HATE change and I am scared of the unknown.

So in addition to coming off the anti-depressants I have decided to stop something else. I have decided to stop my therapy once and for all. Like I said...it has never been revolutionary in helping me change my behaviour patterns and after eighteen years of being in it I can say, fairly confidently, that it is unlikely to start any time soon.

But I don't think that I can make these behavioral changes alone and I do think that I need outside help from someone. So after years of considering and shying away from it because of a combination of cost and scepticism, I have decided to undertake a course of hynotherapy. I have contacted the body that regulates hypnotherapists in the UK and have been recommended someone in London who they feel can help me "address and adjust." And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am actually excited. This could really be something that could help me become the person that I want to be. Not make me be the person that I want to be, but help me. I am doing this for myself and for no one else and it feels great. In a way it's kind of working already.

Watch this space...

A recent blog entry...

but said in the words of a pimp...(can't think of anything to write today)

"Ah have, stupidly perhaps, agreed to do dis TV thin' wid ma best homie Helen. It be called "Deck Diners" 'n gets shown on UK Living. It be a bit like Street Date, but involves cookin' 'n a boat! We're filmin' dat shit da Monday afta next in Brighton 'n Ah be mad anxious about it! Basically Ah cook a meal wid a top chef (Ah has been told tha dude's name but dat shit escapes me right now) on da yacht, while Helen goes into town 'n cruises to find me a date to eat da meal Ah be preparin' with. Then tha byatch comes back, we swop, tha byatch makes desert wid da chef, while Ah find ha a date, know what I'm sayin'?

Now I'm not so worried about Helen choosin' me a date because tha byatch knows dat Ah just go fo looks as opposed to anythin' barely resemblin' a personality (not entirely true). Ah be worried because Ah mad don't think Ah has any idea what type of muthafucka dat Helen goes for, which be appallin' really. As Ah has said, tha byatch IS ma best homie 'n Ah has known ha fo gettin' on fo 15 years - 'n Ah has naw idea mad of da type of muthafucka dat tha byatch goes for.

Ah think Ah would has had a betta idea when we wuz both students. Tha byatch would has gone fo someone like Stu on Big Brother. Mmmm...Stu from Big Brother.. n' shit. Anyway.. n' shit. Ah be mad nervous dat tha byatch gots to choose someone mad handsome 'n lovely 'n dat Ah gots to pick ha a city wanka who'll tha byatch end up havin' dinna wid 'n mad hate. And then she'll hate me! Oh dear n' shit.

I'm also mad worried dat da microphones they put on us gots to pick up ma heavy breathin' Darth Vadar like throat issue, know what I'm sayin'?

Sorry, what did yo' ass say? Yo' ass want to know what Ah be doin' dis weekend? Well, let me tell you...Ah be goin' to Swansea to stay wid Vix's brotha 'n sit in tha dude's hot tub all weekend swiggin' beer! Yum!"

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I don't particularly want to be someone else...

Posted by Hello

But every now and then I wonder what it must be like to be a woman. I don't particularly want all the messy bits. I don't particularly care for surfing the crimson tide once a month. But it would be nice to be a woman for maybe a few months.

It was my weekend away that prompted me to think this. I went to the Mumbles in Swansea to stay with my housemates brother. It was fun - I got to drive Vix's Golf down the whole way to Wales and got into Matt's hot tub on various occasions. We made sushi and ate it (as opposed to making sushi and not eating it) and drank mucho wine, sambuca and tequila.

Anyway, getting back to my point, I was very intrigued to watch my work colleague, Tasha, working her booty at the various dancy drink establishments we visited on Saturday night. Who says that guys don't like girls to be too forward. She was giving it some for sure and the kind of guys she was picking up - well. Let's just say that one was a life guard and also one tall drink of water!

Girls are so much more fierce than guys when they aggressively go out on the pull. They just ooze sex appeal and attitude. Guys just look like pissed wankers - all open necked shirts and silver buckled black shoes. trev's basically.

Anyway, if I could choose to be any woman it would probably be Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill movies, or Sigourney Weaver in the Aliens films. Not Halle Berry in Catwoman, as that looks like a pile of cat shit. I don't really want to brandish swords or kill evil space monsters (well, maybe I do), but I do want that kind of attitude that comes only from a fierce woman kicking serious butt. Somehow that attitude is something that I am unlikely to have.

My NYC buddy, Bill, saw Uma Thurman in the street the other day and told her that she looked a million dollars, to which she responded, "So do you honey!" COOL! I wish it had been me!