Archive for December, 2009

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas to everyone.

I hope you get everything that you need, and some of what you want.


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Lurking Vitamins

Wife made muffins for breakfast this morning (not proper ones, but those American cup-cake things) – not because she actually IS Doris Day, but because we didn’t have any bread in the house and she decided that it was actually easier to make these than to go out and get some bread.

Anyway, she used Clementines to give the muffins a bit of oomph, eliciting the following response from Eldest Son: “Mummy, I like these, but not the orange things – they taste a little bit like vitamins.” Wife (understandably) apologised profusely for this lapse, and Eldest Son showed the tolerance and mercy for which he is celebrated – “It’s alright, Mama, you weren’t to know”.

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Apparently, other than “money”, “Christmas” is the most dangerous discussion that a couple hoping to stay together can embark upon. If they choose to have this conversation whilst in the car park of IKEA, they are well and truly fucked, to the extent that initiating the conversation may be considered inflammatory and grounds for granting custody.

Anyway, Wife and I DID embark on the conversation this week: her half-sister has invited us, and my sister has invited us. On the one hand, I haven’t spent Christmas with my family for the last three years, given that they were in New York. On the other hand, we have never spent Christmas with any of her family (although her parents were divorced very early on in her life and lived entirely separate lives, so it’s not as if we were turning our back on a Rockwell-style offering) and so it could be argued that the time has come.

We haven’t resolved it yet: what IS clear is that we will manage to get to both families on “The Day”, with the handy deployment of the “Drinks” and “The Meal” being taken as two separate events – but we need to get clear pretty swiftly, out of respect for our two hostesses, one of whom is going to have to find a piece of meat that serves somewhere between 16 and 20…

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It’s “the run-up to Christmas”, which means that the stupid requests from Clients are coming thick (sometimes, so staggeringly thick that “dumb” might be a better descriptor) and fast. There is something about “getting it done before Christmas” that makes Clients feel reassured and in control – the fact that they won’t review the work until mid-January (“the post-Christmas pile-up”) is, of course irrelevant: they want it then, they pay the bills and so there it will be.

Needless to say, this is complemented by their own behaviour of treating any entreaty to review something “as a matter of urgency” as a light-hearted joke on the part of the Agency: a “take it or leave it” indication that their point of view MIGHT be needed at some point in the next couple of weeks, but not to worry unduly about ACTUALLY doing anything.

Oh well: I’m just bitter and angry because they’ve just asked us to prepare a fairly comprehensive review by lunchtime tomorrow (the scale of which makes it explicit that what they’re really saying is “Work all through the night to do this”), while our pleas for them to look at scripts, storyboards, edits, etc fall on entirely deaf ears. I’m flying off to Milan (to spend the night in the A.C. Milan Hotel – which promises much football-themed fun and delivers precisely nothing in the line of “fun”, football or otherwise) where I am going to present some thoughts on a target demographic. As part of the morning’s┬átask, I have been asked to “describe her in such a way that we think we might know her” – which is OK in itself, but actually means “describe a woman with whom I feel familiar, would like and would probably want to marry” from this male team. Detailing the concerns, the insecurities and the injustices that these women experience (and sometimes inflict) may be the most useful job I could do – but they don’t want that, they want a pen-portrait of a woman they feel happy to be selling brands to: a very different thing.

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