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Posts Tagged ‘Good Friend in PR’

One of the chief – in fact, THE chief – delights of Singapore was catching up with Good Friend in PR.

The Confucian East has done him the power of good, as has his new partner, and he is now a calmer, happier, more content man – although he has lost none of his energy, humour and wit. He was, as ever, a great help to me across a range of topics, but none more so than on the subject of my long-fermenting book and how to kick-start it. Sound advice was issued over coffee (which was accompanied by what I can only describe as an altar of suspended chocolate truffles), along with an offer of help.

There are a few people whom one can really count on to do as they promise – and these are your real friends. It’s not a question of how long you’ve known each other, or common backgrounds, or anything prosaic: it’s about a genuine desire to see someone else happy, and a desire, then a determination, to do what you can to affect that.

Father used to say “You are lucky if you can count your friends on your fingers, and your good friends on your thumbs.” – I think I may be slightly luckier than that,  but I defer to his wisdom (increasingly so, now: to mis-quote Mark Twain: “When I was fifteen, I thought my father was a fool. By the time I was twenty one, it was amazing how much he had learned.”) in this and all things – but I think I might be right in saying that I would be able to do his dictum service if I had just one more thumb…

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Trapped in Singapore between two “workshops”, I spent most of the weekend with Good Friend in PR and Thoughtful Financier (as his boyfriend is to be referred to henceforth), and had a great time. I even had a great time when walking around IKEA – a particularly surreal experience in Singapore – and observing the locals going mad for miniature “Daim” bars, pickled rollmops and gherkins in the food market.

But the highlight was probably going to a Hawker Centre, or local food court, where (seemingly) hundreds of individual stalls serve speciality dishes which are brought to your table and paid for piecemeal.

Not only was the food (and the company, needless to say) absolutely outstanding, but it gave me one of only two tastes of genuinely Asian cuisine that I was to have on that trip (the other two were also with my adopted weekend family, and was just as excellent) – and thus a FANTASTIC opportunity to show off to those of my colleagues who had (as had I, until then) been considering such local specialities as Balsamic-flavoured Tenderloin with Wilted Spinach and Parmesan Air (to quote). God, I bored them SENSELESS with fond memories prefaced with “When we went to the Hawker Centre…” It is a mark of my colleagues essential kind-heartedness that they didn’t punch me square in the face.

I would have done.

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Absolutely extraordinary.

I have just come back from Singapore (which is, in itself, quite a green thing), where I had (amongst other things) two remarkable green things: the first was the finest Green Apple Martini in the world (wincingly sour, as it should be – and yours to enjoy in The Cigar Bar at the Grand Hyatt). The other was a Green Tea Kit Kat – an absolutely extraordinary thing: green as a Martian with a massive hangover, but with no discernible taste of Green Tea (in fact it tasted like a Kinder Egg), it was originally from Japan and had been imported along with a number of its siblings in a catering size box to complement the Green Tea drunk by Good Friend in PR and his new, excellent boyfriend. It was all very excitingly novel and has left me with a taste for highly coloured foodstuffs, which may now never leave me.

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It’s a feature of some very good, and some very bad advertising to tell the story backwards. I won’t name the bad ones (they are too numerous – and even I am not that vindictive), but the good ones include “Noitulove” and “Getting Dressed”, for Guinness and Lynx/Axe respectively. On the same principle as “If you’ve got nothing to say, sing it” (amply demonstrated by Halifax’s “Singing Cunts” campaign – oh well, there goes the “vindictive” element), this is a supposed way of creating intrigue.

I wonder how intrigued the casual observer would have been then, to have happened upon the following scene and tried to “work backwards” to the natural starting point: Good Friend in PR and me, in a bar in Singapore, singing (LOUDLY) to “Hey Jude” that is being performed by a local band, surrounded by Asian businessmen in their 50s who were accompanied by prostitutes, at a table next to a German man who appears to have been drinking orange juice (but has somehow got so drunk that he has picked up a bar stool and is waving it over his head, as he pleads for the band to perform “The Final Countdown” by 80s dignityphobes “Europe”) and is dancing like a maniac.

He and I had an epic gad – and a night that began very sedately with Good Friend in PR, and Woman Who Managed to Make Sense of Digital to Me in a very nice hotel – and one that I wish I could experience more often (ideally because we lived on the same street, but that is not to be): but it is not a night I shall forget.

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We’re nowhere on a pudding.

This phrase “we’re nowhere on…” comes from a time when Best Friend, Old Friend at Work and Heavily Sweating Planner (as well as Account Director Who Over-Shares About Her Menstrual Cycle) worked at an Agency whereat the Managing Director enjoyed nothing more than running into the Creative Department the day before a big meeting (ideally a pitch) to return some time later screeching “We’re nowhere on [insert relevant brand here]!” with a mixture of smugness, panic and awe. He loved the sheer drama of being lamentably under-prepared for a meeting, which was lucky, as he presided over an Agency that was unprepared for anything at all… Old Friend at Work and I (in particular) have adopted “We’re nowhere on…” as a handy descriptor of our position on, readiness for, or attitude towards any number of subjects: thus “I’m nowhere on this four hour research review”, “I’m nowhere on Mondays in general” and “I’m nowhere on the entire judging panel of “Strictly Come Dancing”.”

Anyway, the fact remains that we are nowhere on a pudding for Christmas Day.

The main course is Goose (although quite how we’re going to cook it is up in the air, as Wife is very anti any “fruit plus meat” combination – and trying to find a recipe that doesn’t use apple, orange or even apricots is like finding a heterosexual at a Bette Midler concert – so any suggestions would be gratefully received), and it’s coming with the usual accompaniments of roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, red cabbage, carrots: so it’s not like everyone won’t be pretty well fed by the time pudding comes round.

It’s partly for this reason that we have eschewed Christmas Pudding. Quite how anyone could eat anything quite so leadenly heavy after such an enormous meal is slightly beyond me – especially if one’s going to have cheese, and if you’re not going to have cheese then WHAT is the point of doing it at all? I can’t remember what we did last year, when Father in Law, Bearded Decorator and Good Friend in PR were here – I’ve got a strange feeling that it might have been ice-cream, or sorbet (which though unseasonably cold is more refreshing and light than anything else I can imagine). Oh well, fuck it. We’ve got our work cut out this year already, with an apparently endless string of invitations, which appear to overlap (which is lovely) and leave no time at all to do stuff like cook the food, or wrap any presents (which isn’t).

Don’t worry: I know all of you look to this site for many things other than a sardonic smile, a wistful dream that you actually knew me, and a laser-like analysis of the communications industry – and one of those things is an update on what my family and I eat. I shall NOT disappoint you.

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I have decided that Good Friend in PR is going to re-locate to London. It is where his best friends are, near to his family and where he is (emotionally) “from”. 

I’m not going to be pretend that there aren’t some barriers. He lives in New York, and he’s just signed a lease on an incredible new flat in the middle of Manhattan, and he doesn’t think that he’s going to move in the short term. But to be fair, he does acknowledge that I tend to be predictively accurate, so I am hopeful.

I am not sure where my specific time frame came from (“You will be living in London in the next thirteen months”), but I think it was really an indication that I wanted and expected him to be here by next Christmas (he’ll be here for Christmas this year, with us, as he was last year), because it was great to have him back in London for a few days.

He remains my drinking Nemesis: yet another night out with him, that began with an (allegedly – as I can’t stand them, but Wife adores them) amazing Bloody Mary at the house, ended with a return home for us both at 3.30am. This had been preceded by a drunken attempt to find some swings (we had previously been musing on whether or not playgrounds for adults would get a green light, conceptually – and both gave it a hearty thumbs up), which wasn’t entirely successful, but which enabled the evening to end on a pleasantly hedonistic note.

So – thirteen months, and counting.

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