why i want to be a man

… there’s a post over at my friend rob’s blog about the usual fucking gender stereotypes. i’ve already said quite a bit over the years on that blog about the marketing/capitalist attitude to women. i’m sure that everyone is sick of hearing about it.

good, in a way.

and just as i was about to press ‘submit’ on yet another long rant, i realised that i didn’t want to vomit all over his blog again.

but i did have a fair amount to say, so here’s what i would have said over there, here:

rob, i know that it’s your blog, but bring on the can of worms. seriously. you guys have probably more power to make changes about the place of women in the world than anyone else i know. and if we have to have ugly, crawling arguments on the state of women and their continued disadvantage, so that maybe one day, some marketing manager from a global corporate company you guys keep decides that they’re going to go with a different tack that can of worms will have been fucking worth it.


i’m with peggy on it being fuckloads easier being a man because i’m sick and fucking tired of piping up every fucking time the age-old gender assumptions, or disadvantage come up. i’m sick of reminding everyone that women exist too and, wow, we’re human beings too.


i know that every time i do, a guy who is sick of the stereotypes also benefits, but fuckin’ hell – how about you blokes chime in some time.  


all you guys feeling boxed in by having to put up with the big tits blond bombshell “sex sells” line pipe up. 


or how about, if you’re feeling claustrophobic because you’re likely to be paid more, or promoted earlier than the ladies in your field, or that they’re more likely to be intimidated and harassed by their male superiors, go right ahead, talk to HR on their behalf –  i’m sure they won’t mind.


or fuck, if you feel like it’s getting a bit hot under the collar because 2 out of ever 3 women you know have been raped or sexually abused by a man they know – jesus – don’t let me stop you shouting about it. i mean, it must really fuck you off, right?






it’s not just the boring, insulting stereotypes as mothers, homemakers and neurotic latte-sipping lovers of the colour pink that is wrong with this kind of marketing. it’s that it’s all part of  making women feel bad about themselves as women that really fucks me off.




and andy, i love you, but ‘tell that to the man who can’t get access to his kids’? really? you have GOT to be joking.

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home away from home

there are a few cool kids’ gangs that i feel like i’m part of, even though i’m not really. or not really ‘there’.
probably to the point of embarrassment. 
like, i’ll walk in there one day and say ‘hi!’ to everyone, and they’ll have NO idea who i am:
the design conspiracy is one of them (especially before ben terrett left) – in fact, i think i did walk in there like i was part of the crew. luckily ben was there and i could just shuffle into doing something to help out
coffee mornings was another – i would see pics and read about who was there on every friday morning at the breakfast club in soho and i felt like i was part of the crew. when i did arrive in london, of course i would rock up. even though they were mostly planners and russelldavies fanboys (sorry russell). but i had a good time and everyone was welcoming and i met people who i continue to keep in touch with in elastic ways.
slightly less chummy, but just as ‘part of’ was actually tate modern. although it was more because i would read TATE ETC, their members’ magazine, and my friend/husband john would send me stuff from their exhibitions. and it only takes one visit to the museum i reckon and there’s a physical connect.

kaotic craft kuties is another club that, when it was in full swing, i felt like i was there when i wasn’t there; my friend esther’s new loungeroom sunday salon, where artsy and/or farsty crew talk about the stuff they’re up to, discuss themes like committment, burnout and collaboration – i get a great wrap-up of what happened at the salon, and i feel like i was almost there, which is great.

i sometimes forget that i don’t work at ARUP with dan hill from city of sound or  geoff manaugh at bldgblog, or rory/simon/stewart/christine from The Architects – because when i read their stuff, or listen to them on the radio, or watch them present, i feel like i could be there if time, money or qualifications were no issue.

WK London

the big one, hilariously, is wieden + kennedy. i have so many blog/twitter/instagram friends who work in their offices around the world, who are always posting pictures about what they’re doing, writing blogs about their stuff, i see youtube videos of campaigns and have had discussions peeps in person, that it’s like i’m the kid next door. 
i’m sure i’m not alone with that one – there are tonnes of advertising creative types that want to work there, i’m sure their receptionist in london gets it ALL THE TIME. and i supposed their CEO and creative directors get emails from strangers asking for advice and think ‘who the fuck are you?’. annoying maybe, but then hopefully they see it as proof that they do a good job of keeping people connected to them.

it’s a bit sad that there aren’t many art organisations that i feel that connected to really. e-flux does a good job of making me feel at home in the art scene generally. as does artlife. but i’m yet to walk into a gallery, or arts organisation for the first time and get weird looks when i say ‘hi!’ like i’ve been there a thousand times before.
maybe i’m not trying hard enough. maybe there’s something in that…
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takin’ the piss.

ok, two ‘this video is great’ posts in a week. can you tell i have a deadline handy?

but really, this is great.

it’s the recent spoof of this great ad. not often a spoof can come off as well as the first (except maybe all those gorilla piss-takes), but this is awesome.

thanks mr m.

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this one’s for the media buyers…

i know that this is probably old news now, but tonight i found about about the Seven Network’s dumping of the fully-paid GetUp ad for Tibet, intended to have aired during the Opening Ceremony telecast.

Jesus! This throws up so many icky questions about freedom, the role of the media, advertising and the currency of money, as opposed to morals, etc. I know that Seven aren’t exactly pillars of moral/ethical standing – hell, they let Naomi Robson work there for far to long, but, given that money seems to be the new democracy, surely a string of paid ads is enough to get a guernsey. Obviously not.

I don’t always believe in ‘no such things as bad publicity’, but i’m quite enjoying the fact that the farse of the Seven booking system/content team/censorship board (whatever they call themselves these days) seems to have thrown the issue open wider than it could ever have, should the ad have run. Well done Seven. Stokesy, I hope you’re happy with that one.

(image from the GetUp! site. which you should visit and find out more about the whole campaign)

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having my cake and eating it too


regular readers will know about my crazy roller-coaster ride with employment in the last 12 months:

• getting a job as a kitchen hand in london after a PSFK conference by just walking in off the street. only to walk out by not turning up one day – stressed out and seriously ill.

rejected from a job in a high-volume copy shop/print room after the third interview, because i wasn’t M—–t material. (ie, I wasn’t from either financial or legal fraternity aristocracy.)

• working over summer at the sydney myer music bowl and getting to see jon bon jovi, cypress hill and kanye west!

• landing a fab job at a craft and design organisation, doing what i love, then having it become something that i didn’t love anymore.

• giving up full-time employment to go back to uni, letting go of a ‘real’ salary in return for some ‘real’ time whilst getting a job in an international aid organisation, within the design and architecture fields.

• and the clincher for ‘oh my god, can my work life get any more operatic?’, i went looking for a bit of contract work, just to get a bit of money happening in between gigs. the lovely ms g at the recruitment agency rang me and told me about this short term thing which was right up my alley: arts, culture, environmental/social issues and advertising (ok, so i’m not quite a cliche, yet). i went along, thinking it would be just a nice place to spend some time, earn some money.

two weeks later, it’s a life-long love affair and we’re vowing to stay in touch. all of them were on my wavelength – we talked structure, the value of creative thinking when developing strategy, the importance of sticking to your principles and the art of staying true to who you are as a person and as a company (made up of people). bliss, i tell you, bliss!

that is the bit about life that i find absolutely amazing and gets me EVERY time – you find it when you’re not looking. in fact, hanging out with the kids at midnightsky* not only restored my faith in the gloriousness of life’s twists and turns, but restored my faith in the power of authenticity, self-belief and well-aimed business strategy. i have also learned a whole lot about value from these guys. namely that i undervalue myself ALL THE TIME! i knew this already, but this time i saw it with fresh eyes and saw, in practice, that when you value yourself highly and know thyself absolutely (both financially and emotionally), it is reciprocated.

i know, this sounds like something Agony Aunt would love, but it has been quite a profound experience and one that i think marks the passing of age, actually. i don’t know if i could have had this kind of experience 5 or 10 years ago (fortunately, or unfortunately).

perhaps this was just a long-winded story filed under ‘to thine own self be true‘.

* actually, for any of you strategy/planning peeps out there, the midnight sky crew are looking for team mates. go and talk to them, they’re amazing.

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wish you were here


from the guardian art & architecture blog

Next on the agenda is Santiago Sierra’s 4000 Black Posters: a blackout of all “available” advertising hoardings around Shoreditch and Brick Lane. The gallery remains tight-lipped about whether the sites have been negotiated for use, begging the question exactly what constitutes activism in the post-Banksy era. In this case though it doesn’t really matter: Sierra’s act of silencing quotidian information is designed to highlight the exploitative power of signage, revealing how little of the public realm is ours to use. The fact that the artist may have had to buy the right to freedom of expression merely makes the gesture more poignant.

Who can say what proportion of the public will become perplexed enough by such works to ask questions about the development of our civic spaces and our rights within them. But as reminders, however implicit, of what social protest has and continues to mean in London, they offer critically engaging perspectives from which to start.

Sierra is brilliant and I wish I could be there to see it. Especially ‘cos loads of my ad peeps are in EC1. I’d love to see W&K London black out their windows in sympathy.. or hypocrisy… or something.

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