Head honcho at Jelly and Three Blind Mice on blagging, contemporary culture and his piratical tendencies.
Women are better at arguing. They know what the outcome of an argument is going to be because they’ve thought it through first, like a game of chess. Whereas men just make a series of knee-jerk reactions, shouting unrelated stuff throughout.
You have to surround yourself with people who are cleverer than you. I can blag. But you do reach the edge of blag quite quickly, so you have to find people that can do stuff. That’s how studios are built.
I fell off the edge of education. I got thrown out of college for not going. Then I had to make my own way and somehow still got into the industry that I loved and enjoyed. I wonder now if that’s possible. Companies want specialists straight out of school, not generalists they can mould.
Working in an agency is like being in the navy and working in production is like being a pirate. You’ve got to be agile and resourceful in production because there’s no big formal structure you can sit inside. Your job description can change at any minute. We’ve got people who might be working on packaging designs one week and a short animated film the next.
Outside of my family and work, Fireflies is what I care about the most. Ten years ago I didn’t even have a bike. I was a typical flabby, boozy ad twat who spent most of his time behaving quite badly. You need something that justifies your existence beyond family and work. Now I’ve ridden over the Alps into Cannes three times and I’m heavily involved with the charity. I’m not a surgeon, but I feel like at least I’m doing something to fight cancer.
Cycling is becoming the new golf. It’s a very white, middle-aged man thing. That’s why we’re trying to get young, diverse people from the ad industry interested in Fireflies.
Old stuff isn’t all ‘good’ and new stuff isn’t all ‘bad’. The pop music you like the most is what you liked when you were a teenager. My kids have their own pop music. Most people my age think it’s shit. But if you watch Top Of The Pops 2, it was even worse back in the 80s. It annoys me when people my age deride everything new as being bad.
Countryside politics scare me. Political stupidity annoys me. I go into the countryside cycling at the weekend and see the UKIP posters in the windows. These are nice areas that I’d otherwise like to move to, but the narrow-mindedness of some country folk puts me off.
I am a burglary magnet. I’m constantly being burgled - I live in South East London and it seems that if you’ve got anything decent other people will try and take it. I like to think we’re progressive, liberal people and we encourage our children to be the same, but it’s tough to maintain that attitude when you’re calling the security company for the fifth time shouting “More bars! Bigger alarm! Cameras! Keep the fuckers out!”
Balancing creativity and commerce is hard. My Financial Director’s major frustration is that I don’t really care enough about money. Any commercial success we’ve had has been a by-product of doing good work and retaining our integrity, but it’s hard to prove that that means success.
I like difficult people. You get better work from people who are slightly angular. I find them a challenge. I want to get past the shields. But it’s a fine line. There’s no need to be awkward for the sake of it.
Sometimes the client is right and the creative people are wrong. Our job is to look after our talent and to represent their interests. But there are times where they’re wrong and then that’s a much harder game.