A New Adventure

The summer is over and – at long last – so are my travels. My work with Lucozade is at an end and this time last week, I finished up my stint with Oxfam as well.

As the title suggests, it is indeed, time for a new adventure.

Today I’m doing just that by joining 1000heads as Engagement Strategy Director.

I’ve been aware of and worked alongside many different people from 1000heads (aka ‘the word of mouth people’) over the past four years, and they’ve always impressed me with their ideas, professionalism and more than anything else, their ethics. We’ve often shared stories about our respective projects & conversation ideals and very recently I had the opportunity to talk to them much more openly about my long term plans and ambitions.

It was the synergy that came from these meetings that made me realise that working with 1000heads was clearly the next logical step in my career. When it transpired that they felt the same way, everything just fell into place…

Even if you don’t know of 1000heads, you might not be surprised to hear that they are word of mouth (WOM) specialists. The company works with a range of clients from various industries to understand and engage with their consumers, from Nokia and 3Mobile to Canon, STA Travel, Sky and the BBC.

I am absolutely over the moon about joining the ‘heads and can’t wait to sink my teeth into the work ahead. I’ve already been into the office to meet some of the team and I’m going to spend this coming week getting up to speed with the accounts, campaigns and overall strategies I’ll be working on in the coming months.

After an eventful summer (where I really feel like I’ve been getting my hands dirty again), this move makes complete sense to me and well, I look forward to telling you all about the new adventures, as they happen.

Said in the only way I know how:

Bring it on.


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So… This Fancy Dress Picnic

About a year or so ago now, I was stuck in traffic on a bus going past Clapham Common, when I saw these three creatures walking across in the distance…

The first one, in at the front – was this guy dressed up as a green sea monster – a bit like a loch ness monster crossed with a dragon of some kind. Well, he had this outfit on and he couldn’t *really* see where he was going, so he kept going off course and wandering around all over the place.

The guy at the end was dressed as a hammerhead shark, with these two hand-painted boxes stuck to the side of his head. He looked awesome – all dressed in grey – it was clear what animal he was supposed to be. Anyway – he had this really long tail that restricted his walking somewhat… making him really slow.

In the middle – keeping order in all this chaos – was this small girl, in a big pink dress, holding a pink umbrella with tassles hanging off the sides… she was a jellyfish see. And back and forth she ran; at the front stopping the Dragon and pointing him in the right direction and then quickly back to the Shark again to pull/push him forward.

( they may’ve looked a bit like this )

For 20mins I watched this spectacle unfold in front of me, the whole time wearing a great big grin on this face of mine…

“Wonderful…” I thought “…Fancy Dress during the day, people don’t do that enough.”

Which is when I had the idea for The Fancy Dress Picnic – :)

The idea stayed in my head for a week or so before disappearing into the far reaching caverns of my brain… until it was discovered again.
This time prompted by watching the quite frankly awesome NZ film, Eagle vs Shark* – on a flight over to the US.

*if you haven’t seen it – this screen kinda gives you an idea why I might’ve been reminded of the picnic – our protaganists meet (properly) at a ‘come as your favourite animal’ party…

So yeah – thusly the idea arrived back in my head again – and this time I kept hold of it; kicking it around through Spring and eventually raising it again in a pub in Chiswick with some friends who all decided that it was a fantastic idea for a party and that we should organise it immediately to coincide with our friend Clare’s birthday at the end of July… (or as close to as we could get) …and so!

The Fancy Dress Picnic!

Date: Saturday August 2nd 2008
Place:
Clapham Common
Time:
1pm ’til late (Roger’s working on getting some bar space for later, later
The Theme:
Come as your favourite animal

You MUST MUST MUST RSVP with the name of your animal that you intend to come as.

The reason for this is to prevent embarrassing moments for all and sundry – I mean – you’ve worn the same dress as someone else before right?

Well.. can you imagine all of us turning up as cats?
That’d be rubbish.

You name it, you claim it.

Me? I’m going as a Hammerhead Blue Shark

I’ve setup a facebook event, Roger’s blogged about it and together we have been working *really hard* to get this crazy day off the ground…
At the time of writing we have 30(ish) confirmed guests – ALL coming as different animals!

And YOU are welcome to come and join us :)

If you ‘dont do’ facebook then simply leave a comment on this here blog:

The animals that have been taken read like this:

  • Shark (blue shark now – can’t find a hammerhead costume)
  • Lemur (ring-tailed)
  • Turtle (Ninja)
  • Tiger (unspecified as to Bengal or Siberian)
  • Fawn (Roe, presumably)
  • Lion (-O?)
  • Macaroni Penguin (they don’t dance)
  • Bears, brown (family thereof – this is allowed under the new rule which I have just made up. But ONLY for real families. Birth and/or marriage certificates may be asked for)
  • Ladybird (spotted)
  • Squirrel (evil grey or timid red? Who knows..)
  • Kangaroo
  • Donkey (a seaside one from Brighton!)
  • Evil Herbivore (giraffe)
  • Meerkat
  • Bear (Polar)
  • Bee (bumble)
  • Chicken
  • Spider (house)
  • Dragonfly
  • Butterfly
  • Panda (giant?)
  • Rabbit (bunny)
  • King Penguin (must be distinct from the Macaroni Penguin or will be disqualified)
  • Flamingo (pink)
  • Cat (domestic)
  • Alpaca
  • Sloth Bear
  • Bat
  • Peacock
  • Peahen

The rest of the animal kingdom is there for you to choose from.

Much love and maybe I’ll see you on Saturday :)

EDIT – - – -

Thanks to my awesome Mobilistic Skillz -
We now have all of the directions to the venue available on your Mobile!

All you gotta do is open your phone’s internet browser and type http://mippin.com/fancy

Directions are all right there – Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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Adventures in Soho Part 2: The Sarah Marshall Chronicles

You may remember, back when I had Less than 24hrs in San Francisco, that everywhere I looked I kept being reminded of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Not that I kept seeing Sarah Connor-themed posters… Oh no.
(could’ve made an interesting new angle for the next Terminator mind)

The ones that haunted my vision were for someone called ‘Sarah Marshall’.
This, out of context, made no sense to me…

However – all was to be revealed when I returned to the UK when a reasonably new (and good) friend of mine, Mike Sizemore, (blogger, vlogger and all round jammy film reviewer), invited me along to a top secret blogger screening of Judd Apatow’s latest film, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’.

Having never seen or heard of the film before, aside from the aforementioned US poster campaign, I was quite pleased that Mike had thought of me and the invite was even more attractive as a) I managed to swing a ‘plus one’ and b) it was as the Soho Screening Rooms (which sounded suspiciously seedy if you ask me).

To whet my appetite even further, Mike even included a link to the latest Forgetting Sarah Marshall trailer…

DO NOT WATCH THIS YET

YouTube Preview Image

Ok. Judd Apatow is someone I’ve only just got to know. Having steered clear of Knocked Up (it didn’t look like my kind of film) I recently rented out – (check me, old school) – Superbad.
Which is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

I watched the trailer, laughed a little… wasn’t sure… saw a couple of guys from Superbad… saw Russell Brand… realised it was a free screening.. and made my mind up.
One quick call to the girlfriend later and I had an evening of free entertainment in Soho, with blogger buddies AND I get to impress the Girl.

Who cares what the film is like right? Wrong.

Hand on heart I went into the cinema descended into the depths of said screening rooms not really expecting much. ‘Expecting much’ is not something I do often. Not expected anything is the best way to a) avoid disappointment and b) be pleasantly surprised. Fortunately, this time round, the evening fell firmly into category ‘b’.

Y’see I had this horrid COCK SHOT feeling that the trailer had given away all the funny bits and, for a little while, I thought COCK SHOT I was right. But, I am happy to report that COCK SHOT there’s still quite a lot of amusement to be had throughout the rest of the film.

That aside, COCK SHOT, for maximum enjoyment, I would recommend avoiding the trailer for this film as much as possible because as much as it does entice you into watching the film itself; it also gives away its fair share of funnies… I found myself knowing which joke was next as I’d watched the trailer several times and kinda knew which bit came when y’know? Please – don’t let this put you off – this film IS very, very funny.

Something that took me that took me completely by surprise was that beardy man over there on the right ————————————————>

He was actually very good in this film.

Although I can’t say I’m surprised.

Russell Brand is one of those comedians who I tell everyone I can’t stand and yet find myself often watching him on the tellybox and chuckling away at his dickensian wiles as he meanders his way around our fair language like a blind man on a bicycle…

I want to hate him, but I can’t.

Git.

And as I said, in this he is cast perfectly.

Git.

I don’t do film reviews often – although coincidentally enough, the last one I reviewed was a comedy also (albeit an unintentional one) – so for me actually sit down and bother to write this up means it’s actually worth seeing.

I laughed that hard I nearly wet myself.

No really. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has the some what strange honour of being the first EVER film that I was able to leave the room for. EVERY film I see I always make sure I go before I sit down.
I hate those people that pay £8-£10 to go and see the latest blockbuster and end up missing a massive chunk of plot because they forgot to have a number one before they went in.

I mean REALLY. It’s like 2 hours people!
You’ve just paid to watch the damn film – so sit down and watch it!

*sigh*

Anywhoo – I won’t be doing that again in a hurry, on the way back I was blinded by the light from the projector and ended up tripping on the step, stumbling up the stairs and then hitting a fellow blogger in the chops (sorry Annie!).

I digress.

This film is funny. See it.

Finally – Props to my mate Scott who saw this outside Hammersmith Tube Station last week…

It seems the hate campaign is spreading…

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Adventures in Soho Part 1: Me & Mrs JoJos

Soho isn’t my usual haunt. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

But – for some strange reason – since returning home from San Francisco – I have found myself in London’s Centre of Seediness three times in as many weeks!

“But why? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?!”

I hear you cry.

Well for the first jaunt to the ho of so you may have two clues….

Clue 1 – The picture above

Clue 2 – If you remember way back when I was telling you about the best conversation I ever had

There was a sentence that went a little something like this:

“Yeah man, I know. Then I’ve got my show on the Sunday at Madam Jo Jos!”

Well ‘my show’ was in fact not my show at all. More like Lisa Devaney’s Show. Actually. To be completely correct it was:

“Lisa Devaney’s Hee-Haw Whore House!”

How did I get involved? Funny story. AGES ago (and I mean AGES – like August last year) I got Blogtagged by my dear friend Helen Keegan. Which basically meant I had to write up eight random things about me.

Did that. Job done. Sorted.

Well, in March this year I get a call from one of a mutual friend, (Lisa), saying:

“James! I remember what you said in your blog post! Ya wanna be in my show!?”

“Err… Yeah! OK!”

At this point I remembered – item number five: “I studied at Drama School” – Bugger. All makes sense now!
Note – when writing blog posts, remember that ANYONE CAN READ THEM! ;)

“Oh and by the way James, I need a Burlesque Dancer too… You don’t know any do you?”

“Err… Funny you should say that, my girlfriend is a burlesque dancer – I’m sure she’d love to get involved…”

“FANTASTIC! I’ll in be touch!”

Anywhoo, not soon after committing to this project, I discover that SpinVox need me in Las Vegas.
CTIA to be precise. I’ve been over this.

But what I haven’t been over is that when I landed back in Blighty on the Saturday afternoon I actually went STRAIGHT to rehearsals (suitcase an’ all!), worked for the afternoon, then went home, slept all night and all day and THEN went to Madam JoJo’s to perform (with some fantastic co-stars) The Hee Haw Whore House!
(and we were on first too dammit)

Hand on heart I didn’t publicise it as well as I could.

For a bunch of reasons really -
First and foremost I hadn’t been on the stage in over a year. Not that I was nervous (LIES) but I was just a bit anxious you see…

The last play I did was a Tacit Theatre Company production of
The Office Party.’

That’s me over there, in character ———>

Playing ‘Gavin Chapman, MD of ‘Chapman & Howard’

Anywhoo – yeah – that was back in February 2007 so I hadn’t done any real performing for AGES.

Plus, given the time constraints that we had, (what with me soddin’ off to Vegas and everything), we barely had time for two decent rehearsals…

TWO I TELL YOU. TWO!

So yeah. Anxious would be understating it.

All of that crap aside – I can’t tell you what a resounding success the night was. In all seriousness I doubt it could’ve been ANY better. We were up first and we gave the crowd such a riot it really helped warm the place up for every act that followed.. When I first trailed this post I said:

“I was in a cabaret show the other day. Must blog it.”

And I had every intention of doing a blog post on the events of the entire evening of performance etc… BUT!
I was beaten to it.

Lisa Devaney not only did a fantastic job of writing the piece, but she also did a fantastic job of reviewing it too!

I strongly recommend you go and have a read… if only to look at the pictures ;)

See you back here real soon for Spending Time in Soho – Part 2.

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Less than 24hrs in San Francsico

I mentioned in my last post that I felt like I had to write a little bit about very short stay in San Francisco.
After the madness that was CTIA in Las Vegas, stepping off the plane that Thursday evening at SFO was like a breath of fresh air…

I flew to Las Vegas (via Dallas Fort Worth), on Sunday March 31st.
Did a bunch of SpinVox things (worth a click through – great video) for them whilst I was at CTIA.

Lots and lots of fun.

I hung out with some cool folk, took part in some cool events and generally just had a good time… You get the idea.

The following Thursday however, I had to fly to San Francisco.

THANK YOU LORD.

I don’t think I can actually find the words to say how much I love that place. Really. It’s just… Brilliant.
Regular readers will know that this wasn’t my first trip to SF, so I kind of know my way around a little bit.. which was nice.

I landed at something like 9pm and I was scheduled to fly home the following evening around 7ish so I had :
*adopts film trailer esque voice*

“Less than 24hrs in San Francisco!”

:)

So what did I get up to?

Well, after sharing a cab with some new friends that I met in Vegas, I must’ve got to my hotel around 10ish I guess?
Checked in, took my cases up, chilled out… I was gonna hit the sack then and I thought…

“Y’know what? I love the bar here. If I’m only here for a short amount of time, I best make the most of it. I think I deserve a Gin & Tonic…”

 

So off I trotted down to the Redwood, (beautiful bar this – it’s got Harry Potter Paintings on the walls… if you know what I mean), ordered myself a glass of Tanqueray & Tonic (extra lime) and just sat… and chilled.

Lovely stuff. About a half hour or so later I decide to go for a wander outside, get some air etc… and I end up chatting to this random guy, Tomas was his name, Danish chap, chatting to him about SF.. where’s good to go out etc.. He was in town on business with a couple of friends and had just been turned away from a club as they weren’t allowing large groups of men without any women. It happens.

Anyway – he and I head back into the bar and there are his (also Danish) mates talking to these women.

“Right, I can see where this is going…” I thought to myself “…I’m gonna have one more then head to bed”

I got it half right…

I was chatting away to Tomas just off to the side of the group when one of his mates called over to get the round in…

“Gin & Tonic!” I replied… and suddenly I had a LOT of attenton!

“Oi! You’re not Danish!”

“I never said I was!”

 

Que much laughter and explanations etc… These girls were in SF for a friend’s wedding. Great bunch they were too. The lot of us all ended up going clubbing together. (A place called ‘Slide‘ – Yup. It had a slide. Brilliant).

Fantastic night. Great company too.
Was really refreshing to be out with a group of girls who weren’t out on the pull or who weren’t looking for anything etc… They just wanted to have a drink and a chat and maybe a little dance and generally just enjoy their evening.

The Danish guys were mental. But we loved them for it. Hehehe…

All in all a great night was had   :)
Friday rolled around so I went shopping… Bought LOADS of T-Shirts (more on that soon), some new boots, some DVDs and, surprise surprise, a new suitcase to bring it all home in. Heh heh…

Before I sign off – A blog post wouldn’t be complete with me adding in some relevant media…

First – some photos from SF.
A few from my recent trip but most from my trip in October last year… Hope you enjoy them.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Oh – and as a point of interest – ALL of the photos above were taken with a Nokia N95.
LOVE that phone! :)

San Francisco

And second…

One of the great things about being in the States is you get to see some of the latest shows/films etc…

And you also get to see some of the awesome posters etc and you often get a hint for what’s coming too…

So for instance, last year, there were Heroes posters everywhere.

This year however I kept seeing things like this one —–>
And variations thereof…

Had no idea what it meant. No idea what it was about. Nothing.

For some reason I kept thinking of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Good thing is these posters became suddenly very clear to me upon my return, when my new (and actually quite cool) friend Sizemore invited me along to a ‘Blogger’s Screening’ of the new comedy, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘.

And bloody good it was too, (thanks dude).

Full write up to follow…
:)

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