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Wednesday 20th March 2013
I had a nasty hangover after a few late night drinks after the play, which was a shame as I had loads of places to be today. In the morning I was going to be on a panel at Advertising Week Europe. The people at the Metro were involved and asked me if I would go down to read one of my columns and discuss the nature of story-telling. I hadn't really been paying attention and hadn't appreciated how advertising focused this event would be - I know, there was a clue in the title and I felt a bit out of my depth and hungover. But when asked what I thought of the industry I thought I might as well say so and said I didn't like the way advertisers felt it was OK to appropriate other people's ideas and that I felt most consumers were as suspicious as me of what seems to be a largely dishonest business. Another panelist talked about how the internet had changed the way that people shopped for things and that they were more likely to research what other people thought about a product rather than rely on an advert. I agreed and thought that honesty and originality were probably the best way forward for advertisers. But acknowledged that I probably hadn't chosen the most receptive audience to make these points to.
I reiterated some of this afterwards in an interview with Guardian media. Ironically the clip is preceded by an advert which helps to enforce the point I make about how advertisers would like my fresh anti-advert stance. It had been interesting going into the advertiser's lair of evil and communing with them. My inclination would usually be to keep away from something like this, but you learn more by being involved and as long as I can say what I think then I am happy. It's a bit like doing an advert. I am happy to say I like something that I like - why should I be paid for that? Though ultimately it is hard to divorce oneself entirely from that world and as I say in the interview there are occasions when I wonder if it's more morally incorrect to turn down an advert and I am not quite as scathing of the idea of a company sponsoring a TV or internet show as long as the show itself does not turn into an advert.
After this I was whisked over to London Zoo to attend the opening of the new Tiger territory that I did a benefit for a few months ago. It was a star-studded event, though quite an eclectic mix of stars with Ginger Spice, Bill Oddie and Ken Livingstone all in attendance, as well as Bill Bailey. Who would have thought that group of people would all be in one place. I did get to say hello to Bill Oddie though, which is quite a thrill. I was a massive fun of the Goodies.
The Duke of Edinburgh was declaring the impressive enclosure open and he managed to say nothing insensitive about tigers or any other species. He was in impressive form for a 92 year old. Though my favourite thing about the speech was watching Geri Hariwell standing on a log to spectate. She had nice shoes.
I also took a photo of Bill Bailey looking at the Duke of Edinburgh (taken by the king of Edinburgh).
And then I was off to pitch more sitcom ideas to a man who once appeared in some Fist of Fun sketches, but is now a top TV executive. Funny how things work out. I quoted one of his lines at him as I came into the room "I am small bald man" and then hoped he would remember what I was talking about, because otherwise that would be a very rude way to start an important pitching session. Luckily he did.
The meeting went OK. He liked one of my ideas. We'll see if anything comes from it.
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