Once upon a time, I did a (2nd rate) degree in sculpture which led me, via virtual spaces, onto the internet. From there, I wriggled my way into the newly formed digital advertising industry and commenced to earn a decent crust. At the time, it was what I wanted.
I wasn’t particularly good (or particularly bad) at advertising, making my way through charm and because I had a quick mouth. I enjoyed the un-earned privilege of being white and straight and male, and revelled in the excess you would (rightly) imagine goes along with a life in soho. It wasn’t the orgiastic hedonism we heard about from the old lags, but we had enough to stay lubricated.
I knew some smart and lovely people in advertising (you know who you are) but the business requires you to convince people to spend money they often don’t have on things they don’t need to satisfy cravings which we should really be encouraging each other to satisfy more constructively. Advertising is about telling people little lies and encouraging them to take the easy path; making them believe new shoes or a new phone or a new car is going to make them feel better, telling them it’s OK to give in to their laziest urges.
I always struggled to reconcile this and after fifteen years, during which the scales over my eyes required increasingly powerful adhesive, I gave up. I know there are smart and lovely people who continue to wrestle with this central dilemma, but I couldn’t get over it. I’d had enough.
(And, despite some smart and lovely people, there’s also a fuck-ton of absolute turdbags in adland who are greedy, vindictive, duplicitous, narrow-minded and whose only concern is money. One of the advertising’s greatest problems is that you don’t know who you are.)
And then, thanks to the generosity and faith of more smart and lovely people (who I hope do know who they are) I managed to wriggle my way sideways and got a job at the BBC, thinking maybe my ship had come in. This coincided with a move out of town and proved to be an even bigger horrorshow than adland. I might write it some day, but at the minute, it’s still a bit too raw for close inspection.
So then I flailed around for a bit more, writing screenplays, producing some apps (remember them !?) and doing the odd freelance job while I renovated the house we bought in the countryside. That was until the constant dust and dirt made the skin on my hands fall off. So, I had to stop doing that and now I’m in a seaside town in Devon, using the tips of my fingers to type. I wish I was still in the country, but despite what I told people for years, you can’t have everything you want.
I’m currently working on the second book in a quadrilogy (about a rich girl expelled for bullying who accidentally resurrects a monster buried in her family’s past) and querying agents on their possible interest in the first. I’m reading, blogging about it, cooking the dinner, packing the lunches and (when I remember) doing the washing. I am still available for (freelance) copywriting, but only if it comes to me.
Brixham, November 2018