Sunday, January 13, 2013

"You can't fire me, I don't work for you."

London in the sixties again –
Three Americans in McCann London, facing weird problems.

Our chairman was a good-looking Irish-American executive, from Bay Ridge Brooklyn.
White hair, immaculately dressed always, the right schools - London was his stepping-stone to much bigger responsibilities.
He seemed like he went to Princeton or Yale, we are talking about a serious senior executive in our company.
He was central casting for a CEO in a movie about American industry.
He was always backlit - great suits that he changed mid-day so he was never wrinkled.
In spite of all that, he was still a good guy from Brooklyn.

Our executive CD was a well to do American that had custom suits, a well-dressed guy. He would have his favorite suit copied at a Savile Row tailor (and they would even copy his baggy knees). His suits were so English they didn’t even fit right, the true sign of an upper class custom-made suit.

I was not as conventional as they were, but certainly not as wild as most of my department, after all it was the 60s in London.

Bell-bottom trousers, multicolored shirts, velvet jackets and cowboy boots, short mini skirts on the women, not hippy American style but London Carnaby Street stuff. That was pretty much the style of our creative department (and we were not the wildest agency in London).

Our boss would stop me and complain about the dress code of the creative department. I would defend them by saying if they dress wild they have to change their outfits every day, you cannot wear orange bell-bottoms twice in the same week. My argument was that at least the creative’s clothes were aired out if not cleaned. The account guys wore the same blue suit every day, probably even on holiday, you couldn’t get downwind of some of them.

He reluctantly accepted my argument, but I don’t think he was completely convinced.

He was in the lift one day going up to his office on the fourth floor; we had four out of the six floors in the building. There was an especially wildly dressed guy on the lift with him - I think he was even wearing glitter in his hair.

Just too damn much swinging London for our grey suited leader.

“God damn it, you are fired! Get out of this building!”

“You can’t fire me dude, I don’t work for you, I am just delivering these Photostats.”

He never tried to fire anybody from the elevator again. And certainly not because of their clothes!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gary and the Corvette

We had some great times in Mexico with Gary and Kay, some stand out a bit more than others.

We had a weekend house in Tepoztlan, about 2 hours out of Mexico City.

One weekend, Kay was away and we invited Gary to come and stay.

As the head of General Motors in Mexico, Gary had access to any car he wanted.
The Corvette was just launched in Mexico and I assumed that Gary would come out to the house in one.

The Corvette, the most iconic American sports car, the Ferrari of the States.

He did, and as he drove down the driveway, top down, I realized Gary was not actually driving,
His driver was.

Somehow a Corvette with a chauffer in a dark suit is not the most common sight especially with Gary in shorts and tee shirt, ready for our pool. A zippy chauffer driven sports car, you got to love it.

If you think about it, this has to be the classiest way to arrive for a weekend in a Mexican mountain villa.

Gary was a classy guy, I remember at my going away party (I was transferred to Columbia reluctantly
By my dickhead of a boss, a Danish guy stationed in Brazil).

Gary stood up and made a very complimentary speech about me,
 While scaring the pants off of my boss.

Another classy move from Gary: this one while wearing a dark suit. Thanks Gary, I really liked that one.