jeremyparnaby

Over here

In God Squad, Objects of Desire, Small Man, Big Shoes on February 16, 2011 at 7:10 am

One of the USA’s greatest sons is artist Jasper Johns, best known for his paintings of flags, like the masterpiece above. Those of you who know me will be aware that 20th century North American art is a passion of mine. I’ve spent many a delightful hour in Tate Modern or MOMA losing myself in Rothkos, Rauschenbergs, Pollocks and Twomblys. They invariably take my mind on an invigorating journey, encapsulating as they do such raw beauty.

But not everything that comes out of the USA has such a refreshing effect on yours truly – a visit from my Chairman being a prime example. Especially if he has his Global CFO in tow. When Helena, my super PA, informs me that the Chairman is gracing us with his presence, I know I’m in for a rollercoaster ride lasting several days. The trick is staying on the coaster without barfing, metaphorically speaking, of course.

The visit usually starts with the delegation marching into reception as if they owned the place (which of course they do). A little humility however wouldn’t go amiss. Next comes the barking of orders. They seem to derive a certain satisfaction from portraying the big boss (me) as being not so big any more. This has got nothing to do with me being 5’4″. (My Chairman’s no bigger, bizarrely). It’s more a belief on their part that the Yanks are God’s chosen people and therefore know best. This brings me nicely (or unnicely) on to the worst part of all. Both Chairman and Global CFO are deeply religious and take their management style straight from the Old Testament. How can you be in advertising and go to church, I hear you ask? With great difficulty, you hear me reply, considering the bare-faced lies our clients insist we broadcast to the public. Back to the Chairman; notice it’s the Old Testament, not the New that he swears by. We’re talking Eye for an Eye here not Turn the other cheek (just in case you were thinking that he and the Global CFO were a pair of marshmallows). When they were last over, they spent most of their time working out how to visit the modern equivalent of the ten plagues of Egypt on our competitors.

They’re flying in today. Pray for me.

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