Archive for the ‘Chez Jeremy’ Category

Start as you mean to go on

In Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire, Small Man, Big Ideas, Wannabe CEO on August 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

One of my favourite dictums is the more thought you put in at the beginning of something, the more you’ll get out at the end. Take breakfast, for example. Getting your body (however small) off to a good start is critical especially if you run an agency that looks to you for constant inspiration. That’s why I always kickstart the day with a slab of wholegrain bread lightly toasted and smothered in blackcurrant jam. An all-natural piece of utter yummyness!

However, this is not simply a lesson on eating. It goes much deeper than that. I found the delectable cutting board and knife (pictured above) on a recent visit to Paris and I just had to have it. It’s one of the most tactile pieces in my kitchen (if you get one, be careful how you caress that knife as it’s mighty sharp). Each morning, as I stand, pyjamaed, in my Kensington kitchen, I look forward to cutting the bread as much as I do to eating the toast. Running my fingers along the faultless grooves on that objet d’art serves as a daily reminder that the work I do should be equally desirable. It’s an exhortation to me to burst out of my apartment intent on creating mini-masterpieces for my clients.

Wouldn’t you like to sally forth from your abode with the same vigour as I do from mine? Then find something to caress each morning that gets your juices flowing! It’ll change your whole outlook on the day.

There you go. Another few crumbs from my table. Enjoy!


La Maison Jaune

In Chez Jeremy, Wannabe CEO on July 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Sometimes I feel that I just have to write. Over a century ago, looking at the same sky that I’m gazing at now, Van Gogh felt he just had to paint. It’s not surprising really. The light in Provence is so clear and the landscape so beautiful that one gets lost dans un petit morceau de paradis. (Now steady on, guys! That’s paradis with a small ‘p’. No one is getting lost in a piece of Vanessa except my good neighbour Johnny Depp. He lives a few kilometres down the road in Plan de la Tour. Quelle coincidence!)

This blogpost is coming to you from the roof terrace of my 1860s Provencal townhouse as I lose myself in the layers of countryside that stretch before me. Up here, Jeremy is in heaven and all is right with the world!

I call my house La Maison Jaune because that is indeed its colour. It’s got green shutters and a big oak front door too. Vince immortalised a different Yellow House down in Arles in the late 19th century by creating some of his most famous paintings there, including Sunflowers and the eponymous masterpiece above. He’d shacked up in south of France for an extended stay and was joined by Paul Gaugin for a couple of months, during which time he cut off his ear. Lesson 1: choose your housemates carefully!

Back to that urge I started this blogpost with. Like Van Gogh, I intend to immortalise Chez Parnaby with a few magna opera (that’s the plural of magnum opus, for those less linguistically gifted than yours truly). You see, Vince and Jeremy are just different sides of the same coin. We’re both prepared to put in the miles in search of perfection. (Although, I actually travelled further. He only came down from Paris. I came all the way from London.) Lesson 2: wannabe CEOs, never settle. Because if you do, you’ll find your competitors have hopped on the nearest plane to some exotic destination where they are dreaming up clever ways of pinching your clients.

So go out and find your Maison Jaune. It may be a mountain, a basement bar or a piece of inner city wasteland. Frequent it and create. Just don’t come down here. The last thing we need is a bunch of tourists.

After a long day in the saddle …

In Bikes, Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire on April 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

A lot of people don’t understand why we cyclists look longingly at mountains in the distance and set off with the express aim of torturing our legs and lungs all the way to the top. There’s a bit of George Mallory (of Everest fame) in us. It’s because the damn things are there! Those hills call to us like sirens. And we have no defence.

Today’s post is dedicated to my fellow addicts. You guys know that there’s nothing better after a day on the vertical than arriving home and sinking into your favourite chair, ice-cold beer in hand. Well, I’ve found the perfect answer – bike furniture. Some might think it ironic that after a few hours sitting on the ‘skinny seat’, I’ve chosen an armchair made from bike parts to rest my weary posterior. Let me tell you this beauty is as comfortable as it gets. No nasty springs or bumps to catch you unawares. Just smooth rubber and chrome. And it looks almost as good as my bike, which itself is a work of art.

Nothing will make you come down those mountains quicker than knowing that this baby awaits you. You can order one here. While you’re at it, you might as well go the whole hog like me, buy a few and form a peloton in your lounge.

Something cool to slip into …

In Chez Jeremy, Couture, Small Man, Big Ideas on April 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but when I get home at night, I’m bushed! No surprise there really considering my management style. I like to walk the floors of the agency motivating the troops. And I always take the stairs in between which means I’m pretty much perpetual motion on legs. It doesn’t help either that I’m only 5’4″ with a relatively short stride. I end up expending so much more energy than your average Joe travelling from one end of the office to the other.

But when I get back to my Kensington apartment of an evening, I can’t just stop, bushed or not. Jeremy Parnaby is a multi-dimensional brand and needs to stay productive. So, as I close the door on the agency, I open one into my personal world. And from time to time (like now) I’ll give you a glimpse inside. First thing I do when I cross the threshold is cast off the work clothes. I exchange them for a loose-fitting tracksuit and my latest find – a pair of Nike Air Moc Maharam Pack. These babies look the business and feel the business too. Just slipping them on makes me want to moonwalk like Michael Jackson. (I may post a video one day if you’re lucky.)

Therein lies the simple lesson in this post. Get the right tools for the job. Equip yourself and surround yourself with stuff that inspires. Got a tough brief to crack? Staring at a blank sheet of white paper? Stare at a blank yellow sheet instead. That simple change of colour will open floodgates in your brain. The flood will turn into a torrent too if you dare write on that yellow paper with bright turquoise ink. Watch what might have seemed an average train of thought blossom into a kaleidoscopic extravaganza bursting with creativity. Want to write a novel after work? Or knock up a canvas for the Freize Art Fair one weekend? First slip into something inspirational. Works for me every time.

I’m off to pop on Billie Jean.

Paprika: a cook’s favourite ingredient

In Chez Jeremy on February 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

It’s the weekend and my thoughts turn from work to home life. Now I know many of you wonder what happens when I close the door of my Kensington flat behind me. What does a small man with such a big salary get up to? Simple pleasures, of course.

I hope you’re not disappointed by that confession. There are many people out there who like to live the high life by proxy. They unfortunately don’t have the means to afford luxury after luxury so they experience it vicariously through people like me and blogs like this. And sometimes I deliver on that front. But today I’m going to discuss basic creativity in the kitchen because in creation there’s satisfaction. And to keep you satisfied, I bring you a wonderful iPad app called Paprika.

Imagine the scene. Close your eyes if it helps. We’re in my pad (not iPad – that comes in a second). In my kitchen to be precise. Down on my knees from the incomparable Ayo is playing. A selection of fresh vegetables, meat and exotic spices from Borough Market is sitting on a chopping board. In one hand I’m holding a rather large Global knife as recommended by bad-boy chef, Anthony Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential (As one reviewer of the book so aptly said, ‘It’s not exactly Delia.’). In the other, I’m gently swirling a glass of Viret, Colonnades 2005 from Artisan Wines. My iPad is propped up on the stainless-steel worktop by means of the delightfully simple MoviePeg designed by a creative guru who really is a guru, Brendan Dawes (sorry, Sebastian). A Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir candle is burning out of focus in the background. Can’t you just smell its aroma mixed with the crushed cumin seeds and lime zest? Paprika is loaded on the screen and I’m following instructions. All my recipes are on there, some that I downloaded, some that I invented myself. For the purpose of this post, imagine that I’m rustling up spicy, sticky chicken. Delicious! Back to Paprika. The app looks as gorgeous as my cooking. I use it to make grocery lists for the meals and dinner parties I’ve planned. The damned thing even stays on screen the whole time I’m cooking so that I don’t have to swipe my iPad with a honey-covered finger. How clever is that!

Eyes still closed? Great. I drop the spicy, sticky chicken onto the griddle just as the door buzzer sounds …

Catch you guys later!

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Has this chicken flown the coop?

In Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire on December 31, 2010 at 7:43 am

You know that I don’t like to be behind the curve when it comes to ideas, but I feel I may have missed the boat on this one. Tell me,  are chickens so last year? Like cupcakes? You see I really want to buy this chicken coop called a Nogg. It’s a beautiful piece of design and I’m a sucker for that, as you know. It’s egg-shaped, it’s got and eggy name and, if I buy one, I’ll not have to worry about where my breakfast’s coming from. Does the fact that it’s such a cool object make up for the fact that hens are no longer in? Perhaps the fact that I’m considering buying a Nogg could start the craze all over again? And before you ask, this has got absolutely nothing to do with the rumour that Sebastian, our Creative Director, is getting a designer dog.

Lights to die for

In Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire on December 27, 2010 at 8:25 am









I just love industrial design. From time to time I’ll serve you up examples that I’ve stumbled upon on my travels like these awesome lights, hand made by Olivier Abry in the world’s capital of cool, Paris. Actually Olivier lives and works in Lyon, but he should be based in Paris. It would be so much easier for us all to go visit him and his inspiring studio if he were sequestered (good word!) in St Germain somewhere. So feel free to drop him a line, like I have, requesting that he move. I’m sure business will triple for him esp if, as a gesture of gratitude, I take brand Olivier Abry under my wing and dispense some nuggets on how to promote his artisanship. Attention Philippe Starck! Et voila Olivier!

As a taster of potential mentoring, I’ll plug (I’m on fire today!) his website.

What I woke up to on Christmas Day

In Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire, Real coffee on December 26, 2010 at 8:09 am

Check out the humdinger of a present I found under the tree on Christmas morning!

Those of you acquainted with me will know that I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Now, one of the perks that come with the big job is that you find yourself on the radar of all sorts of companies who want to get an endorsement from yours truly. Helena, my super PA, fields calls all the time from coffee roasters, coffee machine makers, coffee chains based in Seattle, the list goes on. One company even sent me my weight in beans (for a little guy that’s still one helluva lot of beans) as a publicity stunt.

The little beauty above was among those anonymous presents which had been arriving throughout the month of December in my office and which Helena arranged to have sent round by the couriers to my Kensington apartment on Christmas Eve. So if you’re the one who sent it (and I guess the generous person will be reading this blog), I thank you. Not only does the Mirage make superb espresso, it’s a joy to behold too. Sebastian, our Creative Director, will be so jealous! Unless you sent him one too? Better not have!

PS Did you like what I did with the headline? Neat little double meaning. Always knew I should have been a copywriter