Music People

Richard Ashcroft’s Keyboard Player

One time Object Marketing colleague Rico Petrillo dropped by the office this afternoon – taking a quick break from his recent busy schedule as keyboard player in Richard Ashcroft’s backing band. We’ve had fun playing spot Rico on the TV over the last few weeks, as he keeps popping up everywhere – Jonathan Ross Show, Top of the Pops, VH2 to name a few.

Rico is of Swiss Italian descent – and he made his dad happy when he was interviewed on national TV in Italy a few weeks ago. Apparently Richard Ashcroft pointed out that Rico’s Italian was much better than his, so he had to do all the talking.

RIchard Ashcroft and band are off to the US next month apparently, supporting Coldplay. We told Rico to remember us back in Shepherd’s Bush when he steps out on the stage of all those mega-stadiums.


Son of Smith – early arrival!

Archie Henry Alexander Smith arrived yesterday at 3.08pm. A few weeks ahead
of schedule, but mother and baby fine.

Pic of the wee man below – clearly he is destined to be the the first
Scotsman to score the winner in a World Cup final, a famous rock guitarist,
the most gifted writer of his generation since George Orwell and a great PR
man – all at the same time! No pressure there then 😉

Many thanks to those who have already sent congrats and good wishes.

Back to the hospital now.



“Terrorist” disruption on our doorstep in Shepherd’s Bush

When I stepped out of the front door yesterday, I couldn’t
have foreseen how the day would unfold.

Up until 1.20pm yesterday afternoon, it was a typical
business day. I was just about to pop out to get myself a sandwich, when I was
confronted with a sight we haven’t seen before in our office – a policeman. He
told us to drop everything immediately and leave the building as there was an
unexploded bomb at Shepherd’s Bush tube station (Hammersmith & City
line). Our office is separated by a wall from the rear of the tube station.

We walked to the end of the Mews and on to Uxbridge Road
opposite Shepherd’s Bush market. Then we saw that they’d completely cleared the
road up to the Green – and we were told to move away in no uncertain terms.

We decamped to Albertine’s wine bar on Wood Lane. Of course,
as we were ushered out of the building so quickly, we had all left our wallets
and purses in the office. So we had no money. The very understanding bar staff
at Albertine’s were happy to give us some beer “on account”. We then had the
bizarre sight of sitting barely yards from our own office and watching the end
of the Mews on TV. As the minutes passed by, Albertine’s proved to be an
excellent media watching vantage point – film crews from NBC and ITN were there
very quickly. (But where was the BBC? Ironic given that Television Centre is a
couple hundred yards up the road. Some wag suggested that the Beeb crew were
stuck in Bush Bar and Grill having lunch……)

Shortly after 2pm, a policeman came into the wine bar and
ordered everybody out. I felt very sorry for the Albertine bar staff (*) as all
the people who had been sitting there eating and drinking simply legged it
without paying their bills. I do hope people go back and settle up at some

My business partner’s house is in Bulwer Street, just off
Wood Lane and Shepherd’s Bush Green. We decamped to his front room. The police
cordon was extended further to right outside his front door. Again, very weird
sitting watching the whole thing unfold on TV. By 5.30pm, we ventured out round
the Green, and down Goldhawk Road to the Bushranger Pub. On the way we observed
the media scrum as around 30 odd journalists and cameramen trying to get
interviews with police spokesmen. Got a good vantage point on roof terrace of
the pub and a pint in our hands. By 7pm, it was clear that we wouldn’t be
allowed back into the office that evening.

So we used the last remaining money to get tube and bus back
home to Richmond.

An extraordinary day. And looks like it will be Monday
before we are back in the office and back to normal.

(*) The two guys behind the bar were on BBC this morning
being interviewed – as they live locally too, looks like they weren’t allowed
back to their houses last night either – just to add to their woes.

Current Affairs People Technology PR Web/Tech

Autonomous PR Collective event – a good time was had by all.

Last Wednesday night saw the first gathering of the Autonomous PR Collective at the Clachan Pub in Kingly Street, SoHo, London – myself and a some other like-minded PRs decided to throw our own press party – as we said in our invitation, with the aim of “the furtherance of a redistribution of privately held vittles and sustenance to the oppressed members of the journalist class.”

By all accounts, we certainly did help the oppressed journalist classes throw off the chains of sobriety.

Indeed, most people asked us when we were going to hold the next one. Current thinking suggests we try and hold a Xmas bash.

As Rupert Goodwins reports here –,39020505,39209422-3,00.htm
– a small revolutionary vanguard continued the guerrilla battle at a notorious late night drinking den, the Troy Club. Unfortunately, I had departed before an “altercation” developed, which is related to Rupert’s trouser reference.

I’ll leave Rupert to elucidate further on this matter if he so chooses – and so long as it supports the on-going revolutionary struggle.

An Autonomous PR Collective will host a Press Party on Weds, July 13th,
2005 – 6.30pm till late – Upstairs at The Clachan, 34 Kingly St, London,

We, the undersigned, this day declare the creation of a NEW revolutionary
social construct, the Autonomous PR Collective, for the furtherance of a
redistribution of privately held vittles and sustenance to the oppressed
members of the journalist class.

The founding members of the Autonomous PR Collective – AKA Jane Lee
(Dexterity), Maxine Ambrose (Ambrose Communications), Teresa Horscroft
(Eureka Communications), Jane Folwell (Folwell PR), and Andrew Smith
(Object Marketing) – call upon YOU to throw off the chains of wage slavery
and to attend the unveiling of our PARTY Manifesto.

Set free your desire to consume BEER and WINE and FOOD. The Autonomous PR
Collective is providing the economic infrastructure to allow you to claim
your right to untrammelled enjoyment and social discourse of a kind never
before seen.

Journalists of the world unite – you only have your sobriety to lose.

Translation: A very nice bunch of independent PRs invite you to join them
for a pleasant evening of food, drink, and chat – and most importantly,

Upstairs at The Clachan, 34 Kingly Street, London on Weds, July 13th, 2005

No clients. No hard sell. We’re paying. Go on, you might enjoy it.

Indicate your intention to join the cause. Please send a communiqué (RSVP)
to Andrew Smith, Object Marketing, – 020 8762


Fatherhood – got any advice?

After all these years, the wife and I will be (all things being well) joining the ranks of parenthood in December. The 27th is the alleged date, though something tells me its either going to be the 25th or New Year’s Day.

Blimey. Naturally we’re both excited and scared in equal measures.

Now that we’ve been begun telling family and friends, I realise we have unleashed an undocumented torrent of advice on the whole subject. If anybody has any useful advice to lend on the subject I’m all eyes and ears.


Former colleagues – where are they now? Part One

I realise FriendsReunited has a section to allow you to get in touch with former colleagues – however, its no use if they don’t actually sign up. It occurred to me that the blogosphere could be an alternative route to getting back in touch with people. (And yes, I know Google is the answer to everything, but this is more fun).

My working career began in 1985 at the Retail Newsagent Tobacconist and Confectioner. One of the UK’s oldest trade weeklies (founded in the late 19th century), I arrived at a time when the retail/wholesale side of publishing got interesting (with Rupert Mudorch, Wapping, and the move from rail to road distribution). Also co-incided with the launch of the first national newspapers in a generation – Today, The Independent, etc.

However, whatever to:

Brian VinerBrian_viner – staff writer – well, I know what happened to Brian. He went on via the Ham and High and the Mail on Sunday to be become a fixture columnist at The Independent, where he is now. The look on his face  as he lost a 2000 word feature through hitting the wrong key on his Amstrad PCW8256 is an abding memory. I did email a few years back at the Indepedent, but got no reply.

John Haylett – my first editor. And tennis nut. He was editing Tennis Monthly a few years back, but no idea where he is now.

Susan Iesi – features editor. No-one could write a 1000 word feature on confectionery like her. Google draws a great big zip.

Karen May – staff writer. Welsh, strong views. Went travelling for awhile, but apparently did end up back in journalism – but where?

Belinda Archer – staff writer. Went  on to  Campaign, and freelance work.  Byline in the Guardian in 2000, but no sightings since.

Nick Shanagher – Deputy News Editor – Irish/Australian. Ribbed me mercilessly. Was Editor of Local Government Chronicle in the early 90s, but not heard of since.

Who knows – perhaps somebody out there might have some clues.

People SF

Andrew J. Wilson in town

My very old chum (best man) Mr A.J Wilson is down in London for a few days. Good to see him again – and find out how recent fatherhood is treating him.

He is deep in the throes of anthology editing and gearing up for WorldCon in Glasgow.

For those interested, more info below.

SmokeAndrew J. Wilson was born in Aberdeen in 1963. After studying English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, he went into publishing, and currently works as a freelance editor and writer. He is the science fiction, fantasy and horror reviewer for The Scotsman.

Andrew has published short stories in magazines and anthologies in Britain and the United States, including DAW Books Years Best Horror Stories, Markings, Fear and Scottish Book Collector, and he has also read his work on BBC Radio Scotland. His plays The Terminal Zone and The Black Ambulance Gang have both been performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the latter on a moving bus several years before Speed was shown in the cinemas!

He has also published journalism and criticism in a number of markets, including Scotland on Sunday, Dreamwatch, Caledonia and Metro. He has also appeared on television and radio as a commentator, and regularly chairs events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Recent stories have appeared in Gathering the Bones, an international anthology published by Harper Collins in Australia and Tor in the USA, and The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases. Forthcoming work will appear in H. P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror and Sailing on Strange Seas, a tribute anthology to William Hope Hodgson.