Something beginning with O

Next Friday, January 13th 2012, will be my last day at 1000heads.


100heads Mo’bros, 2011 ^

We’ve achieved a lot together over the past 27mths – from AR phone launches, to movie tie-ins, to ending the year with our biggest ever award haul – the journey with 1000heads has been awesome.

With 2011 disappearing into the distance, the ‘heads go into 2012 with great clients, fantastic accolades and a future brimming with possibility.

However, after two [and a bit] years of working on the best projects, travelling to the best cities and building awesome community experiences with the best people, it’s time for me to take the next step.

On January 23rd I’ll be doing just that, by joining Ogilvy PR as Senior Associate Director, 360° Digital Influence.

I am very, very excited about joining a super-talented team that is not only going through a period of fantastic growth but also choc full of industry-dominating ambition.

The potential to do even more great work in 2012 is huge and I can’t wait to dig in and get my hands dirty. Until then…

Bring. It. On.



Above Par

This time last year I was saying ‘So Long 2010‘ with an air of the unknown and a wariness of the uncertain.

Life had changed rather dramatically and – as alive as I felt, as invigorating the sense of endless possibility was – I didn’t know what would happen next. And, truth be told, I continued not knowing for most of the year.

Today however? I am above par.


Imagine tumbling through darkness:

You’ve slipped from a mountainside and a blizzard roars up and around as you desperately flail and fall through the cold, black nothing.

In that never-ending gloom, in that deafening storm, peaceful acceptance eventually takes over and calm reigns throughout.

Do you feel it?

The ground is far, far away. The air on your face is a blanket of ice smothering your face as it burns… Yet it somehow refreshes; filling your lungs forcefully as further still you cascade through the bleak unknown.

In that tranquil nothingness, thoughts spark and race through your mind, freshly cut to rage, rage against the dying of the light. Upwards, around you, chinks  of sunlight break through and, in that moment, in that quiet deathly moment, your hands shoot out and cling and claw – like grappling hooks – at the rocks around.

You catch one, two.. three… and pull.


My light has shone, my hooks have been launched and at last I’m climbing.
Better yet, I’m climbing higher than I’ve ever been before.

And the view is breathtaking.

The Alps - Sept 3rd

Happy New Year friends and readers, I wish you all the very best for 2012 and everything wonderful that it brings.

As a certain chap said to me recently: it’s going to be epic.


It’s Saturday.

Leaves have fallen and the air is crisp; today is the first day I smelt autumn.

I love this time of year.

It’s my favourite season for so many reasons: the deep brown colours, the change of temperature and the quiet, slow excitement of what’s to come. Autumn’s arrival tells me my birthday is near.

Except, things are different this time.

I don’t know if any of you have ever had your birthday ruined before. It’s not a nice feeling. In fact, it’s pretty bloody awful. Close friends will know (as will those who have read the piece I wrote for CALM) that my birthday last year was probably the worst day of 2010.

The day before, was amazing. A great day out shopping & hanging out in town then later, my awesome birthday party. Benny came dressed as Beetlejuice, friends old and new mixed together, hell, even my family came.

Less than 24hrs later, on the evening of November 21st – my actual birthday – my then girlfriend of two years decided that it would be an ideal time to end our relationship over [what I was then told] ‘trust issues’. Wrongly accusing me of cheating, she was up and out of the flat before the week was out.

It nearly killed me. How do you prove yourself innocent when the other party has convinced themselves you’re guilty?

After months of blaming myself, I uncovered the truth: she hadn’t broken up with me over trust at all. She had, in fact, decided to leave me for one of my alleged best mates and was too cowardly to tell me. A chance meeting with the latter (after general avoidance and non-returning of calls) back in March started that avalanche of information.

The night I found out everything, the week before I headed off to Siberia, my friends were stunned. They expected me to be livid, to be more angry. But honestly? When all the pieces finally fell into place? I felt relieved.

Relieved that I wasn’t at fault, relieved that the pain and angst I’d been carrying around for months could finally lift and most of all relieved that I was out of the sick, twisted, horrid mess that I’d mistaken for two people I could love and trust.

Today is the first day of autumn for me. My birthday is just around the corner. I stepped out of the flat this afternoon, took a huge lung full of air and… I remembered.

A couple of weeks ago someone dear to me asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. “I don’t know” I replied. Then I remembered what happened last year. The fake smiles at the party, the secret plans behind my back – I panicked.

“What will I do? What can I do? God, last year was terrible..”

But y’know what? Life is better now. So much better. Life has moved on, love has moved on and, best of all, the people around me are amazing.

When I first started writing this about an hour ago, I was full expecting it to a be low, melancholic exploration of how now the change of season has made me sad. Instead it’s a celebration of autumn, the beautiful season it is and a look up toward the amazing birthday I’ve got lined up for next month.

Bring. It. On.


[Private post – made public Dec 23rd, 2011]

One Chapter Closes

Moleskine shots

Moleskine entry: October 1st, 2009

I bought this Moleskine specifically to chronicle my travels this past summer. As it stands, the book itself is only a little under halfway full and here I am about to begin a new adventure with my new colleagues at 1000heads.

What I’ll use this book for from now on I don’t know. But knowing me, no doubt I’ll try and share as much I can…

Thanks for reading… let’s see where we go next.


10 days

New York Street Market

Moleskine entry: 27th September, 2009

Has it really been that long?

I haven’t been home in over two weeks. I miss my bed. Not for now.

The long summer of travel is drawing to an end (after a bonus Oxfam-related trip to the U.S.) and, this coming Thursday, I formally start at 1000heads. I’m told there’ll be plenty of travel involved but I imagine it won’t be anywhere near as intense as this.

It feels like I’ve been getting my hands dirty again.

You can only sit in an office and strategise for so long, sometimes you need to get there and just do it for yourself. Go out and learn a few things, rediscover why you love what you do so much and ultimately reset your point of view on the world.

This past summer I’ve been through the deserts of Africa, the mountains of Wyoming and glaciers of the French/Italian Alps. From baboons in Botswana to Zebra in Zimbabwe… I’ve been the luckiest man in the world.

The scenery, breathtaking. The wildlife, stunning. The people? It’s a cliché but it really has been all about the people. As I close my moleskine for another day, that’s not a bad thought to take end on at all.

The Sun is setting over London as we make our final approach. I need to draw this to an end. The deep red sky brings a warm smile to my face and I sigh.

Home. Home at last.

The sky over Teddington

Exit stage right

Aug 31st will officially be my last day of employment with SpinVox.

As you may be aware, things have been quite tense and anxious of late (at least when I’ve been in the country anyway), and it’s become very clear to me that my predicted shelf-life for this chapter of my career was accurate. It’s time to move on.

The past two years have been, in the main, awesome. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot and have had the good fortune of working with some amazing people on some fantastic projects.

In fairness to SpinVox, I had every intention of leaving around about now so this timetable of events has always been on the cards. Trust me when I say: I will take much of what I’ve learnt in my time in Marlow long into my professional life.

What next? Well, I’m talking to some people about prospective new projects, but right now, I’m just looking forward to being back in London and taking a much needed break.

Although, on that note, if you think there’s a project we should be working together on either now, or in the future, then by all means get in touch.

You can reach me – as always – on james at whatleydude dot com

Thanks for reading.