Before we go any further, Gentle Reader there’s something you must know. Selwyn and the ladies from Ogilvy go way back. Way. Back. Selwyn and Cindy were mulling over IBM layouts whilst diplodocus were munching the canopy outside Worldwide Plaza. We’d stroll down the corridor to the Norma’s office; she’d be knitting herself a new leotard of sabre-toothed tiger fur, chatting to Gloria. Elizabeth and Leslie would pop by to nurse the iguanodon teat. Portfolios would arrive by pterodactyl from Selwyn’s cave in Olde Tribeca.
These were the days of Boyko Yore: of Pete Wood in Severus Snape cape and graphite Genesis P Orridge do, promenading the 9th floor corridors trailed by a chorus of neophyte creatives feverishly recording each Midatlantic utterance as though it were a pearl from the larynx of Socrates himself.
P-WOOD (leans on ebony cane topped with sterling silver sapphire-studded rams-head, pauses, closes eyes, moves into trance-like reverie): I see … I see ..
(chorus shuffles to a halt and is suspended in hushed reverence, dangling in anticipation, pencils trembling over tiny notebooks)
P-WOOD: I see … I see … (grimaces) … ah, alack, alack, the fog is rolling in …
(palpable gasp of disappointment from chorus)
… but wait! … aye … aye! … I see … I see a man … in a … business suit … wearing a … a turban! And he’s carrying … a Thinkpad!
(suppressed squeals of delight from chorus, mutterings of ‘turban’ and ‘Thinkpad’, and feverish scratching of graphite on paper. Chorus shuffles forward, trailing P-Wood into large office. They disengage and distribute themselves gingerly onto beanbags)
Weaned on a diet of collaboration, mutual respect and long evenings at Raoul’s, we – a loose-knit albion of toddler photographers preparing to shed their diapers – tiptoed through Truffula Forests of creatives; always hand-in-hand with our Art Buyer guides. Veterans departed, neophytes arrived. There was Sandra, there was Sara, there was Jessica. There was Ali and Melanie and Marcie and Maggie and Jun Lee and Jamie and Jamie; There was Karen and there was Sharon; then there was Elizabeth again. And Sharon again too. There were more even than these, but gin has addled the brain, we hear snatches of the tune but grope for the lyric. Suffice to say the House of Richards was built upon the Rock of Ogilvy, and in particular, of Cindy. Without Cindy we would be flotsam waxing and waning on the oily beach of commercial photography: alongside the styrofoam McDonalds cartons, used condoms and amputee dolls (and you know which photographers I’m referring to). It is still true to say that behind the door that is two doors behind each new door that opens, there is an Ogilvy alumnus. Follow that? It’s an M.C. Escher woodcut.
The passage of time, however, wore holes into the elbows of the Ogilvy/Richards social melee. One by one we retreated to our domestic lives. Some of us wriggled our way upstream to distant spawning grounds, where we gathered to cloud the waters with our sperm. One by one the Ogilvy dinners fell away, the bottles went untouched, dust settled on the Tarot reader’s glittering balls.
What unbridled joy then, to be approached by perennial Bellender Jess Fiore and soon-to-be Bellender Bridget Kaczmarek with the idea of a reunion. It’s like the Brazil side of 1970 getting back together. Jairzinho McLaughlin and Rivelino D’Acri down the middle, Pelé Lucas up front. She shoots! She scores!
And how fitting that it took an incipient wedding to make it happen; dazzling Hannah Flora is but a month from tying the Gordian Knot with strapping Lance Villio. What better time and place than Bell End on a Tuesday evening, to shower them both with our love, our toasters and our ceramic cherubs reclining in bathtubs?
Catering by The Smoke Joint, decoration by Bridget and Elizabeth’s Nervous Showers, LLC. Music by the unnervingly lovely Leslie Mendelson – whose cover of John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery Selwyn missed but will not miss next time. The Bell End piano may never bathe again. Guitar and harmonies by the harmoniously chipper Steve McEwan via Eminem, Kenny Chesney and that bastion of cockney rhyming slang, James Blunt.