Saturday, 25 August 2012

And Now for Someone Completely Different...

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  London is chocker-block with interesting folk. No-where else I have lived has such a diverse population.  And I’m not just talking race, sexuality, etc etc – I am talking people from different backgrounds with different beliefs (political, religious or otherwise), different lifestyles, and, even though we live in such close proximity to each other, completely different views.
Let’s face it though, we very rarely meet and mix with people from different “sets”.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to think my buddies are a diverse lot, but we’re all pretty much the same – middle class, university educated young professionals trying to find our way in life and having a bit of fun in the process.  Okay, so there are some deviations and some of us are faring a little better than others, but you get my drift.  Even at work where my colleagues probably come from a much broader catchment of society, we all have a very similar outlook on life – working in the public sector can guarantee that you are probably more interested in doing something beneficial for others than going home with a fat pay-check at the end of the month.
Every now and then, though, I get to meet someone whose lifestyle feels completely different from my own.  Take this week for example.  Although under less than happy circumstances, I met a 59 year old man who was a self-confessed “old hippy”.  He reminded me of a nicer version of Bill Nighy’s character in Love Actually - he’d lived the high life in the seventies and was now having to face the consequences.  However, despite his sorry state of affairs, he fascinated me.  His flat was full of books about spirituality, his walls were covered in photos of rockers from years gone by and his sofa was strewn with cushion covers and throws that wouldn’t have looked out of place at Woodstock.  All in all, I thought he was pretty cool, and if I had met him under different circumstances, I would have loved to listen to him tell me stories about his life over a pot of tea – or something stronger.
Then, last night, I met the creator of a lifestyle magazine who was looking for new bloggers (watch this space!).  We met in an Indian restaurant in the City where he was filming a promotional video.  Not only did I end up being an extra in the film (sans make-up bag – eek!) but I also got a couple of free vodka-tonics – and a scrumptious Indian meal to boot.  But what was fascinating was meeting a group of people who lived in a world of PR, marketing and Mayfair – not a world I am particularly familiar with.  The guy I met had created the magazine on his own from scratch – and everyone who was launching a new luxury item wanted him to cover it.  Yes, he has worked his butt off to get where he is today, but as he arranged to meet his friends at China White later that evening – and get them all on the guest list – I admit my eyes widened in awe.  I felt like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, the only difference being that this chap was not only successful but absolutely lovely too.
So, after a lovely weekend with my nearest and dearest up in Peterborough, I hope to hear from my new media muse – and get another glimpse into his life.  And, in a week or too, I might just arrange a visit to my old hippie – on purely professional grounds, of course.

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