NRM – 46664

It’s Corporate Social Review time again.  Crib Notes is my page, the place where I think out loud and don’t have to worry too much about being on message.


Today, there is only one possible subject for Crib Notes. NRM 46664  …

I was all geared up to write about Kit Kat this month, going into some comic detail about my recent tiff with that global brand and seeking some kind of insight in the aftermath. But then the world changed on Thursday night.

For the third time in my life I was presented with a ‘where were you’ moment.

I was glued to the over-night coverage on CNN when the first bombs dropped on Bagdad at the start of the first gulf war, war in real time.

I was recceing for a corporate video at the War Museum in Jo’burg when the planes hit the World Trade Centre. I watched the towers fall and the stunning aftermath in an office full of stunned co-workers and friends.

On Thursday night I was swopping casual insults and sub-textual affection with my best friend on Facebook when he suddenly broke in with the words Nelson’s gone. Gone. At last. Inevitable. Unthinkable. His last act in life, unifying us in our grief at his death.

I spent the next several hours reading the newspapers, watching the twenty four hour news channels and maintaining some sense of contact with my circle of friend through social media. Somehow a simple like to every status update and outpouring of love, grief, celebration and reflection didn’t seem enough. I’ve no idea how many times I typed ‘amen’. I’m sure I could have kept a cathedral in steady supply. It doesn’t seem like much, but it gave me a way of somehow briefly connecting with that vast network of people across the globe who were all looking for some way to reach out in this ultimate unifying moment.

And now I’m once again sitting in front of multiple screens, watching tears pour like rain into the FNB stadium as the good and the great pour into their comfy seats and ordinary people gather to share and celebrate the last steps in Madiba’s long walk.

Of course, by the time you read this he’ll be safe at home and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of words will have been written about his passing, words written by people with far more to say and far more talent with which to say it than I. But can there ever be enough words written? Will the need to remember ever diminish? I think not.

And so, having just stood for the National Anthem, and with the echoing sounds of the initial addresses filling the stadium, I want to try and find a message of my own, some insight that is uniquely mine and might, just might, offer insight to you.

Whenever I think about Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela I cannot help but think of those 27 years he spent as prisoner 46664. 27 years. Think about that, but not as a number, think about it as an actual period of time, a portion of a life. 27 years locked in a brutal place with brutal intent.

If, as Stalin said, one life is a tragedy and 100 000 a statistic, then by that same measure, one day in that jail cell was a tragedy but over 9800 was an unforgivable sin.

And yet he did forgive. Instead of walking out those gates and demanding his 27 years back, demanding the impossible then burning the world down when inevitably his demands could not be met, Nelson walked out and demanded, yes demanded, that we try to live up to him. He demanded that we rise to the challenge of matching his generosity of spirit and his great humanity with generosity and humanity of our own.

And in this we are doomed to fall short. Why? Because he fell short, in a million ways, every day. Prisoner 46664 knew he was not perfect, he knew anger, he knew rage, he knew heartache and despair, he knew the pain of loss and the fury of failure. I know this because he was a human being, a man just like any other. And to be human is to fail. To be human is to know human frailty and the great imperfection that is a life lived.

But in life, and now in death, Madiba showed us that failure is not falling down, failure is staying down. And he never stopped getting up, he never stopped striving to be a better man, to take whatever opportunities life presented him and bend them towards making the world a better place.

And that’s what the world is because Nelson Mandela lived in it. It’s a better place because he was here and the very least we can do is try to keep making it better. We can’t give him those 27 years back, but we can try to make the price he paid worth the paying.

Go well my President. God speed.

Nelson Mandela


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Hands up if you want MORE of this …

… The inconceivably wonderful Reon Viljoen just e-sent me this. I cannot tell you how much I want to see more of it, what about you? Hands up if you do …

Oh, and go and check out the No-Spoon website, it’s there, on the right, no, lower, on the right, yes there … If you’re in the market for some amazing digital art then No-Spoon are your fellas …

More?! Yes, Reon, more!

Stand up 1

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Like a Boss …

… Hugo Boss …

(Just don’t mention the war!)

So, here’s it is, the tricky second album …

And indeed it was.

I didn’t knock it out of the park. I think I got bat on ball and I think I got on base by the end, but it was a little hesitant and clunky.

Looking back at the video (shot by the indescribably wonderful Brendan Fish) I know where it came off the rails, I know the exact moment. There may even be a small prize for those of you that spot it, even if the prize is simply the satisfaction of being smug bastards and sharing in my pain.

It’s by no means terrible. I got some laughs, some of the new material worked well, some of it killed in the room. And damn but that thin fella looks good, don’t he?

All in all, as a second at bat I don’t think it’s too terrible at all! I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen ‘professionals’ who were worse.

As a second bite of the apple it was by no means bitter, it was just … You know … a sequel!

Enjoy. Holla at a brother. Let me know if I made y’all laugh. And if I didn’t keep it to yo damn self!


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Things real people don’t say about advertising (23 photos)

To quote Bill Hicks: Marketing people, kill yourselves … No, seriously …

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Rashad Houston From NY



At this man’s funeral in 2001 I made many promises. I promised I would take his picture and his name all over the world so people would remember him forever. I put his picture in my locker, in my binders, on my wall at home, I carried it everywhere. He is the main reason I joined the Navy and wanted to make a difference. When others were running to safety he was running up stairs to save as many people as he could. When those Towers fell he never made it out. I’ve even posted this on the mess decks on my old ship to remind myself why I put on that uniform every day. Many didn’t understand why this photo meant so much to me, but this is more than just a photo. It’s been a part of my soul for 12 years now. I made a promise…

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Lest we forget …

On 9 / 11 in 2001 I was at the War Museum in Jo’burg, looking for a location to shoot some video material. While we walked the museum, surrounded by the memories of previous wars, someone said a plane had hit the twin towers and we all figured it must be some terrible accident …

Only when I got back to my office and looked on-line did I see the astonishing, horrifying, mind-numbing truth.

I watched as the towers fell.

I watched as the world changed, forever.

And, even while watching, I knew that I was witness to the event that would define everything that followed. Witness to history. Helpless in the face of it …

Since that terrible day much that has been done, and continues to be done, as a direct result. Indeed, we all live in the shadow cast by those falling towers.

But today, the politics of war and the politics of politics take second place to the simple truth that thousands of people died, innocent people of every colour and creed and religion.

On this day, and on this day for the rest of my life, the memory of those events will be seared into my soul and I will shed a tear at the thought of all that life snuffed out.

The passengers in the planes, the first responders, the police, paramedics and the fire services … And those trapped, terrified people – some of whom chose to jump rather than burn.

I will carry their memory to my grave … As should we all.

falling man 911


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In a black room, with black curtains …

… Well folks, here it is, the open mic … AKA A Formerly Fatman swearing in a crowded room.

As Bill Hicks said, funny material and laughter will be added later.

With grateful thanks to Dom & Sharon Black and Reon Viljoen for shooting it, posting it and uploading it so that I can pimp it like the cheap whore that I am …

Enjoy …

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La Villa …

Words cannot describe how much I adore this track.

I spend my life writing down lyrics that move me, trying to share that connection with others …

If only I could even begin to capture in words the sound of this track and the feeling I get during the guitar solo at about 3:35 (ish) …

It is liquid soul … beauty made sound … Heartbreakingly lovely …


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Make scripts, not war …

My friend and the extremely talented writer, Catherine Muller found this.

Need to work out a plot point? The answer is here.

Need to work out a character motivation? The answer is here.

Simply brilliant. What a resource.

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Blah, blah, blah …

Can’t believe I never posted this … Simply the best acceptance speech ever …

And here is the full version, where the grown-ups also talk …



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