From the Archive: Simon Doonan

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Design Matters. We'll be back with a new season starting next week in the meantime. We'd like to rerun an episode that originally came out in April of twenty eighteen support for design matters media is provided by Wicks DOT com which puts the creative power of building dynamic web sites back into the hands of designers as is anyone who has spent time in a wizard platform knows what you see isn't necessarily always what you get on the flip side for some it's for too easy to get lost in code and lose the forest for the trees wicks dot com allows you to find your own personal sweet spot and take control of your site eight with their drag and drop editor hundreds of advanced design features such as retina ready image galleries custom font sets. HD video and parallel scrolling effects and even service hassle-free coding for robust websites and applications with Wicks DOT COM. You have total control of your web design like never before so join wicks his brilliant community of designers artists and creatives large around the world for free free and ask yourself. What will you create today. This is designed matters. That'd be moment from design. Zainab Zimmer Dot Com for fourteen years now debbie moment has been talking with designers creative types about what they do how how they got to be who they are and what they're thinking about on this podcast Debbie millman talks with Simon donut about his unlikely career and his formula for creative window. Yeah displays try things. Other people aren't doing and they'll automatically have some kind of impact. Here's Debbie. Millman Simon Dune is a true polymath. He's written seven books including one that has been produced for TV by the BBC. He's it's been a guest star on America's top model. He used to impersonate Queen Elizabeth in public appearances his appeared more than once on the moth for decades. He designed the windows for barneys where his title is creative ambassador at large and he's here today to talk with me about his multifaceted thief faceted career and how he manages to do so much so well. Simond Union welcome to design matters. Thank you for having me Simon. You've you said that you have no recollection of your twenty first birthday or what you did last Christmas but as long as you live you will. I will never forget how when you were six years old. You're mother's sneezed. Her dentures fell out of her mouth hit the kitchen floor with a sharp clack. Ronald's sideways across the linoleum floor while your mother in her tight skirt and white stilettos chased him down. Would you say disappeared. MICES your childhood in a way it. Does I mean I think the point that I was trying to make when I wrote that anecdote was The for me. I kind of remember the jarring things more clearly than I do. The pleasant things like the day at the beach which was kind of perfect. You don't really re- well I don't really remember it very clearly but when things go horribly wrong or when they're very jarring or dissonant isn't or theatrical melodramatic. Those are the things that I remember most clearly and that's not necessarily a nice thing you now. That's just the way it works in my head. She was in her thirties when she had oliver teeth pulled to get her dentures. Why did he do that. well back then off to the war like Post War England it was very sort of squalid and deprived and the nineteen fifties fifties off to the war was not an abundant time. I think of the reparation money was going to Germany's countries in Europe and in England. We still had rationing questioning and my recollection is that most adults over the age of twenty five dentures dentures everywhere like soaking working in glosses everywhere you know we lived in a two room flat with no kitchen and bathroom. My parents had called board in this shoes. I'm I'm not complaining. I'm just saying I've seen things go from that kind of grim postwar thing and I think that's why the sixties was such a sharp contrast. I was actually interviewing poll. Smith the other day and I asked him why. Why do you think the sixties had that. Look you know the economy street thing. Why did that happen and he said well. After the war everybody was very threadbare and so the MoD kids it was a way to rebel was to where these very persnickety tidy view if you look at those early pictures of David Bowie when he was a maude it's just so neat you know because everything seems so threadbare in chaotic automatic. You were born in what you've referred to. As a grotty gritty post war industrial town called reading which is just outside of London the same same year that Queen Elizabeth the second ascended the throne as you've mentioned you lived on the top floor of a dilapidated rooming house in a two-room flat and your father other made furniture out of orange crates I believe but you've said that. Poverty is vastly underrated. Why is that a my parents. It's always looked on that time when we lived in the Little Garrett as they always said Oh that was a really happy time we were very happy then you know they both fall the Second World War. You know they were happy just to have a pack of cigarettes and some boiled potatoes and just to be free in the end of the war because not having anything is sort of easier than wanting loads and loads of things you know there was something something very elemental about that level of just not having a lot of stuff eve stated that your mom kind of looked like Bette Davis with the upswept rolled hair and the overpainted lips and she always wore a long line girdle even though she was really skinny and she I smoked and you referred to her as a very film noir check about your mother and father worked for the BBC. Your mom was a clerk in the news department and your Father Moniter return foreign broadcasts and while your parents both worked they placed you and your sister Sheila in an orphanage and I believe it was a real Dickensian Lord Lord of the flies type orphanage why they do that well My Dad was actually unemployed for the first three. Four years is of a child's. He looked off trust. He couldn't get a job because he didn't have been to college. He left school at fifteen and he was trying to to learn Latin and my mom went out and worked every day and she was like ten years older than him smart and shady progressive ten years older than her. He's wouldn't think about stuff like they met in a soup kitchen at the end of the war and they got married two months later. I think it was like they both run away from home. mm-hmm so the you know it was a very sort of unconventional free kind of time but he didn't work and then somehow he talked his way into this job in the BBC where where he was monitoring propaganda from Radio Moscow and he sort of presented very well my dad even though he had left school at fifteen in sixteen so he got this job and they had figure out what to do about childcare so there was this local orphanage where they dropped to self every day and it was laughing but it was very grim and my sister and I still talk about how horrifying was because these are like war orphans refunds and John saw throwing the law them were very angry. Kids and sorry yeah you know I think these things very character building and you learn early on you know the life is hard and my sister and I still talk about it and she still gets teary. I guess being a guy. I don't react that way but it's sexist didn't mean it to be I. I didn't take it that way. As you growing up you worried that you were doomed to a life of deranged misery and imagine that your future would be a grim montage of hallucinations electric shock treatments and nicotine. This was furthered when you failed the entry exam to get into grammar school why we used to worried you bet this. What did you do after you failed the entry exam to grammar school as I go to old I started to see the circumstances around me. Were quite grim. You know we eventually moved out of the two room flat into a house with my grandmother. My grandmother who had a lobotomy and my paranoid schizophrenic Bernie Kahn Coal and I thought Oh God you know is that all there is what saved me I think was discovering fashion and style while and I think I looked at my mom and she would get up every day and we wouldn't see her for an hour or two. She'd get herself old done up. I've never saw her without makeup head on outfit pulled together because she had this vanity. That was a very life affirming kinda vanity. It was like okay every day should go out work. A couple of jobs come home cooked food for the lodge's she worked her azoff but she always looked good and she was pulled her look together and she could have become very downtrodden and press looking but she didn't she she resisted it and she always fixed yourself up and that kind of vanity is a very life affirming force and and I think about it as you got older. You stated that you were excessively focused on obtaining freedom which comes with having a bit of extra cash in your pocket and you were prepared to do whatever it took to get it at that time you were washing dishes at the Mars bar factory canteen when you were working at a local cork and bottle top factory you thought at one point you might get a job at the Huntley and palmers biscuit factory where you would work until you fell into some heavy machinery went mad or both what what were you thinking that you might WanNa do with your life at that point it was more about what didn't I want to in my life become I was becoming increasingly focused on the idea of style and celebrities and fashion and the sixties Steve were happening and the Beatles and these people seem to be having fun and looking good and it seemed to be the end antithesis assists of what I was seeing in front of me which was the sort of fairly dismal postwar scenario and I did fail the eleven plus us so that meant that when I went to school and then at the age sixteen we will kick out into the world and that summer my my mother got me a job at the bottle top factory and I worked there for the summer. I thought you know I have to get my ass in gear. He was Sashi very motivating to me to be in the sort of dismal circumstances and most you know I motivate myself. Mike could've could've gone the other way. Yeah given what you were growing up when well being gay was like a big advantage which sounds weird because back then being engaged was illegal like homosexuality was only legalized in nineteen sixty seven so it was like Oh. You're really a marginal person. If you with gay you know my dad you said to me. Oh you know gay people I get arrested. Blackmailed put in institutions like and I just thought Oh year but I'm one of them. Blah Blah Blah at that time probably I'm guessing but none of that was talked about it made me very self motivating so I I have to get to college and then I can and then I can and then I can so I became very driven at a young age and I went to Manchester University. St and purely bootstrapping it myself you know. I couldn't understand why the other kids the grammar school would not paying attention in how you gonNA. Pass your a levels and go to college. You could be stuck in this town forever. If you you know I was very goal oriented simply because of having having sort of been to the bottle top factory before you got to Manchester. You had a bit of an epiphany while crawling around the floor of your parents bedroom dream in search of you're missing cat you happened upon what you referred to as the very meaning of life or so you thought at the time he tell us what you found. Yes I found a copy of Nova magazine. Actually my mother subscribed to Nova magazine. Nova magazine was a progressive yes groovy switched on fashion magazine the had articles by Kenneth Tynan and Harold Pinter and great beat fashion editorials that were very sort of fashion forward and avant-garde. We're talking like nineteen sixty seven sixty eight and so you know here was this other world that was half an hour away by train with these people were leading these glamorous trendy fabulous lives so being trendy to me seemed like the antithesis of being dismal and locked up in a lunatic asylum or working in a bottle top factory so I was looking for this this alternative universe that was all pristine and corrosion salary and fun and glamorous. I thought those people are happy well. Well you went to Manchester after that but you studied psychology and art history why not fashion or something a bit more creative it never occurred to me like back then going to art college which I considered was considered beneath going to university. If you could get into university you went. It was purely oh you know if you can get into Manchester University. Go because it's good after college you worked at a department store in town called John Lewis with a friend who looked like ziggy stardust was that James biddle comb well. Actually I went home after college and actually got a job in demolition because it paid more money and then I did that for a while and it was just horrible we would demolishing public toilets. It was one of the most greatest hammer you yeah things and breaking and one day I remember thinking this is just not more and I don't mind if I take a pay cut. I'm going to work in the local hokey little department store and there was a John Lewis store in reading so I got a job John Lewis in the department store and my best friend who I'm still in touch with. He went on to become like a big drag performer in London and then now he's a cabaret performer and that is James. James Bill comes those names James biddle calm. Everyone knew him as biddy. He became quite well. Known in the seventies eighties and he still performs he and I actually went to Butler wins which is an extraordinary experience that not many people seem to have had in this very working class it was it was what working class people if they were going on holiday they would go to bottling some of these weird buttons holiday camps. I mean I guess the inviting would be sense. Goes there bel places like the Napoli like him they would have plastic parrots and plastic flowers hiding from the seething over the swimming swimming pool and I think that's where I got interested in display. It was extremely tacky. lowbrow kitsch nor ironically and that's where I think I got interested in display was going to butler with biddy anyway so flash Ford early seventies. We're both working in this department store and we just basically go on the train and went to live in London and lived in squalid bed sit which is like a studio apartment minus any amenities. It's basically a room and we just had a great time and back then we didn't worry about all careers. Samonte much we were worried about if we could get in this place or that place or who we knew what close we could buy and it was about how ver- tremendous emphasis on exhibition stick fun like. Glam rock was the big thing back then it was sort of off to the hippie thing came the Glam rock thing with Bowie Louis and Marc Bolan and Roxy Music and we were very into that getting done up and going out and raging on the town so tremendous tremendous emphasis on social life and not thinking much about career and then bit by bit. I got interested in the window displays and I got to know the guys to change the window and they introduced me to other people and that's how I got into window display so it was like being a salesperson is fine you don't have anybody can do it really if you are interested in fashion but the window display thing was a little more interesting there was more to do like being busy so bit by bit it began getting sucked into the wonderful world of window display and is it true that you started doing window-dressing just by going into stores and asking who does your windows while my first. I window jaw was Akwa. Scoot them which was like burberry. It was a heritage company very sort of frumpy conservative and that's where our socratic people there raincoats the Queen would wear Akwesasne twinsets whether set an a tweet skirt when she was walking the corgis Organiz in the have so I worked at Akwa Scooter and and it was interesting I learned law especially brought. Men's display pudding suits boots on bus foams carding shirts. There's a lot of technical stuff with men's display in particular and I wasn't designing the windows rose. You know that was I was like Sh- trim what was called a trimmer and so then after that I went to work at tumble and asa which was sort of a very heritage oriented company and I used to do the windows but I was also the show delivery person to deliver shirts to hotel's for rich clients and by then I saw doing freelance jobs so I would be walking down street and I'd see a little boutique the way you would in in Brooklyn or the East village you see a small shop and I would just go in and say oh who does your window. You know I'll do it for five pounds or something like that and so I built up this little repertoire of window freelance jobs in addition to my main income from tumble and ASA and I had a couple of really great freelance jobs a lot of them were very low level dress shops shopping malls and and then I they had these two great ones one was told me not a who was the first trendy tailor on savile row. He's the one who designed is on Mick Jagger's wedding suit when Mick Jagger got married to Bianca Jagger she was wearing a white saint laurent suit with the big hats on the famous pictures of of them online still people look at those pictures and say Gothi elementary lavarice and told me nuts made mix suit and all these rockstars aw people used to come into told me not to change the window there the other one was surely Russell who was the wife of Ken Russell and and Ken back then was extremely important filmmaker influential filmmaker who made women love the devils boyfriend you know a great number of films and they were all sumptuous and beautiful films with amazing costumes and incredible visuals and a lot of that came from Shirley Russell his wife so she had this staw on Portobello road that would sell vintage clothes that they used in the films they would rent things it was it was a high end vintage shop called the last picture frog and I used to do their windows and that was really fun because the Clientele with these super groovy rock chicks who had come in and buy a vintage poiret dress and then from the savile row freelance job. I was in there one day and this guy came in and he said Oh did you do the window and I said yes and and he said it's really cool. It's so great and he was American and he said it what the window was actually these tuxedos with stuffed off the right wing and trash cans it was like the idea of trash and rights but with these super swanky you tuxedos with these stuff rats and little wing callers on like Downton Abbey on the rats and so he said that's a really twisted window window. You should come work for me and so I went home to biddy. My roommate and I said he was getting ready to go do his drag act and he and I said Oh some guy offered me a job in. La and he said where's that an I said I don't know like literally that gives you some window into how Farrell I was and how feral my roommate was. We just vaguely vaguely knew because in those days if somebody flew to la they didn't come back. You know if somebody flew to Australia. You didn't see them again. It wasn't like now how fly here fly the so. It's a really long way away and anyway I thought God maybe I should go and just is packed bag and went to live in. La when I was twenty five on my own with the promise of this job and I got there and it was just a tiny little store with these two little windows that was max go Max field and was it Tommy peers who actually came in and found you and it is one of the most creative retailers Salas in America. He's a real visionary he was in. La He had this little storefront near the true dual and he brought in the most interesting designer designer clothes and he had this great clientele in this funny quirky little shop. He's a real retail visionary who should be celebrated for that. He brought in. I posted to bring Japanese designers. Ally Armani he brought all that stuff to the west coast and he had the most incredible Clientele Liane. Tell like share fleetwood. Mac fleetwood Mac Natalie would not only would remember her coming in and you also had a t shirt business at this point in your life in which he knows they had a huge role in all aspects of your personal growth. My mother always had lots of jobs you know she she two or three jobs then she'd have a Saturday job on Saturday. She go work at the local newspaper and she'd sit by the phone writing down the soccer scores. They will cold in you know as they happened so I was like that same in Tallahassee every day how different job so myself and a friend. Jackie Tyrrell will achie- started this t shirt business and then I helped over there and then we did more more more and it grew she went off to work with one of the people we were selling t-shirts to and then this other girl Beverley Klein who has a great clothing line in La she and I carried on silk screening hand painting making dresses out of t shirts shots we buy t shirts in Chinatown and paint them and embellish them we're talking early eighties so yeah imbalanced embellished t shirts and I learned how to Silkscreen and hand pain which inks to use and how to wholesale and I always say I learned a lot of practical Michael experience because of you know we were so excited to get our first order from Judy's chain store in La and so we shipped it off and then we were wondering like one of those people are gonNA pay us. This isn't fair and I finally plucks up the courage to call and I said you haven't paid us and they said you the people that didn't send an invoice or any any return address so you learn a lot of practical experience having a t shirt business how to make drying racks out of clothes clothes pins and the last stick. You said that you don't know why people by the to go to fancy colleges everything you need to know about life and more could be learned to the operation of t shirt hurt business. Yeah that is one hundred percent true like I think of the practical stuff that I learned how to get things done in the right order how how to get things done quickly anticipating problems all the things that serve you really well in life. I learned having that t-shirt business and I think it's it's set me up well from my job at Barney's. Will you stated Max `field for eight years. What made you decide to move to New York City well. I would probably still be there. I stay at it places a really long time. I'm kind of inert. Once I get comfortable. I loved Max field but a friend of mine said let's go to New York and volunteer volunteer the costume institute because every year Diana Freeland has these big costume institute shows at the met and I said Yeah Yeah Yeah. I've been to the exhibits but I never thought about working on them but I'm not volunteering. Hello I'm a professional display person. I would take jaw aw volunteering hello so and I should say at this point it was the middle of the AIDS epidemic just really getting going a Lavar friends with dying and it was a really grim time that is hard to describe to people who want there but it was horrible. Just imagine listed in New York City during in Manhattan here all of a sudden all your friends yes terrible so we went to New York. I talked my way into a job. UH-HUH OUT THE COSTUME INSTITUTE WITH DIANA RE Lund Working on an exhibit called costumes of Royal India in one thousand nine hundred five and for like four months worked at the MAT. She wasn't there lot. She came into the Watch what we were doing it the exhibit she would make hilarious comments on the way the mannequins Kim were being positioned. Tell us one one little tidbit of taste. She was looking at the my job on costumes. Royal Royal India was display design us so I had to sort of figure out what mannequins were going where which they're on positions would be shying create vignettes and yet and tableau with these endless array of mannequins or wearing bejeweled saris turbans and diner Freidan would come wishing into the room and she would say they look like they're waiting in line at the A. N. P. Something like that and you think Oh God. Is that a good thing or bad thing and then she kept making making all the painters repaint the walls of the exhibit and I remember they re painting the gift shop which was she wanted painted gray because all of the rooms painted these vibrant. Brent Indian colors Magenta cobalt blue blah blah blah. The gift shop was GonNa be gray and they couldn't get right and she'd go in and say not that gray. Hey I want the gray of quakers unlike maybe because she didn't use pantalone chips and she was very inspirational figure and and you know you gotta remember this woman that of Penn avalon broad of it which you know rouge cuts we she discovered discovered made created the I the fashion vision what things should look like in those harper's bazaar and vogue when she was the editor with incredible incredible bravado and panache and you know she was an unconventional person and unconventional thinker who worked in a conventional mentionable place in our she was in the met in a museum. She was very unconventional visionary so that was a thrill to be around her. How did you get your job at Barney's well at the opening party back then they did have an opening gull back then but it was a small dinner there was a socialites and people like Paloma Picasso or Pat Buckley. Whoever the socialites were back then talking mid eighties and then they would be this afterwards on the temple of dental that the hallway pulawy could buy a ticket to so you. Could you know I I didn't go to the dinner. No just very chichi. Group of people went but I so I'm going to splurge spend a hundred dollars on a ticket for the off to party which people didn't call it that then but I went with Susanne Bartsch. I remember she was my date and John Begum who who was a fantastic fashion personality who created that line go silk and so they were my dates and we had a great time and John. John introduced me to gene pressman who was Barney's and he said Oh. I know your windows. You do those those sort of unconventional. I'm crazy windows at Max field because that was my reputation that I had done these rule breaking unconventional Punky Edgy Edgy. That was my thing. There was enough people doing conventional glamorous stylish windows. I wanted to do crazy things that hadn't been done in in window displays before so that's how I got my job and he said come work for me and so I came in nineteen beginning of nineteen eighty six and and started working at Barney's and it was an all consuming job you know the store was just about to expand opening a big new women's store on Seventeenth Street it it became my life and I'm still involved thirty two years later however many years it is and it's been a very very interesting adding growth experience for me. It was like a family experience. It was everything really because I was always involved in the windows but over time I got more responsibilities disabilities advertising publicity store design. I worked on other areas in the company and always enjoyed it even when it was very challenging. It seem very interesting. I was always learning something new and I didn't have a safety net. You know I had to make a living. I would say my main interest in life. Were being financially solvent. I'd put the number one and number two is being creatively stimulated and so- Barney's hit check both boxes barneys has always been creatively fascinating interesting company. I had like twenty minutes to kill very came to meet you and I just went in. The storm walked around the handbag area. I just WanNa see what's new look. Who's doing what colors so so. It's been never not interesting to me. I'll never forget my first experience of your window Simon. It was the late nineteen eighty s and Barney's was in the flagship on Seventh Avenue Between Sixteenth Seventeenth Street. I was living in a fourth floor tenement walkup on Sixteenth Street between eighth and Ninth Avenue now and I would go to Barney's every Sunday to window shop and fantasize. I couldn't afford anything in the store. I was really into Isaac Mizrahi and one of the most memorable experiences I had. I really have to tell you that. I think that this was life. Changing for me was when you did all the Christmas windows as the swanky bathrooms with the seven seven swans and filled bathtubs full of products and vanities full of makeup. I never considered that life could be that glamorous. It changed my aesthetic immediately. I suddenly needed to have at least one or two beautiful things around me and and it's always been that way ever since will I remember those windows vividly and what I did was. I had a friend in London who used to do these sort of loose sloppy. The paintings of Beata Meyer Patents from like I dunno whenever that is ninety early nineteenth century and his name was mic occurred and he painted all his backgrounds. We made giant swans out of paper. Michelle had never seen such product before. I'll always love the idea that Barney's was this high end glamorous store you could buy our mas- or Jill Sander or Prada but the windows were going to be hokey. Crofty of bit of Coney Island learned a lot of people a lot of found objects a lot of repurpose things so it wasn't like Melissa Swanky expensive store. The windows have have to be swanky if anything I pushed him in the other direction where the windows should be crofty Malacca side show in Kearney Kinda Hokey but then there was this luxurious product in these and there was a wit to everything that you've done. There's always been a sort of sense of cheek. One of the things Salaam from Diana Rowland was that it wasn't really fashion unless there was an unconventional unexpected component so it wasn't enough that just you have a sleek gorgeous girl and asleep gorgeous dress in asleep gorgeous room with asleep gorgeous makeup and and and is much more interesting to take a girl in a sleek gorgeous dress and put her in a building site or in a fruit market or the an he your now on a pile of trash or in the N. P. So in other words context that's to me what creativity is. It's like just looking at about things from different angles not doing what's expected trying to think what other people aren't doing like one of the things that Linda Fargo bugged off she she says to me you know you invented the messy window and I think she's right. I did invent the messy window because I used to look at windows. Thank God it's kind of a pain in in the ASS that windows have to be so perfect. The floor has to be freshly painted. All the sign inch has to be straight. You're measuring the spirit level and I thought what if it was a complete hellhole mess beyond anything and I would do these windows not all the time but occasionally whether it was just this inordinate inordinate amount of detritus and cigarette butts and ripped up magazines and furniture crashing down and chaos as opposed to what you would typically expect in a window. which is you know this pristine five so yeah to me? That's why I think. Creativity is looking for things that other people aren't doing looking at things in fresh ways taking things out of context. It's almost formulaic. If you're working in advertising display or you know try things that other people on doing and they'll automatically have some kind of impact your first book confessions of a window dresser it came out in nineteen ninety eight and Jim started your career as a writer and wrote columns for the New York Observer for ten years a columnist slate titled. Getting it right eight and you've written six more books a new book coming out in June. One of your books has been turned into a television show and BBC yet. You never thought or fantasized about being being a writer had it I come about you are such a good writer. I've been laughing out loud while reading your books over the last couple of weeks yeah. I was very unexpected. Greg did to me I put together. Oh my imagery for this Book Confessions of a Window Jessica and this wonderful Guy Nicholas callaway who owns Calorie Republishing Sex Book Yes Nicholas Callaway. He did Madonna's sex book and he said Oh you should write an introduction and I wrote got it and since the end and he said Oh my God you're hilarious and right more more more it became tax driven and then I sold the rights to Madonna and then I got my column from the Observer as you said and it was unexpected to me but it was very fun and learn like learning a new language or something like that so I enjoyed it and it made me actually very appreciative of my retail work like I love my job at Barney's. I appreciate it you get out of the the house she working collaboration with other people writings very solitary so we actually had a very generalizing positive effect on my life life you know my and writing and it's good you know because like beautiful people was originally called. Nasty and Simon and Schuster published it and they said this is going to be huge. It's going to be gray and I persuaded myself. It was going to be a big book and I thought this is it. This is when I become the next muriel spark or David sedaris or something I was GonNa you know I saw my name in lights and they published it and it was a complete flop like it was like a big dud in the New York Times gave it a horrible review and said I was for fishing superficial and because I read red call him about that and he was talking about how great is to be forfeited superficial. I interviewed people like Boy George Michael Musto but it was disappointing wincing and painful and there's a good experiences to go through. If you want to be a writer it's not all GonNa be plaudits and then one day I got a phone call and it was this Guy John Plowman and he had produced Ab FAB little Britain all these incredible iconic British TV shows and he said Oh i WanNa make Cativa show out of your book nasty but we want to change the title to beautiful people and that gave that book a whole other life. The reason that didn't do well was because of the cover Simon Yeah generals it. Did I mean the story is hysterical but the image is not beautiful and I think people got scared looking at it. I know what to me. I thought it was funny but I think it freaked people out the other threes and I think is because a lot of people take their lives and and put them out as misery memoir you know look at the sadness I ensured and the trauma and they laid all out and I was telling having these gruesome stories with panache and humor and people couldn't relate to they didn't know whether to be as bad or law for you know everybody has my exaggerated -aduated kind of punk rock sensibility so I'd written as like a survivor huma book whereas if I'd written it as alike finally here I'm setting the story of my background and you know the really dark moments and package shit that way. It might have been different but you know it's good to go through those things. You have to learn to be resilient. I think resilience persistence assistance that the only thing that matters really if you're persistent you can get stuff done so I've never really had like those you Malkin Gladwin years on the bestseller list or anything like that but I've always enjoyed writing just finished this book on footballers English. Soccer players tells the name what in England is cold Saturday night fever pitch which is a reference just to Nick Hornby classic book on Soccer Fever Pitch and in America. It's called soccer style the madness and magic and it's a celebration abrasion of the culture around Sokha Globally what happens when an twenty two year old guys making taking six hundred and fifty thousand dollars a week you know and he's buying Lamborghinis and having fun and being crazy and under the kind of pressure that sports person is and I'm fascinated fascinated by that. It's a very visual book lots of Tattoos haircuts cars so it's sort of something I've been working on for four five five years. It comes out in time for the World Cup James. Well Very Exciting Jeanne twelve we can everybody listening can pre-order it right now. Yes soccer style the madness and magic absolutely. I have a few more questions for you. You've been in this business for forty years now and it's a business. That's highly fickle very promiscuous and went about it. You said that the key to your success is that you've always approached everything with an immense sense of gratitude. I really love that. How do you maintain that. I am grateful to anybody who's ever paid me like I had this job before I moved moved to America working for this couple cold shelley and Tony and they had these fashion stores in shopping malls around the south of England and they were just dress dress shops high-street just shops and they were so sweet and I would go. I changed the windows and you know they pay me and it was decent money and I managed to save some of it for it came to American you know I'm just hugely grateful to anybody who's been willing to pay me. Even when I really didn't have a huge amounts who offer you know I found people were very benevolence and willing to to take me on even when I didn't have proven skills so someone like Tommy pose taking me on. That job didn't really know me. He just threw out that offer offer and I accepted it same gene pressman you know offering me that incredible. Jehovah Barney's you know I'm eternally grateful for that. Because I was quite feral. I didn't know very much. I wasn't bringing a lot to the table. They were taking a leap of faith so I've been hugely grateful to be taken seriously. They given a job Andy. Warhol said if I actually Andy Warhol didn't say but he quoted it constantly. success is a job in New York City exactly working in a juice bar or in starbucks or in a magazine or what have you doing. You've got a foothold somewhere somehow Simon. I'm so grateful that you came on the show today. I've been a fan of yours for over thirty years and it is just such an extraordinary experience to be able to have this conversation with you. Well thank you darling. I have one more thing to add lease. It's as if I haven't done enough self promotion about my football book soccer book sorry. I filmed this incredible. NBC TV show which is going to air beginning July thirty first on NBC and it's called making it and I am a judge along with Dana is some Johnson and the hosts are drum roll trim wrong amy poehler and Nick Offerman Offerman my God the host and it's a show about crofting. It's about puts on your phone. Make something gorgeous you know an incredible competition assertion show with an whole new format making it and they see you're. GonNa love it. Of course we are of course we are will you can find out everything that Simon Dune in is up to what he's written about what TV shows on by going to his website. Simon June dot com his book soccer style. The magic and madness is coming being from chronicle June twelfth and his brand new show making it his coming on NBC in July. Thank you for being unsigned matters today Simon. Oh my God Paul. Thank you for having me. I hope it wasn't too dismal. Oh it was divide tonight. This is the fourteenth year I've been doing design matters and I thank you for listening and remember we can talk about making a difference. We can make a difference or we can do both. I'm Jeff Melman and I look forward to talking with you again soon for for more information about design matters or to subscribe to our newsletter go to Debbie Millman Dot com. If you love this podcast please consider contributing to new kickstarter. Community members get early access to the podcast transcripts of every interview invitations to live interviews. QNA sessions with guests and a brand new annual Newell magazine. You can learn more about this at D. Dot Rip Slash Debbie Dash Millman. That's D. Dot rip slash Debbie Dash Millman if you want others to know about this podcast please read review in the IT and store and linked to the podcast on social media design matters is produced by Curtis Fox productions. The show is published exclusively by design observer DOT COM and reported live at the School of Visual Arts Masters and branding program in New York City the editor in chief of design Zayn matters media is Zachary petted and the art director is Emily Weiland generous support for design matters media is provided by Wicks DOT com.

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