The old bugger, Mr Arse, who founded our agency is paying us a visit. He is treating us to lunch at his club, and I expect I will be as sick as a dog at the end of it. Not because the food isn’t fabulous at his old-boy’s club (although it isn’t as great as it should be), but because I will be feeling horribly jealous. He made loads of money working in PR, lives in a great, big, f*ck-off mansion in Surrey and enjoys a huge pension. Because of his great talent? That’s what he thinks, and to be fair he deserves credit for some great campaigns. But the real reason he made money out of PR is because he worked in the industry at the right time.
What is particularly irksome is that Mr Arse thinks that people in PR these days are useless compared to PR people in his day. Despite the fact that young PR people have it so much harder. Not that I qualify as a young person any more, although I still have fifty years of work ahead of me as I won’t be able to afford to retire.
Oh! to have worked in PR in the 1970s and 1980s! Even the 1990s wasn’t half bad. Let’s face it, people who worked in PR in the old days had it easy:
1. Clients had more money to spend, and didn’t gripe about spending it on PR.
2. PR gurus were genuinely respected, even if they didn’t really deserve this respect.
3. There were budgets to take journalists out for lavish lunches, that lasted all afternoon.
4. If you weren’t drinking champagne, it was because you were sniffing something stronger.
5. No one used computers, so PR wasn’t ruled by geeks.
6. Houses were so cheap you could actually afford to buy one, even if you were just a PR manager.
7. Smoking was acceptable. You could smoke 40 fags a day at your desk if you felt like it. And that was after smoking on the train on your way to work.
8. Ageism in PR meant that senior partners were pensioned off early. With huge pensions (that the rest of us are paying for now).