I always love sharing my grumpiness
Ian 56, married with 2 kids from London. Works in magazines as a creative director.
How are you?
I’m physically hanging in there. It’s a difficult period - we had our 2 girls quite late. I was 39 and 41 when we had them. They’re good kids, they take over your life like everyones do. I’m really glad we did all the things we did before we had kids like living in New York because having kids doesn't come at the best time money wise, they cost us a bloody fortune and I’m probably on the downside of my financial power so that’s a bit of a strain. My wife’s a teaching assistant, she doesn’t get paid a lot and that puts extra pressure on me.
In my dreams I’d like to go off and set up my own design company or go and live on the Suffolk coast and paint seagulls or something (laughing) but there are bills to pay. It’s fine and we manage but that’s the thing with having kids when you’re older, they’re costing me big time when I’m trying to finish paying off the mortgage.
I’ve never been brave enough or found the right time to set out on my own but saying that I’ve always loved working on magazines with a whole creative team - I really enjoy it, but if money was no object I’d have a little book and vinyl shop and live the ‘High fidelity’ dream.
I work for a national magazine. I design the overall look and oversee all the visuals that are printed. I love designing and sharing my passion and, finger quotes here, wisdom, with the younger people. I’m in an industry that’s changing very rapidly. I love magazines but as for the tech and digital side - I’m becoming an old luddite and I just don't care - that’s the big cloud hanging over me. I’m good at what I do but will it will sustain me for the next 10 years? - I doubt it. My industry is a dying one which is a shame. Those days of ‘I’ll do this job forever’ are gone.
I want to move away from London completely, I’m sick of it. It’s so crowded and noisy. I feel like a grumpy old git. I want a bit of peace, greenery, sea and sky. But until the girls are through school and sorted I have to stay as I am - then we’ll move out. My wife has a plan and great at making things happen but I’m a half empty kinda person - so I don't think it will happen.
When you’re younger London’s the place to be but as you get older you just don't use it in the same way. My 10 minute walk to the station is just pushing through tourists and bloody backpackers. Put your phones down and look up! I get on the tube - standing all the way. I hate commuting. I don't feel burdened by my job I feel burdened by having to get the train every morning and every evening.
The other day I walked down Carnaby St. I passed all the clothes shops and bars, looking at all the young people hanging out with their drinks and thinking to myself - 30 years ago that was me standing there in those ridiculous jeans, looking stupid - that’s what I used to be, that’s what I used to live for. There’s nothing you can do about it - the city moves on. London’s a great city - but it’s not my city anymore. I detest it! I’m just an old git hanging on.
What do you think about marriage?
I am a firm believer in marriage and if you get married you stay married. I think it’s a great thing. I’m Jewish and come from a really close family - it’s that East End Jewish thing. I grew up in an extended family and I love that. I was brought up in a very dull family (laughing), we all got on with each other – imagine that. There are no skeletons (hopefully). I’m spoiled - my parents are alive and kicking and still together. Mum and dad are salt of the earth types. I was lucky. I think one of the worst things about how we live now is leaving the extended family network. I love our house and our street. I walk down my street in the mornings and people say ‘hi’. I wouldn’t normally go out of my way but it’s because of my wife, who is brilliantly social that I feel part of our community.
What are you views on faith?
My dad went through a really weird phase and started going to some kind of classes with a group of old men and a rabbi at the local synagogue, I suppose it’s that thing of getting older and wanting to find something. He’s not an intellectual - he’s a cab driver and I’ve never seen him read a book but for some reason he wanted to find out more about his faith. He was learning Hebrew too. I’m not sure he still goes now, there’s been lots of changes at the synagogue, so he feels a little intimidated. I know he goes to Tescos instead with the guys and and has a cup of tea in the cafe. (laughing)
I love the Jewish history and am proud to be Jewish, I’m not religious. I went to a Jewish primary school. I learnt a lot - it was all kinda bible classes - I actually enjoyed it. I carried on with it until I was 13 - 14. My local rabbi was a lovely old boy, a West Ham supporter, he took me under his wing. I still read a lot of Jewish stuff, mainly Holocaust based - it’s really important to me.
I’m going to Auschwitz for the second time soon. I don't go to hate Nazis - I don't stand there in floods of tears. I just want to go back there to be a part of it, to remember it. It’s part of my heritage and part of what makes me who I am today. For me Birkenau is the spiritual centre of the whole thing. I haven’t got the words to describe the feelings, there's this amazing stillness that hangs there - it's the atmosphere. My father’s parents got out of Eastern Europe before the disaster. They were the lucky ones, unlike their parents and siblings. Maybe one day I’ll do a Masters degree in the Holocaust - it’s something I am interested in.
What's your view of body image?
I think it has changed for men. I see what girls I work with expect from a guy - a 6 pack and a tanned body seems quite important to them. It's different from when I was younger.
Some men take more care of themselves, look at Beckham and the likes - shoving it in our faces. Women expect more nowadays which is fair enough after all the years of men’s expectations. Although I think both ways there is a problem.
I don't think body image should be the most important thing in your life. I occasionally go to the gym and see guys there working their guts out, I don't understand that - get a life. There’s much more important things out there.
As far as women go - it's depressing. I think it's horrible what the industry has done. Somertimes I hate the fashion industry, it's disgusting. There's different levels of body image. I’m gonna say models should look like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell - but that's a body image too. It all got very thin and grungy - it's gross. If you're gaunt and skinny naturally then fantastic but that shouldn't be the norm. None of it should become the norm.
Everyone puts on a front. There's very few people who don't stand in front of the mirror every morning and not make some judgement. We are bombarded with what you're ‘supposed’ to look like. There’s a horrendous con in the fashion industry, putting the wrong sizes in dresses - making people feel too big - it’s gross! Parts of the fashion industry work like a gay mafia - run by men that don't give a shit about what women look like. It's a bit naughty to say that but I think a lot of them prefer a 'boy' show than a feminine show.
There is no right or wrong shape for anybody. I work in a glamorous industry I love things that are glossy and beautiful. I don't think there's anything wrong with people wanting to look good - so when we have body imaging on the magazine I never reshape bodies but I will take out creases and marks on skin if I know that person would want it. That goes back to my vision of Hollywood - if you go to a fashion magazine you're going for the glamour otherwise you'd pick up a different type of magazine. I don't want to see people looking like they've just got out of bed. I want the celebs to look glowing and lovely. It's not about legs being thinner or having a gap between thighs and I hate that tanning is now part of the culture. I don't understand why people want to look like that. Peer pressure is horrendous, especially for kids - I hate social media with a passion.
It's really hard the whole body image thing and magazines are the easy target - the comments people make online are vile - people are hyper critical and have no idea what really goes on at a shoot - 'she looks awful and they’ve photoshopped her to death' why do you have to comment? Why not look at it - and think she looks nice - or not. Everybody's is judgemental now. This is first world problem, we're all spoilt.
Who or what inspires you?
When I was younger lots of things inspired me. Musicians - films, I was so passionate about music, always down the record shops - I believed in John Lennon and Bob Dylan. I cried my eyes out when Lennon died. Then you get older and think - was John Lennon such a good guy? Probably not!
I had some inspirational teachers especially my art teacher. I was really lucky. An editor I worked with too, there was something simply brilliant about him. I wanted to listen to him, be like him - have his outlook, his knowledge - everything. I only worked with him for a year but he had such a presence.
I get inspired by stuff that I see; old films, old jackets, old pop stars, old stuff. It's a connection I've always had. I suppose one of my biggest regrets is that I could have done something different with my passion for all that stuff. I think if my parents were a bit more boho I might have gone a different way, done something more interesting. Don’t know. I’m think I’m talking crap
My wife inspires me - she so bloody positive. Talk about the yin yang. She inspires me in loads of ways.
Where does all your energy go?
Shouting at my kids (laughing). I am not very energetic really. My brain power goes on my job and that knackers me.
I am a big Arsenal supporter, a season ticket holder for my sins. I have a tendency to express my feelings at the game. (laughing). I have an opinion on every moment of the game. I truly think I know it all! If we've won I’m on a high and that will stay with me until the next day. If it’s a draw I feel flat - if we lose I am angry - it depends on the importance of the game. I love it - it's tribal.
I hate what's happened to football, it's gone away from the fans. A close friend of mine who's been going to the match with me for years has had to give up his ticket because he can't afford it - my mate can't go because of greed! You used to be able to go with the whole family - you just can't do that anymore.
I love the team – so many great memories are tied up in Arsenal - it's my club, it’s my family’s club, it’s my friends’ club. I don't want to give it up because some some twat from America now owns it and he’d rather fill it with Japanese tourists than local supporters who aren’t going to waste their money every Saturday buying overpriced replica shirts and extortionate cups of tea. A few years back I lost my job and I thought, I’m going to have to give up going but my old boss said 'don't whatever you do - you'll regret it. You'll get a job, you'll find your way' - and she was right.
I don't drink, smoke or go to pubs. I don't hang out with blokes, my life is being surrounded by women - I work in fashion magazines and am married with two daughters. I love going to the match, seeing the people, getting away from it all and being a geezer. Last season was the first time I have thought about giving it up by choice because I was so angry about what’s going on in the club. We’ll see but it’s not my club anymore. London’s not my city, Arsenal’s not my club. Jeez. I’m so grumpy.
How do you see yourself?
Slightly frustrated white, middle class man who feels the world is changing around him. But I am lucky that I have good support around me - great kids, brilliant wife, good friends, lovely family and a good job.
As someone who did ok but could have done better - didn’t fulfil his full potential. I kinda of accept it. Occasionally I get frustrated with myself. I think we all think we're special at something.
I see myself as fairly straightforward. I would love a den with all my books and my things in it - my space. I see myself as ok, decent, slightly dull. Used to be fairly good looking now a plain old bloke whose got an ok life, who could have had a better life - financially. Someone who didn't push himself enough to earn more to put the kids in a better school but there again I'm not the sort of person who would go out of my way to change that. I wouldn't be untrue to who I am to get a different job. I'd rather stick at a job that doesn't pay as much that I enjoy than go and do a job I hate.
I think I could have been a good editor but it would have meant having to go out and socialise and I couldn’t be arsed with all that. So there’s slight frustrations but overall I'm happy that people around me are happy. My wife and kids have good lives. Underneath there’s a slight frustration - could I have done something slightly different? Could I have got more out of being a teacher? I like magazines - but what's the point to them? So what if I'm off to LA to shoot Taylor Swift!
What have you taken from doing this today?
Like a lot of people I can talk about myself forever! I’ve enjoyed it. I always love sharing my grumpiness - spreading the word (laughing). The question 'How do you see yourself' - I found very interesting.