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Sunday, 9 October 2011

My favourite Poles, the power of brands – and slightly less rain in Spain

In the 1960’s I fell in love with a Polish girl, and discovered that the Poles, whom I had always imagined, God knows why, a calm, slightly gloomy lot, like the Swedes, were - in her case anyhow - a fiery, passionate lot.

They seemed more like what I imagined the Italians to be. She nearly killed me once – and I still have the scar to prove it. As I now live with an Italian I shall say no more, but for a desperate stretch during my seven lost years in the ‘70’s I sold investments on the phone for a Polish Count.

A former cavalry colonel, he was one of those gallant maniacs who charged the German tanks on horseback in 1939. When I knew him he was 60 and living with a girl of 19, with whom he had a baby. An inspiration. He drank a lot, as I did. He gave me some good advice: don’t drink on one day of the week. And he used to do keep-fit exercises. I have emulated him in both habits. Thank you, Kepinski. I am sure you are in heaven.

I only dislike one Pole, who runs the Polish DMA, for which he is entirely unqualified. More recently the Poles I have got to know at all well have been my cleaners, Kasia in London and now Anna. Kasia has a rough time, mainly because her husband is a selfish bastard. Anna is an orphan who seems to have survived a really rough time and emerged with a sunny disposition – besides being rather beautiful.

Yesterday she came and showed my beloved how to make Pirogi, which are like giant Polish ravioli. She brought Polish flour and Polish sunflower oil – both, I imagine, no better than the British versions, but more expensive.

Such is the power of the brand in people’s minds. I was on the Ogilvy and Mather board when communism was swept away, and there was much discussion of the way in which Western brands would conquer all – but they haven’t.

Anyhow, now that we’re all suffering from, among other things, the baleful policies of the European Central Bank’s one-size-doesn’t-fit-all straightjacket, many places in Europe are pretty cheap, which brings me to something I mentioned yesterday – my crazy idea of seeing how many people would like to come to Southern Spain for a copy seminar.

I plan to include a very good hotel deal and free car hire and the weather will be slightly better than the U.K. I need 40 people to make it worthwhile, though.

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