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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What makes it all worthwhile? The people. People like Matt Kahn

Twenty odd years ago an American writer came to me looking for a job.

He was called Matt Kahn.

He showed me his work, and I thought he was pretty good. One piece impressed me so much that I use it as an example of good copy to this day.

He had the look of a boozer, though. (Having been brought up in a pub, I tend to spot these things.)

I asked him about it. Can't recall the exact words, but he denied it. So I hired him. He was indeed a pretty good writer - and just as keen on the drink as I thought.

But then again, I have been known to raise the odd glass myself.

Matt died far too young - in his late forties, I think - but not forgotten.

My friend Steve Harrison wrote to me today about him.

"When I visited Derek Robson in San Fran (Derek's someone else who worked with us) the person we reminisced about most was Matt Kahn. I told him my favourite story.

Matt left us to work as Creative Director at some place like Brann.

He was there about 12 months when the MD came to him and said, "Sorry Matt but the numbers aren't looking good. We need to make up 40 grand or so, which means you need to let two or three junior to middle people go. Can you give me their names before the end of the week?"

Matt pondered this one long and hard. But didn't venture his list of names. At 5.30 the MD stopped by the bar where Matt was finishing off the session he'd probably started at around 1.00pm.

"So, Matt, have you got those names for me?" says the MD.

"Oooh man, I dunno, Is this reeaaally necessary" ventures Matt pulling that tight-eyed grimace of his.

"'Fraid so" says the head suit.

"How much was it again?"

"Forty grand, Matt. Minimum"

"Ok, says Matt, I've got it. I've got your 45 thousand"

"Great" says the MD. "Give them to me first thing Monday, will you?"

"No need. You can have 'em now. They're 'Matt' and 'Kahn'."

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