by Joan Ellis

Here’s Ella

My first novel, ‘I am Ella. Buy me’ hit Amazon’s virtual bookshelf yesterday.I was so excited, I cracked open a packet of Bourbons.I told everyone I know. And everyone I don’t know.

Ella is a lot like me. Loves cake. She doesn’t so much go to work on an egg as travel in on three almond croissants. (If you’ve ever been to Patisserie Valerie or Maison Bertaux in Soho, you’ll know why. Sublime.)

Ella works for a bad boss and falls for a bad boy. Sound familiar? Shake hands, sister! Been there, done that, got the nervous tick to prove it.

Her boss, Peter is a chauvinist pig and proud of it. Well this is the 80s when men where men and women were well, just women. His criteria for hiring and firing girls is based on bust size and believe you me, his cup is overflowing.

We’ve all met his ilk. Hopefully, you handled them better than I did. One charmer actually asked: I’ve never had you, have I? It was the unnerving level of uncertainty that got me. Obviously, I was just one in a long line of blonde copywriters. For the record, the answer was ‘No’. Not hard, his open sandals and hairy toes didn’t do it for me.

If you’ve had similar experiences, I’d love to hear them.

In the meantime, meet Ella. You’ll like her. She’s probably a lot like you.

Ella David’s reference from Peter

CBA ADVERTISING

100 Dean Street, W.1. Telephone: 01 734 1000

20 November 1982

To whom it may concern,

Re: Ella David reference

My name is Peter Richards, Creative Director par excellence of CBA Advertising.

Ella David has been my copywriter for some years and has written a number of award-winning campaigns. She will work her arse off for you – believe me, there’s enough of it so you will get your money’s worth.

She seems unable to keep a boyfriend so no worries about her getting knocked up and leaving you in the lurch

Absolut D&AD

absolut xray

absolut xray

You know what it’s like when you really want something – you work for it, strive for it and then it happens. Hurray! You’re thrilled. But it’s taken you so long to achieve your aim, the timing is all wrong.

My poster for Absolut vodka, ‘X-ray’ made it into the 1995 Design & Art Direction Annual.  As if being part of D&AD wasn’t reward enough, my work was included at the Private View of the 1995 Festival of Excellence Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

When I turned up at the venue, awash with Adland legends, I was beyond excited.

I was pregnant.

Look what I got up to at work in the ’80’s

During the late ’80’sand early ’90’s, I worked at two London advertising agencies, Chetwynd Haddons and The Creative Business. Neither exists today. The fact both employed me is pure coincidence. Back then, working wasn’t work, it was going out to play with your mates, every day and getting paid for it. As one-half of a creative team, I did words (copywriter) and Dick Tyson did pictures (art-director). We turned our ideas into award-winning ads.

Peter Richard’s Little Black Book

[Peter is the chauvinistic Creative Director of CBA, the ’80’s ad agency in my novel: I am Ella. Buy me. To discover how his mind works, I took a sneaky peek into his Filofax.]

Spotted new little hottie in my department!!! A dark-eyed lovely fresh out of college. Just my type! Unfortunately, she appears to be shacked up with her copywriter, an ugly so-and-so with a penchant for raspberry-coloured trousers. Bumped into him in the gents – let’s just say he doesn’t measure up to yours truly! Lord knows what she sees in him. Assume his Father is loaded.

Why I loved working in Soho in the ‘80’s

So sordid. So sexy. So sassy. Soho was never so-so.

Working in one of London’s top advertising agencies just off Soho Square allowed me to get up close and personal with one of the most exciting places on earth.

Boy dressed as girls and women competing in a man’s world – everywhere I looked girls were ‘doing it for themselves’ to quote the lexicon of ‘80’s cool, Annie Lennox.