Tea today in the Wallace Collection with the fabulous Peter York, consultant and social commentator.
I love proper tea and the combination of the tasteful environment and conversational partner was a delight.
Peter has made a name for himself (literally) by observing new social phenomena in British Society and helping the rest of us understand what’s going. He has a way of coining a label that really works – perhaps the best example of which was the Sloan Ranger phenomenon some (cough) 30 years ago. His smart appearance, his impeccable speech pattern and his civilsed manner belie a sharp eye for the ludicrous and the bizarre. A good example is his fabulous book from last year on Dictator’s home-decor. If you don’t have a copy, buy one. No, buy two and give one to a friend. Truly gruesome (in the aesthetic sense of course) and a reminder that folk who want to rule the world shouldn’t be trusted.
Unlike most of the advertising and market research world’s social observers, Peter recognises that the world goes on without us – the real world is out there and brands are of importance only when they have social value. Hence the Sloan phenomenon was a social – and not marketing-led – thing. As most things are.
And in his spare time, he runs a remarkable business, SRU. And advises a number of important businesses, but he’s far too discrete to tell you so.