Miranda Leslau PR

PR in Black and White

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Miranda Leslau PR - PR in Black and White

Fast Love

 

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I have been thinking about the content of this post for a week now. The theme is derived from Adele’s recent live tribute version of ‘Fast Love’ by our beloved George (Michael). Adele was pretty bold to take on a slow version of this iconic track at last week’s Grammy’s and was criticized for doing so. Power of the people, right?

I think elements of this brave testament were haunting and powerful, particularly within the strings’ section. Other parts were slightly ‘off’. Nay bother. The message for me was the fact that I could actually hear the words of the song, when it was slowed down. And powerful words they are too. And this got me thinking about ‘Fast Vs Slow Life & Love’.

George is well-known for having been as self-deprecating as he was shocking about his lifestyle. He lived life to the full but he also respected where he came from and gave back, without seeking publicity or comment. He was “brought up well”, as our grandparents would have said (or “like a nice Greek boy”, as the father would have said in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ (the JOY of those two films).

Modern day life is fast – call it ‘The Tinder Effect’, if you like. George’s life was fast. We seek the fastest route to our destination; the quickest download speed; the most time-efficient workout or weight-loss plan; the path of least resistance when it comes to love and sex and seem to be obsessed with our lack of time, without appreciating the moment of time in which we exist. When we slow down the backing track of our life, the lyrics can be heard…

We have no control over time. It passes, regardless. The sun rises and sets as a ritual. And we tend to rush about trying to cram as much into our day without stopping to appreciate the view. None of us know when our time is up. And with the best technology and all of the money in the world, if it is your time, it is just that. As George can now tell us, from up on high.

I know myself that some of my best friendships and relationships have evolved over time. Not because I am getting to know someone else but due to the fact that we each find ourselves as much on our own as through the eyes of others: our colleagues, our friends, our lovers and our family. We are each mirrors and levellers. Quality over quantity (except in the case of roast potatoes or chocolate, I might add).

Generation ‘Tinder’ makes us impatient. It makes us look around the next corner, the next timeline or ‘Swipe Left’ and the next ‘Google’ search. George knew the difference between ‘Slow’ and ’Fast’ Love. You just have to listen to some of his other lyrics to appreciate the magnitude of this parallel.

I suppose we each fear ‘fear’, feelings and rejection. So speeding up our lives reduces the need to feel anything at all. We NEED fear in our lives to survive; to succeed in business and to grow. For anyone who has experienced heartbreak or loss in one form or another, it is a fate worse than death (particularly for teenagers, LOL). Because you have to deal with it and carry on (or sink)! George knew this and it inspired some of his greatest lyrics (‘Cowboys and Angels’). So ‘Fast Love’ becomes the quick fix and short-term Elastoplast. I too have been there.

The irony is that most people who live their lives in the ‘Fast Lane’, usually opt out at one point or another – burnt out high rollers and City wonder boys and girls. We all know at least one person like this. I could say that I too CHOSE to slow down my life by moving to Spain. Spain is like a spiritual, emotional and physical ‘tonic’ for me. I know far too many people who have crashed and burned through life, work, drugs or alcohol. And then they HAVE to slow down, rather than choose to do so.

If you can’t slow down or stay still long enough to ‘look up’, once you reach a certain point in life, what is the point? For the oligarchs and internationally acclaimed business leaders, if they can’t enjoy their hard work, why bother? Richard Branson regularly posts simplistic posts on his Instagram feed about life on Necker Island and the joy of being a grandfather. None of his great joys happened overnight – babies take nine months (or so) and his business success was borne out of a lot of hard graft, selling great and trusted products and understanding the power of PR.

It is timely that I post this blog on a Sunday - Spain’s day of rest, when the shops are closed, families take four hours over lunch and chatter abounds through the Paseos and Plazas within every Community and Pueblo. And I suspect quite a lot of Slow (and Fast) Love is going on too. ‘Fast Love’ is fun but ‘Slow Love’ is amazing. In George’s words, at the end of ‘Fast Love’… “I miss my baby…”. Hurting from some ‘Slow Love’, no doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridget & Her ‘Modern Family’

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I have a confession to make… one that any self-respecting 46 year old PR probably shouldn’t be making. I never really liked Bridget Jones on-screen… I found Zellweger just a touch too nauseating in films one and two – something about her mouth. I didn’t LIKE Bridget. Maybe it was timing. I had just lost my beloved mum and didn’t really like anything. But all that has changed.

I laughed at Bridget singing in a Thai jail; I empathised with her attempts to conquer life and love. And I was always more of a Daniel Cleaver kind of girl. But… I have never been a girl to ask “does my bum look big in this?”, count calories or sit and down a bottle of wine at home in my PJ’s. I never REALLY related. But I was still the only ‘unmarried’ at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Christmas parties. AND I only wore a bunny girl outfit at the right party, a Playboy party!

From the opening scene of ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, I just knew this film was for me. Bridget singing ‘House of Pain’ word-for-word is more my thing, minus the wine – my dogs normally dance along with me. I liked watching Bridget on screen this time around. I can’t begrudge her former ‘baby fat’ look as Renee actually fattened up on some of London’s finest Italian food at Da Mario Kensington, owned by one of my closest friends, Marco Molino.

The script, from beginning to end, was tight and relevant – I am sure helped along by Dan Mazer and Emma Thompson’s input. I think most people I know can relate to Bridget in this film – I wept and I howled with laughter. The actors are genuinely enjoying themselves and ‘McDreamy’ clearly ups the ante as far as I am concerned (particularly bare-chested, in a yurt, at a music festival). Perhaps this is the true reason that Hugh Grant refused the role.

You can just feel through the cellulose that every character is rooting for Bridget. Many of the cast have played alongside her since back in 2001. Zellweger is also clearly more comfortable in Bridget’s (tighter) skin (ironic after her own plastic surgery) and perhaps is more in touch with her own femininity, particularly when she finds out she is “up the duff”.

On that note, Emma Thompson is a delight, as always, as is Bridget’s new side-kick, the free-spirited ‘Miranda’ (who would have thought). The director and production unit have captured London at its best. The soundtrack is fantastic and relevant – I particularly loved Annie Lennox’s ‘The Hurting Time’. Every inflection in Annie’s voice reflects what is going on chez Bridget. And I am sure ‘Bridget Jones Tours’ are being launched by ‘Team Brexit’ as we speak, just as SATC Tours exist in NYC.

What is so ironic about Bridget Jones is that if it wasn’t for her middle class roots, her clipped RP accent (and what a brilliant English accent it is) and decent teeth, I am sure Jeremy Kyle would have loved to make mincemeat of her on his morning TV show. The ‘Jack’ and ‘Mark’ equivalents would have looked like they had just come off the set of ‘The Walking Dead’, once again, with rotten teeth and they would be shouting at one another with obligatory sub-titles on our screens.

I cried when Bridget saw her baby on the ultrasound monitor. It is a long time since 2004. So much has changed for me: I lost my dad; almost lost my mind; moved to Spain; got two rescue dogs; built up my business; survived cancer; fell in love with boxing; ran three half marathons for Make-A-Wish; travelled the world; experienced difficult break-ups and numerous illnesses but most relevant of all, I lost my womb to a full (and medically required) hysterectomy. So no ‘Miranda Leslau’s Baby’ movie.

I rarely consider the fact I won’t be a natural mum. But I felt a pang of loss as I watched Bridget ‘bloom’. And so many women watching this film will relate to Bridget’s journey, regardless of whether they are married, single, co-habiting or otherwise. You can just ‘feel’ Bridget more in 2016 and it will be personal to you and your situation. She has grown up with her fans and we want her to be happy because we all want to be happy in our own skin.

I was really rooting for Jack throughout. Mr Darcy never worked for me but I appreciate his relevance in the movie script and character progression. In an interview, Dempsey actually said he didn’t know why they couldn’t both have Bridget. Now that is a ‘Modern Family’ indeed. Seems reasonable to me, LOL.

You know there is movie number four in the making too. I won’t give everything away but the final scene prompts two specific storylines that you just KNOW are going to put a spanner in the works and that ‘The Diary’ will be smoking with confusion in the next few years. And I can’t wait.

Bridget Jones’s Baby is a delight. I want to see it again. I love that Bridget has grown up. I have grown up and changed no end since Bridget came to life in 2001. I love her now. I love myself now. And, the most important mission for me is that if Bridget can get married, so can I. And this I will do. Thank you, Bridget. You inspired me and focused me. I know what I want. And I am so happy that you got what you want too (well for now!!).

Prince’s Crown (Chakra)

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I haven’t blogged for a long time. It doesn’t mean I haven’t had anything to say - far from it. I have had a lot to say, just not much time or will to do so.

But this week we lost Prince. It will go down in history as the day a Jack trumped a Queen (it was Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday). Just as well the world operates in different time-zones as Queenie may not have got a look in, had Prince died that very same morning, UK-time.

Prince was a musical genius but more than that, he was a humanitarian and a great friend, according to the genuine, heartfelt accolades that spilled over in a sea of purple rain, from Coast to Coast and City to City the world over. Fundamentally, Prince was always true to himself. Which, in itself, is honourable, in our world of falsehoods and alter-egos.

I have struggled with myself of late: my health, my emotions and my belief in self – I doubted the fact that I am true to myself and perhaps should change this to keep up with the status quo. My life mantra has always been pretty much ‘like me or lump me’, with a strong sense of self and integrity, but I started to waiver towards change.

Prince’s death however, and the quote above, jolted me right back into my own reality and gave me a right royal purple lashing to my butt, to remind me that I am doing OK. Prince would appreciate that slightly sadistic reference, I am sure.

I think Prince was the only recording artist who banned third parties from using his musical material for commercial gain. He stood up for what he believed in, wearing very high heels - against a Goliath of an industry that can strip you of your dignity faster than you can say ‘Kardashian’.

The very nature of social media has increasingly allowed all of us to become the type of person we aspire to be rather than the person we actually are. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen a friend posting something on Facebook or the like and I know that what they are saying is utter rubbish as they have been pouring their heart out to me minutes earlier (or saying something completely different).

In a world where the quality of your selfie filter defines you, Prince created his own self-managed filter in every aspect of his life. And whilst some people may consider him to have been a few blackcurrants short of a Ribena carton, his lyrical wisdom and melodic lightning bolts will stay in my heart and soul until I reach my own version of Purple Rain.

Prince reminds me what it is to be a woman, in the most visceral sense. I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t had sex to a Prince song, at one time or another. For me, that song and that experience was ’Anna Stesia’. It takes me right back to when I was too young to care yet old enough to know better.

For me, Prince’s death has reminded me to trust in myself; to retain my integrity and take Madonna’s ‘True Blue’ to another level. I have transcended to ‘True Purple’, the colour of the crown chakra and an infinite connection with Heaven. I only hope and pray Prince is wearing a purple crown up there – the royal purple crown of Kings and Queens.

 

 

 

 

 

Miranda Leslau’s ‘Life in Black and White’ (with a splash of colour)

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When I was creating the miranda leslau pr strapline, ‘PR IN BLACK AND WHITE’, these words were chosen not only to reflect me as a business person, ie quite cut and dry, but also me in life. Sort it out, sharpish – you either want this or you don’t and never waste my precious time. Not only do I love a mono fashion combo (it keeps packing and wardrobe arrangement simple and yes, I do store my clothes as per the colours of the rainbow), it was also homage to my favourite era of Hollywood, when women knew how to conduct themselves and men were ‘real’ men.

This week was an absolute reflection of my brand: black and white, to a tee. I spent the last five days solid rushing around London, meeting with clients old and new as well as charities and retailers. It was really full on, all in the name of great PR and, hopefully, positive working relationships.

It was a week of real ups and downs though; darkness and light, with a few individuals showing their true (rather dark and unpleasant) colours and others being generous of spirit, professional and kind. It reinforced my ‘LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE’ theory. But there was a difference this week. Me. I was the difference.

Having had Cancer last year, part of me has gone forever, just like the hour that we will lose as of next Saturday night, when the clocks go forward. I now realise that what other people say, do or think actually has nothing to do with me. How I react to them does. If someone treats me badly it says more about them than it does about me. Before, I would always react, albeit internally and revert to the little abandoned four year old girl.

So when the darkness reared its ugly head this week, I didn’t react. I remained calm and didn’t take it personally. I impressed myself, actually. Probably, the little girl part of me wanted to punch certain individuals in the face. In reality, I realised it doesn’t really matter. No-one died and the hands of the clock keep moving, regardless. Their moment will come (I also know this!).

As my dad used to say “for every action there is a reaction…” where there is dark, the light also shone through for me this week. I gave a talk to a group of international students at The University of Buckingham, where I used to lecture in PR. The course was a BSc in Enterprise and focused on entrepreneurship. My talk was about ‘Entrepreneurs, Life and Living’.

These inspired young people loved my talk. They said it was one of the best of the term. And this, for me, made my week. It made all the other crap worthwhile simply because I had impacted upon these creative young people’s existence. My life motto will always be that “I want to make a difference” and hopefully these engaged entrepreneurial minds will go out and make things happen in their lives. I shared my life story with them (albeit abridged) and gave from the heart.

As I type, the dark rain clouds are clearing, making way for the light, once again. Ever present in nature (and in the Orange ads), the future is bright and a rainbow always follows a storm. And this is when I readily embrace a spectrum of colours, as well as within my wardrobe arrangement, of course.

Café del Miri – Wake up and smell the coffee…

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Most people that I love and who love me back know that I adore a great coffee.  I’m not talking a pint cup of monstrous woppa-mocca-frappa-coco-choccoccino whose one shot of coffee tastes like burnt wood chippings, costs you way too much and whose calorific value probably equates to a quarter of an adult woman’s recommended daily intake. 

No my friends.  What I mean is the fantasy coffee that you would be sipping whilst people-watching in Monaco, Milan or Miami.   The ‘James Bond’ of coffees, the one that you would ideally be supping as Miss or Mister OMG is also drinking in the same establishment.  I think I watch too many films but back to the point.

Coffee is a passion in most European countries except GB.  The Viennese Coffee House is an art form, taken extremely seriously (Vienna is actually my favourite European city).  In Italy, the daily espresso is a way of life much like the baguette in France.  Coffee IS life.

Coffee drinking is not about high blood pressure or ‘this is bad for you’.  It is about living, socialising, engaging, taking in what is around you.  And reading newspapers.  It is not about going to a coffee house because it has a WIFI connection.  Technology moves you away from your connection with life.  The more you connect your charger or laptop, the less you look up and smell the coffee (literally and allegorically).

Coffee is by all accounts actually good for you.  Caffeine can be prescribed to migraine sufferers in Spain.  Many skin products contain it to ‘tighten the skin’ and it hasn’t killed off the Italian race just yet.  It is one of life’s pleasures.  It is one of my life pleasures anyway.  And whilst I am not a fan of booze, I don’t smoke (although I love a cigar) or do drugs, some people will try and make me feel bad about drinking coffee.

The problem is as follows.  Firstly instant granules, that should only be used when making the Greek style of iced coffee (I have the recipe if anyone wants it).  They are generally used with chemicals and would insult most coffee aficionados at first whiff.  The first whiff is actually injected into the jars anyway.

Secondly, George Clooney and the Nespresso advertisements.  OK, he sells machines for them.  But then the company tries to be clever and creates 82 million blends of coffee that no one really understands.  All we want is a decent cup of genuine blend.  Either with caffeine or without.

And on that subject, coffee will only affect your ability to sleep if you are not used to drinking it.  I would be more worried about the chemicals in the instant coffee than to a feast-of-the-senses type of coffee experience that can only be found in a few select parts of the world.  I have probably had a handful of decent coffees in London in 44 years.

Thirdly, most people will have never tasted decent coffee.  If they frequent the global chains that sometimes forget to pay their taxes, this will not train their taste buds to appreciate the real deal.  Most restaurants and cafés also don’t clean their coffee machines enough.  If the blend tastes bitter, it is either crap coffee or the machine needs cleaning.

Coffee, like tea and alcohol, also depends on the vessel used to drink it from.  A mug from Tesco’s is not quite the same as a traditional Italian espresso cup.  My late father, whom I blame for my extreme coffee fetish, would give me a Rombout’s one cup filter coffee in a traditional Rombout cup and saucer.  And we would often venture out where he lived in Antwerp for the same.   I loved this bond and ritual we had.  Coffee was associated with pleasure not with being tired, hungover or rushing for a train.

I have tried every make of cafetière and they always break.  So I have gone back to the traditional staple of a hob coffee maker.  As preferred by the French and the Italians.  Whilst this takes a bit longer to make, the end result it masterful.  Precious and enjoyed.  I am also a fan of soya milk to make the froth for a cappuccino.  The end result is astounding, much richer and creamier and you would never know it is soya milk.  Add your cinnamon on top and ‘way to go’…

You might think I am a lunatic talking about coffee is this way.  But that is part of the Western mindset (particularly in the UK or the US).  Food and drink is about ‘on the go’ and speed rather than ‘take your time’.  Enjoy your food and drink.  Then it will become part of your day rather than seeing coffee as a treat or something equally ridiculous.  Without guilt or regret that is more likely to make you ill than the coffee itself.

Quality food and drink should be relished and savoured.  Yes, I agree, don’t drink too much coffee as it could affect your heart etc.  But this could be said for any sort of visceral pleasure: from meat eating to whisky or head-banging.  The pleasure is in the experience.  A bit like Café del Mar.  Overlooking the sunset as Miss or Mister OMG sits down beside you…happy coffee trails my friends.