YOU'RE INVITED TO "THE EYE BALL" (Bring your own glasses)

The best thing about being a freelance copywriter (no, it's not the sacks of cash) is the variety of assignments.  If it's not a brand guide, manifesto, or digital campaign it's a video featuring a short-sighted optical instruments heiress, a dodgy butler, and a cast of 50 hunting hounds, a.k.a. “The Eye Ball”.  Created for Georgetown Optician by Pum Lefebure and the amazing Design Army team, “The Eye Ball” is the sequel to the award-winning “Our Family Knows Glasses” (also scripted by me), and elaborates on the already elaborate story of the company’s optically obsessed owners.  Adweek raves, “It’s even more bizarre than the original”.  Thanks, I think. 


Agency: Design Army

Chief Creative Officer & Creative Director: Pum Lefebure

CEO: Jake Lefebure

Director & Cinematographer: Dean Alexandeer

Senior Designer: Lillian Ling

Editor: David Grossbach

Copywriter: Mark Welsh


By Mark Welsh

The latest RH catalog hit New York city last week, and by “hit” I mean mercilessly clobbered. 

Weighing in at hefty 325 pounds (or thereabouts) this unappealingly shrink wrapped collection of 5 “source books” prompted shrieks of “Oh no they didn’t!” at Post Offices from the Battery to the Bronx and filled New York’s emergency rooms with sprained and (even more than usually) disgruntled mail carriers.  Nursing a wrist injury and a grudge, my dedicated mail lady Connie summed up the feelings of many as she tossed letters into slots with the precision of a carnival knife thrower.  “I signed up to deliver mail through sleet, snow, and hail, she huffed.  “No one ever mentioned the  Mother@#$%&^% RH catalog”.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m an ardent fan of catalogs and have written literally hundreds for clients including Bloomingdale’s, Joe Fresh, west elm, and Ann Taylor – a sprinkling of which I’ve included here for purely self-promotional purposes.

But do we really need to receive all 5 at once?  Talk about incite bad will among 99 pound weaklings, 6th floor walk-up dwellers, and trees. 

Without further ado or adon't here are my...



COMMIT THE PERFECT CRIME.  Bludgeon your annoying neighbor with his/her copy – and shred the evidence. 


ASSIST A LITTLE PERSON.  Bind copies together with duct tape to create booster seats, platform shoes, and steps.


STOCK YOUR OFF-THE-GRID OUTHOUSE.  Who needs a composting loo when you’ve got 468 pages of free TP?


GO FOR THE INSURANCE MONEY.  Turn our the lights and “accidentally” trip over your catalog.  You’ll be surprised what a bruised knee and a good lawyer will net you.  (Approximate 30G).


CALM YOUR NERVES.  Paper walls with the catalog’s greige, ecru, and burlap-hued pages and fall instantly into deep taupe sleep. 


TAKE A FIELD TRIP.  Introduce your catalogs to their ancient tree forebears and watch them weep inky tears. 


RETURN TO SENDER UNOPENED.  Or better yet, drop it off at your local RH store and let them deal with it. 


By Mark Welsh

Today is Edward Gorey's birthday.  For those of you born after me, (take a number), Gorey was the author and illustrator of darkly surreal masterpieces like , "The Epileptic Bicycle", "The Unstrung Harp", and my favorite, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies", the darkest most twisted A-Z you'll ever read.  Back when I was a be-afro'd young copywriter, I once spied Mr. Gorey parading down Fifth Avenue - the very emodiment of one of his characters - in a floor-length Russian sable coat.  I was instantly smitten.  His wicked wit and dastardly rhymes are the wings beneath my words.  Or some such. 

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A signed Gorey print from "The Remembered Visit" 1979, (below) is the only decor in my otherwise decor-free workspace. The copy reads: DRUSILLA WAS TOLD SHE WAS GOING TO MEET A WONDERFUL MAN WHO HAD BEEN OR DONE SOMETHING LOFTY AND CULTURED IN THE DIM PAST.  Pure absurdism. My favorite kind. 


"The Gashlycrumb Tinies" A-Z (below)

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Is it coincidence that New York Fashion Week and The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show occur at the same time every year?  Or is it a ploy hatched by fashion's pack of nomadic hairdressers to do a bit of double dipping while they're in town?  The man braids at Hood By Air sure looked like the dreadlocked mops on the Hungarian Komondors at Westminster. The back combed coifs at Ruffian were just like looking in a mirror - if you were a white Standard Poodle.  And the white poufs at Thom Browne certainly owed a debt to the ratted up fur of Westminster's winning Bichon Frise.  Or was it the other way round? 

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BICHON FRISE (above).  THOM BROWNE (below)

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KOMONDOR (above).  HOOD BY AIR (below)

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When Dover Street Market, the conceptual retail store in London announced the opening of a New York outpost in my gritty neighborhood, I almost fell off my pouf.  Why would Rei Kawakubo, the visionary Dover Street and Commes des Garcons designer open shop in a neighborhood the New York Times recently deemed "Manhattan's least fashionable"?

Did she find the mix of sari shops, curry restaurants, and Pakistani cab drivers irresistible?  Was the proximity to Kalustyans, the middle eastern spice shop on 28th and Lex, too alluring to pass up?  Or had she cannily anticipated that the mentally deranged inmates at nearby Bellevue hospital were the only ones willing to drop 10G on a Spring 2014 Commes des Garcons hula-hoop dress?

I suspect that while the bizarre location (and mentally deranged neighbors) appealed to the inscrutable Ms. Kawakubo, it was the gorgeous buliding that sealed the deal.  A grand neo-classical style structure from 1909, the marble columned beauty was - apropos enough - the home to the school of Applied Design for women.


The reimagined interior with its central glass elevator is stunning, and the seven floors of (ruthlessly edited) Commes des Garcons, Alaia, Prada, Junya Watanabe etc. is the stuff fashion freaks lose their marbles over.  

And the green tea cake at the store's Rose Bakery sure beats the pants off the dubious shrink wrapped banana cake at the local Korean market.  
So, does the arrival of Dover Street Market signal the beginning of Curry Hill's great gentrification? Local retailers including Curry in a Hurry, Momokawa japanese restaurant (incredible shabu shabu), and an early morning hooker idling outside Little Michael deli on Lex, all report a slight uptick in business.  Though "Young Choice Nails", perhaps the filthiest nail salon in the city, said that business was slow - as usual. 

a tempest over a tusk

Top model, Angela Lindvall, was caught red-handed at Nairobi airport recently with an elephant tusk tucked into her luggage.  When asked how it came into her posession, the high-cheek boned beauty, explained, "I was holding onto it to keep my balance during a shoot, and the elephant sneezed and then believe it or not the just just fell off.  It was a classic case of Finders Keepers."  Officials chose not to believe it, and sentenced her to 24 hours community service, cleaning out the elephant cage at the Nairobi zoo.  Hurry Home, Angela. 

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