The Consultants of Cool
Arena meets the new breed of unlikely lifestype gurus who are trading in trends
Time was when the only way to make it in serious business was to shake hands with Gordon Gekko. You had to be hard-nosed, super driven and money motivated. Creativity and job satisfaction were for hippies and the terminally poor.
Not only are those days over, but the yuppies' enemies, the slackers, are now enjoying the last laugh. Having their hash cake and eating it, you might say.
Cool has become a commodity and a new breed of mavericks is cashing in on this, selling their creative skills to blue-chip companies and advising on anything from cutting-edge fashion and music to urban art. Such individuals, once hectored by their parents for wasting time on pastimes such as graffiti and DJing, are now brokering lucrative contracts with the likes of Diageo, Microsoft, and Hilton Hotels: making serious cash as well as having fun.
The Music Consultant – ROB WOOD
A music nut from the age of nine, Rob Wood, 39, went on to become editor of Jockey Slut magazine, and DJed crowds at Fabric and the Big Chill Festival. Last year he set up Music Concierge to create bespoke playlists for luxury hotels and retailers. His clients include Mr & Mrs Smith, the botique holiday service, and the new Alfred Dunhill members' club. He will even create a dinner-party playlist if you ask nicely (and pay well).
What was your eureka moment? You hear mainstream muzak in Sainsbury's and Boots and I belived I could take a different approach, which drew on music expertise. I'd always acted as a musical filter in journalism and DJing, and becoming a music concierge for botique hotels is a natural and perhaps more mature extension.
Best thing about your job? Traveling to luxury hotels in the Maldives isn't too bad. But it's being paid to make the perfect mixtape that is most blokes' passion.
Most challenging aspect? We get lots of eclectic requests – Korean drums, medieval music... Sometimes we get private clients who say they want really authentic music, but it turns out they just want power ballads.
What do your parents think? They're supportive. When I got a contract at The Ritz, I knew it was a sign for them that I'd made it.
Is there any company you wouldn't work with? I wouldn't work with an arms company. Or do David Cameron's victory song. Though maybe l could put Iron Maiden's Run To The Hills on.