I suspect it’s becoming a little obscene, even by my standards, but the continued celebration of my new job has brought me to California. It’s just for a weekend mind you, but I honestly don’t know if that makes it more or less outrageous?

I flew out for The Big Game – Stanford vs Cal. The rivalry dates back to 1892 with the winner taking “the axe” along with bragging rights for the next 12 months.

This year the game took place at Cal and while walking through campus towards the stadium, I ran into the Cal Golden Bear mascot, Oski. (I wasn’t looking where I was going and literally ran right into him) The result was a shove from the big fluffy bear followed by pointing and mocking of my Stanford Cardinal jumper. I can’t condone bear-on-bear violence so I took the abuse with good humour and walked off thinking, we’ll see who’s laughing at the end of the day.

I found my seat amongst Stanford students and alumni just time for the bands pre game performance. There was no point travelling this far to not sit amongst your own fans! As the Stanford band took the field the announcer proclaimed "Instead of our usual highbrow entertainment, we’re obliged to bring you four minutes of schadenfreude as you openly mock…. The one, the only, the truly incomparable, Leland Stanford JR….. University Marching Band."

Ohhhh it’s on Cal, it’s ON!

From the moment the game started Cal’s teamcouldn’t come close to backing up the emotion of the day. Every time Stanford had the ball they scored. It was 45 – 0 before Cal finally figured out a way to score points. The game was essentially over at half time.

Speaking of half time, the Cal marching band burst into life with ‘tonight’s gunna be a good night’. Having watched such a dominating performance you couldn’t help but smile at the music selection. Sure, it’s going to be a great night, but not for you guys!! You suck out there!

After the game with “the axe” firmly in the hands of Stanford players, thousands of fans swarmed the field to congratulate the team. The Stanford band broke into our victory song ‘feeling all right’ and for good measure managed to mash in 1980’s Madness classic ‘our house’. This was met by roars of approval and chants of “who’s axe? OUR AXE. Who’s house? OUR HOUSE.”

I’ve now returned home to my wonderful co-conspirator, Fiona, who’s made moussaka and red wine for dinner. I should note that she’s not only made this wonderful meal for me to come home to, but also encouraged this outrageous trip in the first place. I should also say that she’s a Cal Bear alumni and while I’m officially required to hate her during the big game, I do not feel it in my heart.


As most of you know I’ve been offered a fabulous new job with a very successful company. It’s clearly a huge opportunity for me and one I’m keen to dive in to. While the job itself is reason to celebrate, something comes with it that’s more important to me. A sense of equilibrium.

I’ve never regretted leaving my job in Ad Land all those years ago, but the decision certainly caused a radical upheaval in my life. During some of the tougher times that followed I’ve caught myself thinking “I use to be a bit of a big deal, what am I doing with my life now?”

Someone I once knew summed up my old lifestyle very succinctly, “Luke’s not a Londoner, he’s a citizen of the world. London’s just his playground.”

When I start my new job at the end of this month I’ll be able to reclaim my old lifestyle, while still having the increased job satisfaction that my IT job allowed. The last 4 years will have come full circle and I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of relief at the balance this will bring to both my career and my lifestyle.

The occasion really needs to be marked by something lasting. Not just a weekend break (although that is happening as well) but something tangible. Something I can see on a daily basis to help re-tain this sense of accomplishment and relief. I decided to mark my return to the realm of “a bit of a big deal” with artwork. Because, let’s face it, nothing says “I’m a bit of a big deal” like a 19th century painting in an ornate frame.

I’ve attached a picture for you. It’s by an English artist who you can read about here: if you’re so inclined. It’s proudly hanging in our lounge room and I can’t stop glancing at it. Of course, that could be due to the fact I feel like I’ve stolen something from the national gallery!


I ate the blue ones... They taste like burning.
Ralph Wiggum