Fuck, I am who I am / James Wallman

James Alan Wallman, age 46.

James is an underachieving but fairly pleasant man in his late 40s. He used to be a hip hop DJ (really! a terrible one). He cycles. He's married.

or (his official bio):

James Wallman is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, futurist, keynote speaker, and government adviser. He has written 2 bestselling books about the experience economy, Stuffocation (Penguin, 2015) and Time And How To Spend It (Penguin, 2019).

James runs advisory firm The Future is Here. Clients include VISA, KPMG, KFC, HSBC, IDEO, Avis, Facebook, and Marriott International. He has given talks from TEDxManchester and TEDxLSE to the Collision Conference in Las Vegas, Google HQ in California, and 10 Downing Street.

His opinions have appeared in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Economist, and Wired. He has appeared on TV and radio from the ABC to the BBC, the CBC and MSNBC.

He advises the British government on the experience economy: he is 'Sector Specialist, Experience Economy' at the UK's Department for International Trade.

He holds an MA in Classics from the University of Oxford; an MA in Journalism from the University of the Arts London; and a Diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.

James lives in London with his wife and two children.

What makes you laugh?

So many things.

1. My kids! Woody just had our dog, Portia, a tiny white Bolognese, slipping down the slide & I giggled like a child. Then Indy-May put her in a wheelbarrow... very funny. But they make me laugh every day with their craziness.

2. Bad jokes. Esp during coronavirus.

3. The Office, US edition.

4. Ricky Gervais

5. Frankie Boyle

6. My friends Edwin & Ben

When did you last cry?

Watching Frozen 2, when Olaf died.

What’s your earliest memory?

Moving home when we were about 3. My brother and I watched our parents putting all the stuff in the van, and were completely confused. Or, at least, I was.

Describe what ‘love’ means to you.

It's a feeling and a verb, innit. It flows through us. It feels nice, to love, to be loved. It isn't all you need, but it's up there :-)

What makes you unique to everyone else on this planet?

Ha! With 7 billion or so... but I guess I'm the only guy who wrote Stuffocation and Time And How To Spend It. I think I'm a special mix of smart (enough, not that smart, but not that not-smart either) and I like making things light. At school, I was in the sports teams and got thrown out of class and came top of the class.

Name 3 people (living or dead) you’d invite to your virtual quarantine dinner party.

My grandad, my other grandad: I'd love to hear their stories again. I'd love to know more about their lives. I'd cheat and invite their kids, my mum & dad, because I know they'd like to see their Dads again.

Describe yourself in 5 words (this can be a sentence or 5 separate words).


But still some hair.

Who or what has made the greatest impact on your life?

My Mum and my Dad. Without them, meeting in a bar in Soho in the mid/late 1960s... well, I wouldn't be here. That's a pretty big impact.

A few teachers: Mr Johnstone, don't know his first name. He was our football coach when I was in the under-11s. One cold day, snow falling during our game, he caught me with my eyes closed. I think I was trying to stay warm. 'They don't just come you know,' he said. I snapped my eyes open. 'What, sir?' I asked. 'Your colours, they don't just come.' I didn't get my colours for football. It was a good lesson. And my Latin and Greek teacher Susan Herbert when I was in the 6th form. She inspired me to love the classics - the comedy of Juvenal, the touching poetry of Catullus, the stories of Herodotus. And she really believed in me. I thank her for that.

Any regrets?

I tried to get in touch with Susan Herbert a few times, but the school wasn't helpful. When I finally got around to it, she'd died - 2 weeks before. She was a committed smoker, and it had caught up with her. I wept and wept.

Tell us something no one knows about you (and I mean no-one)? Until now.

Great question, but I've nothing left, I'm a pretty open book. And I've got 2 old friends who hear everything. I mean everything. It's surreal how much goes on behind a person's eyes that we don't share with most people. Those thoughts, dark, nasty, twisted, weird. But strangely I have 2 friends who I can just say that stuff out loud to. It's funny some of that stuff. And no, I'm not sharing that here :-)