Close-Up: The Hot Seat - Adam Kean, Publicis

Name: Adam Kean

Job: Joint executive creative director, Publicis

- You've got five hours left before the world explodes. What do you do?

In the Mad Men episode about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the impending doom acted like a truth drug. Everyone started being very candid, putting their emotional house in order. I think I might curl up into a foetal position. Or, at a push, find the bomb and defuse it.

- What's your best joke?

There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

- What's your biggest fear?


- When did you last cry and why?

I cry a lot. Though hardly ever from sadness. At the school summer concert, I started. And it wasn't even my child singing.

- Who is your hero?

Philip Larkin. Read Aubade.

- Name one thing about yourself that few people know

I wrote "Not a lot of people know that" by Michael Caine.

- What's the worst thing about your job?

It's got less instinctive.

- Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?

Edmund Kean. Watching him act, Coleridge said, was "like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning".

- If you had a trained monkey, what would you make it do?

Play the lute.

- If your office was burning down, what object would you save and why?

The incriminating box of matches.

- What would you do if you were invisible for the day?

Caught in girls' dormitory at "lights out"? A man of my reputation?

- What's your most evocative childhood memory?

I saw a dead body being carried out of the swimming area at the Serpentine when I was about 12. It was completely rigid and, although it was the height of summer, was covered in a thin layer of ice like in a cartoon. Apparently, the man had caught his foot on a rusty mattress and been held under.

- What belief do you hold most strongly?

My dad always liked Vera Brittain's phrase: "Imperfect decency." People are generally nice, so you should be too. But don't worry if you're a bit naughty sometimes.

- What's on your iPod most-played list?

Misty in Roots.

- What do you wear in bed?

A smile.


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