Modern life has all but been upended due to the ongoing pandemic. Amongst the bad parts, there has been some good. Dan Chrichlow is the Creative Director of Dutch Uncle — a creative talent agency with offices in New York, London and Tokyo. Dan is seen here photographed in Onsloe by his partner and Founder/Director of Dutch Uncle, Helen Cowley. The two provide a window into how life has changed in the UK, his quarantine joys, and how the two have been eating and drinking.
Visit Dutch Uncle to learn more about Dan and Helen.
O: First off, how are you? How has your week been?
D: Overall, I’m pretty pretty good. I drove home at the weekend to visit my mum and grandparents in the North of England (Sherwood Forest). I’ve got a big family who pretty much all live in the local village. It was great to see everyone again, but social distancing was hard - especially after having not seen them all for 4 months.
O: What’s your routine looking like these days?
D: Rise as early as possible. Go for an early morning cycle in Richmond Park. Fresh coffee and almond croissant on Richmond Hill Terrace. It’s an amazing view to have each morning. I’m starting work at 2 pm because most of the things I’m doing are US-based. We’d normally be over in California so working from London with the East and West US coast has been challenging with the time difference. Dinner is the new lunch. Finishing work about 9 pm or so. I’ve also got into the habit of reading each night and have read loads. I've tried to curb Netflix as I’m a sucker for binge-watching whole series.
O: Have you been cooking? Favorite meal? What has your go-to drink been?
D: Loads of cooking. Throughout quarantine, I’ve been ordering lots of fresh fish from Sandys in Twickenham — taught myself how to fillet with the help of youtube clips. My favorite fish to cook is fresh Sole. It's pretty straight forward to fillet and if done right, is melt in the mouth stuff. Go to drink has been Averna and tonic with a chunk of lemon.
O: How has life changed in the UK over the last few months? What do you think you’ll miss most when things “go back to normal?”
D: Well, the world has been turned upside down for everyone - but the biggest change for me has been sitting it out in one place for months on end. I don’t remember a time when I’ve not had a flight or trip booked in my calendar. There are so many things I’m going to miss from these times. I've made a long list of quarantine ‘joys' that I’m going to try and keep when back in ’normality’.
O: Have you been inspired? Any new projects that were born over these last few months?
D: As well as my day job I also paint and over the past few months I’ve found the time to do more of that in the mornings. Each Thursday, Helen gets a delivery of flowers from Freddies Flowers in London. She creates these beautiful Ikebana arrangements and I've been painting each one in Japanese Sumi-e ink on large paper. I light an incense stick and in the time it takes for the incense to burn down I try and finish the piece. So each painting has this urgency and delicacy of Japanese brushwork. They remind me in some way of how Jonas Wood paints his wife, Shio Kusaka’s ceramics. Overall, I’m super happy with them and plan to exhibit them as a set.
O: You and Helen run Dutch Uncle. Tell us a little more about that and how things are going?
D: The first 3 weeks of lockdown were totally novel. We were in Morocco early March and managed to return to London on the day before lockdown started. Our trip to Japan in late March was unfortunately canceled and then all our International flights were stopped in their tracks. Modern life began running in slow motion. The days became more bucolic and it felt like for the first time in a long time, I found time to absorb the beautiful nature on my doorstep. When I was a kid, in the early ’90s, we had a heavy snowstorm and couldn’t go to school for weeks. Our village also had a power cut and for those weeks we had to cook meals on the coal fire in our house, light candles, and plan expeditions in the snow to the local shops. My three sisters and I got to spend more ‘fun time' with our Mum, playing cards and board games. I was taught how to play chess and backgammon by candlelight. A magic time that I remember fondly. I was bummed when the snow melted. Quarantine felt a bit like that.
Work wise, April was one of our quietest months for years, and nerves were rattled. We had worst-case-scenario discussions with our CFO. Everyone held their breath and waited for the government to decide our fate. A month in and luckily inquiries started to pick up again. By the end of May, billings had returned back to normal. By June we were busy and then surprisingly we’ve had a great July with profits higher than this time last year. It’s been bittersweet as it's really hard to see friends and family have a hard knock, losing jobs and worried about the security of their future. It's a tough time out there and we are truly blessed to be in good health and back working as ‘normal’.
Go-to activity: Painting
Go-to playlist: Our Spotify 'Buenos Aires 2016’ Playlist
Go-to cocktail: Averna + Tonic
Top film: Anything with Steve Martin
Top TV: Anything David Attenborough
Top book: Just finished Young Man With a Horn by Dorothy Baker.