When I was a wee lad of eighteen, I had a love affaire with advertising. My first-ever vacation job was at an ad agency, and I loved every second of it. I learned a lot of things at that place. (Including the dubious advice from an ancient copywriter who told me ‘Always treat a whole like a lady, and a lady like a whore’.) One of the key things I learned during my tenure at that ad agency was the importance of a corporate identity. It’s one of those things I know, and have done several times for other people, but lacked in my own work. But finally, I think I came upon a solution.
In 2005 I fell in love with a beautiful black-haired lady whose ID document said “Andrea”, but who referred to herself as “Prim”.
I still remember the night I first laid eyes on her. We met on the internet. Yep, we were an internet-dating success story. As she came down the escalators for our first non-virtual meeting, a strange thought went through my head: “So, that’s the woman I’m gonna marry.”
It was a prophetic thought. But look, it took me long enough. We were dating for nine years, and cohabiting for six, before I finally managed to pop the question.
I was nervous, okay!?
But that does not matter. What matters is that I loved this woman more than I thought possible. I adored her, and I promised her the moon and the stars.
Which is what I did.
No one owns the moon, but there is a novelty website where you can “buy” one square metre of the moon with your name on it. It’s nothing official, but it served as a cool birthday gift.
Stars, however, are a different story. Prim has always been a bit of a star-nut and an amateur astronomer (as distinct from astrologer). So, when three months after I finally popped the question, she came to me and said we’re getting married in Svalbard (deep into the arctic circle), I could not disagree.
I married the love of my life under a solar eclipse in the North Pole. How many people can say that? Well, only one. Me.
Because Prim is not here anymore. She died of breast cancer in December 2020. But on our wedding day, I completed the ‘star’ part of the ‘moon and the stars’ I promised her. As a wedding gift, I contacted the star registry, and now Ursua Major 26—in the constellation of The Big Bear—carries her name: Prim.
I wrote her a poem which I read after we said our vows:
Under a polar eclipse, on this our wedding day
Carrying in my heart, a star is named.
To show my love overflowing the brim:
Shining down on all of us – for ever –
Is a star called Prim.
When she died, it left me empty and broken. But it warms my heart to know that ‘Prim’ will always be with us until it eventually explodes into a supernova, but for now, she’s there, in the constellation of the big bear.
And so I decided to go on a total rebranding exercise and a complete rebirth of my creative businesses. My trade name – an imprint on my books – has now been officially renamed ‘A Star Called Prim’.
I commissioned the remarkably talented Æden Swan to do my logo for me, and this is what she came up with: a polar bear looking up at the night sky. Above it, the constellation of Ursa Major, and chief among these a big celestial object: could it be a star, could it be an eclipse? This symbolises the North Pole where Prim and I had the happiest day of our lives. This is my last gift to her – or is that hers to me? To honour the legacy and love she gave me by carrying her name in my professional dealings. A week before she died, I told her I’m going to change my company name. It was one of the last times I saw her smile.
(The original painting now hangs pride of place in my bedroom)
And since she was such a stickler for doing things right (Stereotypically German!): doing this gives me a great incentive not to mess things up – it may be my mistakes, but it would be against her name. And we just cannot have that, can we?
Thank you, Sweetie, for giving me love, a home, puppies, an amazing wedding, and allowing me to carry your name in whatever I do. Shining down on me is a star called Prim, and with that I will light my way forward.