The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Wonderful Gets Another Year Older …
December 9, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Birthday, Daddyhood, Jill, Love, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

So on Sunday, my beloved little boy turns 2.


How the hell did that happen, so quick?

It honestly feels like yesterday that he came into this World and while I love seeing him develop and grow, I do wish he would slow down a little.

One of the best/worst things has been seeing his vocabulary grow.

While I am in awe of his ability to say words – both in English and Chinese – to articulate what he wants or where he wants to go, I must admit I miss hearing the sounds he used to make before he could clearly communicate. I used to love the enthusiasm and gusto he would put behind his utterances … it was pure joy.

But on Sunday he turns 2.

He’s packed quite a lot into his life so far … from travel to hospital visits … and through it all, he’s smiled, laughed and danced his way through it. Well, 94.2% through it, the rest has been screams, tantrums and looks of disappointment.

I still go through periods where I have to remind myself he’s my son and I still wish with all my heart my Mum and Dad could have met him … hugged him … kissed him.

The best compliment I can give Otis is he has changed my World.

The things I once valued no longer have the same appeal.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like those things, it’s just Otis’ happiness and development is most important of all.

The decisions I/we make are now revolving about issues we had never considered before.

Of course, that is nothing new for most parents, but for us, it’s a bit of a revelation … but it’s worth it because he is worth it.

So to my delightful son, Happy Birthday [for Sunday]

Your Mummy and Daddy love you with all our heart. Even Rosie the cat, kinda likes you.

For me, everything you do is wonderful, but when you say, “Daddy’s home” as I walk in the door, there is literally no better feeling for me in the World.

You have brought so much joy into our lives, it’s impossible for me to articulate.

We will do all we can to equip you with the skills and knowledge to handle whatever life throws at you and all we ask in return is you stay cheeky, curious and happy. Be safe knowing we will always support you in the things that excite you and move you and will love you, regardless of what trouble you cause us through the years.

But don’t push it too far …

I love you so, so much and I am so proud to be your Dad and as always, I will do all I can in my life to ensure you will be proud to call yourself, my son.

Happy birthday my darling Otis.


Is It Harry Potter’s Magic Or Is It Bad Photoshop?
December 8, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

OK, I know this is setting me up for all manner of abuse, but a while back I was looking at the Nottingham Forest Rumours site – I know, I know – when underneath all the general bitching and moaning, I saw this …

I have to be honest, it stopped me in my tracks.

Not just because even Harry Potter couldn’t imagine Hermione having a pair of breasts that size … but because of the wording underneath the picture.

21 stars who nailed growing up.

What does that even mean?

Are they suggesting ‘nailed growing up’ is purely about the quality of physical attributes you develop … even if those physical attributes are the product of a designer with an alarming lack of taste or subtly?

What about your values?

Your standing in society?

Your achievements … whether it’s at school or life or as a child/family member/partner?

Nope, it seems having a big pair of fake tits conquers them all … which means Dolly Parton must be the most successful example of ‘nailing it’ in the history of mankind.

Just for the record, this wasn’t an ad for [bad] breast enlargement.

Nor was it an ad for [fake] nude Hollywood stars.

And it wasn’t an ad for a site targeting total and utter idiots.

It was so idiotic that even I couldn’t be arsed to click on it …

I admit part of me was curious to see what other blatant lies they’d subjected stars to supposedly having – but frankly, I get enough of that in newspapers so I didn’t feel the need to explore the exploits of the worst photoshop designer on earth.

But seriously, why do this?

OK, I get why … but do you think some people truly believe it?

Well, given how many Trump supporters came out the woodwork, it seems there are millions who do. God, I’ve just depressed myself with that statement … so now I know how you feel when you read this blog.

Louis Vuitton Go Wrong …

Louis Vuitton.

A name that conjures all manner of images in the mind.

Luxury. Sophistication. Worldliness.Travel. Wealth.

OK, so in China, it’s also known as the ‘mistresses brand’, because in the old days of China, the only people who could get their hands on the stuff were the lovers of Government officials or international businessmen who bought it when on one of their numerous overseas trips.

Now while ‘perception may be reality’, there’s some perception you don’t want and LV have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars on changing this.

Given their success in China, you could argue it has worked – however there are two things that I think are potentially going to undermine them.

One: In their quest to keep the cash rolling in, they’re opening more stores in ‘lower tier’ markets. While this is helping wealthy people in those cities buy their products more easily, it’s putting off their core audience because frankly, they don’t want to be associated with individuals from places they regard as ‘being underneath them’.

Two: This …


OK … OK … I admit I haven’t seen this first hand [a friend sent it to me] so there is a big chance it’s either a pisstake or associated with an upcoming movie but if not, why-oh-why would they do such a thing?

While some may find a cliche-looking gangster cool, I’m not sure it fits in with the image the average LV customer wants for themselves. And what do you think is in those suitcases?

A pair of pants and some inflatable arm bands?

Probably not … and yet they have the cheek to add ‘the spirit of travel’ to the bottom of the ad.

Where are they travelling too? Jail?

And what are those ‘weapon looking things’ in the arms of the cliched ‘hired help’?

If they’re not fancy umbrellas, someone is going to be getting into a lot of trouble.

Look, I get the luxury inflation rate has pushed brands to basically make ads showing people bathing in a pool of money while burning poor people in their big, open fire but I’m not sure going to this extreme is a good idea.

If the goal was to make LV owners look so successful they don’t give a shit what others think [“Fuck you money”, as I wrote here] then I would have suggested they follow the lead of the brilliant ‘spoof’ Bentley ad below, as opposed to associating with people who might kill you if you even look at them funny.

Devious Comparison …

The picture above was sent to me by a mate of mine.

Forget the fact that there would be a massive amount of people who don’t even know what a cassette is … comparing a USB drive with a tape cassette is unfair comparison evil genius.

What next … comparing how far a plane can travel in an hour with how far people can walk?

Or maybe compare how many apps you can fit on an iPhone 7 256gb with a dial telephone?

And what the hell is the ‘limited edition’ element of these USB’s?

The colours?

Or the fact they come in packaging that has the words ‘limited edition’ written on it.

The worst thing is this will be successful.

Of course, part of this will be because they are cheap, but they will still sell by the bucketload and while many marketers will say this highlights how agencies are ‘out of touch’ with how to win at business, I would respond by saying they should look up the word ‘commodity’.

It’s Red Nose Day Every Day …

I’m back. Which means the operation went well.

Otis is still in Australia but he’s doing well and has starting dancing again so his Mum and me can breathe a massive sigh of relief.

With that in mind, let’s get back to more bland, boring stuff … starting with this:

I’ve always been of the belief that whether it’s an ad or a film or a product … it’s the details that really define who you are.

They can demonstrate the standards of the brand … the quality of the product or the stupidity of the ad agency amongst countless other things.

You see while society is often distracted by the big and the shiny, it’s the little things – often hidden in the shadows – that truly demonstrates whether the people/brands you are associating with, value you as much as they are asking you to value them.

I truly believe that, but the fact of the matter is I’m only saying it so I can post this picture …

At first I thought it was just a genius and cunning idea by the brand/agency to make their fairly bland ad stand out, then I saw the website was partially obscured and realised that it was just another example of lack of craft and care.

If they do that to their ads, I daren’t imagine what that means Cake Box do to their food.

For Once, I Would Like Some Luck Rather Than Insults …
November 25, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Daddyhood, Family, Mum & Dad, Otis, Parents

So today will be the last post for a while.

Surprisingly, it is not because I’m going on holiday, it is because my beloved Otis needs a little operation and we’re going to have it done in Australia.

Just to be clear, it is a little operation but it still scares me to death.

Part of that is because I don’t want any child of 23 months to require a general anaesthetic.

Part of that is because I don’t want to see the worry and concern in my wonderful wife’s eyes.

Part of that is because the last time I was in a hospital, my beloved Mum died.

Part of that is because we just love him so so much.

And while I appreciate that compared to many, our situation is not very dramatic … it is a very concerning time for us right now, so wish us luck.

If things all go well [and they will, they will] then this blog will be back on December 5th but until then, I’d like to leave you with one of my favourite videos of my brilliant son.

I love it for so many reasons.

His enthusiasm.

His unadulterated joy.

His participation … both in [Chinese] words and actions.

The way he quickly adapts to the dance when he makes a mistake at around 55 seconds.

And then, at 1 minute 2 seconds, when he morphs into a dance that Bez from The Happy Mondays would be proud of before hearing the music start again [1 minute 12 seconds] and bopping his head to the beat.

Otis, you’re perfect to your Mummy and Daddy … never forget that.

History Repeats Itself …

So a while back I went to see Queen with Adam Lambert.

The last time I saw them, Queen were made up of the original four.

It was also the last time the original 4 would ever play live together.

Of course at the time, I didn’t know that was going to be the case – though rumor says Freddie did, even if the rest of the band weren’t yet aware – however despite only 50% of the band being on stage, it was still exhilarating to watch.

It was also a bit weird … because rather than see them in Europe, it was in China.

And rather than see them with my best mate Paul … it was with my wife [and a bunch of Wieden folk]

That might not seem that strange to you, but it was mental for me because the situation was the absolute opposite of that mad summer in 1986 where my parents, reluctantly, let me follow them on their tour.

I must admit, when I walked into the venue, I was nervous for the band.

This was the first time they had ever played China and the venue – an 18,000 seater – was only 10% full.

Of course I knew people would come in as the lights went down and if they really hadn’t sold many tickets, they’d have cancelled the show … but I felt some kind of responsibility given I was a fan from England living in China and wanting their first impression of this amazing country to be a good one.

Of course I shouldn’t have worried because as the lights went down, the stadium was packed – to the seats high, high, high in the rafters – and that made the whole night even more wonderful and emotional for me.

The band was brilliant.

The sound was brilliant.

The lights were brilliant.

And Mr Lambert was brilliant.

Sure, he is no Freddie, but he is an amazing singer with perfect levels of campness that did the songs, the show and Freddie … incredible justice.

But the real reason it was emotional was because the moment they hit the stage, they momentarily transported me back to being 16 … where I was on the cusp of entering a life full of adventure and possibilities.

Of course I hope I still have a lot more adventures and possibilities to come [more of that in a few months] but that doesn’t change the fact these concerts represent significant bookends of my life.

One where I was about to start my journey. One where I am its midpoint.

And I don’t mind admitting that when they came on stage, I found myself crying.

I know, it’s pathetic, but it was less about seeing a band that I love with all my heart [though it has a bit to do with that] and more a reminder that despite all the wonderful and sad things that have happened in my life over the past 30+ years, they were still there.

My friends.

My confidents.

My escape.

To paraphrase the great Bill Shankly, some say music isn’t a matter of life or death.

They’re right, it’s way more important than that.