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

You Used To Have To Pay Your Dues To Get Respect, Now If You’ve Paid Your Dues, You’re Ready For The Scrap Heap …
January 13, 2012, 6:03 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the most beloved television programs in England was/is the show ‘Only Fools & Horses’.

While many people will talk about it in terms of the characters … the stories … the overall humour, I always thought one of the other reasons it was able to achieve such acclaim was their ability to introduce poignant moments withoutit ever feeling contrived, preachy or ‘shoved in’.

To go from laugh-out-loud to deeply emotional, back to laugh-out-loud is very difficult and it’s testimony to the writers skill and craft that they were able to do it so seamlessly, let alone so often.

OK, so we all know I’m a sentimental fool, but many of these poignant moments really made an impression on me.

Through their characters, the writers were able to convey a view on life or society that many felt but few spoke about.

I remember one scene where ‘Granddad’ talked about watching soldiers march off to World War I and how he was horrified at how the government treated them on their return.

While I can’t recall exactly what he said [I’ve looked for the clip on Youtube but can’t find it, so if anyone recognises this and knows where to watch it, please let me know] I do remember one line:

“They promised us homes fit for heroes, we got heroes fit for homes!”


Anyway the reason I say all this is because I recently heard a friend quote another line from the show.

While the context of the speech it is about marriage, the sentiment has much broader relevance.

“Marriages don’t come gift wrapped they come in kit form, you have to work at them”.

I love it …

It could be because I’m an old bastard, but I can’t help but feel society has lost it’s appreciation of knowledge, understanding and experience.

Maybe it’s because too many people think everything they need to know is available online, but so many people seem to want the title … the fame … and the cash from day 1.

OK, so that’s a massive generalisation, but the attitude of ‘working towards something’ just seems to be a dying attitude.

Sure, there’s a bunch of reasons for this – of which the demise of ‘job security’ is one – however I am meeting too many people who are self-proclaimed geniuses even though they have nothing to really back it up.

Seriously, sometimes I feel I’m meeting one of those people on ‘American Idol’ who acts like they’re a Rock God even though they are literally ‘killing music’ simply because their Mum said they had a beautiful voice.

And god forbid you call them on it.

I recently met a planner who said he blended ‘science with creativity’.

When I asked if he had studied science, he responded,

“No, and I don’t think that has any relevance to this discussion”.


Contrary to what you may think, this attitude is not because I’m 41 – nor is it because I am anti-youth – it’s just that I am concerned we are turning our collective backs, and respect, on those people who have a breadth of experience in favour of the individuals who only have the potential to earn a history of experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all ‘old’ people are brilliant – at least from a commercial creative perspective – but then neither are all ‘youth’ amazing – again, from a commercial creative perspective – but the fact is it shouldn’t be a case of choosing one over the other when blending experience with youth can often be the key to making amazing things happen.

What a shame it doesn’t happen as much as it should – or could – simply because too many companies value their people in terms of cost rather than value.

OK, so this is a ranty post that is all over the place and it has more holes in it than a piece of Edam cheese …

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the joy of life – both personal and professional – comes from working through situations and problems and it would be nice, especially in adland, if that attitude was viewed in a more favourable light, especially when some of the greatest creativity of the last few years has come about because the people behind it have lived a life of experience, not just a moment of fame.

80 Comments so far
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Comment by toto

well fucking done toto, shame the rest of your year will never reach these dizzy heights of fucking achievement.

Comment by andy@cynic

it’s a mystery to me how you always know what to say.

Comment by toto

He’s a better looking yoda.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You were too nice with that planner – you should have blended his head with your fist.

And I don’t think it’s about being too old or too young – it’s about not being too complacent or too naive.

Comment by John

You’re right John, but unfortunately company finance department are far more black and white in their judgement.

Comment by Pete

And I also agree with you regarding how Robert should of dealt with that “scientist”.

Comment by Pete

I think ive met him and he is a teat though said science with art. He Definately wasn’t familiar with paulis exclusion principle

Comment by Northern

No offense, but I don’t understand a single word of your first sentence. Is it tiredness or your usual bad typing?

Comment by Rob

I was too nice to him, I should have hit him – but instead I told him he was a twat. And yes, I did use that word … which ironically, I now feel a bit guilty for doing.

Comment by Rob

dont feel sorry for a twat like that. fuck me campbell, have you not learnt a fucking thing from me. even if you had killed the bastard, chopped them up in to little pieces and sent them one by one to their grieving parents youd be justified so stop with the self fucking pity, its fucking pathetic.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is a great post Rob, even the title is good.

I don’t know where this “instant specialist” attitude has come from, but my suspicion is it’s not one thing but a perfect storm of factors from technology, mass university graduation and corporate bean counting to consumerism and competitive ego.

Paying your dues is a vital element in professional development and it’s sad industries like adland (but not exclusively so) view “experience” as an excessive cost to the balance sheet these days.

Love the quotes from “Only Fools”. I agree that their ability to go fr humour to poignancy to humour was a major factor in it’s success.

Good first week of posts Rob. Will it continue through 2012?

Comment by Pete


Comment by Thomas

fuck me pete, happyland is really making you happy isnt it. ok so its a half fucking decent post but its still a campbell post which means its below average compared to every other fucker out there.

tell me, do they pump happy drugs through the ac or is it google brainwashing? no fucking wonder i couldnt hang around the fucking campus for long when i was there.

Comment by andy@cynic

and we all know the answer to your 2012 question pete.

not a fucking chance.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not necessarily. OK, definitely.

Comment by Rob

you let that little planning wannabe twat live?

youve gone fucking soft campbell and youre a fucking embarassment to your nottingham dna.

Comment by andy@cynic

He has got milder with age. Actually not milder (Vegas proved that) maybe it’s just his anger doesn’t involve waving his arms and throwing things as much.

Comment by Pete

i think the term youre looking for is gayer.

Comment by andy@cynic

Congrats on the first post.

Thoughts of a junior: I think a lot of it has to do with that post Andrew wrote – the guide to the dark side of planning (, combined with the fact that ‘new media’ stuff is a great chance to make up fancy words and pretend the world has been put upside down. I mean, you can (‘young’ people) pick great stuff up from the web, so it obviously also it’s advantages.

But …while I guess it is easier than ever to simulate planning competence and get praise for it and a non-junior title, I assume that it takes at least as much time to learn the job as it did in the past. Maybe longer, who knows. If you want to go the hard – the Rodi way if you want – you not only have to learn how to do that, you also have to permanently resist grabbing the relatively easy fruit. I’m not nearly long enough into this to judge the quality of people on the client side, but I have learned that it is sometimes relatively easy to impress, so that also doesn’t help.

Comment by Thomas

you really want to fuck rodi dont you thomas? i dont know the commie spy with a fetish for shit witches outfits but im getting hammered with him in nyc so ill tell you if hes worth the lusting over. given his white legs and he seems to actually fucking like working for campbell, my guess is he isnt but i wont tell him that till hes paid for the fucking drinks.

why is every fucker up? dont know where the fuck toto or thomas are but doddsy should be tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle. well the fucker should be tucked up with 3 hot blondes but beggars cant be fucking choosers.

Comment by andy@cynic

Absolutely. They say planners should be curious, don’t they?

It’s 11:48 PM and I just watched 27 dresses with my girlfriend followed by segments of Pearl Harbor. You’re right, I should be sleeping.

Comment by Thomas

if you watched 27 dresses, you should be fucking shot and i dont even know what the fuck it is.

Comment by andy@cynic

01:03 PM. sleeping is for losers.

Comment by toto

and i’m a winner. look at the first comment. ha!

Comment by toto

it’s AM, shit :]

Comment by toto

i like you toto. fuck knows why, but i do.

Comment by andy@cynic

of course you do

Comment by toto

grandad pissed on uncle albert but given the fucker died i know why they made the move. but why the fuck did the scooby doo twats bring in scrappy doo, he completely fucked everything up.

bet it was a new young exec at the production company who read a book about cartoons or kids or dogs and declared themselves a fucking genius.


Comment by andy@cynic

grandad and uncle albert are from “only fools and horses” for all you foreigners who read this shit blog. at least you have an excuse for coming, to learn how to write really fucking bad english, but fuck knows why the rest of us bother to turn up.

Comment by andy@cynic

love is blind

Comment by toto

fuck me campbell, you cant even spell grandad. has northern infiltrated your insignificant fucked up brain?

Comment by andy@cynic

id take dan “pensioner” weiden over any digital ninja, social media connected twat anyfuckingday. fuck, id even choose campbell over them but thats because he knows how i like my tea. ice cold and tasting of beer.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy, wouldn’t it be good for you to learn how to spell Wieden?

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

not unless theyre going to pay me campbells outfuckingrageous salary. and how come the agency that claims to do amazing work you will never forget have a name people dont know how to spell or fucking pronounce.

Comment by andy@cynic

thats probably why people call them wk. or theyre fucking lazy.

Comment by andy@cynic

of course the fucked up thing is when you were 22, you were like the fuckers youre slagging off in this bollocks post. good to see youre fulfilling the old person mantra of being a hypocritical bastard and looking down on every fucker after you. your position as the victor fucking meldrew 2.0 is almost fucking complete.

Comment by andy@cynic

If there was a “like” button, I’d be pressing it repeatedly.

PS/ I think he was like that at 19 actually Andy.

Comment by Pete

9 months more like. gobby little fucker.

Comment by andy@cynic

Written like a true 41 year old.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Commented like a true 30+ person in denial they are getting older.

Comment by Rob

nice campbell. very fucking nice.

Comment by andy@cynic

34 – make that 35 with mine – comments already!

At 8am.

What is going on??

Comment by Rob

well it’s obvious – the post is very good, so we have a lot to discuss.

Comment by toto

Really great post Robert.

I agree with Pete that age discrimination is not confined to just the advertising industry. Many companies now evaluate value on short term cost saving than long term commercial benefit.

On another note, I love the quotes you take from the television show, I have to check that out.

The one that struck me most is “They promised us homes fit for heroes, we got heroes fit for homes.”

Zoom forward a few decades and US marines now allegedly urinate on dead bodies.

It’s all gone a little crazy.

Comment by Bazza

i thought you fuckers were all about the crazy ones?

Comment by andy@cynic

There’s crazy and there’s crazy.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by George

i know i am but what about the post? and whats with the one word comment. if youre trying to come across as mysterious it isnt fucking working.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by George


Comment by andy@cynic

I enjoy most of the things you write here, but subjects like this are especially interesting. You should write more posts like this, your perspective and experience gives people food for thought, regardless of their role or title.

Comment by Lee Hill

The soldiers line from “OFAH” is magnificent.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks Lee … though you might be the only one who thinks this way. And besides, I didn’t really write it, I just took some great words from a British television show and rode on their coat-tails. Like most things in adland. Ha.

Comment by Rob

trust me, lee is definitely the only fucking one that thinks that way.

Comment by andy@cynic


You should talk with my mom. She has been going to Disney World for the past 20 years with young fifteen teenagers who decide to go to Disney instead of having a party. She has gone trough amazing stories. She she said how sad they has been changing. In 90s all the funniest stories were about someone showing their us from a window to some tourist. Mom say they had independence. They really experienced the world. They were more curious and they surprised about something new. Now, she say they can’t go along to the bathroom. They check everything in internet while they are there and in some cases, they already checked before to go to disney. Mom say they are little bit robots. They answer yes and no, that’s it, because they already talk about it on facebook or twitter. They seems to be more bored and mom say that suddenly after a couple of years they have to deal with the cannibalism of getting a job. They are not ready, mom say. They don’t get answers, they hear or read on google some common things that people say about some topics. they spend more time knowing more things about “the world” that getting real experience.

Pretty amazing my mom.

Comment by we are the world we are the children

Your Mum does sound amazing, which Disney World does she take these kids too – and wouldn’t a trip to the magical kingdom be better than a party anyway? Ha.

No booze though I suppose.

Comment by Rob

As an industry we are far far too dismissive of people over the age 50. Just because some people lose the passion or desire does not mean that anyone who has experience is worth ignoring.

Will Andy still be opinionated at angry when he is 60? Of course.

If people still want to learn and still care then their age should not be important.

To illustrate this here is a clip of Rodigan, still a big DJ at 60, and DJ Derek who is DJ’ing reggae at 68/69…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

But do they have the great quads that are so crucial to gaining attention for planning insights?

Comment by John

It’s a planning ting.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Really enjoyed reading this – great points. I agree, a collaborative effort is certainly the way forward, but unfortunately the way of the world is the old will be replaced with the new.

Nevertheless, just as the young should look for advice from the ‘experienced’, the latter should keep up to date with the new, i.e. face their technophobia and conquer their fear of letting go of the way ‘things were done’. The nature of the ad industry is fast-paced and if you don’t keep up with the times, you don’t progress. As John has said, its not about being too young or too old, but making sure you keep in touch. In advertising especially, you are only as good as your last idea as they say. Make friends with social networking sites 😉 (I discovered your profile on SlideShare today and your ‘About’ comment, which ultimately led me here). Very inspired by your presentations by the way! (Especially the one about writing creative briefs). Thanks for that.

The rat race keeps people moving until they fall off the wheel…and in this day and age it is sad that your ‘job’ defines you. But it shouldn’t. The more people are pushed to integrate their experiences and collaborate with a diversity of minds, the greater results we will achieve as a society. Perspectives are precious, and a great resource, because at the end of the day we are targeting the general public, which includes the young, the old, the experienced, the unexperienced, and your average clown (or twat). The younger generations can learn a lot from previous ones, but also vice versa. It’s a shift in attitude, and applying this change is only the next step to blending those dividing lines. If only businesses (and people) thought more about meaning than money. Tis the nature of business I suppose. I say lead by example. The guy who rants about how bitter he is about things, will always fall behind the guy who sets the path. What was it that Gandi said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.

Oh and andy@cynic – there are more words in this world to use than ‘fuck’. Expand your vocab buddy.

Comment by crikey

hey crikey, thats fucking amazing advice its just a shame i dont give a fuck what you advise.

youre another one of those people who come on here, read comments, make judgements and then make comments on other people not points.

you comment started off so fucking well but then you decided to pass judgement on me so heres some elder fucking advice for you. dont fucking leap in on attacking people till you know them or their fucking situation or their relationship to the other people on here or you can find you alienate yourself before youve fucking begun. hope that helps buddy.

Comment by andy@cynic

you wanted to expand your vocabulary in that comment didn’t you? But you know Mrs C doesn’t allow that.

Comment by John

Hi Crikey, nice of you to pop by and thanks for the compliment on my presentations though you’ll find they’re probably other people’s that I’ve just posted up on my slideshare.

You raise a lot of points – many I agree with – but I don’t know if it’s always a case that the person who sets the path is better than the person who rants. It should be, but the factors that create mass change of behaviour are (sadly) not purely dependent on will, but factors that include wealth and reach.

But I agree that on a personal level you should always rule life rather than let life rule you but I appreciate that sometimes can feel quite daunting or is often used as an excuse to ignore external advice and objectivity.

As for Andy, his bark is worse than his bite and as much as he would hate me to say this, he is very smart and (weirdly) quite adored so ignore the vulgarity and check out what he says because occasionally (very occasionally) he drops his “blog persona” and lets his cleverness come out for all to see.

(The cheque is payable to the usual address Andy)

Comment by Rob

oi campbell, youve stopped comments on your dads post which is a shame because id cant tell you that you did fucking good with it.

my unborn financial parasite has a lot to fucking live up to.

give you mum a hug, look after yourself and ill have a whiskey for roger at 10:34am.

Comment by andy@cynic

I see Andrew had the same idea as me.
This comment is about your fathers post Robert. It’s very heartfelt and gentle and I hope Mary and I do enough for our kids that they love us half as much as you love your parents. We have a lot to live up to and so do my children.
Take care of your mum and let Jill take care of you for once, she would like that.

Comment by George

I don’t really know what to say but I wanted to let you know that’s a very moving post and I hope you and your Mum are as well as can be on a day like this.

Comment by Pete

Of course he is proud of you. How the hell could he not be, Rob?

Wishing you and your Mum all the best…

Comment by niko

What Niko said.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by toto

That’s beautiful Robert. Big hugs.

Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

He would be so proud 🙂
Thoughts are with you and your mum

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Wonderful post Robert and he would be immensely proud of you.

Comment by Lee Hill

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your response. I’ve been reading through your blog this weekend and find it really interesting (and realise that a lot of the commenters also know each other!) Hence I will try not to jump to conclusions so quickly.

On your slideshares, I guess you are the person who is setting a path by actually ‘ranting’ the information – so don’t be too humble 😉 I find it inspiring either way.

I agree with you, change is daunting. If anything, sharing ideas is the best first step…which is why it is good to come across people who want (or rant, as you say) about change, or even just think about things, as opposed to getting caught up in ‘the done thing’.

Thanks for the insight Andy – will keep that in mind. It’s a shame someone so ‘smart’ as Rob says has to hide behind a persona. A lot of what you say gets lost behind the vulgarity of your words.

Go on. Cuss me. I know you want to!

Comment by crikey

1) no fucker on here is clever enough to get my genius.
2) no fucker on here is rich enough to afford my genius.
3) i dont do freebies.
4) if i did, theres no fucker on here i like enough to help out.
5) so nothing gets lost being the language.
6) i dont cuss, i motherfucking swear.

campbell, hope you and mrs c are ok with today.

thanks mr c for giving us campbell jnr. hes not as good as you or mrs c but hes alright.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t we all think that!

I’m just wondering if you are a product of the facebook generation (ie. the alter ego behind the safety of a screen)…or if you can actually survive with this persona in real life? It seems there are people on here that do genuinely support you despite the fact that there’s no fucker on here you like enough to help out.

So I’m forced to look beyond the fucks and believe otherwise.

Comment by crikey

You’re on a losing battle here Crikey. I’d let it go and enjoy the banter we all have onthis blog because you’re making observations that are about as wrong as you can be.

Comment by Pete

wondering if im part of the fucked up facebook generation is like telling a 35 year old woman she looks 22. thanks crikey, that’s the way to get to my cold, dark heart.

pete. what the fuck do you mean “enjoy” the banter? pervert.

Comment by andy@cynic

I just want to say thank you to everyone who said or sent nice things to me about my Dad’s post. Thanks, it meant a lot.

“Crikey” … it’s nice to have you on here but like Pete said, it will be more fun for all if you ignore Andy, besides, if there’s any way to annoy him, it’s to ignore him.

Comment by Rob

[…] written about this before but recently I was reminded of a scene in the last season of Blackadder that really got to […]

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