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


Conversations With The Enemy …
January 23, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

So last week, I had a conversation with someone I thought I hated.

Note I said “thought”, because the fact is, until last week – I had never met the person, I had simply encountered them through their work.

I didn’t like their work.

In fact I hated it.

To be fair, some of this was because of the people who liked this individual, rather than me purely loathing all they did. But I did. I bloody hated it.

That said, I appreciated their broader influence and I respected their beliefs – even if I didn’t agree with them – but all in all, they were in my ‘shit box’ and had remained there for literally, a couple of decades.

So imagine my surprise, when last week, I found myself on the phone, talking to this guy.

Worse, imagine my surprise, when last week, I found myself on the phone, talking to this guy and liking him.

I should add this was not because I suddenly agreed with all his views and opinions [though without doubt, I did on some things] but because he was a smart, charming, informed and amusing.

In addition, he also didn’t hang up on me when I told him how much I used to loath him and his ‘companies’ work … though that could also be because I mentioned how a certain colleague of mine spent 2 years mimicking him at work, just to annoy the shit out of me.

All in all, it was a really enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking conversation.

This has left me in a pickle.

I’ve been robbed of a belief that I had blindly hung on to for years.

A belief that I accept, was – potentially – based on nothing more than adolescence, pettiness and belonging.

OK, so this change in opinion could be based on me maturing. [Ahem]

Or maybe they’ve stopped being such an obnoxious arsehole. [Ahem]

But whatever the case, it’s reminded me that whether it’s people, research, clients or agencies … you should never judge a book by it’s [media] covee – never, ever, ever – unless it’s Bono, because I’m absolutely certain he’s an egotistical, little twat.



You Can’t Call Yourself A Democracy When You Have To Answer To The Corporate Cheque Book.
January 22, 2013, 6:18 am
Filed under: Comment

So I was very pleased to see that Obama has let sanity prevail and taken action against the ridiculously liberal gun laws of the US.

While I am sure myopic fuckwits like like Alex Jones will act like this is an act of war on American citizens [no doubt bringing up the ridiculous ‘Is Obama American’ debate all over again], there was one bit of the new legislation that shocked me and that was that the Centre for Disease Control were now allowed to study gun violence.

Yes, ALLOWED.

You see previously, doctors had been banned from gathering data or discussing guns with patients under regulations backed by the National Rifle Association.

What the fuck!?

I know the NRA would claim it’s because they were worried fictitious ‘evidence’ would be produced, but those bunch of conspiracy peddlers are missing the point, because by doing that, it means people like me think they actually acknowledge the role gun ownership has on violent crime and simply wanted to stop this proof from reaching the masses.

I appreciate modern politics is full of lobbying and cosy financial arrangements and relationships, but when a group can make research into stopping violence, illegal – simply because it doesn’t suit their personal agenda – then I think you have the right to start asking who’s interests our governments are really serving.

Honestly, the more I see these sorts of things, the more I find people who criticise the Communist Government, laughable.



Who Needs A Four Hour Working Week …
January 21, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

… when you can have the ‘no hour working week.

No, I’m not talking about winning the lottery.

Nor am I talking about living the sort of life some mean people on here claim I live.

I’m talking about this act of utter genius.

Mind you, it could be argued that …

1. I live in China

2. I spend a lot of time looking up shit on the internet

3. I have a propensity to delegate stuff to my colleagues

… I was doing this way before that guy.

Sssssssh, don’t tell Dan.



Winning All The Time …
January 18, 2013, 6:02 am
Filed under: Comment

Sometimes we face challenges we never saw coming.

Challenges we’ve never had exposure to or were taught how to handle.

Challenges that don’t directly affect us but affect us all the same.

Sometimes those challenges seem daunting … impossible even.

But the wonderful thing about us is our ability to adapt and conquer.

All the time in an endless amount of ways.

This means we can beat the little things and the big.

From the irritating and inconsequential to those rare situations that have major implications on how our – and our loved ones – life will turn out.

And while these victories rarely result in medals or ceremonies, the important thing is that more often than not, we win and at the end of the day, that is all that counts.

There’s a particular person this post is aimed at and to them I simply say, take care and I look forward to your abuse when you return victorious … and there’s absolutely no doubt you will, after all, she has the genes of a champion.



Sometimes, Amazing Hides Itself.
January 17, 2013, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

It’s an oldie.

It’s another of my beloved triumph-over-adversity things.

But it’s also a reminder we should not make judgements until we’ve seen action.

Too many people – especially in adland – define someone’s abilities or talent by the company they keeps or work at.

That is both bollocks and dangerous, because success should not just be judged by accolades or accomplishments, but also attitude and actions.

I’m sure the reason why so many are so quick to judge others is to protect their sensitive egos or delusions – and while some folks expectations border on fantasy – they’re many out there who could be amazing if given the right chance in the right circumstances.

While I would never, ever, ever claim to be amazing – except in my ability to buy complete and utter tosh – I am definitely someone who prospered because some people, foolishly, believed in me which is why I’ll always prefer to work with people who have lived a life rather than an [advertising] lifestyle and why I’ll always recommend you put emphasis on the person you report to rather than the name of the agency who pays your salary.



Accidental Significance: Why Some Days Last Forever.
January 16, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Dad, Family, Mum

At 10:34am, it will be the 14th anniversary of my Dad passing away.

Over the last 7 years of this blog, I’ve written many posts about how much my Dad dying affected me and – to a large extent – screwed me up, but today it’s time to change that.

That doesn’t mean I have stopped thinking it’s immensley important to talk openly about death way before death is a possibility, it’s just that I know my Dad – and my Mum for that matter – would like my memories to be filled with the wonderful times together, not just the ones of pain and loss.

With that in mind, I want to take you back to a day in 1980, at around 3am.

I don’t know why I woke up, but I did.

At 10 years of age, I was old enough to know I could go back to sleep but young enough to still find being awake at that time, utterly amazing.

3am.

THREE AM!!!

I honestly believed I might be the only person awake at that time.

The only person who would experience what a World asleep looked like.

What a street in hibernation sounded like.

What a home in absolute darkness felt like.

But then I heard a sound.

Not the sort of sound that would make you hide under the covers … but the distant, muffled sounds of a television.

Our television.

How could this be?

So with the sort of courage I didn’t even know I had, I pushed back the covers of my safe, warm bed and slowly got up.

I could see from my slightly ajar bedroom door, that Mum & Dad’s slightly ajar bedroom door wasn’t emitting any light.

That meant they had to be asleep.

Had to be.

I know they would talk for hours and hours each night, but 3am was ridiculous – no one was awake at 3am.

So with a sense of wonder and inquisitiveness, I took one step … then another … and tip-toed past my bedroom door, past my parents bedroom door and then – before I knew it – I started heading down the stairs.

The noise of the television was getting louder.

I couldn’t make out what was going on, but it was definitely broadcasting something.

At 3am.

What on earth could it be?

As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I could see through a crack in the curtains that linked our kitchen to our lounge, the unmistakeable flickering glow of life.

Life from the television.

I should have been scared, but I wasn’t.

I was curious.

The door to our lounge would always stick a little, it still does, so as I slowly approached it – and then placed my 2 small hands on the handle – I knew I would need to summon all my strength to be able to push it down hard enough to ensure I could open it without making too much noise.

With all my might I pressed down and then, ever-so-gently, I used my shoulder to push the door while somehow pulling the handle towards me so that the door would not burst open with dramatic force.

I was in.

As I peered around the door … way down the other end of the room … I could see the television glowing.

It wasn’t just glowing, it was showing something.

It was showing ice skating.

It was showing the Winter Olympics ice skating.

It was showing the Winter Olympics ice skating live from Lake Placid in New York.

At 3 o’clock in the morning!!!

But rather than be confused, it was at that very moment, I knew everything was OK.

As I walked slowly into the lounge and tiptoed past the dining table towards the television, I saw my Dad sitting on the sofa.

In his dressing gown.

Engrossed with what was going on the screen.

Slowly he turned his head and saw me.

In front of my eyes, his face transformed from one of total concentration into one that emitted the warmest, most welcoming, loving smile you’ve ever seen.

“What are you doing up?” he asked.

I’ll always remember how he said it because it wasn’t just a voice of curiosity, it was mixed with the sound of total happiness.

It might be the nicest way I’ve ever been asked a question in my life.

“I can’t sleep”, I replied.

And then, without any more words spoken, he simply patted the seat next to him and I trotted over to join him … placing my head on his chest, curling my legs up beside me and holding his hand.

Father and son together.

United in silence.

Transfixed by what was on the screen.

After a few minutes, it dawned on me that I hadn’t asked him why he was awake at this impossible time.

As I looked up, I was met by his wonderful, kind blue eyes staring back at me.

It was if he knew what was on my mind, because he simply said, “Robin Cousins is skating soon”.

Robin Cousins was a British ice skater.

He was incredibly talented and was expected to perform very well at the Olympics.

My parents loved ice-skating.

They loved the grace, the skill, the intricacy, the flow.

It also helped that my Dad vaguely knew Jane Torville, one half of the World famous – Nottingham born – ice skating duo, Torville and Dean.

Personally, I never really cared for ice skating.

I only liked seeing the scores or if anyone fell down during their routine.

But at that moment, I loved it.

I loved every single moment of it.

The sound of the skates.

The flamboyance of the outfits.

The wild applause that followed every routine.

The way they could spin around so fast it looked like they weren’t moving at all.

Seemingly satisfied by his response, I placed my head back on his chest and we got back to watching the drama unfold on the screen while my Mum slept soundly in her bed upstairs, totally unaware that her beloved husband and son were sharing a moment that one of them would recount 33 years later … a moment where Robin Cousins would skate so magnificently, it was if he wanted to win the Olympic Gold just for the Father and son sitting quietly on the couch in West Bridgford at 3 o’clock in the morning.

To make it more memorable. To make it more special.

And the next morning, I proudly and excitedly recounted the whole story to my Mum.

And she smiled a smile that I’ll remember forever.

A smile of pure joy.

Which is why, after all these years, I’ll always treasure that night, because it still lets me feel close to my Dad.

And that’s why I’ll always be grateful to Robin Cousins.

Because he sort-of helped make it happen.

A night I’ll never forget.

A night I’ll always love.

A night I’ll always feel comforted by.

Dad was everything to me.

He still is.

He always will be.



Fucking With The System Makes The World Happy. Or At Least Me.
January 15, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So last Saturday, my mobile phone rang.

What follows is the transcript of the entire conversation.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Is that Mr Campbell?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caller: “Oh hello, this is HSBC.”

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “We’re calling about your recent credit card fraud.”

Me: “Oh, OK.”

Caller: “First, can I ask you some security questions?”

Me: “Actually, before we get to that, can you prove to me you’re from HSBC?”

Caller: “Pardon?”

Me: “Well, how do I know you’re from HSBC? You know you’re talking to me because you rang my number but how do I know you’re from HSBC, you could be anybody.”

Caller: “Errrm …”

P A U S E

Caller: “But …”

P A U S E

Caller: “Hmmmmn …”

Me: “Well can you tell me what it’s about?”

Caller: “Yes, we’ve fully credited your account.”

Me: “Well that wasn’t too hard to tell me was it.”

Caller: “Errrm …”

Me: “Bye.”

Caller: [said meekly] “Goodbye.”

I know it’s as good as my ‘fuck you’ to IKEA, but it still felt good to mess with petty, badly-thought-through, bureaucratic, banking arrogance.