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

Why JK Rowling Is More Magical Than Harry Potter …
August 16, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I like JK Rowling.

I like her a lot.

Not just because she lived the ‘triumph-over-adversity’ story that I’m such a sucker for, but because she has continually demonstrated her will to help people help themselves to a better life.

Some of that has been through her incredible charitable donations, but some have been executed in very different ways.

I once watched an interview about the meaning behind her some of her Harry Potter characters.

She explained that the purpose of Lord Voldemort was to convey the feelings of depression. Where a spirit of darkness seemingly creeps up on you, envelops you and then leaves you feeling utterly helpless, useless and lonely.

Her purpose behind developing this character wasn’t to put fear into kids hearts … nor was it just to create an ‘enemy’ in the storyline … it was because she’d seem children starting to feel this way more and more and she wanted them to learn – through Harry & his friends – that reaching out and thinking positively and purposefully can help you to leave these feelings behind and go back to a life of colour and happiness.

In essence, she made Harry Potter literary prozac.

I love it.

I honestly believe the purpose of her most famous character is to teach the lessons of life that people used to turn to the bible for.

Until they realized it was the most contradictory, hypocritical book ever written.


But this isn’t about Harry Potter, this is about a recent book of hers … a book she didn’t want anyone to know she’d written.

Recently she wrote a book called, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the name Robert Galbraith.

She said the experience was cathartic as she was able to write without the intense scrutiny of the literary masses and press.

Except the law firm who represented her decided to destroy this.

One of the partners, Chris Gossage, told a friend who the author of this book really was.

The friend, Judith Callegari, then decided to tell a journalist what was going on and before you know it – JK was exposed.

While this information transformed the success of the book – it went from being 4,709th on Amazon’s bestsellers list to number 1 – the author was incredibly distressed.

In addition, she was then abused by many people who said this was all a marketing ploy, designed to drive sales – and her profits.

Well she got them all back.

She successful sued the law firm for breach of trust [though personally I think the law society should now get involved for malpractice, but that’s another thing altogether] but the really cool thing is that she’s passed on the substantial damages she received – plus all the global net royalties of the book for a period of 3 years, starting from from July 14 2013th, the day that Galbraith’s identity was made known – to a charity that represents veteran soldiers.

And why that charity?

Because her book is about a veteran hero and it helped give her an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly what that charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed..

In today’s cult of celebrity … where the media celebrate the ever-outrageous sums of money spent on houses, planes, boats, cars and jewelry with bigger and bigger headlines … here is a woman who not only appreciates what life is like for the majority of society, but uses her position to try and help improve it, especially for the millions upon millions of people who are overlooked, undervalued or simply ignored.

What’s sad is that anyone could do what she’s doing.

Not just rich people, but companies, adland and banks.

Helping others doesn’t mean sacrificing profit, in fact if you do it the right way, it can make you more.

Sadly, too few appreciate this, let alone do anything about it and that’s why JK Rowling is a bloody legend.

Hopefully, History Will Repeat Itself. Sort Of …
August 15, 2013, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Following on from a post I wrote last month, today is a big day for a friend of mine, so I leave him this clip that – fingers crossed – ends up being closer to reality [without the porn context, obviously] than we ever could have imagined when we watched it in the cinema all those years ago.

The drinks are on ice, we’re waiting for your call.

This is your time.

Comments Off on Hopefully, History Will Repeat Itself. Sort Of …

Sometimes Life Reminds Us She Can Be Cruel As Well As Wonderful …
August 14, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

A couple of days ago, a very good and clever man died.

His name was John Harlow.

Despite all the incredible things he achieved in his life, he always had time to talk and help others.

From a personal perspective, he was incredibly generous to me over the years in terms of the time, advice, support and help he selflessly offered me. In fact, it’s fair to say that cynic may not have happened without his constant enthusiastic encouragement.

I can’t believe this has happened, it’s all so very, very sad.

Thank you for everything John … you have no idea of the impact you had on me. As our friend Simon said, I hope you finally find the peace you were looking for.

Why Should Call Himself …
August 13, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Are you sitting down?

You’re going to need to when you watch this …

The good news for Little Billy is that with the utter nonsense he’s spouting in this clip, he can be sure if the Black Eye Peas turn to shit or his creative director gig at INTEL goes tits-up, there’s a chair with his name on it waiting for him at Landor.

Probably with a job title proclaiming he’s the, ‘Global Proprietary Tool Design Innovator Creative Director’.

Or something.

Seriously, how the hell has he become the ‘go-to man’ for companies wanting to sex themselves up?


OK, so the brands he works with tend to be companies that like lots of beige and grey – but he is in the Black Eyed Peas for christsake, they’re the beige and grey of music.

Ahhhhhhh, now I understand.

With all this celebratory c-suite hiring we’re seeing, what’s next?

Brian May made the head of style at Vidal Sassoon?

Stephen Hawking appointed chief engineer at Segway?

Alicia Keys made creative director of Blackberry?

Oh hang on, that one has happened.

Steve Jobs must be pissing himself in his grave right now.

Collaborating with companies on something you actually know about – or have credibility in – is one thing.

Pretending you’re an expert in something you have no idea about just because a company paid you an utter fortune in a desperate attempt to ‘get down with the kidz’ because typically, they’re about as welcome as Jimmy Saville at a pre-school sleepover is something totally different.

It makes you look a fool.

It makes the company look a fool.

We have enough fools in the World.

Enough already. Seriously, enough already.

Thailand: Land Of Smiles, Skinny Men & Pear-Shaped Women.
August 12, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I swear I wrote about this a year ago, but for the life of me, I can’t find it.

Not that it matters because I know you never read what I post.

So I was in Thailand recently for MediaWorks and because it was held in the same hotel as last year, I got to see the most politically incorrect toilet signage in the World all over again.

What am I talking about?


Seriously, what were the guys behind this thinking?

Actually, what are these guys behind this trying to say?

I don’t know if it’s an insult to the men of Thailand or the women?

Are they implying the guys are more fragile than the ladies or is it inferring that Thai women have child bearing hips fit for an elephant?

Of course, both scenario’s are utter rubbish, which begs the question …


Mind you, when a toilet sign is the main talking point of the hotel, maybe the management have bigger issues they need to sort out … but at least they’re not as bad as the Conrad.

The Musical Hare & The Tortoise …
August 9, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Music has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

Some of that change has been great, some has been less so.

Much of this change has been driven by the influence of technology.

Suddenly the ability to make and listen to music has become easier … more accessible.

Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is open to interpretation … but one thing that I genuinely believe is a negative is that thanks to things like iPod/iPhone/iTunes [Sorry Bazza], the way we consume music has changed.

Nowadays, if a track doesn’t ‘grab you’ in the first 5 seconds, you can – and often do – move on to another song.

Nowadays, if you like a particular artist, you can choose to own just the tracks you like, rather than experience the whole song, let alone whole album.

It’s resulted in many artists changing how they write music.

Trying to grab the attention from the first note.

Creating the musical equivalent of a Michael Bay movie … all bluster, not much substance.

Some of that is good, but it also means ‘music appreciation’ is evolving/devolving into nothing more than track acknowledgement.

That’s why I really liked it when AC/DC refused to sell their music on iTunes.

They said their albums were created to be experienced as an entire piece, not to picked and played with.

Of course, when they realised how much cash they were missing out on, they quickly changed their mind, but the reason behind their initial stand is absolutely with merit.

But that’s not what this post is about, it’s about a band with the greatest hair since Joey Tempest of Europe.

Yes, I’m talking about one-hit-wonders, Flock of Seagulls.

Listen to this:

Yes, it’s their 1982 hit, “I Ran” … but the thing I love about it is that there’s 1 minute 32 seconds of musical intro before the lyrics come in.


Christ, that’s longer than some songs these days.

And I love it.

I love that it pulls you slowly into the adventure.

Preparing you for the moment it all kicks in.

And I honestly believe it wouldn’t be so powerful if it didn’t have that intro to the song.

Which leads to the bigger issue …

In these days where everyone seems obsessed with finding the shortest route to awesome, the sad truth of the matter is that by looking for shortcuts, you’re automatically running the risk of stopping awesome from ever truly happening.

Or said another way, if all you do is fuck, you’re missing out on the emotional satisfaction you get from seduction.

Yes, that is the worst analogy ever written.


OK, with that disturbing image now in your head, I think I’ll leave you to your weekend.


Death On Two Legs …
August 8, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Following on from Monday’s declaration that this is the week of emotional posts, here’s one I’ve written about disappointment, anger and distrust.

For total transparency, this is about a situation some of the people who comment on this blog – and myself – found ourselves in about 10 years ago.

Again, it’s all done and dusted now, but at the time, I cannot tell you the emotional toil it had on us because the implications for our lives and livelihoods was potentially devastating.

Obviously we got through it and managed to do it without too many scars, so I’m very proud of everyone who helped us – both personally & professionally – and I hope when they read it, they remember how strong we were not how horrid that time was.

You claimed you were sincere.

That the words you spoke were the words you meant.

That your belief went beyond anything said – or heard – before.

Then you went and did something quite the opposite.

Something with malice in its intent.

Something designed to destruct from the core and to the core.

Then you apologized and claimed it was a mistake.

A moment of misguided judgement.

A decision of foolish naivety.

And that you were sincere.

That the words you spoke were the words you meant.

That your belief went beyond anything said – or heard – before.

Then you went and did something quite the opposite.


Fuck you for making us believe.



Fuck you for tricking us into giving you our best.

Then bringing out our worst.

Just so you could justify your actions.

Which you had planned all along.

As the [updated & paraphrased] old saying goes:

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me twice, pulling off pretty much the exact same stunt all within 2 weeks of each other, put me in a cell & throw away the key.