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

The NHS Put The Great In Great Britain …

The NHS is 70 years old this year.

While that is a remarkable age, it blows my mind there was a time when it didn’t exist.

The story of its foundation is a remarkable one … one filled with foresight, fight and a governments desire to raise the standards, dreams and potential of an entire nation.

Whether we will ever see something of such audacious good from a government anywhere in the World is debatable.

Obamacare may have come close, but thanks to America’s blinkered fear of socialism [despite having one FBI for example], it means its potential has been destroyed by that criminal, also known as The President of the United States of America.

And all the Republican sheep.

But back to the NHS.

Despite having not lived in England for 24+ years, it’s been a quiet partner throughout my life.

Helping me deal with some of the best and worst times of my life.

And even though there was a time I grew to despise walking along the corridors of the QMC hospital in Nottingham, I was always grateful for it … because it ensured the people I loved weren’t allowed to fall through the cracks at their greatest hour of need.

The NHS has saved my parents life, saved my sight, looked after my dear Paul when he’s undertaken acts of complete stupidity, taken care of my son when he came down with an illness [despite not yet having a British passport] and ensured my parents were given dignity in their final days … it is the single most important and valuable institution the UK has.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have lived all around the World and while there have been a number of occasions where I have needed the urgent and serious attention of Nurses and Doctors, I’ve paid heavily for that service.

Of course I’m grateful for all they did for me – they were excellent – but I was also in a privileged position where I could afford to pay for it which is why the NHS is so important because the reality is, everyone deserves the right to being looked after, not just those with a healthy bank balance.

Countless UK governments have tried to undermine or strip away the NHS … seemingly ignorant to the fact it’s one of the few things that is the envy of the World and should be treasured, not pillaged.

So to everyone who has ever worked for or fought for the NHS, thank you.

You deserve so much more than just a nations gratitude.


One Nations Tragedy Is Another Nations Humour …
May 9, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, America, Culture, England, History

One of the things that has always done my head in is how many American’s claim some sort of Irish descendency on St Patrick’s Day.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does.

This inner-boiling point reached new heights for me this year for 2 key reasons …

+ I now live here so get to see it first hand.

+ Trump is President, voted in by people who liked his ‘stop the immigrants’ message.

I’ve got to admit, I found it interesting watching so many people claim they were of Irish descent [when in reality, it was probably about 1/1000th Irish or that they once drank some Jameson’s whiskey] given the likelihood a great deal of them passionately want to stop any immigrants [read: anyone not white] enter the US … but hey, as we’ve seen with the gun laws, when America wants to, they can do crazy like few can do crazy.

Talking of crazy, have a look at this sign I saw outside an Irish pub that day.

Specifically, the last drink on the menu board …

Yeah … let’s all laugh at the drink called ‘car bomb’.

That’s funny isn’t it.

Something that killed so many people is a great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think American’s would find it funny if a bar in London created a drink called 9/11 to celebrate July 4th, do you?

Yes, you can call it a bad joke. Or just plain ol’ cultural ignorance. But as I wrote years ago when the Borat movie came out, it’s amazing how people can laugh at human unpleasantness when it’s not about them and wrapped up in ‘humour’ to make the bitterness appear less ugly.

If You Want To Feel Really Old …
October 12, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Attitude & Aptitude, Culture, Film, Happiness, History, Music

… read the first 2 lines of this article on the 25th anniversary of the brilliant movie, The Commitments.

Scary eh! Almost as scary as the fact The Commitments is 25 years old.


Then I remember how good that movie is and realise there won’t be many films made today that I’ll want to see in 25 years time, which helps me feel a teensy bit better about being an old fart. Which is handy, because on top of the first 2 lines of that article making me feel ancient, I’ve been spending the past few months working with Spotify and after every meeting I feel super excited and oh-so-old.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about – or just want a dose of nostalgia – cop a load of this:

Happy Birthday Freddie …
September 5, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Anniversary, Comment, Death, Emotion, History, Music

Today would have been Mr Mercury’s 70th birthday.


If he was alive, I very much doubt he would be touring with Queen.

He would probably still be their singer, but he would only be making music with them, not performing it.

I would imagine that if he was going to perform, it would be more in terms of opera, as he did with Montserrat Caballé … because it offered him a chance to still command a stage, but without the need to run around in a leotard.

But he isn’t alive. He died at 45.


Which means I am older than he was when he passed away.

Things like that freak me out to be honest.

Both in terms of comparing what I have achieved in my life versus what he achieved in his [which is stupid, I know] and the reminder that life isn’t forever.

But that’s a post for another day, today I simply say ‘Happy Birthday Mr Mercury’ and thank him for the memories and the music.

God, I’m such a sad bastard.

This Blog Is The Cockroach Of Blogs …
May 3, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, History, Unplanned

Ten years ago today, I started this blog.


That’s longer that 99% of Hollywood marriages!!!

Now while I’ve experienced a huge amount of things in that time …

I’ve lived in 4 countries.
I got married.
I got a cat.
I had a baby.
My mum passed away.
I sold both my companies.
I got to travel the World.
I qualified as a bloody teacher.
I bought countless amounts of tech rubbish.
I managed to still stay employed.
Got to do some of the best work I’ve ever done.
I had the best holiday of my entire life.
I had the most needed holiday of my entire life.

… and so has the World …

Global economic collapse.
Olympic Games in China and London.
The re-emergence of global terrorism.
The first black President.

[Yes, I know there’s a ton more, but my memory isn’t what it used to be]

… the fact is, the standard of my writing and my posts subject matter have remained pretty much the same.

Want proof?

Here’s the very first post I wrote.

Now you might think that I’m dissing myself by highlighting this fact, but when you take into account I’ve written TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED POSTS [I know, mad eh!] I think it shows a level of consistency and reliability than Volkswagen would be jealous of.

According to the stats, there’s literally been millions of idiots who have supposedly visited this blog – but the fact is, the majority of comments have come from pretty much the same small group of people as it always did.

Sure, some have come, some have gone … some have even gone and then come back … and even this blog supposedly closed down only to start up again because I’m a sad, sadomasochistic fool … but the fact is I have to admire their commitment and industriousness because they’ve managed to write over SIXTY FOUR THOUSAND comments between them.

Or should I say 64,000 insults.

OK, of that 64,000 … at least half are by me trying to protect my honour, but that’s still impressive.

Of course, it could be argued that the reason so many people now check out my rubbish is because there’s less blogs now than there used to be.

Back in 2006, every man and his dog had one … but in the past 10 years, it appears people have grown up and decided it’s better to live a life rather than write about one. Or they simply moved all their complaining over to Twitter.

While some may say the reason I have continued writing when everyone else has left is because I am always a few years behind the times, I prefer to think of it as me winning the ultimate game of [blog] survivor.

Except by me winning, it means humanity has lost.

But despite everything … despite all the good, bad and indifferent stuff that has happened on this blog … I feel this blog has made a powerful difference in my life.

Not because of the rubbish I write – though it has been interesting to debate and learn from people as well as see how my viewpoints have evolved/changed in the past decade – but because it’s introduced me to a whole host of wonderful and interesting people.

The reality is there’s now a bunch of people in my life that are here because of this blog.

Sure, some of them I knew already.

In fact some of them I worked for – or with.

However there’s a bunch that I only know because of this thing I write every day.

I’ve been fortunate to meet many of them – but there’s still a few who have managed to stay away [well done Northern and Marcus] – but the fact is I’m super grateful to have them in my life and despite their cheek and mischief, I know that when the shit hits the fan [as it did last year when Mum passed away], they are watching out for me.

That’s pretty wonderful for anyone, even more so when it’s the byproduct of starting something simple because I wanted a place where I could release – or store – my brainfarts.

God knows if this blog will have another 10 years in it – I know you hope it doesn’t – but the first decade of it ended up being pretty damn awesome. At least for me. So thank you.

Life With Less Distraction …
February 18, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Childhood, Dad, History

A old friend of mine recently sent me this …

I love it. Not just because I relate to it but because it reminds me of a story about my Dad.

When I was growing up, I used to have a lot of friends come to my house and – like it shows in the photo – they would dump their bikes outside the house or on our lawn.

Sometimes the bikes would be out there for a few minutes and sometimes for the whole day.

We didn’t have to worry about them getting stolen – not just because crime was very low – but because the community I lived in meant everyone knew each other so if someone saw someone on a bike they knew wasn’t there’s, they’d get a smack round the earhole and be told to return it.

Social interaction was different back then.

We would turn up at each others houses unannounced just to see if you wanted to come out and play.

We could have used our home telephones to see if our mates were in – and we occasionally did – but the whole attitude to life was much more spontaneous.

Nowadays, if a mate turned up at my house unannounced, my initial reaction would either be mild irritation or concern for their mental state.

Anyway, I digress.

While my parents loved the house being full of noise, my Dad hated it when we left our bikes on the drive because it meant he couldn’t easily get the car in or out of the garage.

One day – during the big school holidays of the 1980’s – Paul was at my house and we’d left our bikes on my drive.

We’d been playing happily for a few hours when my Dad came home and wanted to see how we were.

After chatting with him for a while, Paul and I decided to go out so we left the house only to discover OUR BIKES WEREN’T ON THE DRIVE.

We looked on the grass.


We looked down the side of the house.


We looked on the pavement.


We started to panic and ran back into the house to ask my Dad if he’d moved them.

“No”, he said.

We started getting upset, not just because Paul had an expensive posers BMX Mongoose, but because our bikes were our independence … so my Dad told us the only thing to do is walk to the local police station and either report the crime or see if someone had handed them in.

Upset, we set off to report the loss of our beloved bikes.

We had only gone a few minutes when we heard my Dad shouting at us to come back.

We ran home and he led us to the garage.

He pulled open the door but instead of seeing his car in there, we saw our bikes.

As we were trying to work out what the hell was going on, my Dad turned to us and said,

“Don’t leave your bikes in the driveway again”.

We never did.

I miss his lessons.

And I hope Otis gets to enjoy the same sort of childhood I had.