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


Till Next Year …

So this is the final post of the year.

It’s been a big year for me and the family.

Then again, it was a big year for the family last year too.

However, whereas 2017 saw us leave Shanghai and Wieden+Kennedy – something that was truly emotional for all of us – 2018 has seen us go from sunny LA, working at Deutsch, living in a house by the beach and driving a custom made Audi to being citizens of cold and rainy London, living in a much smaller house in Fulham, working at R/GA [with some sprinkles of Metallica madness in-between] and traveling by tube to and from everywhere.

And we haven’t been this happy in ages.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things we definitely miss from our life in the US – people, the weather, Otis’ school, free soda refills and bacon mainly – but this move was right for us for a whole host of reasons, personal and professional, and we enter 2019 with the full expectation we’ll still be here when 2020 comes around.

I hope.

It’s funny, when I read the final post I wrote for last year, it is apparent that change was in our minds. We didn’t think that openly, but it seems it was there.

Of course, moving to a country and then leaving in just over a year is not the best thing.

It’s financial stupidity for one.

But these things happen and we are very happy for the amazing experience, though I must admit I’m even happier my wife, son and cat are still talking to me.

Fools.

But while our environment has changed, some things have stayed exactly the same.

Your ability to trash everything I write on here, for one.

And to you all, I say a huge thank you.

Sure, being told I’m a bad dressing, musically ignorant, gadget tosser every-single-day can get a bit tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because amongst the insults, there’s often pearls of gold in there.

Stuff that makes me think about things a different way.

Stuff that influences how I think about things I never thought about.

Stuff that just keeps me on my toes and interested about stuff.

And I love it.

I love that people come here and share a bit of their time and opinion with me.

Yes, I appreciate moving to the UK and still posting at 6am is screwing up the flow of the comments given the East Coast of America is asleep and can’t insult/join-in until much later … but the fact so many people still write makes me feel very fortunate.

While I have loved the ability to move countries and cultures so many times – and hope to continue doing it, just not for a bit – the reality is that is makes your friendship network difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very fortunate we have technology to keep me in touch with the wonderful people I’ve met in every country we’ve lived [whether they like it or not] and this year I got to catch up with people I’ve not seen in years – from Freddie to Paula – but there is something about having a level of constancy that makes you feel settled.

Bizarrely, this blog has provided me with a bit of that.

Even with people I have still yet to meet.

[Though I met Marcus and Neil Perkin this year and that made me so happy]

While I would never suggest I am your friend, you have been to me – in many ways and at many times, both at moments of darkness and happiness – and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

To all of you.

Even you Andy.

When I started this blog way back in May 2006, I never expected anyone to read it, let alone comment so the fact some of you still are – regardless that many Police officers would call it abuse – I’m grateful.

I’m excited about next year.

It will be big.

Not because we’ll be moving … or I’ll changing job … but new things will be entering my life.

From my beloved Otis starting proper school – which literally is screwing with my head – to the much-talked-about-but-not-much-actually-done Weigel/Campbell officially doing its thing in addition to the exciting adventures and exploits my wonderfully beautiful family, my bloody amazing friends and fantastic new planning team will get up to that will make me feel even luckier than I do already.

Being back in England has had a much bigger effect on me than I ever imagined it would.

I am grateful for it.

I am grateful for all I have.

I hope this holiday season and 2019 is one that is wonderful for you all too.

See you in a few weeks. [Yeah, don’t think you get so lucky to not have me come back]

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And So It Begins …
January 27, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: China, Chinese Culture, Comment, Culture, Holiday

So today is the start of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Yep, that means my first holiday of 2017 has already commenced.

A holiday that sees me away until the 5th February.

I know … I know … but don’t blame me, blame the Chinese Government. Or someone.

If it’s any consolation, I’ll be spending the next week or so doing a bunch of stuff. Sure, none of it will be ‘real work’, but according to you, I’ve never been doing that anyway.

Anyway, to celebrate the year of the Chicken [or, said another way, the year KFC’s share price goes through the roof], I leave you with this …

See you next month.



God Bless Communism …
October 1, 2016, 7:30 am
Filed under: China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Cunning, Holiday, Unfair Life, Wankers

Want to know the definition of bittersweet?

Knowing you have a weeks holiday from my blogging because from today, China has a week-long national holiday.

That’s right, I’m going to be on holiday. Again.

Yes … I know I had one only a few weeks ago and I know I had a month off only about 6 weeks ago, but hey, I’m just a humble servant of the Communist party so don’t blame me.

So unless you live in LA – because I’ll be knocking on your door – enjoy the break, because I know I will. Till the 10th …



Humble Brag. Without The Humble …
June 20, 2016, 2:39 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Experience, Family, Fatherhood, Holiday, Jill, Love, Otis

So by the time you read this post, I’ll be in Paris.

And yes, it’s for work.

It’s potentially the best work assignment of my life because not only do I have the pleasure of presenting to a bunch of global NIKE guys, I’m doing a presentation about Boatie McBoatface.

No really, I am.

Mind you, having written that down, I’m starting to realise the idea was better when it was in my head.

Oh well, too late now …

But if you think that’s showing off, wait till you hear this.

Tomorrow I fly home …

But it’s not to go back to work, oh no, it’s to pick up my wife and son and then get on another plane and spend a month on holiday.

I can’t wait … we will be catching up with old friends, seeing members of family and doing a bunch of new things in new places.

But most of all, we will be together … and while I’d love Rosie the cat to be with us, it will still be very special for me.

Being together is precious.

Of course that is to be expected, however when you have a young child, it takes on another dimension.

You don’t just do things together … you get to experience new things together.

Normally with a young child, life falls into 2 parts:

1. You bring them into your life. [Where they experience things you’ve done before]


2. You let them explore their life. [Where they experience things designed just for them]

But on a holiday – especially a holiday where you will be spending time in a place none of you have been before – you get to experience things for the first time together, literally share an experience where everyone is [kind-of] equal.

Now while I know it is exceedingly unlikely my 18 month old baby will ever remember anything from it, the fact is I will and I can tell you it will automatically be something important in my life and that makes me extra excited to be going away.

I’m back on the 17th July, so enjoy your holiday from me while I enjoy my holiday from you.



2016: Holiday #1
February 5, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Daddyhood, Family, Fatherhood, Holiday, Otis, Parents

So today is the last day of work for a week before the Chinese New Year holiday.

I know … I know … I’ve just come back from my Christmas holiday, but this has been going on for 6 years so I don’t know why you’re surprised.

Last year, Chinese New Year was the start of a horrible time.

Mum was rushed into hospital and I flew back to be with her.

She recovered – and even thrived – but 10 days later, when she had her heart operation, it all went terribly wrong.

I’ve written a lot about that so I won’t say anymore for now, but this holiday will be different and I am sure my Mum would be happy about that.

Family is very important.

Sometimes we take them for granted.

We don’t mean to, but pressure and expectation occasionally distracts us from what’s really important and that’s why holidays are so important, because you don’t just get to let go of the distractions, you get to spend uninterrupted time with the people who make you feel fulfilled.

I’m not going to lie … holidays are very different now I have a son, but they are still magical, just in a different way.

When we were in Sydney a few weeks ago, one of the things we did was take Otis to the beach … Balmoral Beach to be precise.

Watching him play in the sand and the sea for the first time in his life was very special for me.

Seeing the joy on his face as he engaged with nature with his Mum and Dad was something that affected me deeply.

China was never going to be our home forever, but being able to easily compare against another way of living – albeit in the bubble of a holiday – certainly brought home what we now view as important.

That doesn’t mean things are going to change immediately – the fact is I still love my job, my life and China – but it does mean the things we want to explore and experiment with in the future have to fit in with certain environmental requirements that we never previously viewed as important. What’s even more amazing is that I no longer see this as a restriction of opportunity, but a sign my life has grown in ways I never previously could imagine.

That would make my parents happy which means that makes me doubly happy.

So while it is true that I am going to have another holiday just weeks after my previous one, it is no longer about me being a work shy, lazy bastard, it’s about spending time with the most important people in my life and even you couldn’t begrudge me that.

OK, you can, but I’m choosing to ignore you.

See you on the 15th.

Happy ‘year of the monkey’.