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

Same Shit, Different Year!
January 7, 2008, 7:30 am
Filed under: Comment

Yep, Mr Positive is back, hahaha! 

However if you think I’m bad, you should go and listen to Marcus/Kaiser’s fantastic interview with the legendary George Parker … because not only is he insightful, opinionated and bloody funny, he makes me look positively errrrrm, positive! 

In all seriousness, every new year should begin with a moment of ‘pleasure’, so if you’re up for it, I recommend you go either here or click on this link and listen to a fantastic conversation. 

[Pete: I am sure George isn’t holding you personally responsible when he slags off CP+B!!!  On the brightside, he does say how much he loved the Mini campaign … but I would say that wouldn’t I, ha!] 

OK … lets get the festive period bollocks over with. I hope you all had a great time and enjoyed things that you never even dreamt about … even though in all probability, the highlight was that you simply didn’t have to sell your soul at work for a couple of days. 

I actually have high hopes for this year – both personally, professionally – but I’m not going to jinx it by talking about it here, however what I can say is that I wish everyone who reads this blog a bloody fantastic year and may all your wildest hopes and dreams come true is dramatic fashion.  

Right, that’s the ‘nicey’ bit over and done with, now lets get on with the ranting … 

So as you all know, I live in Singapore – and as I’ve said many, many times – I think it gets a much harder wrap than it deserves.

Sure it’s run by a smiling dictatorship … but it’s clean, safe and has a good standard of living [and not just for expat bastards like me!] 

Infact given where Singapore has come from – and where it is today – I’d say it is one of the best examples of creative thinking/vision anywhere on the planet… however as I’m sure I’ve written a post about this before, I won’t go on about it again!  At least not yet. 

Anyway, whilst I was on my hols, I popped into the local HMV to stock up on some ‘pass-the-time’ DVD’s and as I passed a load of men engrossed in the Transformers movie that was playing in the store …


 … I saw something that literally made me go red with anger …


Can you see it? 

It’s the little label that is under the ‘price sticker’ on the top right hand side of the photo. 

Yep, it’s that thing that proudly states … 






It’s bad enough that the Singapore Government still regard mass media censorship as a god-given right [a ‘right’ which they continue to use on a daily basis, despite a much more relaxed attitude] … however when a bloody record store decides what I can and cannot read, then I get really, really pissed off. 

I mean apart from fact they’ve already put a fucking great big yellow sticker saying UNSUITABLE FOR THE YOUNG on the cover … the magazine is sealed up and costs way more than most other titles, I mean what more do they want? 

I’m telling you, it can only be a matter of time before HMV insists magazines can only be bought by people who are either [a] blind or [b] castrated. 

Jesus … It’s only ARENA … there’s more offensive imagery and information on the news each night! 

And that’s the other bit that annoys me. 

Whilst HMV seem to think some [boring] male magazine can affect the fabric of society … I note they seem perfectly fine flogging music that in many cases, is blatant in its sexuality or – as in the case of certain Death Metal bands – cruelty. 

OK … OK … so the worst of these offenders tend to have an obligatory ‘Warning Sticker’ on the front cover … however they don’t actually ‘censor’ any of the songs on these CD, so whatever way you look at it, HMV are being incredibly inconsistent in their approach. 

Censorship is a very, very contentious [and dangerous ] subject – and whilst I appreciate in certain areas/circumstances/environments it has its place – I believe freedom of speech is far more beneficial to society than the systematic hiding/destruction of potentially inflammatory points of view … however what really pissed me off was that HMV wouldn’t dare do such a thing in the UK so the fact they thought it was reasonable to be dictatorial in Singapore was incredibly offensive! 

Hell, even if they were simply following Singapore Government orders, you have to ask why they’d place a sticker that not only highlights their involvement, but implies they’re PROUD of what they’ve done.

Yellow Card

For a brand that’s supposedly all about liberation and togetherness [or at least it was when cynic developed their ‘The Happy Place’ brand idea] their actions do seem rather contrary, but as I’ve said before – most brand values/vision/strategies are only worth something till a company sees a way to make some short-term financial gains and then all rules go right out the window! 

HMV … this is an official yellow card, any more behaviour like that and you’re off!

49 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Welcome back Robert, great to see you start the new year on such a venom filled rant, it’s going to be a good year 🙂

I love George’s blog so I’ll check out his interview with Marcus but judging by your comment, something tells me he says something like “hate their nike stuff but loved the mini”. Would I be right?

The HMV censorship is alarming but you do live in a country with antiquated patriarchal attitudes so you shouldn’t be too shocked especially as the Government there are so mafiaesque that if you displease them in any way you’re finished.

Enough of all that, nice to have you back and here’s to a great year for all of us.

Comment by Pete

Question is if HMV are only doing that to please the government?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Bloody hell – I only just put this post up and I get 2 comments. Mind you, you can tell it’s very late for Mr M as his comment is possibly the shortest one he has ever written 🙂

I am particulary impressed with Pete’s ‘mind reading’ capabilities given his guess of what George Parker said in his interview is damn near bang on. Any chance you can give me the lottery numbers for next week?

As for HMV self imposed censorship – lots of other brands out here [some dealing in far more ‘risque’ areas] don’t impose any self regulation on their customers experience however given HMV’s supposed current financial woes, you could well be right Mr M!

I hope not though – I couldn’t survive without buying copious amounts of DVD’s from them each week, ha!

Comment by Rob

8 12 54 32 89 1

I am impressed you buy DVDs given you’re in the pirate capital of the World or are you saying that with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink incase “officials” are checking your blog out?

BTW, when are the lads back from their hols? I tried to call them but both went to voicemail.

Comment by Pete

I take the 5th on answering that Pete! 🙂

Andy and George are still on their hols – living the dream, well George is anyway – Andy is trying not to break his leg skiing in Switzerland, ha!

If you need anything, give me a buzz or speak to Terri – but if you just were wanting to say Hi, you’ll have to wait till Feb 1 I think.

Gotta go, got some lottery numbers to put in …

Comment by Rob

Welcome back Rob! You’ve set a lovely campbellesque tone for the whole year with this post.

I find it noble of you to take such a strong stand for the young regarding HMV’s sensorship, since it’s obviously not for your own benefit. Thanks Rob! 😉

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Given you’re a Dad of 3, I take it you’re quite pro the HMV stance then, ha!

Comment by Rob

And when are you going to be free to have this dinner with Daddy Hari?

Comment by Rob

You inviting me for dinner? Can you pay the airfare because I’m a bit strapped at the moment?

In a strange twist of life, I’ve quite missed this blog so seeing a post that encapsulates (I got a dictionary for Christmas) the worst/best of you is a very pleasing start.

Keep it up and no Oprah Davies bollocks please.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I’ll get back to you on the dinner Rob. Principally, I’m completely against it [not the dinner, but the sensorship], but given my situation, I won’t exactly take to the streets against it.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Praise from Billy? You must of had an amazing Festive break! That or you’re still high as a kite on god knows what you take for your kicks 🙂

As for dinner – do you still want to come given Hari is a veggie?

Comment by Rob

Your situation?

Do you mean being a Toto-lovin’ Swede?

Born to be mild!

Comment by Rob

But you’ve not gone all limp lettuce have you? Count me in, just tell me when and where I have to pick up my ticket.

PS The “Born to be mild” comment is fucking great. Andy will be proud.

Comment by Billy Whizz

OK, you can pick them up from Iraq Airlines and we’ll be meeting on Feb 30th. OK?

Comment by Rob

The bastard is well and truly back.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I am about to go to the shed for the first time in 3 weeks. I feel utterly doomed.

Good morning.

Comment by Marcus

Why? Did you forget to put the woodworm killer down?

Comment by Rob

Something like that yes. I’m now IN the shed and feeling just miserable.

Happy new year!

Comment by Marcus

If it’s snowing where you are, you can squint and pretend you’re in a wood cabin in Switzerland. Maybe.

Comment by Robert

It was late yes, I was tired… welcome back all!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

At last – somebody else on this blog today! Hello Mr. M. Happy new year.

Comment by Marcus

Happy new year Marcus!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

good evening rob! hello to the rest of ya! happy new year and lovely to have you back.

ditto on the kudos for such a quintessentially rob c post!especially on censorship, an issue so close to my heart: “tipper gore has a lot to answer for”

interestingly, i watched a movie about the court case against penguin books publishing lady chatterly’s lover, last night (which features words that mrs c doesn’t like reading on this blog). maybe arena did a movie review of it and they just couldn’t take it anymore? or maybe it was a really badly written piece of crap and HMV have done everyone a favour?

considering you live in a happy dictatorship rob, it could be worse – you could live in a free market democracy and have HMV self-censoring 🙂

Comment by lauren

You could be left shopping at Wal Mart…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Misdirected rant Mr. Campbell – your argument is with the government both for censoring some media and, as you point out, allowing other media (e.g. music) to be potentialy corrupting.

Once they have imposed their ruling, then HMV is obliged to interpret it and act accordingly lest they become distributors of that which the state has judged to be “pornographic” in the true sense of the word. You could argue that their interpretation of the rules is wrong but we don’t know what pages they removed so that point is moot.

And of course they have to put a sticker on it, not from pride but because to fail to do so would lay them open to prosecution for misrepresentation of what they were selling.

To act in line with your argument and not trangress any laws, they would have to refuse to sell any material that they had to censor and that mean they were becoming the censor and not the government.

Comment by John Sensible

What did you get for Christmas John?

Something that alters your personality perhaps.

This 1940’s Conservative MP tone that you’ve now adopted is really not needed – despite your Emah lust, I know you’re a smart man really, even when you express it in your trademark sarcastic way 😉

Saying that, I disagree with your’ comment.

Yes, companies are obliged to follow Singaporean Government censorship rules … however this was the only item I could find in the entire store that had been self regulated in this way … including items that are widely accepted to be far more contentious [of which a ‘warning sticker’ and all over wrapping seemed to suffice]

Whilst I appreciate the magazine may of contained an article that specifically contravened Singapore’s media policy [or at least a misinterpretation of it] I am more inclined to believe the offending article was something HMV themselves felt inappropriate which is why my comment was aimed at them rather than the censorship rules of the country I currently reside in.

We’ll find out soon when the offending article wings its way to me courtesy of ARENA’s UK Editor 🙂

Comment by Rob

Good idea, let us know what it was!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It’s probably “HMV A Bunch Of ‘The Smiths’ Loving Thieves” 🙂

Comment by Rob

In which case censorship is entirely justified.

Comment by John

Sacrily The Smiths are allowed in the Singaporean public domain.

No consistency in their censorship rules eh John?

Comment by Rob

Indeed – and that is where the problem lies as I explained before. 1-0 I think.

Comment by John

John Dodds … the yorkshire terrier of marketing. Let it go man … let it go 🙂

Comment by Rob

seeing as he’s in kent, wouldn’t doddsy be a right kent of a dog?

Comment by lauren

Isn’t it past your bedtime lauren?

Comment by John

We love you really Doddsy … 🙂

Comment by Rob

No we don’t.

Comment by Marcus

Rob… Many thanks for the plug on the Kaiser interview… It was fun. Though I do sound a bit pissed on it… And I hadn’t had a drink. Even though Marcus was egging me on to have a couple. Probably so he could take the mickey. I slag CP+B mainly because their work these days is all the same, and becoming increasingly juvenile. Still, they’re all fucking rich now, so they probably don’t care. Oh… And “Hoopla” their book is a fucking AD’s nightmare… Unreadable. Not like “MadScam.” A fucking classic.

Comment by George Parker

It wouldn’t be a George Parker comment without a plug for the book!

It was probably “The return of the Scorpions”…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I did no such thing George! You lying sod.

Now Madscam; also an AD’s nightmare. It maybe legible George, but it’s ugly as shite.

Comment by Marcus

Ha! This blog is great. Happy New Years to everyone and welcome back, Rob.

Comment by Age

I’ll ask Alex for his thoughts on George’s comments 🙂

Comment by Pete

George, you can start arguments in an empty Churches so don’t go blaming so don’t act all surprised that you sounded pissed off without the aid of alcohol. Hell, that’s one of the main reasons I like you. That and the fact you have involuntarily helped me get one up on my CP+B chums. [Long story, but I get the positives out of it and that’s all that matters]

Comment by Rob

Listen you wankers… First, on the books… MadScam was published by Entrepreneur Press who did their own douchenozzle AD. I couldn’t do fuck all about it. My next one… “The Ubiquitous Persuaders” I am publishing myself so will have total control. “Hoopla” just like “LoveMarks” was under the complete control of the people who put them together… AND THEY ARE BOTH FUCKING NIGHTMARES OF DESIGN AND GRAPHICS. Try and remember… We are in the communications business… Therefore, make it easy for people to communicate… Try not to be so fucking clever. “LoveMarks” fucked up Wendys… “Hoopla” fucked up “ManLaws.” And don’t even get me going on Orville the fucking Zombie!!!

Comment by George Parker

Hello George …

To be honest I’ve only just realised that AD means art direction. For the last 24 hours I’ve been thinking it stood for ‘Account Director’ and I’ve been wondering why you and Marcus kept saying your book was hell for them.

Now all is clear. Phew.

I am very glad your printing your next masterpiece yourself because the Stevie Wonder Design Company fucks it up for everyone – and the LOVEMarks book is a very good case in point.

I do hope you pop along here more often – and feel free to plug your book as much as you like, my Virgin Atlantic client is forever pushing his airline down people’s throats [That’s a joke Lee] and the thought of you, Marcus and Andy all being in one place at the same time is mouthwateringly brilliant. In an evil way of course.

Oh, and next time you talk to Marcus, ask him what I did with your interview – I hope you’ll be proud. Or at least spitting at the mouth with venom.

Ta-ra …

Comment by Rob

George, I would just like to point out that I am rarely clever so your toy throwing tantrum doesn’t hurt me. MadScam is an excellent book; I know I BOUGHT THE FUCKING THING (amazon delivered late the tossers) – it’s just ugly. And you fucking well know it is.

Has anyone mentioned that George is working on a new book called “The Ubiquitous Persuaders” ? – oh, yeah – George has (like a million fucking times). Well it better look really fucking cool George. I couldn’t give a shit if the content makes sense or not – I just want it to look pretty.

No calm down, have a fucking drink.

p.s. You’re gonna love what Rob has done with the Interview.

Comment by Marcus

Errrrm Marcus, can you not say any more about the ‘interview’ … you know perfectly well why.

Naughty Marcus.

Comment by Rob

Marcus has kindly pointed out I already indicated I’d done something with George’s interview – so I will see you when I’m let out of prison in about 400 years. I am – officially – a twat!

Comment by Rob

You started it Campbell.

Comment by Marcus

See my comment above yours. I know I did. I hang my head in shame.

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply