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

Music To Say Goodbye To …
March 24, 2011, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment


If you are on prozac, you might want to pop another pill before you read this post.

If you’re not, you might want to hide all the knives before you read any more.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I don’t know why, but the thought of dying is never far away from my consciousness.

That sounds very depressing but for me it’s actually quite good because the older I get, the more new things I discover that I want to learn, try and accomplish and the specter of time keeps me on my toes and makes me get on with stuff.

I know … I know … it all sounds weird, maybe it’s because of this or maybe it’s just because I’m a depressing fart – who knows – however I’m going to take things even lower a notch by talking about my funeral.

Feeling miserable yet?


So, a while back – when I was in Sydney – I made a presentation about generalists versus specialists.

The basic premise of my argument was that we are continually told by society and business to be known – or defined – by one single thing, however the people who seemingly make the biggest impression on society are often impossible to be defined in such a way.

Take Richard Branson.

Is he a …


… the reality he is probably all those things and more, and so to only define him singularly is not only wrong, but disrespectful.

I’ve told this story before, but my first boss once asked me to say what I loved the most about my Mum and then – just before I opened my gob – he added that if I could, she’d probably be upset because she’d hope she would be impacting me in many ways.

He was right and she has.

Which leads to my uber-depressing bit.


Or more precisely, the music I want played at my funeral.

I am not a religious person so when I die, I doubt it’s going to be some classic ‘church’ thing – and that’s good, because I don’t want hymns, I want music I like. The thing is – following on from the generalist/specialist theme – if I was told I could only have one song to represent me, I think I’d have a meltdown because while some people can pull it off [an old colleague of mine had ‘Wild Thing’ at his funeral and it was the most apt song for him ever made, RIP Paul] I honestly don’t think I could.

That is not because I’m saying I’m anything special, I’m just complicated I guess.

Which leads to the question, if I had to choose 3 or 4 songs at my funeral … 3 or 4 songs that meant a lot to me … 3 or 4 songs that allowed people to get a final glimpse of who I am and what I loved … what would they be?

As I said, this is not meant to be sad, I’m just interested – and if it bothers you a lot, think of it as if you’re reading what I’d choose if I was on ‘Desert Island Discs’.

The thing is I LOVE music … and yes, Queen is definitely music … however there’s so many pieces that mean something to me that the thought of getting it down to 3 or 4 tracks is incredibly difficult.

Then there’s the issue of whether I’d want people to feel happy or sad.

As much as I like the idea of the 3 people at my funeral having a positive experience [putting aside the fact that me being dead might be the happiest news they’ve had in decades] I have to say there is a part of me that wants every fucker in the place to be as depressed as can be and basically make them feel sadder than sad that I’ve gone.

The only song I definitely know I want played is Queen’s ‘Melancholy Blues‘.

Yes it’s depressing – but it’s not why I want that song, it’s because I love it – I love it’s simple, late-night, smoky little bar feel and without doubt, that makes the final cut.

The other song that is a distinct possibility is Whitesnake’s ‘We Wish You Well‘.

Again, it’s a bit depressing – but that’s not why I want it either.

On one hand I like the fact the lyrics are basically what I would like to say to everyone who is left behind, however the main reason is because it has the most naff 80’s rocktastic chorus you’ve ever heard and I know it would make people smile because it would remind them I liked some pap in my time.

Still not sure about the other song.

At the moment Jet’s ‘Lazy Gun‘, Prince’s ‘Purple Rain‘, Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown‘ and Van Halen’s ‘Jump‘ are all in consideration.

Jet – simply because it will make you nod your head whether you like it or not, Prince because I absolutely adore that song and Europe/Van Halen just because they’re both completely and utterly ridiculous and even though I’m not exactly the biggest fan of either of those songs – and they certainly don’t have any major significance in my life – I do find the idea of them played at a funeral very, very funny.

There is another option which is Opera singer Tebaldi’s version of ‘O Mio Babbino Caro‘ – simply because that’s something that we had played at my Dad’s funeral – however it’s all a bit of a minefield at the moment so in reality, I have no idea what will fill those other 1 or 2 places by the time the time comes.

Which I do hope is a bloody long way away I should add.

So to wrap up – and basically spread the misery – if you had to choose 3 or 4 songs for your funeral that you would like to be defined by … what would they be and what message would you hope the people at your service would get from them?

Go on, humour me and I promise after this I’ll try and be a bit more positive for tomorrow.

PS: This post was not paid for by the manufacturers of Prozac, but I might try and hit them for a kickback because their sales are definitely going to be going up after this.

Eyes Wide Open …
March 23, 2011, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that always surprises me is how often people go into a meeting without any background information on the person they’re seeing.

I’m not just talking about their professional history, but also their personal beliefs, interests and views.

At cynic, prior to meeting any new client/colleague, we used to send a “getting to know you” questionaire that asked such things as:

Favourite film?
Most overrated film?

Favourite book?
What was the last book you read?

Favourite comedian?

Favourite music?
Favourite sport/team?

Favourite television show?
Program you feel sick about as soon as you hear the theme song?

Best meal you’ve ever had?
What food makes you ill?

Favourite memory?
What is your guilty passion?

Favourite gadget?
Your kids favourite toy?

Favourite brand?
Favourite ad?

Note nothing about their work or professional life, all about them.

What’s amazing is how open people were to answering this stuff.

Sure, some obviously gave responses that were designed to make them look clever/witty/sophisticated, but in the main, they were pretty honest with their answers and what that allowed us to do was not only get a better take on who they were, but also what made them tick.

You see while the questions were fairly broad, they had been designed [the ones above are only meant as a taste of what we did, they’re not the actual, final list] to give us a better idea of how to approach working with them.

Depending on their answers, we would know whether they were more functional or a more emotional kind of person.

We’d get an idea if they were favoured more image based, fact orientated or storyline focused communication.

We’d understand if they were a follower of more traditional values or had a more liberal view of the World.

We’d find out if they were egotists or open to learning.

In short, we would have a bunch of information that allowed us know what buttons of theirs we had to press to increase the odds of us getting the ideas/work we believed in most, to get through – even if on first impression, they flied in the face of what they normally went for – and whilst it didn’t always work, it definitely helped us forge better relations with our clients and so the next time you go in to a meeting, don’t think you’re going to be able to dazzle them with your wit, charm, intelligence and good looks … put in a bit of homework and before you know it, you might find you’re being given opportunities – or getting things approved – that you thought would never happen.

This isn’t about being sycophantic or only doing what the client wants, it’s about building trust … and while that ultimately takes time to achieve properly [not to mention a continuous run of positive interactions] … knowing how to understand, respond and communicate to your client [to get the best possible outcome] ultimately collapses the time it takes for that to happen and speeds up the process to do the things – or get the opportunities – you are the most excited by.

The Paradox Of Man …
March 22, 2011, 6:22 am
Filed under: Comment

Quite a lot of people live fairly unhealthy lives.

I don’t just mean in terms of eating badly and not exercising, I’m talking about having a carefree attitude towards energy, money and their future … which is why I find it quite interesting to see how people are reacting to the tragic situation in Japan and the potential nuclear plant meltdown.

Of course it’s an incredibly serious thing – something that could affect many millions of people – however the reactions of some people are completely counter to the way they live their life.

Suddenly they are fearing for their future … not wanting to go out … demanding nuclear energy plants stop being built … which is quite interesting given they’ve spent the last god-knows-how-long doing everything they can – consciously or not – to destruct their own future through their choices and actions, so if there is any good to come from this horrendous situation, maybe it’s a resetting of certain people’s behaviour and attitudes, though given how quickly the masses have gone back to their old spending habits after the financial crisis [which, let’s be honest, is still going on] I don’t think that will be the case.

A Deadly Combination?
March 21, 2011, 6:32 am
Filed under: Comment

What has Steve Ballmer, Ron Howard and errrrm, me, got in common?


The poor, poor buggers …

My Shortest Blog Post Ever …
March 18, 2011, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

The trouble with the World is that the stupid are cocksure & the intelligent are full of doubt. | Bertrand Russell.

… and possibly my most meaningful, especially given the word “World” could be replaced by any manner of other definitions, of which “adland” would most certainly be one of them.

PS: No, I’m not ill, I just decided to go uber-short today. SHOCK HORROR!