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


Laughter Is The Best Medicine …
April 8, 2011, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So following on from yesterday’s post, I want to talk about how SKYPE gave me one of the most precious things in my life.

Well, it wasn’t just SKYPE … it includes my best friend Paul and my wonderful wife, Jill.

My wife has the best laugh in the World.

I don’t just mean in terms of the sound, I mean in how she expresses it.

When she laughs, every part of her reacts … it’s as if her whole body gets taken over … however the bit I like most is how her face lights up, because when that happens, it’s not only infectious, but beautiful.

Back in November I was at my Mum’s house in Nottingham.

While there, I’d seen my beloved Paul, and he told me there was a video of him that made him look a bit of a tit.

Of course I demanded to see it and so with a heavy heart, he showed it to me.

You see while Paul is a printer, he is also a part-time bouncer.

The thing is, while he is built like a 6 foot 5″ brick shithouse, he’s actually as soft as a teddy bear and his bosses at the security firm where he works must know that because instead of putting him on the tough jobs like running nightclub doors, they put him on at concerts where the only danger he’s likely to face, is being kicked by 5 year olds at some teeny-bob concert.

One such gig was – I kid you not – some Dr Who bollocks at the Nottingham Arena.

For some reason, Paul was sat right at the front of the stage and it was here that his ‘tit’ moment occurred.

At one point in the show, the Cybermen – one of Dr Who’s nemesis – come out.

To loud and dramatic music, 20+ evil aliens walk through the crowd and head towards the main stage.

Kids hold on to their parents arms shaking in fear … Dad’s try and look tough infront of their families … women shield their eyes from the sight of multiple silver robots heading right towards them … and at the front of all this, is a giant of a man – bent over as if he’s on a toilet rather than a seat – with the most bored expression on his face that you have ever seen in your life.

I wish I could show you, but it’s been taken down …

Anyway, at the time I wanted Jill to see it because it was truly ridiculous, so I sent her the link and then – thanks to SKYPE – I videoed her reaction as she watched it, even though she was thousands of miles away in Shanghai.

It doesn’t matter how down I might feel – or how many times I watch it – seeing her face go from intrigue to anticipation and then breaking into a fit of uncontrollable laughter is something that will never cease to cheer me up.

There’s so many bits about it that I love … from how she covers her mouth in an attempt to get back some decorum [only for her laughter to brush it all aside as the scene in front of her eyes becomes ever more ridiculous] through to the fact you can tell the exact moment she see’s Paul looking like a sad twat [despite not being able to see what she is seeing] … and that is why I owe a debt of gratitude to SKYPE, Jill and – of course – Paul, because in just 58 seconds, they unknowingly have combined to give me the antidote to pretty much anything and everything … which in terms of brand value, is pretty much the holy grail of holy grails.

So with that, it’s time to sit back and watch the clip that makes me fall in love with my wife all over again, everytime I watch it.



Skype Is Underrated …
April 7, 2011, 5:52 am
Filed under: Comment

I love my Mum.

I try to talk to her everyday, however when I first left England – way back in 1995 – the cost of doing that was so prohibitive that I could only spend about 2 quick minutes chatting down at the local phone box at the bottom of Corrimal Street in Wollongong.

Phone box … bloody hell, you hardly see those anymore do you.

The thing is, not only was it hard being on the other side of the planet, but my Dad was very ill so I wanted to know how he was going which meant those precious few minutes each night talking to my Mum were packed with even more emotion than usual.

Of course we got through it – well, sort-of – however how I wish SKYPE was available back then, because since it came on the scene, it has had a prolific effect on how I have coped with living away from home.

It’s not just the fact it’s free – though that is obviously fantastic – it’s the fact that it has given me the chance to maintain a deeper, closer relationship with the people I love.

Suddenly I can see their eyes, their frowns, their curled up lips and blinking … it’s amazing … and whilst it’ll never be a substitute for real, live, physical interaction … the difference it has made to me and – for example – my Mum, is enormous.

When your children live away from home it’s hard.

It doesn’t matter how sensible or good they are, there’s always this niggling doubt they’re living under some cardboard boxes next to a freeway.

Skype changes that.

Even though my Mum hasn’t visited us in China yet [May 11th, that all changes!] the fact is she’s seen our apartment, seen the view from our windows and seen her room … it has given her a peace of mind that a phonecall could never achieve and that is priceless.

So many telcos create ads that talk about people sharing moments … but if they did their homework, they’d know it’s much more than just sharing good times, it’s about – as I wrote here [warning, it’s the post about my best friends penis] – making sure you’re not left behind.

So to Skype, I salute you … for all the brands out there that talk about bringing families closer – from telcos to pasta sauces – you do it better than most and you don’t get anywhere near the acclaim you deserve.



You Don’t See Many Of These Very Often …
April 6, 2011, 5:50 am
Filed under: Comment

… which means either the people at HMV Hong Kong are retail geniuses, or the population of China’s SAR are slightly backward/honest.



Brand Endorser 2.0: Choose A Washed Out, Never-That-Famous, Never-That-Liked, Z-Grade Celebrity.
April 5, 2011, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve written a lot about celebrity endorsement in the past [here and here and here] however in a demonstration that no one reads my shit [and even if they did, they wouldn’t pay any attention to it] Canon have just launched a campaign that is so ridiculous in its choice of endorser, that you start to wonder if maybe you they’re geniuses and you’re a thick bastard.

Except they’re not, because they’ve chosen this person to represent their brand:

Avril Lavinge.

AVRIL FUCKING LAVIGNE?

Sure she once had an international hit with ‘Sk8er Boi’ and has somehow managed to sell 30 million albums [a blight on society if there ever was one] but like all Canadian-born ‘popstars’, she now eeks out a living being in the gossip pages for who she is shagging rather than what she is doing.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit unfair because according to her Wiki page, she’s a fucking actress philanthropist or something – but seriously, couldn’t Canon come up with someone better than this?

Let’s face it, Canon DSLR’s aren’t cheap.

Fuck, they sell lenses that are more expensive than my first house – so do they really think some pre-pubecesent kid is going to see this poster and go:

“Holy Fuck, Avril has some Canon necklace, I have to go out and buy it immediately and walk around showing how she is my idol!”

I fucking doubt it – and for people out there who actually can afford a Canon DSLR – I doubt they’re going to go:

“Holy Fuck, Avril Lavigne uses Canon cameras and she was once an internationally recognised z-grade star so that proves they’re the camera that takes famous photos”.

Let’s face it, they’re more likely to say:

“Who the fuck is bitch holding that camera like it’s a 2 ton phallic object?”

I can only imagine the reason Canon chose her is because her Mum is the senior brand manager or something though on the bright side, whoever’s Avril’s agent is a fucking negotiating/big bollock talking genius.



Christmas Isn’t Coming, It’s Prematurely Ejaculating.
April 4, 2011, 7:25 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m back after a very weird – but awesome – week.

I say weird because in just 36 hours, I got a teensy bit seduced by someone I never thought could make me feel that way annnnnnd somehow managed to insult a guy who is known for being one of the nicest men alive, as well a Hollywood legend – which whatever way you look at it, is not the average sort of week for anyone.

Anyway, all that will come later because [1] it’s late and I’m jetlagged and [2] I am suffering from a dinnerfest with the one man food viking, Mr Freddie Sarnblad … which should tell you I am currently in Singapore where the moment I landed, I headed immediately to my Mecca – the Funan Technology Mall – so I could check out [read: buy] a bunch of new gadget madness to annoy the wife.

Which leads me to the point of this post …

As I was walking around, arms piled high with the sort of stuff ‘The Generation Game’ wouldn’t even offer as prizes, I saw this:

No, your eyes don’t deceive you – a Christmas ad.

In April!

No, it wasn’t an April Fool, it was a fucking “Santa Is Coming” print ad on the 4th April.

OK, to be fair, it’s for an Australian retailer and we all know how mental they are – but come on, even TBWA wouldn’t have the gall to claim this is disruption.

The thing that makes it even funnier is that Singapore isn’t a country that needs much persuading to shop.

After eating, shopping is pretty much the national pastime so why the hell Harvey Norman felt the need to run a Christmas ad in April is beyond me.

OK, so those Aussies have this thing called ‘Christmas In July’ – but this isn’t July, it’s April – and not much into that month either.

Sure, you can say I noticed the ad … sure, you can claim I remember the retailers name … but I also know Miley Cyrus but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and ever buy something she produces.

What next? Easter in September …

I know the retail industry is one of the toughest out there, but this tactic is the equivalent of a crack addict stripping in the street. Sure you might have a closer look but at the end of the day, you won’t ever want to bring it home to meet the family.

[You can tell I haven’t written a post for a while can’t you!]