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

Fuck Yoda, Listen To Marley …
March 21, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I don’t know whether it was because I was fascinated by rhythm and melody or whether I just liked music that had shit lyrics, but when I was younger, I never really gave a damn about the words of my favorite songs.

Hell, even when I was touring with my band – Bangkok Shakes – I still didn’t know the lyrics to songs and that includes the ones we wrote … whereas my wife, who is a lot younger than me [but then, who isn’t!?] can quote lyrics to pretty much any song, even the ones she doesn’t like.


Actually, what’s even more mental is that years later, I built a planning ‘process’ around song lyrics … of which my greatest moment was when I revealed to a bunch of young, hip, urban, NYC-based kids that the lyrics they’d chosen as best reflecting their feelings about life were by Twisted Sister – a band they’d never heard of and, when I showed them their picture and played them the song the lyrics came from [We’re Not Going To Take It], a band they never wanted to hear of again.

Anyway, maybe it’s because I’ve become more mature [doubtful] or that I recently interviewed my teen-nemesis Morrissey [also doubtful], but I’ve been noticing more and more how song lyrics capture insights better than a lot of researchers and – to a certain extent – planners.

OK, so not all song lyrics do this – in fact it’s probably the minority – but when they get it right, it’s pretty powerful stuff.

Am I telling you anything you didn’t know?

Of course not, this information has been obvious to everyone for fucking years … but fortunately this post isn’t about how slow I am to grasp concepts, it’s all a massive preamble to me talking about a Bob Marley quote.


Poor Bob.

Just recently, I came across this:

Maybe it’s because I’ve just come back from seeing my Mum – a woman that exemplifies this spirit – or maybe it’s just my long love affair with the whole notion of ‘triumph over adversity’ – but when I read that quote, it resonated with me on an incredibly deep level.

The reason I say my Mum exemplifies this attitude is that she has been thrown a number of curve balls in her life – curve balls that had the ability to literally undermine everything she believed, valued and cared for – and yet every time, she was able to overcome them, often by discovery a sense of strength, character and persistence that she didn’t know existed within her.

She is, quite honestly, an inspiration.

The reason I say this is because I recently met a planner who was completely – and absolutely – the opposite to this.

OK, I appreciate matching up to my Mum would be a tough act to follow – especially in the eyes of her adoring son – but this planner managed to make me angry almost within 5 minutes of meeting them.

Don’t get me wrong, they were perfectly nice, smart and charming … but that still didn’t hide the fact that for all their talk of being curious about life, everything they did – or didn’t do – was based on their desire to maintain the life and lifestyle they felt comfortable with.

What really set me off was when they said they were going to turn down a 2 month freelance gig in the Middle East because – “they didn’t want to be away from home for so long”, “didn’t speak the language” and – I shit you not – “it is too hot”.

Now, while I appreciate we all have different levels of comfort and acceptance, these excuses [and that is all they were] made me angry.

As I’ve said before, despite our repeated attempts to own the term, ‘curiosity’ is not something unique to planners.

In fact, it’s something that is unique to no one – it’s human nature – it’s just some use it more than others … and I’d argue planners feature pretty way down the pecking order compared to disciplines such as medicine, law and teaching to name but a few.

Now while I accept going to live in another country could be regarded as rather extreme [even if it’s just for just 2 months], going through life with the attitude of only wanting to engage with the things you’re comfortable with means you’re not only going to miss out on all the amazing things life is capable of giving you and showing you, but you’re also going to miss out discovering what you’re capable of achieving and being.

With that in mind, whenever you are faced with an opportunity – or a challenge – that makes you feel uncomfortable, I recommend you remember the above words of Bob Marley and go for it. And if they don’t inspire you, then I suggest you simply remember this awesome quote from Mae West:

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

35 Comments so far
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You lost me at bangkok shakes.
You won me at twisted sister.
You lost me at everything else.

Comment by Billy Whizz

At least it’s better than yesterday’s post. Would be hard not to be.

Comment by DH

Bangkok shakes. We’re you trying to tell your parents something? Shittest band name since We’ve got a fuzzbox and we’re going to use it.

Comment by Billy Whizz

no billy, its fucking worse than that.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s better than what we were going to call ourselves or the name of the first band I was in … which, just to tempt you … was a 14 year old boys attempt to have a band that sounded awfully similar the name of his favourite band. And you all know who that is.

Comment by Rob


Comment by DH

Actually that’s closer than you think.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Comment by Rob

Everybody stop. We’re heading down a road that will destroy us forever.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Christ Robert, that sounds terrifying.

Comment by George

You forgot to say when they saw and heard twisted sister, you thought they wanted to beat the shit out of you for being tricked. Only research group I’ve ever enjoyed.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Didn’t someone accuse you of being satanists or am imagining that?

Comment by Pete

If they didn’t, they should have.

Comment by Bazza

they didnt, they just thought campbell was trying to get them to like fag music. not my words, theirs. and i remember because campbell started to get tears in his eyes (even the one that doesnt fucking work) when he realised the music he loved was the leper of sound.

Comment by andy@cynic

Bob Marley and Mae West saved this post.

Comment by DH

There’s a lot going on in this post Robert. Maybe too much. Song lyric research, don’t judge a book (song) by its cover (band), our hidden inner strength and courage, an obsession with comfort, bad planner attitudes and the benefits of living overseas all top and tailed by Bob Marley and Mae West.

I must admit I felt my temples throb when I heard about that planners attitude. Moving to another city, let alone country, is stressful and nerve wrecking but using the temperature as an excuse is ridiculous. Didn’t they read your post yesterday about the feel good factor of the sun?

Comment by Pete

oi campbell, do you know if that job in the middle east is still going. i could do with some cash and any fucker can do that planning shit.

better post than yesterday but so is my shit and ive just had curry.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andrew has returned.

Comment by George

Good call on the ridiculous planners claim that they are somewhat more curious about life than other disciplines within advertising. I feel planners use that definition more for self validation than a representation of how they behave in their employment. Not all, but many.
I take it you would never consider hiring the planner who craves a consistent temperature in their working environment.

Comment by George

Funnily enough, no I wouldn’t.

Comment by Rob

Great post. Music and lyrics are incredibly important, and as you say they are often a great way to express emotions and concepts that people struggle with in talk.

It angers me that there are people who get locked into their own world and don’t want to know about other ideas, cultures and places.

As an aside I would love to see Andy as a planner. Would kick some sense into the worst ones.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Out of interest, has anyone else had some problems commenting on here. It’s been blocking me and deleting published comments. Maybe WordPress have created a program so their blogs can judge people by their comments but if not, can you let me know so I can tell them. Ta.

Comment by Rob

I’ve had problems Rob. It keeps putting your posts up.

Comment by DH

I set myself up for that didnt I.

Comment by Rob


Comment by Rob Mortimer

A good read today Robert. That Mae West quote is magnificent.

Comment by Lee Hill

I know all the words to a song. They’re just not the original ones because I blag it a bit with my own.

Comment by Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)

Fuck your pathetic Twisted Sister.

The original “We’re not going to take it” is from Tommy … (as performed here at the Isle of Wight in 1969).

Comment by Ian Gee

Yes, I know ‘we’re not going to take it’ was a cover, but I suppose we used Twisted Sister as a reference because they were a bit more relevant to the times.

OK, it was because [1] I liked them and [2] I knew their image would deeply insult the non-suspecting audience.

Comment by Rob

‘Relevant to the times’? Which times were those?

Comment by Ian Gee

As you will see if you continue reading my comment, that was an excuse to just be able to use Twisted Sister in a meeting.

I haven’t learnt. I’ve just done a very big presentation to the global heads of one of our very biggest clients about sex … mainly so I had the excuse to [1] show people in sexually compromising positions & [2] interview people in the sex industry. Again. Ha.

Comment by Rob

But I do agree, lyrics are powerful things.

“Strange how potent cheap music can be”
Noel Coward.

Comment by Ian Gee

I enjoyed this post.

Comment by marcusjohnhenrybrown

Thanks Rob. I needed this a little bit.

Comment by Rafik

You and me both Rafik.

Comment by George

Hey Rob,

I’m not sure if you caught this NYT article, but I thought you would enjoy it. It has to do with how today’s lyrics show an increased vanity in the current generation:

As always, great post. Keep up the good work. Keep inspiring. And keep making us planners look good.

Comment by Matthew Lyle

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