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


Time Machines Suck …

I’ve written this blog consistently for 15 years.

FIFTEEN!!!

My god …

But it gets worse.

Because bar a few weeks of holiday, it is something that has been written every single Monday to Friday.

That means there has been over 3,900 posts of utter gibberish for over 780 weeks.

And as tragic as that all sounds, there’s an awful lot of people who comment on here who have been here pretty much all that time.

LOSERS!!!

Now, I have to say there are some lovely benefits to long term blog writing.

In some ways it’s like a diary … capturing what I was thinking or doing at any given time.

It also is a lovely way to see how my opinions and thoughts have evolved over time.

Plus there’s the hope that when I’m gone, Otis will still feel his Dad is close.

OK … OK … there are some posts I definitely DON’T want him to read, but there’s others I’d be glad for him to keep going back to.

Putting aside I basically write the same 3 or 4 posts over and over again … there is a lot of my life contained in these pages.

From getting married to losing my Mum to having my son.

Proper life-changing stuff … and that doesn’t even cover the moves to different countries, jobs and homes.

The best and worst of my life is detailed here which is why – despite all these big life events being sandwiched between endless amounts of shit – I still like it.

Occasionally I randomly click on a date and just see what I wrote.

Recently I did this and was reminded what a little shit I was.

OK, can be.

It’s this.

Yep, it’s the time I tried to auction off Martin Sorrell’s business card so people could send him stupid messages or texts.

On the plus side, I was offering to give any money to charity.

On the negative, I was working for WPP at the time.

If you think that’s stupid, there was the time I wrote a post featuring a photo of Sir Martin with a picture of Toad of Toad Hall under the caption ‘Spot The Difference’.

And the weird thing is that while I don’t agree with his approach to creativity, I do respect him. I have met him on a number of occasions and he was very, very impressive.

Though it’s fair to say that respect was only one way, Especially when there was an agency Q&A and I asked him ‘what do you spend all your money on?’

So Sir Martin … even though I know you would never read this blog [more proof you’re clever] I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for my stupidity. It was ridiculous … but if it’s any consolation, at least it wasn’t as bad as this.

I know … I know … this was a terrible post even by my standards.

So celebrate in the fact that tomorrow is Good Friday so I’m off till next Tuesday and you’re not going have to deal with any more of this shit till then.

I don’t know about you … but it’s the sort of news that makes you almost believe in God, doesn’t it.

Happy Easter, enjoy the sugar rush.



Respect Ignites The Beauty In Competition …
April 13, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Childhood, Comment, Football, Nottingham, Nottingham Forest

A few weeks ago, Nottingham Forest played Liverpool in the FA cup.

It was the first time in 23 years we had played each other and while the recent history of both clubs could mot be further apart, seeing the, both acknowledge their old rivalry – when they ruled Europe – was something special to see.

Liverpool started it with this magnificent video.

Watching it was very moving to me.

Not just because it takes me back to my childhood, but it takes me back to matches I actually attended.

With my Dad and friends.

Special times.

Memories of my youth, my home, my family.

And then Forest did something that made me incredibly proud.

To honour the 97 Liverpool fans who tragically died at Hillsborough – when Liverpool again played Forest – they did this.

With all the shit going on in the World at the moment, seeing old enemies respect each other before competing against each other was something wonderful to see.

Even though we lost 0-1 and our roof suddenly started leaking as there was a huge storm in Auckland while the match was on … it was still a welcome distraction from the feeling of fear that has permeated the globe thanks to the ego of old, rich, toxic, white politicians.

So thank you to Liverpool for the moment and the memories [again] and thank you to Nottingham Forest for letting me believe that even in the worst of times, there’s a chance for something special to come out the other side.

Come on you reds.



It’s Better Oop North …

Ad blogging was once a rich, vibrant community.

It was amazing how much people looked out for each other.

A lot was driven by Russell Davies … but the effect of it was something pretty special.

I met a lot of people because of that community … some, still even come on here.

Occasionally.

But when you compare it to the toxic, ego-filled bullshit of ad twitter … I can’t help but feel the blogging community was a much more valuable and positive resource for adland.

Especially if you were a junior.

While there are many positives of social media, learning the strategy discipline through 280 letter tweets is not really going to drive the craft forward.

Nowadays there seems to be only 2 people still blogging.

Martin and me.

Or said another way …

Nowadays, only Martin writes a blog that has real value and depth for the industry and discipline.

One of the people I am saddest at having stopped blogging is Andrew Hovells. Better known as Northern Planner.

I’ve written about him a lot in the past.

From how much I respect him to how much I liked trolling him by sending him to see Queen in concert, when he absolutely hates the band.

But I revisited his blog recently and there’s just so, so much amazing stuff on there.

Stuff for people curious about planning.
Stuff for people just starting planning.
Stuff for people having a career in planning.
Stuff for people leading work and teams in planning.
Stuff for every level and need in planning.

And while there are many other resources for this sort information on the internet, Northern Planner’s is especially good for 3 reasons:

1. It comes from someone who could have worked at pretty much any of the best agencies in London, but didn’t and instead chose to stay ‘oop North’ and bring the planning discipline to a part of England that [i] didn’t have it and [ii] needed a lot of convincing to see it’s value. Not only did he achieve that – and validate the discipline for more people in the region to become a part of it – his work gave the supposed London ‘superstars’ a run for their money.

[He also turned down coming to cynic, which still devastates me, because he would have made such a difference to us. But it also shows how smart he is. Unfortunately]

2. He doesn’t give you a process to follow, he gives you a way to look at the discipline and the roles within it. Meaning you’re developing your own planning style and voice … not regurgitating someone else’s.

3. All of it is free. Every last bit of it.

Given the amount of amateurs ‘flogging’ their questionable, superficial and inauthentic courses that don’t have the right to even be in the same universe – let alone industry – as Andrew’s generous, considered and carefully explained lessons and insights … I know who I recommend people spend their time learning from.

I really miss Northern and his blog.

But the planning community should be missing it even more.



Face For Radio, Not Television …
April 11, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Creativity, Culture

Over the weekend, a friend of mine – who works in the television industry – wrote to me.

This is what he said.

Robert.

I’ve known you for years. I’ve followed your career around the world. As far as I know, you have never once worked in television. I have a reason for this chequered introduction.

A colleague pointed me to a debate organised by the Royal Society of Television. I am a proud member of the organisation and have been for 2 decades. I believe they have taste and judgement. Congratulations, on making me question this.

1. Why and how are you a guest on a RST debate?
2. Why did you choose your background image to be of the Tardis?
3. What possessed you to wear a Lemmy from Motorhead t-shirt?
4. Why do you look so distracted throughout the conversation?

Then you talk in a way I found myself nodding in agreement too. I am confused. I demand answers.

He then pointed me to a link on Youtube where said ‘debate’ was on.

Of course I remember it.

Not just because I thought it was weird I’d been asked to appear, but because it happened on my final day at R/GA … which just made the whole thing even more surreal. [Which is likely why I looked distracted, though I assure you, I wasn’t]

That said, I didn’t know it had been posted to Youtube.

But given it only has 92 views after 18+ months – and 1 of those was mine – it seems far more impressive my friend found it than the fact I was on it.

In fact the the only thing more surprising than that is that someone who has known me for at least 25 years, is shocked I’m wearing a dodgy t-shirt and have a messed-up background … especially as that’s me trying to look more professional than I usually am.



You Know You Might Have A Wi-Fi Gadget Problem …
April 8, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment

… when this is your data usage for the month.

And no, unlike the time I lived in the UK and read the gas/electric meter incorrectly and got a bill for THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS … this is not a mistake.

What’s worse is I haven’t even turned all my gadgets on.

So it must be the internet fridge. Yeah, that must be it.

Have a great weekend.