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

Behind Every Story Is A Better Story …

I love documentaries.

I mean … properly love them.

I’ve not just watched thousands of them.
I’ve not just bought thousands of them.
I’ve even flown to other countries to meet the people who have appeared in them.

From murders to video games to losing artificial limbs … you name it, I’ve seen it.

There’s so many reasons I love them, one of them being that they act as a brilliant reminder that – as my parents always told me – everyone has a story. Something that reveals who the people are and how they got to where they are. A journey of enlightenment for either the person on the screen or those watching it. And sometimes both. Now I appreciate documentaries don’t always tell the whole truth – just the perspective of the director – but even then, they tell a hell of a lot more than a lot of the stuff my industry uses for ‘insight’.

Anyway recently I watched the documentary on Netflix on the TV show, American Gladiators.

Quite frankly, I never imagined it would take me on such an emotional rollercoaster. Triggering feelings that I never expected resided in me.

I won’t ruin it for anyone, but I would urge you to watch it.

Not just because it’s a fascinating story. Not just because it acts as a reminder that behind every story are a multitude of other stories that are more personal and interesting than the ‘main event’. But also because it may explain why I value creativity more than advertising.

Because put simply, creativity finds and expresses the interesting, whereas advertising often just manufactures it.

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Context Matters, Especially Where History Is Concerned …
July 4, 2023, 7:30 am
Filed under: America, Attitude & Aptitude, Context, Culture, History, Prejudice, Racism

So today is July 4 – a day where lots of America go crazy celebrating freedom from the Brits.

And while I appreciate I descend from those Brits who stole lives, livelihoods and land, I hope America realises the day they embrace is only relevant to some.

Put simply, Independence Day is a white America celebration … and given the way they behaved to Native and African Americans, it’s not something I’d be treating as a national holiday, which is why I – like many others – believe the true celebration should be on June 19.

You can find out why here … but basically, I can’t understand how a nation can celebrate freedom when they know only some were free.

This is not an anti-American stance.

It’s a pretty awesome country, despite its issues. I also appreciate the role the day has in their national calendar. However for a nation that prides itself on being ‘the land of the free’, it would be wonderful if they lived up to that label rather than down to a stained tradition.

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Sometimes The Best Things In Life Are Hairy And Cranky …

So on Saturday, it will be our cat – Rosie’s – 16th birthday.

Sixteen. For a street cat from Singapore, that’s amazing.

What’s also amazing is that she’s still in pretty good nick.

Yes, you can tell she’s getting old.

She’s slower … less mobile and definitely sleeps more.

But by the same token she remains cranky, vocal and remains as demanding as ever.

And if another cat comes anywhere near our house, she goes full gangster mode … hissing, growling and acting like she’s ready to fight despite the fact she’s behind a glass door.

Like those TikTok videos that show men loving family dogs they didn’t originally want their family to have … I was in a similar situation.

I didn’t really want us to have a pet.

Not because I’m a bastard, but because Jill and I were living in Singapore and I didn’t know how long we’d be there and I just was worried about the hassle of bringing it with us.

But Jill had always had pets and I wanted her to be happy, so while she originally wanted a dog, we settled on getting a cat.

She threw herself into the search.

It wasn’t just about getting any cat, she had to feel a connection to it … so after visiting various pet shops with their over-priced, pure-bred snooty moggies, she came across a little street cat that had been found by a family and was wondering if anyone wanted to adopt.

Jill went to see it and it is here that street cat did the best move of their life.

As Jill lifted her up to her face, Rosie moved her head forward so their noses touched.

Despite the fact Rosie would not show such love and tenderness for about 6 years, that ensured the deal was done and we were now a cat family.

I still remember sitting in a cab outside the apartment as Jill went to pick her up.

I was a bit anxious and nervous and eventually the door opened and there she was, in her little cat bag, where we both wondered what the fuck we had in store for each other.

And while there have been some annoying, painful and scary moments … it’s been generally nothing but joy.

Put it simply, I bloody love that cat.

There’s things I’ve done for her that I wouldn’t do for anyone. Literally anyone.

What things? Well how about some of this …

In HK we paid someone to pat her so she didn’t feel lonely. I did a project for an airline on the condition they flew her in the crew quarters rather than the cargo hold. We built ‘penthouses’ for her to hang out in. I gave an entire presentation about what a client can learn from her and her ways. I even got my office painted with her – and some of my colleagues moggies. And that’s just the tip of the sad-cat-bastard iceberg.

That said, every year I worry this is the year … the one where we have to say goodbye.

And while I know that will happen eventually, she’s doing OK.

Yes she needs some blood pressure medication, but apart from that, she’s in pretty good nick.

That said, I remember when we were moving to NZ I was worried that would be it.

Despite having flown from Singapore to HK … HK to Shanghai … Shanghai to LA and LA to London … London to Auckland is a whole different beast.

But bizarrely it wasn’t just the distance that worried me, it was that there was a stopover in Singapore – and given she was originally from there, my nihilistic side told me it was written in the stars that if there was any place she would reach the end, it would be where she started, like some fucked-up circle of life. Which – to be fair to me – is kinda what happened when Otis was born and my wonderful Mum died a few months later. Which – given I knew she was ill – was something my nihilistic side had also started to feed into my head.

Except with Rosie, it thankfully didn’t happen. [Fuck you, nihilism brain]

Better yet, we knew it hadn’t happened at the time because we had paid for a service that ensured at every stage she was checked and photographed.

Hell, even when we ended up in MIQ in NZ – where we spent longer in quarantine than she did – we got bombarded with pics of her and she looked to be having the time of her life.

Jetlagged … but happy, thanks to brushes and treats that I had already got sent to the quarantine place before our arrival.

But if you think this proves how much she means to me, you’re only partially right.

You see, at her age – which is 80 in human years – my attitude is she’s earned the right to do whatever she wants to do.

Which is why I’ll get up at 3am if she decides she wants a treat at 3am.
Which is why I’ll give her my chair if she decides she wants to be under the aircon.
Which is why I’ll buy her an extortionately expensive outdoor beanbag because she loves sitting outside in summer.

If we were her servants before, we’re her slaves now and I’m OK with that.

NZ is good for her.
She has a lovely, comfortable peaceful life.
Lots of places to go hang out, a big deck to sit and watch the birds and loads of food and water. And treats.

And where in the past you always felt she was disappointed in you, now you feel her gratefulness.

A cuddle here. A lick there. Meows, headrubs and sleeping on your hip.

Hell, she’s even totally chill that Sky – Otis’ budgie – is in the house.

It’s a lovely feeling.
A family feeling.
And while we give her so much, she’s given us – and me – more.

Happy Birthday my dear Rosie. Keep proving the critics wrong and us on our toes.

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Chips Chips Chips …
May 8, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: America, Attitude & Aptitude, Childhood, Comment, Food, New Zealand, Nottingham

I am – and have always been – a sentimental fool.

And I appreciate the last couple of weeks have seen me write a bunch of particularly sentimental posts …



My childhood in Nottingham.

… and guess what, here’s another one, albeit a slightly more tragic one.


No, not the stuff Americans and Kiwis think they are … I mean hot chips.

The stodgy magic you smother in ketchup, mushy peas and gravy.

God I love chips.

British chips.

Golden pillows of burning hot majesty.

Food that fills you up and warms you up.

When I was growing up, you could get chips on almost every corner.

20 pence for a bag of them or a tray of them.

It could be a reward … a celebration … or just a way to bond with your mates.

But it was only when I left the UK that I realised the magic ingredient of chips.


Specifically malt vinegar.

Specifically Sarson’s malt vinegar.

Acidic drops of heaven … sour death on their own, addictive temptation on chips.

I am still in shock how few people outside the UK like vinegar on their chips. I am horrified at how many look at me with revulsion when I suggest it. But then I also look at these people with pity because they don’t know what they’re talking about and have absolutely zero taste.

Ask me what I’d want as a final meal and after a massive bowl of pasta [olive oil, salt, no sauce – sorry Mum] I’d say a tray of chip shop chips, mushy peas and gravy with some salt and positively drowned in vinegar.


You can screw your Michelin restaurants …

And why am I saying all this?

Because like a few weeks ago, when I got some mushy peas I recently got a bottle of Sarson’s.

Oh my god, how happy I was.

Sarson’s … the fluid of fantasticness.

But better yet, it was a present … a present from Jill.

Let me tell you, nothing says love like a bottle of Sarson’s.

So thank you Jill. You may regret your decision, but I’m so grateful for your bad taste.

Literally. Hahaha.

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Live The Best Algorithm Life …

So I’m back.

I had a lovely time and Croatia is proper beautiful.

I know that’s a big call given I spent 2½ days there, the rest travelling, but it was.

God I miss travelling.

You’d think after almost 20 years of basically living on an airplane, I’d be over it … but there’s something so magical visiting new places and meeting new people.

Of course the environment is even more important – and COVID has shown we can do a lot without having to be in the same room – however being in another country and culture is a powerful and important experience. Especially given all the nationalistic bullshit going on … so having people engage with each other in different environments and geographies – rather than just stay in their own bubble – is probably better for the state of the World than just keeping to your own shores.

Nothing highlights this more than the paranoia regarding TikTok.

All apps are harvesting data, but because the parent company of TikTok is Chinese, governments and business are telling their employees they can’t have the app on their phone.

And yet TikTok, unlike other social media firms, have not – as far as I understand – been caught using the data in illegal ways. And even if they have, I am sure it’s no where near to the level of other companies that have been caught.

But here we go … the classic racism and prejudice towards China.

I know I’m biased.

I also know China has many issues.

But as I’ve said many times, the actions of other governments are equally as bad … they just hide it better, package it better [if that’s what you can call something as sick as Guantanamo Bay] or use the focus on China to distract people more convincingly.

Then there’s the fact some of the stuff the Chinese Government do get away with – and they do – is other politicians wet dream. Specifically the Republican and Tory parties.

Anyway, I don’t know what the problem is because as you can see from the photo above, if TikTok thinks I’m 15, then the data they’re harvesting is nothing to worry about.

Oh hang on, unless that’s my mental – not physical – age, and then we have a lot to worry about indeed.

Sorry for the rambling, jet lagged, post.

I wish I could say tomorrow will be better, but we all know it won’t be.

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