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


Fame Gains Attention. Legends Are Always Remembered …
September 5, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Birthday, Freddie, Queen

Today would be Freddie Mercury’s 76th birthday.

How bizarre.

Except it shouldn’t be because Brian May and Roger Taylor are similar ages and they’re still playing.

Though recently I saw a photo of Brian May coming off stage from their last concert of this current tour and he was in tears … and you sense there’s a chance that’s it. That he knows, even though it hasn’t been said.

I can’t imagine what that must feel like.

I mean, the idea of me no longer being able to do whatever it is I do freaks me out, so to be a global rockstar who knows they can’t keep performing as they have been – even though the fanbase is there – must be a whole other level of confrontation.

But if they are bowing out, doing it on a high is the only way to go and they would be doing it if they announce it now.

Which also means I’m extra thrilled I was able to see them in London.

With my best friend Paul.

Which, for me, would be the perfect sign-off.

But the thing that’s interesting is that when you think of Freddie, you don’t think of the old man version of him. You don’t see the ‘grand damme’ looking anything other than he was in 1986 … fit, flamboyant and fantastic.

Yellow jacket.
Big moustache.
Prancing around the stage like a highly-sexed panther.

Yes, I know he died 31 years ago and that was the last ‘high profile’ image of him. But given 50% of the band are still touring, the idea we still see Freddie in his prime – rather than comparing him to his band mates – is interesting.

That said, that 1986 image is not my favourite version of him.

Queen had ‘evolved’ from rock stars to entertainers by then and I have to be honest and say I prefer when they are in full blitzkrieg rock n’ roll stars.

Which is why I wish Freddie a happy birthday and leave you with a concert they did in 1981.

Even if you hate the band you will be unable to dismiss the power of their performance. This is them at their peak … literally years before they created musical immortality with Live Aid.

Don’t get me wrong, I will always love them, but I miss this version of them most.

Happy birthday Fred.

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Testing The Limits That It’s The Thought That Counts …
September 2, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Dad, Daddyhood, Family, Love

It’s Fathers Day in NZ this Sunday.

A day where we are supposed to be loved and spoiled.

Or at least acknowledged.

That said, I at least tried to buy my Dad some thoughtful stuff.

Or at least personal.

Like a Ms Piggy from The Muppets doll … or a Rolls Royce pencil sharpener.

And while they sound naff, my Dad LOVED both Ms Piggy and Rolls Royce’s exemplified by two things.

1. He kept them his whole life and we placed them in his coffin when he died.

2. I chose to remember my Dad with a tattoo of Ms Piggy.

And while I accept with hindsight, they hardly scream ‘respectful Dad gift’, it’s still waaaaay better than this …

Yep, that’s real.

Which means either someone at the supermarket either wasn’t thinking or they just want to exploit Father’s Day for profit in whatever way they can.

So to all Dad’s out there – past, future, present – I hope you have an amazing day.

And to those who get a gift of Stayfree Ultrathin pads … remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Allegedly.

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If A Day Can Be A Long Time In Politics, Imagine What 15 Years Can Be In A Marriage …
September 1, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Jill, Love

Today there is no proper post because I’m away celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary.

Fifteen years of bloody amazing, awesome, adventure.

Of course, that’s my perspective … Jill’s may well be different.

Which is why I’m spoiling her today because let’s be honest, murderers get less punishment than she’s had to endure.

In all honesty I can’t believe 15 years has gone so fast.

But then I can’t believe this blog was around when it happened.

In fact, years before that.

So much has happened in those 15 years … from countries to cats to kids to jobs.

Not to mention a shit-ton of gadgets.

And all of it … well, most of it … has been epic.

See you tomorrow.

[That is if anyone reads this blog anymore as I can’t tell without the abusive comments]

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It’s Not Just Phil Collins Who Survived Against All Odds …

A year ago today, Jill, Otis, Rosie and I left our beautiful family home – that we only had bought and moved into 6 months earlier – to get on a plane for the first time in over a year and fly to the other side of the planet to start a new life in New Zealand.

Now of course, because Kiwiland is so fucking far away from everywhere, it took us 2 days to get here which means we’ve not officially been here a year … but if you will excuse the early anniversary, it still something I wish to celebrate.

Despite having moved countries more times than anyone should be allowed to … the build up to this move was the most stressful we’d ever had.

Of course, the reason for that was bloody COVID … but with changing rules, changing flights and changing timelines, it felt like an impossible dream when we boarded the plane 12 months ago today.

Then there was the 2 weeks of quarantine we had in Hamilton.

While it was restrictive, it was actually an amazing way to settle in a country because whether we liked it or not, we were not allowed to do anything.

Normally when we land in a country, it’s mayhem trying to learn the areas, find a house, buy a car. But this time it was easy, mainly because – in a moment of madness – we had bought a house and a car when we were in England.

While that might sound mad, the car was easy because it was simply the latest version of the car I bought in the UK. Which was the same as I bought in the US. Even down to the colour.

As for the house … OK, that was bonkers, but sadly for our bank manager, that wasn’t the first time we’d done it.

But it all worked out.

Not just in terms of house and car, but life.

We’re settled.

Otis loves his school.
Jill loves we live in the trees.
Rosie loves she can watch birds all day.
I love the talented mob I get to work with each day.

Colenso has done some lovely stuff – but it’s only the start – but we’ve won some global business, awards and a bunch of friends [not to mention the odd bitter enemy] but even more importantly, is that I’ve lucked in with the people I get to work with each day.

What a top bunch they are … with a special mention for my wonderful team who are a bunch of beautifully opinionated, creative and interesting assholes.

Just as I like them. [Most of the time, hahaha]

In fact the only thing that has been horrible has been the timezone … which means when I’m doing my Metallica duty or Gentle Monster duty, it ends up being so early or late I could cry.

Actually, for the first few weeks I probably did in shock … but now it’s second nature and they’ve all been ace. Hell, even the 4+ months of lockdown didn’t dampen our spirit.

Sure, we had travelled half way around the World to end up back where we started … but COVID here was very different to COVID in the UK.

Here there was a plan with clarity and communication.

And while people here say there’s a bunch of stuff the government could have done better – which, in some cases, is fair – compared to what we experienced in the UK, it’s all A+.

While we know we won’t be in NZ forever, we do love it here.

We are so appreciative of the chance we have been given … even more so when so many Kiwi’s have found it so hard to come back. NZ has been generous, supportive, open and encouraging. Hell, not only did they let me meet Noel Edmonds, James Cameron and brilliant Jacinda, they even looked after us when we all individually found ourselves having to go into hospital. In terms of ensuring you can deal with the sadness of not seeing friends and loved ones, NZ did it with absolute bloody panache.

I hope in our time here, we are seen as contributing to the nation. We want to do that so much. Celebrate it. Honour it. And – where possible – help it. Not just so we can learn and know more about this special place, but so we can say thank you for letting us be here.

Happy [almost] anniversary NZ.

You might wish it hadn’t happened, but we’re glad it did.



Just Bung It In The Oven …

Hello there.

I hope you all had a wonderful festive season.

I hope 2022 rewards us with all the opportunities and possibilities that the past 2 years took away.

I hope we can see our friends.

See our families.

Be healthy.

Be happy.

Live with hope and optimism.

Now I said this blog wasn’t going to be back until Jan 31st … and it isn’t.

And frankly, after the December I had – which included the death of a dear friend, an unexpected hospital visit for me and an emergency operation for Otis [who is fully recovered, thank god] – I need all the time I can get to recuperate.

However on Sunday, it is 23 years since my Dad died.

In just 6 years time, he will be gone as long as he was in my life.

And in 9 years time, I will be the age he was when he died.

They will be two very significant moments in my life and – if I’m being honest – I’m nervous of one and scared of the other.

Nervous because it just seems impossible he will have been out of my life more than he was in it.

Of course he is still in my life, but you know what I mean.

Scared because the reality of death comes ever nearer.

Now I know no one knows when someone is going to die – but the idea that it could be when I’m 60 – like he was – is an irrational thought that just sits there. Coming out when I least expect it.

And when it’s quiet, another ridiculous idea enters my mind.

Because Mum died at 83 and Dad died at 60 … I can also convince myself I’ll die between those 2 ages.

So 72.

Now I get 72 is quite a way a way, but it feels a fuckload closer when you’re 51 and your son is only 7.

But all this could be the melancholy of this being Dad’s anniversary, because the reality is I’m happier in my life than I’ve been for a long time.

Not that I was unhappy, but there were moments … but right now, I am in a truly good place and my parents would be so happy to know that.

Which is why I want this post to be about something that would make Dad smile.

A few weeks ago, Jill and I were talking about books that made us laugh to the point of pain.

While we both had a few, her major one was Catch 22 and mine was the first Adrian Mole book – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾.

Adrian Mole’s ‘diary’ came out in 1982 but I got it in the summer of 1983 … which means I read it at the same age as Adrian was.

I loved it. It was hilarious, poignant, tragic and uplifting.

It covered so many issues so many kids were going through.

Family. Friendship, Girls. Sex. Arguments. Parent and Grandparent arguments.

It was, in some ways, the diary of every kids aged 13.

I loved it and still love it when I revisit it every 5 years or so.

But the reason I’m telling you this is because of when my Dad read it.

I think Mum had told him how much I enjoyed it so he decided to check it out.

Anyway, one morning I came downstairs and Mum asked me to ask Dad about what happened in the night.

She said it with a smile, so I knew it wasn’t bad.

I went in the lounge and he was there in his favourite rocking chair.

“Mum told me to ask you what happened last night”

As soon as I said it, he looked at me. His face lit up, a big smile came on his face that allowed his gorgeous dimples to come into the spotlight.

“Oh Robert …” he said, “I was reading your book last night and the bit about the Christmas turkey not being defrosted made me howl with laughter.”

“It was 2am and I had to come downstairs to try and calm down”.

“The bit where they’re trying to thaw the turkey under the hot tap in the bath …” to which he he burst out laughing again with tears in his eyes.

Of course, seeing my Dad like this made me laugh too and then I heard Mum laughing from the kitchen at the state of both of us.

While I never really understood why that bit tickled him so much, I have an idea.

Whether it was the time Mum invited a really miserable elderly couple to our Christmas dinner but only announced it a few days before Christmas and we already had a house full booked … to Dad’s terrible first ever experience with a microwave that literally carbonised sausages … to drunk family members causing scenes … to buying a turkey so big it didn’t even fit in our over … to a not-very-funny-but-very-funny episode with a glass of water when his Mum came to visit.

Who knows. Maybe it was some of that, maybe it was none of it.

But regardless of the reason, I will always remember how that paragraph revealed the child in my Dad and that is why I will always love that book.

It might also explain why I love the Plenty Christmas ad from a couple of years ago. Because watching it again, it’s basically that scene made as a commercial.

I miss my Dad.

I miss him so much.

I would give anything to be able to talk to him and discuss what I’ve done in the last 23 years.

Introduce him to his daughter in law and grandson.

Tell him that Paul and I are still inseparable and mischievous.

Show him all the places I’ve visited and lived and then tell him about all the things I’ve done and still want to do and try.

Watch him try to take it all in and then hear all his questions.

But as I can’t, I’ll honour him by sharing the paragraph that made him roar [which is at the very bottom of this post] and say this:

Dad. I love you.

I think about you all the time.

I am almost overwhelmed with the things I want to say and share.

I hope you’d like [most] of the decisions I’ve made. I know a few would raise eyebrows, but hopefully not too many.

All I’ve ever wanted to do is make you and Mum proud.

I hope I’m doing that overall.

A kiss to you and Mum.

And a lifetime of my love.

To the rest of you, give your loved ones a hug and see you on the 31st.

_________________________________________________________________

The Secret Life Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

Friday December 25th (1981)

I went up to the bathroom and found my mother crying and running the turkey under the hot tap.

She said, “The bloody thing won’t thaw out, Adrian. What am I going to do?”

I said, “Just bung it in the oven.” So she did.

‘We went down to eat Christmas dinner four hours late. By then my father was too drunk to eat anything.’