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


Goodbye 2022. Hello Peace And Quiet …

So this is it, the last post of 2022.

Again, I want to say a big thank you to everyone and anyone who has read or commented on my ranting rubbish.

I have to say, I miss the comments.

I know it was my choice to stop them, but I do miss them – so maybe I’ll have to bring them back, even though I’ve become waaaaaaay more productive since they’ve been turned off as I don’t have to spend vast amounts of my time checking what insults have been written to me and about me, hahaha.

But lack of comments aside, it’s been a big year … mainly because it has been the first year in a couple of years without any lock-down. And yet I still find it bizarre seeing people not wearing masks and being able to get on a plane again.

To think of the isolation, suffering and pain so many people suffered, the speed of the bounce-back has taken my breath away. Of course there are still people enduring tough times … but given the horror of the pandemic has seemingly been replaced by the threat of nuclear war and economic collapse, maybe COVID wasn’t so bad after all.

That said, I’m so grateful for the ability to travel again as it meant I was able to go on a trip that I’ll never, ever forget.

A trip where I got to see my beloved Martin getting married in Portugal.
A trip where I got to see my beloved Nottingham Forest getting promoted at Wembley.
A trip where I got to see my beloved Queen in concert with a ticket I bought 2 years earlier.
A trip where I got to see my beloved Paul, after the longest time we’ve been apart in 52 years.

It was, without exaggeration, one of the most special times in my life … with stuff I thought I may never see – or see again – so you will understand why I still feel so grateful to be able to have experienced it.

But beyond that, there were many other things that made this year memorable.

We did some fun work including Beyond Binary, Rick and Morty, Phone It In and Give Up On Humans. Our agency Christmas gift was interesting too. I say interesting, but I mean ridiculous, especially compared to last years more sophisticated Restraining Order, haha.
I wrote a pretty decent April Fools post that conned a few people.
And then, more seriously, I wrote some posts about my dalliance with depression, fulfilment, prejudice and respect that seemed to mean something to people, which made me feel happy it helped in some way.
I worked with Metallica, Miley Cyrus, Muse and Journey, to different degrees of success and enjoyment, hahaha.
We produced Dream Small … which I’m not only very proud of, but has led to conversations and change I never imagined we could have.
The way Otis – and his school – dealt with his dysgraphia diagnosis.
I celebrated my Mum’s 90th.
I got to see the wonderful Maya and Bree again, after years.
I was somehow featured in a book.
My Bohemian Catsody office mural … featuring Rosie amongst others.
I laughed myself stupid about Gi’s shit explosion while also being proud as punch of my wonderful team with our WARC/Cannes Global Grand Prix for effectiveness … followed up with us winning the same achievement at the NZ Effies … followed up by us winning the Global Grand Effie a few weeks later.
Renovating the old Colenso table to give it – and the irrepressible, unmistakeable Kate Maitland – the respect and recognition they deserve.
Lizzie and Amy’s news.
And Paula’s wonderful ray of sunshine.
Then finding the brilliant Briar and Shelly … with Martin and Meg arriving in Jan. [Which in Meg’s case, is almost 2 years in the waiting]
And last – but certainly not least – seeing Boris get pushed out quickly [literally and figuratively] by Liz Truss, even though the evil Tories somehow remain in power.

Of course there was some sad and disappointing stuff.

The loss of the irreplaceable and wonderful Dan Wieden.
Queenie … which hit me far more than I ever imagined it would.
Ben. Who left us too soon.
Mike’s motorcycle accident.
Henry, Liam and Robin left the team.
My first dalliance with COVID. And Jill too.
The bullshit that Simon P was forced to deal with and face.
Not to mention the horrible situation one of our clients was exposed to by the worst of society.
And then too many terrible global events, with the situations in Ukraine and Iran being possibly the worst of them all. What makes these last two even more disturbing is how the media only pay lip service to them. As if they don’t deem the horrors ‘relevant’ enough for their viewers and readers so they hide it on pages 5 and 6 … behind articles on energy bills, political scandal and sports scores.

I know it’s Christmas, but instead of having that one extra drink or buying that one shitty pressie, donating that money to organisations who offer support and help would be amazing. Two of them are this for Ukraine and this for Iran.

2022 has reminded me how privileged and comfortable my life is.

While compared to many, I have only experienced that sort of life, there have been times that have challenged me.

1999 was horrid.
As was 2015.
And last December was arguably, the worst month I’ve ever faced.

But this year, from a purely personal perspective, has generally been pretty special for me and one of the biggest reasons for that is my family.

I know we’re all supposed to say that, but it’s true.

Not just for who they are, but because for some reason, I feel we got even closer.

Emotionally.
Supportively.
Connectively.

To be honest, I thought we were already as close as you can be, but I discovered there’s actually no limit to the level of connection you can feel with loved ones and that has left me feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Maybe it’s because NZ is so far from everyone, we feel closer to each other. Maybe it’s because we don’t see the people we love so often, we have become more reliant on each other. Maybe it’s because we just have gone through some stuff that it reinforced how special we are to each other. Maybe it’s for reasons I’ve not wanted to admit before because it challenges the priorities I’ve lived by before.

Who knows, but what I can say is I love my ramshackle collection of Campbell’s.

Including Rosie, of course.

They’re not perfect.
They can drive me nuts.
But they’re mine and I adore every bit of them.

Which is why I want to sign off by saying to them – and to the rest of you – that whatever you do over this period, I hope it gives you all you want and all you need. I am grateful for everything every one of you put in my life and I hope 2023 – as scary as many are suggesting it will be – will surprise us all with its happiness and fulfilment.

Just as long as mine is happier and more fulfilling than yours.

Hey, I may be getting more tolerant in my old age, but I’m still as only-child demanding as ever.

Have a great one. Back Feb 1. I hope to see you in 2023.

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December 1st Has Turned Me Into Paula Abdul …
December 1, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Anniversary, Attitude & Aptitude, Culture

The first of December.

What the hell?

That means 10 more days till Otis’ 8th birthday.

14 days till I write a bollocks ‘year in review’ post.

22 days until I have 3 weeks of holiday.

24 days till we’re underwhelmed with Christmas.

31 days till we hit 2023.

Bloody hell, that’s awesome.

Oh hang on, that means there’s also only 31 days till this blog enters its 17th year.

SEVENTEEN!!!!

Oh dear.

Oh deary, deary, dear.

But how did it happen so quickly?

I mean 2022, not this blog.

It honestly feels like this year went in the blink of an eye.

And while this was the year we got rid of the worst of COVID, it seems we decided to swap it with the worst of political and corporate leadership.

Tyrants.
Bullies.
Egotists.
Cheats.
Liars.
Fools.

In the old days, you’d say ‘bring on 2023’ in some naive belief that means things will get better, but after the last few years, you fear it’s just going to get worse. So instead I’ll try and treasure this last month of 2022. As you’ve seen, I’ve got a bunch of good things to look forward to and it will be better than last December which was, for me, the most personally challenging month of my life.

That said, regardless what comes my way … I have many things to be grateful for.

I have my family.
I still have my cat.
I have (some) friends.
I have a couple of jobs I enjoy.
I have made it to the end of another year.

Given the state of the world, I’d say that’s winning.

And no, I don’t think I’ve ever been so optimistic in my life either, hence the pic of ‘Mr Paula Positive Abdul’ at the top of this post.

But don’t worry, the last month of posts won’t all be like this.

God, even I would prefer COVID and Putin to that.

So here’s to the final countdown of 2022 … fasten your safety belts.

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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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