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


We All Need A Partner In Mischief …
June 16, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Family, Love, Paul

So today is my beloved Paul’s birthday.

While I wish I was able to celebrate his special day with him, knowing we were together so recently helps minimise the disappointment that I can’t be today.

Especially as we got to experience two incredible events together in the space of a week.

Watching Forest win promotion to the Premiership and seeing Queen in concert at the O2.

It was like it was arranged by a higher power. It was amazing.

And as I wrote a few weeks ago, I needed it.

I don’t mean the experiences – though they were amazing – I mean spending time with him.

I’d not seen Paul for almost 2 years and that may be the longest we’ve ever gone apart.

That would be significant for me at any time – but with my parents gone, Paul is the person who has been in my life the longest and so not being near him takes on added significance.

He has always been my best friend, but now he’s even more than that.

Put simply, I love him.

Every single thing about him.

From his infectious immaturity to his evolution into Frothy Coffee Man.

And even though every bit of trouble I’ve ever got into my life can be traced back to him … he is so important and special to me and I hope he knows it.

One day we’ll live close to each other again, but till then – happy birthday Paul. I hope you have an absolutely immense day and are spoilt like buggery by Shelly … and I look forward to the time we can celebrate together again.

Love ya.



A Great Thing Happened On This Day …
June 15, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Birthday, Comment, Jill, Love

I’m a pretty lucky guy.

Contrary to popular opinion, I have worked hard for stuff … but I can’t deny that the life I have is disproportionately good to the life I probably deserve.

And nothing sums this up more than being married to my wife.

She is a beautiful, compassionate, considerate human.

She has supported and encourage me on everything I’ve wanted to do.

From moving countries to jobs to everything in-between.

Any success I have had is definitely with her influence stamped all over it.

Today it’s her birthday.

And while she will enjoy it, she also not want me to make a fuss about it.

Not because she doesn’t like birthdays, but because she doesn’t like being the centre of attention.

When I wrote a post about her a few months ago, she was a bit embarrassed about it.

She likes the quieter life and me talking about her and her achievements made her feel a bit uneasy. And while I don’t want to make her feel that way, it’s very hard for me to dial-down how much I love her because quite frankly, she’s everything to me.

Oh the things I could write.

The things I want to say.

About what you mean to me and how great I think you are.

But I’ll do as I’m told by just saying this.

My dear Jill.

Happy, happy birthday.

You’re the absolute best.

I am so happy and lucky to have you in my life.

You’re an amazing person … mother and wife.

Otis, Rosie and I hope you have an amazing day.

We’ll do our best to make sure you do.

Here’s to many more birthday’s I have to resist celebrating publicly.

Lots of love my love.

Rx



A Parents Love Is Never Black And White …
June 13, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Advertising, Authenticity, Comment, Family, Love, Parents

I had a lovely birthday.

Despite not receiving your presents. Tight asses.

Anyway, I digress …

I want to write a post about being a parent.

Put simply, it’s amazing.

Better than I ever could have imagined.

But what is interesting is how parenting is often portrayed in advertising.

It’s either unicorns or hurricanes.

Soft focus or extreme disaster.

But the reality is in most cases, that’s just not true. It’s somewhere in the middle … where the love is always there, even though it sometimes manifests itself in ways that seem to suggest otherwise.

Years ago I asked Ros – who was a member of my team at Wieden – to go interview teenagers about something they remember their parents said or did to them that was hurtful, even though they know it wasn’t meant that way.

Everyone had one.

It may have been something really innocuous … something their parents can’t even remember saying or doing … but it was cemented in their feelings or memories.

Maybe an offhand comment.
Or a misplaced judgement.
Or a small disagreement.

Nothing major. For some, forgotten in a second. For others … remembered for a lifetime, even if the pain of it has long passed.

We made a cool little film about it called, ‘Parents Fuck You Up’ … I’ll try find it, because even though it’s in Mandarin, it’s something I’m sure we all relate to. I know I do.

I wrote years ago about the revelation I’d had of why I might like Birkenstocks so much.

When I was a kid, my Mum was trying to teach me how to tie my shoelaces. I just couldn’t get it. And she got so frustrated that she lost her shit with me.

It was the only time she was ever like that with me – and she felt bad about it her whole life, when she absolutely shouldn’t have – but that moment is seared in my brain, which may explain why I ended up loving shoes that have no laces.

Maybe.

I say this because I recently watched a repeat of an episode of Gogglebox. It was an episode that when I watched it the first time – back when I was in England – it made me laugh so much I had an asthma attack.

It’s not even that funny. But having a parent says this to their daughter is … because it’s far more reflective of our family relationships than advertising will ever capture honestly.

Enjoy. Have a great weekend.

And remember your kids remember stuff better than elephants



Some Weeks Last A Lifetime …

So I was supposed to be back today, but the gods had other plans.

I got covid.

After avoiding it for 2 years.

After moving to the other side of the planet in the middle of the pandemic.

They decided now was the optimum time to give it to me.

And maybe they were right.

Because this trip has – so far – been filled with nothing but miracles and love.

I got to see the wonderful Martin and Mercedes get married in Portugal, surrounded by old friends who I’d not seen in an age.

Including the brilliant Clare Pickens who I love enormously.

Not to mention Nusara and her husband … who I discovered actually exists.

Now it’s fare to say all weddings are special, but this was magnificent.

There’s many reasons for that – from the people, the venue, the moment – but it was something more than that. As I said on the speech I was asked to give at the last minute, we needed this. All of us. Not just Martin and Mercedes … but every person who was – and continues to be – affected by the devastation of COVID. Which means every person in the World because whether it has been small or big challenges, we’ve all had to deal with them.

And from there, I then got to see my beloved Nottingham Forest pull off the miracle.

From bottom of the league with the worst start in 108 years to playing at Wembley after 30 years and getting promoted to the Premiership after 23 years away.

And to be able to do that with my beloved Paul – who I’d not seen for almost 2 years – by my side, was just even more special.

I don’t mind telling you I cried when I saw him.

When he got out his car and gave me one of his massive hugs hello, I clung on and cried. God I’ve missed him.

Don’t get me wrong, I love NZ, but it is the first place I’ve ever lived that genuinely feels ‘far from everything’ … so with that and all that has gone on in the past 2 years – not to mention the fact this is the longest I’ve not seen him in my entire life – I realised how much I’ve missed and needed him around in my life.

So to have that and then watch our beloved Forest get back into the promise land together was – well, just unbelievably special.

Now if you remember the post I wrote when I was setting off on this adventure, you will note I have not mentioned seeing Paula and her baby yet and that’s because of the COVID gods. But they’re still being nice to me …

Because not only has COVID not been too bad for me – especially compared to what some people have suffered – it meant I had to move my flights as NZ travel rules meant they wouldn’t let me catch my plane. And even this set back has a silver lining.

Because of the demand on airlines – and the time it takes for RAT tests to show a negative reading – the earliest flight I could get was next Tuesday. So not only will I have the time to see her before I go, but I also get to see Paul again when we go to the Queen concert we booked back in 2019 that they had to cancel because of COVID.

Seeing Queen with my best friend and his wonderful wife Shelly is like the ultimate gift to end this incredible visit to Europe.

But there’s more …

You see the Queen concert is on the day the UK celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I mean the royal one, not the musical one.

The reason this is significant is way back in 1977, my Mum and Dad brought me to London to watch the crowds celebrate her Silver Jubilee. I remember it well, despite being so long ago. So to be back in London – albeit by pure coincidence – on a day where England yet again is celebrating a landmark moment in the Queen’s reign takes me back to that day with my parents and that is a feeling I will really treasure.

What this all means is not only has this trip been more wonderful than I ever imagined, it’s ended up giving me more miracles and love than I ever expected. Miracles and love that I needed more than I ever imagined.

So while I can’t wait to get back to my family – and my team – I can honestly say this has been a couple of weeks that are one of the most important and memorable weeks of my life and for that, I thank everyone who made it possible … from Martin and Mercedes, Paul, Nottingham Forest, Colenso, Q-Prime, NIKE, Paula, Queen, Lee Hill and Virgin Atlantic and my brilliant supportive wife and son right through to, bizarrely, covid.

I don’t know how you did it Mum and Dad, but thank you.

So till next week.

R



A Week Like No Other …
May 20, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Happiness, Love, Martin Weigel, Mercedes, Wedding

A week ago, this post was not going to be written.

Circumstances – some real, some assumed – were working against me.

From Forest missing out on automatic promotion to NZ immigration issues stopping me from attending the wedding of someone hugely important to me as well as seeing the first born of another person who is hugely important to me.

I had begrudgingly come to terms with it, but then – like magic – it all changed.

Forest – somehow – managed to get to the playoff final and border restrictions got changed earlier than imagined.

And what does this mean?

It means I’m flying to Europe on Sunday.
It means – thanks to NIKE getting me tickets – I get to see Forest play at Wembley.
It means I get interviewed on the Nottingham Evening News about my trip. [That’s not a joke]
It means I get to do this with my best friend Paul who I’ve not seen since September 2020.
It means I meet the first born of my dear friend and incredible planner – Paula Bloodworth.
[Made better by her husband being from Nottingham and Forest fan, which kills her. Ha]
It means I can give you 10 days of freedom from this blog.

TEN DAYS!!

But the icing on the cake is that I also get to see my beloved Martin Weigel marry his beautiful and wonderful Mercedes.

He might not want me to talk about this, but he’s probably so stressed trying to sort out the final arrangements that he will either not see this or not care.

But after trying to make this wedding happen for THREE YEARS – fuck you COVID – next Wednesday, in Portugal, we finally get to celebrate the most wonderful day of the year.

And I include the unlikely possibility of Forest getting into the Premiership in that statement.

Put simply, Martin and Mercedes are genuinely amazing and wonderful humans.

Yes, I know Weigel can come across as a miserable bastard intellectual … but the reality is he’s one of the most wonderful and warm people I’ve ever met. Of course I’m not supposed to say that – but it’s true – after all, how else would he get to marry such an amazing woman?!

People may think Martin and I are an odd couple, but everyone knows Martin and Mercedes are the perfect couple and I cannot sum up how happy I am for them.

Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t think I could go.

I was invited, but visa and immigration issues were messing with it.

But now – on the day Forest won the match to get into the Championship playoff final – things changed and I’ll be there and I’m overwhelmed about it.

Not just because marriages are always wonderful.

But because marriage is important.

I’ve written about this before.

Of course everyone has their own opinion, but based on my experience, it has been the single best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Did it change anything when we’d been living together for years?

Actually it did.

Emotionally.

For the better.

It made me feel more secure, more cared for, more together.

And while that may not be the case for everyone, I have a sneaky suspicion it will be for Martin and Mercedes. And so it should, because they’re wonderful and right now … I am the 3rd happiest person in the whole wide World.

Thanks to them.

And because of them.

So to my dear M&M – but not Eminem – congratulations.

At a time where the planet is in a bit of a state, what you are doing next week – and what we all will celebrate – is a reminder that there’s beauty, happiness and hope out there.

I’m so glad you found each other.

I’m so glad you’re in my life.

I’m so glad I’ll be there.

Masses of love to you both.

Good luck to Forest.

Here’s to one of the most important and special weeks of my life.

A week I never expected to have, just a few days ago.

Which is a reminder of how awesome life can be.

As proven by the fact I’ll see you on the 2nd June.

Ta-ra lovelies.

Rx