Ramblings of an 83 year old headbanger – By @carlyillston

By Carly Illston


Ramblings of an 83 year old headbanger


To preface this blogpost, I would like to lay out some facts. This blog post is about Kenneth. Kenneth is my grandad. My Grandad is a super fan of a lot of heavy metal bands, all of which he still regularly sees in concert. His dictionary of choice is of the Cockney Rhyming Slang variety rather than Oxford English. And my grandad is an avid Facebooker. 


As a lot of grandparents are, he is not technologically inclined. In fact, I would go as far to say that he was technologically declined. He is a bit (read: extremely) heavy handed, which means it is quite painful watching him do anything on his phone. Internet isn’t loading fast enough? Slam your phone against a table. Can’t remember your password? Smack your phone until it starts working. Don’t know how to use the camera? Throw your phone on the floor. Sensing a pattern?


However, he is very keen to learn and was very determined to be fluent in the language of social media. So after 2 hours on the phone, a lot of frustration, and 3 medicinal glasses of wine, we managed to help him set up a Facebook account.


“what’s on your mind, ken?” 


Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. You can’t ask a question like that and not expect an outlandish reply. My grandads facebook is a treasure trove of Bring Me The Horizon lyrics, rants about the neighbourhood, and unexpectedly deep quotes. My personal favourite series of posts is Grandad’s “thorts of the day” (spelled phonetically, of course). Most posts are born out of 3am brandy-fuelled ramblings, yet still manage to evoke deep reflection. It’s quite impressive, to be honest. The series screams “chaotic energy”, and I felt that it was worthy of being shared with the world. 


“thort of the day words are butt the sign of idears”

From ‘A dictionary of the English Language’ by Samuel Johnson, which is quite ironic considering the bounty of spelling mistakes. How he managed to stumble across this quote is a mystery. But I think this quote is relevant to all of us in the field of advertising. Is the way you send the message as important as the message itself? As stated in Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout (a book that is very fresh in my mind) communication itself is the communication problem. If only there was a way to communicate an idea without having to use a medium. After all, as stated by our dear friend Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message. We have no choice but to read into and analyse the way in which the idea is communicated. But maybe I’m reading into this all wrong- it has been a while since I’ve studied English Lit. 


“thort of the day if all around you is crashing down.. duck”

I personally take this quote as a warning about avoiding negative energy and drama. The law of attraction states that you attract the type of energy that you put out into the world. If you radiate positive vibes, people with similar vibes will find themselves attracted to you. But this goes both ways, and if you find yourself radiating negativity, prepare to be met with it. Stay aware of others self-imploding around you, but don’t let yourself get sucked in. 


“thort of the day .dreams are true while they last.and we do live in dreams”

By Alfred Lord Tennyson. 


What would happen if we lived as if we were in a dream?


Dreams are abstract imitations of reality. By definition an abstract world would have no concrete reality. Can we draw parallels to the world we live in? While we believe we have a concrete reality, we do not know the “why” or the “what?”. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Without these answers, is our reality truly concrete? We spend our lives agonising over these questions, but what would happen if we just accepted that things just are. Would we live our lives differently? More freely? Without fear of failure? After all, we don’t know what our purpose is, so how could we fail? If we lived as if we were in a dream, would we want to wake up? We must be careful not to sleepwalk through life, because life is only real while we are living it.


“thort of the day .,we will never lissan to your rules, we like what we do, and we do what we like”




“thort of the day . two fings my old man told me .1 never trust a copper . 2 justice is for the rich and famous .jail for the working class.”


My grandad was one of hundreds of young men conscripted in 1956 under the National Service. He was 18, an only child, and had never been away from his mum before. He spent 2 years travelling from England to Germany, stationed in camps in the middle of the countryside. For someone who had grown up sibling-less, the barracks were a hard place to get used to. Crammed to the lid with boys of all description, fighting over the mats closest to the wood burning stove in the centre of the room. 


“On my first night in the barracks, some boys were crying, some were wanking, and some were doing both.”


The National Service was said to get you ready for the workplace, teach you discipline and how to be a man, but my grandad said it was 2 years wasted. He got thrown into the army jail twice; once for going AWOL and starting work in a pub in Berlin, and a second time for smashing a bar stool over the head of an opponent after having the shit beaten out of him after a compulsory boxing match.


His motto is “don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” 


It’s not difficult to see why he doesn’t like authority. 


and finally, my personal favourite. 

“thort of the day spend the can’t take it with you”

 By Annie Drillard. 


As my grandad said, “ I wouldn’t want to go back and live where I was, I look forward to the future. You can’t look back, you just have to go forward. It’s the best way for anyone to do anything”. Live in the present. A day wasted is a day lost. Don’t waste time being afraid. Go out and see that play, finish that project, talk to that girl. 


I’ll sign off with the immortal words of Iron Maiden: “Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years- face up, make your stand, and realise you’re living in the golden years”


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