“He’s got OGD.” “You what?”


Only Great Disorder. It’s what happens when you’re not able to produce anything bad.

OGD doesn’t make you a perfectionist, as that can make you a bit of a dickhead, and not necessarily talented. This is more a case of only pushing out brilliant gems, the stuff that uplifts, inspires or positively provokes, gets copied, gets passed on, absorbed, without hurting or irritating.

image made by Maddy in 2005

Seth Godin argues (well) that we are not mass consumers anymore but tribes. Where the internet was supposed to homogenize us, it has separated us into segments, not out of force, but out of a desire to connect with people like us. It’s Heretic-Chic, and it’s what allows me to find the below people and fill my brain with as much or as little of them as I choose. But because they each have OGD, I’m not the only one hunting them down.

For the origins of OGD, as Paul Arden rightly put it, all ideas are in the Ether, and our plucking of inspiration from the cloud of collective consciousness does not grant us ownership that we can then wear as a badge. We can accept a trophy off the self-important folks we shmoozed, or we can check the number of followers we have on Twitter, but Ayn Rand also argued that if you repeatedly do something good, which creates something positive, aren’t you entitled to feel proud of it? And take the credit? It’s the taking of the credit that makes and breaks a lot of very talented individuals – whether they cross over to the ‘darkside’ of mainstream, try to find a new audience by doing a new thing that upsets what everyone thought they did best, believe the hype or start sticking a load of stuff up their nose.

Unfortunately there’s an impossibly fine line between being talented and being a legitimate arsehole, as Russell Brand and Ricky Gervais will testify, whether unjustly condemned by others or by your own actions. But that shouldn’t stop us celebrating what’s good. For there to be winners, there don’t always necessarily have to be losers. (I wish somebody would say that to Ed Balls).  

Here’s a few OGD ‘sufferers’ who consistently churn out greats at the minute. If you have more please send them my way. Please note this is a ‘braindump’ and in no way exclusive – but this special lot came to mind immediately (and I hope will be added to).

OGD Criteria: consistently good, original output that challenges, inspires, impresses and is not repetitive or predictable.  


Effective analysis of People-Power:

Seth Godin  Click here to see his TED profile


Style, force and energy that’s all her own

Janelle Monae  Find her here and buy Metropolis


Brain-Expanding websites

Most obviously: TwitterTed.com


Consistently impressive Music Videos that the band plays a major part in

OK GO who actually prompted this entire article because they really are incapable of doing a bad video.


Always impressive directorship

Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham


Consistently dynamic, unashamed-businessman approach to Art World

Damien Hirst & Banksy


Eccentric, genuine, energetic music that refuses to go mainstream

Mysty’s Big Adventure


Powerful, poetic music that refuses to go mainstream



Use of Satire to create genuine positive change

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Charlie Brooker, (author/presenter of Screenwipe)  


Intelligent Analysis

Simon Jenkins and Alan Brien, (now deceased)


Facial expressions that achieve greatness without effort

Bill Murray, Jeff Bridges, Tom Waitts


Making every acting role convincing but different from the last

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Jeffrey Rush


Consistently funny and very charming blog

Hyperbole and a half, by the brilliant Allie Brosh


Enjoyably surreal and inspired rantage that is thoroughly heartwarming

Bill Bailey

Ross Noble (despite a pretty hideous looking website; but Youtube the crap out of him anyway)


Consistently beautiful

The Lake District,

85% of Scotland,

A boy I knew once who would be surprised I still think about him,

The swamps of Louisiana,

The Islands around Beaufort, South Carolina,

The Southern Alps of New Zealand,

The surrounding valley of Kyoto,

The Norwegian Fjords,

60% of Italy,

The shallow reefs surrounding Fiji

(I’ve a feeling this is quite a large, subjective category and can only include things I’ve seen so far but all suggestions welcome)


Challenging, conflicting, inspiring yet welcoming city

New York

But it can’t all be songs of praise. OGD wouldn’t be so easy to spot if it wasn’t for the fact that there are also some lucky sods who have managed to achieve plenty of success without creating value of any sort. They have CRIS; Consistently Rubbish but Inexplicably Successful syndrome. And we are in the midst of a CRISis. Individuals who profit can’t be blamed for this if we’re happy enough to line their pockets, uttering things like “he really is crap isn’t he” and then watching his show/buying his book, but I can at least take this opportunity to name and shame and expect lots of anger from diehard fans.


Repetitive Narcissism and crimes against journalism

Piers Morgan,


Dogmatic adherence to any form of conspiracy based on loosely-seized speculations that undermine the need for reasoned understanding through use of easy-to-remember animated videos

Michael Moore

Maintenance of an acting career despite only being able to portray one’s self (although in some cases this self may fit a role, eg Jerry Maguire)

Tom Cruise

Nicholas Cage

Michael Ciera

Jack Black

Anthony Hopkins

Drew Barrymore

Jennifer Aniston

Keira Knightley

Charlie Sheen

Halle Berry

Ben Stiller

Adam Sandler

John Travolta

Bruce Willis

Ashton Kutcher

Katy Holmes

Johnny Depp (yes I know he’s great but he is always Johny Depp)

Robert Downey Jr (also great but always Robert Downey Jr)


Maintenance of a musical career despite distinct lack of talent



Robbie flippin Williams

Taylor Swift

James Blunt  (although now serves as a way to criticize someone without offending your mother).


Maintenance of any career despite distinct lack of talent


70% of Wall Street & the City of London who expect something for nothing, fast, and bugger the rest of us.

The Kardashians

Katie Price / Jordan

the Game


The Olsen Twins

Ed Balls


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