Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Monday, 27 February 2012
The decorating jumper elevates a man in the eyes of the rest of mankind as a DIYer. It says I have an owner who has a go at being self-sufficient. Not in the same league as television survivalist, Ray Mears, who could knock you up a meal out of detritus, like a moss sandwich, but a dab-hand all the same at doing handy things like painting the skirting board… and asking down the hardware store for rawl plugs and knowing what they are. The decorating jumper says this is a man who had the foresight and wherewithal to limit the disposal of age-flawed pullovers, to collect them in a clothes drawer for this eventuality.
That’s as far as the kudos goes, though, with the DIY apparel. See how far you get trying to negotiate a trade price at a hardware store dressed in a decorating jumper. To be taken seriously as a tradesman you have to have overalls. Unless your trade is that of the ferret-down-the-trousers practitioner, in which case you might prefer to wear something equating to ‘underalls’.
Older Irish construction site labourers in the 1970s used to work dressed in suits and distinguish themselves on the evening rush-hour buses home as the only city gents covered in concrete. Which makes you wonder about those people you see all of a sudden, these days, making money by pretending to be statues in town shopping centres with a little whistle in their mouths. Until, that is, you overhear one of those performers on the way home talking to a fellow bus passenger. ‘I go down the town centre of a Saturday and masquerade as one of those silver fellers. Scares the bejesus outta the kids. They love it, so they do’. It’s become a means of supplementing a pension.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Monday, 20 February 2012
‘We’re downgrading you from AAA to AA,’ say Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agencies (CRAs). ‘And that’s a bad thing,’ they add, in case you didn’t know it. Basically, what they’re saying is we look at your country’s economic health and come up with some letters to show how worthy you are of borrowing money. All seems a bit abstract until we realise that the system of categorisation they use draws parallels with bra sizing’s.
AAA is the largest of the smallest cup size, almost a B cup; and correspondingly the best credit rating. AA is a bit smaller – smaller breasts, a little less credit worthiness. Thing is, the CRAs don’t appear to have spotted the pattern. Otherwise, we would have expected to hear somewhere along the line a country downgraded from AA to A, then BBB to BB etc. Recognise that bra sizes extend to a truly mammalian F cup and the CRAs find themselves with a lot more letter power up their sleeve (or up their top, if you like a simile). The massively indebted Greece, they might say, is on a par with Dolly Parton’s credentials. And interestingly, a country with a ratings equivalent of an F cup, would be said to have ‘gone bust’.
The economy-hooters connection is not new, just hitherto overlooked. In the 1970’s the ladies underwear manufacturer, Playtex, invented the ‘Lift & Separate’ bra. Back then, people would have been less inclined to consider an economic link; they would have been more concerned about Playtex’s plan to disassociate breasts. ‘Lift’ they could understand, but ‘separate’? There is a very good reason, they would say, that we coin the term ‘bosom buddies’. Had economists read Playtex in financial terms, they would have seen that lift and separate was a sign that we should be lifting the economy by enacting demergers i.e. separating companies into smaller concerns. Probably.
And in recent times, the American banks lent money to those who could not pay it back. This so happened to coincide with the age of breast enhancements. False economy – false tits.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
|Scott would never make it to Milton Keynes.|
Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest and the planet’s last remaining unchartered territories at the Poles. All that was left to explore, in fact, except for one location – Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes eluded Hillary mostly because it didn’t exist until 1967, long after he had hung up his parka. Hillary had grown up with fantastical stories of far-away, mythical, unattainable places like the gold-haemorrhaging El Dorado and Utopian Shangri-La. Similarly, he could but dream of the multi-storey car parks, the ease of road navigation on Milton Keynes’ grid system and the mini-roundabouts. These were exotic, futuristic town-planning schemes.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Sunday, 12 February 2012
The Vikings named Greenland in an attempt to encourage people to settle there. ‘Green is the new white’ they proposed to get over the fact that Greenland is an island made of glacier. The Viking estate agent hoped to appeal less to the kind of person who nowadays would tune into the TV show ‘Location, Location, Location’, more to a type watching something like a ‘Location, Location, Oh-fuck-it-let’s-just-buy-anywhere’.
|A Viking Des Res.|
‘Come to Greenland*’ would have been the wording to the marketing campaign, the asterisk followed up by a footnote in very small print saying ‘Terms and Conditions apply.’
The Viking estate agent must have learnt from an earlier mistake of coining the name ‘Iceland’ for the frigid island. They kind of went too far the other way on that one. Too honest. People were put off by an image. ‘Course, the Viking was having to reach out a bit at the time. Trying to get over that rape and pillage label. Trying to get a better word of mouth business going. Trying to get more:
‘They rape and they pillage but their estate agents’ commission is quite competitive and they do offer some good feedback on viewings for the seller. Just a little bit of a shame about the raping and the pillaging, but you know give them a try…’Granted, they did go on to do a bit of mis-selling with the Greenland thing, there was the continuing rape and pillage, but at least Viking estate agents were fortunate that they didn’t have as bad a reputation as the estate agents of today.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Monday, 6 February 2012
Diving foreign footballers are often blamed for the ruination of the English game, which makes us wonder what impact imported talent would have on the sport of high diving? Some would say that a career change from football to diving is a natural transition. After all, a certain type of foreign player has not only a highly developed eye-to-foot, but very good arse-to-surface co-ordination.
Adjusting from one sport to another is nevertheless never easy. We could imagine Cristiano Ronaldo feeling the confusion. The time you ask him to dive, he would probably try and play football – a sequence of mid-air step-overs before taking the plunge. A dive resembling a ballerina doing one of those corkscrewing leg thrash jumps they do, but in freefall. Could be good, though, a fresh routine. Or it could go another way. Ronaldo could just put into practice exactly what he does on the football field. He could execute the perfect dive, only to drop points massively on a bomb-like splash upon entry; his coach going up to him as he emerges from the pool:
‘Cristy boy! What happened? Beautiful right up to the… what did I tell you about your hands on entry? – pointing, pointing; arms outstretched. Now get up there. You got two more goes. Get out the bloody habit of this clutching your face!’
All in all, returning to the original statement, football in England has benefitted greatly from the influx of foreign players. They have shown our native lot that it is possible to be a footballer and speak English.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
The first time a student felt dissatisfaction with his bedroom furniture was when he discovered, on getting lucky, that he was sleeping with another person on a single bed narrower than one single person and that a wet patch needed to be avoided. That situation remained the norm right up to the 1980s when one undergraduate suddenly decided that they wanted a lot more out of their bed. One of the conditions was that it should be a cheap bed by night, a sofa you can keep slipping off while you’re sitting on it during the day. The idea took off and the UK found itself the biggest importer of futons outside the Orient. And so it continues.
So perhaps now is a good time for the UK to export to Japan, in exchange, some of our culture that centres around our old futon-substitutes, our beds.
The ‘Futon and Breakfast’ could be adopted as a Japanese version of the cheaper end of the hotel market. And it would be a lot more flexible in its function than the English Bed and Breakfast. Guests wouldn’t necessarily have to stay overnight. They could just come for breakfast when the futon has been made up into a slippy off sofa (after the sleeping tenants have woken up, of course). In Japan, you would also be able to offer a special English custom treat: knock on the bedroom door and chime, ‘Happy Birthday, darling. No, don’t get up, I’ve brought you breakfast in futon…. before we make it up into a sofa, that is.’ And that’s the same partner we were attracted to in the first place because we fell for their ‘come-to-futon’ eyes. On the other hand, though, we could be first up in the morning, returning to our partner in the bedroom for a fierce rebuke: ‘You were last to come in last night. You left the door wide open. We could have been murdered in our futons!’
Although this lady is not Japanese, she nearly proves anyway that the
Japanese elderly and futons are a heady cocktail.
On the downside there is the problem of the odd cultural misunderstanding cropping up. Take that old chestnut where an elderly Japanese grandparent decides to go study in the UK. Alarm becomes terror when the family rings up his digs to discover from a fellow-student that he’s on his death futon. He was getting on, they fret. We should never have let him go. The family automatically buys tickets en bloc on the next outward flight to discover when they arrive that grandad’s mate was only stating the obvious after another student night out on the sake.