Sunday, 27 February 2011

Heaven is.....

a multi-screen battlefield.

That's what the flyer that came with my son's new computer said anyway. We decided it must have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek. That's what I was hoping, but it was hard to tell.

It reminded me again of a cookery 'party' I went to years ago, which was actually one of those ghastly sales parties where someone tries to make money out of flogging over-priced gadgets to their friends. The desperate woman demonstrating actually announced, 'this is a garlic crusher to die for' and over the apple corer, 'I thought I had died and gone to heaven'. I felt very sorry for her and purchased a flexible spatula for around ten pounds, recognising it had possibilities beyond cookery.....

Heaven, a place littered with flexible spatulas and garlic crushers? A place filled with multi-screen battlefields and pasty faced adolescents crouched over them who have become bored looking for vampires (absent due to the multitude of garlic crushers)?

I don't think so.

My heaven is windswept beaches and hills and damp woods and love, and endless tingling happiness.

Heaven, what's yours like?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Universal Standards

Having just passed a milestone birthday (500 if you must know), I was delighted to be the recipient of luxury chocolates. As I was merrily chomping my way through them, I pondered the complexity of knowing which chocolate had which filling. There was an instruction manual, but that would mean I would have to heave myself up and find my glasses. As you will all be aware, having found the comfiest part of the settee and arranged the chocolates at the optimum distance to enable you to reach them without too much of a struggle, you really don't want to get up and start again.

'Why' I thought to myself, 'can't we have a universal standard for the shape and markings on chocolates?' In other aspects of our lives, we know that green indicates semi skimmed or cheese and onion, and that blue is full cream or salt and vinegar, red ready salted or fully skimmed, and we are soon going to have universal phone charger connection sockets. I even have a neighbour who is working on the international standard for the kilogram, so why can't someone sort out the marzipan from the strawberry fondant in a similar, universally accepted way?

I suspect this is starting to happen, I have worked out that a square choc with diagonal lines generally indicates caramel, and rectangular with straight lines usually means Turkish delight. I am still confounded by the array of circular ones.

I guess I will just have to go back and be more diligent over my research.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

How to Eat Your Pet

I was in a meeting at work this evening. Somehow the conversation ended up with me mentioning how burying a body in your back garden would make the plants grow well. Worried that those present might think I was a mass murderer, I felt obliged to expand on how I knew this.

It was a supposition really, from the experience, many years ago, of burying a guinea-pig in our tiny back garden. Later on, I planted some cauliflowers over the 'grave'. The cauliflowers all thrived (bit of a pity really, I'm not that keen on them). The one that was directly over the body grew to be supersized. A good double the height of the others.

I felt a bit funny eating it, when it so obviously contained molecules of my pet, but no stranger than a farmer eating one of his chickens I suppose.

Slightly better maybe, being once removed in terms of physicality.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Painting your life with Poison

At a tube station recently I was noticing how many ads there were for female cosmetic surgery. Then one advert leapt out at me. It was of a twenty-something chap and the promotion was about 'improving your pecs'. There was something about a young, healthy male advertising cosmetic surgery that highlighted both how sad it was and how female surgery has become so commonplace it doesn't really register as shocking any more.

In most other areas, society is making progress against prejudice, but there seems to be a growing trend to be hyper-judgemental about physical appearance. This is so extreme we think nothing of our healthy, young people succumbing to the scalpel and people queueing up to have neurotoxin injected into their faces to remove wrinkles. There was even one tragic story of the death of a young woman having industrial silicon (the stuff you seal your bath with) injected into her buttocks rather than the medical quality product.

In times gone by it was considered attractive to use white lead paint on faces - which eventually proved disastrous, and yet we let non-medically trained people introduce poison into our bodies - in the hope of what exactly?

Attracting a better class of mate?

Improving our inner happiness - with poison or surgery?


Why are we so conditioned to feel guilty about having grey hair, lines on our faces, bags under our eyes? Why do we all pour money into the products that convince us we too can look like Hollywood stars, particularly the ones that tell us without irony, 'because you're worth it'? Why can't we just say 'grey is good' and value the physical signs that show we have probably gathered great wisdom and learned a lot about life?

It is what's inside that counts - and most people recognise that at some level. Maybe it's time to start an anti-advertising revolution, and deliberately not ever buy anything we see advertised. It might make us all happier.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Dress Codes - Fascism on the Quiet?

The pub across the road has reopened. This is good news indeed. We locals really appreciate our community focal point and enjoy a casual drink once in a while. The bad news is that the pub now has a dress code,'No jeans' it says on the door.

This in a pub I have been known to nip to in my slippers.

Who is going to put on a lounge suit or 'slacks' to go for a quick drink after work or to join in the pub quiz? Why do you need to be in chinos to answer questions about the longest railway platform in the world?

I loathe dress codes at the best of times - people should come in what they feel comfiest in - it's freedom of expression. It must have something to do with having to wear a purple school uniform for five years. It smacks of homework and authoritarianism. Dress codes seem to be about social one-up-man-ship. Who's wearing the biggest diamonds, the funkiest coloured cummerbund, the witty Thomas the Tank Engine shirt back. Does your jacket lining match your handkerchief? Are your cufflinks gold, which Rolex are you wearing? Strangely, dress codes also hint of fake tans and over-manicured fingernails.

Why should we care?

Why do we care?

Perhaps next time I pop across the road for a glass of house red I should go in my ballgown. I could sneak a pair of jeans and my slippers underneath