Saturday, 22 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Mother's Commandments

Every now and then the topic of mentors and role models is raised, particularly around sporting events. There has just been a rather large one here in New Zealand and with on-and-off-field antics, people are once again questioning whether children should look up to sporting heroes for behavioural models.

I think not. I believe that's what parents are for (or else, what the hell are they actually doing?). No matter what they tell you, mothers do not always know best, but they can give you some pretty good pointers. You learn which to follow and which to ignore, but there are some things my mother taught me I will always value.

5 Pieces of Maternal Advice:
  1. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all
  2. Never say behind someone's back something you wouldn't say to their face
  3. To a couple of people you may be extremely important - no one else cares: don't show off
  4. Don't expose your kidneys; you'll catch your death
  5. Never display your underwear in public; male or female - it's skanky. (I think mother actually used the word 'common', but that's what she meant)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Slow-guns

Following on from yesterday's post I've been thinking about catchy advertising slogans. They may not necessarily be for the best product (in fact, usually aren't), but they are irritatingly familiar, or in some cases simply perfect.

Hundreds came to mind actually, which probably shows I take more notice of advertising than I like to admit. Several of them are local - Boddingtons: 'If you don't get Boddies; you'll just get bitter' or Speights: 'Pride of the South', but I'll stick with some that are more universal:

5 Top Marketing Slogans:
  1. Carlsberg, probably the best lager in the world
  2. Esso: Put a tiger in your tank
  3. Ronseal: It does exactly what it says on the tin
  4. McDonalds: I'm loving it
  5. Nike: Just do it

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Brand Power

I don't remember exactly when it was that everyone became obsessed with labels - sometime in the 80s I think, when it was all Lacoste this and Adidas that. I do remember if you didn't have the right trainers or sports bag, you were ridiculed at school.

Him Outdoors had a non-authentic action man when he was a kid. Apparently he had a squishy head and his hands fell off (the non-action man that is, not Him Outdoors). No one would let him play, somewhat unsurprisingly.

Now, I'm not what anyone would call a slave to fashion, but there are certain things that just have to be right; when imitations simply won't suffice.

5 Non-Negotiable Brands:
  1. Persil automatic - possibly mum's fault; I like the familiar smell, and I seem to get a rash from just about anything else
  2. McVities - no one else's digestives will do. And don't even get me started on Hobnobs...
  3. Jaguar - E-type in particular: if it's not a Jaguar; it's just a car
  4. Bombay Sapphire gin and Schwepps tonic - it's the perfect combination
  5. Waterstones/ Unity Books - I will travel miles for knowledgable service

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Actual Conversations

There used to be a time when you could have endless pointless debates in the pub about anything at all - when did Ziggy Stardust take his final bow; who scored the winning goal in the FA Cup Final of 1957; in how many films did Doris Day star with Rock Hudson; you know the sort of thing.

Now, if you ruminate on any sort of question of this nature, someone will irritatingly whip out their smart phone and tell you the answer. Okay, so it may be smart, (or smug) but it ruins all the fun - at least you should waste a good half hour discussing it first. 

This is why they may be good for virtually anything, but smart phones are the death of (pub) conversation. In the last week or so, I have whiled away many pleasant minutes (if not hours) with the family deliberating such pressing issues as:

5 Recent Conversations which didn't involve a Smart Phone:
  1. Does what goes up always have to come down?
  2. If fish spoke English, which species would have what accent?
  3. Why is some 80s music shockingly bad when some is excellent, and why do Americans and Kiwis generally prefer the former?
  4. When does attractive confidence become ugly arrogance?
  5. If you could live in any era in history, when would it be?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

Today is my birthday - yes, I know, Happy Birthday to me. While I have nothing against the song Happy Birthday, I wish there were more songs that people could sing to expreess their many happy returns: Stevie Wonders' Happy Birthday is specifically about Martin Luther King; no one knows the lyrics to Altered Images' merry ditty; and the Sugarcubes' Birthday is just plain bonkers.

So invariably it will be the predictable tune. When Thermal Girl and I were in recorder club at the infants' school, we were tasked with performing Happy Birthday on our squeaky tubes for one of the younger members of the school. Unfortunately we hadn't learned that tune, but we did know London's Burning so we spontaneously burst into that instead... as the confused birthday girl simultaneously burst into tears and poured on her own water.

Which led me to think about the most predictable songs ever - you know; when you're at a particular event and you know for certain that a certain song will be played.

5 Predictable Tunes:
  1. We Are the Champions / Simply the Best - played at the final of any sporting event
  2. Slice of Heaven / Why Does Love Do This to Me? / Bliss - godawful lyrically-challenged Kiwi pop songs played at every New Zealand sporting event ever - it's enough to put you off going
  3. Dancing Queen - there's not a hen night in the land where this isn't played
  4. From This Moment - the most manipulatively mercenary wedding song ever written
  5. I Don't Know How to Love Him - at any musical theatre audition. I recently read this in Painting Ruby Tuesday by Jane Yardley: The first morning we heard the same song from Jesus Christ Superstar so many times that when we broke for lunch the casting director shouted, ‘If anyone in this room does know how to love him, for Chrissake get out there and tell ’em before I top myself!’

Monday, 17 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Aunty Katy

I have been visitng my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew in Miri. We have had a great time experiencing their ex-pat lifestyle and some Miri hotspots (at 40 degrees and 98% humidity, it's actually all pretty hot) and, although excited about the prospect of seeing monkeys in the rainforest, were a little sad to leave them behind and move on to the next stage of the trip.

5 Great Things about Being an Aunt:
  1. Fierce unconditional hugs
  2. Information sharing and seeing things from a fresh perspective (snakes can be very pretty, apparently)
  3. Surreal artwork
  4. Story-time
  5. Giving them back

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Quick Quintet: Lazy Sunday

5 Things I Like to do on a Sunday Morning:
  1. Sleep in/ cuddle
  2. Read the Sunday newspapers
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Go out for coffee/ brunch
  5. Speak to family members on the phone
Saddly, this isn't me, but you get the picture, as it were