Sunday 17 August 2014

Modern life is rubbish (and other outdated musical references)

Modern culture dictates that we should try everything from the countdown telling us what we have to do before we're 30 to having a 'bucket list' to achieve before we die. For goodness sake there are even dictats telling us what we have to do with our kids before they're 4 or 7 or 12. As if parenting wasn't fraught and judgey enough already now there are KPIs checking how fun I am too ?

So, I plan and organise and take time to ensure that my child has wonderful experiences and doesn't miss out on the 'must-do' things in life. If I can get past my pathological aversion to camping we may yet make a go of family festivals. What I'm saying is that I am doing all I can to make sure my son is not left out of the conversation at the nursery water cooler.

I remember Mum once said that she had to start watching TV because she had nothing in common with her work colleagues. She would come home from work and make dinner and get ready for the next day and get us all sorted out for school, work, etc and this left no time for popular culture. To combat her inability to follow the chat about Eastenders she took to having it on in the background while she made dinner. This didn't last long as she had genuinely no interest in people shouting at each other as entertainment.

Much like my mother there are things that I just do not get. Conversations I just can't join in with. It isn't something I mind - I mean I have plenty to say about enough else. I don't mean things I choose not to do, like watch reality shows... any more. I mean the stuff that has entirely passed me by. The stuff that I genuinely don't know anything about and my life trundles on anyway. The look of horror on the face of someone when I tell them I haven't watched Breaking Bad is something I can live with.

I think a musical interlude is appropriate at this point: I'm with Wendy James - of Transvision Vamp - on this one - "Baby I don't care":

Here is my - by no means comprehensive - list of the things I just don't get the appeal of:

Scandinavian crime series: I'm a traditionalist, I like my crime drama wise-cracking and American (although I'm now a fan of Death in Paradise) and sensible knitwear aside I just don't see the appeal. I'm shallow, I need a hunky Steve McGarrett or a twinkly Richard Castle or better still Idris Elba (cop or bad guy I'm not fussy) for a show to catch my attention.

Breaking Bad: I watched one episode and didn't feel the need to watch any more. I'm sure you're all right and it's amazing and will change my life, but it actually took me almost 5 years to get through all 5 series of the Wire and I loved that show. How long do you think I have to devote to 7 series of a show I'm not that interested in ? I've got House of Cards and Orange is the New Black to get through still and I've just downloaded all of Community - it's all just too stressful.

Beards: Yes you with the beard you could lose a badger in, wearing a comedically oversized baseball cap channeling the southern trucker look. Oh and the ironic tattoos - just why ? Bear in mind I come from a Sikh family so I've grown up around men with beards, but they weren't for fashion purposes and seemed a bit too high maintenance for my taste. My Dad used a gluey substance called 'fixo' to tame and then (with the aid of what was essentially a hairnet) 'set' his. This made his beard hard and scratchy and it had the feel of plastic. I'm told when he came back from India and decided to go 'natural' with a long fluffy beard I didn't recognise him and he bribed me to call him Dad again by giving me fresh mango. Give me a break I was only a year old ! 

Fifty shades of grey: a story about a young woman in an sado-masochistic sexual relationship with a man. Yes ? So what ? Even my mother in law has read it - I don't want to know any more than that. If the manufacturers of paddles and handcuffs have benefited and the ticket sales for the Erotica show have sold out even quicker than usual then I'm happy for them. No really I am. Otherwise all we've learned is that people like to read about sex where the woman is dominated by the man - erm... not sure I'm impressed by that or think it's ground breaking. If it's unleashed the hidden sexual desires of Marjorie and Malcolm down the road then woo-hoo ! Oh, and please don't share. 

Cocktails served in Jam jars: are you a mixologist or a frustrated WI member ? Seriously, bring me a proper glass weirdo. I'm all for recycling and always wash jars and reuse them for all sorts of things. At the moment we have a jar each for our 'using our voices nicely jelly bean challenge' - no don't ask me please. What I don't do is think, hmm what this mixed drink needs is an identity challenging receptacle, oh yes that marmalade jar will be just perfect. If you need a gimmick, then maybe your drinks need some work.

spot the extraneous design element here 

Teeny tiny chocolate boxes: why do teeny tiny boxes of celebrations have a resealable tab ? Who is saving the chocolates in a box that small ? Honestly, if the box only has 4-5 chocolates in it is anyone really saying, no, no, I'm full, really I'll have the rest later. I am pretty sure this is a pocket size one use only serving, so creating the tab is one manufacturing process too far. Just give it up as a bad job. 

And here are the ones that had passed me by, but I've tried now:

Loom bands: yes I can loom - no I'm not addicted. It was scooby doos when I was at school (and a weird and pyro-friendly shrinking crisp packets under the grill craze), now it's loom bands. I'm pretty nifty with old school crafts, you know knitting, crochet and that malarkey, but I am baffled by the appeal of loom bands. I mean they are a bit linear aren't they ? I still don't get how (or indeed why) anyone was able to make a dress out of loom bands. They're a nice distraction and yes my son can do them, but it's a bit sedentary for him. He does it for about ten minutes then just wanders off bored by the process. He's no crafter my lad. 

Frozen: nice songs and lovely animation. My boy was singing "Let it go" long before we'd seen the movie - that's how much this movie has become part of children's lives. Yes I have seen it and enjoyed it, but I am also over it. After all it's the usual insanely skinny women with big eyes singing lovely songs and emoting, there isn't even a proper talking animal in this one ! The day Disney go full Bollywood with a cast of thousands, voluptuous women and maybe some diversity in casting I'll sit up and take notice. For now though I've let it go - see what I did there ?

I think Vix, Magz, Jo and Tina - aka 'We've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it' - put it best: "There must be more to life, there must be more, than this..."