My salad dressing days

How to uncover a phenomenon
April 27, 2007, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

1. Be a journalist. Partiuclarly one who is young and overly eager to please the editor of an otherwise waning publication.

2. Make a random observation during your lunch break.
Example #1: Athena, darling? D’you see those two women having lunch over there? Yes, the ones wearing pashminas, knocking back a bottle of Bolly. They’ve got four kids and two live-in nannies apiece and spend their days shopping and lunching!
Example #2: Millie’s new boyfriend is such a cad!

3. Extrapolate, extrapolate, extrapolate! You know of three ‘textbook’ yummy mummies who hang out on the Kings Road ergo the world is positively teeming with them! Submit some hastily-cobbled-together copy to your editor.
Example: The Rise Of The Yummy Mummy or Would you buy a date from a cad?

4. Persuade your chums in another sphere of the meeja to run with your par-baked utterings. Preferably a meeja outlet with a smidgen more credibility than your advertsing-rich, circulation-poor little ‘zine. Woman’s Hour works well.

5. And lo, a ‘phenomenon’ is uncovered (by clever lil’ you!), a stereotype is born and the rest of the universe will scratch their dandruffy heads in puzzlement and conclude that it’s only that they don’t know any yummy mummies or cads. And on the basis that they don’t want to look stoopid in front of their friends, they will adopt an emperor’s new clothing approach to ensuing office banter about said noo phenomena and say ‘God, yes! Yummy mummies/cads/purple slingbacks are EVERYWHERE!’ or ‘Jeez, I can’t move in The Top Floor restaurant of Peter Jones/The Wolseley/Shelly’s for them!’

6. Then, if you’re lucky, there will ensue a publicly fought (albeit profile-raising) spat over Who Really Invented The Term.

7. And the newspaper-reading/TV-watching/internet-surfing public will have been informed…enlightened…encouraged to believe that the world is full of mono-dimensional morons who conform to a tick-list of character traits.

8. Ta da!


For some highly entertaining deconstructions of the contents of The Observer’s monthly Woman magazine, please read the blog of Ally McBile and Dolly Mixedup.

Gotta love/give it to The Onion


What I miss about remunerated employment
April 25, 2007, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know it’s silly but you know what? I miss brainstorming sessions. That chance at work when you could throw up any ludicrous nonsense in a bid to show your boss just how far outside of the box you could think.

‘Yah, but…what if cold fusion as a reliable form of energy became a reality? How would that impact on the way we worked? Huh? Huh?’

(I was actually at a brainstorm when this came up as an interjection. And I was not working for Shell or Powergen. Far from it.)

Anyhoo. You’re not allowed to call them brainstorming sessions these days, but I’m damned if I can remember what the new-fangled term is.

I miss wearing smart clothes. I miss wearing clothes about which I don’t have to think: ‘how will this work with a splash of congealed porridge?’.

But I don’t miss wearing tights. Oh no.

That said – despite my deep-seated revulsion for them – I did occasionally indulge in a little pop sock wearing on those trousered days. Egads.

If I returned to work now and wore a skirt, I would definitely wear stockings in the summer months. A girl needs to let the air get to her bits, y’know. So says Motherhen. Besides, it’d be fun to be labelled The Office Slut. Might even go the whole hog and wear a black bra under a white top.

I miss spending my days wondering what a ‘watercooler moment’ was, because I don’t think I ever had one. Or if I did, I was probably faking it (no doubt unconvincingly). Besides, we didn’t have a watercooler. Just tap water. Eau du robinet, if you will. Although a French waiter once laughed at me when I ordered this in a cafe and told me I should say ‘eau en carafe’. Why? ‘Parce que c’est plus belle!’. *rolls eyes*

Um, the money?

My inner prejudices stripped bare
April 13, 2007, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I love a regional accent, me. Scouse, Geordie, Brummie, Weegie. Heck, I can even accept a Welshman’s ‘perfoom’ (when everyone knows it should be ‘perf-yoom’).

I applaud the increasing absence of RP from our airwaves (although I harbour some affection for Celia Johnson’s ‘heppily merried woman’).

But I realised earlier this week that when it comes to the accents of airline pilots, I like ’em posh’n’plummy. I want them to have been expensively educated. To call their parents ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ even when they are themselves grandparents. To make regular use of ‘jolly’ as an adverb. I also like in them the merest dash of nonchalance when it comes to their employment. [‘Heavens, you think this is flying? Good gracious! I mean, bloody hell, I only gave up flying Harrier jumpjets because of my gammy knee…still fly Spitfires on the weekends…Battle of Britain and all that…’] Oh, and I like them to be male.

Conversely, I like my flight attendants to hail from repressed minority groups: specifically gay men and older women. My own scientific, peer-reviewed studies have revealed higher levels of ‘good craic’ on flights which are served by one or more gay, male flight attendants. And perhaps my preference for an older female flight attendant stems from the surly treatment a younger woman (such as mygoodself, at all of *coughs* thirty-mumbles-years-old) often receives from a flight attendant who is below or around her own age. [‘You hauled me away from my first attempt to join the Mile High Club with a Z-list celebrity* to ask if you could swap your BLT for a chicken mayo panini? Go get your own!’] Whereas an older female flight attendant would, unbidden, tap on your shoulder to say: ‘Here’s an extra blanket, pet – it’s awful chilly this air con, isn’t it?’.

So, in conclusion, my ideal flight crew would consist of Ian McKellen as First Officer with Graham Norton and Motherhen as flight attendants.

I don’t know what this says about me.

I worry about what this says about me.

(Except that I would – of course – eschew the evil that is planet-destroying air travel. And take the train. To Sydney.)

* not that I’m calling Mr Fiennes a Z-list sleb, oh no

Time to take five
April 7, 2007, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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The Noisy Bird by Anita Klein

(Later, ‘gators!)