Monday, August 29, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Do you find certain words set your teeth on edge? One of my particular hates is the word ‘iconic’. Russians and Russian icons I can handle. I even kissed one once, (an icon that is) in the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, but when Britney Spears becomes an ‘iconic singer’ I fear the word truly has lost its way.
In that I’m not alone. Even the Liverpool Daily post agrees (and that is sufficient to make anyone nervous):
IF THERE is one word that makes my flesh creep, it is "iconic". We've had a bit of rush on this word, especially in Liverpool's Capital of Culture year, pressed into service to describe almost anything. Anything, that is, which lacks any other category and is, by definition, useless.
Originally “icon” derived from the Greek meaning simply a likeness, a portrait or an image and for centuries remained linked to Christian images of Jesus, Mary etc as part of Orthodox Christianity. Such images were of course the targets of the original iconoclasts, aghast at the temerity of those who dared give visual form to the Trinity.
There are other words that make me cringe from either overuse or affected application, ‘community’, ‘genre’, ‘awesome’ and ‘devastated’ to name a few. However the word “iconic”, is the one word it seems the media and the chattering classes can’t live without. Once used sparingly and appropriately, is now everywhere. We can trace it from Jesus to Marmite, via Hitler, Stalin and stadium rock, and all the way to Gucci shoes and thongs.
Here are some nouns that have been prefixed by this most dismal of vogue words. These are all of recent provenance and can be readily found on the web:
Iconic assassin, iconic baby lotion, iconic brand, iconic bridge, iconic bucket, iconic button fly, iconic camper van, iconic car, iconic CCTV camera, iconic celebration, iconic chainsaw, iconic chair, iconic chef, iconic chimpanzee, iconic clock, iconic cocktail, iconic combover, iconic comedy, iconic cooling tower, iconic cricket bat, iconic crisps, iconic diaper, iconic doll, iconic dreadlocks, iconic earthmover, iconic episode of “Emmerdale”, iconic escalator, iconic enema, iconic field armour, iconic film star, iconic fishing reel, iconic flat cap, iconic garden, iconic goggles, iconic gorilla, iconic guitarist, iconic hairstyle, iconic hand cream, iconic high heels, iconic hitman, iconic house, iconic ice cream, iconic icon, iconic injury, iconic injury-time winner, iconic itinerary, iconic jihad target, iconic jigsaw, iconic jingle, iconic joke, iconic kitchen utensil, iconic knowledge, iconic lawnmower, iconic leprechaun, iconic light fitting, iconic lip balm, iconic mascara, iconic milkshake, iconic moment, iconic moustache, iconic mouthwash, iconic movie, iconic murder, iconic ointment, iconic orangutan, iconic palace, iconic panda, iconic penis, iconic perfume, iconic philosophy, iconic photograph, iconic pimp, iconic playwright, iconic plumber, iconic pub, iconic relationship, iconic restaurant, iconic retail mall, iconic robot, iconic saddle, iconic sandwich, iconic sausage, iconic shampoo, iconic shoe, iconic silhouette, iconic soft drink, iconic sound system, iconic steeplejack, iconic stethoscope, iconic submachinegun, iconic sunglasses, iconic surgeon, iconic taxi, iconic terrorist, iconic toaster, iconic toilet paper, iconic toilet seat, iconic tracksuit, iconic trenchcoat, iconic typeface, iconic vending machine, iconic vindaloo, iconic wedding dress, iconic wheelchair, iconic wig, iconic wine, iconic yak, iconic yogurt, iconic hoodie.
I mean how about iconic mouthwash!
It’s been said that “words have meaning.” If so, we really should choose our words more carefully. ‘Iconic’ like so many other words has now been rendered meaningless. The media goaded on by stupid and greedy politicians and glib marketers have now propelled us into an era of incontinent celebration and exponential hyperbole.
Language has become vacuous. No-one gives 100% anymore: 120% is normal and 150% far from exceptional. Everything is world-class – even toilet seats. A new supermarket offering of cod fillets which once might have been designated as passable is today awesome. Any rock band that survives drug-induced stupor, amnesia and managerial peculation are now, assuming they can still climb onto the stage re-badged as legendary. Normal folk going quietly about their business in the Lofoten Islands or Dewsbury gutting herrings or making bread, now find themselves food heroes.
Every area of routine endeavor now aspires to a grandiose awards ceremony: the Toilet Seat Industry Awards, the Demolition Oscars, the Contract Cleaning Baftas, and, of course, yes it exists, the Awards Industry Awards. The poor man’s Playboy magazine GQ even hosts an ‘Icon of the Year.’ I of course wait with bated breath for Al Jazeera to host ‘The Gardens of Paradise Martyrdom Awards’ with the compère predictably announcing: ‘although the winner can’t be with us tonight – the carnage in Jerusalem was truly iconic.’
Given the public appetite for idolatry, it is apt that “iconic” should be the adjective of the age. Even though perversely as soon as somebody becomes ‘iconic’ there is an even a greater need witnessed by the gutter press to re-render them fallen icons.
Implicit in the current use of “iconic” is the media’s desire to invest objects and people with properties which render them miraculous, magical and godlike. It is today’s expression of humankind’s perennial bent towards aggrandisement and worship of other humans, and dubious commercial inventions.
Myself? Like all Grumpy Old Men I increasingly lean to simple English, if I have any ambition at all it is not to become ‘iconic’ but simply “a living legend among the vertical matrixing community.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Since the end of last year I have seemed to be forever picking blackbird feathers off my lawn. To begin with I thought it was a question of excessive moult. Then I caught my first glimpse of Millicent. Millicent is incredibly elusive and rarely shows herself and this photo was hurriedly shot through double gazed windows. It is however sufficient to reveal that Millicent has some of the cruellest talons I have ever seen on any woman.
Friday, August 19, 2011
This picture is one for lads. It’s a kind of cautionary tale outlining how it started and how it ended…..
The second is a kind of what is it quiz for the grandchildren.
It's ok I know where the briar patch is I invented it!
Although this post answers Paul’s question from earlier, these tips will hopefully also be useful for the ladies. You are right Paul, beasts don’t normally adopt the curly haired look. As far as I can see the coat is rubbed with a ball of wax or resin and then vigorously back-combed….. bit like the girls in the 70s, to get the requisite look.
Here you can just see the ball of resin.
Feet are done with baby talc.
Here you can see the complete resin application and back-combing process. The lad has the ball of resin. I hope readers find this helpful especially those who have listless hair.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
We’ve already had male appendages today and fertility rites.. so perhaps I may venture a question? When I was young and took a scholarly interest in such matters, ladies wore sensible bloomers. Today I profess to being totally out of touch. My question is: what is the solid gold draw string for and what happens when you pull it?
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
St Andrews, UpCerne
A background to Cerne Abbas
Cerne Abbas is a typically English village set in the heart of Dorset. To Thomas Hardy it was 'Abbot's-Cernel'
It is famous for its Giant, the 180 ft high chalk figure carved out into the steeply sloping hillside to the north of the village. He can best be seen from the viewpoint on the A352 Dorchester to Sherborne road.
The origins of the Giant are a mix of fact and speculation. Some believe that he represents the Roman god, Hercules, and is over 1500 years old. However, there is no known historical record before 1694 and it has been argued the Giant is more recent and a caricature of any one of a number of possible historical figures. Whatever the truth, he is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of The National Trust.
To prevent erosion visitors are not allowed to walk on the Giant itself.
It spawned a controversial TV documentary, a book, an enduring conspiracy to rival Diana and even Dan Brown got in on the act. All roads lead back to this little Church. In Latin over the door it says this place is terrible …
…..and as soon as you step inside the door you see this! Where is this Church and what is the name of the original book?
Monday, August 15, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
The top pic is an animated GIF uploaded to the blog as an image. The bottom one is the same image hosted by Photobucket. As you can see, the uploaded image isn't animated but the Photobucket hosted one is. So, it looks like if you want your sub to sink (sorry, submerge Cyril) or your cake candles to move , Helga, that you'll have host them from Photobucket.
Monday, August 08, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
OLD people have problems that you haven't
even considered yet!
An 85-year-old man was requested by his
Doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical
The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 'Take
this jar home and bring back a semen sample
The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared
at the doctor's office and gave him the jar,
which was as clean and empty as on the
The doctor asked what happened and the man
explained, 'Well, doc, it's like this -- first I tried
with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried
with my left hand, but still nothing.
'Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with
her right hand, then with her left, still nothing.
She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in,
then with her teeth out, still nothing.
'We even called up Mary, the lady next door
and she tried too, first with both hands, then an
armpit, and she even tried squeezing' it between
her knees, but still nothing.'
The doctor was shocked!
'You asked your neighbour?'
The old man replied,
'Yep, none of us could get the jar open.'