We know the people who advertise stuff are fibbing. No-one really believes that if you buy a new car in Bathgate you are going to find yourself suddenly having the looks of a male model and swapping the M8 for the twisting mountain roads of Switzerland.
At least, I assume no-one does. If you do, then I hate to break this to you, but that money under the pillow when you lost a molar? Mum. Not tooth fairy.
The airlines and holiday companies cluttering up the television schedules punting dream holidays are selling exactly that – this holiday? In your dreams. We all know we don’t leave the house and step directly past smiling staff on to the waiting aircraft. We all know the reality of the crowded airport and the grim-faced staff at the check-in – the last people trained by the Stasi, I suspect.
We all know the stampede when the flight is called and the battle for the seats. It’s not so much the flight to your holidays as a sort of re-enactment society doing “Airlift From Saigon”.
Then there’s the cosmetics adverts. 24- hour hydration and smoother skin in four weeks! Banish those wrinkles! Make that tired complexion glow with the only product to contain glucoperodoctin and tetradermolic acid!
Regain the skin you had when you where a teenager! Not a good idea in my case. I produced so much oil I could have joined OPEC. Spotty? You bet. Had you been visually- challenged and run your hands over my face to get to know me, depending on the season, you might have mistaken my lumpy fizzog for a Braille version of either the first page of Wuthering Heights or the introduction to Mathematics for Beginners.
And all these adverts are full of these gorgeous people. I’ve always suspected that if space aliens are monitoring us using our adverts, they’re going to get a nasty shock if they ever land. “Take us to your cute people!” they’ll trumpet, as the lumpy, squat, ageing, balding and frankly weird-looking advance upon them.
Imagine if you landed expecting to meet Kate Moss and that bloke who advertises Diet Coke and only to be confronted by (with all due respect) Angela Merkel and (with absolutely no respect) Dave Cameron.
Time is best gift you can give a busy mum
Buying for Mother’s Day? Just don’t. All that pricey perfume and the expensive knick-knacks? Get down to Mimi’s Bakehouse – it’s on the Shore, it’s superb and makes Krispy Kreme doughnuts look like something made by a machine that usually makes car parts. Get mum good coffee, a lush cupcake, the shiny bit of the Sunday paper, and let her relax. They also do a fantastic afternoon tea involving fizzy plonk, which is so my idea of a tea break. Time is the best gift you can give a busy mum. Oh, and a homemade card. She will treasure it.
Even ponies aren’t mane event any more
OF course, even the cute people are doctored to look even cuter, but now the slippery world of advertising has extended its shady practices to animal actors. Yes, even innocent Shetland ponies. During a phone call to Shetland (not all of it, you understand, just the lovely lady in Mareel Arts Centre) it transpired the dancing pony currently advertising 3G or something, was deemed below par in the mane and tail department and hair extensions – yes hair extensions – were drafted in to make sure Socks had Neil Oliver-standard fringe-flicking action.
Pastry confusion isn’t small fry
RIGHT, put the bacon down. It’s dangerous. In the wrong hands even the roll and sausage is deadly. Or is it sausage roll?
A young German friend who is learning English walked into a Scottish cafe recently and asked for a sausage roll. He was baffled when told they weren’t on the menu. There were two customers present. One was eating a bacon roll. The other was squirting sauce (red) into a roll containing sausage. He pointed this out in perfect, if slightly Teutonic, English.
Ah, they said. That’s no’ a sausage roll. That’s a roll and sausage. Greggs across the road can do you a sausage roll.
But, he said, that’s a bacon roll. Yes, said the lady. Or it could be a roll and bacon, she added.
Flush with success as a language teacher extraordinaire she pointed at two shortbread biscuits sandwiched with jam, topped with white icing and a cheeky wee glace cherry.
This, she said, you might like to know, is a German biscuit.
No, it isn’t, said one of the random punters. It’s an Empire biscuit. The other shop assistant piped up, my granny still calls it a Bismarck.
De Gaulle said no-one could govern France because it had 260 cheeses. What’s the chances of ruling a country with a possible pastry-based confusion over sausages and bread, two ways of describing bacon in sandwich form and three names for one biscuit?