April 29, 2013

Seriously? We are THAT vain?

Okay, I can understand why there are mirrors in changing rooms. You want to see how the clothes look on you. How that jacket hangs. And does the colour suit you?

That’s fair enough.

And I can understand why a display rack with various spectacle frames would have a mirror nearby. I mean, you want to check that the colour and frame-shape suit your face.

That’s reasonable, too.

Same with hats. If you buy a hat you want to be sure it will look good, and that the jaunty angle is just jaunty enough. It seems only reasonable that the shop would provide a mirror.

However, I was recently at the airport, where in the duty free shop I happened across a display stand with headphones. And under each set of “cans”, was a mirror.

It took me a moment, and then I realised: What? You want to check out how you look with a big set of ear-defenders and a coil wire perched on your head? You worry that they suit you? That they don’t clash with your hairstyle?

Yes, there are people out there who worry about their visual appearance to that extent. So vain that they would select one pair of headphones over another on the basis of how good they look – rather than how they sound – when they’re wearing them.

If you are one of these people, let me tell you now: There is no way you will EVER look good with what resembles a steak pie clamped to either side of your head.

Drew McAdam



April 22, 2013

My, how fashions change.

The very things that would once have earned you a hard time at school from the “in crowd” have become fashionable – and expensive.

There was a time when dead straight, lanky hair would have earned you the nickname “Lurch”. Back then, everybody wanted “big hair”. Curly, back-combed hair was the rage. Everybody was getting perms – even the blokes.

Today it’s the exact opposite. Ladies pay a fortune for hair straighteners, and – I don’t know this, but I suspect it’s true – even blokes use straightening tongs on their locks.

And what about those Tibetan farmer knitted woollen hats? The ones that look like psychedelic tea cosies with a pompom, big “lugs” and pleated ties hanging down at each side? (I refer to them as “numpty” hats.)

If anybody had turned up at school in my time wearing one of those they would have been sent straight to the remedial class. Their life would have been a total misery.

The same is true of the comb-over. Having hair swept in one direction across the top of your head would have guaranteed you a place in the top ten of laughing stocks. Now, however, every boy band has that windswept and deranged look.

Back in my old schooldays, trainers were just being introduced as an actual sport footwear. There was also the standard black leather shoe. However, the “poor” kids wore baseball boots – cheap black and white canvas pumps – to school.

Today, they are called “Converse” and you can easily pay £90 for a pair.

Back then nobody in the right mind would have worn a “hoody”. Why? Because it makes you look soft in the head – not to mention a bit like one of the Seven Dwarves. Hi Ho!

Again, it’s something that has become trendy and “cool”.

For my own part, I had an American cousin who sent me a Johnny Cash album. While all my friends wandered around with Moody Blues albums and had posters of Jimi Hendrix on their bedroom walls, I was a laughing stock because of my love of The Man in Black. Country music – neither rockers nor hippies had any place for that.

I was an outcast. Seen as being distinctly out of touch with the scene, man.

But today, Johnny Cash is right up there with the greats. Everybody eventually caught up with me. Ha!

So my suggestion is that you look at the things today that are considered silly, uncool and poor taste; and buy some shares in the manufacturer.

A few years from now, that product will be all the rage.

Drew McAdam


April 14, 2013

As a youngster I loved the pleasure of randomly dipping into a set of encyclopaedias we had in the family bookcase. It was packed full of the most amazing stuff.

In my time leafing through those great tomes I learned about inspiring figures like Clive of India and the Second Carnatic War. I learned how a battery works, and I learned all about the most amazing animal in the world: the duck billed platypus.

In fact, I was so enthralled by these books and the knowledge they held that I endeavoured to read each and every volume from cover to cover. Admittedly, I started at Aachen (it’s a German town), and didn’t get any further than aardvark (a nocturnal mammal native to Africa). But it was a start.

I discovered the delight of taking one of the volumes from the shelf, opening it anywhere, and just reading whatever was on that particular page. That way, I built up an incredible storehouse of knowledge. I learned that Olympus Mons is on Mars, and is the largest volcano in our solar system. When travelling in a school, Killer Whales breathe in unison. And Peter Durand invented the tin can for preserving food in 1810.

I also learned that the skeleton of a spider is actually located on the outside of the body. And my imagination was gripped by the story of short wave radio, and how it works.

And these weren’t just a string of facts. I delved into the history of sailing ships and currency. I immersed myself in the biographies covering the lives of the most extraordinary people who have made their mark on this world in the fields of science, politics, philosophy, economics, and so on.

All this, just by opening an encyclopaedia at random, and starting to read.

Of course, we don’t have encyclopaedias today. Instead, we have Google.

So, I tried the same thing. I typed in random letters and just waited to see what it came up with – it’s the closest I could get to randomly dipping into the family encyclopaedia.

What a dreadful disappointment.

Here is what I discovered… lots of information about cheap holidays, flights and hotels. I also found out that UFOs really exist, and that wearing a hat made from tinfoil stops subliminal messages from being beamed into your brain by the Government.
Irina Shayk recently paraded her “to die for” figure in new swimwear shoot.

Oh, and Aaardvark is not a mammal from Africa – it’s a company that manufactures archery equipment.

Yes, with the internet came access to a sea of information. But information is only of any value if it is useful information rather than celebrity non-news and advertising. Sadly, most of the internet falls into those catergories.

However, I’m going online now to see if I can buy an old encyclopaedia. Happy days.

Drew McAdam


April 7, 2013

I have to admit it. I’m worried sick.

To be more accurate, I’m sick. And I’m worried.

I am sick of the grasping business executives who squeeze every penny from those under financial pressure, while awarding themselves a bloated financial package. Sick of bank bosses being given million pound farewell bonuses after proving themselves utterly incompetent.

Sick of the obscenely wealthy demanding more. Duck houses and moat-cleaning. Those who only lift their snouts out of the trough long enough to demand our respect.

I’m sick of sly companies hiding the true cost of products and services in small print, then making it impossible for the consumer to escape the contract. Or win a refund. That makes me sick.

Yes, I am sick of the great rock-steady establishments that were once trustworthy, now bowing to greed, while using deceit and semantics to line their pockets. Mega-profit corporate self-interest with no conscience. No guilt about filching somebody else’s hard-earned earnings. The pensioner, the infirm, the vulnerable.

I am sick of a system that protects the criminal and persecutes the victim. Sick of so much red tape that it’s impossible not to unwittingly fall foul of the law – criminalising the ordinary citizen.

Sick of the situation where old folks are abandoned and left to rot in care homes, while the violent jailbird is given food, warmth, and a hi-def TV.

Aggressive tax avoidance schemes. Where you and I pay our dues, and the fat cats don’t. That makes me sick. As does the fact some of the banks – institutions we should trust the most – have been swindling their customers, and are so deceitful that some are even facing criminal charges.

Sick of being told that those husbands and wives, mothers and fathers – who are working long shifts in the bitter cold of winter to feed and clothe their families – should also support the feckless and the lazy.

Sick of religions that wrap themselves in gold and blood while forcing their views upon the masses, based on the demands of their vindictive, invisible friend in the sky.

Sick of the sexualisation of children.

And worried? Yes, I am worried – but not for me. I am worried for the youngsters; those innocents not yet born who will grow up in a society that is unravelling through greed and avarice. Where such a world will be the norm. The blameless generation who will be regarded as a target to be fleeced, rather than a customer to be served.

I am old enough to know what it was like to live in an age of innocence. And I am glad of it.

But, yes, I am worried for the young.

Worried sick.

Drew McAdam