• [Forks, Fences, Foolish Ads]

    S&M Files, Episode 7: December 30, 1999
    “Painted with Anti Climb Paint”

    A local house is identified by this sign outside. I never had
    the urge until now. I can hardly wait for my rock climbing shoes
    to arrive.

    Fork Up

    In Britain, by law, you must pay more to eat in some place

    A patron at a local Grease & Chips shop had to fork out
    more dough between mouthfuls. He apparently sat in the “nice”
    seats, where he had access to amenities like cutlery, padded
    seats and a table at the right height. If he were clever, he
    would have perched against the wall on the stools up front with
    the rest of the lepers and common scum. I know I would have. Not
    good enough for us lepers, hmm?

    Small Cars Get Smaller

    We saw a local contraption that was more motor than car. It
    was literally an engine with a seat behind it and three wheels
    thrown on for good measure. The entire contraption was about the
    height and weight of my cat and went like snot. (What an odd
    expression. I better buy some more man-sized Kleenex.)

    Surge Tide Warning

    Our friends in London phoned us up to bring news of extreme
    tides scheduled for our area. “DANGER! DANGER!” said the news. We
    live but half a block from the sea in a property that is mostly
    sunken compared to our neighbors. “Oh boy!” I thought, picturing
    mounting rental discounts as we perch in our upstairs room.
    Actually, our six-page tenancy agreement makes us responsible for
    most things including floods, pestilence, and famine.

    I was rather disappointed when the sea didn’t even touch the
    hundred-foot wall guarding the roadway.

    The winds did come up quite spectacularly, whisking away
    garbage and unanchored locals. That night a clatter arose from
    the roof



    <BUMP!>… <Bump>… <bump> … < b i n g

    I hope that wasn’t Santa Claus.

    More likely it was the expensive-looking satellite dish on the
    roof going for a wee walkabout. Now we’ll be in trouble for not
    huddling on the roof through the storm, bracing the dish. (Or
    more likely clinging to the dish with feet flying.)


    We saw
    End of Days
    in London for $22.50 a person. Good thing we picked the cheap
    seats. Got popcorn and a drink too for considerably less than a
    down payment on a Volkswagen.
    End of Days
    is fine if you shift your brain into neutral and learn to enjoy
    Arnie’s acting.

    They gave us our money’s worth by treating us to an extra 25
    minutes of pre-movie commercials. Most of it bizarre enough to my
    proper Canadian mind as too quickly slip through the tender net
    of memory. One commercial did stand out though:

    Audio: Man and a woman in bed giggling and laughing.

    Visual: Bedroom, side of bed barely in camera.

    The man grunts with effort and a pair of men’s socks in tossed
    into view.

    Shirt… <giggle> belt… <giggle, giggle>
    trousers… and finally with a grunt and sigh his briefs drop
    into view.

    He sounds pleased and expectant.

    “And THAT too!” she chides

    <Sigh> <Grumble>… and on the dresser is placed a
    large Australian beer.

    Voiceover: “Beer too good to put down.”


    Being loosely affiliated with the advertising industry (or is
    that afflicted), I find it disconcerting to be, um, disconcerted
    by British ads.

    Figure 1
    Today’s paper features a full-colour, double half-page
    spread for Marlboro. A forest is burning in front of a black,
    swampy river filled with brutish crocodiles. “Welcome to
    Marlboro country.” I guess we know what happened to the
    Marlboro man. He didn’t die of lung cancer. He was an amateur
    rural pyromaniac before succumbing to guilt and stumbling into
    the turgid river to become crocodile-smoked beef jerky.

    Figure 2
    A series of huge bus shelter adverts designed apparently to
    humanize the perception of the disabled:

    2a – Picture: man in wheelchair. Caption: “I spent my
    paycheque at the pub.” Oh, I feel so much better about him now.
    He’s a drunken git like me.

    2b – Picture: Woman in wheelchair with friend. Head: “She’s
    such an embarrassment”. Subcaption: “Her laugh is so dirty.”
    Ah, another person like me. An embarrassment.

    I must be getting old. Subtle reverse meta-humour is offending
    my political correctness.

    More Financial Fun

    We had lunch at the Smuggler’s Pub. (Formerly headquarters for
    a successful cross-channel smuggling gang until their leader was
    taken away on trumped up sheep stealing charges. I suspect it has
    undergone a name change.) Michelle had a nice little sandwich
    with fries and a pop. I had some french bread with cheese, raw
    onion salad, and a Coke. Being a Stilton cheese virgin, I had to
    take it on faith, when my plate arrived, that visible pustules of
    mold were in fact intentional and not a result of cost-cutting.
    It tasted like extra, extra sharp Mozzarella, vintage 1987. The
    pustules were not a result of cost-cutting. Total cost $28.75

    The Euro just fell to 1.004 against the U.S. dollar, down 15%
    since inception. Hmm.

    PS – We’re having fun. Really we are. All these files should
    be taken with a smile and a smirk. Tomorrow we get to party like
    it’s 1999. And eight hours ahead of all you Millennium laggard
    Canadians. :) Happy New Year!

    PPS – It would be interesting should the millions that head
    into London by rail to party discover that Y2K has stopped the
    trains at midnight. At least the party hats will keep their heads
    warm. :)


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