Oh but there’s nothing like a lousy advert on the television to get the brain a-spluttering. A new one has cropped up in recent weeks and, in all honesty, it makes me want to gag.
A woman is lounging on a recliner in the sunshine, with a wide-brimmed sunhat in pale tones; all blue swimsuit and legs. She removes her shades, and announces to the camera that the fellas have been checking out a woman of sixty-two.
And this is the mistake the advertising people have made: they have read ‘early sixties’ as ‘dead’. These terms are not interchangeable.
Talk to her – if she talks back, not dead. If she doesn’t respond, further investigation is required. Don’t, for the love of God, go in and check for a pulse. It’s a way to be certain, but you’ll only do it once.
There was an ad a couple of years ago, with factory women on their coffee break, preparing themselves for whatever biscuit they were advertising, by playing the spoons, with terribly straight faces. I forget whether it was the woman on the left or the right, but she had the most hypnotic eyes I’d ever seen. Honestly, she could have convinced me to buy an ostrich farm with no difficulty at all.
I always feel sorry for the people who advertise haemorrhoid cream. Not because, let’s face it, that’s probably the low-point in their careers. No, no. I can imagine the agent on the phone, all plummy tones and utterings of ‘Darling’, telling them they have found the role they were born for: Haemorrhoids.
Everything at the moment seems to be advertised with a plaintive acoustic cover of some huge hit from years ago. Some of them are tremendous covers by ostentatiously talented artists. Some of them feel like a step too far. Who knew that ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ needed softening?
Incidentally, does anyone actually know when it became necessary for hair to be so strong? Seemingly, whatever it is that a certain musician uses could render her hair strong enough to lift steel girders. An unusual party trick, for sure, but otherwise I remain confused. Then again, I’m not the ideal audience. My hair does whatever it does. I take very little responsibility for it. I’m not actively growing it; it grows, that’s just something it does. To be honest, I’ve been in need of a haircut for the last year. I don’t think the intention of the shampoo commercial was to make me wonder what I’ve been doing for the last year, but here we are. Not really angst, but hair-based existential pondering.
Sadly, I am at a point in my life when the adverts from my youth are coming back because they’re retro. They lend an air of authenticity because they’re so old. Brace yourselves, young ‘uns, this time will come for you too.
I once got the theme music for Toys R Us, the one they brought back a couple of years back, stuck in my head for the duration of a trip to Dartmoor.
I don’t much venture that way these days because the route I know goes past my ex’s house and no-one needs that migraine. However, before we were a thing, I used to drive to Dartmoor on a weekly basis – not for work, or romance, but for the view.
My uncle, with all the standard avuncular concerns associated with a niece who would disappear over the horizon for hours on end and return happy but with no apparent cause, decided to accompany me one mist-and-dreamy Thursday.
We only got about halfway to the village I used to wander around, when my uncle noticed a pub and called a close to the driving.
It’s a very popular pub and being newly ensconced in the westcountry, my uncle had developed a thirst for real ale.
Nothing especially wrong with that, we entered the tavern and my deeply conservative uncle nearly dropped like a rock. There were heavy oak beams and fairy lights. A proper inglenook fireplace, psychedelic artwork, and crazy-paving walls emblazoned with ship’s wheels and horse collars. The barmaid might have been thirty and change; she insisted she was closing in on sixty.
My uncle felt very out of place. He ordered somewhat tentatively, took a seat beside me, and immediately wanted to leave. There were dolls’ heads hanging from the ceiling. He freaked out. I felt I had found my tribe.
That barmaid, wherever she is, whatever her name was, she’s my spirit animal.
In closing – that advert about the average cost of a funeral these days, with the silk-soft query about whether or not my family could afford it – here’s the thing – if the answer is “no”, do I just stop myself from dying, or would it be crude to explain that I suspect I’ll be put on the compost heap?