Thursday, August 02, 2007

When in doubt, whinge

Ah, whingeing. It makes people so eager to see you or call up for a chat. Practice the gentle art of the whine and you'll find it works a treat in getting rid of the bastards. Hey, presto: more time for reading.

I may have little to write about at the moment, but there are always things that are pissing me off. So here's the honour roll for this week:

Cirque du Soleil
I love circuses, especially the trapezy-acrobatty sort where eighteen people with inherently-amusing facial hair all pile onto a bicycle and then wobble around the ring looking pleased with themselves. What if one sneezed? Or farted? They'd all break up laughing and fall off. It would be nothing short of comedy gold. I'm a little ambiguous about clowns because of The Pilo Family Circus and the fact that some of them look more than a little like Mr Pervy, but I'm able to look past that for a good circus. Just not for those guys who tie balloon animals in the Mall.

(As an aside, can you imagine doing that for a living? Or wearing a soiled and mangy elephant suit like the guy who hands out balloons in the Central Market on Saturday mornings? Wouldn't you look at yourself in the mirror as you zipped the great big smiley head over your own somewhat less smiley head and wonder, "How has my life come to this? Where did it all go wrong? Should I have tried harder in trigonometry?" But one digresses.)

But I cannot and will not tolerate Cirque du Bollocks. Sure, the acrobatics are great and dang those six-year-olds they kidnapped from China and forced into cirque-du-slavery can spin a good plate, but they ruin the whole effect by being so arty-bloody-farty. The costumes look like something Auntie Jean made in her painting on nylon class when the cat knocked over all the paint pots on the Crows flag she was trying to paint to take to Showdown 816.

And don't get me started on the music. I have a suspicion Enya writes it under a nom de plume. Even she would be ashamed to put her real name to that goat-herding twaddle.

When I first saw Cirque du Merde on TV years ago, I oohed and aahed with everone else because it was different and new. But the next time I saw it, I couldn't help thinking, "What a load of old crap." Something that makes me hate Cirque du Shite even more is the fact that everyone else loves it. Its performances sell out. People are willing to pay ridiculous amounts for tickets. And why? Because they think they should. They think it's erudite and cool and fun. No-one admits to going to sleep during the performance because it's so perilously close to modern dance.

Cirque du Pants has been planted in the Parklands for about five or six weeks now, but I think they're due to roll up their over-engineered tents and push off in the next day or two. Bugger off and don't come back.

"Gift" shops
I just realised the other day that "gift" shops are packed with the most unmitigated load of crap known to Ford. There's one I walk past a few times a week and I'm so blinded by the riot of primary colour and shiny useless things inside that I'm never really sure what they sell. I have an impression of a crowd of malevolent glass elephants and papier mache cats and fake Carnevale masks that haven't ever seen Venice unless there's a town in Taiwan that was renamed for marketing purposes.

There's another particularly scary shop that has a rack of little-girl scarves out the front in various pastel shades of fake fur. At the bottom of each scarf is a mournful-looking teddy bear that seems to melt into the fabric. It's as though someone caught a teddy in the wild, skun it and spread it flat before turning it into a scarf.

They remind me of a fur stole my grandmother used to have. You know the sort - it had a head and paws and a little chain to link the front paws to the back paws so the poor dead little thing looked as though it had just jumped onto your neck and curled there out of love. Just in case you were ever tempted to think that just a teeny, weeny little fur coat might be OK, there was Stinky the Stone Marten peering back at you with his beady, glassy eyes, his nosehair-curling aroma of camphor and his little dead paws ~shudder~ Fur is never OK.

More digression. The point is, I don't really care if people want to have shops full of rubbish. I also don't care if other people want to buy said rubbish. It's no skin off my nose, after all. I also have a horrible feeling that my outlaws have a more than passing acquaintance with "gift" shops, given their past form.

What I really want to know is how such shops have come to be known as "gift" shops. Is it an acknowledgment that gift-giving is essentially useless? Or that no-one but my friend Stephanie puts in the effort to choose a really good present that's suited to its recipient? Call me picky and ungrateful, but my idea of a good present is not a pink rabbit-shaped letter rack. Nor is it a set of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil walruses.

Anti-nose blowers
There are no two ways about it. My sinuses are a burden. They always have been and they always will be. Plus, no-one would call my nose small, so when I start unpacking my trunk (as a friend's husband used to say with unnecessarily malicious glee), it can be reasonably loud. When one of my nephews was small, he would actually burst into tears every time I blew my nose.

Today, I blew my nose in public. I had no choice: the Snot Fairy has come back for another visit, her fourth this year. Anyway, a woman who was standing about six feet away turned around and give me the most disgusted look, for all the world as though I'd just walked up and spat chewing tobacco on her shoes. And because I was so surprised, instead of saying, "Bugger off, you old trout! Would you prefer I snorted?" I actually apologised. For blowing my nose.

And no, I did not spray her.

Too-long trousers
Why are people walking around town with their trouser-hems in tatters? It's an epidemic, I tell you, mostly among the young. It doesn't seem to matter whether the wearers are male or female or whether they're wearing jeans, trackies, cargoes or suit pants. Some of these trousers look like the wearers have dangled their feet in a pond full of the little-known but ravenous polyester piranha.

The dark magic that is hemming has been lost. I think it's a sign of the impending fall of civilisation. Come on, loves! When you buy the pants, all you have to do is pay another $10 and someone will take them up for you. Go that extra yard and say no to looking like a dero.

Clothes shops putting out summer clothes in winter
Hello, retailer people? Listen to me for a minute. It's still cold. I don't want to try on little strappy dresses right now because I'll have to take off all six layers. I don't want to try on sandals because that would involve getting frost-bitten toes. Plus, I'm fat from too many winter stews and yummy, warming pasta dishes. Now I know this is a bit radical, but do you think you could bring out summer clothes just a little closer to summer?

On the bright side, though, sooner or later they'll lap themselves and we'll be able to buy winter 2010 clothes in winter 2009. We'll be able to be ahead of the fashion pack AND appropriately dressed for the season.

Mobile phone ring tones
I understand that these days, very few mobiles come with a ring tone that goes "bring bring". The last phone I had could tweet, neigh, miaow, play Peer Gynt, do a polka and let rip with atrocious thing called The Bells of Spring that made me want to stuff my ears with hamsters to block out the noise. But there was no "bring bring". So I understand why people download ring tones. In fact, I'm coveting my brother's Doctor Who ring tone even as we speak. Mmm, Christopher Eccleston and his great big bony nose...

But listen to me when I say that if you happen to be the person who sits a few cells away from me in the cube farm and who has the Adelaide Crows theme song for a ring tone, I am going to eviscerate you with a plastic teaspoon if you don't turn that thing down.

Oh God, I hate whingers.

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At 8:27 am, August 03, 2007, Blogger Jo said...

It's not the gift shops' fault, Red. You really have to let that life-size resin eagle GO.

At 9:36 am, August 03, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

jo, I've tried to let it go. Several times. It just won't bloody fly away!

At 11:26 am, August 03, 2007, Blogger Hungry Hungry Hypocrite said...

Wow, that's some old testament wrath there Red, but whole-heartedly agree. Funnily enough, I actually hitch hiked with a clown in my younger, carefree "don't mind if I meet a serial killer" days, and he was quite proud to be a clown. Gave me his card and all. Must be a mental illness I say.

At 12:09 pm, August 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know those tacky little medals you can get from gift shops that say things like, "Straight A Student!" and "Congratulations on your graduation!"?
The Port Canal gift shop stocks one that says, "You Passed!".
I loved it so much I almost bought it.
Oh, and re: ring tones? You forgot the god-awful baby laugh tone! *shudder*

At 2:16 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger actonb said...

See you had four posts there, but put it all together into one huge helping of hate.

All of which I agree with, but I could have said it four times instead of just the one.

I am sorely tempted to download 'Snappi'.


At 2:23 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger Steph said...

What has me buggered about gift shops is how they make enough money to stay open.
Somebody is buying this shite, and those somebodies should be shot!

At 2:36 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger Eleanor Bloom said...

My oldies were given tickets to Cirque de Crappe. You're not alone - they hated it too.
And poor mum. I took her to a modern dance performance earlier this year. It wasn't flash (but at least there were no clowns... and some of the guys were pretty cute...). ;)

I hate whingers. All except you. You I'd like to encourage to whinge. Thanks for a good laugh again! This bit esp got me:
The last phone I had could tweet, neigh, miaow, play Peer Gynt, do a polka and let rip with attrocious thing called The Bells of Spring that made me want to stuff my ears with hamsters

At 4:01 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

I don't care if people go to see Cirque de Soleil.

But I don't understand why they put it on television when surely there are PERFECTLY GOOD 'FAMILY TIES' RE-RUNS LYING IN STORAGE*.

At 5:45 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger The Man at the Pub said...

I starting to suspect that your a wee bit grumpy.

But I totally agree with you.

At 6:47 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger River said...

I'd like my phone to sing "who are you, who, who, who, who" a la CSI but I'm not prepared to pay for it so I just put up with whatever is on it.

At 7:58 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger ashleigh said...

My old phone went "ring ring" and I was terribly proud of it.

It was large, crappy, extremely low-tech, went through batteries fast, and made me the butt of every joke known around the office. For working in a technology development company, I had THE MOST LOW TECH phone imaginable. AND it was Telstra CDMA.

Now I succumbed and bough a new GSM phone. It took a lot of searching but I *was able* to find a basic phone! No 3G thingies, no camera, no colour screen. Just a basic phone.

So my new phone is old as well, and I'M STILL THE BUTT OF EVERY JOKE AROUND.

Worst of all it has no tones to go "ring ring" and I have some poxy tune thing.

What I REALLY want is Holly from Red Dwarf (the Norman whatisface one) saying (in words, in the cockey accent, slowly) RING. RING.

Now that would be cool :)

Now as for the rest of the rant - again, thank you, as usual well done.

I'm not going to even attempt to respond to anything else because I agree with it all.

Except... I call them "crap shops" and refuse to go into them.

The only thing worse than a crap shop is "the 2 dollar shop".

Now thats ultra-crap. Ergh.

At 8:08 pm, August 03, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

hhh, you hitch-hiked with a clown? I'll be waiting for that blog post, man.

anon, ah, the Port Canal. How I miss it. It was so good for freak-watching with Jez :)

acton, oh please, oh please, don't download Snappi! Anyhthing but that! Our local ABC used to play it on the breakfast shift and if I heard it before I got up, it could screw me up for the whole day. Schnee schnau Snappi, Snappi, Snappi, Snappi... ~rocking and drooling, rocking and rooling~

steph, I have no idea how they stay open either. I'm convinced they're a front for laundering drug money.

eleanor, thanks :D Having tried the polystyrene version, I think hamsters would make very efficient ear plugs.

gigglewick, you're right. Putting it on TV is cruel and unusual punishment.

Mr Pub, I were born grumpy. I wake up grumpy, I have lunch grumpy and I go to bed grumpy. Don't you?

river, I could cope with that. The Who have always done it for me.

ashleigh, thanks, old sport :) but, erm, $2 shops are actually rather useful when you want candles. Every other bastard wants to charge you $12 for a candle or a box of tea lights.

At 10:00 am, August 04, 2007, Blogger Rosanna said...

I really hate gift shops. The Mornington Pensinsula is full of these natty, crappy shops which are full of natty, crappy things that you don't actually need.

(Unless you've always wanted a diamond encrusted nail file)

At 6:39 pm, August 04, 2007, Blogger londongirl said...

My grandmother has one of those dead animal stoles too - kept trying to lend it to me for balls etc. "It'll keep you warm dear"


At 11:21 pm, August 04, 2007, Blogger The Blakkat said...

It's comforting to know that others, too, wonder "Who buys this shit?" when passing by the 'gift shop'. So very much useless crap in the world.

I've been that person you pity- the balloon twister in an elf costume, no less. And don't think I wasn't thinking 'How did this happen & what did I do to deserve this?' Not a high point in anyone's life, I can assure you. Although it does give you something to whinge long and hard about afterwards. And that's got to have some Redcap points, surely?

At 11:52 am, August 05, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

rosanna, a diamond-encrusted nailfail? But of course! I've been lying awake at night, wondering where to find one, despite the fact that I don't like diamonds and never use a nailfile ;)

LG, it would indeed have kept you warm, but the trade off would have been spending the night worrying about being attacked by zombie stone martens ~shudder~

blakkat, somehow it's cuter for a girl in an elf suit to tie balloons than it is for an overweight bloke in a grubby clown suit. ;) And having something to whinge about is a beautiful opportunity. It's the animal costume wearers I really feel sorry for, though. They must really feel like they're scraping the bottom.

At 2:47 pm, August 06, 2007, Blogger killerrabbit said...

That was a good long whinge Red, you could have saved it all up and made many little posts out of it. The problem I have now is knowing which one to respond to.....

Oh god its too much pressure.

I also HATE cirque de soliei most especially for that awful eurorock that they play at any given opportunity. I don't choose to listen to Europe at any time - why would I pay a hundred dollars to have some stupid clowns mixed in.

At 6:56 pm, August 06, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...


you nailed it.

At 7:33 pm, August 06, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

Oh once again Red you have made my miserable so much better. So much material where do I start?

I too hate Cirque de Soleil, for all the reasons you mentioned and one more. Back in the good ol' days I used to work in the Adelaide Art Gallery Bookshop and a guy kept coming in checking me (cos I'm da bomb !) Thought this was a bit weird, anyway, he came up to me asked me out on a date, I said 'No you strange little man' he said 'but I am the head clown of Cirque de Soleil, you must!' - this didn't impress me at all, in fact it made me feel all weird so I walked away to re-shuffle books.

I can't believe you got a dirty look for blowing your nose - it wasn't as if you hacked up a lung and spat it at her! Mardy Cow - I hate people sniffling all the time, blow your nose for heaven's sake.

I could keep going on here, but I will leave it at that.

As the well bred and eloquent Brits say LATERZ!

At 9:07 pm, August 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

rabbit, I find it's better not to cork up the whinge. I might blow a gasket or something. And that would be ugly.

GW, like your new frock!

sakura, did he have a sleazy Pepe le Peu accent? Was it, "Bart ah am ze 'ead clowwn erv Le Cirque de Soeil, ma petite. You merst cerm away wiz me to ze Casbar and we will mek beautiful music... mwa mwa mwa mwah..." ;)

At 11:04 am, August 07, 2007, Blogger susanna said...

cirque de soleil is cringeworthy.

one of the other things i might have been guilty of in the past myself...NOT the gift shops...

but my boyfriend has a big shnozz and permanent hayfever. it's a constant snortfest. sigh.

At 12:59 pm, August 07, 2007, Blogger gigglewick said...

Thanks Red...the 70s really was a boom-time for fashion, wasn't it?

At 1:40 pm, August 07, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

i'm so with you on cirque-de-over rated ass-rapers.

they were amazing, for about the 8 minutes that they did amazing stuff

i don't want to go to the circus to see the story of a prince falling in the forest or whatever was going on.
i want to see dudes and dudes running around doing shit i can't do. like jumping over the tent and stuff

At 7:54 pm, August 07, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

susanna, well, I imagine it does get a bit wearing. My Bloke likes to quote F Scott Fitzgerald: "I think of you when you blow your nose" :)

kiki, exactly. Who gives a shit about a stupid prince in a forest?

At 4:24 pm, August 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mobile ring tones KILL me redcap! particularly when they are totally inappropriate ie why would you want to buy a house from an agent whose ringtone is 'smooth criminal'??? equally as bad are email addresses that were clearly made up when the person was 14 but people still use, ie ' its not that hard to create a new email address, especially when you're applying for jobs, etc. who's gonna take you seriously? huh??
glad that you're back, i was starting to worry that you would leave the world of blogging, and that would have been a sad day indeed.

At 8:24 pm, August 08, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

smallfry (or is it the seal?) thanks for the vote of confidence :) Work phones should so be bring bring or their nearest equivalent. Many real estate agents are smooth criminals, so that's not strictly inappropriate. But totally with you on those manky email addresses. Admittedly Bloke and I had a joint address that caused a smidge of amusement among some of our friends, but I punched them in the face and they changed their collective mind fairly quickly ;)


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