The Hopeless Quest to Be More Interesting

My father’s favourite joke was simple and of the ‘hit and run’ variety. If, whilst driving, he spotted someone on the roof of a house or building, he would pull the car to the side of the road, wind down the window, stick out his head and yell: ‘Don’t jump, mate!’ Before the startled stranger had a chance to gather his wits and respond, my father would vigorously wind the window back up and drive off at the greatest pace a Nissan E-20 minivan could manage. What victims of this joke thought as they watched a small bus with seven people inside lurch back into the traffic barely stands thinking about. I couldn’t tell you whether these attempts at ‘drive by’ humour were intended to entertain us or just my father. It wasn’t until adulthood that I realised these people were at no risk of falling off the roof other than if the sheer surprise of being heckled overwhelmed them.
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Better the Devil You Know – My Life In Cliché.

If there’s one thing I avoid like the plague, it’s clichés. But however tedious they may seem, it must be remembered that these turns of phrase were once ripe with meaning and have withered only through chronic overuse. Sheer familiarity has served to dull their impact to the point that they are now as blunt as the proverbial butterknife. Some are best left to retirement. Others, however, should be given a little spit and polish in order to drag them kicking and screaming into the digital age. This can either be done by updating to the language or by insisting that all use of cliché be subject to a strict and unforgiving regime of compliance. Indeed, only by enforcing these expressions and making sure that those around us walk the walk as well as talk the cliché-ridden talk can we ensure that these turns of phrase have anything resembling meaning. For example, a colleague recently announced to me that he was so busy that he didn’t have time to scratch himself. I took him at his word. Helpfully, I suggested that he enter a recurring appointment on his computer complete with audio reminder alarm so that he could lock in some uninterrupted, quality scratching time.
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All Hail the Wonder Goat

We need heroes now more than ever. In fact, never before has the vast human Diaspora so craved something to inspire and lift it up. That’s because heroes give people hope and feed us the courage to dream a little bigger and live a little larger, no matter the circumstances. Even when fear laps at our ankles, our idols pull us towards something higher. They are, to coin a phrase, the wind beneath our wings. No matter how cynical you become, there is something about the human condition that longs for inspiration. We need heroes as surely as oxygen.
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Lies, Damn Lies and Digital Photography

They say that the ‘camera never lies’. Frankly, this is shocking news that makes me want to throw away my driver’s licence, passport and every other piece of photo ID in my possession. I’m yet to see a Cannon 55D or Nikon D4 strapped to a polygraph machine, so I can’t vouchsafe as to their honesty or otherwise. But I will say this – the camera may well never lie, but it is sometimes economical with the truth.

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