Your 2012 Five A Day – May

What is it about jokes of the ‘bodily function’ variety that reduce one to a giggling adolescent?

As an Aussie making her life in the UK, I cannot tell you the amount of times I have let it slip that I got my pants wet stepping in a puddle on the way to work. Or that I left my thongs at the door to avoid getting your carpet dirty.

Yes, trousers and casual summer footwear take on a whole new meaning on the other side of the planet.

But this month’s Five A Day reminded me of another Aussie twist on the English language…with the word root.

Here are few definitions from Merriam-Webster. It’s an Encyclopedia Britannica company so it must know:

1a : the usually underground part of a seed plant body that functions as an organ of absorption, aeration, and food storage or as a means of anchorage and support and that differs from a stem especially in lacking nodes, buds, and leaves b : any subterranean plant part (as a true root or a bulb, tuber, rootstock, or other modified stem) especially when fleshy and edible
2 a (1) : the part of a tooth within the socket (2) : any of the processes into which the root of a tooth is often divided b : the enlarged basal part of a hair within the skin—called also hair root c : the proximal end of a nerve; especially : one or more bundles of nerve fibers joining the cranial and spinal nerves with their respective nuclei and columns of gray matter—see dorsal root, ventral root d : the part of an organ or physical structure by which it is attached to the body
Nothing odd here. Long, complicated and a bit boring (actually I ‘switched off’ about two lines in). Just what you expected, right?
But in that land Down Under (you know, where women glow and men plunder), root is another word for having sex.
Yes that’s right.
So when you ask us to root around and find that information, we suppress a childish giggle.
And when you ask us which route you should take, those fresh off the boat may let an adolescent snigger escape. (The rest of us are sniggering on the inside.)
And heaven forbid when you Americans say you are rooting for us…
So what cross-cultural euphemisms have caught you out? Go on, you can tell me.
It’ll be our little secret…

Five A Day Back catalogue

The 39 Steps…British and Brilliant!

Last night I popped down to The Criterion in Piccadilly Circus to see The 39 Steps. I read the book several years ago and then saw the Hitchcock film (with its amended ending) so I was looking forward to seeing how this tale of murder and mystery translated not only on to the stage but also into a comedy as well.

The play follows the Hitchcock movie plot pretty faithfully and there’s a clever mix of effects, movement and acting which allows for the transition of each stage of Richard Hannay’s thrilling and fast-moving tale.

The show is billed as 4 actors playing 130 characters over 100 minutes. The three female roles – the predatory Annabella Schmidt, the innocent Margaret and the ‘do-right’ Pamela – are played by Catherine Bailey.

Catherine Bailey plays Pamela, love interest for the protagonist, Richard Hannay

These are necessary roles in the story and Catherine does a great job with all of them. But this play, by its very nature, throws its male characters into the limelight.

Andrew Alexander plays Hannay with manic, John Cleese-ian fervour moving from privileged languor to adolescent awkwardness to splendidly British stoicism as Hannay evades the law, the criminal and any costume changes. 

The police chase through the train and across the roof achieves just the right mix of panicked flight  

That leaves 126 characters. And these are brought to life by Stephen Critchlow and Ian Hughes providing moment after moment of comic ingenuity…

An early moment of hilarity from Stephen Critchlow and Ian Hughes

So it is indeed 4 actors playing 130 characters over 100 minutes.

It is also inordinately clever and brilliantly funny. If you are in London and fancy anything from a giggle to a guffaw, make sure you catch this.

Travelling The Australian Way…

A couple of weeks ago I forked out rather a lot of the old cash-ola to fly Down Under for Christmas. It’s quite a good deal for that time of year but still almost double what any self-respecting Aussie would pay to be wedged in cattle class for 24 hours.

So imagine my consternation when I opened my emails to find this…

…a brilliant April Fools antic from travel afficionados, STA.

All I can say is it’s just as well I read the fine print!

Your 2012 Five A Day – April

It’s April already. Seriously peeps, just where has the year gone?

This month’s Violent Veg theme is acceptance, a topic much written about by expat experts the world over. When does your new country/city/town/suburb/street become ‘home’? And what’s important – speaking the lingo, making friends with the locals, finding your patch?

Maybe it’s all three.

Eddie strayed onto the wrong patch, where some rotten vegetables…
…gave him a nasty veggie.
I’ve read that it takes 18 months to 2 years to feel settled in a new home. My own experience of moving to London echoes this with happy contentment arriving about 18 months into my foray into expat life.

So it would seem that my recent ‘upping sticks’ to Fab Finchley is still in its honeymoon phase and by my own reckoning, I have about 13 months ‘to go’. But in lunching with an ex-Fab-Finchley-ite friend yesterday, I’ve suddenly discovered a few nooks and crannies to add to the list of fabulous-ness that I need to explore here. Beautiful gardens, stately homes and even a weekly soiree of the ballroom dancing kind may just be on the cards.

Just hope the natives I find there are friendly!

Your 2012 Five A Day – March

Violent Veg’s March offering, a take on the quiz show Deal or No Deal for those who don’t know, might seem to be a bit naff at first glance but funnily enough there’s a little story I have to tell.

I’ve just spent 10 days with my Mum who loves a quiz show. Any quiz show. She’s applied for a few, been on a few and still working and saving frantically to support her travels. Which basically tells me that it’s harder than it looks.

The day after she arrived in London, we were walking past a hardware shop on the main road here in Fab Finchley when she stopped to take this photo…

Thinking that the jetlag had finally gotten the better of her, I think I said something like ‘What ARE you doing?’

In response, she told me that she’d gotten quite far along in one of these quiz shows but when faced with a question about DeWalt, failed to connect the power tools brand she has been watching sponsor car races for years with the DeWalt of the question. She has been rubbished about it by her partner and Lil Chicky and Husband ever since.

So we uploaded the photo on to Facebook for them.

Hope March gives you something to smile about.
Five A Day Back Catalogue

Your 2012 Five A Day – February

Here we are in February, the month when that Mother o’ mine will visit Gidday HQ and  I am fervently hoping for a little of the white stuff to fall, or the box of thermals and winter footwear I highly recommended she send across (rather than traipse around with them in Egypt for two weeks) will go to waste.

Recently I posted about getting back out on the dating scene and with all of that frisson and angst to look forward to, this month’s Violent Veg musings could not be more apt…

Here’s to a frisky February!


Five A Day Back Catalogue

In-Flight Safety…Time To Man U(p)!

So this week’s travels found me in Turkey for the first time. And this little sojourn also yielded my first association with the best airline in Europe, Turkish Airlines.

Normally the airline experience is all much of a much-ness for me. The pre-boarding is usually long-winded and inconvenient – what with the cursory strip and scan required by security – and the comfort once on-board is measured in a matter of millimetres.

And on the face of it, Turkish Airlines, was to be no different.

Until, that is, they screened their in-flight safety video.

You see Turkish Airlines are one of the many sponsors of Manchester United and they’ve roped in six of their finest to help them promote a little in-flight health and safety…

You may think it a bit ridiculous, those boys from Man U playing silly buggars with safety on-board, but let me tell you, it was the first on-board safety video I’ve watched in a long time.

And let’s face it, a little mile-high giggle can never be a bad thing, right?

Your 2012 Five A Day – January

One of the things I like to do to start each year is choose a calender to go on the side of my fridge. It helps me to keep relatively organised, provides a sense of anticipation for upcoming events (like Mum will be here in 46 sleeps) and offers a ‘mark’ for the new chapter each new year brings, no matter how much I ‘bah humbug’ about resolutions and the like.

Anyway I had not managed to do this last year and so ventured out on New Year’s Day to the local Martin’s to find the perfect addition to the Gidday HQ Frigidaire. Something unexpected, a little quirky and potentially irreverent.

I was home ten minutes later, grinning and barely through the door before my new purchase was whipped out of its plastic wrapping.

Ladies and gents, I give you your rebellious Five A Day for 2012…Violent Veg!

So in the spirit of keeping the family up to date with my mental (and I use the word loosely) state about the year ahead, I took a pic of ‘January’ and uploaded on Facebook…

Caption: Colin knew he was in a rough pub when he noticed the pea on the floor

…to which the even more irreverent, anti-small-green-veg-etarian Lil Chicky, responded:

Now how is she going to get her five a day if she keeps tossing her greens away?

And so the year begins…

Commuting Gems…No Kidding

Today I was flicking through my freebie copy of the Metro newspaper on my way into town for a meeting when I came across the ultimate ‘pampered pets’ story.

Some dude has decided to make his menagerie feel right at home…

Source: Image: Caters

Apparently it’s also inspired a Goats Do Roam range of vinos…

I kid you not.

Important ps:
By the way, there are only 10 sleeps to go now so enough of that sitting on the fence peeps -it’s time to make a play for the Naughty or the Nice list. Santa can’t wait forever and you know how I feel about creating your own destiny and all that…

Axis of Awesome…Funny Dudes

A couple of months ago, I was asked by some friends whether I wanted to see Axis of Awesome with them.

“Who?” I asked, handing over my ticket money in the belief that I could trust said friend’s taste.

(Failing that, it would just be a great opportunity to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while.)

Axis of Awesome are an Australian (yes, let’s get that out there right now – never let it be said I am unsupportive of my native countrymen) comedy band who, unbeknownst to me, are something of a Youtube sensation. They specialise in the ridiculous and this tour brings their silly songs (their words not mine) and Aussie banter to the stage across Europe. Well Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and the UK anyway.

It’s a blend of cleverness and irreverence that had the audience, including moi, rolling in the aisles.  I wanted to capture the hilarity provoked by the show for you but it was hard to choose one thing – there was Bird Plane, How To Write A Love Song and Can You Hear The ****** Music Comin’ Out Of My Car – but the one that has made them stars the world over, thanks to the wonders of Youtube, is the 4 Chords Song.

Based on the premise that a large proportion of music is based on the same 4 chords, their original sketch has attracted over 20million hits on Youtube since 2009:

They have re-released this with new songs added which was featured in Thursday night’s show so you can click here if you want to see their latest video.

These are some funny, funny dudes so if you enjoy a good belly laugh, you should get along to see them while they’re touring Europe (OK Germany, Holland, Ireland and UK) or catch them when they get back to Oz. You can find show dates by going to their official website or by clicking here.

In the immortal words of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum (the Australians reading this will get this reference), do yourself a favour!