New year, new calendar

A new year can mean only one thing… Easter eggs on sale in supermarkets? No, the other thing – it’s time to buy a new wall calendar.

It’s become something of a tradition for me to have a calendar on the wall in my office at home, serving as a handy reminder for upcoming birthdays and appointments. For me, the traditional format of the wall calendar has always been perfect – it doesn’t need to change and it certainly doesn’t need to offer me something new. So, please, if you would, explain this concept to me – the “16 month” calendar

Life is Sweet - 16 Month Calendar

Let’s look at the case for the prosecution. A year is 12 months – it has been for several thousand years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, even with Donald Trump in office. In addition, there is nothing wrong with the existing format of a wall calendar – it serves a great purpose, allowing me to quickly refer to upcoming events whilst displaying a nice picture for me to look at for a period of anything between 28 and 31 days.

So, why does it need to offer me something extra?

Rather madly, it’s followed the example of the toothbrush that cleans your tongue and the 48 hour deodorant (who needs a deodorant that lasts 48 hours?). The truth is this:

I don’t want a 16 month calendar any more than I want a wristwatch with edible hands.

Is the fact that it has ’16 months’ supposed to sway my opinion about buying it? Surely the content of the calendar is enough do that. I mean, calendar manufacturers seem to cater for all tastes now, so you’re surely going to be spoilt for choice? Calendars about cars, boats, cities of the world, hot guys, baby animals, hot guys with baby animals…

Guys with animals calendar

Clearly this particular calendar is designed to cater for the man or woman who likes hot guys and also likes baby animals. However, the manufacturer of this calendar hasn’t really gone with a comprehensive list of baby animals for their ’13 month’ calendar. Let’s go through the list of “animals” on offer, month by month:

Guys with animals calendar - back

January: Dog
February: Dog
March: Cat (small – awww, how cute…)
April: Dog
May: Dog
June: Dog
July: Dog
August: Dog
September: Dog
October: Dogs (x2)
November: Dog
December: Dog
Extra month: Cat

A grand total, then, of 11 dogs and 2 cats. Consider that there are over a million species of animal in the world. Surely, then, the calendar should accurately be titled as “hot guys with some cats and dogs”. To be “hot guys with animals”, the photos should have been composed a little like this:

January: Hot guy with kangaroo
February: Hot guy with sheep
March: Hot guy with giraffe
April: Hot guy with Tasseled Wobbegong (it’s a shark, apparently)
etc, etc.

And that’s before we even get to the Cockchafer (beetle)…

I think you’ll agree this list would make for a far more impressive calendar, and with such an enormous list of animal species there’s potential for them to extend their calendar to 1 million months!

Where-ever you are and whatever your view, I think we can agree on one thing. Product marketers are looking for increasingly daft ways of trying to make you part with your cash for their product. And the calendar has become no exception.

May 2017 bring you 16 months of health, happiness and 2-for-1 offers on tongue-cleaning toothbrushes…

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Travel

I realise that I normally write humorous articles. But, for once, I’m going to go against the grain and write a personal story – an account of my long journey home for Christmas. Unless you’ve had your head stuck up Rudolph’s bottom, you’ll know all about the severe cold weather that has hit Europe over the last week.

On Tuesday morning, I arrived back from a week-long trip to Sofia, Bulgaria. I had originally booked to fly back last Saturday. However, on Saturday morning the skies over the UK airports opened and dropped what can only be described as a “shit load of the white stuff”. The whole of the South East of England looked like a scene from the movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Airport chaos followed, with runways closed and flights cancelled on a mass scale. I spent the next two days wondering whether I’d be home in time for Christmas. Thankfully, I found and booked a flight back to a different London airport, and so began 15 hours of travelling in an experience that contained both frustration and exhilaration.

So, why exhilaration? Well, the trip truly made me realise that when people face a common goal or a common enemy, they really can come together to face it as one. My 15 hour trip took in 1 taxi, 1 plane, 2 trains, 2 coaches and an automobile. But, more importantly than those statistics, it allowed me to meet and talk to other people, all of whom had the same goal – to get back to their families in time for Christmas.

First was Frank, who I met on the Bulgarian Airways flight to London Heathrow and who was, coincidentally, scheduled to fly home to London Gatwick on the same two flights as me that were previously cancelled. Throughout the four hour flight, we chatted non-stop, almost in relief at being with someone in a similar predicament. It turned a frustrating, slow flight into an interesting one as we chatted about our time spent in Bulgaria and our funny experiences of Bulgarian people (more on that in my next blog post). Our mini-friendship continued once we arrived at the airport, as we collected our luggage together and found our way onto the train network. It was at that point that I bid him goodbye and we set off separately on the next stage of our journeys. Continue reading

New Year Celebration Rituals

New Year Celebrations

2009 will be remembered for a lot of events. The inauguration of the first black American President, the death of a pop icon; Michael Jackson, and the worldwide spread of an infectious contagion that originated from a porker… no, not swine flu. SuBo (Susan Boyle).

Not only is it the end of the year, it’s the end of the decade – a period in which the phrase “I’m going to play with my wee (Wii)” became a normal thing to say, rather than something to be immediately sectioned for.

It’s now time to look forward to the new decade and that means the usual new year rituals. So, are you going out with friends, staying in with family, hosting a party, joining a party or burgling the houses of those people who are out celebrating? Here are the options, laid out: Continue reading

Christmas Shopping Nightmare

Christmas Shopping in Shopping Mall

Some people do it in January. Others leave it until much later in the year. No, I’m not talking about the shameful breaking of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s Christmas shopping. You can certainly tell it’s Christmas. The women featured on the covers of men’s magazines are all wearing red thongs… 😉

What is it with Christmas shopping that makes it become such excruciating torture? Never mind about jail sentences for convicts, send them out with a difficult Christmas shopping list on December 24 instead. That’ll sort them out.

Perhaps those traumatic feelings are caused by the way in which the festive season has been taken over by retailers; continually pushing their Christmas offers in our faces from as early in the year as possible. “There are only 242 days of our Christmas sale remaining…” Continue reading