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Memorable Aussie Advertising

Following on from my previous post – Not Happy Jan – I’ve reflected on some of the other advertising jingles and sayings that have become part of our Aussie culture.

Below is my list.

(Sadly there’s one for which I couldn’t find the ad anywhere on the web … an old ad for Solvol soap with the line “Wash your hands Geoffrey! … With Solvol Geoffrey!” Apparently nobody has posted that one anywhere yet.)

I like Aeroplane Jelly …”

This is the origional 1930s version, but the jingle reappeared in ads in the 1980s. I think just about every Aussie who grew up here between the 30s and the 80s could sing you this one.

“We’re happy little Vegemites …”

As with the above jingle, the tune definitely stuck in Aussie minds. But the expression of being a ‘happy little Vegemite’ also became a part of our idiom.

“Put another shrimp on the barbie …”

Whatever people may have thought about this tourism ad, saying ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’ crept into our conversations.

“Louie the Fly”

This one’s a classic. As children, we even started calling flies ‘louies’!

“You’re soaking in it … “

This is the Aussie version – there’s a US version as well.

“Go on Freddie … drink it!”

Not a hugely attractive or memorable advert this one … but “go on Freddie .. drink it” became part of our idiom for some reason.

“A real Norm”

From the Life Be In It ads – a name for someone who’s lazy. This is one of the series of ads they made – I liked the poem. :)

“The 14th of February, 1966 … “

Ok, so not really a saying. But as a kid the words for this jingle to the tune of “Click Go the Shears” definitely stuck in my brain!

“Slip, Slop, Slap”

This is the original from 1981, with Sid the Seagull. Apparently one of the most successful anti-cancer ad campaigns ever run.

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Not Happy Jan!

I recently used the phrase “Not happy, Jan!” in a Facebook post … and a response from a colleague and friend, Jan Somers, in Belgium reminded me this is a peculiar Aussie expression. I explained and assured him I wasn’t having a go at him at all. :)

We’ve picked the saying up, from all places … a TV advertisement! It’s become a common catch phrase for anything that annoys us or gives us that ‘grrrr’ moment of frustration.

For all my international friends and readers, here’s the original – a Telstra advertisement from 2000. It still makes me smile! :) For the curious, the boss is played by well-known Australian actress Deborah Kennedy.

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From Quiet Homes …

“From quiet homes and first beginning,
out to the undiscovered ends,
there’s nothing worth the wear of winning,
but laughter and the love of friends.”

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953, British author)

A lovely quote, rediscovered when going through a pile of papers in my office.

And from my perspective, a great reminder about the really important things in life! :)

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The Power of Play: Shirley’s Story

I’ve just finished reading Richard Reeves’ great blog post on Playfulness, and it’s inspired me in turn to write.

There’s an an old saying “We don’t stop playing because we get old – we get old because we stop playing“.  It’s certainly true that as folk get older they can tend to forget how to play with the mindfulness, sponteneity and joyfulness of children.

It’s perhaps ironic that ‘fun’ has become an engineered thing in some organisations – a kind of forced group activity that lacks the very spirit of play it’s intended to engender.

Play – genuine, spontaneous, and heartfelt play – is definitely a source of strength, resilience, creativity and inspiration. But it can’t be engineered – only encouraged. It’s a mindset, not a map. And it needs to be a philosopy of life, not some kind of mandated policy.

Girl PlayingSpending time with children is always a great reminder of the power of play – it’s almost impossible to remain unplayful in their presence. But there are also grown-ups who’ve not forgotten the magic.

I remember Shirley, a wonderful woman and the mother of a friend of mine, who always brought the light of play into her own and others’ lives until she passed away at 60+ years young. She’d not forgotten her six-year-old self, and she helped others re-discover their own capacity for play.

And at those times she and those around her would become ‘lost in the unfolding’ as Richard so eloquently expressed it.

As I read Richard’s post I found my head filled with memories of Shirley. And I also remember the playfulness she brought to much more serious things. She contracted cancer that proved incurable, so the last year of her life was a time you wouldn’t think would lend itself to playing.

But Shirley’s indomitable spirit meant she created fun even as she fought a losing battle with her illness.

Silly HatShe made herself crazy hats to wear as she lost her hair through chemotherapy, and also made a game of this with friends and family who gave her gifts of ever-crazier hats.

Shirley wore them all, returning to the gift-givers her own gifts of love and laughter.

She even had fun ‘playing’ with arranging her own funeral. Dickering over details with various funeral parlours. laughing over the stuffiness of some, and being as cheekily provocative as only Shirley could be until she found one she liked.

On the day of Shirley’s funeral, there was standing room only for the last folk to arrive. The chapel was packed. Family members and friends spoke of the difference Shirley had made in their lives – and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.

But at the end of the service, as we were about to leave, the song Shirley had chosen to end the service rang through the chapel. It was Always Look on the Bright Side of Death from the Monty Python Life of Brian movie!

It was Shirley’s last playful gift to us all. And we found ourselves smiling through our tears.

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All Fools’ Day

Today, on All Fools’ Day, I’m launching into the blogosphere. A very appropriate day to begin! :)

It’s a day to remember the archetypal Fool – the innocent who represents beginnings and the realm of unknowing.

I don’t know where my wanderings will take me here, but I plan to celebrate stories and share reflections on various things that bubble up for me – while both enjoying and learning from the journey.  If others – you who are reading this – should also like to walk a part of the way with me, I’ll welcome your company.

There’s a great Wiki page on  All Fools’ Day – probably more than you’ve ever wanted to know. :)  I was fascinated to learn that the spirit of April Fools’ Day is alive and well in many other cultures around the world. And that one of the oldest prank days in the world is from Iran. There people play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, which falls April 1 or April 2 and is called Sizdah Bedar.

However I admit I’m far more comfortable with the idea of an April Fool being someone who is starting on a quest for understanding,  rather than someone who is simply the victim of a prank. Practical jokes may be fun for the jokers,  but I believe a good rule of thumb is ‘it’s not a joke unless both people are laughing‘. And by that, I mean the kind of shared laughter that warms the spirit, not the kind that is gained at the expense of someone else’s wellbeing.

I know humour is a very subjective thing, and that people can laugh when uncomfortable or embarrassed – or even when frightened. Like a cat’s frightened purr perhaps. But from my point of view, the best kind of humour is that which is founded on warmth and a generous spirit. It’s an open invitation to be amused by the follies and foibles of human nature, including our own!

So as I start on my own Fool’s journey on this auspicious day, I’m looking forward to exploring the unknown and to sharing some laughter along the way.