“Love me when I deserve it least, that’s when I need it most”, a Swedish proverb that sums up what’s needed in terms of bringing up teenagers. “I love thee like pie, if thou were’t pudding I would eat thee”. Old English proverb I quoted to Didsbury Wife in 3rd date. It went down less well than I expected. “I have a dream.” Best in its original form.
Slogans, logos, mantras, chantras – the world is awash with upliftingness and each time it’s crap imitation, hallmarked to shoehorn into an occasion, the power of the good ones is slightly diminished.
The first time I saw a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster I was blown away – simple, self aware, pithy and spot on. By the time I saw my fiftieth plush cushion with “Keep Calm and Carry on Accountancy Training” I realised it was lost. Like a 3 year old girl with “Porn Star” on their T-Shirt, it is the dumbing down of the power of inspiration. “And on the 7th Day God Created Manchester” is the only slogan a child needs on a T-Shirt.
Facebook and Twitter are awash with platitudes. Mantras are personal. I have mine “Go to sleep, go to sleep, shut your eyes and go to sleep” but it’s not for all. Now schools have got in on the act and the results are predictably, unintentionally… Meaningless.
Broad Oak Primary School is apparently “Didsbury’s Hidden Gem” – without any sense of irony. Didsbury C of E is outstanding (well it’s after school club is if you look closely) and Barlow is “Now 43% more religious” (I have made this up). It gets lamer. There is a school on my occasional commute. Not to name names but it’s Whalley Range High School on the corner of Princess Parkway. Whilst waiting in a traffic jam created parents ignoring the huge “if you park here children will suffer” banner I am assaulted by two huge banners – PRIDE and BELIEF.
They don’t mean anything. They are as pointless as a bolognese without garlic. That is meat sauce, not bolognese and PRIDE has many meanings and intonations. These are random words, not coordinated inspiration. They may as well say TEA and HERRING.
I like a practical banner, one with details of starting times, cost or special offers. I like an inspirational quote that combines cleverness with pithiness. “Keep Calm and Carry On Parking your 4×4 on the double yellow lines next to the school you lazy &@”#” is at least honest.