Common: a term once used extensively for classification purposes. Alan Bennett famously describes how his mother would attach it to all manner of items and behaviours considered to be a bit lowly. Is it time to revive it? What counts as 'common' in modern Britain? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and get a mention on this site. (nb. Performance poets are the epitomy of sophistication and highbrow art and therefore off limits).
A List Of Very Common Things
- Shirtless men in supermarkets (pot bellies optional) when it gets 'a bit warm'. (Val Bickerdike)
- Loud conversations on mobile phones - anytime, anyplace. (anon)
- Designer labels - gullible idiots falling for obvious consumerist con-trick. (Will Evans)
- Tattoos - 'pointless, dated, dead common' (Mags Headland)
- Swigging bottled water in public (Rosie Monaghan)
- Playing music in car extra loud and imagining that anyone is remotely impressed (anon)
- Baseball hats - unless you are actually playing baseball on a designated pitch. (Alf Mason)
- Wearing sportswear/trainers unless you are actually doing sporting activity (Alf Mason)
- Owning an ugly, ferocious dog (Jenny Trainor)
- Taking four wheel drive vehicle down to Supermarket (J. Murray)
- Eating popcorn/sweets/crisps in cinema (Anne Briggs)
- Saying that you are going to' knock someone out'. (Pete Brady)
- Being any cele-bore-ity whatsoever, (Jan Selby)
- Getting excited about computer games (Pete Headland)
- Not owning a suit/tie/proper shoes (Jeni Turpin)
- Using 'I don't do...' inappropriately - e.g. 'I don't do Saturday mornings' when what you really mean is that you are a lazy blurt who doesn't get out of bed on Saturday mornings, which is not the same thing. (Billy Martin)
- Saying 'Get a life' which usually indicates that the speaker is the kind of tedious personality who gets excited about mobile phones and that sort of crap. (Brad Carter)
- Using the word 'literally' inappropriately. (Baz Jacques)
- Making lists with 20 things on them - sooooo common
Ten Economical Pets
- Mayflies: here today gone tomorrow - so no worries about what to do with them when you go on holiday- they will just die.
- Woodlice: Just keep them under a brick and have a look at them now and then. They require no feeding or other expenditure but will show much love and devotion to you over their short lifetime.
- Frogs: very low maintenance once you have set up the garden pond. Also they go in the winter time so you will not have to worry about them in the cold winter months. They respond to names beginning with 'F' such as Freddy.
- Woodpigeons: unlike racing pigeons these can just be left to get on with it. Absolutely zero maintenance.
- Hedgehogs: can more or less fend for themselves though road safety is not their forte.
- Moths: easy to find them - just switch on a light! In Slaithwaite they are bred and trained for racing over short distances.
- Spider: the common house spider is a delightful creature - apparently if you play Kate Bush he will spin a fine web and rid your house of flies to show his gratitude.
- Wasps: can be kept in a matchbox for short periods and will respond by making a loud, high-pitched whining noise - you will be one up on your friends with their fancy ipods and other equally unimpressive but relatively expensive junk.
- Butterflies: best acquired while at the chrysalis stage - leave them in a jar for however long it takes. Enjoy them during their brief flying days then pin 'em to a board and let them be a thing of joy forever.
- Other people's cats: These are easily adopted - they will wander into your garden uninvited so if you wish to befriend them they will happily take whatever is on offer and show some (limited) affection in return. However since they are not, strictly speaking, your pets, you can choose to ignore them as you wish. You would be ill-advised to invest in a cat-flap if you wish to keep your options open.
Desirable New Inventions
Ejector seats in cinemas - to be activated when someone is munching popcorn or boiled sweets or retelling the plot to the person next to them. The person is catapulted through a hole in the roof and lands in a neighbouring cinema showing Godzilla (or some equally appalling film).
Exploding caterpillars - would serve no useful purpose but would make gardening and country walks more interesting.
Power shoes - Shoes made from the same substance as those small powerballs which bounce to great heights. The wearer could catch his (or her) bus more easily and amuse onlookers into the bargain. (Stylo should have come to this site for ideas).
Train Sprays - noise sensitive devices designed to silence obnoxious people in railway carriages. If someone is shouting or speaking too loudly on a portable phone a sprinkler gives them a good soaking.