I’ve been reminded today that some things, like men, can’t change; nor should they. I’m convinced that, as a British nation decades from now, we’ll still be bemoaning our relatively high rates of teenage pregnancy, our innate propensity to binge-drink (despite, I’m told, 1.8 million pints of beer less being served per day in the UK since the credit crunch took hold) and our ongoing addiction to working the longest hours in Europe. Aspects of our cultural reputation overseas are, let’s face it, not brilliant.
However, just as putting Boris Johnson in a suit does not make him anything more, in my opinion, than the bumbling oaf he appears (I’m recalling the Beijing Olympics here), so dressing things up to make them appear anything other than what they truly are is my top PR hate – and utterly contrary to my own company ethos. I believe it’s called ‘spin’.
On the other hand, building positive perception of what exists is a different matter (and challenging for me, I have to say, where Boris Johnson is concerned).
But where does that leave making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Best look at the attributes of what you have – a pig. Not everyone knows that they are one of the cleanest, most intelligent animals that exist. Perhaps they should be told.
So, as I sipped on my glass of Sauvignon Blanc today, observing the pristine shop facades and drift of the well-heeled townsfolk of genteel Royal Windsor, I couldn’t help but smirk at the ‘little man’ as he turned green on the main pedestrian crossing, all askew with his nose pointing to the ground and up-turned arms making like one of the many Heathrow-bound aeroplanes flying overhead.
Did I blame typical, shoddy British workmanship and our confounding ability always to reduce the aesthetics of our surroundings? Of course! The German part of my psyche certainly did. Compensated just as quickly by the sardonic British pleasure I took in seeing such jaunty irreverence so publicly displayed against such an establishment backdrop!
That shift in my own perception will keep me entertained for a good while yet as I reflect that some things, however irritating, are best left unchanged whilst we figure out how to more positively alter the way we view them.