Hello. Welcome to my new column. I have to say I'm finding it a bit odd to be writing in the Belfast Telegraph.
Like so many things in life, it's always been something that other people do, not me. Like playing golf or going on a cruise or listening to Coldplay, by choice. And yet here I am, doing it myself. I've crossed over and become one of “them”. Right, well, I suppose I'd better actually say something or I won't be one of “them” for long.
First off, it's been decreed that this column is about “lifestyle”. Can I just confess early on that I've no idea what lifestyle really is? I'm still struggling with life in general, never mind the style part.
This was brought home to me last week when I heard a woman on a radio phone-in programme. She was talking very maturely about sexual matters, using all the anatomically correct words and being very grown-up because we're all grown-up and there's no need to snigger when you say the p-word anymore. (Obviously this is the Belfast Tele, not BBC Radio 2, so I don't think we can say the p-word out loud yet, unless you're reading this after nine o'clock at night when it's probably ok.)
Anyway. Next thing, yer woman, Mrs Right-On, announces that actually, she's a sex and lifestyle expert.
I nearly crashed the car.
Never mind the sex bit, what the hell is a lifestyle expert and could you imagine spending an evening in the pub with one of them? “Hi, yah, my name's Sally, I'm a lifestyle expert.” Now be honest, if someone said that to you, what would you do first? Throw up or give her a good kickin'? (Not literally of course, I don't advocate violence, I'm a pacifist. Sorry, a peace expert.)
Why on earth would we need such people in the first place? Does anyone actually lie awake at night worrying about whether or not they're eating in the right restaurants? I mean, when was the last time you got up in the morning and thought, “Oh my god, I'm not sure my toilet roll holder is “on trend”, I need help”?
This all reminds me of a line in a Janis Ian song: “In books and magazines of how to be/and what to see, while you are being.” I guess that's lifestyle. It's for people who've got the basics covered and now they need help with the frilly bits. They've got money, but don't know how to spend it.
Which is probably why it doesn't ring any bells with me. I never have enough money to have a lifestyle. And if I did I wouldn't spend it on being told where to buy sushi, how to moisturise and who to fancy.
So rest assured, there'll be no “What's Hot and What's Not” here. Just as well, since when it comes to trends, I'm a bit of a finger-on-the-elbow type (until last week I thought an iPad was a mask to help you sleep on a plane).
Having said that, I have noticed one trend. Age Concern and Help the Aged have amalgamated to become Age NI. VSB and Volunteer Development Agency are now Volunteer NI.
With all this directness can we look forward to the Orange Order re-branding as March NI, the International Airport as Fleece NI and the banks as Shaft NI?