Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: Signs of the times on the slippery, bumpy road

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The Lion logo. Photo / Martin Sykes
The Lion logo. Photo / Martin Sykes

Why does the lion in the logo of this country's main beer look more like a blind, gay, boxing cat with keys for legs and nothing like a proper lion? It's the same with the lion on the crest of Auckland's best blokes' school and the lion icon for that famous French make of motor vehicle. Lions lie-on, they lie on the deck; they don't stand on hind legs, or box like kangaroos. It makes no sense.

Why is the black silhouette-man, depicted losing his footing and slipping over backwards, on the yellow CAUTION: WET FLOOR sign at the pool, so utterly, utterly relaxed and with such a thick neck? I've never seen a poolside person slip over thus in a state of languid acceptance - they're always terror-stricken. It's a violent, frenzied fall to take.

Who is this silhouette-man? He must be heavily medicated. And who puts these signs together?

But at least the poolside silhouette-man actually has a neck. Most of these silhouette-people, on road signs for instance, are mysteriously without.

No neck, just a body and a head with dead air in between. What harm would it do to provide them with a neck?

On that note, why is the black silhouetted car on the SLIPPERY WHEN WET sign 3 feet in the air? It gives the impression the car has been electrocuted. Yes, cars quite often get air after skidding, but not as often as those who slip over poolside. On a practical, visual level the sign seems more indicative of a bumpy road than a slippery one.

Do you think, just maybe, certain signs could take a two-year holiday? You know, the commercial ones that are so embedded in our psyches, so much so we aren't going to forget them in this lifetime or the next. We know full well who they are, so can they not leave us in peace for a time? Or, at the very least, could some of these signs modify themselves so they're not instantly recognisable next time we see them, enabling us a few seconds rest? For we are so bombarded with certain iconic signs, we can't even walk down the road without being attacked.

To me, the best sign or symbol or logo or icon is the bear on the California flag. Now I don't claim to be American or anything, but I just think it's a cool icon. I do at times claim being Californian but that's neither here nor there. Our late, great Moa was taller than your average bear (I think), so can we not put him on our national flag? If we equated height with value, we'd be better than California. It's not that we aren't better than California - because we jolly well are - it's just that having the moa on and in our flag would really turn the heads of the world. I mean, how more far out can you get than a moa? You simply can't get more far out. And how more far out can you get than New Zealand? As every good European will tell you, you can't get more far out.

In any case, moa or no moa, with a bear on one side of the ocean, even if the term FAR OUT did originate in California, we are more far out than she will ever be. But that's neither here nor there.

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