There's no elegant way to carry a box of beer. It just isn't practicable. The suitcase method looks and is cumbersome, creating a lowly slung shoulder on one side, dragging down one's gait gawkily. The atop-the-head way is truly tradesman-like and macho enough, but it looks and is irreducibly ridiculous. And, finally, the pregnant man method makes one look a beer-bearing Santa Claus and, as much as we like old St Nick, he's never been known for his elegance.

A croissant is clumsily crumby, with no suitably tidy way of being ingested. I mean, a croissant is fairly unbeatable eating, but when you take a bite, the crumby scales of the thing puff out of one's grasp and off one's plate - with the huff of an exhale - on to the table, creating a scaly mess, or, worse still, drop on to one's trousers and smudge them when one tries to brush them off. In other words, to keep the whole thing mouth-worthy or plate-worthy is a minor miracle. They're even difficult to manage with serviettes.

Similarly, there's no princely way to eat a pita or kebab. Believe me, I've tried with a 100 per cent rate of failure. A knife and folk, which is cheating for starters, will slop the dish sideways, engendering a wave-like mess; devouring the dish directly requires suction AND chew-action, to ensure the various sauces don't splatter omni-directionally - which negates any chance of looking composed - as one has to concentrate absurdly sternly. (And, in most cases, the sauces slop with aplomb everywhere, anyway.) Basically it makes the act of burger-eating look regal, in comparison.

The descriptive adjective, noun and, dare I say it, adverb, AWESOME, is unfortunately here to stay. It just can't be shook from the Kiwi vernacular. A person's day, personality, energy, wife, nephew, rugby performance or T-shirt slogan are all acceptably "awesome" in modern NZ. For instance, a popular slogan T-shirt these days reads, "I don't get drunk; I get awesome!" What a grammatical abomination! Akin to saying, "I don't get drunk; I get excellent!" Moreover, a guy/girl can say, "Oh, he played awesome" and not be chided for their unimaginative stupor in the language skills department or their grammatical incorrectness. Say no to awesome, NO for awesome, awesome is awful.


Smoking is an outdoor pursuit. And, in many cases, it can't be enjoyed outdoors without frosty receptions, cold/blank stares or defiant gestures of, "I'm leaving this space because he's smoking!" Poor smokers are well and truly outcast, out in the cold and treated as if they take sugar in their tea. Speaking generally, the only guiltless place to smoke outdoors these days is at club rugby matches on the sideline, both league and union codes, as what goes on on-pitch is so brutal that a bit off-pitch self-inflicted brutality is viewed without suspicion or antipathy and rather with a light-hearted smiling sense of, "Hey, you're okay!"

Motorcyclists, bless them, are still scary. First, being helmeted, they have no visible face or head, which dehumanises them somewhat, making them look rather menacing. Second, they often don't follow the two-second rule, so you feel you're being ambushed when they buzz angrily at your tail. Third, when overtaking on the outside, inside or throughside lane, they do so at a superciliously deadly pace. It's chilling to see some of them whiz past. Lest we forget, their machines are noisy enough to deafen Beethoven himself. Bless them though; they're much smaller in size but much louder in attitude, leaving us car drivers most intimidated - we all know who's the master. In other words, David does Goliath again.

New Zealand has home truths, in case you were wondering.

Jem Beedoo is a musician whose debut album, Dinosaurs Are Forever, is selling at Real Groovy.