Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A fish called Colin

After all this time, it turns out that Elton John and Bernie Taupin were wrong. Sorry does not seem to be the hardest word. The hardest word in fact is Pollack. Yes, it came as a suprise to me. It is going to be particularly tough for Jake.

One wonders, as one so frequently does, what drugs these marketing people are taking. Pollack is a perfectly respectable name for a fish. Colin is a name for a cat. Colin is one of those names which it is unfortunate to possess when one is a boy, like Keith or Nigel. Every class has a Colin - a rather weedy, quite nerdy boy who collects stamps and who gets jokes about fifteen seconds after everyone else. Colin's parents, who own a commercial stationery business, married late; he is their only child. His mother is over-attentive, much to Colin's embarrassment and the mirth of his schoolmates.

This characterisation of Colins is utterly unfair. Colins can be cool, and they can get to hang out with chicks, as the following musical interlude shows. Here, the coolest Colin of them all, Colin Blunstone, sings with his beat combo, the Zombies:

Of course, the marketing men will protest, the new name for the fish is not the English personal name but the French fish name, pronounced co-lan. This should not be confused with colon, the well-known unpleasant piece of anatomy, but it will be. Again, questions of pharmacy arise. In any case, have these marketing men not noticed two self-evident truths about the English: (1) they loathe the French, and (2) they cannot and will not pronounce French words correctly?

And, just to make sure their rebranded fish sinks like a stone, they have put it in "Jackson Pollock-inspired packaging" Oh yes, Abstract Expressionism; that will be popular with the housewifes at home.

So, why are they doing this? Because the British ate all the cod, that's why. Or, to put it in bouncy, upbeat marketing speak:"At Sainsbury's we're passionate about sustainable sourcing and protecting dwindling fish stocks. We want to help highlight that there are species to eat other than cod and haddock, which are just as tasty and often cheaper. Many people have said that they can't even tell the difference in taste between cod or pollack, so we urge everyone to try 'colin and chips' on a Friday."

Of course there are species to eat other than cod and haddock, such as cabbage and carrot. Since every commercial caterer thinks that fish is a vegetarian option, why not turn things around and pretend vegetables are fish? The marketing men could rebrand them. The Brussels sprout has negative connotations of Belgium, so let's call it Darren. Aubergine is a French word, so let's call it Leonard. After all, if Sainsbury's rebranding exercise is an unexpected success, there will soon be no more Colins left, so the English will have nothing left to eat but Darren and chips or Leonard fingers.

Meanwhile, in the Phlippines, the 41st Megamouth Shark ever to be sighted was sauteed in coconut milk.

But wait, there is one way to save endangered fish: call them sea kittens. Or, we could listen to a song about Nigel. Which would you choose?

With thanks to Sam for the lead.


Jake said...

Seeing as there is no a in my surname, I don't forsee a problem. And it wasn't just the British that ate all the cod -- the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and Italians all had their share over the last 600 years.

Pablo said...

The coolest Colin of them all is surely Colin Newman, of Wire?

(my apologies for calling you Shirley)

Conrad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Philip said...

Then again, there's Colin Sell (pianist on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue), Colin Gordon (evil technocrat Number Two in The Prisoner) and Colin Wilson (New Existenialist, amiable egomaniac and crank).

Coolest Nigel ever must be Kneale, creator of Quatermass, The Stone Tape, Beasts and much else.

Word Verification: nurfu, a Nigel under the influence of a tongue depressor.