Assume the position...


On some occasions do I happily perform physical feats that I know are pointless or make me look like a gormless half-wit? Another day, another business flight... another useless safety demonstration. My favourite part is when instructed, I must… “Assume the brace position” (i.e. bend forward, head on lap, hands locked under knees). The only position I am assuming, is that in a moment or two I will be zipping through the Pearly Gates of St. Peter at 600MPH. Whether seconds before this I perform a handstand or a fiendishly complicated yoga position, will make no difference to the outcome.

...and another thing

In general, we all go submissive when en masse. We slavishly follow instructions, especially when given either by someone in a) uniform or b) on stage.

A) UNIFORM Have you ever dared disobey a tour guide?

“Please keep up… gather round… be quiet so everyone can hear.”

We all nod like donkeys whispering apologies for daring to dawdle or talk to a friend.

Gatekeepers with a red velvet cordon.

Why does a group of ten who can all plainly see their table, have to wait and click their heels in a tight huddle until some swivel-hipped mannequin with an earpiece, clip board and an over inflated sense of self-importance guides them to the table? It’s not as if they need a machete to hack their way through a forest of other diners, or the restaurant layout is based on the Minotaur’s labyrinth.


Whilst I agree audience participation can at times enhance a performance, it is usually best when spontaneous rather than commanded.

There is nothing sadder than watching a wannabe on X Factor or similar leap out onto stage and like some demented orangutan clap both hands overhead. Grinning at the audience and with nodding head, he gets the audience to do the same.

If watching at home I would rather use my balls as a pin cushion than join in yet en masse we all waive our hands about like daffodils in a hurricane.

A tip: If the audience looks at each other to say “sorry I look a twat” the performer is toast. If they fix on the person on stage… well he has succeeded, but I’ve yet to ever see that happen.

As for agreeing to be a hypnotist’s subject, we have all seen what an utter tit we become crowing like a chicken or thinking our pants are on fire and yet people in the audience leap at the chance… with every sane viewer groaning “No, don’t do it”.

...and another thing

For the pinnacle of finding yourself assuming the wrong position, nothing beats a company away day bonding session. My only experience of this was a decade or more ago but I still wake up at night in a cold sweat, screaming.

First thing, you hear the dreaded words:

“Divide yourself into teams.”

Inevitably, and to appear even handed, I end up with a group I barely know and if honest, don’t really want to.

Before you can say ‘herpes simplex’ you are collecting, then passing on an apple using only your teeth, sharing a snorkel in a mud obstacle course followed by practicing mouth to mouth resuscitation; all with the guy from accounts with breath that can strip wallpaper and acne growing around his face like bramble.

Next, we are all forced to fall backwards into each other’s arms, and I end up giving myself a hernia catching the office elephant.

Trust and bonding with my workmates is not enhanced by a three legged race or getting finger cramp to complete ten fiendishly complex fisherman’s knots. It’s common sense, not Cirque de soleil,

As for looking like an idiot, I voluntarily give myself more than enough opportunities. I don’t need to be forced into anymore.

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