The Saturday Miscellany: What Does The Fox Say?; elevator mirrors; how to trick or treat


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The Independent Culture

THE DIGESTED FAD: That ridiculous fox song

By Oscar Quine

Like bad smells, viral music videos drift out of the collective consciousness as quickly as they waft in. And just as the damage done by "Gangnam Style" and "The Harlem Shake" begins to heal, a major setback looms. "What Does The Fox Say?" by Norwegian duo Ylvis has been in the charts for five weeks and ratcheted up a bazillion YouTube views.

Mining an abominable niche between nursery rhyme and Eurohouse banger, the lyrics inanely identify what a range of animals 'say': a dog goes woof, sure, but fish goes blub? Really? And elephant goes toot? They conclude that the fox has no sound to call its own. What's more, now's the moment to rectify that. In quick-fire, and increasingly shrill, succession they suggest 'Gering-ding-ding-ding.' Hmm. 'Wa-pa-pa-pa-pow.' Nope. 'Hate-hattee-hattee-ho.' Dear God, no.

The frantic search reaches fever pitch until, finally, the enigmatic fox reveals itself in all its CGI glory, opens his mouth and... only bloody sounds like Vic Reeves' club singer off Shooting Stars.

Aside from PTSD, there are a few other rational responses to hearing "What Does The Fox Say?". One can get philosophical (what did the fox say?), or consider the effects the song may have on the cultural construction of the fox. Or, you can close your eyes tight and pray with all your might that this is the last one of these songs in a while. Or ever.

But what's that we hear? The distant sound of Alison Gold's "Chinese Food", approaching fast. Unplug the router. We want out.

HOW TO: Trick or treat

By Oscar Quine

Done right, Fancy-Dress Begging (or Trick or Treating, if you prefer) can prove a bountiful undertaking. Here's how to clean up in Tangfastics:

Outfits, of course, are essential; especially for adults. Social stigma dictates that those over 14 should not partake in T/T. But with well-applied make-up (go old: wizened witch or wizard, perhaps?), or copious bandaging, who's to know?

Have a trick in mind. Today's T/Ters often make the mistake of an empty ultimatum. But the knowledge of potential sanctions for non-givers will bring a certain persuasiveness to your performance. Carry visible symbols of intended reprimand: water bombs, etc. catapults, pots of paint…

Lenny Bruce, aged eight, from Brighton (above) has this advice for T/Ters: "Firstly, go and knock on their door to get sweets, then go back home, then get another costume, and go back to the door again. You can do this as many different times as you have costumes."

A BRIEF OPINION HELD: By The Independent Magazine editorial board

"Hey good looking." Not our words, folks, but those of the person next to you in a lift. There is only one certainty in life and it's that we all look fantastic in the mirror of an elevator. OK, there's your deaths, your taxes, but the point is, you're in a lift and you look swell.

A theatrical friend explains that it's the overhead spotlights giving faces a moody glow, like Hamlet, betwixt floors, musing upon where to alight.

We at the Magazine believe that the heady combination of lights, the enclosed metallic box and the tight mirror angles make all of us look our best. In a lift, you're not just worth it, you're the CEO of L'Oréal.

So here's the elevator pitch: next time you're feeling blue, kid, head to a lift, catch a glimpse of your beautiful, chiselled features and enjoy an ego boost. And don't forget to break the awkward elevator silence by telling your fellow passengers how good they look too.


By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. My colleague keeps tampering with my computer. I want to retaliate, but am worried things will escalate.

A. You should definitely retaliate. With any luck the situation will escalate, providing you both with some welcome distraction from work, which, as everyone knows, is boring.

@MsEllen E Jones