That’s So Cliché


Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

[1] Poison “Nothing But a Good Time (Instrumental)”

[2] Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City (Instrumental)”




noun. a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.


Call me clichéd. No really, I actually kind of like it. In this cynical world we live in, it is generally considered a negative to delve into the commonplace for inspiration. Certain popular terms invariably wind up overused and our eyes tend to roll every time they’re thrown into conversation. Continue to cater to time-worn tradition and, chances are, you’ll be branded a walking cliché and dismissed as played out before you can say “just a cotton pickin’ minute here”. However, with over seven billion of us vying for airspace at any given moment, it’s no cakewalk coming up with fresh material. Indeed just the other day, I decided to coin a phrase that I considered rather ingenious, only to be promptly thwarted by Google.

I had just finished a short story called 🔥 Hot For Teacher 🔥 and it suddenly occurred to me that I’d carved myself out something of a niche in the process. Better yet, this wasn’t an isolated incident, as erotica and comedy often masquerade together hand-in-hand through my prose so I essentially already had an extensive back catalogue of similar genre hybrids. The name ψ Eroticom ψ then came to me like a spunk-soaked boomerang and I clapped like a randy seal as I’d always rather fancied being a mad inventor. A lifetime of watching old Carry On movies and passing the soap to Paulie the Porky’s Penis had served me decidedly well it appeared and, thanks to this marvelous new discovery, I was now primed to spread my cheeks and fly.

Excitedly, I hit up Google for confirmation that I’d conjured up a true one-off in ψ Eroticom ψ. It’s a nervous wait while the search engine goes about its business and, more often than not, one ultimately tinged in heartbreak as it returns with literally dozens of identical results. To my initial delight, the two genres had never been fused in this way. Neither was there a 2007 short film that shared its title or any literature knocking about to rain on my parade. Alas, a thorough googlewhacking was denied as there happens to exist a sex shop that trades under this very guise. I felt like a sham, just another one of the Joneses, a walking cliché no less. Then I recalled a saying I’d heard on many an occasion previously – all’s well in love and war – and the sun returned to my smile instantaneously.

Provided I don’t start selling dildos and ball gags with ψ Eroticom ψ emblazoned across them in diamante, I see no reason why the two of us can’t go about our business in blissful ignorance. Indeed, should this sleeping giant take off at my end, I’d only be too happy to cross-promote. Perhaps any crotchless panty sales could come with a 10% discount voucher for the autobiography I plan never to get around to. Together we could corner the market, become rich beyond our wildest dreams, and blow the lot on knock-off Viagra and second-ass rectal beads. Or maybe some dastardly swine will steal our ideas and we’ll both end up short-changed. Before we know it, and through no fault of our own, the term will be considered cliché and I’d hate to see my precious brainchild fall from grace in such a manner.

Anyroad, I make no secret of my affection for what some consider hackneyed and uninspiring. You see, the thing about clichés is that they begin their life as diamonds in the rough. Once upon a time, it was considered an astute observation that “every cloud has a silver lining”. Nowadays such a statement would be met largely with ridicule, amidst cries of “pull the other one” and the lobbing of rotten vegetables. But I’d much rather every cloud be lined with silver than bursting with bronze as it reminds me to keep on going for gold. Should I spot a diamond embedded in a pile of dog excrement while out on my daily travels, then I’ll be more likely to polish it off and make myself a mint if I call upon this expression as a persuader. Therefore this age-old adage has every right to snuggle itself into my vocabulary.

“When you have lemons, make lemonade” – that’s another doozy with a similarly upbeat meaning and, once again, sounds suspiciously like common sense to me. Why on earth would I opt to prepare a tall refreshing glass of cream soda when I already possess the ingredients to knock up a more acidic concoction? I’m quite aware that every other bugger with a lemon squeezer has been doing the same for years now and that my juice will no doubt be just as uninspiring as all the others. But I always did love me a metaphor and this one just so happens to encourage a positive mental attitude when things are headed to the shitter; so that makes it alright in my book. Besides, should my penance for taking the road more traveled be public mockery, then I hear “time heals all wounds”.

This one’s positively vacuum-packed with logic when you think about it. Should a small bairn possessing the balance of a newborn fawn take a tumble in the school yard; then the primary reaction is probably going to entail blubbing until the snot clogs up their airwaves, before a lengthier bout of short-breathed sniveling. While the pain will be immense during this period, eventually the little sweetheart in question will have bled maximum sympathy from the incident and those cheek dimples will be back in full force. As an additional prize, any blood spilled will usually have congealed into a protective scab by the following day, and I’ve never met an ankle-biter who doesn’t find scabs tasty. Indeed I’m still rather partial at forty-three. My point being that, while it may not be considered cutting edge for time to heal all wounds, there’s more than a modicum of truth to it.

Speaking of old father time, he’s also rarely anything less than informative. Should I elect to crush my testicles between two house bricks for the sheer helluvit, then “time will tell” whether I’ll find myself laughing about it further on down the line. With the healing side of things now sewn up, all signs point directly to affirmative. All that is left now is to “play the waiting game” until which point as I have my answer. Currently Blade Runner 2049 is receiving all manner of back pats and big ups but it will be years before we truly know how it fares up alongside the original. I’ve not yet had the exclusive pleasure of watching Denis Villeneuve’s remake and my sneaking suspicion is that I’ll have come to my conclusion long before general consensus catches up. But I certainly appreciate the sentiment.

Another popular cliché suggests “tis better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all” and I’m more than happy to offer this one my official endorsement. I’m sure Veronica Quaife would disagree, having fallen head over heels for Seth Brundle, only for his left ear to drop off in her TV dinner. But at least they got to make sweet love beneath the twinkling stars before he began vomiting feces in her clutch bag. I’ve had my heart-broken just like the next man and appreciate the emotional angst playing the victim entails. This is where it becomes critical we “take the rough with the smooth” as the next big love affair need only be a chance meeting away if we remain defiant in the face of bitterness and soldier on. After all, “all’s well that ends well” right?

A particular favorite adage of mine states that “laughter is the best medicine” and I’m inclined to agree 100%. Granted, this does somewhat contradict the one about time being the greatest healer, and I highly doubt belly laughs would offer much consolation to those midway through passing a kidney stone. But there’s no doubt a spot of rib-tickling can take the edge off most common ailments. Take influenza for example. While anti-inflammatory medicines provide the most effective relief, old Peter Sellers movies are particularly useful for the purpose of momentary distraction. Laughing releases those happy endorphins not to mention encouraging the reduction of stress hormones; making for a tonic no first-aid kit should be without. This is why mine contains a half-empty box of ibuprofen, some sterile dressing, half a dozen finger monsters and a whoopee cushion.

I’ve often heard it remarked that “actions speak louder than words” and consider this cliché to be pretty much bang on the money. Given that talk is cheap, it seems only right that we splash out on occasion and “put our money where our mouth is”. After all, any joker with a voice box can flap their lips for effect but “the proof is in the pudding” right? Politicians make all kinds of extravagant promises when it comes to securing the majority vote but, when it comes to following through and actually honoring their vows, precious few are prepared to do what they swear blind they will on commencement. It’s all too easy to release hot air into the atmosphere, but far tougher backing this up with bona fide exertion.

The gutter press are another prime example here as they fill our heads with all kinds of scandalous mumbo jumbo, all in the name of shifting a few more units. Any twerp with a tongue can sit atop their soapbox and criticise but, when your chief contribution to society comes at the sole expense of others, words and actions become much the same thing. I could “talk until blue in the face” about such pompous endeavor but would much prefer to act out my frustrations by way of middle digit salute. Call it “thinking outside the box”, but I just like the way “fuck you asshole” rolls off my fingertip. I’ve got your affirmative action right here you piss-peddling pricks. Read it and weep sewer rats or better yet – “take a picture, it’ll last longer”.

Too cliché? Perhaps but it sure felt delightful. Besides, I’d rather be “tossing my cookies” than “twiddling my thumbs” regardless of whether or not “two wrongs make a right”. Who knows – I could be “tilting at windmills” here and “there’ll be hell to pay” if I’m adjudged to have bitten “the hand that feeds me”. Actually, fuck it! “Don’t come the raw prawn with me” you pitiful pond scum. How about you fill those column inches with something productive for a change? If I wanted to “learn how to suck eggs”, then I’d go pucker to pucker with a hen’s rusted yoke hole. No I’d much rather “take a step back” than take that one “for the team”, irrespective of reports that “there’s gold in them thar hills”. Alternatively I could go through the motions, for broke, the extra mile or out on a limb to go fly a kite. Thanks to good old cliché, the world really is my oyster.

This is where my experience as a wordsmith comes in handy. You see, I reckon all those clichés need is a fresh lick of paint once in a while. Let’s face it, just because they’re oldies, doesn’t mean they can’t still be goodies with a mild modern makeover. Should I wish to announce that I “don’t give a rat’s ass” then why not upgrade that to a rodent’s rectum? Instead of waiting around for “pigs to fly”, would it not pay to keep an eye out for any hovering hogs in the vicinity? And if “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, then surely the mallard would want to take a look-see. Ultimately it’s all about what tickles your fancy and if that happens to float your boat and turn you on in the process, then we can cross that bridge when we come to it. I certainly won’t be stewing about it as I’m not chopped liver after all. Chances are, my rambling will have nothing whatsoever to do with “the price of tea in China” but that’s not to say I won’t “wake up and smell the coffee”. I mean, “why buy the cow when the milk is free?”

At any rate, it’s high time I “call it a day” and “cool my jets some” as I believe we’ve established that I am in fact a walking cliché. In the interest of word play, I shall perform a dash of noun reversal on an old Broadway adage any thespians amongst us should be familiar with. In an earlier conversation, a friend chipped in with “if it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage” and I happen to agree with this wholeheartedly. However, given that I’m a writer by trade and consider life to be the ultimate stage, I’m better positioned to ensure it all winds up on the page. Confused yet? Me too. Indeed I’m not entirely sure I’m “cooking with gas” here. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d rather “lay my cards on the table” than hold them “close to my chest”, even if that means letting the odd “cat out of the bag”. You can ask me any question and I’ll tell you no lies. What can I say? I’m an open book.

Before I head “off like a prom dress”, let’s talk about happy endings shall we? Nowadays it’s not deemed realistic for films to conclude on a chipper note as that would be far too cliché. Given that I grew up in the golden age of John Hughes movies, I object to the suggestion that love shouldn’t find a way. Let’s not blow out those sixteen candles just yet, I love me a bleak ending like the next misery monger in line and thought Arlington Road was a highly thought-provoking and impactful piece of cinema. But I was mightily relieved when Woody and his perishable pals escaped the slag heap by the hoop on their pull cords in Toy Story 3 and would prefer to buy that ending “for the price of a skinny chicken” than shell out for a synthetic bloodbath and have to explain where all good toys go to my sobbing seven-year-old son. After all, isn’t it right that “the children are our future”? At risk of sounding like the walking cliché I know full well I am – ah, to be young and foolish. And yes I did just fall off the turnip truck.

Click here to read Words Play I Say






    1. Thanks so much Susan. I’ll take all the cliché I can get my hands on and had a lot of fun touching on just a few of them.

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