My advice comes with best credentials

Recommendation is one those simple pesky words you sometimes spell wrong. Like commission, acoustic, embarrassed and twelfth.


You think that one too easy to get wrong?

Think again.

When I was a lad, bursting to appropriate new intellectual thoughts, like how to make marshmallow, I used to listen to those America versus Great Britain radio quiz contests. They knew so much stuff. But as one round neared a shattering climax, the teams were asked to spell twelfth. And neither team could.

So yes, recommendation. There are two types of people who recommend, one far more prevalent than the other. Type One is the group of humans who have an excellent eye, ear, nose, tasting tongue and brain, who because they just somehow know what the good things are, you try everything they recommend without a second thought.

The other group is much smaller, almost non-existent because they are not worthy of existence. Type Two.

They are too lazy to check out what Type One recommenders recommend, so they re-gift, they pass on that recommendation as if it is their own, taking full credit for discovery and taste. I am unashamedly in this spineless loathsome gaggle of worthlessness.

But I am happy within myself, and that's all that matters. Herewith, then, a small handful of recommendations I have been handed over the past couple of weeks which I haven't tried, but have fraudulently given to others.

One of my most reliable Type One recommenders, a woman intermittently connected to local radio, recommended the documentary The English Surgeon.

I duly passed this on with the highest of recommendation to one of my close personal friends, let's just call him John Smith to allow him unimpeded anonymity.

John, not without an acid response if a movie doesn't cut the mustard, loved it.

He is passing The English Surgeon on to others as we speak.

Apparently, the doco is about an altruistic English neurosurgeon working for nuffink in the Ukraine, using discarded equipment from a high-rent English hospital to save the lives of the poor, depressed, repressed and insane. Sounds like a real uplifter.

From the same Type One recommender came Ruby Wax's Sane New World: Taming the Mind.

It is the best life manual I have ever read, she said.

I immediately handed it on to a friend, an, 'ow-you-say, Seeker, telling her knowledgeably it was the best life manual I had ever read. Within minutes, my friend had offered me her house and car.

Who would have thought - Ruby Wax! I haven't read it yet, but I have read ABOUT it, I think this one could be the business. Neuroscience For Dummies. I love a good Dummies book.

And then, from John himself, a contra deal, came the movie The Paperboy, whose notoriety I had read about - Nicole Kidman doing stuff that made her one-time liaison with the muppet Tom Cruise incomprehensible.

I immediately recommended it to three people, who have replied back panting and grateful.Which is how I felt after seeing the magnificent Fortune Theatre production Tribes last week.

This stunning thing is admittedly a bit graphic, rude and sweary, but this isn't about me actually seeing things to recommend, so I will move on.

The last recommendation I claimed as my own - certain models of Fisherand Paykel washing machines playing national anthems if you press certain buttons in a certain order - was covered in The Wash column last Wednesday. But wait, there's more.

This is one of those things that only comes along once every 10 years, and I am indebted to close personal friend of long standing, Karen, the only woman I know who understands Beavis and Butt-head: press the Upper Water Level button (next to the Wash Temp button) and hold that down until the anthem stops.

Then go back and press the Upper Wash Temp button again. And see what happens!

I have absolutely no idea what happens. We own a Simpson. But some people have reported back screaming in ecstasy. Fisher and Paykel - who would have thought? I seriously recommend you give all this stuff a go.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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