Down the sink it goes

So somehow I ended up on this Coca-Cola New Zealand mailing list and a couple of days ago they informed the masses that “One of New Zealand’s favourite beverages of the 80’s [sic] is back by popular demand to quench your thirst this summer.”

It turns out this “favourite beverage” is Mello Yello, which was such a favourite that they stopped making it in the late ’80s.

The only thing I remember about Mello Yello was the TV ad, which featured a lady with giant frosted blonde hair (like Princess Diana, but sluttier) at the beach, who sculled back not one but two bottles of Mello Yello, with each drink preceded by a rhyme. Then the voices sang, “Mello Yello makes you feel so good so fast from your head down to your toe. Mello Yello makes you feel so good so fast. You just can’t drink it slow.” This was, like most ads, a dirty lie. It was also not a cool ad, because I remember it being mocked in the playground at my school.

I don’t remember drinking much Mello Yello in the ’80s. Soft drinks were a special occasion drink, and when I had a choice, I would have probably gone for Fanta or the more grown-up, sophisticated choice, Coke.

But not only is Mello Yello being brought back (for a limited time only), it’s also being promoted with an ’80s nostalgia angle. There’s even a MySpace page for it where Mello Yello’s favourite TV shows include The A Team, Knightrider, The Dukes of Hazzard, and CHiPs.

This morning I noticed Mello Yello in the fridge at my local dairy so I bought a bottle. It seemed to only be available in a 600ml bottle, which is ridiculously large and even more than the two bottles the ad lady sunk back in rapid succession.

I drank a bit and it was not a the magic liquid nostalgia experience I seemed to have been promised. It just was this cloyingly sweet, murky yellow fizzy beverage. It didn’t even have a pleasing citrus tang.

But maybe I’m doing it wrong. Maybe the only way to properly enjoy Mello Yello is to rapidly drink it, to slurp back 302 kilocalories in mere seconds and get so high that all your worries disappear and then enter a parallel universe where it’s like the ’80s but without bad coffee, sexism, shops closed on Sundays or that prime-time TV show about dogs herding sheep.

So I won’t be buying any more Mello Yello. It can happily retire to the land of unwanted ’80s nostalgia. And besides, Mello Yello didn’t even accept my MySpace friend request, so, really, it can just piss off.

Ordering Beer

I was sitting in a cafe in Hamilton. While I was waiting for my order I glanced over at the fridge chilling the cafe’s selection of alcoholic beverages. On the couple of shelves of beer I spotted Waikato, Steinlager, Lion Red, Heineken, DB Export and Lion Ice. Then I realised that I didn’t even have my glasses on to read the names – I had identified those beers by the design of their labels.

Logo politics aside, this made me feel happy. Not in a pisshead kind of way, but after spending three months in Australia, it was nice to be on familiar terms with beer.

Over in Melbourne I’d find myself in really horrible situations involving the ordering of beer.

Person: Do you want a beer?
Me: Ok, that’d be good.
Person: What do you want?
Me: Um… I don’t know. What have they got?
Person: [Rattles off a list of beer names that mean very little to me]
Me: Um… what are you having?
Person: I’m going to be having a Red Bull and vodka.
Me: Ok. Um. Maybe I’ll have one of those too.

As well as not being familiar with the flavour of all these new beers, I also didn’t know about the other stuff that goes along with beer. For example, I know that a certain type of person drinks Waikato, and a different type of person drinks Export. But what type of person would I been seen as if I was drinking VB? Would I be celebrated or shunned if I was spotted with a Carlton cold in my hand?

Even if I’d selected a beer, there was still the matter of size. When I’d only been in Melbourne for a couple of weeks, I was walking past a pub that had a sign advertising, “Pie, Chips, Pot. $10.” I did a double-take – what sort of liberal drug laws did Victoria have? It turned out that a pot is a standard size of glass that beer is available in.

If this wasn’t traumatic enough, names for sizes of beer differed from state-to-state. In New South Wales I had to contend with the schooner, the middy and the pony. I was discussing this with some people from South Australia (another state, another set of sizes) and I mentioned that in New Zealand a handle of beer can be ordered. They all laughed like this was the most absurd thing they had ever heard. Well, ok, but I’d feel like a bit of a girly wuss ordering a my-little-pony of beer.

All the different beer types were driving me crazy. I wanted to live in the simple world of the movie bar, where “a beer” could be ordered and the bar tender would pour a glass of beer without asking what type or size I wanted.

But I eventually managed to do it. In a pub in Newcastle I went up to the bar and said with much pride and excitement, “a schooner of VB, thanks mate.”

Berocca

“If you have a busy lifestyle and sometimes work too hard, do not get enough sleep, drink or smoke more than you should, you may not be eating an adequate diet to provide all the Vitamin B and C your body may need.”

Berocca, pink tablets that when mixed with water form a bright orangey red effervescent drink, rich in vitamins B and C, is the beverage of choice for recovering from hard nights.

After reading the little description on my tube of Berocca (as quoted above), it occurred to me that it was almost a check-list for a good time.

So, there’s this person who has a “busy lifestyle” and who “work[s] too hard”. They go to work and work their arse off. One of those jobs that almost drives people insane like working at McDonald’s or a help-desk boy. At the end of the week it is time to let go of all the crap that happened at work and have a good time.

Off to a liquor outlet to get some booze then off to a friend’s place where everyone there “drink[s] or smoke[s] more than [they] should”. Lots of beer and spirits and don’t bogart that joint, my friend (ok, so the smoking the Berocca tube refers to is more likely to be tobacco).

Then it’s about 3.27 am and everyone gets hungry so they do a KFC mission. That takes care of “not be eating an adequate diet”.

The next morning or even afternoon, after getting about 5 hours sleep, the night before has caught up and it’s recovery time. So little pink tablets get plopped in glasses of water.

So the Berocca tube basically describes the lifestyle that happens to many young people every weekend. The only thing missing is something about having sex with someone whose name you can’t remember. They should add that to the description “…drink or smoke than you should, sleep with people whose names you can’t remember, you may not be eating an adequate diet…”

So come and rejoice in the Berocca lifestyle.

Why I Don’t Drink Coffee

“People that don’t drink coffee are weird.”

– From “The Perfect Cup of Cofee” by Alexis Massie.

When I go to someone’s house and they say to me “Would you like a cup of coffee?” I say “No, thanks” (although sometimes I don’t even say thanks. It’s like if someone offered to bash me over the head I wouldn’t say “No, thanks”.) Then the person has a little trouble comprehending that I don’t want a drink and has to ask “Are you sure?” like maybe I’m playing mind games with them. I then have to make the statement “No, I don’t drink coffee”.

My parents always drank coffee, and I assumed that when I grew up that I would too. But now than I’m an adult, I don’t. It’s not like I never drink it at all. The Planet Espresso thing at the Bongo Bar at Waikato Uni makes a very lovely hazelnut latte and I love it and if it were a person I would be its love slave forever.

What I don’t do is consume coffee on a daily basis. When I wake up I don’t think “coffee!!!”. I usually head for the shower.

I’ve been asking around to find out why people are so fanatical about coffee. The answer I got from a lot of people is “caffeine!!!”. This is what caffeine does to me. Because I don’t drink a lot of coffee, one cup of coffee makes me freak out. I get really restless and need constant stimulation. Then I can’t get to sleep and end up lying in bed at 7.00am still trying to sleep, hating myself for having for not being able to get to sleep.

The other reason people have given for liking coffee is the taste. I’ll agree to that, but there are lots of things I like the flavour of and I don’t eat/drink them every day.

I think a lot of people who drink coffee are like psychologically addicted to it. Ok, I don’t know much about psychological addiction, but it sounds good. My parents have several cups of decaffeinated a day. My mother says it’s not coffee, rather than a “hot drink” that keeps her doing it. Well how come I can get by in life without several “hot drinks” a day?

Do I have some gene missing that makes me not have to head off to the kitchen every few hours to make a cup of coffee?

It’s not like I don’t drink caffeinated beverages at all. I enjoy Mountain Dew, but when I drink a can of Mountain Dew I don’t exclaim “CAFFEINE!” before drinking it. I don’t understand the need for caffeine either. Like it would help me stay awake longer so I can sitting around doing nothing for longer? When you feel tired it is your body telling you that it needs sleep, not that you should stay awake longer.

So I don’t drink coffee. I do not own any form of coffee. If you come over to see me, I will not make you a cup of coffee. If you ask me for a cup of coffee you will not get one. And I’m happy like that.