Dear Aunty Ice Axe

Whenever I go to club night and see other people's slide shows I feel that the things I do are so tame and uninteresting. The trips I go on never seem like that, and most of the time it is hard enough getting away tramping anyway what with family and house and work. What am I doing wrong?

Yours, dispiritedly,


Dear Flat

It's all in the way you tell it! Anna Karenina could have been a short-sighted housewife with dubious taste in men until she forgot her glasses, missed her step onto a train, and Tolstoy saw the possibilities. Harry Potter could have been just an undersized boy with AHD and a broom fixation until he got the Rowling treatment. Forget the 'an against the elements' epic climbs of the north face of Somethingunpronouceable in Windsweptremotewilderness - do a slide show on man (by which of course I mean the generic, politically correct, man/woman/both/neither) against the Northlands mall organising your porters; negotiating your entry; roping up for the approach across the icy carpark, fraught with danger from other drivers; establishing base camp in the cafe timing your assault on the supermarket; dodging spontaneous avalanches of imperfectly arranged special offers and the deep crevasses of the freezer compartments; losing all sense of reality in the hair products section; the emergency helicopter ride out of the slippery clutches of the delicatessen . . . final shots of recovery back at base camp, clutching a latte . Aunty has never believed in letting pedantic accuracy stand in the way of a good story. An approximate parallel track with the truth and some artistic work with the air brush on the beige-coloured bits of real life will make you feel better about yourself and entertain others: what more could anyone want?

Yours, in purple prose,

Aunty Ice Axe.