What is it about dads and Rovers? Especially the ‘lovely’ 75 with cream leather upholstery, contrasting piping and burr walnut fascia. My dad (and Sharon’s) has always aspired to own a Rover, and continues to do so despite Rover having gone bust for failing to produce good enough cars. There is still a (dwindling) generation who associate Rovers with quality British craftsmanship and achievable luxury (Jags and Mercedes were out of range, and for the professional, established middle class only). The Rover lover yearns for the days when British was best and foreign cars were unreliable rust-buckets built by untrustworthy foreigners. Hopefully there are enough discounted and used Rovers around to see our Dads through to the end of their driving days. We’d hate to see them go ‘foreign’.



By Neil Smith

They’re over-rated. Don’t get me wrong – they come in handy for chewing poorly cooked meat and biting your way into bags of pork scratchings, but I don’t buy into this obsession with ‘perfect’ teeth. I’ve always been quite fond of my gappy fangs – and my boney growth, which has the dentists whistling with admiration. One dentist even offered to peel back my gums and file down the bone for me. Er, no thanks, I’d rather the unsightly lump. Teeth with personality didn’t hold back the careers of Shane McGowan or Freddie Mercury. And green teeth never stopped Sven Goren Eriksson dating beautiful women, although he’d struggle to land a part in the OC. So, for a smile with character: drink more Tizer and smoke more fags. A Hollywood smile – who needs one? My Auntie Peggy’s got one, and she keeps it in a glass by her bed.

Alpha male

By Neil Smith

When I was a boy my Dad said to me ‘Son, a firm handshake is a sign of strong character’. I don’t really do the big powerful handshake thing – I just kind of adjust the pressure ’til it more or less matches that of the ‘shakee’. I think it’s only polite. These days when I shake my Dad’s hand (at funerals or New Year’s Day) I do tend to turn up the pressure to ‘strong character’ to keep the old man happy. I find the big handshake moment in business meetings a bit tiresome (it’s always the little fellas that are the worse) with the eye contact thing and the palm-down death grip. They think they’re letting me know who’s boss – but I think it’s probably just a trick they learned in the ‘assertiveness’ module of their ‘marketing for short people’ course. They don’t scare me – unlike the Dutch graphic design student whose vice-like grip brought tears to my eyes and resulted in an operation to pin my 5th metacarpal. It turned out that I’d broken my hand a few weeks earlier in an inter design group football match brawl, but hadn’t noticed. Brawling in a friendly football match – now that’s the sign of a strong character.