Welcome to my new weekly series What To Talk About When There’s Nothing To Talk About. As a regular panelist on the BBC radio show Fighting Talk, I have found that listeners often contact me after a show to tell me that they very much related to some of the points I would make on the show, when I would often stray off topic and simply speak about subjects that were on my mind. These were for the most part observations on some of the more exasperating and downright stupid things I would encounter on a day-to-day basis but which I felt were worthy of discussion. They included the sight of women still with scuffed price-stickers on the soles of their shoes, the near impossibility of being able to be spontaneous in modern society and some people’s insistence on bastardising the word “football” to the flimsy “footy”.

I was glad that I at least had a platform for these opinions to be aired as I wasn’t attending any dinner parties to share them. When I reached the age I thought I should be attending dinner parties I realised I wasn’t being invited to any. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the conversation, I had enough opinions and standpoints to keep going for a few weeks, excellent dinner party fodder I thought. Unfortunately my friends just didn’t seem to throw them. Having said that, I wasn’t throwing them either. I was as bad as them, we were as bad as each other.

I recently found myself speaking to a couple who had been invited to a dinner party and both were tentative and nervous. What were they meant to speak about? What if there were embarrassing silences with nothing to fill them? In essence, what is there to talk about when there’s nothing to talk about? I saw this as an opportunity to help. If I wasn’t being invited to dinner parties it wasn’t to say that my opinions, standpoints, annoyances and perplexities couldn’t still be aired at them.   I donated some opinions and standpoints to them and I’m pleased to say, they went on to socialise that evening with confidence and success.

This series contains a number of such viewpoints dealing with universal and at times idiosyncratic subject matter. They can be used by all sections of society and at the very least, could lead to further and necessary discourse whilst even facilitating in making socialising appear less of a chore.

1. Stickers On the Soles Of Her Shoes


Paul Simon once sang about Diamonds On the Soles Of Her Shoes but a more pressing issue is that of stickers on the soles of her shoes. To be more accurate, price stickers remaining on the soles of shoes as women walk about with them on in public. I have yet to spot a man who has done this, but I have witnessed many females committing what can only be described as a grossly misjudged fashion error.

It must be an error as why else would you keep the stickers on? It can’t be to show off how much the shoes cost as it has been quite evident on several occasions that the footwear in question was from the lower end of the price spectrum. It surely can’t be a move to make the shoes seem brand new, as often, the sticker is in a state of disrepair. It begs the supplementary question, if we are talking worse case scenarios, is it better to have a brand new sticker on display than an older scuffed one?

It might be down to laziness but how idle would someone have to be not to peel a sticker off? It would take approximately 1-2 seconds more time to peel and then put the shoe on thus never having to do it again. Leaving the sticker on is akin to eating a banana without removing the skin first as it would have been too time consuming. I have yet to ask a woman in public who has visible stickers why they are still on but that day is getting closer.

There is no protocol for this as far as I am aware. Whether one is supposed to try to strike up a conversation first or go straight in with the question is unclear. What is clear is that some definitive answers are needed to help clear up conclusively this great footwear mystery of modern times.

A new chapter of What To Talk About When There’s Nothing To Talk About will be published every Wednesday, simply click on this link here or sign up below to receive it.