- June 19, 2017
I hate picking a favourite. What’s your favourite ice cream? Well, tell me what I’ve just eaten and I’ll tell you what flavour I’ll want next – fruity or chocolatey.
‘What’s your favourite colour?’ is the pre-schooler’s equivalent of the pub and party smalltalk standard ‘So what do you do?’. To be honest, I really hate that one too ever since an ex of mine confided that it did his nut in. He scored orchestral arrangements for pop groups that regularly charted but generally got most of his income as a data entry person. Stating where his pay check came from didn’t really cover his passions.
‘What’s your favourite…’ also seems all too ready to get us to jump through hoops and into a pigeonhole. It defies context. And asks for a hierarchy. Which invariably leads to an argument. So you don’t even know me and you’re making smalltalk with a view to getting into a fight? What kind of rascal are you?!
During the month of May I was frequently asked what my favourite shows were that I had seen in the Brighton Fringe, which led to my best startled kipper impersonation. I just don’t know, because all of the best ones made me feel such different things that they’re hardly comparable. And you’re asking for my top ten. And then you’ll judge me on them.
You don’t even know me and you’re making smalltalk with a view to getting into a fight?
It goes back to school years and beyond. I remember asking my mother whether she was a fan of the Rolling Stones or The Beatles, and feeling a little distance between us when she proudly told me she’d used her sharp elbows to get to the front of a Stones gig as a teenager. I’d sung from the Beatles songbook at school. The Stones were a bit more scary. That distance narrowed as I got older though and I learned enough to be proud of my Mum’s street cred. But again, judging her on a forced ‘favourite’.
‘Read any good books lately?’ is kinder than ‘What’s you’re favourite book?’. And it opens up for a discussion, rather than a disagreement. One of the most impassioned arguments I’ve ever had was with a highly respected criminal barrister, with him determined to have the last word on which was better – Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket. We used all of our clever words on one of our most ludicrous clashes. It became a battle rather than a conversation. Why does one thing have to be better than another?
So please, don’t ask me for a favourite. Don’t ask anyone for a favourite. It’s one of my least favourite things.