Is it time for “Keep Calm And…” to “Sod Off And Get Lost”?
Since 2001, whatever the situation and whatever the context, three words, “Keep Calm And…”, can and often have been applied. The rediscovery of what was originally a British wartime propaganda poster in a secondhand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland set about this trend and it has continued unabated.
The bookshop’s owners, Stuart and Mary Manley, seized upon their customer’s enthusiasm for “Keep Calm And…” and they, then others, printed it onto clothing, doormats, postcards, mugs and other merchandise. Millions of items featuring the distinctive font and “Tudor” crown have been sold worldwide and a trademark dispute about it commenced in 2011 and continues to this day.
On the Barter Books website is a link to a video giving the story of how such a simple phrase has become so popular. On it the narrator states:
“It’s perhaps the words on the poster that people find most enchanting. Like a voice out of history, it offers a very simple warmhearted message to inspire confidence in others in difficult times and it is something that should never fade from fashion”.
Adaptations naturally followed and amongst the many thousands created, some of the more tolerable ones include:
– Keep Calm Or Drink Wine
– Keep Calm You’re Not On The Titanic
– Keep Calm And Smoke Weed
– Keep Korma And Curry On
– Keep Calm And Get Over Yourself
– Keep Calm And Chillax (for David Cameron)
– Keep Calm And Kill Justin Bieber
– Keep Calm And Get Certified
– Keep Calm And F**k Off
– Now Panic And Freak Out
– Change Words And Be Hilarious
Increasingly, though, the overuse of “Keep Calm And…” has resulted in even Stuart Manley stating: “You almost get sick of it… Very few are genuinely funny”. There are hundreds of them and some are more bizarre than others. A selection numbers:
– Keep Calm And Have A Cupcake
– Keep Calm And Farm On
– Keep Quiet And Continue Working
– Keep Calm And Rule Britannia
– Keep Calm And Pass Me The Ball
– Keep Calm And Watch Skins
– Keep Calm And Go Watch The Hunger Games
– Keep Calm And Fake A British Accent
– Keep Calm And Hack On
– Keep Calm And Go Gangnam Style
– Keep Calm And Act Like Kate Middleton
Frankly, the majority of us are now bored. The time has come for reasonable souls to adopt the tone of Victor Meldrew. On sight of another piece of “Keep Calm And…” merchandise, the cry should ring out: “Sod Off And Get Lost”.
Barter Books: http://www.barterbooks.co.uk
Watch the Story of Keep Calm And Carry On at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrHkKXFRbCI&feature=player_embedded