There are glaring similarities and when I run through them you will nod your brain before your head, it’s that quick.
When you enter a sandwich shop, which I don’t do very often as bread is not a favourite staple of mine, you can be certain that you will be visually assaulted with a debauched display of succulent fillings that are clearly not supposed to behave on parade. Viewers are subjected to cranberry drip tripping over the Brie, salt or roast beef getting hot under its warm layers of mustard or radish, skimpy lettuce failing to exercise some modesty and cover up the fleshy chicken breast and stark streaky rashers or observe a slow Tango of roasted vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes, drizzle dazzled on by the balsamic vinegar and full on silky mayonnaise. I could go on. And these explicit contents are carefully guarded and propped up between yeast crammed bread slices, slices so yeast endowed, yet so shockingly impotent that they have all the robustness of a wet paper doily, if not the texture of a towel that has weathered away somewhere outdoors, through the wind and rain, over several months; its structural makeup and material, broken down.
A smart upmarket sandwich bar, café or even a restaurant may use kick- ass yeast so that these lame gatekeepers are risen, pumped up, serving as rustic door stoppers- with an imaginary slice of buttered nostalgia courtesy of a television advert for those of us who didn’t nurse a cloth cap and three-quarter length trousers. These are door stoppers with a task, in fact, with a job similar to a corset; to look good while keeping things in, only this time its meat, cheese or salad; keeping temptation in, unlike the impotent stuff, which is strutting its very best, (with a sub-optimum limp), trying to support, trying its foppish best to look good instead of just wet.
Bread is an anti-climax when it’s limp. But more importantly, as far as I’m concerned, bread is a vehicle. It’s just the messenger filled with the good news! It is there only to ‘big up’ the reason for the meal, only there to acknowledge the presence of Manna and make it look good. The filling, for me, is the picture, the bread acts as the frame. I know there are people out there who adore bread and will strongly disagree, will accuse me of swearing. If you’re not one of them then maybe you are still wondering what the similarities are between this and a movie trailer? Hang on.
Of course the costs and profit margins calculated by the food companies dictate the approximate portions and costs per head and armed with this, factories prepare themselves for mass line production. That’s business. And the approach is the same whether portions are dispensed by hand or machine. So the desired filler -you choose- that goes into each sandwich, demands a little thought with how to make it look voluptuous – like your sandwich is bursting with a very healthy portion indeed. So what do they do? You know what they do. We all know, we just don’t consciously think about it. They strategically heap your desired ‘filler’ to sit on the lips of the bread roll or baguette or dollop the filling precisely and entirely in the centre of the sandwich so that when cut in half, the cross-section of the sandwich looks, overloaded and fit to burst. And if wrapped in cling film, the filling looks caught up in a fission; film pushing up against it. Now the sandwich looks like it has such a lot to offer, but when, if you peel both slices apart or pry back either side of a baguette wall, or ultimately just try to eat it, you notice very quickly that the rest of the sandwich has barely anything in it. Bit of a disappointment.
Now back to that big movie trailer. Dolby sound, High Definition, superior colour that sticks its middle finger up at the human colour spectrum and bankable actors to pull you in. The hook is out, and it’s the left hook. You’re given a clip, the trailer that has you feeling emotive; bursting into laughter, or sets you on the path to intrigue. You’ve been seduced by Hollywood. Now they’ve reined you in and you cannot wait to see the rest of the movie. And then you do. You watch the bit that pulled you in, sometimes at the start, sometimes in the middle or even towards the end. And it is like the first time you saw it, very, funny, poignant or powerful. But, oh. Oh dear. Surely there is more? You now realise. What you saw in that trailer was the best bit. In fact, the best bit of the entire movie. You come out feeling a little short changed. You thought the trailer was the start of something good; you were primed to receive more. You consumed the best bit, like the sandwich, but there’s nothing else to consume. It is the new take, the inverse of ‘spreading the jam thinly’, but with the same outcome, that is: little content. They showcase the best and you’re left with pap. Yet we always go back again for more. Sounds familiar?
Have a look next time you go for that sandwich or watch out for that big new movie. And let me know what you think.