The Big Apple

New York – the city that never sleeps. This insomniac metropolis, fuelled by coffee, is known for its fast paced heartbeat, which keeps the city alive day to night. NYC, like the cool kid on the block, has a host of aliases that its meagre neighbours can use in their gossiping.

Gotham City.The Melting Pot. The Empire State.

The Big Apple

I asked myself – why the big apple?  Why of all the glorious and abundant fruits, choose the apple? Perhaps it had a religious undertone, and the forbidden fruit was chosen to represent the sins the city has bathing in its blocks and alleys.  Perhaps an apple to represent the humble American apple pie – an analogy that a slice of the city is possible for any man or woman who is brave enough to try and survive in the concrete jungle. It turned out that neither of these were true.

The city was first described as the Big Apple  in the 1920’s by a sports journalist called John Fitz Gerald who called his regular section in the Morning Telegraph, “Around the Big Apple.’

Ok…but that still doesn’t explain why he chose that does it? Well like most good ideas – this one was stolen. Well, perhaps not stolen, but in the end credited to the wrong man.

In his own column, Fitzgerald wrote of how the Big Apple came to be – and it began at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Racecourse. He wrote:

“Two stable hands were leading a pair of thoroughbreds around the the Fair Grounds in New Orleans and engaging in desultory conversation. ‘Where y’all goin’ from here?’ queried one. ‘From here we’re headin’ for The Big Apple,’ proudly replied the other.”

The Big Apple was jockey jargon. It was a niche word. A private word used most likely only among the chatter of the men involved in the training and riding of horses who had not yet won big.

The Big Apple was not a place to them – it was a prize, a big win, a platform to the next echelons of the sporting world. A chance to earn the big bucks.

Nobody went to the Big Apple. You wanted it.

And so the name became engrained in daily life and ultimately popular culture. New York, the Big Apple. The city that never sleeps, in the land of opportunities. To many it embodies the American Dream – the aspiration for bigger, for better. A dream that those stable boys back in 1920’s New Orleans had.

And so even with the ticking of time, the aspiration for the Big Apple – continues.

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Jump On The Bandwagon

Ladies and gentlemen. I have become someone I vowed never to be.  I have buckled under the marketing pressure. I have been ensnared  in a trap made from system boards and modems. I will soon be one those people whom I have always scoffed at nonchalantly , mocking them for their lack of originality,  whilst feeling safe  and content in the knowledge that I am not one of them. Or should I say  that I was not one of them.

I am writing this on my vista equipped , panoramic sized, so heavy nobody could steal it fast enough, laptop. I am replacing this martyr of a PC – a pioneer in its heyday – with a sleeker, lighter and significantly smaller  device which moonlights as 1 of my 5 a day. I am leaving this loyal and faithful housewife of mine , for a younger, hotter more talented model.

I have – Jumped on the Bandwagon. The one overflowing with juicy apples fresh from the factory, shiny and ripe. Best before – the next system upgrade ( or best before it bends right !?)

But where did the bandwagon originally come from and where along its journey did we come across it and hitch a ride ?

Bandwagon’s were  – would you believe it – the wagons for the bands which traveled with circuses back in the mid 19th century. To herald their arrival in a new town, circuses would parade down the main street with their bandwagons – if you’ve got it flaunt it right?  But if anything these circuses had nailed marketing 101. By showing the  town’s people a  sneak peak into what the circus had to offer –  what freaky delights, what wild creatures, what  travelling tricks they had – the parade was prime opportunity to drum up interest and enticed locals to part with their pennies. It took half a century for people to realize that they had fallen for the allure of the bandwagons and the flamboyant displays of advertising they encapsulated.

And of course if there’ something we all know about advertising, it’s that there’s always an ulterior motive somewhere; a secret agenda, an unlicensed ingredient, an unknown sponsor. And like most good ideas in life, it wasn’t long before politics began to manipulate the innocent  wagon’s  of the circus folk into  prime campaigning real estate. Bandwagons began to be used by aspiring politicians as a means of getting in touch with the people and for delivering false promises  to them  (in politics this is known colloquially as a delivering a  “speech.”)

The earliest reference to jumping on the bandwagon was in political speeches made in the late 19th century where the public were warned not to ” jump on the opponents bandwagon in haste.” So the saying originally didn’t mean to follow the trend and what’s popular, but rather it was a token of advice , a scaremongering political move to warn people not  to listen to the politician on the bandwagon from the opposite party. But alas politicians no longer parade the streets in open topped wagons , and the saying now is used to describe the act of following the majority and what’s a la mode.

So I have jumped on the bandwagon. I will be another drop in the ocean of fruit loving fanatics.

I shudder at the thought that I will begin to defend my purchase with the classic ” but  they don’t get viruses.”

That’s right, because my new laptop will be up to date with its vaccinations. So here’s hoping the old saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away is true. Because I sure have hell have paid for this apple – bandwagon and all.