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Birthday suits birthday cards’ strong suit. (Column No.1461)

Birthday suits birthday cards’ strong suit. (Column No.1461)

Birthday suits birthday cards’ strong suit.

The local newsagent watched me pacing up and down his card aisles for quite a while before eventually coming over to ask if he could help.

“I can’t find any half-decent birthday cards”, I lamented.

“Maybe it’s a generational thing”, he responded, looking me up and down, managing to ignore the golden rule that the customer is always right and insult his customer in the same breath.

“Yeah, I think you’re right. All these cards look like they were printed generations ago”, I retorted to regain the ascendency. Well, I would have said that if I had thought of it sooner, but alas I was halfway to the next newsagent by then.

Further fuelling the flames under my collar the next newsagent had an almost identical selection, apparently printed in 1973.  

What’s going on?

Did someone buy Hallmark and just start printing the same cards over and over again starting from the first?

I thought we’d moved on from laughing at pictures of two old ducks on a park bench discussing their failing senses and falling body parts. Who buys that sort of rubbish? Clearly people like the newsagent himself.

“Do you remember the minuet”, says one. “Heavens no, Beryl, I can’t even remember the men I …”. Actually, I probably would have bought that one, but you know what I mean.

Many of these cards poke fun at bits that poke out now, complete with graphic images, or make light of the failing eyesight, arthritis, bad hearing, or the inability of the recipient to get up or get it up.

Yes, the puns are worse than tabloid headlines.  

Many cards also relate to excrement of one kind or another.

Who wants that rubbed in their face on their birthday?

The newsagent was correct in one sense, 50 per cent of cards contain age-related or generational slurs while another 50 percent relate to issues with obesity or being ugly.

Another 50 percent suggest the recipient is stupid.


And that only describes half the rubbish on the card shelves.

The other half relate to alcohol and excessive consumption thereof or the effects it will have on you, or how it will cure everything, or help you overcome the fact you have married someone fat and ugly.

Is it co-incidence there’s a bottle shop right next the newsagents?

In the end I gave up. Might as well test the theories.

St Hallett Barossa Blackwell Shiraz 2019, $55. This staple of the Barossa is as classic as a Hallmark card from the '70s and in an amazing quirk of serendipity, you can still get both. This however has improved with time, and it was pretty good to start with. 9.5/10.

St Hallet Barossa 'Blockhead' Shiraz Nouveau 2021, $26. The quirky name label wouldn't be out of place on a nouveau card (there's a suggestion Hallmark) and go well with the wine as a birthday gift, which the makers suggest could be chilled in summer. Couldn't everything? 9.1/10.

Coppabella of Tumbarumba Pinot Noir Chardonnay Cuvée Prestige '5 Years', NV (2018 release), $60. The ‘5 Years’ is the time on lees, which is a pretty serious amount of time, wand perfectly fitting because this is pretty serious stuff, not a million miles from serious Champagne. More like 17,000km, and way cheaper. 9.5/10.

Moppity Vineyards Hilltops Lock & Key Merlot 2019, $25. Lock & Key is a tribute to a convict heritage so the perfect wine for celebrating a change of date for Australia Day. Bet they don’t have any cards to celebrate that, but this would be a suitable wine with which to accompany it. 9.2/10.

St John's Road Barossa 'Motley Bunch' Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz, 2017, $24. Here's a twist on the ubiquitous GSM, a GMS! That should put the cat amongst the pigeons either of which would go nicely. But you wouldn’t want an MSG. 9.2/10.

St John's Road Barossa Valley Line and Length Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, $24. Winemakers are always looking for real life comparisons to their craft, perhaps as justification for their art. But who would call cricket art…maybe that's where I went wrong in school? 9.3/10.