Selfie? You can stick it.

We just haven’t got enough photographs of ourselves, have we?

You may have albums full of yourself with the family, the dogs, the cats, birthday dinners, Christmas around the Trivial Pursuit board (just kidding ok, no-one, ever took that picture) on the beach, in the pool. These were probably taken by other people.

But what about those times when you’re on your own because your friends have gone to the pub or perhaps you actually have no friends?

I mean, who needs to record tedious views of picturesque landscapes or funky architecture when you can make yourself the main feature in photo after photo after photo?

Sound familiar? Nope it doesn’t to me either.

If anyone had ever said to me “Hey I’ve got this great idea! It’s a stick! You attach your camera or your phone to it and take a picture of yourself!” I would have told them where to stick their stick.

This is the reason why I’m not a millionaire or a shrewd person who can recognise a trend and capitalise on it. I will never invent something which will sell all over the world. I am way out of touch with the masses.

If the sample of Chinese tourists at Repulse Bay, Hong Kong was anything to go by, hundreds and thousands of people are using ‘selfie sticks.’ As a nation, it seems they have embraced the selfie stick more than any other.

Sitting on the gently curving beach under a tree after a swim on a warm afternoon, there was nothing to do but observe the constant stream of visitors to the beach – all of them on coach tours of Hong Kong from mainland China.

Coach after coach stopped at the roadside with monotonous regularity disgorging scores of people. They milled around a bit by the side of the buses, extracting hats, umbrellas (to fend off the sun, not the rain) and cameras and extending and attaching their selfie sticks before venturing on to the beach.

There was no wasting precious time with random wanderings – they walked directly across the beach towards the water’s edge. On the way, they stopped at several key photographic opportunity points.

One of these was the tree under which I was sitting. One Chinese girl made it clear by facial expressions and hand movements that she’d like me to move so that her boyfriend could get a photo of her with my tree.

I moved and watched as she threw herself lasciviously around the tree rather as I might have done with given free rein with Hugh Jackman. She kicked one leg out and smiled coquettishly. Her boyfriend wasn’t very quick with the camera but she was in the zone, trying another pose leaning teasingly against the tree and pouting. An old Chinese guy stumbled across the sand behind her so that one had to be reshot.

And then, boyfriend produced a selfie stick and suddenly they were both under my tree, using my shade posing, arms around each other and making happy V signs. Don’t ask me why the Chinese love V signs but it’s pretty obvious no-one ever told them about Agincourt.

I got fed up with waiting, so moved my towel and beachbag bag into shot to indicate the end of the photoshoot.

Meanwhile the phalanx of beachlovers were endlessly strolling down to the sea, looking out at the sea and container ships plying the sea on the horizon, and then turning around and walking back to the coaches. I suppose, on their whistle-stop tours, they were only allowed 15 minutes free time before continuing to the next viewpoint or resort.

Everyone took photographs – and most had selfie sticks. I concede that the selfie sticks were handy for taking pictures of groups with everyone in, looking desperately happy and chummy for the camera.

Selfie sticks were essential for the single people. One guy in a suit with the jacket open checked his shirt was done up, smoothed his hair into place and stuck a knee out at a jaunty “this is me enjoying the beach” angle before taking four pictures of himself from different angles against the hazy blue sea background.

Some threw themselves into fun poses and arranged wide toothpaste advert smiles intended to convince the folks back home that they were having a tremendous fun time with their mates.

In spite of this huge selfie demonstration, I’m still clueless as to the actual appeal of the selfie. The views were rather lovely but surely better without anyone gurning in the foreground. The idea of posing like a B movie starlet is just cringingly embarassing and would cause guffaws of laughter among my friends.

Maybe I just need to go on an Introduction to Selfie Poses course. There must be one. Several girls were adopting what seemed to be a popular simperingly sweet pose with a hand held limply under their chins. Their own hand, not anyone else’s – just to be clear.

They weren’t blinking or yawning or laughing so hard they looked like a mule with a new hat. Hmm, maybe there are some lessons to learn from all this…



About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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14 Responses to Selfie? You can stick it.

  1. Those buildings in the background in the first shot look familiar.

  2. They give selfie sticks away at the supermarket checkout in Korea to loyal customers! I was particularly pissed off by them last year when in France… It was almost impossible to ever see a work of art through the forest …

    • janh1 says:

      Oh jeez…
      I can imagine! They take up a lot of room. Think they are banned on the Empire State Building, NY AND the Forbidden City in Beijing.

  3. Isobel says:

    Just try crossing Westminster Bridge in high season. it’s hard enough now, but the selfie sticks are making it an obstacle course!
    It really struck me last November how many people turned up ostensibly to view the poppies in the moat, but really to take a selfie of themselves grinning in front of this memorial to the dead. Bizarre.
    I hope you ahd a good holiday.

    • janh1 says:

      They hadn’t been on my radar at all until a week ago. No selfie sticks in Gloucester or Chelters yet…
      Yuck.. that’s hardly respecting the dead “Here I am taking this great picture with loads of poppies!” ;-/
      Yes thanks, Isobel. It was short but very sweet 😀

  4. Darrel Kirby says:

    Agree selfie sticks are rapidly becoming the bane of modern life, but even without them the whole art of cheesy posing leaves me cold. The Chinese are undoubtedly the experts, but Italians come pretty close. Best is when they all disgorge from the bus at some unspeakably attractive location then proceed to photograph themselves and each other against the bus!

    • janh1 says:

      Have you seen one in Glawster yet tho, D? I haven’t.
      I’m kind of glad it’s not just me that doesn’t get it. 🙂

      • Darrel Kirby says:

        None in Gloucester yet, but give it time – by summer the Cathedral will be bristling with them.

      • janh1 says:

        I’ll keep an eye out, D. I don’t feel Gloucester has “arrived” as a destination until it’s bristling with selfie sticks 🙂

  5. juliabyers10 says:

    Well you made me laugh on an evening when I’m feeling glum, so thanks Jan 🙂
    Hope the holiday was fun and the family well xx

    • janh1 says:

      Thanks Julia. Yes, all ticketty boo. Not much sight seeing but a *lot* of “wheels on the bus” 😀 Hope you feel more chipper soon. xx
      Stand by for the blog about the inflatable Kim Jong Il.. .

  6. If it’s not been done already, selfie sticks for iPads would be even more of a hindrance 😀

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