Six phone lock screens you'll rightly get the piss taken out of you for

FROM the overly saccharine to the hopelessly unfashionable, these lock screen pictures can do serious damage to your street cred.

A meaningful quote 

Usually accompanied by the sun setting on a tropical horizon, an inspirational quote is a particularly insipid choice which richly deserves the pitying looks it gets. It’s unlikely that your friends will pass comment though, because that that cursive ‘Never give up’ you rely on for daily motivation has them worried you’re close to the edge.

Your girlfriend 

You like to think it touchingly makes you look like a First World War soldier with a soggy photograph of his sweetheart in his breast pocket. But actually it sends out the message that she owns you like a pet and quite possibly made you upload this dull photo as a reminder of your bondage. 

A meme from several years ago 

A guaranteed way to mark yourself out as a hopeless old fuddy-duddy. Perhaps the hilarity of a low-res screenshotted Facebook post of Homer Simpson has been an enduring pick-me-up for you, but to your teenage relatives it just means you’re a soon-to-be-dead relic of a bygone era, even if you’re 38.

Your dog 

Should this touching tribute to your pet include some kind of love heart or pawprint filter, you are in justified bullying territory. You no doubt have many pictures exactly like this one which your friends are sick to the back teeth of seeing, and often refer to yourself as a ‘dog dad’, or something equally creepy. 


This is unforgivably vain, whether you’re standing in front of one of the Seven Wonders of the World or not. The only people who have pictures of themselves everywhere are unhinged dictators, so you’re either a would-be Stalin or a hopeless narcissist who derives pleasure from gazing at your own shit-eating grin. It’s a handy warning to potential partners, though.

Whatever came with the phone 

You’ve opted to leave your phone on factory settings and that nondescript stock image of a mountain range says much more about you than a niche reference to your interests or a personal memory. Specifically, it says: ‘I am dull as f**k, creatively bereft or shockingly lazy.’ You may also have an old Nokia ringtone that makes everyone look for the old codger in the room.

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'The principal boy can identify however she pleases': The middle-class guide to explaining pantomimes to your kids

TAKING your precious darlings to a form of entertainment more usually attended by the working classes? Here’s how to explain what the hell is going on:

‘The principal boy can identify however she pleases’

Yes, you’re right that the principal boy appears to be a girl who is having a romance with the principal girl who is actually a girl. But, as you know, we’re fully supportive of people identifying wherever they choose on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Apart from you, because Mummy has already planned the very traditional church white wedding you’ll be having in 15 years’ time.

‘It isn’t nice to call people ugly’

We never say people’s faces are ugly, do we? It’s very mean, so we’ll ignore what the sisters look like and say they’re ugly on the inside. Mummy never criticises anyone’s appearance, apart from Katie Price, Sharon from EastEnders, Nikki from the school gates, Daddy’s first wife and anyone who uses lip fillers. They’re not organic, darling.

‘Breaking the fourth wall is a Brechtian technique’

Brecht popularised the technique of breaking the fourth wall, as you know from your prep school performance of The Good Person of Szechwan. Yes, it’s true that a meditative soliloquy on the nature of morality isn’t the same as a council estate boy called Jaxxon sitting next to you yelling ‘He’s behind you!’ but think of pantomime as a kind of naïve folk art, like granny’s collection of African tribal masks.

‘Shakespeare used innuendo too’

Yes, daddy did snigger a lot when Widow Twankey said ‘The Prince’s balls get bigger every year’. I know you didn’t understand it, but all you need to know is that it’s a special kind of joke for grown-ups that the world’s finest writer William Shakespeare used a lot. And also that Daddy is an infantile idiot and Mummy could have done a lot better.

‘No, I don’t know who Paul Chuckle is either, darling’

This pantomime was billed as having a host of celebrities starring in it, but I must admit I’ve never heard of them. Perhaps Paul Chuckle is better known for his work at the National? Maybe Wolf from Gladiators is a cutting edge performance artist? Anyway, whoever Lisa Scott-Lee is, I’d rather she showed a bit less cleavage as fairy godmother because your father seems to be unable to stop staring.