It said in the paper that among the cheating techniques used by the recently heavily fined game show broadcaster ITV was the pre-selection of contestants based on an assessment of ‘whether they would be suitably lively on camera.’ On one occasion, ‘a winner who was already known to the production team was chosen because they were considered “bubbly”‘. I think there may be some tips available here.

While it’s clear that ‘bubbly’ is a gendered quality I see no real reason why men should not effervesce in their own manly way. It is obviously better to bubble than be an ill-dressed, hesitant, soup-flecked party whose intellect and accompanying non-aspergised (see previous post) knowledge specialisms have depth and texture that would enable them to sweep the game show floor. It may be the case, however, that some readers, while drawing a line at identifying with the soup element in the profile submitted above might feel, nevertheless, that all that has hitherto lain between themselves and nationwide small screen exposure is a deficit in the outgoing department.

It would be good, then, to be able to imitate bubbly even if one were essentially saturnine. It may be that one would say privately, to oneself, ‘I poo poo bubbly’ but this need not stand in the way of its affectation. To do it well we must work on our body image. Not what the body looks like but how it is seen in the mind. If, say, one often thought of oneself as a wad of damp, abandoned fabric being passed peristaltically through a dark, interminable tube made of insufficiently greased asbestos then it should be possible, and cognitive behavioral therapists will support me warmly here, to tweak the image so that it becomes something upbeat. Even the word ‘tweak’ has bubbliness and we’ve barely begun!

What do I feel when I bubble (apart from fabulous)? Well – currents of joie, for one thing. They tinkle along the arms and legs, pixillating my very fibres and inducing a slightly jumpy and erratic muscular activity which translates as shrugging, eyebrow raising, eye widening and the delicious like. It’s a force, really, and when you let it flow it shows people how alive you are. The bubbles actually shape the way your lips move so that, like a goldfish, words escape encased in bubbles that force your mouth open gradually then allow it to close smoothly over the receding curvature.

Some people say that bubbly is a form of depression. What do they know? A friend told me that she had been chatting with a man who worked as a fitness trainer for a prominent chain of health clubs. The company had been taken over by another well known and tentacular company so the latter had to give all the staff new uniforms in a different colour and retrain them so that the logos on their mental imagery reflected the vivacity of the new parent.

The staff were instructed to attend a retraining day in a big hall. On stage were a small number of uniformed boosters, wearing the tee shirts that would soon be given to the massed employees. Lively pop music was playing as the trainees gathered. It was known that the boosters were looking for new people to work as managers of various teams in the clubs.

Most of the employees were depressed and resigned because that’s what spray-on ebullience does to you, so they stood around looking interested and trying on various versions of alertness. There then bounced into the hall a young woman in shorts, tee shirt, a peak cap and spotless sneakers. She too, like the sullen figures around her, was a staff re-trainee. The young woman, to the despair and fascination of her colleagues, proceeded to dance around the room to the beats of the popular upbeat music. She emitted small but excited yipping noises and smiled continually.

The boosters invited her up onto the stage and told her she had exactly what it took to be a team leader. And lo, she became one.