Thursday, October 14, 2010

On a recent trip to an NHS walk-in centre with mini-W1's asthma, we were treated to the most extraordinary collection of low-budget public information commercials. Mainly sponsored by the local council and other public bodies, they played without sound but still managed to convey a vivid sense of life in the UK today.

We saw children stupidly leaving bikes outside their houses, inviting the attention of casual tea leaves. Older youths messed about on train tracks, while otherwise well-meaning citizens somehow forgot their bag for picking up dog mess.

One of the weirdest ads - God knows how the concept was ever approved, let alone how a budget was found for it - showed a young man driving dangerously without a seatbelt and almost hitting another vehicle. The message was that although he'd survived this particular piece of recklessness, smoking would kill him. Mini-W1 was understandably mystified by the strong suggestion that driving like a loon was ok, as long as you didn't light up a fag.

Our favourite ad had a 'don't judge a book by its cover' theme. Terrifying hoodies turn out to be goodies - helping granny with her shopping in their spare time. Perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions? Unfortunately, in the next commercial, a hoodie throws a brick through a car window, sending us into a state of profound confusion.

It's an emotional rollercoaster. And that's before you even see the doctor.

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