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Showing posts from February, 2012

Expect the unexpected

On a packet of Quorn: 'Pieces can be cooked straight from frozen - good to know for when the kids bring home unexpected friends for tea!' Who might these unexpected friends be, I wonder? Children from a circus troupe which happens to be passing through town, perhaps? 'Yes darling, I have plenty of Quorn. Are your strange new friends vegetarian?'

The big, fat problem at the heart of reality TV

There was an understandable backlash against the Channel 4 posters promoting the latest series of Big, Fat Gypsy Wedding, one of which I saw prominently displayed yesterday over busy road junction by Vauxhall Bridge in London. The copy simply read: 'Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier.' There certainly is a casual racism here, as we would never allow a similar jibe at another group which had its own distinct ethnic and cultural identity. I've been concerned in recent years by the readiness of younger people in the UK to use the term 'pikey' to describe someone or something perceived to be chav-like, trashy or dirty. Many probably don't realise that it's a racist and derogatory term for a gypsy. There's another problem revealed by the bigger, fatter, gypsier line though and it's this: reality TV shows have to raise the shock bar with every new season. If the show weren't 'gypsier' than before, maybe we'd tire of it. It's the promise of

The free market delivered to my door

A glossy leaflet arrives through the letterbox at Woodford Towers from advocates of a new 'free school' in my local area. This is inspired by the crackpot policy of the Tories and their Lib Dem pals that lets any group of parents club together and start educating children at an institution they create themselves. The founders can take over a disused office block, for example, and teach the kids transcendental meditation, if that's the vibe they dig, man. (If you think I'm joking, I've already seen the ads for a local meditation school.) Leaving aside the obvious political and philosophical questions - why I should be allowed to set up a 'free' school, but not a free hospital or police force, for example - the policy initiative seems to have created a playground for the under-employed middle class, whereas it was originally trumpeted as a way of raising standards in tough, inner-city areas. Commendably, the instigators of the free school proposal in my ar

Seeds of doubt

Don't you think there's a danger of this loaf being overtaken by other brands?

Hold on a minute... 70p, boss...

I've long been fascinated by the way in which British newsagents are always conducting a phone conversation when they serve you. Often they're talking in one language on the eau de cologne while dealing with your purchase in English. Could it be that they're all connected to the same, never-ending conference call?