Thursday, May 21, 2009

Once you pop a revolting mixture of corn starch, flour and fat you can't stop!

Delighted to read this morning that Pringles lost a court case in which they were trying to avoid paying VAT, and in the process revealed what we suspected all along: they're fucking revolting.

After years of marketing, you may have been under the impressions that Pringles were a particularly moreish type of potato crisp.  Well now the makers have strenuously argued that they're not - because they're only 42% potato.  33% of a Pringle is flour and fat.

They lost, and the court thinks they are a potato crisp (how did they reach that conclusion)?  So Pringles now face paying back £100m in VAT.  But after these revelations, they may not have this problem in future - would YOU buy them again knowing what you know now?  No sales = no VAT.  Everyone's happy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh no. The shadow culture secretary is called Jeremy Hunt

Even a blind man at the bottom of a mineshaft at 3am can see the Labour Government is screwed, and I've come to accept with great sadness that the best thing that can possibly happen to Labour now is a period in opposition, where they can spend time trying to rediscover their morals, common sense, humility and political beliefs.

Yes, it means we'll get the Tories back, but that's OK because at least we'll know where we stand, and we won't need to feel confused and conflicted about hating the government again.

But one thing that distresses me is that I just found out the Shadow Culture Secretary is called Jeremy Hunt.  This is disastrous.  

The current culture secretary, Andy Burnham, is the most convincing of Labour ministers.  He tries to get people to call him Andy which shows he's down with the kids, and by pretending to like 'the footie' and having once been the drummer in Shed Seven, he shows he is more in touch with the culture of mainstream Britain than any other MP. 

One of these men is currently the MP for Leigh.  OK, I made that bit up.

But a culture secretary called Jeremy will be disastrous.  You can imagine the cabinet meeting.

"OK chaps, now Jeremy's going to update us on the latest in our - ahem - extracurricular activities."

"Thanks Dave.  OK, yeah, so as of tonight the Light Programme will play back-to-back albums by Sky, cos they were bloody good, yeah, they played classical music but with rock instruments and they were a proper band no matter what the oiks who used to flush my satchel down the toilet say.  And we're introducing mandatory after-school stamp clubs, and I've set up a sub-committee, chaired by Miles and co-opting Animal - heh! - to look into rolling that out to a choice between stamps and chess by 2013.  The ban in all physical sports comes in to affect in November, and we'll be using the stadia as playgrounds where people can play tig, and Knock Knock Ginger Run Away.  And Mr Murdoch has bought the televised rights for the national Dungeons and Dragons tournament till 2015." 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Labour Breaks My Heart

How can we ever vote for them again?

News today that in the light of the dreadful, cynical abuse of expenses, rather than apologise or hang their heads in shame, they are instead calling in the police and trying to work out how to sue the Torygraph for printing the details.  I used to imagine that the Tories used to abuse power because they were Tories.  Now it seems you abuse power simply because you have  it, whoever you are.

The double irony is that this has happened in the same week they've announced the introduction of ID cards in Manchester.  What makes me laugh is that the party line on the threat posed to civil liberties by ID cards is, "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear".  The antics over expenses show that cabinet ministers are seemingly exempt from this argument.

It's such a facile concept anyway - it ignores the whole concept of privacy.  There may be things I"m not scared about, but I'd rather people didn't know.

So next time a cabinet minister trots out "If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear," I suggest we all write to them asking questions from the following list:
  • What was the last thing you claimed for on expenses?
  • Have you ever told a lie to your children?
  • Have you ever picked your nose and eaten it?
  • What colour underwear are you wearing today?
  • Do you have any birthmarks on your private parts?
  • Have you had a shit yet today?
  • When was the last time you masturbated?
  • In your view, what's your partner's biggest fault?
  • And what do they think yours is?
If you asked me any of these questions I'd be offended, and I'd tell you to fuck off and mind your own business.  But none of them touch on anything illegal - if you truly believe "nothing to hide, nothing to fear", you won't mind answering them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A little vignette of consumer Britain this afternoon - I went out on foot into Stoke Newington to buy a chicken to roast tonight and came back empty-handed.

The two shops that sold them within walking distance were Whole Foods Direct and Tesco Metro.  I baulked at paying over £12 for a tiny specimen in WFD ("What Fucking Daylightrobbery"?).  And then in Tesco, the price tag of £2.90 for a chicken that was, if anything, slightly bigger, was just as off-putting.  

According to the label, the chicken meets "all the production standards that Tesco requires."  What an insulting, patronising, meaningless statement.  Of course it meets Tesco's standards, otherwise it wouldn't be on the shelf in fucking Tesco would it?  But there is not one shred of information on what those standards might be.  It would be a true statement if Tesco insisted chickens were played chamber music and allowed to sleep on soft cushions every day of their lives.  And it would be equally true if Tesco insisted that every chicken was pumped full of toxins and subjected to waterboarding for three days before being killed by having its intestines ripped out through its little beak.  Ridiculous. 

The chicken was, of course, in their value range.  Stokie Tesco only stocks value range chickens because their stock seems to be dictated on a demographic profiling of Stokie that probably uses census data, which is now almost a decade out of date.  If you notice, Tescos in nice middle class areas stock lots of lovely fresh fruit and veg and fresh herbs.  In poorer areas they fill the shame self space with nasty cheap shit and food they know is unhealthy for people, because that's what the plebs will buy.

Stokie is gentrifying, so the stocking policy is wrong.  But what's particularly insulting is that the working class population round here has a high proportion of Turks - go into one of the Turkish groceries across the road and it's bursting with bunches of fresh herbs and lots of exotic veg (the problem being they display it outside in the traffic and it's all droopy and grey) .  But Tesco has no room for these ethnic idiosyncrasies and so does a disservice to both its posher and poorer catchment area.