Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fleecing the inebriated underclasses

IF I went round night after night mugging drunks and morons for a living, I’d soon be banged up in chokey.

(Actually I wouldn’t, but let’s not allow the reality of NuLabour’s “tough on crime, tough on nothing very much really” policy interfere with a good story.)

Yet two of this country’s major national broadcasting institutions regularly fleece the inebriated and the underclass by dangling in front of their piggy eyes the carrot of big cash prizes that seem remarkably easy to win when, in reality, they’d have more chance of catching George Michael in bed with their wife. Unstoned.

I refer, of course, to those late night quiz shows that occupy the TV hours that Patrick Moore and the Open University used to inhabit, and the moronic quizzes that now seem compulsory for every single daytime programme. You know the kind of thing: “What colour is custard? Is it A> Princess Diana; B> Aardvark; or C> Yellow?

Even then I’m sure some sofa-bound scrotes think back to their schooldays (or what there were of them) and shout “Pink” at the telly.

Cheery Cheggers starts the day with a £10,000 giveaway, and from then on it’s just relentless. At night, the scam is even more insidious, with questions that wouldn’t even test a remedial class of Welsh five-year-olds dangled in front of people who’ve spent the evening imbibing liquid self-righteousness.

You may wonder how ITV and Channel 4 can afford to give away such huge amounts of dosh. It’s simple. So profitable are these “quizzes” that the commercial channels are pocketing far more from this racket than they actually do from selling adverts. Literally millions and millions. It’s scandalous.

Now I’m sure we’ve all been tempted. I’ve known the answer to a Millionaire £500,000 tester; you’ve probably worked out that custard is yellow. Yet dialing that seductive number is about to cost both of us more than we reckoned. You see, every time you phone in it costs you 75p or a pound. Not too bad in the daytime but at night, when you’re desperately trying to get through to answer that desperately easy question, mashing the redial button means running up a massive bill. And you don’t get through; you just get asked to leave your details. And it still costs you.

Now it would be unfair of me not to record the fact that the TV companies have built in safeguards to protect the braindead and gullible from themselves. If you look carefully at the tiny small print at the bottom of the screen, you may just catch the information that says contestants are limited to 30 calls a day.

Thirty calls a day? At a pound a time? How good of them. You tell me how a tracksuit-clad, cud-chewing, chain-smoking, pizza-eating, alcopop-swigging, single-parent baby machine in a council flat is supposed to be able to afford £30 a day on phone-in quizzes? And still score her weed for the weekend?

I’ll tell you what’s the greatest condemnation of this distasteful practice. Mr Rupert Murdoch, reckoned by vast swathes of the British establishment, from far left to far right, to be the earthly manifestation of the Devil Incarnate, has refused to have such shameless swindles on his satellite stations. That, my friends, says it all.

OF COURSE, if stupid people weren’t spending all their time sitting on the couch redialling phone-in quizzes, perhaps we wouldn’t have just won the honour of being The Fat Man Of Europe, with 25 per cent of our population classed as obese.

As ever, NuLabour has an answer to this problem – fruit-eating lessons. Caroline Flint, our public health minister, actually said out loud that too many people see fruit and vegetables as “scary food”. She also called on supermarkets to mount displays to take the menace out of peeling an apple or even a banana.

Menace? In peeling a banana? What do they think is in there? Poison gas? Flesh-eating gremlins? The mind boggles.

But every cloud has a silver lining. It is a fact that the majority of fat people are in the north of England. It is therefore logical to expect that the entire country will eventually tip on its axis like a see-saw, lifting up the south of England and so saving it from the catastrophic flooding forecast by the global warming nutters.

Sometimes you just have to think laterally about these things.

AND IN through the door burst the Jokeforce, the special units of council staff set up by the government solely to provide material for satirical columnists. This week they’ve been active in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, where tomato sauce was banned from school canteens on Health and Safety grounds (even though it’s one of the best sources of vitamins and anti-oxidants there is); and in the leafy borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, where a team of hard-hatted council staff has been out with a cherry-picker crane clearing horse chestnuts of conkers before local kids start throwing sticks up into trees, so creating the danger of a stick/head interface.

Brilliant stuff. Keep it up.

I HAVE a complaint. It’s a perennial column-filler for lazy journalists to start complaining about Christmas merchandise being in the shops earlier and earlier every year. My beef is that they’ve started complaining about it earlier than ever this year.

THIS BUSINESS with North Korea is all very worrying, but while we’re talking about clouds with silver linings, at least we might get some new episodes of M.A.S.H.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone attempting to read this column without first removing their veil, of anyone who's still refusing to give in and turn on the central heating, or of anyone not distraught at the shabby way Fred Elliot, I said Fred Elliot, was despatched from Coronation Street. The Big Man needed a Big Death, and expiring off-screen on Audrey's doorstep isn't a Big Death.


Blogger Jimmy McTourette said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Jimmy McTourette said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Jimmy McTourette said...

She's right about the bananas Bazza.
Bananas use ethylene to stimulate fruit ripening. A bunch of bananas
will stay green for a long time until the ethylene concentration in the air around them becomes high enough. When that happens, then they begin ripening and they begin releasing more ethylene, which makes them ripen faster and release more ethylene, etc.
I know, I know - you all thought that I didn't care.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Flaming Nora said...

If you want to read more about Coronation Street and/or Fred Elliot's demise, have a peek at Corrieblog at It's brill!

2:47 AM  
Blogger Jimmy McTourette said...

Flaming Nora reads the Guardian Bazza - well worth the watching.

7:17 AM  
Blogger The Weardale Militia said...

gbkcoyEr Umm Lad just managed to get back to the farm and escaped all those red Indians attacking the Virgin Train. How bizarre is that – what’s it all about. The local “Pig and Trough” is full of Red Indians residing there enjoying pints of “Old Oil Sump” a particular local brew whilst they wait for another train to come by.
I had a phone call from some enterprising young man who offered me a loan for £5,000 up to £500,000 without any problems. He asked me if this would be of use to me and I said I wanted the maximum I could have and I needed it straight away. I could hear him salivating and the drool was oozing out of the earpiece like liquid honey. He asked me all sorts of personal questions to which I answered :-

The divorce was going to be costly and that would take up most of the money.
The wife was getting the house and I would live in a caravan so not much collateral there.
I could not work due to being laid off due to stress and this could be a long term disability.

He put the phone down on me – what happened to phone etiquette and common courtesy

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Tom Green said...

I knew that about the bananas Jim. That's why I puts me green tomatas in the fruit bowl rather than on the winder sill.

5:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home