Sunday, November 18, 2007

Everything's coming up, Rosie

ALTHOUGH I occasionally slum it down at Tesco instead of frequenting my usual Waitrose, I have yet to see any of the Spice Girls hiding unconvincingly behind boxes of crackers. Nor have I noticed Alan Hansen, Lulu, Denise Van Outen or Gabby Logan hanging around outside Morrisons, although that could be just because none of them live round here.

And on my biannual raids on Marks & Spencer (two suits, four shirts, a pair of shoes and some socks, in and out in 17 minutes, £400 lighter) I have yet to see Twiggy or that bird in the white bikini from I’m A Celebrity at the returns counter trying to claim a full refund on sale merchandise.

Yet the marketing geniuses behind these ad campaigns think we’re all stupid enough to believe that we’re likely to bump into a superstar while rummaging in the best-before bin for the half price microwave pizza. And don’t get me started on Iceland and their £2 king prawns or Lidl’s frozen lobster. Yes, frozen lobster. I’d rather be handcuffed to the radiator in Boy George’s flat than eat that.

Cheap food, expensive adverts; and that’s when cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good. Is this really what the average consumer wants? Even busy mums?

THE BIG supermarkets came in for another bashing this week with assorted do-gooders feigning horror that own-brand tins of beer now cost less than bottled water. So what’s the problem with that?

If I want to get bladdered on 22p lager then that’s up to me. If you (and that’s if you’re a silly young woman) want to wander the streets clutching a £2.22 bottle of water that could have come out of a tap in Peckham, then more fool you.

Of course, the very idea that the common people should have access to cheap booze outrages the Nanny State Nazis. Don Shenker, policy director at Alcohol Concern, says: “This sends the wrong message. We are trying to steer young drinkers away from alcohol abuse.”

Well dare I suggest that downing eight cans of weak, gassy crap in the safety of your own home (total cost, £1.76) is infinitely safer, and therefore better, than risking a Saturday night on the feral streets of Booze Britain (total cost, £100 and a broken nose)? Unless you happen to bump into a giddy Rosie Webster from Coronation Street, that is.

BUT WAIT. There appears to be something of a revolt amongst the Health and Safety stormtroopers. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (the people who carefully add up the number of trouser-related injuries every year) says that we shouldn’t wrap children in cotton wool and that it is “positively necessary” for youngsters to take part in activities that could lead to a twisted ankle or a cut knee. (We’re back to that minx Rosie Webster again here.)

Chief executive Tom Mullarkey said: “People have this perception of ‘elf and safety’ as something that restricts your life, rather than helping you to live fully and successfully.” Err … well … yes. Who was it that banned conkers, football boots and snorkels? Who took down goalposts on playing fields in case someone ran into them? Who tried to ban hanging baskets in case they fell on someone’s head? Who tried to have all the palm trees in Torquay dug up in case their vicious leaves maimed a passer-by? Elf and Safety, that’s who.

Still, as Jesus said, there will more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who refuse to rub sun cream on burning youngsters in case they might be allergic to it. (And once again, a vision of Rosie Webster makes an unwelcome and probably hazardous appearance.)

DOWN THE years many of this column’s more extreme suggestions have eventually been taken on board by the Powers That Be – giving away heroin on street corners being the most recent. Now they’ve seen sense and done it again, by embracing my argument that fat people should pay more to fly than thin people.

Well it’s common sense, isn’t it? They weigh your baggage and jump at the chance to charge us extra if we stray a couple of pounds over the limit. Yet the woman sat next to you on the plane could easily be twice your weight, and no-one bats an eyelid – especially if you’re travelling in the USA.

It’s actually the Australians who’ve come up with the ‘tubby tax’, with their tame expert saying: “Airlines are buying fuel and if you are carrying a heavy weight on a plane it is you who should be paying for it.” Quite right too.

As ever, there is a dissenting voice. Dr Tim Gill, head of Australia’s Obesity Society (they have a society?) says that it’s unfair to single out those with weight problems and that instead airlines should install a few extra-large seats for obese passengers. Yes, or make them travel in the hold.

sake of propriety, and to avoid the six o’clock knock from the Nonce Squad, I should point out that while Coronation Street’s Rosie Webster is still just 16, Helen Flanagan, the actress who plays her, is almost 18 years old.

It’s a small point, but one that might circumvent any Chris Langham-style nastiness.


Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

The Stout Police (those who want to impose a corpulence surcharge on airline passengers, not those who wish to proscribe Guinness from binge-drinking Britain) are less keen to offer discounts. Why should I pay the same as Mr and Mrs Trilby who are taking their kitchen sink on holiday in Ibiza when all I've got in my luggage is a laptop and some spare shreddies?

9:44 PM  
Anonymous pclfw said...

Just a quick word of advice for the 22p a can boozers. If you drink 22 pints EVERY night, then its not BINGE drinking.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No underpants?

7:52 AM  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Are these the underpants that you seek, Anonymous?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You living cliche.

4:36 AM  

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