Monday, November 23, 2009

Strange being without water. I instantly feel crusty and crawling. I'm squirming in my clothes and my clothes feel grubby on my skin. And that's twenty-four hours only, during which I had two showers. Power of suggestion. Ping, ping, little buzzers go off in the brain and as a city we suddenly realise that all our confidence stemmed from the knowledge that we had a lavish supply of potable water. Now it is gone, and we are undone. Alas poor Cork, when I think of thee.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Marks for Tolerance

Marks and Spensers is my 'go to' store for presents. No-one is disappointed with a Marks and Sparks voucher in their stocking. No hostess recoils when offered Marks chocolates. No auntie sniffs at a Marks bouquet. But not this year. Not since they inserted a notably anti-Catholic bigot into their advertising. For Stephen Fry is now one of the Christmas wreath of celebrities hired to move the product. I was sad when I saw the Fry face leering out from the ad - that face I once thought so expressive, such a funny Jeeves, that tiny eyebrow lift that could have me in stitches, and the faux plummy inflection. Funny people always seem harmless, dont they?

I was flipping through channels recently trying to get some American news when I came across a repeat of a BBC programme called 'Intelligence Squared'. It's a debate format and Stephen Fry spoke against the motion that 'the Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world', or perhaps he spoke for the motion that it was'nt. I forget. Nothing was said that I hav'nt heard silly old bigots say all my life, that has'nt been thrust under my nose in tracts by sad, skinny youths who tell me they're 'saved'. I say, 'nice for you', and go on my way. I dont debate them, and I honestly dont mind them approaching me. But, no sale.

And now Messrs Marks and Spencers, my favourite shopkeepers, are thrusting Mr. Fry under my nose to sell me slippers and nighties and sparkly black blouses. No sale. I'm respecting free speech, and freedom of conscience, and the seperation of church and state, and all the other p.c. stuff, but one think Messrs Marks and Spencers must respect is my total, utter and absolute freedom to choose by whom I will be influenced. And no matter how much Mr. Fry lifts that eyebrow, or says 'hmmmm' in that plummy way, or ends his sentences with that upward inflection, I'm no longer influenced by him as a force for shopping good. But oh, that sparkly blouse was soooooo the office party. And those belgian chocs...