Thursday, August 09, 2007

Colonel Moseley Returns

What ho! You can’t really win, you know. Over the last few months I have tried to compensate for the lack of summer by showing my softer – some would say, less argumentative – side in this blog.

Accordingly I have profiled Harvey Andrews, reviewed Ibiza and even tried my hand at the exotic haiku. What do I get: thanks, praise for my versatility or what I gather is now called, positive feedback? Not on your life. All I’ve had is one comment that You’ve lost your edge and another You’re mellowing with age, old man.

These misconceptions can’t be allowed to continue, so in an effort to show that the real Colonel Moseley is back and as sharp as ever – well, he never really went away – here are this month’s top ten things that make me seethe – or at least get a bit tetchy:

Advertising on daytime television: many adverts seem to be cynically aimed at those perceived to be weak (at best weak-willed, at worst weak-minded) including overpriced CDs, household manuals and debt consolidation. It pains me to see even the most esteemed presenters peddling debt in this way. I also sympathise with hard-pressed parents whose impressionable children are bombarded with glitzy toy adverts between their programmes.

Volvos with their headlights on all the time: this isn’t Scandinavia. Whether you call them daytime running lights or not - to me they're still headlights. They seem unnecessary and irritating. My compendium of updated sayings and similes would include Smug as a Volvo driver, but that’s another argument for another day.

The length of adverts on Channel 4 and satellite channels: apart from being moronic, dull and irritating, they are far too frequent, too long and too noisy.

Sharp practice on eBay: buying on eBay is a new interest of mine – good fun and an excellent source of bargains with many honest dealers. I notice however that a minority of sellers actually make quite a lot of money by offering goods cheaply but charging an inflated sum for postage and packing. The overkeen novice or the gullible are relied upon to overlook this to their cost - so watch out!

Hazel Blears: what on earth’s that all about?

Personal Service: have you tried recently to make an appointment to see a specific person at the local branch of your building society or bank? When I tried, I had to telephone far away Sheffield and when I turned up at the appointed hour, the branch had no trace of my appointment. When will they realise that this won’t do? If you feel similarly frustrated make a point of complaining and eventually they may get the message

Ingratitude: do those for whom you have opened a door or let into a queue of traffic increasingly take pleasure in ignoring your courtesy? Expressing thanks and acknowledging the kindness of others should be the invariable norm from an early age.

Home information packs: call me cynical, but it seems that HIPs will not materially speed up house sales or tell buyers what they could not easily have found out previously. They may provide employment for hundreds of new inspectors, but I suspect they will make selling property slower and even more expensive. It doesn’t look like progress to me. It makes you tired.

White vandals:
I applaud hard graft and individual enterprise, but don’t think anonymous white van drivers should necessarily get away with manic and inconsiderate driving and bad manners. I read sociologists now refer to them as folk devils: good job too.

Telephone selling: I will never ever buy any goods or services offered in a cold telephone call. Unsolicited sales calls at home are an intrusion and waste of time. They should be made unlawful unless you have voluntarily registered to indicate a willingness to receive them - especially during Countdown or Deal or No Deal

So there you are, there’s plenty left to seethe about - even without mentioning the Scots. Fortunately one can always rely upon the therapeutic effect of Countdown and a Country Slice. Pip, pip!

*a version of this article appeared in Birmingham 13