Monday, 30 January 2017


Scene: a breakfast room in a PremierLodge Travelinn, somewhere near Manchester.

Time: 8.37 am.

Waitress: Is everything all right, sir?

Customer: Well since you ask, it's all frankly, rather disturbing. This sausage obviously came from the bargain end of the range, where the nearest it came to being real meat was to be shown a photo of a smiling pig. This teabag, whilst being labelled as a 'Twinings Everyday Rich and Full Bodied', was obviously made from the sweepings off the floor that Twinings found left over in the warehouse after everything else had been sorted, packed and sent off to customers who actually like tea. Then we come to this allegedly fresh, but rather sinister glass of orange juice. Is it really meant to be glowing in the dark?
Let's go a little further. You've got a large prominent image of the artist LS Lowry displayed on that wall, next to an image of his blue plaque. Yet when I am looking around this room, I can't see any other prints of his work although he was born just down the road. However, what you do have is a strange selection of sub-Lowry pictures showing cheery working-class-type people in caps and headscarves walking along a chilly beach. And we are over 30 miles from any beach because we are in Manchester, a metropolis not currently noted for its beach settings.

And whilst we are on that subject, why is Manchester so big, with a road system apparently designed to reduce grown men to tears at the prospect of having to find their way about it? Why is Salford Keys designed to look like a giant LEGO playset? And what possessed the collective minds of the BBC to plonk themselves up here, spending millions on a new base, when most of the people they're spending half their time filming or interviewing, seem to be living and working 200 miles away in London?

And staying on that subject, let's wonder why this fancy Conservative government's idea of a  Northern Powerhouse of investment in infrastructure, somehow seems to stop here, half-way up the country, instead of being spent much further up in the Northeast, where there is higher unemployment, trains that frequently break down, and a road system that by the time it reaches Scotland, is roughly the width of a large farm track, and where the locals talk wistfully of a dual-carriageway they once saw near Alnwick?

Then wandering on to the wider world scene of 2017, we have Brexit, Trump, Vladimir Putin,  a pushy People's Republic of China, rampant nationalism across Europe, and the whole thing being selectively reported to us by Rupert Murdoch's money-grubbing News International, the Guardian's 'Oh, let's have a demo and that'll sort it', and the BBC that somehow lost £100 million down the back of a sofa installing a communication system that doesn't work, and so they've had to cut back on actually making programmes for people... So no, everything's definitely not all right.

Waitress: Sorry, I'll just get all those sorted then.

Customer: Thank you.

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Any requests of subjects for future posts in 2016? No idea too stupid for consideration. And yes, I know I am a bad writer, so don't bother saying that unless you can write something better. But maybe there's a topic buzzing around in your head that you'd like to see covered... because I've got a keyboard here, it's loaded with letters, and I ain't afraid to use it.