SAVILE & THE BEEB
Anyone who knows anyone at the BBC will appreciate Jonathan Maitland’s quote from an insider there at the height of the Jimmy Savile revelations …
“I don’t know how it will end but one thing is certain: we’ll all be sent on a course.”
The course was called Respect At Work, says Maitland, Telegraph 5.4.14, and does actually appear to have done some good here and there.
David Cameron threw a meaty bone to features editors everywhere by making a comment, in conversation with John Lewis staff, about how chatty and “engaged” he found shoppers in their supermarket arm, Waitrose.
Turns out the other half of his supermarket experience spectrum is Sainsburys, which he uses when he can’t find a Waitrose. As Lynsey Hanley comments in Gdn 5.4.14, we can probably assume he has never been in an Iceland in his life.
Lynsey Hanley is the author of Estates, a book on growing up council, which I must read, having quoted her a couple of times now. See her comments on supermart sociology, and 400 readers’ responses, at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/david-cameron-waitrose-supermarket-asda-morrisons/
She suggests that the polar opposites of the food-class hierarchy – although not necessarily much different in price – are the microwaveable cheeseburger and fresh sea bream.
Anthony Peregrine, Teleg 15.3.14, took the mickey out of the side of French food Brits have not yet come to terms with. Nice little magazine piece, along with some more from Peregrine writing as Lerosbif?
Of authentic boullabaisse, he says: “If you can survive mountains of some of the ugliest fish in God’s sea, you can probably survive Marseilles.”
Sue Owen of Colwyn Bay in letter to Teleg. 29.3.14: “It is possible to own too much. A person with one watch knows what time it is. A person with two is never quite sure.”
Rachel Johnson, editor of The Lady and sis to Boris, had to defend herself after taking part in a documentary about living on the breadline and saying her hosts on the other side of the street lived “like animals”.
She said: “I wasn’t trying to belittle them. When you live in food poverty you’re in full-time hunter-gatherer mode. Every day is a series of setbacks …
“You’ve just got enough for the barest of essentials, so you sit watching tv with your coat on, smoking. You walk slowly to the food bank, or benefits office, killing time to save energy. It isn’t a life. It’s an existence.”
Jeremy O’Grady, editor of The Week, picked up on Labour’s Chuka Umunna saying: “We’re all capitalists now.”
O’Grady commented: “I know we should marvel at the transformative power of capitalism but there’s something vile about it, too. It leaves no corner of existence unfingered; it takes anything good, true and beautiful and bastardises it. The glories of classical music become soundtracks for airlines; Bob Dylan a T-shirt; the counterculture a fashion poster. Nike has muscled in on the loneliness of the long-distance runner; tour operators and TripAdvisor have tamed the world’s wild places …
“The authentic shrivels and dies: all experience becomes an arch wherethrough gleams a company logo.”
The Week’s website is very incomplete but you can read the whole of O’Grady’s entertaining little rant at https://www.facebook.com/GarvanHill?hc_location=timeline&filter=3/ – thanks to a fellow scrapbooker, Garvan Hill. My compliments to him for getting there first on this one.
Stephen Bayley, promoting his book on Charm in the I of 14.3.14, summed up: “Charm deodorises the stench of testosterone and lubricates every transaction … charm students should be made to study the George Clooney Nespresso ads.”
Just found a note dating from my first days in Leeds, in the early 1990s, when my colleagues on the Yorkshire Post were still enjoying the story of the visitor from London who insisted on going to a greasy spoon for a full fry-up, then asked for cheese and biscuits – and got a Dairylea and two Penguins.
From somewhere in the early 2000s I have a note of John Prescott having talked of “traditional values in a modern setting” and a merchant navy man saying it reminded him of the mess-room phrase “same old shit, different sauce”.