I've never had particularly strong feelings either way about Esther Ranzen, harmlessly entertaining us of a Sunday evening, exposing the dodgy double-glazing salesmen, and Cyril Fletcher with his allegedly humurous odes. Until today, that is. Don't ask why I was watching the ad-breaks on daytime TV this afternoon; it's a long story, but there she was, microphone in hand, with a studio audience just like the old days, urging anyone with a slightly stiff neck, possibly after a nasty incident at work that they'd almost forgotten about, to phone the Accident Advice Helpline immediately. Their claim would be handled by a team of lawyers dedicated to ensuring that their convalescence would be lucrative.
This advert is bad on so many levels. All concerned should be ashamed of themselves for assuming that "people's champion" Esther Ranzen would lend credibility to a business that is... well, let's just say questionable. Ranzen joins my Hall of Shame for people lessened, in my eyes, by taking the adman's dollar. She'll be joining, among others: Jane Fonda (see this Dead Ringers parody of her Anti-Ageing Cream ad), Penelope Cruz (another Dead Ringers target, and, parodying himself, the once-legendary Rolf Harris.
It's enough to make you weep. As is (but in a different way) the following video - Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performing the title track from the wonderful "Time (The Revelator)".
I was going to say something about the sale of 4.4 billion pounds-worth of EuroFighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia, but I think that's probably a subject best left alone. I'm sure the people of the Middle East will be sleeping easier in their beds tonight. All I'll say is that those Typhoons fly over here sometimes, tearing the air as they hurtle down the estuary and out over Cardigan Bay. An impressive display of sight and sound. If I had a spare $50 million or so I'd have one myself.