One ping, Vasili

In the spirit of diversity and the love-in that is the current state of the post-Brexit British Isles, this is a mixed bag of angry observations. A bit like the bags of mixed sweets you used to be able to buy in the old days, but with added hemlock.

By my calendar, well on my phone thingy anyway, summer ends at midnight on the 20th of September each year. Really? My garden is already littered with all manner of autumnal detritus, including the usual high-end selection of cat turds. My heating has been on for the last week. Oh, and before I forget, my partner and I are enjoying our cosy winter evenings by the fire, dreaming of the day when the kids, no, young adults, will finally stop being self-centred fuckwits so that we can bugger off to Spain.

So, what better way to combat winter blues then by engaging in some online retail therapy. So many new, shiny things to buy and all of them: my precious. The wait. The anticipation. The joy of unpacking. (Unless Royal Mail or Yodel are handling the delivery, in which case you’re fucked.)

And then the monthly statement arrives and you wonder, in that hardcore, nail-biting, arse-clenching way how you are ever going to pay for those must-have geegaws. But you assure yourself they will no doubt be the fleabay star attraction for the next ten days, so that when they’re sold and the gods of PayPal have been kind you, you can use the lolly to buy more geegaws. The cycle of life has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, during one of the recent winter nights I logged on to a retail site selling pullovers. I mean, why drag out the old pullovers when you can drag out the plastic instead? And there it was. Boom! New and Improved. Now, before we get started, let’s just get one thing straight here. I ain’t no grammar Nazi. But third person singulars, double negatives and crap writing make my angerlocator ping at an alarming rate. One ping, Vasili? Fuck off Ramius, my ping is pinging off the scale.

New and Improved. Really? Think about it. That phrase is a claymore just waiting to go off in your ungrammatical face. Why, you ask? Well, let me count the ways. New. If it is new it can’t have been improved because, well it’s new. As a new model, unlike some supermodels of the world, (and yes, I am looking at you Kate Moss) it cannot have been improved. Because if it had been improved, it would not be new but would count as second-generation. (Unlike KM, who is about seventh gen and really should know better.)

Improved. Now there is a hand grenade if ever I saw one. Because improved can mean many different things, but it is always a negative word. Yes, your precious tennis backhand may have improved to the point where you can occasionally return a serve and not embarrass yourself. Or it means that your pullover was crap and you got it wrong the first time but now you are proud to tell the world that you have managed to get it slightly less wrong. Outstanding. No doubt the copywriter’s best efforts ran down his leg and ended up as a brown stain on the office carpet.

I have just been proof-reading this article because grammar Nazis rool, and I have come to the conclusion that it makes me sound like an elderly, cat-owning nutter. Don’t get me wrong. I quite like cats, though I would never own another one due to their propensity to regularly change from a cuddly, loving pet to a feline version of the Chainsaw Massacre at a moment’s notice. I may be somewhat picky about this, but there is little pleasure to be gained in puss trying to rip your face off as a measure to combat its boredom, as a daily exercise regime or to give vent to the inner feline voice telling them it’s Miller mayhem time.

So, having bandaged up my newly acquired cat scratches and given some thought to leaving Satan at the vet, I think I will embrace the fuzzy world of the new and improved retail therapy.

The cycle of life. Or has Marvin the Paranoid Android so deftly put it: Life, don’t tell me about life.

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