Perfect for when your oven breaks down on the M1

`From now on, AA men will be trained to do basic repairs to gas- fired central heating'

From British Gas to all members

Dear AA Member,

You may have heard on the news that the AA was being taken over by the owners of British Gas, and you may have thought to yourself: "Hello, hello, hello, what the bloody hell's going on here?"

Excuse me (you probably felt like asking), but where exactly's the link between a car that's conked out on the M25 and some TV chef turning up the gas under his crepes suzette? Where does getting a car kick-started on a frosty morning fit in with an invisible gas which comes through underground pipes and cooks lunch for the family? What on earth are gas people going to know about things like perished fuel pipes?

Good question.

And there is a good answer too!

Because, when you think about it, who is more likely to know about perished fuel pipes than a gas company!

Yes, keeping a car going and supplying gas have a great deal in common. A car is powered by the ignition of a small quantity of gas. And a mixed grill is cooked in exactly the same way!

There's nothing that we at British Gas don't know about what a little gas explosion can do!

So you can trust us with your car. And trust our knowledge of roads, too, because we've dug up more roads than you've had hot dinners (prepared with the aid of clean, easy, high-speed British Gas!)

And that means that now that the AA has been taken over by a company that really knows its gas, we can relay instantly to you our up-to-date news about holes in the road! Yes, our new Gas Dig Instant Update News Service (or GNUS for short) will enable you to avoid the build-ups caused by gas mains being dug up in a way that a car-centred organisation like the AA could never quite do in the old days.

Also, we enclose a cheque for pounds 240 to shut you up.

Of course, you are quite at liberty to say, "That's all very well, but isn't it a shame the way more and more traditional firms are being swallowed up by faceless corporations? Only last week Tesco was being snapped up by Walmart or some American monster, and now the AA is being swallowed up by the owners of British Gas, Centrica, whoever they are. Yes, who exactly is this firm Centrica? "

That's a very good question. It's so good that instead of answering it, I'm going to draw your attention again to the cheque for pounds 240 in this envelope. It's what we call a windfall.

What's a windfall?

Well, to put it another way, it's a little present to keep you quiet and uncritical.

All right, not a windfall. A sweetener. Because research has shown that when a shareholder gets a little hand-out, he or she will agree to anything in return.

Of course, you are quite at liberty to say: "Hmm, I'm really pretty impressed by this cheque for pounds 240 which has floated unexpectedly through the post to me, all because I once joined the AA after a particularly nasty breakdown in the rain in North Wales, and I'm really glad that your knowledge of the gas business is going to be brought to bear on car repairs, and the best way to drive through France, and I just wondered if it would be possible to pay my gas and electricity bills as well, next time I called out an AA man?"

Yes, you certainly can! From now on, any AA man will be empowered to take payment for gas and electricity bills, and wilI also be trained to do basic repairs to gas-fired central heating and gas boilers.

No doubt you're thinking to yourself that this is all too good to be true, and that there's bound to be a catch.

Well, yes, there is.

The real reason that we are buying the AA is that the AA has the power to put up yellow signs all over the place, saying Road Black Ahead and Diversion Ahead and Traffic Rerouted Ahead.

When people see these signs, they always follow the diversion peacefully without ever blaming it on the AA. However, if the gas people introduce a diversion when a gas main is dug up, we always get all kinds of flak.

Not any more.

From now on, we shelter behind the yellow signs of the AA.

Now you may well say to yourself, "Mmm, there must be more to it than that, still, they've sent me a sweetener for pounds 240 so it would be a bit ungrateful to grumble, and I'll just keep quiet - in fact, you never know, it might also be worthwhile joining the RAC, because there might well be another sweetener on the way there..."

Attaboy. Good luck.

Yours sincerely,

British Gas.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada