Try a nice cup of young, modern beverage solution

WHAT? WHAT? What? What? It's a column, a column, it's a columnolumnolumnolumn sha-BUM-bum-bum-bum, sha-BUM bum-bum-bum, oi!, gissa -

Sorry? No, no. This is the new-style column, the young, modern column to go with the young modern nation wha tha wossname Blair , tha Tone, ripe? e's pry minster, yeah? fu -

Say again? Ah. I see. That's my non-standard, English, as is only appropriate for a young, modern column. You wouldn't really want me to write in dreary old standard English, would you? I mean, even the World Service is going to be modernised, following intensive, scrupulous market research which showed conclusively that heeeheheheeeehooohohooooo AAAAAAHH hee hee he hahahahahahahah oh bugger me, so sorry, it's the words "market research", they always set me off, nothing I can do about it, sorry. Sorry.

No, it's just that the BBC, a young, modern organisation (headed by John Birt, a young, modern man who embraces the young, modern notion that everyone who wants to watch television must contribute to his salary or risk being sent to prison) has responded in a young, modern way to young, modern market research, revealing, inter alia, that:

! 31 people in Burkina Faso think that most BBC World Service producers are married to a chintz sofa called Marjorie,

! Six Polvotsian goatherds answered "Yes" to the question "Do you believe that some people think the BBC World Service is redolent of very English things like the Houses of Parliament and cheerful Cockney sparrers?" and

! A very old man picked at random from a party of retired Zimbabwean ophthalmologists on a day trip to Kariba Dam expressed the conviction that 57 per cent of World Service presenters wore bowler umbrellas and carried a furled clotted-cream bus whether or not it was raining London fog.

Can't have that, of course. Quite the wrong image. Guidance has come from on high; Blair, in between sticking up for the potato-faced Clinton, has made it quite clear that we are to present ourselves as a ... what? Come on: yes, a young, modern nation, and that means one thing to the BBC: a vile salmagundi of regional accents and pop music.

It's jolly clever, you must admit. First of all pull the wool over Johnny Foreigner's eyes by broadcasting to him in dialects he cannot possibly understand, then stupefy him with the repetitive imbecilities of Burp, Plod and other young, modern guitar beat combos, m'lud. The only problem is, we are not a young modern nation. We are a very old one, with a history of quite astounding distinction. This wet little island, dripping and shivering, has exported its science, its thought and culture and language and technology, throughout the world for centuries; our sheer power has been almost unparalleled since the Roman Empire; every breath we take, every step we make is instinct with the accretions of time; living in England is like inhabiting a great echo-chamber where our own words are picked up and whispered back to us by numberless immemorial ghosts.

And this - all this, which people from other, less distinguished countries admire and revere and dream of and come to visit us hoping to find - this is what we must destroy or repudiate in order to become young and modern. Yes! Hooray! We can be like America, ignoring the fact that America is at root just a sort of mass-market Bowdlerised supermarket version of us. We can throw out Mr Blair and get ourselves a proper leader, someone so innately touchy-feely that he simply can't stop wanking over anyone who comes within range. We can dispose of the BBC and get some proper, young, modern television, written by machines and acted by demographically- representative androids. We can start doing young, modern things like shooting each other and believing in angels and seeing the figure of Death at our bedheads ("He was like this like really like you know guy, nice haircut and all, and he was like 'Everything's going to be okay' you know?"). We can legalise pornography and outlaw sex, we can promote choice and restrict variety, we can stop bothering with ethical problems and never again consider the question: How should a man live?, but go shopping instead.

But this will not be enough. We will have to change ourselves. And the great question of our time must therefore be: how do I become a young, modern person?

Fortunately, again, we have guidance from above. The first step to becoming a young, modern person is to say you are a young, modern person. Practise it. Go on: tap your beloved lightly on the forearm - do it now - and say: "Honey, I am a young, modern person." Do it. Just do it.

See? That wasn't so hard, was it? The mockery and stupefied incomprehension: you can live with them, can't you? Of course you can. Now you must go on repeating it. Don't just say "Coffee, darling?" Say - preferably in the Nordic carillon plainchant of a deep Geordie accent, if you can manage it - "Here at [mention your address], we are in a young, modern beverage solutions market, adapting to your ever-changing needs in a fast-paced society. Customer profiling and an in-depth analysis of consumer needs shows clearly that coffee is the preferred beverage of that critical target-group which wishes to project a young, modern image. I feel your pain, [insert personalised endearment here, e.g., darling, sugarplum, studmuffin, etc] and I am responsive to your beverage-based desiderata, which is why I have a real sense of personal self-actuation in offering you a delicious cup- style container full of finest Arabica, freshly ground and drip-filtered for Flavor Without Bitterness. Young, modern and Mmmmm ... It's Smoooth. A-BOOM ching ching ching, a-BOOM ching ching ching.

A few months of this and, hey presto!, you will be young and modern. True, your darling, sugarplum or studmuffin will have smacked you in the mouth and done a runner, but not to worry; you'll be able to sit at your computer, deracinated, arid and woozy, frotting blearily over your digitised pornography; and, bless my soul, you don't get more young or modern than that. !

Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea


In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops


Arts and Entertainment
Full circle: Wu-Tang’s Method Man Getty

Music review

Arts and Entertainment
When he was king: Muhammad Ali training in 'I Am Ali'
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game