The week of living dangerously

If you value your life, don't read the papers. There are perils around every corner – particularly if the corner shop sells killer kebabs

Drinking too much can kill you. Freak weather conditions can kill you. Too much love can kill you, if you can't make up your mind – torn between the lover and the love you leave behind. For the careless and the uninformed, death lurks around every corner. The end of the world is nigh; global warming may be irrevocable; Boris Johnson is the mayor of London. Now, we discover, a simple kebab can be fatal.

The headlines in last week's papers were unequivocal. "Doner Goner" read the Daily Mirror. "Killer Kebabs", warned the Daily Star. Two kebabs a week, they reported, could be fatal. Did they mean that two inadequately-spaced doners are equivalent to an instant overdose? Or are these two specific deadly kebabs, fed into the market weekly by crazed Turkish separatists? Does extra chilli sauce provide no protection?

Leafing through the papers, though, kebab death seemed just the tip of the iceberg. Elsewhere, The Sun revealed that "working in an office may be slowly killing you". The Daily Mail discovered that "desk work can result in fatal DVT". Too much TV is bad for you, as are high heels, flat shoes, fat tummies and joss sticks (they're as bad as passive smoking). But exercise and the pursuit of health are equally risky. Cycling without a helmet is near-suicide, Boris Johnson's advisers have told him, advising a chauffeur-driven limo instead. But traffic fumes are a serious health risk. Going on holiday is bad for you. Going to hospital could prove fatal. So can pole dancing: "Irish performers are being struck down by ugly, blotchy rashes, scales or even warts," seems to be the problem.

This, then, was the week of living dangerously. I had to find out for myself just what kind of dangers we all face. One kebab, apparently, contains the equivalent of a wine glass full of saturated fat, or 1,000 calories. I had my first on Thursday evening, after first lining my stomach with health-giving white wine. Did I feel my pulse quicken – or was that just the raw chilli?

Cycling without a helmet was scarier. Unlike Boris's advisers, my advisers suspect that drivers give lady cyclists a wider berth if they teeter along with a baguette in their basket and a floppy hat. But that was lost on the man in Greenwich who squashed me into traffic, mobile phone to one ear as he pulled out without indicating. "Chill out," he tutted as I squeaked, "Look where you're going!" Cycling without a helmet was not fatal – telling cyclists you have nearly run over to "chill out" could have been fatal, if I had been able to pedal faster.

It's definitely the chauffeur-driven limo for me in future – but even if I do get driven to work, I am putting my life in danger by being here. Aside from deep vein thrombosis, as I sit here writing this I risk sick building syndrome, electronic smog, computer vision syndrome, laser printer-induced lung damage and E. coli from the bacteria in my keyboard. And that's not all: "Smiling too much at work is bad for you," says a headline in the Daily Mirror. Good job I'm not smiling. Time for another kebab.

Weirdly, the local east London fast food shop was packed at 12:15pm. Don't these people read the papers? "Hmph, if they were true I'd be dead by now," said the owner, Hassan. I tuck into the house special (spicy). I wash down lunch with a Marks & Spencer Vanilla Velvet smoothie. It's lethal, apparently – it contains more calories than a McDonald's double cheeseburger. Somehow, the McDonald's double cheeseburger has become an international unit of measurement for calories.

By this time, though, I am struggling. Not with my dodgy heart or lungs, but in trying to find any more ways to kill myself in E14. It's a bit late for underage sex, and opportunities are limited anyway at Independent House. I would marry my cousin, which is very risky, but it's short notice and she's stuck in the office. I apply some lip gloss (it "attracts the sun's rays", causing cancer, apparently) and am feeling invincible.

But hang on... beneath the "Doner Goner" headline, in the small print, scientists reveal that kebab suicide can only be achieved if you eat two a week "on top of an already unhealthy diet of fry-ups and pies... for 10 years". Sorry, readers. My dedication is real – but I'll already be dead at my desk by then.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

    Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

    Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

    £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?