jo brand's week
Saturday 14 December 1996
Sitting in a queue of traffic on the A40 out of London to Oxford is something I do quite a lot. At the traffic lights, various blokes ply their wares to disgruntled travellers sitting nose to tail. The other day my reverie was interrupted by someone shouting at me, "Oi, Jo!" I turned to see a lorry driver. "Oh Gawd, here we go," I thought - and then realised he was proffering a bunch of roses. With a cheery "Happy Christmas," he passed them to me. What a surprise, because I wasn't even wearing Impulse.
As the Mirror metamorphoses into The Sun, with just the lack of a pair of exposed mammaries to choose between them, it is depressing to realise that the vast majority of people in this country who purchase newspapers - and I use that term loosely - are being challenged intellectually only up to the age of nine. This presumably must be why women are concerned only about Tony Blair's barnet, why no one gives a toss about Europe and why supermodels' opinions on life are valued. The tabloids are a depressing indictment of contemporary British life ... Oh yeah, and they slag me off all the time too.
A company from America has taken over its first British prison, heralding, one would imagine, a bit of a rush by the Americans to sort out our criminal population, as if they hadn't got enough to do back home. Still, it's not really about that is it, silly me; it's about making profits on the backs of a section of the population many of whom started life without a hope. Not having a hope in England does put you in a slightly better position than not having a hope in America, where the size of the prison population is a testament to the desperation of people who have nothing in the richest society in the world. Still, an American ethos which is all but ingrained in this country anyway will ensure that the charmingly named Corrections Corporation of America will be able to drum up plenty of new business, l'm sure.
All those fitness-obsessed people who have tried to force relentless sporting activity down the throats of the rest of us must be very saddened this week to discover that research has shown that young types who take part in non-team sports such as aerobics and tennis are far more likely to become delinquents than those who don't. I have to confess having only been to aerobics once in my life, some 10 or so years ago, and it was the most hideous nightmare I have ever indulged in which seemed to me reminiscent of the atmosphere of those Hitler Youth mass exercises. At one point we had to do arm exercises to the extended version of "Free Nelson Mandela", and I found myself thinking after some minutes, "I wish they bloody would," if only to release us all from this torment. I never went back and I can say, with my poor limp hand on my heart, that since then I've not even indulged in the teeniest bit of shoplifting.
The ego of some people is breathtaking sometimes. I saw a little snippet of news this week about an Essex businessman who has recently paid pounds 80,000 to have a personalised number plate bearing his name, "Nigel". I cannot understand why you would want to drive round and demonstrate to the rest of the traffic on the road that you are prepared to spend a large fortune on attaching your own "I'm a bit of a big head" name to your vehicle. Spending that amount of money on a minor ego massage, when it could have gone to a million better places, seems obscene to me. l'd like to creep up his drive one night and replace it with a new number plate bearing the legend "Knobhead", for that is what he is.
Life & Style blogs
GTA 5 Online DLC: San Andreas Flight School update brings 16-seater jet plane and more
What is ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge?
James Foley beheading: Twitter 'actively suspending' accounts sharing graphic imagery
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
'Long Live the Nazis' spaghetti dish sold in Taiwan renamed after backlash
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
- 4 Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda': Singer finally releases predictable video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...
£32500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Birmingham: European Social Fund...