Property: Happiness is a warm mortgage

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The Independent Online
I OFTEN wonder why it is that the Great American Public which is so often painted as unforgiving and extremely demanding in terms of quality and value is prepared to accept such banality when it comes to some elements of TV news coverage.

I long ago gave up being depressed by yet another probing investigation into what it felt like to be caught in the rain without an umbrella. I am also immune now to the Eye-in-the Sky Heli-Tele Cam beaming on-the- spot pictures of a cat stuck in a tree. I draw the line, however, at items being passed off as news when they are little more than self-serving promotions for products.

"It is Valentine's weekend, and joining me live in the studio is John MacMuck author of Love - How to Turn the Dream into Reality," announced the news anchor type person.

There then followed four minutes of nonsense in which John puffed his book and the anchor type person demonstrated that she had majored in college in stating the bleeding obvious.

"It's very simple, Marcia," intoned John. "Just answer this question and it will give us some idea of where you stand on the luuuurv scale."

There then followed the most ridiculous question I have ever heard.

"Tell me Marcia, do you demonstrate your affection for your partner:

a) every day

b) every month

c) every year?"

The answer, by the way, is a). John becomes positively ecstatic because he is convinced that this proves that Marcia is well on the way to eternal happiness. It actually demonstrates that she had a misspent youth fraudulently completing surveys in women's magazines.

In different circumstances I would have been quite upset by this vacuous waste of precious air time. However, my keen sense of commerce immediately overrode this emotion and instead I became convinced that now was the time for me to pen my magnus opus, Property - How to be Really Happy and Extremely Wealthy.

It is a simple book based on five basic principles which, when applied to the property market, yield untold wealth and boundless joy. I would happily share these five principles with you but the exclusivity deal I have signed with WHY-O-WHY News in New York prevents me from giving too much away

New York is a great place to launch a book on property. First, there is an unquenchable thirst for the banal and the trivial. Second, the city has taken a somewhat aggressive line on those who are not blessed with a home. Owning property is very much in. Being homeless is very much out.

It is a while since I was last in the Big Apple but I was struck last week by the absence of the panhandlers and the unwashed who used to frequent Fifth Avenue. Apparently the homeless have all been moved on and now gather in a ghetto on the lower East Side well out of the uncomfortable gaze of tourists and civic dignitaries.

Let us hope such an approach does not catch on over here. Unless I get on to the property ladder in double-quick time I too may be rounded up and sent to the Projects.