Alice Jones: I don't see why the Royal Mail should get a pat on the back for simply doing its job

 

Share

Somebody give the Royal Mail a medal. It is doing ever so well. It continues to deliver letters, sometimes on time, sometimes even in the face of what one could only describe as "quite a lot of rain".

I say sometimes, of course, because this week one sorting office decided to stop delivering to a certain mildly mossy street in Doncaster on wet days after a postman slipped and fell over there.

Now the valiant souls have made a pledge: to keep up the goodish work throughout the Olympic Games. This week, I received a glossy flyer in my postbox headed "Delivering for London". "During the Olympic and Paralympic Games," it said, bursting with pride, "we'll continue to deliver your letters, packets and parcels, six days a week, all over the capital."

Break out the bunting! Let the vuvuzelas sound! The Royal Mail will continue to do its job for 17 days this summer (excluding Sundays and very rainy days). In other news, hospitals will continue to tend the sick, the internet will remain open for clicks around the clock, and you will, repeat, you will, still be able to buy milk. And somehow we'll all try to carry on living our lives even though in east London there will be thousands and thousands of people watching thousands and thousands of other, more muscly people run, jump, dive, shoot, row, and so on, for the glory of their nations.

Why shouldn't the Royal Mail continue to do its job during the Games? Everybody else is hoping to – and relying on services like the Royal Mail to help them do so. Postmen can still do their rounds even as a million spectators descend on the capital and its transport network. In fact, pounding the streets will probably be the best place to be.

Surely the ailing organisation has better things to spend the extra 14p slapped on every first-class stamp than on glossy mailshots. Spurious Olympic-branded advertising is everywhere – men's moisturiser which apparently makes you a better diver; fast food which spurs you to run faster; sanitary towels that help you hurdle, that sort of thing. Bandwagon-jumping nonsense it may be, but it's preferable to the doom-laden tone adopted by the capital's services when it comes to the Games.

Transport for London has already set up an entire website – Get Ahead of the Games.com – predicated on the notion that it will seize up come 27 July, including a blog about things to do near key stations when it's a 78-minute wait until the next Jubilee Line train. Now the Royal Mail expects a pat on the head for manfully getting on with doing what it's supposed to in the face of a Big Event. With 41 days to go, the attitude is more "Bear with us. We'll muddle through. Hopefully!" than gung-ho "Just Do It!". It's hardly the stuff of which champions are made. Team GB, indeed.

Dinner-party deceptions

It's the solution to a quintessentially first-world problem. A catering company has invented a ruse for hosts who want all the glory of being a Gordon or a Heston, without the hard graft. Or, to put it another way, who want to have their cake, eat it and be begged for its recipe all at the same time.

Housebites, a home delivery service for gourmet meals, has added a "dirty dishes" side order. For an extra £5, chefs will provide a plausible array of dirty pans which you can strew around your Aga to trick gullible dinner guests that you've been slaving for hours, rather than ordering in. On the website, a three-course meal for four, plus encrusted Le Creusets, comes to over £80, not counting the cost of wine or strenuous lies to your supposed friends. You could economise by washing the pans up, which gives you a £2.50 rebate. Or you could just, you know, go to a restaurant.

The angry young men (and women)

Forget the elegant soliloquies of Shakespeare. There's a new theatrical trope in town: the young 'un's rant. The last three plays I've seen all have one thing in a common: a scene where a character stands up and gets really, really angry about the state of things. It happens in Love, Love, Love where the penniless, houseless, childless daughter of a pair of blossoming baby-boomers attacks her parents for ruining her life by selfishly having it all.

It happens in Posh, where one of the toffs sounds off about the mediocrity of modern Britain. ("This has got to be worse than it's ever been!") And it happens in Boys, where one new graduate tells another: "You're never going to earn what your parents did. You're never going to be able to afford the house that you grew up in." All written by young talents under 35, the plays are not flawless but they are of the moment – painfully so. I can't remember a time when the theatre felt so in tune with my generation, so engaged and bristling with life. A moment to savour, then, but my goodness it can get you down after a while.

Twitter: @alicevjones

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin. Was Russia awarded the 2018 World Cup unfairly?  

Fifa arrests: Is it the final whistle for corruption in world football?

Mary Dejevsky
Alternative futures build into a chronicle of chance  

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015: Winner Jenny Erpenbeck’s historical novel grips and dazzles

Boyd Tonkin
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
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
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
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
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
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?