Jo Brand's week

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The Independent Online
So Pepsi are painting the town blue and very tedious it is too. That animated-ish Barbie doll, Claudia Schiffer, is raking in a fair bit, starring in an ad for the new improved Pepsi can. The story goes like this: adolescent boy has fantasy of being a bit of soap in Claudia's shower, Claudia approaches shower, boy's grinning face appears on soap as he prepares to fulfil his fantasy. Huge fat woman takes Claudia's place - boy screams in horror.

I'm sorry, have I recently missed an important evolutionary event? Can monkeys actually use typewriters now? Are they employed by Pepsi as writers? And how do you write "Ha! Ha! Ha!" sarcastically? The new Pepsi slogan is "Change the script." Yes, please.

As the gap between rich and poor widens, people are being forced to change their eating habits. You see the underclass with no choice but to grub around for the sort of food that the middle classes wouldn't be seen dead eating. Boeuf bourgignon, fillet steak and boeuf en croute. Poor buggers.

And poor little buggers, too. Children have always been the ones who suffer most through poverty and therefore it's cheering to know that charities like Save The Children are around to offer some sort of respite where basic needs are not met. It seems, though, that without even realising it, we are becoming one of those third-world countries with children living on the poverty line. Obviously children here are nowhere near as deprived as their counterparts in the poorer parts of the world, but given the amount of money floating around in Britain, no kids should be going hungry. This is why several charities are getting together to form a more powerful entity to tackle poverty. Good to see them stepping into the political arena. Perhaps the Church might have a bash next.

It seems like everyone's hungry. Apparently vampire bats have started attacking peasants in El Salvador, because there's just not enough food elsewhere for them. Normally vampire bats prefer more digestible snacks, so they must be pretty desperate to put people on the menu. Maybe it's time for humans to put vampire bats on the menu. Given BSE and recent revelations that pigs have TB, they may be the only option left. Remember not to serve with garlic.

I see Liz Hurley is to play Delilah in a biblical epic for an Italian- French mini series to be shown later in the year. Liz, who now has a quintuple barrelled name; "Liz Girlfriend-Of-Hugh-Grant-Hurley" apparently looks wonderful in the biblical costumes according to one of those ubiquitous "spokesmen" who are required to come up with something/anything positive about stars in films. Strangely, he neglected to say anything about her acting ability.

Of course, Delilah was the woman who cut off her geezer Samson's hair, thus destroying his strength, resulting in his capture by the Philistines, but finally leading him to break up the temple column by crumbling column; Liz may well play this from the heart, not being a stranger to someone whose own column crumbled on inspection by a member of the LAPD.

If you live in London or the South-east, best not become a telephone worker. Our voices, it seems, are not very attractive to the earholes at the other end of the line. Some research carried out recently by a professor of psychology showed that when testing the reaction to various regional accents on the basis of trustworthiness, competence and sociability, Scottish accents scored very high on all counts. There seems to be no mention of how polite people actually are on the phone, and this means quite a lot to me. An operator I once spoke to who had a very nice reassuring voice told me I had a very nice voice too, and asked if he could phone me sometimes. I was gobsmacked and hung up. It was the one time I wished video phones existed - he'd never have started in the first place.

Advertising watchdogs recently condemned a poster for vodka using a drag artist, because they said it could encourage drinkers to become transvestites. You what? Oh yes, I can really see that happening. A few sips and suddenly you want to throw on the missus's twin set and swan off to your local bar. If we're talking the effect of advertisements on changing you into something you're not, perhaps we need to examine ads for some womens' products. For example, are the Wonderbra ads going to turn women into simpering idiots? Are the Peugeot ads going to make women leave their homes and rush over the Atlantic to drive across America? Or will wearing Boots make-up inevitably lead to hordes of out-of-control women lobbing cucumber at men's faces, snogging under tables or throwing plates? I think not. Don't be so silly.

The new male contraceptive is as effective as the pill, we're told. It's been tested on 400 men and it's ready to go. Apparently, it works by lowering the sperm count which, I have to point out, Mother Nature seems to be managing fairly well on her own already. I'm not so sure I could be very confident about men and contraception. Some men will say anything to get women in the sack. Can we women be confident they've got nothing in their sac? At present, the male contraceptive is administered in rather unpleasant injection form in the buttock, so that's going to put off men with a low pain threshold. (About 98 per cent of them then.) Still, if it ever comes on to the market, it will make a nice change to see the poor dears piling on the weight and being depressed.

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