Just make them sparkle and be done with it

The inevitable US remake of the excellent French series The Returned (Les Revenants) is upon us.


Oh dear.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Where do I start?

Cute kid syndrome! Tell the whole story in the trailer syndrome! Get rid of all the mystery and make it all glossy and Hollywood syndrome! Obligatory Christian twist syndrome! Give one character another character’s story syndrome! Hire an actor previously seen in House syndrome! (wait, is that a syndrome? At least it’s not lupus).

As some hilarious person said in the comments: “Victor from Les Revenants would terrorise that little shit.”


Welcome to Londongeles

You may never have heard of this place, but you have definitely seen it: Londongeles is where British characters in a US show live. Here we have Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler in the otherwise very enjoyable series Elementary.

“London” says the caption. And just to hammer the point home, the black cab has an English flag on the windscreen. Do admire the almost subliminal red bus in the background and the slightly more obvious, sooo European, vintage scooter.


A few minutes later, the bus hasn’t moved. I know London traffic is bad but it isn’t that bad.


Brace yourselves for the appearance of a Ford Anglia, a totally common sight on a London street in 2013. Yup.


Seriously, everyone in England drives them. And I do mean everyone.


That’s a very British-looking pay-and-display machine. Not. Plus, the slowest bus in the universe is still visible. I don’t know how much it cost to hire but they’re certainly getting their money’s worth.


This demonstrates what not to do in London: namely leave your bike leaning against a wall in your front garden, totally unsecured, clearly visible and easily reachable from the street. I’m crying with laughter at the very thought of the owner expecting to find it still there tomorrow morning.


More weirdness: in the UK, front doors never open outwards. Although I think we’ve got it wrong on this one; just imagine the possibilities… two words: Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bang.

Nice attempt at Britishifying the door though, what with the panels, pillarbox red paint and lion knocker. Alas, the bizarre letter slot in the wall is an epic fail.


Hope you enjoyed your trip to Londongeles. We’ll be back.

No sense of urgency

Last night I watched Panorama, which was once again dedicated to the national British pastime – drinking in excess – and the unnecessary pressure it is putting on the NHS. For good measure, they filmed inside an A&E department so we could appreciate the full unpleasantness of what doctors and nurses have to deal with on a daily basis. What did the footage show us? All sorts of drunk idiots with various, mostly self-inflicted, cuts and bruises (not to mention the missing brain cells, although this last condition may be congenital) being looked after by very patient medical staff.

Meanwhile, everyone else is being actively discouraged from using the service (presumably to make room for more drunk idiots). There’s a poster in the waiting room of my local surgery, educating patients on what ailment deserves a trip to A&E. It’s similar to this one:

Underneath the picture of five unwell-looking people, you can read this:

Cut finger -> go to walk-in centre
Bad earache -> see your GP
Flu -> stay at home
Chest pains -> go to A&E
Minor sports injury -> call NHS Direct

Basically the message is “If you’re not dying, don’t waste A&E’s time”. Here’s some more advice for the general public (click pic to read):

Take a closer look at the red bit:

A&E or 999: Only for those who are in need of immediate, life-saving care“.

Needless to say, the drunks featured on Panorama were emphatically not at death’s door (one guy was having a cut to his chin treated after trying to run around a lamp-post as a game). So why the double standard? And why are none of those “don’t waste NHS resources” campaigns aimed at the biggest NHS-resource-wasters in the country? I suppose NHS bosses don’t want to throw good money after bad…

An A&E nurse said

“At peak times, 70% of A&E presentations are alcohol-related in some way, whether it’s indirectly or directly”.

This statistic sounds rather scary at first but is in fact a totally meaningless figure. If people with non alcohol-related problems do as they’re told and refrain from going to A&E for treatment (some people have actually received letters from their GP scolding them for daring to do so!) then it’s perfectly obvious that the majority of users will be a) the dying ones and b) the only non-dying ones who are still welcomed with open arms:

I recently declined the offer of an ambulance during an excruciatingly painful attack of sciatica in the middle of the night because I just didn’t fancy spending a minimum of eight hours in A&E, watching dozens of intoxicated morons with a bleeding face get stitched up whilst I waited in the queue, trying not to scream in agony. Call me fussy.

Happy-go-lucky scampi

I have been following Channel Four’s Fish Fight campaign, and last night I saw this programme: Dispatches – Fish Unwrapped about the shady goings-on within the fish industry.

One anecdote in particular caught my attention: we were shown a bag of “wholetails of scampi coated in crispy breadcrumbs” and then told not to expect the product to contain any whole scampi tails! Apparently, according to the law the bag would be labelled “single wholetails of scampi” if this were the case.

It may be legal and all but I find this practice massively disingenuous. After all, the words ‘whole’ and ‘tail’ are pretty self-explanatory. No one is psychic, and expecting the buying public to instinctively know that “wholetail” actually means “bits of tail that are above the minimum legal size” is asking an awful lot.

Whose side is the law on exactly? What is the point of having regulations if there is so much wiggle room with no obligation to inform buyers that they’re basically being misled?