Thursday, 9 June 2011

The trouble with young people today...

We are now being 'entertained' by Dancing on Ice 2011, which has arrived here quite quickly after it was shown in Britain. I won't look anything up because I hate spoiling it for myself - I want to know who wins, but only when I've seen all the dances and outfits, the lights and the sequins, the thrills and the spills, the spins and the jumps. So please don't tell me the outcome, as we're only four weeks into it and I've got heaps of time to waste on the sofa yet. I love the fact that a rider appears on the bottom of the screen reminding viewers not to phone up as 'voting has now closed'. Several months ago. In another country.

I was discussing the dancing phenomenom with friends. As I don't watch any programmes about singing, cooking, decorating, surviving on tropical islands (or even a house) and all the other things that TV producers think we find interesting, it is odd to me that I am so intrigued by the dancing programmes. Perhaps it is because I can't dance to save myself but have always loved the combination of strength and fluidity of movement (being called a 'sugar plum elephant' when I tried my own childish version of galumphing didn't help much, thanks Dad!).

Ballet is impressive, ice-dancing is spectacular and Torvill and Dean are outstanding. One friend reckoned that dancing teaches people respect, elegance, grace, appropriate behaviour and standards of physical contact. In fact, she went so far as to say that 'the trouble with young people today' is that they don't dance 'like we used to'.

I didn't have the heart to tell her that my dancing generally consisted of raving in a field with a glo-stick or leaping up and down in a mosh pit with lots of other sweaty types. I did go in for country dancing when I was a kid (I liked all that heel-toe stuff) but my sisters took the piss. And I once stopped Levellers fans in clogs from stamping on my friend's head after he fell asleep during The Fall at Reading Festival. But I'm not sure that counts. Perhaps that's the trouble with me, too.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Convenience Foods

We are really lazy, aren’t we, us humans?

At the supermarket I noticed that the chopped variety of the tinned tomatoes was all sold out. (Supermarket shopping simultaneously thrills and stimulates me – can you tell?) Fair enough; they were on special, but so were the non-chopped ones and there were still heaps of those left.

Further investigation (gosh, I could work for Fairly Slow with in-depth research like that) proved the second cheapest option also had diced and whole, and once again the diced were sold out – people were clearly paying more for these than the cheapest chopped. Why? Is it so very hard to chop our own tomatoes?

Sure, it may take a fraction longer in the kitchen before tipping them into the pasta sauce, and perhaps time is money, but what is that really worth? A good twenty cents a can in this case it appears.

We buy all sorts of labour- and-boredom-saving groceries; pitted olives, grated cheese, tea and coffee with milk already added (because it’s such a hassle to get the milk out the fridge and add it ourselves), ready-diced pumpkin… actually, that’s quite a good one as peeling and chopping your own pumpkin is a real faff.

So where does it stop? And more importantly, where do we send our suggestions? Because I find peeling oranges really tedious. Invariably the juice squirts everywhere (in the eye or on the white blouse being its preferred landing places) and you get sticky fingers and the rind has to be disposed of somehow and you’re usually on the run or in a car, and they’re simply not as convenient as they might be.

And with all that extra time available, just think of the things we could do... maybe an extra sudoko or two.