Denise

I always thought I knew what Denise Johnson looked like.

But since her much too early passing this week, and the oh-so-many media outlets who have managed to post a picture of someobody who isn’t, wasn’t and can never be Denise Johnson, I figured I’d err on the side of caution.

And instead focus on her finest moment, and give her due prominence, because make no bones about it, this record is as much about her as it is The Scream and Weatherall. Just listen to her: she totally buys into what they’re trying to do, and duly delivers an incredible performance:

Denise Johnson feat. Primal Scream – Don’t Fight It, Feel It (12” Version)

RIP and bless ya.

More soon.

Fair Play

Long time visitors to my little corner of the interweb may recall that I used to write a series, raging against the use of songs I love in adverts.

Sometimes though, you have to tip your hat in the direction of the advertisers because they’ve got their song selection absolutely bang on.

Conceding ground is made so much easier when they’ve chosen a song I didn’t care much for in the first place, of course.

Although sometimes you do have to wonder: what took you so long to use this song in your ad?

A case in point: in the last 8 – 12 months or so (I think, it may just not have crossed my radar before then), a well-known domestic cleaning product manufacturer has suddenly started using this song in their ads:

Queen – Flash

Let’s be honest, it’s a dreadful song from a dreadful movie. Frankly, it’s befitting that it has ended up being associated with mopping up spillages and general grot.

I’d have been much more impressed if they somehow managed to crowbar this, one of the most unsettling dance records I’ve ever heard played “out”, into their ads:

Green Velvet – Flash (Original Remastered)

And there’s another advert doing the rounds at the moment where I have to admit they’ve picked precisely the right record and, fortuitously, it’s another one that I’ve never had any time for either.

I mean, when you’re the largest chain of Scottish-sounding burger joints in the world, and you’ve had to close due to that there pesky pandemic, once you’re allowed to start reopening your “restaurants” – apparently the notorious litigants get upset if you describe what they serve junk or fast food, which is funny because whenever I’ve been in one (and you’ll be shocked to learn that I have) the service is rarely fast and the food is (The end of this joke has been removed for legal reasons – Ed.) – what else are you going to choose to soundtrack the advert which triumphantly heralds such joyous news, than this:

Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack

Fair play to them. I can’t fault that.

But it seems their days adding pithy pop tracks to their adverts are numbered, because last weekend, our glorious leader (sense the tone…) Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Wiff Waff Is-This-What-You-Meant-Dominic? Johnson announced plans to ban advertising junk food on good, honest, decent British televisions before 9pm. Not, as I say, that the company I’m talking about (you’ll have noticed I’m being very careful not to actually say their name, right?) consider themselves to be purveyors of junk food. I mean, a slice of pickled gherkin definitely counts as at least one of your Five-a-Day, even if most people do leave it on the side.

The ban will be accompanied by a £10 million advertising campaign, designed to encourage the population to eat more healthily, and exercise more.

If they have any sense, they’ll have Simon Evans doing the voice-over; he sounds as English as can be, and is very funny indeed, especially when talking about being overweight (he gets there eventually, but I’d recommend you watch the whole clip):

Anyway, the reason behind this new Government-backed health-drive is two-fold, it turns out.

Firstly, it’s thought that, as a nation, we’ve picked up poor dietary habits during lockdown, and need a bit of a nudge to get ourselves back on the straight and narrow. Well, I’ve got news for our leaders: I was overweight before lockdown, and I’m even more overweight now. Not because the quality of what I eat has drastically deteriorated – my diet has remained more or less the same throughout – but because now, bored and unable to leave the flat with anything like the regularity I used to, I eat more. You know, just to have something to do.

Secondly, obesity has been identified as one of factors likely to lead to people catching the virus. Those interfering busy-bodies at Public Health England – the sort of experts we’re supposed to be tired of, according to rubber-faced goon Michael Gove – have published a report into the impact of obesity on people with Covid-19, wherein they say that the case for action has “never been stronger”. The report shows that the risks of hospitalisation, intensive care treatment and – Yikes! – death all “seem to increase progressively with increasing BMI (body mass index) above the healthy weight range”.

And that’s me, folks. I only have to wander in the general vicinity of my local GP and I have abuse hurled at me for being “fat”, and that’s not just the surly youths from the local estate, that’s my actual GP, opening a window to shout at me. He probably feels the shudders as I approach, or spots the ripples in his glass of water, like that bit in Jurassic Park when the kids are trapped in the car.

(This will make you feel old: that came out 27 years ago.)

When I lived in Cardiff, the bloke who worked in the kebab shop around the corner from where Llŷr and I used to live would wave at me as I walked past his frontage, which is just the opposite end of the same stick, I guess.

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Surfin’ USM

(No, I’m not going to explain that song’s apparantly unrelated appearance, you’ll just have to listen to it.)

Just as the anti-maskers held a rally in London the other weekend, protesting at the perceived attack on their civil liberties as the locations where one must wear a face covering increased, while at the same time displaying their stupidity at not understanding the reason for wearing a face mask is to protect them and people they come into contact with, I did toy with the idea of organising a similar demo for us fatties, but let’s be honest, we’d all be shagged out after walking up the stairs from the tube station, so there’s not much point.

Last weekend, Johnson said: “I’m not normally a believer in nannying, or bossing type of politics. But the reality is that obesity is one of the real co-morbidity factors.

Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.”

So at this point, I was genuinely thinking: fair play. That – the banning of junk food ads, the encouragement to lead a healthier diet – is a good thing. And that’s me saying that, and you’ve probably have noticed I’m not the biggest fan of Johnson or any of his inept cronies.

And then I thought about it for a bit.

Although I have exaggerated for supposedly comic purposes, I can’t remember the last time I went to see my GP and he didn’t tell me that I need to lose weight.

Johnson, you will recall, was admitted to hospital earlier this year, having, we are told (and I’m not getting into the whole conspiracy idea that he didn’t really have it) displayed the symptoms of Covid-19. When he was in there, he would almost definitely have been told he needed to lose weight.

He was discharged in March.

Why has it taken him until now, four months later, to come out with this advice?

Surely, immediately after being discharged would have been the optimum point to hoik a thumb in the direction of the hospital and say: “You know what? They gave me some great advice in there”, or whatever the Latin (or Twattin, as it’s referred to in my house whenever he or Rees-Moog uses it) for that is.

And then, on Thursday night, mouth-breather and Health Secretary Matt Hancock made this four-part announcement. On Twitter. You know, like Deranged Donald does:

Now then.

There’s one phrase in that which troubles me. Can you spot it?

This one: “The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing….”

Add that to the sudden rush to identify the clinically and morbidly obese as prime Covid targets, and the whiff of “It’s not our fault, it’s yours for not following the guidelines.” starts to filter under the nostrils.

These are the guidelines which say it’s absolutely fine to, say, go to the pub with members of your household/bubble, as long as you don’t go with other households, and observe social distancing when you’re there. As if the consumption of alcohol will have no effect whatsoever on who you interact with, and how far you stand from them.

And the same guidelines which say you can visit someone from within the same family/bubble, but you can’t go into their house or stay with them.

I think.

There’s a really good article in, of all places, the Financial Times which addresses this. I could quote from it endlessly, or you can jut read it yourself here.

Confused? You won’t be! (honest)

So if people are not following the Goverment guidelines, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doing so willingly. Sure, a very small percentage of anti-maskers may be, but generally – and I appreciate I’m going out on limb here – generally, people don’t want to die. So if the Government guidelines are not being followed, perhaps it’s time to look at those guidelines, and stop churning out contradictory and confusing directives.

In essence: don’t blame us because you can’t do your job.

I’ll just cough the words *herd immunity* and *second wave* and leave you with this:

Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me

More soon.