Keeping us in the dark.

 Having dropped the kids off at school this morning, I found myself behind a milk delivery truck. On the back of it was a big picture of a milk carton along with some joyous text promoting the new 'triple layer light proof' milk bottle. Of course I share their enthusiasm: Before I gave up drinking milk I would regularly eat my cornflakes in the pantry, where it was nice and dark. It just tasted better than milk by daylight. Have you ever noticed what lovely teeth vampires have? Must be all that calcium by night.

Then I would begin my daily fitness regime followed by my dental health routine, beauty, mental well-being, and spiritual awareness. I don't know where I would have ended up were it not for the jojoba and aloe vera scrubs and the many and varied potions and supplements each containing just enough 'real authentic genuine' something to be able to use the name of it. 

When I was an under-nourished musician somewhere in the nineties I saw an ad on TV telling me that if my diet was not all it should have been I should go directly to my pharmacist and ask for this amazing new product by name. I went to the chemist and asked for the product by name. The woman behind the counter said "Why do you want that?"

"Well", I replied, "My diet is not all is should be, so I need this supplement."

"Why don't you improve your diet?" she said.  Why indeed? What a marvellous idea.

To be honest I don't remember but denied my super-charged, plastic bottled, and shrink wrapped wonder food I probably called in to my local dairy on the way home. Here I might have picked up some muffins, say, half a dozen sitting in a plastic tray with a lid, because you need that don't you? You don't want your muffins rolling around in a paper bag. Perhaps a bar of chocolate, wrapped in plastic and made from cocoa harvested in Ghana by a farmer who keeps his goat in the dark because it makes the milk taste better.  And a magazine made from a tree which was busy sequestering carbon until someone cut it down to make paper and print something really important on it; a nice article about Feng Shui - famously described by the erudite David Mitchell as 'tidying up a bit'.

It's all a bit silly isn't it? The sheer volume of time, effort, money, and resources which go into the production of a whole lot of stuff nobody needs. Then there's the endless media hype that goes into persuading the public that that they need to hold a crystal in one hand whilst sucking on a honey lozenge which once passed within a mile of a beehive, tugging on a rubber band with the other which will make them look like a super model in only three minutes a day. 

Imagine if all that effort went into something useful.


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