Wednesday 24 March 2010


Yesterday I was riding the MLC* and followed a car with a flat rear tyre. When we pulled up at traffic lights - just 100 yards from a garage - I tapped on his window. A slightly terrified man wound the window down and listened to what I said. As the lights turned green, he shot off onto a dual carriageway, tyre still flat. I stopped for petrol, and then took a different turning. I assume that somewhere on the dual carriageway this man was stopped with his tyre ripped to shreds. Hopefully he didn't cause an accident. I do understand that a gnarly biker tapping on your window may come as a little bit of a shock, but sometimes it seems it doesn't matter how much you want to help someone, they just don't listen.

At the office we have a selection of radio stations we listen to...Q Radio and XFM vie for favourite station....but sometimes if I have a heavy head Smooth does the trick...

The biggest problem with XFM is the advertising...I'm not adverse to the odd ad or two...indeed if I'm heading to the cinema, I need to get their early enough to see the ads as I just love them. No, the problem with the ads on XFM are that they are all government ones. And that makes my blood boil. Whilst most commercial businesses are moving away from broadcast advertising because (as I believe Henry Ford once said, "Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half), the government are now the UK's biggest advertising spenders. That's your money, my money and our children's future tax bill.

It wouldn't be so bad, but many of these are simply ridiculous things to be advertising. Most annoying was the ad I heard whilst travelling in the West country for an NHS hospital - it's key selling point was that it had he lowest infection doubt that's very nice, but when I have an accident, I just want the nearest hospital to fix me up. And fix me up good. Ads I've heard this week include reminding parents to sort out the MMR jab, putting up a stair gate to stop their child tumbling down, putting a battery in your smoke alarm, for the Blood Bank, car tax, getting back to work, apprenticeships, health and safety executive, transferring your vehicle registration when you sell the vehicle, children's accidents in the home, know your consumer rights, level crossing and paying your VAT on line.

Some of these things are just plain common sense and people should be given credit for working it out themselves, some are things that can be better targeted (paying your VAT online - HMRC know who has to do this - businesses are all registered with them, and could communicate directly when sending out the form) and for the rest...well really it's just a complete and utter waste of money.

I'm told by someone who knows that the glut of advertising is because Government departments need to use up their budgets before the end of their budget year, rather than because of any compelling need for these communications. It would be nice if we could all run our finances like that. So perhaps, if like me you have an overdraft and the bank chases you, you can merely explain that you are using up the remainder of your annual budget.....

* that's a KTM SuperDuke motorbike, but Auntie Gwen calls it my Mid-Life-Crisis