Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Don't worry. This isn't as negative a blog post as it may sound.
Today I was struck by how many pointless things happen all around us. My first inkling of this came to me while travelling to the train station in a thick fog. Most car drivers had sensibly put on their headlights. A silly few suicidal sleepy-heads were driving unlit. Then there were those who'd put on their sidelights only. Why are cars fitted with sidelights? What do they do? What are they for? The cars with sidelights on may as well have not bothered. You could only see them from about 10 feet away. That's when I thought to myself ... what a pointless invention! Why not have lights or no lights? Why this in-between, dim and pointless sidelights nonsense?
The second pointless thing was railway announcements. It started well when the speakers at High Wycombe station announced that 'the train now standing at Platform 1 terminates here'. Platform 1 is a dead end. Then, a short while later, passengers on board the train at Platform 2 were asked to ensure 'that they take all of their property with them when exiting the train'. This was about 30 seconds before the arrival of the train. But lest you think it's just High Wycombe Station, think again (I should point out that it's a great station; clean, well-kept, and with helpful, courteous staff. And Chiltern Railways who operate the line is the most efficient in the UK. I thought I'd better say). On a later train journey, on the London Underground, the in-carriage announcements were out of synch with reality and told us, as we arrived at each station, the name of the one before. Great fun. Especially for the tourists.
And then there was this building I spotted in Earls Court. I presume that the left hand building was built after the right and therefore obscures at least two thirds of the advertisement. There is no gap between the buildings. And these are not new buildings. So how long has that pointless third of an advert been there? Why hasn't anyone got rid of it? And what did it advertise? My bet is something to do with holidays in Gotham City.
So, can you suggest some equally pointless things?
Government ministers and departments are exempt.


Nola said...

The headlights thing is one of my pet hates!!!! I am sooooo glad someone else has noted this. On dull, rainy or foggy days why don't people put them on?? I swear they think it is like electricity and they get charged for useage!!! I think all vehicles should be fitted so the headlights come on automatically when the ignition is turned on? I think Volvos and some other makes already do this? Thanks for allowing me to vent on your blog, Stevyn.....but you started it!!! :)

Stevyn Colgan said...

Nola - Vent away! A pleasure to receive your rants!

chris hale said...

Police force mottoes. I'm not talking about the rather nice Fortis et Virtute kind, but rather the To Protect and Serve or Making (insert city/county) Safer type mottoes. How pointless are they? Is there a police force that either doesn't want, or doesn't attempt, to do these things? I suppose wo could have something like Keeping on top of Paperwork or Hitting Targets, Saving Money.

I still prefer my own versions - Better than Nothing or What did you Expect?

John Soanes said...

The existence of 'Wash And Go' hair products in separate shampoo and conditioner form, when their initial raison d'etre (all right, raison de vender) was that you shouldn't have to take two bottles into the shower. Are they lying now, or lying then?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - One of the more cynical I once heard was Working hard to offend no one. Ouch.

John - Good point. Perhaps they should rebrand as 'Wash and stay awhile' or 'Shampoo and conditioner all in two!' We didn't use shampoo in our house. We had real poo.

Debby said...

I hate when some new convenience food comes out and tries to make the point that they are there to solve a problem that's been a boil on the behind of humanity. The latest thing that's provoked me to no end? Smuckers has come out with premade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, telling us that 'making peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches from scratch is too time consuming for a busy parent.' Also goes on to assure us that these prepared sandwiches taste like they were made from scratch.

Most pointless thing ever, but apparently some stupid smucker is buying them.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debbie - Sounds like it. Mind you, to our jaded English palates, the idea of mixing peanut butter with jam - sorry, jelly - is pretty damn odd too. And as for those peanut butter and chocolate things ... Reece's? No! Peanut butter in a snadwich or on toast or maybe as an ingredient in a satay sauce - perfect. But mixed with sweet stuff ... Yurk.

And who hasn't got time to make a sandwich for goodness' sake!? What kind of crappy stressful life do you have to lead to not have time to make a sandwich!

Debby said...

Jams and jellies are different, jams being a fruit preserve. Jelly is something that's made from the juice of the fruit and doesn't contain those yummy chunks of fruit. I can't much see the point to jelly, so I guess that's yet another pointless thing as well. Why strain out the bits of fruit when they make preserves taste so much better?


*Sits wide eyed*

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debby - Reece's only got to the UK in the past few years and, yes, I've tried one. Maybe it's just me but eeeuuuurrrrgggggh. Peanut butter is a savoury treat and I love it. Start mixing it with sweet stuff and it's vile.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Debby - Incidentally, I do make my own jams, jellies and fruit cheeses so I understand the distinction ... but I was rather under the impression that all jam in the US was called jelly and what we call jelly is what you call Jello. Two countries separated by a common language eh?

Debby said...

I knew you were a jam man. We have jam. We have jelly. We have jello (now there'spointlessness)

So you had a Reese's cup, but don't like them?

*still sitting here wide-eyed*