LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
16 January 2016
For Love or Money

What a relief. Old wrinkly billionaires have been given hope. Yes, it’s the Jerry-
Rupert love match. Yes, it’s weird. Yes, it’s very weird. So Jerry has been a
secret Conservative supporter? An admirer of a duplicitous mogul? Really? Oh
Jerry. We had more faith in you. Hmmm. Possibly not. Not exactly a feminist.

Ah isn’t romance grand? But seriously now, isn’t this just a bit – you know –
curious, peculiar, bizarre? A four month ‘whirlwind courtship’ has resulted in an
engagement announcement as you surely know now. Marriage to following in the
summer. Ah. Aren’t we are all happy for everybody who has found true love…we
doubt there are any ulterior motives…we are still a bit confused.

You don’t suppose Chancellor Georgie-Boy was told first do you? With all those
secret meetings with Rupert to destroy the BBC, surely Rupert confided his
undying (oops) love for Jerry.

The honeymoon may not be quite so romantic with new claims of ‘endemic’
hacking at
the Sun when Rupert’s other favourite, Rebekah Brooks, faces new
allegations and another legal battle. Oh dear me. Substantial compensation
payoffs, I mean payouts loom.

The total cost to save RM’s empire is said to be nearly £670m. The ‘incurable,
hopeless romantic’ – this according to Piers Morgan (not according to any of
Rupert’s three ex-wives) - is worth at least £8.5 billion. “Many people, I think,
have a view of Murdoch…[that] he’s a ruthless, horrible person.” Well, Piers, he
is. “…he’s very charming, he’s very funny, he can be very entertaining (does he
do impressions? magic tricks? acrobatics? what then?). Rupert responded to a
tweet from Piers in 2014 “…once talented, now safe to ignore.” OK. Ex-fiancé
Bryan Ferry once said Jerry was “addicted to publicity.” Personally, I’ve lost
interest already.


Unfriended

Friends reunited. Yawn. Do we care? Who cares? Their financial advisors
possibly. You know they were being paid $1m an episode when the series
ended. The Central Perks six will come together in part to pay tribute to veteran
TV producer, James Burrows. Well, not quite six.

At the time of filming Mathew Perry will be unavailable (conveniently?) as he will
be on the London stage rehearsing for his self-penned West End play, The End
of Longing. No really, The End of Longing. He was the only reason to consider
sitting through two hours of hysterically funny, clever, witty, creative banter –
joking obviously - lest we forget: “How ya doin’?” Was that a rhetorical question?

We’ve seen and heard enough from Jen to fill several lifetimes of ennui. 11am:
“I’m brushing my own teeth today. 11:15am: I’m checking my hair in the mirror
every 4 minutes. 11:20: back ‘in a mo’…checking Facebook…”

I’m unfriending the two hour special without ever adding the friends to my
Facebook ‘friends’. Oh no. Is that the laugh track I’m hearing?


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Circle 12 June in your diary. You too could be one of the 10,000 people
cheering the Royal Family on the Mall for the Patrons' Lunch street party…if you
pay £150 a ticket that is. “Kate! Kate! Kate!” “Prince George! Prince George!”
Wrong. It’s to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and you’re invited...sort of.

You would be joined by representatives of the 628 non-profit organisations who
list the monarch as their patron. The organisations will be permitted to sell on up
to 40 per cent of their allocated tickets at a profit. A further 1,000 tickets will be
made available to the general public through a ballot.

Surely you knew the Queen was worth £1.9bn. Oh right. Only an ‘estimate’.
However, she is still one of the richest women on the planet, so what’s a mere
£150 for a ‘the picnic of a lifetime’?

You would be seated along the Mall for lunch; hampers provided by M&S
including Pimm's, PG Tips and Wall's Ice cream. Excited yet? Salivating?

But all is not quite so perfect. The Queen's grandson, Peter Phillips, made the
decision to charge for the tickets. Already we’re not happy are we and we’re
definitely not amused. But what makes this all a bit – tawdry - is that PP is the
director of the events agency company, Sports & Entertainment Ltd, which will
oversee the party and will receive an undisclosed fee for their work. Class act.

PP defended the generally unenthusiastic reaction: "It’s not exactly a cheap
exercise." Really? Then he added that any profit would be donated to charity.
What charity exactly? All the 628? His fee has remained ‘undisclosed’. Indeed.

David Huse, who ran the Mayor of London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
volunteer programme, said he was "surprised" by the announcement.

"I would have thought that it is not beyond the wit of man to raise this money
commercially," suggesting that more could have been raised from sponsors to
cover costs…or the Royals who could have taken up a quick whip-round don’t
you think?

Surprising the Middletons didn’t volunteer to pick up the entire tab. Pippa and
James could flog the family party hats and favours featuring a photo of the
Queen on them. Just a thought. Perhaps they did and we know how the Queen
views them; barbarians at the gate to be kind.

James has added £15 boxes of rainbow-coloured marshmallows which read ‘I’m
gay!’ and ‘I’m coming out!’ with a video. As you do – not. For ever the
inappropriately ambitious James says his sweets are ‘the perfect way to break
the news to friends and family with the slogan: ‘These pre-designed messages
make that nerve-racking announcement a whole lot sweeter.’ Anything else to
say, James? Two tons of marshmallows (tons?) were sent out in its first year.
Last year his latest endeavour made a loss of £243,000. Expect one in your
hamper.


Reasons to be Cheerful

When the much-loved Cadbury’s (founded on humanitarian Quaker principles)
was bought via a hostile takeover by the US Kraft, the country went into
mourning. Naturally promises were made. When aren’t they? Were they kept?
When are they? They promised, yes promised not to change any of the
products: they did, not to close the Bristol factory: they did and the owner
refused to meet with MPs. Wonder why. Oh and they don’t pay proper taxes of
course.

The US changed the recipe, substituted rubbish whatever for proper cocoa,
decreased the size yet kept the price the same, cut costs wherever possible -
assuming the thousands of Cadbury lovers wouldn’t notice. As you do.

But quelle surprise; there is an Easter Bunny after all. Cadbury Crème Eggs lost
more than £10m in 2015. Kraft says no changes were made. Right. To put
things into perspective; isn’t Kraft responsible for processed-chemical cheese,
often called ‘cheese product’ due to it’s lack of cheese? Time for a total boycott
for Valentine’s Day and Easter don’t you reckon?
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