Lessons learnt from Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away…

cant pay

From watching those famous High Court Enforcers on Channel 5, I’ve learnt:

1. If you think you’re likely to get in debt, it’s better have your car on finance rather than buying it outright – they can’t seize it then!
2. Better not answer door if enforcers come – if they get their foot in the door (literally) then they can force their way in (known as “peaceful entry”) and have the right to stay in the property. Similarly, best lock the back door otherwise said bailiffs will enter and stay!
3. The debt collectors are generally quite gung ho and self-righteous, fully confident that what they’re doing is (morally) right, simply because “the money is owed”. It is noticeable however that the brute force and domination their presence threatens is shattered when they’re in a genuinely dangerous situation, as in the debtors have weapons etc. At that point the machismo vanishes and it’s a matter of “We’re doing the admin and the police can do the argy-bargy!”
4. Sign of the Times… an increasing number of debtors owe large amounts of nursery bills!
5. A debtor might receive a county court judgement with an instruction to pay by a certain date, but this might give you a false sense of security that you have maybe a month to pay… when actually the claimant can actually escalate the matter to the High Court, and at that point, bailiffs can turn up at your door with no warning. And if their instructions are to evict, you could be out on the street within an hour!
6. As soon as enforcement agents decide they have no choice but to remove/ seize assets, the debt rises by a considerable fee – for example, if you owe two or three thousand pounds, it could add another grand on the total as soon as they make the call to their boss that they’re removing assets.

A Change of Focus

breaking news crop

I find it curious that BBC News (and other mainstream news channels) have presented a particular news item with two slightly different perspectives over a 10 year period for no particular reason.

In 2007/ 2008, it was a big news story that there were many stabbings in London (see article here), and the feature developed so that every time someone was killed, the statistic was updated on that day’s news. The focus though was on London teenagers. That’s obviously a very specific statistic, adolescents and young adults under 20.

Ten years later, the focus has changed to the general “person” who has been stabbed with no particular age reference. The news feature now has moved to a comparison with New York. The decision to choose this particular comparison as a news story seems to have overlooked or consciously ignored that Greater Manchester and North Wales has a higher murder rate per 100,000 than London and that New York’s murder rate has recently been decreasing and is now lower than the four other big cities in the USA.

The other curious thing is that with these news features, the news channel first seems obsessed with the particular news item, reporting and updating it… and then suddenly stop reporting it at all. I wonder if this time they’ve stopped talking about it, as they did around 2008, because they think it could possibly encourage more murders.

Graeme Norton commentary again exemplifies the lazy prejudices of trans-Atlantic anglophone TV media


During the Eurovision song contest last week, Graham Norton carried on the tradition of his late predecessor Terry Wogan to be disdainful, dismissive and to poke fun at funny foreigners who don’t speak English.

It’s ironic isn’t it, that both Norton and Wogan are/were Irish, a nationality that has been victimised a lot by the British – but there they go, acting as honorary Brits, peddling the same prejudices for a job.

To make jokes about how bad the music is is fine, because let’s face it, most of it isn’t great music, but that’s not the point. Norton displayed a wilful ignorance of major figures in the Portuguese speaking world who were involved in the event this year. You would think with the amount he is paid, Norton would have done a bit of research about the professional artists performing while votes were being counted. Caetano Veloso is a grand figure of Brazilian music spoken in the same breath as Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and Vinicius de Moraes. Sara Tavares who appeared with Branko, is also an established Portuguese singer. She mixes influences of Cape Verde (islands off West Africa where her family is from), Portuguese and jazz in her music.

Norton gave a token reference to Caetano Veloso that he was a controversial figure (he probably just read the first line of his Wiki entry) but didn’t follow it up with any more information. And as for Tavares’ performance, he just said, boring, glad that’s over. He demonstrates the same behaviour many British tourists display when holidaying in the Algarve. Take the surroundings for granted and show utter disinterest for any local culture. The same attitude many Brits have in the Costa del Sol, Spain.

Norton excels in chatting with the US stars who come over the Atlantic to promote their products on Saturday nights. He is one of those beacons who stands their promoting that “special relationship” between the UK and the USA. In a way, I think that fuels his outward prejudice of the factors that don’t fit into that cosy worldview. Perhaps also, because his livelihood and identity has now formed around those dynamics, he can’t pull away from such limited behaviour. Perhaps behind that boisterous figure, there is a depressed comic who doesn’t like the things he says?

Just a thought!

Retro key changes

fireman-sam-old and new
Started watching Fireman Sam with my young son… it’s a computer animated children’s programme… and as a musician I was surprised to hear so many key changes in the theme song – seemed unusual for this day and age. Then through YouTube it all made sense because we started watching the old Fireman Sam that was made from 1987 until about 1993. The theme song was very 80′s, very Level 42, with key changes, slap bass, synthesisers and a soothing vocal top line reminiscent of Mike Lindup (L42!). So, the modulations in the modern Fireman Sam theme now make sense!