Sunday, 16 March 2014

In-sourcing as a way of life...


In my formative years, firstly as an apprentice and then a junior engineer in a large engineering company in the late 1970s and early 80s, I did the usual things like regularly drinking to excess and wasting money on useless expensive toys, but in those days I wasn't earning too much and so looking back I can see my wages were heavily supplemented simply by doing things myself.

Many's the hour I would spend under the car bonnet (that is, the 'hood' to those across the pond), or stripping motorbike engines or doing DIY improvements to the first house I bought.   Also, Saturday mornings spent in the local scrapyard climbing on piles of old cars stacked four high, with tools between my teeth and also hanging out of every available pocket, just to get at that elusive water pump or starter motor I needed.  Funny how the models I was after always seemed to be at the top of the pile, but that's life... 

For younger readers, this is how second-hand car parts were to be had in the good old days, long before the breakers started stripping parts themselves and offering them off-the-shelf, at hugely inflated prices of course because they now have to factor in their own labour costs.

I think the now all-pervasive 'Health & Safety' culture must share some of the blame, although it's also fair to say that these old scrapyards were potentially dangerous places to be if you didn't have your wits about you. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The cost of minority trying to move to mainstream.....


When Countryfile was considered a 'minority' programme and tucked well away out of sight on BBC2 on Sunday evenings, it was actually quite worth watching.

But the mandarins at the BBC decided that this programme was attracting a sufficiently large audience to be transferred to what they erroneously perceive as being their primary channel, BBC1.

However, being overpaid and over-pensioned public television 'executives', they failed to spot the obvious in that those people who watch Countryfile are not necessarily the same as watch Eastenders, The Apprentice or Strictly Come Dancing, just a few examples of how the BBC abuses its legally-enforceable compulsory taxation status and therefore wastes shitloads of its too-easily obtained and ill-gotten gains on these and other equally crap populist programmes.  

I'm not totally knocking this type of stuff (well, I am !), if that's what you're into, but they could all easily find a home on commercial television channels, where success or failure would rest or fall on their ability to attract private subscriptions or advertising revenues.  However, there's no justification for a body funded solely by legalised theft to be seen as trying to compete with the professionals in that particular game.

In the process of moving Countryfile to BBC1, they sacked practically everyone of adult age who was remotely connected with the original, and popular, version of the programme, which apparently has subsequently been the subject of several lawsuits over alleged 'ageism'.  

I say sacked all, but they hung onto good old John Craven, best known for trying to present news programmes to seven-year olds in the 1970s and 80s.  That says it all.....

The current crop of presenters, all probably from the home counties* and regularly clad in designer gillets and woolly bobble-hats, presumably because they've never been outdoors in what the rest of the country perceives as being cold or even a little cool, are a complete disaster.

To add insult to injury, they screen Countryfile at 7.30 to 8.00 pm in the summer and autumn months, when anyone with an ounce of sense would know that a large portion of their likely target audience, i.e. those who actually work the land, are still outside during the light evenings, tending their livestock and harvesting produce etc.

It's time to end this state-sponsored TV licensing fiasco, and the sooner the better....


* I can detect a slight Geordie accent from one of them, but he's obviously from the richer parts of Newcastle or the surrounding towns and villages.  Still, one presumes he must have been outside in cold weather before...