Thursday, June 04, 2009

Talking rubbish again

Have you ever had the feeling that everyone around you has got something wrong, while you and you alone have got that very same something absolutely and completely right?

The warm feeling of self-assurance, nay schadenfreude, for example, as you walk to work in the morning and observe that everyone else in the road has put their recycling out when you know for a fact that B&NES’ Council’s much-trumpeted Waste Day Change means that your neighbours are two days early, and that they’ll have to bring all those bottles, tins and newspapers back inside, while yours (including an embarrassingly large number of empty stubbies) sit behind the garage waiting for the space-age everything-in-one-go-style rubbish classification and atomisation module to arrive outside your front door at 7am on the dot and automatically sort it for you before beaming it directly to a waste processing centre orbiting round Mars, to the everlasting benefit of your environment and the council’s finances?

And have you ever found that you were wrong? Horribly, smugly, over-confidently wrong?

Waste Day Change is next week, folks, not this week. It starts on June 9, not on June 2.
All of which means that one particular Bath household, which should have put out its recycling last Tuesday but didn’t, will be hanging on to the evidence of its boozy misdeeds for a lot longer than it actually needed to.

All of which also means that one particular Bath wife and mum has every right to smack one particular Bath husband and dad upside the head with a folded, and unrecycled, newspaper. Because he got it wrong.

So much for trying to be clever.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. In one of the still-to-be-recycled newspapers (perused while lurking in the shed waiting for the righteous anger to subside) was one of the most extraordinary adverts ever to appear in print.

It was on page 2 of MediaGuardian on Monday, June 1. It was placed by Keep Britain Tidy. And it was for a “celebrity ambassador to help give England a facelift”.

Among other things, candidates must hate litter, be willing to give two days a year for free, and be “famous not infamous”. Previous incumbents have included Abba, Morecambe and Wise and the Queen Mum.

The mind reels. Does Keep Britain Tidy really think that the ideal celeb will read MediaGuardian? The job ads are for Media Sales Executives, Media Sales Professionals (there’s a difference, apparently) and Editors, Real-Time Analysis. The editorial is about Digital Britain and why you should be pulling your finger out.

Not the sort of thing your average Jordan, Posh’n’Becks or Susan Boyle would necessarily spend much time thumbing through, one imagines.

Anyway, the job spec is pretty restrictive. Especially that famous not infamous bit. Because let’s face it, you’re not a proper celebrity unless you’ve spent at least a fortnight in The Priory. Which more than likely means that you won’t have the squeaky-clean image that Keep Britain Tidy is looking for.

No, eco-friendliness and celebhood rarely go hand in hand. Unless, of course you’re Sting.
And the Stingmeister would definitely be up for the job. He could stroll up and down our street busking Roxanne and pointing out to the thickest resident (ie yours truly) that while you may not have to put on the red light, you do have to put out your recycling on the right day.


This was formerly the column known as my Bath Chronicle column.

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