Thursday, January 28, 2010

Johnny Depp and the double dip

Two pieces of relatively good news this week, although both may stretch your imagination a little further than is normally comfortable.

First came the revelation that Johnny Depp isn’t dead. What, you say, Johnny Depp? The Johnny Depp who’s been in tons of films, mostly a bit weird? The Johnny Depp who’s been rumoured to live not unadjacent to a city in the west country that rhymes with “path”? But probably doesn’t?

Yes, that Johnny Depp. Over the weekend, messages started circulating on Twitter that he had been killed in a car crash in France.

“RIP Johnny Depp” became a trending topic, the Twitterverse went into overdrive with retweets and hashtags... And if none of that makes any sense to you, then you don’t know your @’s from your #ff’s, and you probably aren’t missing anything, really.

No, Mr Depp isn’t dead. It may have been a prank, or a misunderstanding, or a resurfacing of the 2006 rumour that he had died of a heart attack. Also in France. But it was just that: a rumour, over-hyped by the internet.

Johnny Depp is alive and as far as can be ascertained kicking, if not domiciled anywhere near Bath. Unless you know different.

Which is indeed good news. Because we’re all looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean IV, V, VI and VII, and let’s face it they wouldn’t be the same with a Depp-shaped hole in them. Especially now Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have cried off making any more sequels.

That second piece of good news? Well, Britain officially came out of recession in the last three months of 2009. It wasn’t by very much, and US financier Bill Gross said earlier this week that our economy is “lying on a bed of nitroglycerine”. Which is polite financier-speak for “Don’t touch the UK with a ten-foot bargepole.” Nice to be loved.

So perhaps it’s best not to feel too gung-ho about our prospects for recovery just yet. There’s talk of a double-dip recession, and if that makes even less sense to you than all that Twitter jargon,  you should be aware that a double-dip is not what you do when the Queen and the Prince of Wales walk past in quick succession. Or indeed some sort of fancy ice-cream cone.

Consider the letter W. It starts up high, it goes down low, it flips up again, then drops down once more before finally shooting up again.

At the moment, it is feared, our economy is in the middle of the W. We’ve had one dip, we’ve reached a peak, and soon we’ll be dipping down again.

(As well as being a profound and perceptive piece of economic analysis, this is also a useful aide-memoire for those of us who were absent on the day they taught handwriting.)

So hang on tight, people. We’re not off the rollercoaster yet.

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