Friday, September 01, 2006

Pillow Talk

Rather a lot of two-fingered TV has graced plasma corner this week. Wednesday’s Shoot the Messenger, the subject of yesterday’s blog, had a working title of F*** Black People. Last night comedian Ricky Grover introduced us to his mission to get Britain ‘fat aware’ through the BBC 3 programme F***off I’m Fat. Presumably, having decided that Pete, the Tourette’s sufferer winner of Big Brother probably wouldn’t make a great children’s presenter after all, the BBC has installed him in their titles department.

Latest figures on err, figures released this week, suggest that if drastic action isn’t taken, one third of adults and one fifth of children in Britain will be obese by 2010. We are a nation of pillows. All pink and puffed up we sit there, making our settees look untidy. To Ricky Grover, that is the natural order of things. ‘Fat is the future, make no mistake’, he informs us.

Twenty-one stone Ricky claims to have been on every diet going although perhaps not the one where you eat less and move more. But Ricky looked positively svelte next to co-presenter Tracey who, at thirty stone, has a circumference of seventy-six inches which just about qualifies her as an island.

Ricky’s fat awareness campaign involves trying to get manufacturers to size up their products in anticipation of this explosion of the population. They begin with cars. Small cars should be a lot bigger, apparently. Tracey cannot find a car to suit her considerable needs so the programme commissions Jaguar to modify a standard car to her specifications. Jaguar is probably an old hand at this as John Prescott is a regular customer.

A ‘big loo’ is installed in Basildon between McDonalds and KFC. The seat is roughly the size of Montenegro. Unable to separate his mind from food for five seconds, Ricky instructs the builder that he wants it to look nice, sort of ‘quiche’-like. Fortunately, before sending out for ham and egg wallpaper, it dawns on the builder that Ricky means kitsch so he orders flock instead.

Next stop is a visit to Alton Towers where the group is expanded to include some retired thrill-seekers. Ricky and Tracey bravely sit on the same side of a Ferris wheel capsule, one of the few entertainments they can squeeze into. No one can fit into the safety harness of any of the other rides. Ride owners are berated to make these bigger. The obvious doesn’t occur to anyone. If safety harnesses were big enough to fit these people, everyone else would fall out and that would not be good for business.

‘Only one shop’, rages Ricky as two teenage girls try to buy size eighteens on Oxford Street. That shop is presumably Evans’s, the plus size specialist. A visit to Evans’s should be enough to inspire anyone to start that diet now. Instead Ricky tries to convince the supermodel-thin buyer at Miss Selfridge to make their clothes in larger sizes. Why should they when they have Victoria Beckham who buys several of everything they have in every colour?

I don’t know much about market economics but I would guess that manufacturers wouldn’t knowingly miss a marketing opportunity if it was staring them in the face as forcefully as Ricky Grover suggests. People who make things don’t like making them for more than they have to. It’s going to take twice as much fabric to make a size 20 as it is a size 10 – and you have to charge the same price. That’s why it’s called Miss Selfridge and not Ma Selfridge. Thin people look great in everything which makes them interested in clothes. Fat people don’t and they hate shopping for clothes which is why we have catalogues.

Maybe Ricky should go on the attack with FCUK instead of Miss Selfridge. They could get Pete from Big Brother to write the script.

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