A New Low

I’ve reached a new low. It’s so new and so low that it even became my status of Facebook. I’ve heckled the Create and Craft channel on Sky.

For those of you who haven’t seen the Create and Craft channel allow me to explain (I am aware it will be most of you, as none of you will have had the patience or daring to venture into the high 600s while selecting a channel for your viewing pleasure). Create and Craft resides somewhere around channel 671. Ok, it is 671. I was just trying to make it look like I didn’t actually know that. The channel basically features a lot of large ladies with sausage fingers demonstrating various crafting products and techniques – usually while an insanely camp presenter throws little asides and occasional innuendo in for good measure.

Now you’re all wondering what I’m doing watching things like this, I can tell, so let me explain. My girlfriend is a crafter. She’s not large and she doesn’t have sausage fingers, but she’s bloody good at this crafting malarky and can often be found scattering the backing paper from double-sided tape and foam pads all over the kitchen floor. Or all over the offcuts of card and things that are already over the kitchen floor. These then get themselves attached to socks and are trodden through the house so that, on occasion, you’ll find that pieces of card or backing paper from the sticky things has ended up in bed with you.

Anyway tonight, as I was climbing the stairs to set up an Xbox to join in with a games night, my girlfriend flicked onto Create and Craft which is nothing strange. She flicked on, however, just as the presenter used the phrase “3D decoupage”. Now, I don’t know if you know what decoupage means – it’s one of those French words, like rendezvous, that everyone uses and someone will occasionally say “Hey, what’s the French for rendezvous” and everyone will roll around the floor laughing their arses off. Or rofltao, if you prefer. Anyway, I don’t know what decoupage means. I haven’t looked it up. From experience, however, I think it means “a lot of images that are all the same stacked on top of each other to give the picture a 3D effect, further enhanced by the clever way certain elements of the image are left out of each subsequent layer”. Roughly.

So, decoupage is already 3D. It didn’t need the 3D prefix. It spoke for itself, more or less, with the use of the word “decoupage”.




I should probably start this by saying that I don’t, on the whole, have anything against charity. Charity is good. It does good things.

By charity I, of course, mean organised charities and not the spare-a-bit-of-change-my-dog’s-on-a-string kind. That kind isn’t charity, that’s just people who don’t know about soap trying to get money for whatever thing they’re hooked on. Sure, they’ll cover it up – it’s money for a cup of tea (although where they can get a cup of tea for that price I know not), or for bus/train fare. They always go for a specific amount, an amount that people won’t readily have the available coin for. It’s usually an odd number. The rationale here is that you’ll be so swayed by their plight that you’ll round the amount up. It’s a simple trick and, to be fair, one used by retailers the world over – seeing 99p at the end of a price is much better than a round number.

Except in pound shops, obviously.

Aside from the great unwashed, charity comes in lots of different intrusive forms. There’s the people in coloured jumpers who leap out at you on pedestrian precincts urging you to save the children or help cure cancer. Chances are you’re on your lunch break, though, so these kids in peril had better be fairly close otherwise you won’t have time to rescue them and fill out all the necessary paperwork. As for curing cancer, a lunch hour isn’t really long enough is it – you’d just about have time to learn the layout of the lab and the other scientists’ names before the mundane grind of your regular job calls you back. You also wouldn’t have had any lunch.

Outside of the street your home is a target for charity types. In days of yore it used to be a little envelope slipped through your door that you’d leave unfilled until the collector came to your door some time later, at which point you’d hastily grab the envelope and shove some copper in it before answering the door and handing the envelope over as though it had been filled since the moment it hit your doormat.

Nowadays, however, it’s all about those bags. The clothing bags. If you’re lucky you can get maybe two or three a week which begs the question of how many clothes do these people think we have? The bags come with leaglets saying your contribution will be used to help clothe starving people or something. I’m a big lad, I won’t lie, if my clothes fit the starving then they aren’t bloody starving – I can only assume that a few of them would band together and use s t-shirt as a tent.

We collect stamps at work. Not in a sad, geeky way but in a more positive and upbeat way. Any post we receive which bears a stamp in the top corner is treasured for these tiny Royal portraits are being collected, much as a Blue Peter appeal would do in times past, to save up for things. At one point, I’m sure, it was lifeboats. More recently it was guide dogs. Both noble causes. Both life-savers in their own rights.

I learnt the other day, as I handed over a treasured stamp, that we’re no longer savibg for a guide dog. No, were saving stampa for albatrosses.

Now, I could be wrong but I don’t think albatrosses are famed for saving people who get into the difficulty at sea, nor are they much cop at leading blind people across busy roads and through shopping centres. Albatrosses spend most of their time at see, and have a massive wing span so chances are you’d need quite a long lead to ensure that the guidee was not whacked by a wing or, you know, drowned.

Bloody Albatrosses