Leon Levinstein

Leon Levinstein 1910 – 1988

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Cheeses of Nazareth


Misteltoe and Wine and more Wine and Sprouts ! Plenty of Sprouts ! followed by Baileys and Mince Pies

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and Saviour … Hallelujah … Amen. If I lived in Israel I’d open up a cheese shop and call it Cheeses of Nazareth ! History boffins reckon that our present indulgence of Christmas, all that feasting, drinking and over doing it was started by that great Victorian writer Charles Dickens. Well he had a lot to do with it apparently. Prince Albert German husband of Queen Victoria who was mad as a box of frogs introduced the Christmas Tree and there you have it. Bring on the Morecombe and Wise 1972 Christmas Special and lets all see if we can fart the National Anthem together ?

After 2000 years and we’ve still not sorted the world out I reckon Jesus has probably given up on us all and him and God have probably gone off playing golf or something. How else can we explain Donald Trump and Brexit ?

Health Check

You’ll be pleased to know my midlife health check revealed I’m “practically perfect” the words of the nurse not mine own. I had my cholesterol level, body mass index, pulse and blood pressure checked and I’m all tickety boo, good for another year at least.

Big Issue

I promised my Big Issue Seller friend I’d buy a copy of The Big Issue off him before Christmas and so I did. For the price of £3.00 I got a Big Issue and him to pose for a nice Christmas photo next to this Christmas market stall outside Wilko’s. It’s not a bad issue either with a nice little interview with Jody Comer who dazzled us with her acting brilliance as a pyscopathic hit woman in Killing Eve this year. If you’ve not seen it then do make sure you check it out and be ready for Series 2 next year.

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I’d like to quote you from Banksy but why should I, he never quoted any of my stuff. However on this occasion I’ll make an exception.  I picked this up on Facebook from a mate of mine so whether it’s actually from Banksy or not I’m not sure and I can’t be arsed to verify because whether it is or not I pretty much agree.

The artist “Banksy,” on advertisers: People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They… leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. 

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They… leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. 

Here’s an advert for the NHS I found in a London phone box 

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The pain of buying a car

hyundai-i10
hyundai-i10 Can ya slow down a bit love !

You’d think buying a car either brand spanking new or nearly new from a Dealership would be relatively straightforward wouldn’t you ? Oh no ! not a bit of it. As long as I can drive one, in fact longer than that because I used to go with my Dad, there’s been this car buying sales ritual that I’ve never quite understood. I’ve never witnessed it in any other buying environment so I don’t understand why it still persists in the world of cars and car showrooms.

When I got home I commented about my experience on Twitter. I’m new to Twitter so I didn’t quite expect Bristol Street Motors to respond apologising and requesting I give them details for them to investigate. Here’s a copy of my email for your delight:

Dear Vertu  

Following my comments on Twitter about Bristol Street Motors and your request to provide further details I think it best to elaborate further: 

My wife is currently in the market for a new car. We are interested in the Hyundai i10 so over the past few weeks she has been looking at models and availability on the Internet. She found your website in which there is listed several Hyundai i10 models of various ages and prices but information like location is sadly lacking. How does this work then she wonders ? We could have gone on Live chat but frankly we both prefer a face to face so we get in the car and go down to your local Branch to talk to someone who we hope will give us straight answers. We arrive at your Branch and are met by a friendly welcoming young lady who politely passes us on to a Sales Rep. We are then subjected to what I can only describe as a carefully orchestrated ( and psychological) pantomime. The male Sales Rep welcomes us, shakes us by the hand and then sits us down in the middle of the showroom amongst all the shiny new Peugeot cars. My wife explains to him several times she’s seen these Hyundai’s on the Website and wonders how it works ? Despite my wife asking the questions he turns to address me and as I suspected he would subtly tries to start steering us onto Peugeot cars which this is a dealership for, “have you thought about the Peugeot 106 by any chance?”  She’s prepared a list of about six cars on your site that she’s seen and has it to hand. Surely if we are interested in a particular car on the Website it can be arranged for us to consider it. We are informed however that despite each car having a reference number it’s “like looking for a needle in a haystack” but the Rep takes the list from her and tells us he is going to see his Manager to discuss further. This is when I start to get irritated because I’ve been subjected to this “ I need to  speak to my manager “ before and I’m not falling for it. It pisses me off big time. He nips off for five minutes around the corner leaving us sat there like puddings. I saw his Manager at the same time and they weren’t talking.  Furthermore one of the cars on the list is a little more pricey at £8495 than the others. Lo and behold he comes back five minutes later and tells us they can’t get the others but they can get the one at £8495. Despite my wife explaining yet again that it was only an enquiry he then insisted on taking our details on the computer, name, address, contact no etc and then left us again to go see his manager to see if his manager had finished his enquiries. Again his manager and he when I looked were not together and not talking to each other. In fact when he came back my wife reckoned she could smell fags on him but …..well ? After an irritating time sat down I asked my wife to stand up and look like we were about to leave. My Sales Rep returned to us with his manager and explained they couldn’t / wouldn’t be interested in getting us any of the cheaper Hyundai models because they wouldn’t make any money on them. “ Don’t you want us to order this one at £8495 the Manager asked us ? “ No” my wife replied we only came in to make an enquiry. 

It begs the question,  if these cars are listed on the Internet with unknown locations then what’s the point if Customers at the other side of the country can’t access them ? You either want to sell us a car or you don’t.  We left your Dealership and went down the road to one of your competitors who I have to say treated us much more respectfully than you did.  

My visit to your dealership left me completely bemused. My wife and I were made to feel like we’d just dropped off a Christmas Tree. I’m surprised that you still carry out these sales practices that I first witnessed about thirty years ago. Do you send your Reps on training courses to do this ?  I won’t be returning to you in the near future and I won’t be recommending BSM to my friends or on my Blog.

Yours sincerely

Andy Greaves

Footnote: At time of going to press Vertu have not responded and we’ve been and purchased a car from one of their competitors. We pretty much went through the same ritual but somehow we felt a bit more in control.

Orange

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Big Bang Theory

Current ponder is how many of my recorded The Big Bang Theory can I watch while the wife is in the shower or doing something mundane out of the room. I’ve tried to persuade her of it’s funniness but it’s the canned laughter she can’t stand. The answer is one episode and that includes fast forwarding through the adverts. My recordings are random so that I watch random episodes of Penny and Leonard married, Sheldon and Amy married, Bernadette and Howard with baby and all those things not which seem to run concurrently on E4 and E4+1.  

Pastel De Nata 

This week’s delight was finding Lidl sell Pastel De for a can’t resist “oh go on then you only live once” price of 49 pence. Sooner or later I’m gonna have a goat making these myself just for the heck of it. The wife likes them as well so that’s a bonus. 

Sainsbury’s do em for about 80pence ! shame on them eh ? 

Clothing 

Check out Smith Webb clothing which want you to be kind in the world  with their ethical clothing  ( sweatshirts and t-shirts ). It says on their website they’re proud supporters of Mental Health and Anti – Bullying Charities

Music 

If keeping up with the music scene here in the UK is your thing check out Jared Musson’s Blog Mortal Vibrations   

Jared also writes for music website Louder than War