Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gaun, have a wee laugh !

Here's a great wee column from today's Herald writer Lawrence Donegan ,.,., ( and before anyone asks ,, How the Hell would I know if he's related to the late, great Lonnie ? )
What I do know is that he made me laugh ,.., out loud too, so I make no apology for copying and sharing this with anyone who cares to read it, even although it expressly says No Copying without permission ! ( I'm sure Lawrence would grant permission ,, he seems like a fun guy to me )

The best things in life are free if you have the nerve to blag.
When I started my career as a journalist, my ambitions were to save the world and get lots of free stuff. I think you can all agree as you sit there drinking your skinny mocha latte on this fine Saturday morning that I have made a pretty good job of saving the world, although I wouldn't want to take all the credit for myself, obviously. The Sugababes helped.
The free stuff has been slightly more elusive, partly because - and I know this will get a laugh out of some of you - journalism is a very ethical trade. This means that offers of a free week's golf in Kazakhstan, all expenses paid, in return for a glowing appraisal of Kazakhstan's claims to be the finest golf destination on the planet must be declined lest this arrangement be seen as a terrible breach of the solemn bond of trust that exists between those of us who write columns like this and those of you whose lives are so sad and empty you actually read it.
It would also be factually incorrect. Everybody knows that Uzbekistan is the finest golf destination on the planet, as I discovered during my month-long holiday in the Bahamas last year, courtesy of the Uzbekistan Tourist Board.
The other problem with getting free stuff is I am not brass-necked enough to ask for it. I find it too embarrassing, both for myself and for the person saying "no", for no better reason other than I'm a popular newspaper columnist with four fans, some of whom don't even live in the same household as me, and they are not.
It is also the case I have a very Presbyterian attitude to life even though the closest brush I ever had with the Presbyterian lifestyle was the night I snogged a girl from Stornoway at the university disco and she slapped me in the ear for getting fresh.
By contrast, there are some extremely unethical people I know - and for the purposes of this column I will refer to these people by the collective noun "Dida" - who would feel no compunction in walking up to a St John's Ambulance person and asking for a free heart transplant even though their most pressing medical condition was a displaced hair.
My hair could be on fire and I would still want to pay the fire brigade for wear and tear on their fire hose. At this stage, you are no doubt wondering where on Earth all of this is leading and I will tell you, although I can't let the moment pass without mentioning the radio station in Detroit which this week offered $1000 (£500) to the first listener who correctly predicted when Britney Spears would commit suicide following her recent troubles.
What hope is there for America when idiots like that are mocking Britney in her moment of supreme personal difficulty? The same goes for mankind, although from a Scottish perspective I no longer feel so depressed about the Real Radio football phone-in.
Anyway, back to free stuff.
This week, while the aforementioned brains trust in Detroit was proving it is possible to operate a radio station despite possessing the mental acuity of a tadpole, Radiohead announced they were giving their next album away for free. Or to put it more accurately, for "any price the purchaser deems to be appropriate".
Having bought the last Radiohead album for a price the man behind the counter at HMV deemed to be appropriate - £12 - rather than the price I deemed to be appropriate after I played it a few times - 12p - I am bound to say this is a fabulous idea and one I feel should be extended to other things in life such as cars, houses and books.
For instance, those people who really want to read the next Ken Follett novel could show their appreciation for his genius by shelling out £300, while those of us who consider Ken to be a future Booker Prize winner, but only on condition that Jeffrey Archer was his sole competition, could send him an invoice for £150.
The same could go for that lovely flat in the West End you want but would require a mortgage 385 times your salary for you to buy it.
"I'll take it for free."
"But it has just been valued at £3m."
"Not by me it hasn't and free is what I deem to be an appropriate price."
Come to think of it, let's make everything free. If everything were free then there would be no arguments, no poverty and no reason for Ken Follett ever to write another sentence.
More than anything else, it would stop me blushing when I asked people for free stuff.

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