2007: what do you think of it so far?

Posted by Ian
A question. What links brie, children’s wellington boots, non-designer sunglasses and outdoor plant pots?
Answer: they’re all items which have just been removed from the official UK Shopping Basket: a list drawn up each year by the Office of National Statistics intended to be a snapshot of the country’s most popular and ubiquitous goods and services.
Taking their place are digital radios, courgettes, fizzy drinks from vending machines and credit card charges. Vegetable oil and Brussels sprouts have also been banished (no loss there), to be replaced with olive oil and electric fans. Satellite navigation systems, small flat-panel TVs and mobile ringtones, meanwhile, have edged out erstwhile stalwarts such as video recorders, portable TVs and ghetto blasters.
The shopping basket is a notional one: it contains a massive 650 items. And it’s the change in prices of those 650 items which is used to determine inflation (which has just risen from 2.7% to 2.8%).
The idea of compiling a truly representative sample of the entire nation’s shopping habits is perhaps a little fanciful, but the concept is an endearing one. After all, surely it’s the same kind of hypothetical chicanery which lay behind that most iconic of cultural snapshots, the Blue Peter Time Capsule.
Originally buried in June 1971, the Capsule was triumphantly dug up in January 2000 whereupon its contents were revealed to have almost entirely decomposed. You’d have thought the likes of Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and John Noakes would’ve had the foresight to wrap the contents, including an edition of Radio Times, bits of audio tape, a Blue Peter book and a set of decimal coins, inside a plastic bag or something.
No matter: the thought was a brilliant one, and in the spirit of both the Office of National Statistics and the Blue Peter team, here are those items I feel would be suitable inclusions in a 2007 Time Capsule:
– an obscure brand of coffee in a ridiculously oversized plastic cup;

– a carbon footprint calculator;

– an edition of the Daily Express with a front page headline screaming hysterically about Princess Diana (any one of the 127 issues – and counting – would do);

– a superfluous piece of packaging, perhaps one that had previously needlessly encased a vegetable;

– a tape recording of Sir Alan Sugar shouting "you’re fired!" 

– an iPod with speakers turned up way too loud;

– a free newspaper, the kind you find clogging up the pavements and gutters of most UK cities and which have replaced books, magazines and proper newspapers as the default choice of reading for commuters;

50,000 missing premium line phone votes 

– a bandwagon recently jumped on by David Cameron, ideally one to do with the environment;

– a pair of shoes with wheels in the bottom, as worn by thoughtless eight-year-olds in busy shopping precincts;

– a court summons for Pete Doherty.

Any other suggestions?


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12 Responses to 2007: what do you think of it so far?

  1. Master Anarchy says:

    Add: – A ZANU-PF Party political broadsheet detailing all the many benefits they brought Zimbabwe in the last 5 years.
    – An extended commentary article on George W.Bush\’s "pleading for more time in Iraq".
    -An ice-cream scoop.

  2. RiKx says:

    ER..Thoughtless eight yr olds? Man i\’m happy that 8 yr olds are thoughtless and content to wheel around on their heels, they SHOULD be thoughtless!!! All too soon they gonna be grown up, the age of innocence gets younger every generation its better presevered i think in my humble opinion.
    Perhaps a copy of a ASBO? or the justification for a 4 year war in Iraq…my mistake thats easy! 3 letters O..I..L. How about CCTV footage of a city centre on a friday / sat night – People trying to forget about the monotony, pointlessness and complete unfullfilment of their lives because they cant afford to buy their own homes. Because they have to work jobs they hate to buy stuff they dont need to fulfill the hole in their psyche and because were expected and encouraged to do so… buy a PS3…a HD TV (the government is MAKING everyone change to digital TV!!)..an iPOD…dont worry if you cant afford it! here is some credit….You NEED these things to be happy!! You need a new phone yours is 11 months old! ancient!! Your not wearing this seasons line – go shopping!!! Control of the population through consumerism.
    How about a clip of Tony Blair saying only God can judge him!? He\’s the only British PM to be questioned officially in a investigation involving criminal charges. WE should be judging him hes an appointed representative! Well i didnt apoint him but there isnt really much choice is there. Politcal triumph through apathy.
    How about a chart indicating the rise of diabetes in children because there parents are too lazy/ apathetic to feed them anything other than fast food?

  3. elle says:

    Me thinks the ramblings of this madman have no limitations; suffice to say if he thinks eight year olds are thoughtless he cannot have children!

  4. simon says:

    If anyone mentions carbon bloody footprints again I\’m gonna turn nasty!

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