Mr. Irritable, DVDs etc.

February 6, 2009

Unaccountably, Roger Hargreaves never had a Mr. Irritable (he would have been ‘Mr. Tetchy’) in his Mr. Man series. I always quite liked them, actually, since they were repetitiously well-calculated to teach children to read. My son read Mr. Mean about three trillion times, and I can still recall bits of it. And, to be fair to the estate of the late Mr. Hargreaves, the eponymous hero was a fair bit tetchy.

I’ve noticed that this blog brings out¬†my inner Mr. Irritable (as well as my inner Mr. Wander-Off-The-Point). I wish I could be more like Madam Miaow (see sidebar) whose wonderful blog is permanently happy-go-lucky in tone. Meanwhile, my inner Daily Mail – that it should come to this! – whinges on a bit. Not really. My inner Mr. Pangloss (has anyone thought of using that as the name for a proprietary pot-cleaner?) does keep him just a bit in check.

Still: why are DVDs coded by region? I ask because there is a terrific box set of Busby Berkeley films, films I really love (is this Irritable, asks Mr. Irritable. Shut up.) I do of course know the answer. It enables the makers to hike the price according to region. But it prevents me from buying this box set (should be boxed set, says Mr. Irritable) from one of the many online emporia for the bored and feckless toilers at the flickering screen. And that’s not fair. (As Noddy would say to Mr. Plod – and, this is true, I was entering yet another competition, with a Noddy parody, when I noticed that in ‘Noddy Gets Into Trouble’, never very far from hand, naturally enough, Noddy says to Mr. Plod “HAVE YOU GONE MAD?” – the very words, in the same capitals, too, that J.K.Rowling uses in not one, but two of the Harry Potter books I have never read, a phrase that is cited on her web fan-sites as being especially witty. Since J.K.R. sued that poor guy who had spent his life so far making a concordance of her work, and was, the last I heard,¬†winning the case, I thought I’d mention this striking piece of plagiarism, obviously unconscious.)

So, again: Why are DVDs coded by region? And why does Sellotape stick to itself? Why are the letters of the alphabet in that order? What use is the letter K? Why is it impossible to read the small print on the back of a packet of food? Why do avocados come in plastic wrapping and boxes if they are ‘ripe and ready to eat’? What is the point of film theme songs that are only played over the credits and have nothing to do with the film (and did this start with ‘The Windmills Of Your Mind’ and the original Thomas Crown Affair (Noel Harrison lives locally, and is appearing in the next village next week or the week after, amazingly enough))? Why is legit Scrabble on Facebook so awful to look at compared with Scrabulous? Why has Britain started to eat more butter because Johnny Rotten is advertising it? Why are there so many sections in a Sunday newspaper? Why are Twiglets so expensive? Why are there still so few women in parliament? What became of the logarithm? Why did Sky ditch the ‘squarial’ when it swallowed its competitor, when it was such a canny neologism? Why are long-lasting light-bulbs such a peculiar shape, and why do they give off such a dim light? Why are two empty buses continuing to run through my village, at the same six times each day, six in each direction that is, with no-one on them, and today a double-decker with no-one on it?

I give up. Here is some Busby Berkeley instead. Give it time to get going…

Better now?