WHAT IS THE POINT OF. . . popping pills and panto songs?


As a new year begins, PETER MORTIMER resolves to make NO pious resolutions, creating instead  his own list, namely ‘Mortimer’s What Is The Point Of. . ?’ in which the self-styled eternal optimist questions the  necessity for so many aspects of modern life. The author invites further suggestions from readers. . .

WITPO: Songs in Pantomimes?
Outside of the rare highly comic number, most panto songs are a total turn off for the kids, who lose all interest the moment the principal boy starts warbling all that soppy stuff while staring into the eyes of the heroine. Adults in the audience are bored too. Cut all that mush and get on with the story, custard pies and all.

WITPO: Post-Match Interviews With Footballers?
There is not one single instance of any footballer every coming up with a single original remark in such interviews. Most of the players are like rabbits frozen in headlights as they desperately try to remember which mind-numbing cliché their PR person recommended. Was it ‘the lads dun good?’, ‘We take every game as it comes,’ or ‘we dun it for the gaffer.’? Put them – and us – out of our misery. Scrap post-match interviews.

WITPO: Interfering DJs?
You know the sort. They can’t allow a record to go uninterrupted for more than 20 seconds before lowering the volume, interjecting their own facile thoughts on some question of towering inconsequentiality, then once more turning the volume up. This they repeat ad nauseam. Their belief they are letting drop pearls of wisdom leaves me both sad and mad. Just play the record, pal.

WITPO: Hotel room plastic cups wrapped in tight cellophane?
If the plague was running rife throughout the land or we were all in danger of exposure to some highly infectious disease, fair enough. A plastic cup might need the protection of cellophane. Neither condition applies. Cellophane unnecessary. And ecologically bad.
Let the cup go naked.

WITPO: Playing Queen or some other anthemic music to mark a goal?
A crowd’s pure explosion of joy at such moments is one of the great emotional and liberating experiences known to humankind. To suggest it needs some backing track is plain potty. Kill the recorded music.

WITPO: Orchestral conductors?
No member of the orchestra is looking at that self-important buffoon waving the baton. They’re too busy reading the music. We’ve fallen for the Emperor’s New Clothes for too long. Kindly leave the podium, Mr. Conductor (almost always a Mr.). Or, alternatively, invite everyone else to have a go, just for the fun of it.

WITPO: Golf Caddies?
Carry your own bloody clubs, why can’t you, Mr.Bigshot?? Most normal golfers have to.
And your egos are big enough already.

WITPO: Leaving Tips?
We don’t tip the bus driver, the brain surgeon, the street cleaner, the nurse or the counter clerk? Why the waiter? Pay them a decent salary instead of making us, the customer subsidise it.

WITPO: Anti-Depressant Pills?
Go for a brisk walk, give some money to charity, see if a neighbour needs anything, do a bit of yoga, write for ten minutes, eat a banana, Hoover, talk to a child, join a choir, study a cloud. Dance. You never know…

WITPO: The Recorded Message Before You can Speak to Voicemail?
‘When you have finished, just hang up –‘ well, yes, we were thinking of doing that anyway – ‘Or alternatively press the hash key for further options.’. What possible further options could we want? A trouser press? A laundry service? A mixing bowl? Has anyone ever pressed the hash key for further options?

WITPO: Hair Conditioner?
Manufacturers of hair shampoo (itself doing more harm than good ) decided a doubling of their profits would be no bad thing, so invented something called ‘conditioner’ and told us to use it prior to the main item. Like dumbo sheep we all obeyed. Pour it down the sink and don’t buy any more!

Those are my ten choices. Try for yourself. Onwards, dear reader.


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