A quick question for you all you regular readers - I have been offered a sum of money from an advertising agency to place a 'viral' ad on this site to promote a provider of online gambling services. What do you think - should I: sell-out and take the money? resist the urge to support the proliferation of vice? ask them for more money? do it provided they give me a good tip on the 3.30 at Kempton Park? offer space on the site to only genuine Strasbourg-Alsace firms? do something else?
Something suddenly struck me as I sat beneath a blazing sun on court No1 at Roland Garros this Monday; no, not a tennis ball served up by Maria Sharapova making her return to top flight tennis I'm afraid, nothing so exciting - rather it was the names of the tournament's lead sponsors pasted up everywhere. Unlike Wimbledon, the French Open relies on major corporate sponsors to keep the money rolling, to which end their names adorn the hoardings and boards that flank the courts in order to profit from the near constant TV coverage. The sponsors? BNP Paribas (Bank worth €44bn) FedEx (Courier worth $17bn) IBM (IT firm worth £139bn) Afflelou (French high street optician) Yep, that's right, a high street opticians is up there with the likes of IBM in having enough spare cash sloshing around to splash out on a major bit of international sports sponsorship. I had suspected for a while that running a chain of opticians in France was a license to print money, given that French commercial TV is saturated with spectacle ads, and [...]
People of this demeanour existed in the UK back in the seventies and early eighties; I remember them well. What drove them indoors and out of the limelight could be the subject of many a sociological study, but in France they still exist. Who am I talking about? Old-timers, pensioners, grannies, old men - but not all of them of course, just the ones who feel it is their duty to demonstrate that 'older' really is 'wiser', by pouring unwanted advice on people passing by, or indeed people who aren't passing by - but who obviously need a good talking to, which in France, unfortunately, is most of them. Old ladies in particular can't help but serve up childcare advice at the slightest opportunity: "Your child should/shouldn't be wearing a coat - it's very cold/hot today" "Here's a hanky - your child's nose/mouth/hands are dirty" "Your child shouldn't do that - they might hurt themselves." ... being among the most popular. For old ladies queue jumping is not impolite - it is a divine right. Last week an old [...]