Sniffing the fumes

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

It's been one of those weeks when there hasn't been time to write at all.

A few subjects have bubbled up, but I haven't been able to put in any keyboard time to record them until now.

There's been the varied delights of driving to work downwind of a coffee factory, which rewards me some mornings with an ferocious burnt smell and some mornings with a sensual golden aroma. It's potluck which I get – if either – and because I have a defective sense of smell, one which usually can't detect a flower held right under my nostrils, I'm equally enchanted by whichever of the two I draw.

Then there's the hypocrisy of a certain actress who used to play a witch in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and who uses her website to sell photos of herself from the show – the same website on which she writes extensively about her born-again Christianity, with copious Biblical references demonstrating the wrongness of witchcraft. It seems to me that if she wants to evangelise to teenage Wiccan fans of the character she played, she shouldn't also seek to profit by selling them photos of herself supposedly possessed by a demon, or practicing witchcraft, for $20 a pop. One or the other – God or money – not both is what I would have thought.

Also on the 'things that make me growl' list was the pasty-faced adolescent representing the Adam Smith Institute on Channel 4 News last night. The organisation he belongs to is a radical free market think tank, and it had cobbled together some nonsense argument out of left-over school economics textbooks to explain why Fair Trade, which pays third world producers a decent price for their goods, was actually doing them harm rather than good. Some poor bloke from the main Fair Trade organisation in Britain was on with him, and he just keep looking at this youth with eye-rolling amazement at the things he was coming out with.

Sadly C4News failed to pick up on the obvious point – which was that because the Adam Smith Institute is so utterly against anything which interferes with the free market, there was never any chance at all of it approving of the Fair Trade movement. Given this, and the sheer intellectual wattage at its disposal, shouldn't it really have been able to put up a better show than some child who'd barely started shaving, wittering on about how Mexico was too rich and how the rise of Starbucks was reducing poverty in Ethiopia?

So that's been my week. Some things to sniff at and some things to fume at.

Oh, and today a cat wandered into the office. With uncharacteristic callousness I kicked it back out into the weather – a split-second before it would have vomited over the carpet.

The cat looked reproachfully at me afterwards through the glass office door, and the rain washed its sick from the path outside. I stayed inside, warm and dry.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.