Thursday, December 07, 2006

Leaving more than your imagination behind at the cinema - France is ill - Gordon Brown's vital statistics

Trawling through the papers this morning on the red eye flight to Heathrow (and trawling was the word given that they had all reproduced the full English primary school league tables destroying a forest the size of Tullymore in the process) the following snippets caught my eye.

Kevin Maher in the Times T2 describes the behind the scenes routine at London’s Odeon Leicester Square cinema.

As each film finishes, staff spend twenty minutes cleaning up the theatre before the next batch of customers arrive.

“The ushers … race up and down the rows, scooping industrial quantities of spilt popcorn and sweets … while collecting and logging an extraordinary amount of lost property … The “stuff” is a vast and genuinely mind-boggling array of forgotten items. And not just missing wallets and bus passes either. Included in the Odeon lost-property logs … are shoes, false teeth, a hammer, a birthday cake, several pairs of underpants, a male hairpiece, a prosthetic ear and … a wheelchair (possibly found after The Passion of the Christ).”

The Odeon’s lost property office logs and keeps it all; there’s no expiration date. So next time you get up at the end of a film, desperate to get out to the fresh air or bursting for a pee, spend a few seconds picking up your belongings before you donate them to lost property.

Over in the Independent, John Lichfield details the “alarming report on the democratic and social health of the nation” released by France’s national psychiatrist, GĂ©rard Mermet. Published every two years, the 500 page report

“suggests that France now suffers from a collective form of three mental illnesses: paranoia, schizophrenia and hypochondria. In Francosopie 2007, M. Mermet says that France is “schizophrenic” because it finds it difficult to ‘recognise the realities’ of the ‘great changes’ happening in the world around it. He says France is ‘paranoid’ because it believes itself to be the victim of a ‘global plot’ and to have been betrayed by its own ‘elites’. Finally, France is a ‘hypochondriac’ because it downplays its achievements and advantages and wilfully exaggerates its economic and social ills.”

All in all, M. Mermet says, the French are individually happy buy collectively miserable.

“Questioned on the future of France, 76% of French people are deeply pessimistic. But questioned about their own lives and hopes, they are fairly optimistic.”

I wonder what a similar study in Northern Ireland would show.

Lastly, the Guardian provides the vital statistics from Gordon Brown’s pre-budget briefing yesterday.

  • 37 minutes - the amount of time Brown spoke for
  • 5,233 - number of words he used (consecutive, rather then unique I think)
  • 21 - mentions of the word ‘education’
  • 1 - mention of the word ‘prudent’

Hardly journalism at its peak … but good fodder for a blog entry!

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