Speed 24 February 2017

At some point in the 1980s, advertising executives working for Britain’s favourite American-owned chocolate manufacturer, spent a few hours in a brainstorm and came up with the slogan “Thank Crunchie it’s Friday” to advertise its honeycomb-in-chocolate sugar-bomb of a product. Like most great advertising the slogan was essentially meaningless (either Crunchie was being used as a substitute for God or as an expletive, neither of which makes any sense) but as way of celebrating the heady joy of the coming weekend, it was a decent enough cypher.

However, there’s several people waking up this Friday morning who have little cause to thank chocolate bars for the arrival of (what countries adhering to standard ISO 8601 call) the final day of the working week. Take, for example, amiable Italian football man Claudio Ranieri who was yesterday sacked as manager of Leicester City less than a year after he’d led them to victory in the big league of English football. To put this into some sort of context, this decision is akin to welcoming Neil Armstrong home from the moon and suggesting that all his future pioneering visits to extra-terrestrial habitats are going to be replaced by a new career sweeping up the hair in selected barber shops along the M4 corridor.

Another gentleman cursing the arrival of Friday is satire’s Jeremy Corbyn whose Labour Party has lost the seat of Copeland to Conservatives after holding it since 1935. This was also the first time in 35 years that a ruling party has scored a by-election victory over another party. In short, it was terrible night for JC, albeit one that was made tiny bit more Crunchie-worthy by Labour’s successful hold in the Stoke by-election despite the efforts of the delightful, and honest, Paul Nuttall of the UKIPs (who only eats ENGLISH chocolate bars like . . . well there aren’t any left; although a UKIP-themed “Fruit and Nuttall” is only a right-wing focus group meeting away).

To continue the chocolate theme (listen, we’re committed now) the papers this week have been filled with the revelation that not only should we be eating less of the sugary stuff but also that we should be packing into ourselves at least 10 items of fruit and / or vegetables every single day. Which isn’t going to leave much time for anything else.

Elsewhere on Planet Media this week, there’s been a very palpable triumph for whoever’s in charge of corporate branding for the weather. Not content with inventing Buzz Feed-friendly meteorological features like “ThunderSnow”, “WeatherBombs”, “FatRain” and “WonkyFog”, the decision to follow the US tradition of anthropomorphising storms has paid off handsomely. Both sensible and silly media alike have been revelling in the character of Doris who has had a whole year’s worth of adjectives pinned to her metaphorical skirts in the last days: “angry”, “wrathful”, “relentless”, “vengeful” were all tossed around, all of which cast Doris as a sort of baddie in one of the endless superhero movies that continue to clog up cinemas. All in all, not bad going for what would previously been just some “really rubbish weather”.

Those members of humanity looking to relocate somewhere a little less Trumpy were given a big boost this week with the discovery of seven earth-sized planets in orbit around a star in the Aquarius constellation (the most truthful, frank and unpredictable of all constellations). The most likely candidate for human occupation (and therefore the inevitable human messing up royally that would follow) is called Trappist 1 (maybe the Met Office branding team could do a job on it?) and is only 40 light years away which in space terms is a bit like travelling to the corner shop at the end of your road (albeit travelling for 40 years at the 186,282 miles per second by which time you’ll have definitely forgotten what you went for and so just buy milk and bread because that’s the Law of the corner shop).

Meanwhile back on Earth 1.0, Theresa May sat and watched like Banquo’s ghost complete with deathly stare as the House of Lords began debating the Brexit bill; Iceland’s president Gu∂ni Johannesson declared he was “fundamentally opposed” to pineapple on pizza and in the biggest case of the age-old pot / kettle dynamic for many a month North Korea accused Malaysia of being “sinister” over its investigation of the murder of Kim Jong-Nam; a murder that was committed, so it was revealed this morning, via the inconceivably toxic substance VX that’s used in chemical warfare and of which only two tiny drops are enough to kill.

There’s of course no link between toxic substances and the Brit Awards that happened this week and at which some people were given bits of metal for making music that is liked by various people and Andrew Ridgeley gave a speech about his dead friend and ex-bandmate George Michael. The speech was as heartfelt as it was eloquent and proved that what really matters in life is not awards, free champagne and self-congratulation but the company of people you love. Which is fragile and should be enjoyed to the full whenever and wherever possible.

So thank Crunchie for that.

And there we end this week’s Friday Speed Read with not even a mention of DJT’s imagined terrorist attack in Sweden last weekend. Apart from that one. And you know the rules whenever Sweden is referenced even in passing – you then have to make a quip about Ikea, the chef from the Muppets and then play the music of one of the world’s greatest ever bands.

Well, let’s excuse ourselves from the first two of these obligations and celebrate the weekend in true Nordic style (they all look so happy in this one it makes you pine for the 70s):

See you next week.