Money

It makes the world go round. Or so they say.

Personally I was under the impression it was the gravitational pull of the celestial spheres but then I’m not a physicist.

The news in the UK today is a buzz with talk about the BBC, “commercial sensitivity” and the salaries they pay to the presenters and stars.

Now, some background. If you’ve been paying attention you can skip this bit and go a bit further down, unless you don’t know what the BBC is in which case keep reading.

 

What happened was, some enterprising hack requested the expenses details of parliamentary MPs. The MPs didn’t like this because it showed some of them were up to dodgy doings and basically having it away with public money. So. To try and deflect the attention in an almost “Yeah but they’re worse” kind of way, the MPs and those critical of the BBC say “Well what about good old Auntie Beeb?”

Now if you didn’t know, the BBC is a public body funded by a television licence fee. If you own a telly in the UK, you buy a licence. This gives you permission to watch telly and you get 5 terrestrial channels and, more recently, a zillion digital channels for about £150 ($240)  a year. The majority of this fee goes to fund the two terrestrial BBC channels, the numerous BBC backed digital channels, the BBC radio stations (Local and national), BBC drama, films and whatnot. Which, if you think about it, is a bally good deal. The other terrestrial public service channels, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 get a tiny bit of this licence fee and the rest of their money comes from advertising. The satellite stuff is on top of that and you pay something like £360 a year for a load of American dramas which are endlessly repeated ad nauseam. Which is a bit shit really, when you think about it.

So as the BBC is a public body, the MPs and critics have been saying “Tell us what you do with the money you get from the public then”. This is partly a distraction, but also a way of gaining the favour of Mr Murdoch (who owns the satellite broadcasting services in the UK, most of the newspapers and is a vitriolic critic of the BBC Licence fee).

First came the expenses. Nothing too controversial in a “Yaa boo sucks to you” kind of way.

Then some tried to make a fuss about £100 for a bunch of flowers but they were jolly nice flowers and so really you couldn’t complain really as they weren’t a duck house.

Then others pointed out that there was a substantial amount of cash going to the presenters in salaries.

Which brings us to today. The BBC finally admitted paying a total sum of £230million to artists, presenters, musicians and other contributors. [Source] but refused to disclose how much individual salaries were because such information is “Commercially sensitive”.

It is rumoured that the likes of Jonathan Ross command salaries in the millions. Not bad for a bit of prerecorded radio babbling and an hour worth of chit chat with your mates. Not bad at all. Is it? But I’m sure Mr Ross puts a lot of his talent into this and it must strain him and wear him out at the end of the day so he must surely deserve such a high figure.

However, being the selfless chap that I like to portray myself as, if I was a celeb reliant on the pay of Auntie Beeb I’d want to do all I could for my paymasters. In a selfless act I would publish my salary just to show that I don’t get paid all that much really for my amazing talents and that I deserve more. And that the fact that I am working for the BBC in a celebrity capacity is only out of charity and respect for a great and innovative British institution.

So that’s what I’m calling on the celebs to do. Don’t wait for the BBC to announce how much you earn. Get in there first. Think of the publicity. Think about how publishing details about your low salary will just highlight how much respect, charity and selflessness you have. The media, which you so adore and who put you were you are today, will be most grateful too and will no doubt show you as humble talented people deserving much much more than you are worth.

That way, struggling talentless media students and other wannabees can also admire your sacrifice and aspire to be just like you too. They can stop moaning about not being able to get their first foot on the ladder and perhaps realise that being in the spot light isn’t worth all that much really.

Unless….of course….that’s all bollocks and you do actually command ridiculous salaries for your vacuous pathetic talentlessness as you ponce about in the public eye getting people to send their money into help those less fortunate than themselves before fucking off to the Seychelles for the weekend on your private jet…..In which case…you should be bloody ashamed of yourself for ripping off the public that pay your salary and not offering to take a fraction of the bank filling sum you receive out of the public pot each year. That way the BBC can pay the behind the scenes people (ie those that actually matter) better salaries and get on with making better and more programmes which they can showcase on the world stage…..Strictly Come Dancing my arse….

Buying stuff

In March my contract with my mobile phone provider, O2, is up for renewal.

After much deliberation, illness and snow bound cabin fever I pondered my options. I could end my contract early (costing £60), start a new contract early or just wait until March.

March seems like forever off. It isn’t. But it feels like it is. Besides, I haven’t had a gadget fix since I inherited the wife’s laptop. So I did a little spreadsheet and worked out my current spend through my current contract.

My contract allows 400 minutes and 500 texts per month but no data discounts. Which, in hindsight, is daft as I use data services a hell of a lot these days. My previous contract also lacked data service and looking back at my bills I was paying ridiculous amounts of money to faceless executives allowing them to play golf in Surrey on Wednesday afternoons.

I currently have a Nokia N95 8GB which is a good phone. It does it’s job, it allows me to make and receive calls, send texts, take photographs and video, find my way to places using the GPS and play Snakes when I’m bored daft.

Sadly it doesn’t really allow me to write notes without mucking about and the proprietary software that allows the phone to communicate with my PC sucks hairy monkey balls.

Coupled with the fact that lots of the kids I see these days have iPhones which, to me at least, just seem like fashion accessories and expensive ones at that, getting a new phone this time was going to have to be thoroughly investigated.

Initially I was going to opt for the Acer F1 to go with my Acer desktop and Acer Laptop. I was all set to click “BUY NOW” but I thought I’d better check the GPS first as GPS is something I do rely on at the moment for Geocaching. As it turned out some reviews claimed that the GPS functionality of the Acer F1 was a bit pants so my itching mouse finger held off clicking “BUY NOW” until I compared other phones for their reliability.

And there it was. The HTC HD2. The phone that I just had to have. I watched videos of people reviewing it, I read articles, sought out software and even tidied up my Outlook in preparation.

By this time it was Wednesday afternoon, I’d found the best tariff for my needs on buymobilephones.net, compared the competition and benefits via my spreadsheet, filled in the application form and clicked send. It was 3.30pm, the site hinted that it very well may be possible that I could have my phone within 24 hours, which I thought, would be Friday…or Saturday at the very least.

Buymobilephones.net sent me a confirmation email an hour later. Excitement swelled inside me causing me to cough more from this wretched cold I’ve been suffering from. More mooching and reading and trying to find anything I could about my new toy.  The confirmation email said that they would send another email when my phone had been processed.

I waited

And waited.

Waited a bit more.

Still nothing. A whole day passed. Snow storms had cut off most of the UK and yes…I thought maybe a bit of snow would hamper my hopes of getting my phone for the Friday. Indeed by 6.30pm that Thursday evening, a further email was sent by Buymobilephones.net to say they were coping with a 24 hour back log due to “seasonal demand”.

Fair enough, I thought, the weather and excess demand would hamper anything. By Friday evening I was getting restless. I still hadn’t received any further emails. Three days had passed. Where was my order up to?

Saturday. Same thing. No email…nothing….

See…this is what happens to me. I buy things online with the expectation that they’ll come a day or two later. When they don’t I get really miffed. I miss the high street store option of walking into a shop. Mooching round for the item I want, going to the checkout. Paying for it. Going home. At least then, the excitement was contained by my journey home. This waiting for buymobilephones.net to get their act into gear is killing me. Now I’ve got the little voices in my head saying “They’ve lost your order” and “There’s a problem with your new mobile subscription set up”.

Had it not been for my horrid cold, the snow and the ice and the lack of high street shops selling sim free mobiles, I’d have risked the drive into town to buy one today. This is symptomatic of the culture of now (CON). I have given into the CON. CONsumerism has bitten me and I must have a new toy…I must I must I must.

I looked at the prices of my old mobile phone, my old Acer Laptop, my old Playstation 1. All of these items cost shit loads when they were new. Now…you can get all three for just under £200. I need to remind myself….electronics and keeping up with the Joneses….bad game to play. I never win.