LET’S hear it for a colour called Pantone 448 C, also known as opaque couche.
A sort of dark green khaki, it is said to be the ugliest colour in the world, and that’s why it’s soon to be used on every cigarette and tobacco packet sold in Britain.
The idea is that smokers will be so repulsed by it that they’ll be more likely to quit, and potential smokers will be less likely to start.
There are a couple of observations to be made here. One is that whoever thinks opaque couche is the most repellent colour on the face of the Earth has never been in a British home whose bathroom suite was installed between about 1973 and 1979.
The other observation is that if the authorities are right, and making something harmful a horrible colour really does mean people won’t want to go anywhere near it, countless health problems will be solved at a stroke. Why stop at tobacco? Let’s combat alcoholism by painting drinks packaging in opaque couche; let’s combat obesity by applying it to the packaging of anything containing unhealthy ingredients – or using it to colour the icing of every other cake in a box.
Or rather, let’s do all that as soon as we see proper peer-reviewed studies proving the scheme isn’t just another load of gimmicky nonsense.
After all, the authorities’ last big wheeze – no pun intended - was putting pictures of diseased body parts on packets, but that only encourages the collecting urge: “Swap you a manky lung for a set of dodgy teeth.”
Smoking could be all but killed off in days by putting the price up to about 50 quid a pack and handing out bargain basement vaping kits to anybody who wanted or needed one – but that would leave a £10bn a year taxation hole.
Thanks very much for all the rubbish
IT’S probably something to do with my age, but I find myself lamenting the decline of basic courtesy.
I was thinking the other day, for example, about thank you notes.
When I was a kid, thank you notes were written whenever a grandparent, aunt or uncle gave a gift.
“Thank you for the garden darts, Auntie Doris,” we’d say, “Dad hopes to be out of hospital by the end of the week.”
Or: “Dear Uncle Bert, Thank you very much for the chocolate cigarettes and pipe. I can’t wait to be grown up so I can try the real thing like you, mum, dad, grandad, grandma, all my other relatives, the dog, the cat and the tortoise. Do you think I should start with the Capstan full strength ones or try Players No 6 first, so I can get used to it?”
Anyway, you might be wondering what got me thinking about thank you notes. It was a story in the Swindon Advertiser about cuts to opening hours at Swindon’s Household Waste Recycling Centre.
The centre – an excellent and well-run local resource – used to be open from 6am until 8pm. Now it’s closed on Wednesdays with reduced opening hours on every other day except Thursdays, when it’s open from 8am until 8pm.
In spite of this, to my knowledge not a single owner of a dodgy fly-tipping operation has written to thank the council.
If you are one of those fly-tippers, shame on you. Do you really think such rudeness is an appropriate response to a decision which will most likely put extra cash in your pockets?
Writing a thank you note is not hard, but I’ve written one for you anyway, you naughty people. You’re welcome to use it as a guide: “Thank you very much for restricting the opening hours of the recycling centre.
“I’m especially grateful that you closed it altogether on one weekday and restricted the other weekdays to more or less standard working hours only.
“Round about this point in the year, many people will be thinking about garden clearances, domestic building projects and things like that, so the change couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
“The cuts mean working people will have less choice when it comes to visiting the centre, meaning they’ll probably face lots of queueing at the times when they can make it.
“With a bit of luck, some of them will be so horrified at the thought of spending long periods of time waiting that they’ll be tempted to call me after I put my card through their doors.
“Obviously, the more decent ones will wonder exactly what I plan to do with their rubbish, but the prospect of losing, say, half a weekend in a queue amid the whiff of garbage, and perhaps swatting whichever many-legged beasties emerge from sacks of garden waste on the back seat, will mean they don’t wonder for too long.
“I’ll tell them I’m legit as I take their money and take their rubbish, which I’ll then dump on the first empty spot I can find where nobody’s looking. Perhaps it’ll be a place where children play. “Anyway, must dash, but thanks again – and thanks for not considering a more sensible way of saving money, such as, well, just about any other way of saving money, really.”