Friday, December 05, 2008

Zoomy Clarifies Your Confusions Regarding British Weirdnesses

This week's blog entries, and the comments readers have appended to them, made it clear that I need to explain a few things here.

1) Mince pies are made with mincemeat. Mincemeat, despite the name, doesn't contain any meat, and I'll have to get back to you about how much mincing is involved. Probably none. It's made with raisins, apples, sugar and things.

2) Black pudding is not, as Americans might think, an unusually-coloured variety of a sort of gooey dessert. It's made with (and I worked in a factory that made them for six and a half years, so I know what I'm talking about) dried blood powder, leftover fat from butchering legs of pork, bread rusk, seasoning and whatever other ingredients are left lying around the factory.

3) BBC TV, rather than being funded by commercials advertising products viewers might like to buy, is funded by money from everybody in the country, who are required to buy a TV licence. The TV Licence people are famous for pretending that they are able to detect whether somebody has a television in their house by means of fantastic radar devices, and sending out threatening letters to every address without a licence claiming that they have an army of inspectors who might come round to your house at any moment and catch you watching TV, whereas in fact they don't do any of these things, ever.

The good thing about the licence is that you can watch BBC channels without having your favourite shows interrupted by commercial breaks. The bad thing is that you have to give the BBC money for the privilege, and many viewers feel that it's not worth it considering that the BBC no longer show anything worth watching.

A few years ago, the BBC had a big advertising campaign stressing that the licence fee is great, because it enables the corporation to experiment with unusual and innovative TV programming rather than being desperate to deliver viewers to its advertisers. They've stopped doing that now, acknowledging that everything they show these days is a desperate attempt to attract as many viewers as possible.

Any more questions?


Boris said...


Did the British BBC or the German ARD invent the TV license, the TV detector radar cars, etc.?


Anonymous said...

public television wants your best :D. your money

Anonymous said...

Where are my transcripts? (Technically your transcripts.)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Boris, many believe the TV detection equipment is a bag of manure and to date it has NEVER been used in a British court of law.

Anonymous said...

Mincemeat also contains shredded suet (usually beef suet), which is the fat from around the kidneys. Hence my suggestion that the ingredients are best left unspecified. You can get vegetarian suet, but if it doesn't specify on the packet it will be the animal variety.

Sorry - happy mince pie eating.