What does recession look like?

Sales of face paint are bucking trends...Now that the UK is officially in a recession, what is interesting to see is how news organisations want us to visualise economic slowdown.

When the Great Depression is mentioned, a lot of us would picture people walking around, in sepia, with mouth and brows arced downwards, like a sad clown. But where did this image come from? Television, most likely.

Though this isn’t a new piece of imagery, call me crazy, but this is how I’ve always pictured it. An episode of the Simpsons is one example that I can remember where this has been brought to screen, in the scene an ancestor of Moe Syzlack comments “Oh, jeez, there’s always a line”, when attempting to commit suicide from the top of a skyscraper in 1929 and is greeted by a long line of other jumpers, obviously a very popular pastime when Wall Street crashed.

Sky - Recession pictureGuardian - Recession picture

Today the image used by most major news outlets is the ‘its raining and here are some shops that have closed down, how depressing.’ scene. In this image there is usually 1, but no more than 3 people in the shot. None look interested in shopping in the least. Mostly they are shot speeding past the camera, blur lines and all, representative of an entire populous that just doesn’t have the money to buy.

BBC - Recession pictureThe BBC think that recession is best represented by a Hasidic Jew and a poorly dressed fat woman who hasn’t had the spare money to go to a hair salon in the last 4 quarters, quite obviously representing the length of time that UK growth has been negative and subsequently how long it has taken to get the official ‘recession’ stamp.

For quite how long growth will continue to fall, I don’t think anybody knows, but what is for sure is that while we’re in this state there will be a lot more images and depictions of life as it changes significantly. The boom and bust policies of governments and corporations have once again showed us its downside and we’re left kicking ourselves for being so naïve as to think that our prosperity would never end.

Where once credit was only an online application away, giving our society the illusion that we were flush with cash to spend on luxury cars, binge-drinking and all-inclusive Carribean holidays, many are having to learn new skills in penny-pinching, seeking out deals and shopping with thought. Perhaps then not all is bad? Responsibility being given back to individuals and families for their actions and spending is a way of giving back some free and constructive thought, previously clouded by credit lines that were tantamount to being unlimited?

Baskin Robbins wants to kill you!

Baskin Robbins Oreo Chocolate ShakeThe Men’s Health ’20 worst foods in America 2009′ list has been released. After reading last years list I would have thought that the companies highlighted then would have tried to get their act together, but it seems that they are not phased by continuing to providing some of the most calorie and fat filled foods available in the American market, but it seems that the same are turning up again in this years list.

Last years ‘Worst Drink in America’ was Baskin Robbins perhaps inappropriately named ‘Large Heath Bar Shake’ which has a total of 2,310 calories. These come from the staggering 66 teaspoons of sugar which is put into each beverage, which uses an astronomical 73 different ingredients altogether giving you 108g fat (64g saturated).

This year the ice cream parlor chain, not satisfied with the title of ‘Worst drink’  has gone for the gold medal and won it, taking the ‘Worst Food in America 2009′ title. The ‘Large Chocolate Oreo Shake’ packs in 2,600 calories, 135 g fat (59 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats) and 263g of sugar. That’s more than an entire days’ worth of calories and three days worth of fat!

Also hitting the list is restaurant chain Romano’s Macaroni Grill who have some how managed to ruin pasta, which I was quite sure was impossible to do. Their Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce has three days worth of saturated fat and two days’ worth of salt, with just a little under a man’s daily recommended calorie intake at 2,430. Wow.

Men’s Health – The 20 worst foods in America 2009

Rhodri Morgan, ever the optimist

Rhodri MorganFirst Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan seems to think that politics in the UK is too far behind that of the US to for a black person to be elected prime minister. In stating this Mr Morgan is, as usual, exercising his right to senility.

Mr Morgan, who is most likely serving his final term, is completely off the mark to suggest that the voting populous would not elect a candidate by reason of ethnicity or skin colour.

Barack Obama was a first term Senator when he was elected President of the United States. 4 years ago he was almost a complete unknown out of his adopted home city of Chicago, yet now he has taken his oath and is sitting as the commander-in-chief of the most powerful of Western democracies.

To say that years of service and experience through the political systems is required to be successful in British politics is utter rubbish. I would even say that a figure who has been languishing within the pig-pen for 20 years is possibly the worst person to put into high office, for all the scandals, lies and cheating that would likely have centred or gone on around that person through those years, making them corrupted or hardened. Look at Peter Mandelson for goodness sake. When will he give it up and buzz off? After all of the drama he’s been involved in, including have to resign, twice, you would expect him to have thrown in the towel a long time ago, at least to save (what is left of) his dignity.

So, to you, Rhodri Morgan, years of being inside a moral-less, corrupted elitist circle may have been your way of getting to the top, but this does not necessarily mean it is the de facto or only route. Stimulation, innovation and conjugation may also suffice and there are plenty of younger whipper-snappers who will be biting at your heels soon enough with oodles of the stuff.