Thursday 31 October 2019

Excuse me, sir…

There is an alarming tendency now for news programmes to go out and seek the opinions of “ordinary people”. These are known in the media as “vox pops”, and this “voice of the people” was once summarised as “the man on the Clapham omnibus”. Nowadays it’s more likely to be the woman in a Leicester market, the man in Tunbridge Wells, or the couple who stray into the Ground Zero surrounding any broadcaster’s HQ, within which an interview team can work and return without missing their lunch.

Ordinary people have a great deal to offer, but insightful and well-informed views do not seem to be among them. Yet for some baffling reason these cost-saving, time-filling commentaries persist. And what if these vox pops, which seem to have replaced informed political, economic, even sports comment, replaced wine commentators too?

“They’ve been coming over here from France and Italy and Spain for years. Now they’re coming from South Africa and Australia and South America. Honestly, I saw some from China the other day. I mean, we’ve got to do something about it.”

“Wines? They’re all the same, the whole bloody lot of ‘em.”

“Yes, they asked us what we wanted. But people simply weren’t told what kind they would be getting. You can’t just ask people whether they want wine or not, you have to tell them what kind it’ll be. Now that we know what ‘wine’ really means, they should ask us again.”

“I’ve lost faith in the whole system, frankly. We told them what we wanted, and they said they were going to deliver it back in March. It’s now October, and they’re saying that we might have to compromise and accept alternatives. Why can’t they just deliver what they said they were going to?”

“Well I don’t know that much about wine myself, but I know what I like.”

“To be honest, I’m just sick of hearing about wine. These so-called ‘experts’ go on and on and on, it’s like they talk a different language, and they never really answer the question, do they?”

“It’s shocking. You’ve only got to look at our High Street. There used to be a wine merchant on that corner, but it’s gone now. It’s a shame really. I mean, obviously I get mine from the supermarket, ‘cos it’s cheaper, but I used to like looking in the window.”

“No, that sort of thing is unacceptable, really. It’s just not the way to discuss these things. They ought to know better. We used to discuss it properly, we’d say it was ‘splendid’, or ‘not quite right’, and that was enough. All this stuff that’s going on now, the language, the spitting and all that… There’s really no need for that.”

“It’s all very well saying give ‘em time. But if they’re not improving, something’s got to change. There’s only so long you can wait. Because at the moment, they’re just waiting there in the box, and nothing’s happening. In the short term, you’ve got to go out there and spend. Maybe bring in some Italians with a bit of flair, or some heavyweights from Spain. Long term, like, we'll just have to hope the young ones come through.”

“Don’t talk to me about wines. They’re all as bad as each other.”



  1. Absolutely, if I wanted to listen to a halfwit, I'd talk to myself.

  2. Thank you – and what about you, madam?

  3. "I'm just hoping for some old world vintage maturity to return. Not as old as that Chateau Corbyn mind you - a bit past its best, with an unpleasant undertone. With this lot at the moment it's like a bloomin' Beaujolais Nouveau run, but every month."

  4. Ah, some Chateau Clarke, perhaps? Sadly gone now…


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