Eurodan in English

January 24, 2007

I've just been 'chugged'. The word is a combination of 'charity' and 'mugging', and is now used by marketing professionals for the practice of stopping passers-by on the pavement, engaging them in conversation and then trying to get them to commit to giving money (mostly on a long-term, direct-debit basis) to a charity.

It leaves me with very mixed feelings. The charity concerned (Oxfam), is one whose aims I broadly support. I just object to being made to feel guilty and uncomfortable while going about my business. Sure, a polite 'no thankyou' is all that's required, but today for some reason I was engaged in conversation - I'm not sure quite why. Perhaps it was that we were in the middle of Brussels and the 'chugger' concerned spoke to me spontaneously in Dutch, the minority language here, rather than French or - heaven forfend - airport English.

Of course, once you've started the conversation you're like a lobster in a pot. You're skilfully manipulated into a situation where the only face-saving option is signing on the dotted line. But I'm glad to say that I didn't. Not that I don't want to give money to charity. I do, especially now that I'm earning again after that year spent retraining. It's just that *I* want to decide when, and how, and how much. And in my own good time. Not by being made to feel guilty on a pavement.

Posted by Eurodan at 11:51 AM | Comments (5)

January 15, 2007

Start spreading nyheterna...

No prizes for guessing where I was, looking at this picture. That's right, New York! Where else would you find a friendly local Smörgås Chef?

No, really, New York it was. It was just coincidence that mine and Peter's hotel was right around the corner from this rather tempting looking eaterie.

It's funny how some things just seem to follow you around. If it's not Sweden, it's Mr. Rockefeller. We started the trip by taking a look at the truly mindblowing view from the top of the Rockefeller Center, only to follow it up later on with a visit to the lovely cloisters part of the Metropolitan Art Museum, (also donated by Mr R.), and then later to the UN building. And what do you know, it's those good people over at the Rockefeller family we have to thank for the building. Or the land. Or something.

Anyway, it was fun, if a little cold. And I managed to make it back just in time for a party...


Posted by Eurodan at 5:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 4, 2007

That Life

Sometimes it's wrong to go back. As much as you might want to. That was certainly the case with BBC2's This Life +10, shown the day before yesterday.

For those not in the know, in 1996 and 1997 there was a groundbreaking TV series on BBC2 which focused on the lives of a bunch of twentysomething lawyers trying to make their way in the world. Why groundbreaking? Because of its fly-on-the-wall documentary style (used with much success subsequently on shows like The Office), and because it didn't shy away from the fact that young adults in London swore, had sex and - get this - took drugs without immediately becoming junkies and having their lives fall apart.

As a twentysomething also trying to find my way in the world, I was hooked, as were up to 5 million other Britons - not bad for a BBC2 programme.

The second series came to a climactic end, and it was decided not to make any more - leaving us all desperate and addicted.

Two days ago many of us avidly tuned in to see what had happened to Miles, Anna, Millie, Egg and Warren. It felt a bit like an awkward reunion of once-close schoolfriends, and afterwards you kind of wished you hadn't bothered.

For a start, several of the characters were no longer really believable. But that might just be me. After all, how did loveable failure Egg ever get it together long enough to publish a very successful novel? But that was forgiveable, I suppose. But what really grated was the attempt to put a series' worth of crisis into one episode. Millie falls off a horse - but is OK. Warren attempts an overdose - but it isn't really one. And so on.

After a long weekend at Miles' new country house, the characters were obviously relieved to be heading home to put the whole experience behind them. A sentiment which most viewers probably shared.

Posted by Eurodan at 3:08 PM | Comments (1)

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