Frisk #169

Change the bulb, it’s Frisk #169! That was Dave Lister’s crew number in the first series of Red Dwarf. (Then they decided that 169 people couldn’t have been a big enough crew for a spaceship of that size, and revised the figure to 1,169. If you want nerdy Red Dwarf facts, you come to me…)

Healthy pasties
‘Guilty pleasure’ is a bit of a flawed phrase; life’s too short to feel bad about enjoying yourself, you either like something or you don’t. Pretending not to like something that you actually do, or – worse – torturing yourself for your perceived bad behaviour, is little more than a waste of time and glucose.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to shop at Greggs without experiencing at least an infinitesimal pang of the guilty pleasure synaptic fizz. Your body does not need a deep-fried pastry full of sausages and baked beans. If you can squeeze your food and collect the grease in a napkin as it drips out, it’s probably too greasy.
Greggs, however, aren’t stupid. They’re diversifying. They know people eat there for yumminess rather than lifestyle points, but they’re also branching out into healthier pastures: the new sourdough pasties cut calories in half, and contain 9g of fat compared to a regular pasty’s 33g.
And that’s not all. They’re talking about a gluten-free range, and even – whisper it – sushi. Just imagine.

Cartoon Equality
As with so many facets of everyday life, there’s always been a gender bias in TV animation and cartoons. Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder all try to be pretty right-on with their plot devices and themes, but they’re inarguably all about men doing tasks. The traditional model of the family-based cartoon – The Flintstones, The Simpsons, The Jetsons, Family Guy, American Dad – has the men going out to earn the money while the womenfolk stay at home. And have you counted up how many of the trains in Thomas the Tank Engine (or ‘Thomas and Friends’, as it now is) are girls? If you want to get ahead in animated fiction, you’d better have a pair of XY chromosomes.
MullenLowe London reckoned it was time to redress the balance, and so they launched a new campaign to coincide with International Women’s Day: ‘It’s time to get animated’, aka #redrawthebalance. They teamed up with charity Inspiring Girls International to create a video that highlighted how only 29% of characters are women, and more often than not they’re portrayed as damsels in distress. Furthermore, behind the scenes, just 20% of animators are female. Here’s the vid, see what you think >>>

With the current wave of thinly-veiled xenophobia on either side of the North Atlantic, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the world had suddenly gone a bit far-right 1930s about penning everybody into the countries in which they were born. There’s Brexit voters on one side who, in some cases, thought they were voting purely on an immigration issue, and Trump on the other, trying to close America’s doors to anyone who looks a bit different to him, for some reason. It’s unsettling.
In Barcelona, however, the idea of keeping visitors out is rooted in an altogether more strategic gameplan. Rather than merely a vague notion of ‘keeping foreigners away’, the city’s mayor has embarked upon a long-term anti-tourism policy on the grounds that, well, the residents are being elbowed out. There are 1.6m people living in Barcelona, and every year 32m tourists arrive; sure, it’s great for the economy, but not for local culture and community. The plan, then, is simply to make accommodation and transportation much, much more expensive for visitors. Will this work? It might, or it might not. But at least they’ve given it a bit of thought.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

15th March 2017