Frisk #171

Splice the mainbrace, it’s Frisk #171! In Brazilian Portuguese, um-sete-um (one-seven-one) is slang for a grifter or compulsive liar, thanks to Article 171 of the penal code which defines the crime of estelionato – a.k.a. scams and confidence tricks. That’s not to say this week’s Frisk is a pack of lies, obvs. Some of it is grounded in fact.


Impulse necessities
‘Retail therapy’, describing how you can lift your spirits by the act of splashing cash on treats, was a phrase invented by Rachel in Friends in the early 1990s.
Not really. But it sounds believable, doesn’t it?
It’s a pretty obvious fact that if you’re a bit glum, buying yourself a treat will give your day a positive boost – a new record, a pair of shoes, a mini-break, a bottle of White Lightning and a park bench, whatever flicks your switch. If it’s unnecessary but desirable, it works as therapy.
A new study, however, has shown that many American consumers have gone the other way: when they feel out of control, they buy functional and utilitarian products to redress the balance – toilet roll, washing-up liquid and so on. Why? Because useful things are associated with problem-solving, which enhances people’s sense of control.
This is good news for your overdraft, of course. Andrex is cheaper than Louboutins.

Electric planes
It’s interesting how many people buy hybrid cars and talk in loud voices about how good they are at recycling and not leaving their TVs on standby, yet are happy to fly about the world as their whims take them. Air pollution is still a thing that confuses people.
Still, you can’t vilify folk for wanting to go on holiday. And entering stage left with a wry grin on its face is Wright Electric, a firm whose aim is to make every short-haul flight in Europe electric within twenty years.
That’s right, electric planes. Like electric cars, but bigger, and with wings.
Want some numbers? 60% of Britons say they’re concerned about the environment (which doesn’t sound like enough), and carbon emissions from flights are set to increase by 43% in the next couple of decades. So electric planes would probably help. Let’s just hope they’re more Tesla than G-Wiz.

Football violins
The beautiful game. The great leveller. The classless pursuit of shouting at men in little shorts. Football has been bonding families and communities for generations, with its unique blend of all-in-it-togetherness, passion, pride, occasional violence, archaic gender bias, and extraordinary profits. It’s a game that anyone can play, and people who play it particularly well get to live in really big houses; as a spectator, you get to claim your chosen team’s victory as your own – ‘we won’, ‘we played really well’, ‘we went home to Oxshott in a McLaren with a supermodel’.
In Germany, though, the tide appears to be turning. While the Bundesliga, the nation's top professional football league, might have the highest average stadium attendances in the world, attendance at classical music concerts is showing some pretty strong figures. The German association for orchestral musicians, Deutsche Orchester-Vereinigung, hosted 13,800 concerts in 2015/16, bringing in 18.2m people – 40% more than the Bundesliga. OK, there were probably fewer people watching concerts at home and in pubs, but it’s still a remarkable set of numbers.
In possibly related news, Germany’s beer consumption is at a 25-year low, and Zeit Online’s global drug survey shows that only 18% of German 18-35 year olds feel they need booze to have a good time. Make of that what you will.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

29th March 2017