Saturday, 29 January 2011

Dear Alec - the doctor advises

Of course, I'm not a proper doctor, only in the 'Dr' Gillian McKeith 'holistic nutritionist' sense, but it's all on the internet anyway, so what the hell.

Dear Dr Alec, what's all this with the economy and that? I mean, why's it gone all crap all of a sudden with pints mostly more than £3, 20% VAT, students getting arsey and stuff? Is it right the snow was to blame, or Labour, or the bankers or something? I can't make sense of it, but you seem like a sensible bloke. What do you reckon?  A P, Keynsham, England

Well, A, I'm not a proper economist either, but I can remember the old days. It's gone crap because for years we were seduced into believing that we wanted  - and the economy demanded  - enormous brightly lit spaces stuffed to the gunwhales with food from all over the world. We got used to roaming these places dressed to the nines and ringing our partners on our smartphones to check what we were there for in the first place. Then we would put it all in our shiny vehicle which we pretended the bank didn't own and returned to a house to which the same applied. It wasn't sustainable. So, no it wasn't the snow. It wasn't Labour either, except that they were in it too. Was it the bankers? Yes partly it was. They like us waving our various credit cards about. Really though it was just us being greedy.

Hi Doc! Is it true that the famously unapologetic boss at Barclay's bank is called Bob Diamond, or is that the name of a cartoon villain with too much bling? Please settle this for me and my pals once and for all. Ms V McC, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Hi V. You couldn't make it up, could you? He really is Diamond. He really thinks the banks have nothing to apologise for too. I don't know if he sports much bling. A Swiss watch from Davos maybe.

Dear Dr Turer (may I call you 'Dr'?), how could I become more British in my consumption of non-alcoholic beverages. Since that magnificent display in the Ashes series, I would like to tap into my roots. Mr T E, Adelaide, Australia

By all means call me Dr, Mr. In truth, there's more than one regime. The easiest and most down-with-the-proletariat is to drink (fairtrade) teabag steeped at least four minutes, with milk and sugar to taste, at all times of day. The regime followed at Turer Towers is a little more elaborate, but you could build towards it gradually. On rising drink two cups of leaf Assam, made in a proper teapot, with a little skimmed milk and no sugar. At eleven, drink one cup of freshly ground Java coffee made in one of those screw-down Italian pots you put on the stove. After lunch drink one more of the same. At four o'clock (no earlier), as the fog comes down (or it rains if it's summer) make a pot of China tea such as Oolong. Drink without milk or sugar. Bear in mind too that these rituals vary from region to region and take a lifetime of study. Awfully bad luck over the Ashes, by the way, but quite well done over the less important one-day series. Tootlepip.

Dear Alec, what's the difference between the Control Orders that the Lib Dems swore to abolish and the new TPIMs? Ms N B, Aberystwyth, Wales

Dear N. Search me.

Dear Alec, My girlfriend wants me to rub her all over with coconut oil but I fear this is not sanctioned in the Bible. Could you advise? Mr Z D, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Dear Z, I fear you may have strayed into the wrong forum, as I don't usually advise on spiritual matters. However, I have scoured both Old and New Testaments, and good news! I can find absolutely nothing whatever that forbids rubbing coconut oil into another person. I say therefore, go blamelessly to it. I would only add that it would be a good idea for several reasons to gently warm the coconut oil. Also, as it's likely to go everywhere, it would also be a sensible precaution to remove your own clothing too.

Dear Alec, what is the cure? Anon, Erewhon

Dear Anon, to heal the heart. Return soon for another teaspoon of wisdom.

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