The London Fireworks at New Year were undeniably fantastic.
Sponsored by Vodafone, must have cost two or three million.
My first thought - how did Vodafone manage to afford it? I think we all know they've not been doing too well over the last few years, don't we? Otherwise they wouldn't have had to put all that time and effort into highly complicated international tax-avoidance schemes to dodge the billions of pounds they owe this country.
So it's a testament to the unstoppable selfless generosity of the modern multi-national corporation that they put the happiness of ordinary Londoners ahead of their own dodgy financial situation. (Dodgy in the sense of "precarious," obviously.)
In case you don't already know, you could not only hear and see the fireworks, you could smell them and taste them as well. In fact, it was claimed they were the world's first ever multi-sensory fireworks. (But that's not true; they had multi-sensory fireworks in Vietnam. Called it napalm.)
But what these London fireworks definitely were, were the world's first edible fireworks.
Yes, edible fireworks. Fireworks that contained food - Peach Snow, Banana Confetti, Strawberry Mist. All the work of Britain's leading food artists. I know, "Food artist"?...
But I try to be even-handed. Fully in favour of money being spent on public art even in periods of austerity, so I wouldn't want to be immediately derisory about the moral value of filling bubbles with orange-flavoured smoke for a living, but some people have expressed the opinion that having food floating down from the skies in a city where food banks are helping three times the numbers they were a year ago seems at least a little insensitive.
If they have no bread, let them eat banana flavoured-confetti!
Admittedly, if you're struggling not to starve, it's got to hurt when you see some of your potential five-a-day floating onto the pavement in the middle of a party, getting trampled underfoot by drunken revellers and hoovered up by the pigeons, rats and foxes, all of whom seem to be pushing hard for your place in the food chain.
But let's be honest, everyone loves a bit of lavish entertainment from time to time; it's a free country, so if someone genuinely wants to make a living as a food artist and describe himself that way, that's just between him and his conscience. Besides, walk around this city any day of the week and you will see that all Londoners clearly love the sight of food landing on a pavement way more than they like eating it. Got to admit, wastefulness is not exclusive to corporate entertainment.
Which is a shame because I had a nice line, which doesn't fit now, about how sponsoring the fireworks was all part of a Vodafone media strategy called "Firsts", focussing on "people achieving remarkable things while connected through Vodafone, inspiring them to do something amazing for the first time, like making their first call, sharing their first video"...or drenching the people of London in a pyrotechnic golden shower and telling them it's raining.
I had this initial knee-jerk Puritan reaction to the profligacy and the hypocrisy of it all, because as UK-UNCUT and others say, if all the corporations who dodge tax in this country did pay their dues, we'd have no need for any spending cuts.
It's true, but it also assumes the government is only making the cuts out of economic necessity, when in fact (and I know I'm going to sound like some precocious paranoid fourteen year-old Trotskyite here - but then, the government are the ones behaving like they're being written by a paranoid fourteen year-old Trotskyite) it's increasingly clear their underlying ideological principle is to govern us with all the dedicated care and attention of a small boy directing sunlight onto ants through a magnifying glass. If they got that extra tax revenue they'd spend it on invading Bulgaria, or selling Canterbury Cathedral to the Moonies, or making it illegal to waste time on safety checks for nuclear power stations - not on infrastructure and care for the weak and needy - that is so last century! What we need in this country is tax-incentives for overseas experts to come here and satisfy the increased demand for secure mental hospitals we've had since almost the entire population was driven completely insane for some reason we can't quite fathom, but nonetheless offering great prospective returns for investors.
Compassion? In the modern world that means sending a cute picture of a kitten to your grandma on your Vodafone.
Oh, and what Vodafone spent on fireworks will be tax deductible, by the way.Suggest a correction