Since the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has now given way, via the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s first (and last) autumn statement, to a session of giveaways and gloomy forecasting, I have a helpful suggestion to lighten your darkness.
It concerns how you might spend at least some of the hard-earned cash we all appear to be expected to splash out on today’s Black Friday, now morphing scarily into Black Five Day, Black Monday to Friday, Cyber Week and other sinister manifestations of the dark side of end-of-year retail madness.
White cats, laser lances and world domination aren’t in it.
Like most politicians, of course, Mr Hammond, who had obviously been told not to utter the word “Brexit” on pain of a hard stare from his leader, appeared to be promising jam tomorrow to most of us, including those saddled with the new political acronym Jams (following in the proud footsteps of yuppies, neets and dinks).
These are people who are “Just About Managing” but who find themselves on an unenviably sticky wicket where self-preservation is concerned, particularly at this time of year, when the general public is expected to save the world from financial ruin by spending itself into oblivion.
Any road up, I think I have found the perfect, all-purpose item with which to bend the Christmas stockings of your nearest and dearest this year.
Following my revelation to you all, only a few short weeks ago, of the Taste Buddy, a gadget which makes food we don’t like but that’s good for us taste like food we do like that’s bad for us (stay with me, it gets clearer), I give you the Food Sniffer.
This “e-nose” (those of you old enough may now find yourself channelling the late, great Northern comedienne Hylda Baker) apparently claims to be able to introduce us all to “a new era of scents”, most of them, obviously, nasty.
It comes in the shape of a portable electronic pointy thing that tells you whether food is fresh or rancid.
Would that we had such a device to detect a similar state of putrefaction in the promises of our political classes worldwide but I fear we may have to wait some time for that, although I claim first dibs on the copyright for naming it Pinocchio.
Now, the problem with persuading people that they need this particular whizzbang is that, thanks (with apologies to Mike Pence) to evolution and the design development of the human race, we all come with one already built in, as standard. It’s called a nose. A nose, not e-nose.
And unless you choose to have yours remodelled on a regular basis – a la Katie Price or Kim Kardashian – it comes in a lot cheaper than the £105 price tag of the Food Sniffer.
Well, I suppose they all laughed once upon a time at the idea of bottling water and selling it when perfectly good stuff came out of the tap.
But whenever my grandmother was deeply suspicious about the provenance of anything, from edibles to eligible boyfriends (my mother was one of three very attractive daughters), she apparently used to mutter the mantra: “Hellish, dark and smells of cheese.”
And she didn’t need a Food Sniffer to help her smell a rat.
Far be it from me to do other than deprecate strongly the actions of anyone who attacks or menaces another person, particularly with the intention of undermining the principle of free speech, no matter how noxious said speechifying might allegedly be.
But I admit to a wry grin and a choked-back chuckle when I read that our very own “Gorgeous” George Galloway had had glitter thrown over him by a bunch of students while he was making a speech at Aberdeen University, a city much better known for its grey and gritty granite than its adherence to sequins and shiny stuff.
Juvenile, yes; stupid, yes; the thin end of the intimidatory wedge, probably yes.
It was just glitter but it could, of course, have been something far more dangerous and damaging and in the week that Jo Cox’s killer was jailed for life for her senseless and tragic murder in a public place while going about her job, that’s a serious thing to think about.
But somehow, George and this particular branch of the glitterati reminds me of the song Vicious by the late and lugubrious Lou Reed.
His refrain goes something like: “Vicious. You hit me with a flower. You do it every hour. Oh, baby, you’re so vicious.” Camp doesn’t quite begin to cover it.
Since we now know that no harm was done and given that Mr Galloway has, in the past, appeared with some notoriety on reality TV, been accused of sporting a fake tan and is known for his natty threads, can an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing be far behind?
If it’s good enough for Ed “Glitter” Balls…