Friday, March 30, 2007


As a race, the average English person tends to be permanently deprecating about this country. We whinge on about the weather, the politicians, the cricket team, why nothing seems to work as well as it does in Germany or Japan, the traffic jams, the younger generation, and so on, and so on , and so on……… We don’t do excitement, or over-optimism, or self-aggrandisement. Ask an Englishman who has just won the lottery how he feels, and the likely answer will be something like “Not too bad.”

We forget, or don’t even realise, just how good we are at some things – like truly understated Marketing. A simple little website was mentioned in the Sunday newspapers, and it is so silly at first sight, but when you think a bit about it, you realise someone has just put together a gloriously effective bit of marketing for their product.

We’re back on cheese again. Just ping onto, and you will be rewarded with the website of the West Country Cheesemakers who have hit on the utterly simple marketing ploy of training a web cam (“Sit, Don’t move, Record”, I said “Don’t move” ….) on 20 kilos of unsuspecting Cheddar from the day it was born until the day it becomes mature enough to be sold. We can watch all the action here, with each microscopic spore of mould developing in real time in front of us.

Google it and there are 794 other stupid hits which refer to it – it could only happen in this country, and Thank Goodness for all of them. Some of them, understandably, compare it for excitement to “watching paint dry”, but that’s a bit of a stretch for an analogy. The paint I use dries in around 6 hours, which is why I touch it after 3, and get those lovely fingerprints in it for ever. This cheese when I first looked at it the other day, following 490,000 other idiots, had been developing in front of the trusty camera for 96 day, 23 hours, 51 minutes and 14.937 seconds.

Yes, the surreally beautiful English twist on the ad is that the time is quoted to the nearest millisecond. Lovely!

For those really interested, you will be mortified to have missed the frenzy yesterday, for that was what it was, when the cheesemaker took his first stab at the inside to check on the condition of the beast.

Calm down everyone, now. He’ll probably be doing it again in another 10,000,000,000 milliseconds.

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