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Mark Andrews on Saturday: Family days out, that sinking feeling, and Normal People are very dull

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read today's column from Mark Andrews.

A day out for all the family

Tried watching a bit of contemporary television this week. Waiting for the news to come on, I noticed something called Normal People on BBC1, which all the papers had been raving about. With nothing else to do for the next 15 minutes, I thought I would give it a try.

For much of that time, a group of twentysomethings sat around a garden table outside an Italian villa. Then a girl went into the house to fetch some strawberries, prompting a bloke around the table to complain about the absence of cream. Girl huffily goes back into the house to get the cream, bloke follows her in, spills red wine on the kitchen floor, and breaks a glass. Girl and another bloke light up fags, indulge in a bit of navel-gazing about childhood, and for the final cliffhanger, they visit an art gallery to the soundtrack of tinkly piano music.

And this is supposed to be the best thing on TV at the moment, the big showpiece attracting all the headlines. Which begs the question: how bad must the rest of it must be?

Normal People –boring

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been getting a bit of flack for imposing a 36 per cent hike on the city's congestion charge, at the same time as cutting services on the tube. To set an example of how people should get to work, he 'did a Cameron', cycling through London followed by a £300,000 armour-plated Range Rover.

You can't blame the mayor for wanting a bit of protection, what with all the terrorist loonies about these days. Although you have to say it defeats the object a bit if you are going to ride a bike in front of it, with only Lycra shorts for protection.

What I don't understand is why the emperor of environmentalism needs a stinking great 4x4 to travel within the confines of the M25?

Sadiq Khan – does he really need a 4x4

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Huge hoo-ha about an 8ft sinkhole which appeared in Rome, revealing a 2,000-year-old pavement. Yet hardly anything about the similar sinkhole in Walsall. Which revealed a suspected collapsed sewer.

The Anchor Lane tip in Bilston has just reopened, causing motorists to queue for up to four hours to get in. Amazing what some people will do for a day out. Never mind A Night at the Museum, how about A Day at the Tip?

But if you think that is sad, in Peterborough drivers were queuing two hours to get into McDonald's. Not exactly what you would call fast food, is it?

A big hole in Walsall

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The bog-standard urinal could be a thing of the past when pubs finally reopen after lockdown, after it has been suggested this might be necessary to ensure social distancing.

I think whoever has written that report must be unaware of the age-old etiquette of pub toilets, where you always stand as far away as possible from any other man, you always look straight ahead at the wall in front, and never, ever engage in conversation.

Could urinals become a thing of the past?
Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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