Express & Star

Mark Andrews: Delilah, prepayment meters, National Sickie Day and footballers being treated like meat

Planning to show up for work on Monday? If not, you're probably not alone.

Tom Jones performing at Telford's QEII Arena

According to "digital media consultants" Reboot, February 6 is "National Sickie Day", with 3.6 million expected to call in sick. The winter blues and the strain of the new year are thought to be to blame.

The company suggests raising morale by offering employees a four-day week.

So instead of missing one day every year, the staff would be missing one day every week. Am I the only one who sees a flaw in that logic?


Delilah will not be sung at Wales games

The Welsh Rugby Union has banned fans from singing the Tom Jones hit Delilah at the national stadium.

Good luck in enforcing that.

The governing body says the words of the song encourage domestic violence. Let's hope no-one ever takes them to a Punch & Judy show.


A rare appearance by Frederic Guilbert.

Frederic Guilbert, the former Aston Villa defender who left the club last month, says he was treated 'like a peace of meat', traded around the world for millions of pounds with little thought for his own interests.

We can all sympathise with his predicament. It can't have been easy getting by on a reported £40,000 a week since joining Villa in 2019, during which time he played 27 games and scored twice.

Even so, if any meat traders want to pay me £4 million over four years for mostly sitting in a tracksuit watching my colleagues play football, you know where to find me.


Alfonso, an employment officer employed on behalf of British Gas, seems a nice guy, doesn't he?

Forcing his way into the home of a hard-up single father, he told an undercover reporter from The Times: “This is the exciting bit. I love this bit.”

But while this hardly reflects well on the the energy suppliers, it also begs the question of what they are supposed to do. If they went soft on every non-payer, half the country would be at it, wouldn't they?

One of the 'vulnerable' customers visited during The Times investigation was a 25-year-old single mother with four children. The youngest was just three weeks old, so obviously conceived after invasion of Ukraine, in the midst of the cost of living crisis. Did she never wonder how she would support all these kids?

The enforcement officers did not seize their possessions or harass them for money. They simply changed the meter so they would have to pay for their energy in advance, rather than allowing the debts to accumulate.

The real rip-off though, is charging them higher tariffs because they have been given prepayment meters. They shouldn't be punished for paying up front.