Belfast Telegraph

Never mind the Buckfast egg, we should be banning all the other Easter tat that's being forced on hard-pressed parents

I know it's wrong on just about every level, but I still like the idea of the Buckfast Easter Egg. The one that comes with a small bottle of Buckie. And a lighter. I think there's even a fridge magnet in there somewhere.

Or was...

Until the official bottlers and distributors of the rocket fuel made by Benedictine monks in Devon, and much appreciated by connoisseurs in Lurgan, stepped in and pointed out that the unofficial egg was a breach of their trademark.

The businessman who'd dreamt up the Buckfast Easter Egg (with lighter), and had taken orders from all over the world - he's from Lurgan, it goes without saying - has now been forced to scrap his entire stock of the stuff.

The official distributors say they were annoyed not just on account of the trademark breach re what's unofficially known as Lurgan Champagne, but also because: "The egg comes with a 5cl miniature of alcohol so we had concerns over public health.

"A chocolate egg is the wrong place for alcohol."

The lighter isn't a great idea either. You could melt your chocolate...

My view is that in these days of bleak headlines, we have worse things to worry about than the Buckfast Easter Egg.

It isn't even the worst of the tat that's out there for Easter.

Got your Easter decorations yet? Not the fluffy Easter chick head badly glued to the toilet roll tube that the kids made for you in what's loosely called "art class".

But proper, showy, expensive decorations that are now on sale in many stores. Wreaths, strings of "Easter lights", pastel coloured bunting...

Who knew we needed this stuff?

We don't need this stuff. But the world of commerce is not behind the door at spotting opportunity. And there is now apparently no religious festival that can't be interpreted in chocolate themed table ware or seasonal soft furnishings.

Not only is Jesus supplanted by Santa, he's now facing further competition from the Easter Bunny.

This will doubtless be of concern to the religious. It's the added expense that bothers me.

Having dreamt up a rabbit that distributes not just chocolate eggs but also presents, the gift industry is on a roll.

Parents with young children, still trying to pay off the Christmas bills now face a spring-time onslaught of renewed pressure.

"But everybody else is getting one for Easter, mum!"

Needless to say, the impetus for this Christmas Mark Two comes from America where a recent poll by the National Retail Federation discovered that Americans splurge as much as $5.8bn (£4.6bn) on food alone at Easter.

Over $3bn (£2.4bn) is spent on what's quaintly referred to as "spring apparel" and almost $3bn (£2.4bn) on sweeties. Another billion (£797m) goes on those "tasteful" decorations I mentioned and almost a billion £797m) on greetings cards.

I've never received or sent an Easter card in my life. I don't intend to start now. Chocolate Easter eggs (with or without a snifter of caffeine-infused "tonic" wine) I am happy to buy. And receive.

But that should be the end of it.

We don't need another season of excess that annually puts people into debt as they fork out for naff rubbish that their relatives neither need nor want. And eye-wateringly expensive technology that will be outdated before it's paid for.

What we don't need and what we get, though, tend to be very different things.

The inexorable rise of the Easter Bunny is pretty much on the (Easter) cards and I doubt if my gurning is going to stop it.

But, a bit like Buckfast, sometimes I just feel like I need a tonic whine.

Why there's no bouquets for this daffy dad

A father in England has thrown a tantrum (with accompanying video) after police chastised his children for picking daffodils in a public park. Needless to say Mr Angry whipped out his phone to cover the exchange. He thinks it outrageous that a policewoman told his girls off. It ruined Mother's Day for them, sniff. Get a grip, man. They shouldn't have been picking the flowers, end of. And instead of filming them for your homemade injustice movie, you should have stopped them.

And given them the cash for a decent bunch in the first place.

Public artworks are on the wrong track

The Spectator magazine has awarded its annual "What's That Thing?" gong to a piece of Belfast "public art".

or which read one of those metal street sculptures we seem to be so fond of in this part of the world.

The magazine says The Origin, a giant raindrop-shaped thing in Cavehill Country Park, is the worst piece of such public art in the UK. Oh no, it isn't.

That massive metallic heap in Cornmarket that looks like a Iron Age Scalextric track is much, much worse.

Much, much worse.

Belfast Telegraph

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