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BLOG SHEEP

Essential reading




by Black Sheep, 27th October 2020

It’s official. Welsh Border Life is an essential item. So buy it

If nothing else, the furore over the Welsh Government’s utterly hilarious handling of non-essentialgate provides conclusive proof that there’s no two ways about it. You simply must buy Welsh Border Life. Or you’ll… I dunno. Die, or something.

You see, behind this utter farce lies something us pedants hold dear: attention to detail. And bandying around definitive words such as ‘essential’ is only going to end in tears. (But not tiers.)

A good place to start here is the dictionary definition of ‘essential’ - adjective, absolutely necessary; indispensable.

Now that leaves me with a warm glow inside. Because overnight my words (not these freebies, the ones inside the magazine) have become as important to human survival as food, water and shelter. I know this because the woman at the Spar told me.

Okay, she didn’t tell me in so many words. But when I asked her if the copy of Welsh Border Life I had flapping in my hands was okay to buy during lockdown, she said yes. Which, in line with Welsh Government thinking, catapulted it from ‘non-essential’ to the only other thing, by extension, that it could be. Essential.

I’ve known this all along, of course. But trying to convince every member of society to buy the magazine has been a tough ask of our circulation department these past few years. Don’t get me wrong, we do pretty well in that respect. In fact our subscription computer went into meltdown this week (true story!). But I’ll level with you. We’ve yet to claim a readership of millions.

You see, trying to convince the public that some things are ‘essential’ while others are not is a one-way ticket to derision. And hats (and nearly everything else) off to Chris Noden from Newport in South Wales for ably demonstrating this by wandering into his local Tesco wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (and a mask, obviously). Clothes being non-essential.

Wales’ Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, in full-on damage limitation mode, said retailers should use "common sense”. Well if that’s not the pot calling the non-essential kettle black, I don’t know what is. Let’s just take a look at what the Welsh Government have indicated we can and can’t buy:

A coat? No.

Suntan lotion? Yes.

A book? No.

The Daily Star? Yes.

A kettle? No.

A six-pack of Stella? Yes.

Scented candles? No.

20 Benson & Hedges? Yes.

So let’s get this right. In the midst of the biggest health crisis in living memory, we’re being told that two of the biggest causes of disease in humans - fags and booze - are essential to our lives. WHAT?!

And don’t even get me started on that other apparent staple of human survival, the lottery ticket. These rules are all about saving lives, apparently. But have you ever waited in a queue behind somebody buying lottery tickets? You’ll be there long enough to read your indispensable copy of Welsh Border Life cover to cover, let alone catch a virus.

As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it, to win it. And my god are we in it.

A mutton for punishment, Black Sheep welcomes all comments. Email blacksheep@borderpublishing.com to air your points of view. You can also read Black Sheep in Welsh Border Life every month.

 

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