Rant of mine in the Guardian

My second column/rant has appeared this morning in the Guardian. It is a somewhat sanitised version of the original – no mention of skunk, broken legs and no f-words – but pretty much the same. One odd thing is that online, my asterisks (denoted emphasis) have been replaced with speech marks.

I've yet to see the printed version. Hopefully that doesn't have speech marks as well – it doesn't sense like that. Anyway, here is:


Whatever you may have heard, there really is no such thing as a free iPod

Free! Want a new TV? Get one Free! Listen to the radio? Get it Free! If everything is free how come my credit card keeps registering purchases? When was the last time anyone got anything free without having to pay through the nose?

I joined the wireless revolution. BT is giving away the first month “free”. Everyone's doing it. So how come I'm in a dirty pub getting intermittent and weak internet access with some chav across the room staring at me, waiting for me to go to the toilet so he can pinch my laptop. But the best thing is I'm paying £6 an hour for the pleasure.

At home I have a fast internet connection for £20 a month. At £6 an hour, the wireless revolution is coming in at roughly £4,500 a month. And there are no plans to lower the pricer because demand isn't big enough. That £20 a month is a rip-off anyway, thanks to BT living in the 1980s.

Sign up to this 18-month mobile phone contract. Free! Pay 50p a minute (that's ooh, something like £22,000 a month). Free! Pay 10p to send 100 SMS letters, including spaces (roughly £12,000 per book, by my calculations), and we will give you this Free! phone. Vodafone pays billions to be “allowed” to sell more phones on faster networks. Billions in profit every year, executives walk away in one year with the lifetime wages of several people – but we get our Free! phone.

Take a picture with the crappy camera on your Free! phone and pay 20p to send it on so a friend can stare at it on their Free! mobile trying to figure out what it is.

Why is everyone taking bad pictures of everything? Because of a multibillion pound campaign by mobile phone companies looking for ways to make yet more money by “telling us” we love taking poor-quality pictures of nothing.

It's a miracle we have only just discovered how life-enhancing these pieces of blurred shite are. Mobile phone companies spend billions trying to persuade of us of the wonderful benefits of photography. And the best thing is it's all free.

Get a Free! iPod with your crisps, your chewing gum. Get a Free! iPod with every £200 you spend on one. Join the revolution by spending money? The iPod'll store your entire music collection. We all love music, so listen to more. Just don't share it. Because then we'll have to send round the £200-an-hour lawyers to take away everything you own.

Don't use those CDs, buy “new” music and in this format, so that in five years, we can stop supporting it and you can buy the same music all over again.

What made you think music was eternal? Do you think music is made by people playing instruments and singing? Music is created by us. For profit. Try our free download today and find out for yourself. Absolutely free.