Paul Little at large
Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Diverging directions


If there is any value to be found in such anachronistic institutions as the papacy and the monarchy it is in their very resistance to change. In a world distinguished by increasingly rapid change, they at least set an example of stability.

That is why some people cheered inwardly when the Queen turned up late at a concert in honour of her Jubilee and put on earplugs.

She is the Queen and 86, after all, so should be able to decide how she spends her time and if, like many of us, she would prefer not to spend any of the hours remaining to her listening to Cliff Richard then her determination is to be applauded.

So it was disappointing to see her succumb to the whims of techno-faddism and broadcast her Christmas message this year in 3D.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who felt sorry for the old dear when she allowed herself to be photographed wearing those ridiculous glasses - not just because they are unflattering but because they showed that she had succumbed to peer pressure and tried to get "with it".

At least she's not on Twitter - unlike the Pope, who seems uncomfortable with the medium. The frequency of his tweets is erratic but surely he could have come up with something on Christmas Day?

As for his tweets, they range from gnomic ("We do not possess the truth, the truth possesses us. Christ, who is the truth, takes us by the hand") to collegial ("Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?") to banal ("The cribs that we built in our home gave me much pleasure. We added figures every year and used moss for decoration").

Because I once bought some tickets to a concert, Ticketmaster emails me every week, digging me in the ribs with the subject line: Welcome to your weekly TicketAlert.

If Ticketmaster thinks I'm even slightly interested in seeing Haier Pulse v Kia Magic at TSB Stadium New Plymouth on February 23 then it doesn't really know me at all.

What Ticketmaster and various promoters do know is how to get the use of your money long before you'll get anything in return, through the now endemic practice of "pre-sales".

"Post-sales" were presumably abandoned after few people could be found willing to buy tickets to an event that had already taken place.

Worried that you might miss out on seeing your fave combo, you happily pony up your dollars. Usually you will pay with a credit card, adding a hefty percentage to the already costly tickets. Multiply this by a whole Vector Arena and you're talking about a large amount in someone's bank account.

Tickets to a concert in October by the popular music ensemble One Direction, for example, went on sale in April - a year and a half in advance.

It is quite possible a group such as One Direction will have ceased to exist by October and split into several groups: The Original One Direction, Harry Styles' New Direction and Niall Horan: The Voice of One Direction.

This is marketing at its best - creating a need where none existed. It's more proof that nowhere is human ingenuity more exercised than in devising ways to wring money from people.

- Herald on Sunday

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