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June 4th 2016
It's been a while since I've had a proper rant here, but, by gum, am I going to rant today. And the reason for the unseemly diatribe from your otherwise sedate blogger? It's an advert from Costa that I've recently seen on the side of a few buses. I managed to (just about) get a snap of one as it passed me the other day, and here it is:

So, so angry.

You can probably read the main text - "HERE'S TO THE GREAT BRITISH TOASTIE" - but you might not be able to read the bit on the left that says "Limited Edition Ham & Cheese", or the bit at the bottom that simply says "#GBTOASTIE". So, why has this advert got me so annoyed? Let's get into it.
Actually, let's start off with the stuff that's not too bad. I'm not really a patriotic person so I can't get too stirred up about the fact that toasted sandwiches apparently originated in Britain, nor do I feel a fit of nationalistic fervour when I eat one, but my cursory research suggests that that bit is indeed true. While our American cousins are fond of a similar delicacy called a 'grilled cheese sandwich', which, as the name doesn't suggest, is cooked in a frying pan, I think we Britons can claim the toasted sandwich as our own. While I'm on the topic, Wikipedia suggests that toasties are made in a 'pie iron', otherwise known as a 'pudgy pie iron' or a 'jaffle iron', and that the phrase '[toasted] sandwich maker' is uniquely British (if I remember rightly, my friend Rob calls it a 'Breville', after the brand name - possibly that too is widespread). So, all in all, the toastie is definitely ours. Fine. If you want to say that that renders it a 'Great British Toastie' then I'm not going to stop you. So far, so acceptable.
The first annoyance in the advert, though, is the hashtag. I get what Costa are trying to do here, getting Joe Public to do their marketing for them, but there is something indefinably tacky about a company suggesting a hashtag for us to use when we sample their products. Look, Costa, if I've been stupid enough to buy a toasted sandwich from a coffee company at whatever markup you've put on a bit of bread and cheese, I'm hardly going to want to broadcast it to the nation (and, by 'nation', I mean my 110 Twitter followers, many of whom are robots). But even if I did want to tell the world (yes, 'nation' has become 'world' - roll with it), I would be perfectly happy to do so on my own terms. I would not feel the need to fall in line with your social media department's dictum on how to tweet. My sandwich, my rules. Fortunately, it seems that the majority of accounts using the ordained hashtag are either branches of Costa, shopping centres containing Costas, or a grilled cheese sandwich shop in Portsmouth that appears to be unconnected.
But - much like a toasted sandwich - I'm just getting warmed up. The bit that most annoys me about this advert, the reason I've felt compelled to write about it in my first blog post in over a month, the thing that led me to stop on the pavement and take photos of a passing bus, is the phrase 'Limited Edition Ham & Cheese'. Are you ready for this? Let's go.
First of all, in what universe does anyone call their choice of toasted sandwich an 'edition'? "Hey, buddy, do you want a toastie?" / "Yeah, sure. What editions have you got?" It's madness. No one talks like that. (And, by the bye, none of the six definitions of 'edition' in my Chambers dictionary - sorry, Simon - are appropriate here). In the unlikely event I ever ask for a toastie in Costa, you can be sure I will ask them about their editions and then claim some kind of victory when they look at me like I'm an idiot.
But, even if you - wrongly - accept that a toasted sandwich can be an edition, how on earth can they claim that a ham & cheese toastie is a limited one? Fine, in a mathematical sense, there is only a finite amount of ham, cheese & bread in the world - although, even then, I imagine Costa could arrange delivery of stock at a faster rate than customers were buying the finished product - but in no meaningful sense can those ingredients be limited, surely? I mean, they're not famous pigs, are they? Ham & cheese is Toastie 101. That's your day-one, easy-street, let's-see-anyone-mess-this-up toasted sandwich. Toastie ingredients just don't get much more basic than that. If you're limited on those, you're limited on everything. You might as well not be a purveryor of Great British Toasties at all, Costa, if you're gonna run out of ham and cheese. This is like saying 'Limited Edition Coffee with Milk' and claiming that you're celebrating the Great Yemeni Coffee (yes, Wikipedia tells me that coffee-drinking originated in Yemen. Who knew?).
Get your act together. Or you're toast.

what was I listening to?
Wild, Cool & Swingin' - Wayne Newton
what was I reading?
Firefly: A Celebration - Joss Whedon et al
what was I watching?
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