Get your telescopes out

In common with many other London businesses and buildings, including Canary Wharf and Buckingham Palace, Macmillan’s London building will have all its lights turned off for one hour (9 pm to 10 pm GMT) tonight, the longest day of the year in these parts. "London’s iconic skyline will darken between 9pm and 10pm on the longest day as buildings, restaurants, bridges and homes switch off to raise awareness about climate change", according to Lights out London. One positive side effect of this initiative is that we’ve received an email telling us to vacate the building by 8.45 pm for health and safety reasons. Great, we can go home early tonight. 😉

Again from the Lights out London website: "Following on from the success of Sydney’s Earth Hour, Capital 95.8’s Lights out London is set to break all records, calling on three million Londoners to support the campaign, and save enough electricity in one hour to power 3000 TVs for one year! " Londoners are being urged to "make the most of the dark with candle-lit dinners or watch the lights go out from on high on Hampstead Heath or the Oxo Tower." Or, as the title says, get your telescope out of your garden shed and do a bit of stargazing. Make sure you don’t get up to any unedifying activities under cover of darkness. (Does anyone remember what happened nine months after that big power cut in New York around 50 years ago, subject of the movie "Where were you when the lights went out"?)

Let them eat cake (egg-free of course)

I suppose everyone has heard that the attempt to re-run the advertisements with the slogan "go to work on an egg" has been "scotched" (boiled or scrambled, even) by the UK’s broadcast advertising clearance centre? The slogan was invented 50 years ago (hence the failed plan to have an anniversary campaign) and from 1965 to 1991 was used in a long series of TV advertisements, featuring Tony Hancock among others, exhorting us to have a healthy breakfast.

After "lengthy debate", the standards authority decided that the campaign failed to comply with its code: “Eating eggs every day goes against what is now the generally accepted advice of a varied diet. We therefore could not approve the ads for broadcast.” The egg information service offered to add a line to the adverts saying that eggs should be eaten as part of a varied diet, but the compromise was rejected.

The novelist Fay Weldon, who helped to create the campaign, is quoted as saying “I think the ruling is absurd. “We seem to have been tainted by all the health and safety laws. If they are going to ban egg adverts then I think they should ban all car adverts, because cars really are dangerous, and bad for the environment. It’s like banning any films that had actresses smoking cigarettes. Somehow I don’t think eggs are quite in the same category as cigarettes and other dangerous substances.”

You can see the adverts, and find out why eating eggs is good for you (as part of a varied diet, I add hastily), at the "Go to work on an egg" anniversary website. You can also sign an online petition to support the re-runs. The cynical side of me wonders how much of all this is a publicity stunt and how much of it is genuinely a result of a cracked, or even addled, decision.