My designer trainers – and why the world needs organic carrots

It has been revealed by the good old Food Standards Agency – the people employed to remind us that mud’s not for eating – that organic food is not, in fact, any more nutritionally beneficial than your average grub.

The national newspapers have spent the day hyperventilating with shock. But how can this be? What should readers do now? But organic food costs so much more – it must be good for us. Why, why, why?

What the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Mirror, Times and…yes even Msn News have failed to recognise is that people never really believed organic produce was going to help them grow an extra brain or somersault over their Stannah stairlift.

The public demanded organic because they crave comfort in a sense of chaos. Organic soup is a Versace dress. Organic carrots are Prada clutch bags. Shoring up these horrendously expensive luxuries, we all know, achieves nothing but mentally it’s more pleasant to imagine yourself spending your final moments on the sinking Titanic rather than on the Atlantic ocean in Uncle Bob’s deflating dinghy.

At the tender age of thirteen I was sent off into Derby city centre to go and find myself suitable trainers. In my pocket I had the generous sum of £30 – enough to buy two pairs if I was going for quantity. But in my mind I had the foreboding weight of adult responsibility. I had to clothe myself, or at least my feet, with footwear suitable for a whole year of a mind numbing physical exercise regime.

Ahead of me were horrendous activities organised by sadistic, troll like members of my school’s PE department in a glorified shed next to the school canteen. We would be made to jump over things that were too high, lift things that were too heavy and a whole manner of other physical ridiculousness meant to put us off sporting events for life, whilst at the same time the PE staff would drink coffee, wearing scarves and woolly hats and offering choice verbal encouragement such as “Stop being slow”.

I spent £70 on those trainers. My mother was exasperated. Nike trainers? What did I need designer running shoes for?

But she didn’t understand – these were my tickets to cool for a whole year. At least now, while battling wind, rain and lessons deliberately devised to cause the utmost embarrassment – multiplied by the fact I have always been rubbish at PE – I would be shod in something that my classmates would understand. A bubble of coolness no one would point and laugh at. Shoes I could fall over in with pride.

I stand by my decision to buy that overpriced footwear. I wore the trainers for seven years and when the heels finally fell off I kept them under my bed for a year before I could bring myself to part with them. They were luxury in a world gone mad. They were a balm in my life as a child sacrifice.

No one buys organic because it’s good for them; they buy it as a bubble. They buy it so that when they think back to their high school PE lessons they can go to the fridge and eat three organic cheese and onion pasties. Take that Miss Appleby.


6 Responses to “My designer trainers – and why the world needs organic carrots”

  1. sineadnolan2008 Says:

    Haha! Love it Helen. That’s such a well written blog.. I can totally identify with the sadistic P.E teachers as well, mine were exactly the same!! You should send that to a paper or something! 🙂 x

  2. It’s not any more nutritious, but it does taste nicer!

  3. Haha. Very good. I didn’t blog on this… but I had a rather different (and far less amusing) take on it.

  4. I would buy organic if I could afford it. Not because it’s better for me, but because it’s not bad for me. Chemicals and weird unnatural processes scare me slightly…

  5. Drew Byrne Says:

    Ah, National newspapers do not hyperventilate with shock over food, they just go back on their opinions in next days copy, so that their readership can agree with them again…

  6. Chris Witter Says:

    Future investigative piece: The Role of the Media in the Consumerisation of Politics.

    Consumerisation of Politics, def.: A phenomena of the 21st Century, particularly affecting readers of the Independent who – considering themselves above Reality TV – choose to vote through “lifestyle choices”: typically the consumption of organic foods, the wearing of organic clothing, and the wiping of their white, middle-class arses on low-acidity, organic sugarpaper. Knock-on affects include a reinvestment in Northern accents and ancestry by staunch Southerners; the new plushness of Oxfam outlets; and the persistence of Capitalism.


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