I really enjoyed the Colin & Edith Show last night even though Jim Noir turned out not to be playing after all in one of those last-minute-things-that-happens-when-making-TV-shows. The two bands who were on (The Zutons and We Are Scientists) were both great and great company too. As it happensJim Noir are doing a gig in London tonight - within walking distance of home - and I've managed to blag a ticket for that instead. A complete set in a decent venue will be more pleasing than one or two songs in a TV studio for sure.
I read something in the paper yesterday about the £53million robbery. It all sounds pretty brutal and unpleasant but what surprised me was the way in which the police had reached the conclusion that one of the criminals had been wearing a false beard. It basically said that he had a scruffy, wiry and wispy ginger beard but that it was probably fake because it was a different colour to the hair on his head. I thought this was really common. In fact a few months ago I was arguing this same point with a female friend in a pub. She was intrigued by my own mismatched beard/hair combo and I was explaining how common it was. She didn't believe me and so we conducted a small survey of the other men in the group - all of whom were clean shaven. Over half of them said that they too had ginger beards and not one of them had red hair. You'd think the police would know this. (Not about the specific conversation between me and some friends in a pub a few months ago - that would be weird and scary - but about the widespread redness to the beards of non-red-headed men.)
I think I've been the victim of a less serious crime myself recently. Like all right minded people I've been a huge fan of Channel 4's Peep Show. I think the idiots have decided not to recommission the series and partly prompted by the realisation that it wouldn't be on my telly anymore I set about trying to buy the show on DVD. I got Series 2 for a reasonable price but while Series 1 was released on DVD some time ago it no longer seems to be available. So I thought I'd have a quick shufty on ebay to see if I could pick up a bargain there.
I managed to buy a copy for only £6.99 and promptly sent off my payment. Then I got a message from ebay advising me that the item had ben removed from their listings because it breached 'one or more of our policies.' It went on to explain; 'Any offers or bids placed on this listing are now null and void. We advise you not to finalize this transaction with the seller. As stated in the eBay User Agreement, neither seller nor buyer should engage in transactions that breach the law or eBay policy.' Which is all right and proper but doesn't really help me given that I'd already paid for the item. Ebay can never confirm the particular breach of its terms and conditions but I suspect that the DVD was a bootleg copy. I don't want to buy a bootleg copy so I wrote to the seller requesting a refund. They wrote back to say that they would send the DVD and that I could get a refund if I wanted.
Needless to say the DVD hasn't arrived. I contacted Paypal - the ebay owned company that I'd used to transfer the funds - and opened up a complaint procedure. Ten days later Paypal wrote to me to say that they'd found in my favour but that they were unable to refund the money because the seller's account was empty. I should think it was. They were no longer listed as a seller on ebay and had no doubt emptied the account when they knew their nefarious bootlegging operation had been discovered.
So I've sent a stranger the grand total of £6.99 and received nothing in return. Ebay and paypal have politely explained that they're unable to help me to get my money back and that seems to be that. Obviously it's only a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things but even so it's a bit galling and it certainly puts me off using ebay a bit as despite all their advertising stressing how safe and secure it is there appears to be nothing stopping people from getting away with this kind of small scale nonsense.
Of course it would be petty and childish of me to publish the e-mail address of the seller responsible. But on balance probably not as petty and childish as it was to take my money and run so I'd like to say a big hello to firstname.lastname@example.org. (self censored, March 10) You're a very naughty girl.