A Change is Gonna Come

In 1978, Neil Peart (lyricist and percussionist out of pompous Canadian stadium rockers, Rush) wrote “Plůs cà chăngë, plüs cé lä měmę chõsē” (that’s foreign writing that is, and I don’t expect you to understand it, but it means – “the more that things change, the more they stay the same”), for the song Circumstances on the band’s Hemispheres album. Having said that, in the context of the article I am about to write, that quote is a load of bollocks but, I have seen how many online “journalists” like to put a couple of cultural references in their articles, to make themselves look clever. I thought I should try it.

Anyway, there has been a recent change in something. That change has caused an outcry. Millions, if not billions, of those tiny invisible units the Internet is measured by have been utilised to both decry and defend the change. The change may be reversed, or it may not. The argument may rage for millennia, or until the next meme (something that happens on the Internet which makes people, misguidedly, believe they have a unique sense of humour) captures our attention.

In many ways, we all lust for change; improvements in health care, cheaper, more efficient, travel, making the International Space Station wheelchair accessible and being able to bully people into suicide 3,000 miles away (as just a few examples). However, in a similar vein, change can be a bad thing. Pubs have become restaurants, children no longer play outside, fish and chip shops now use oil instead of beef dripping and you can be bullied into suicide by someone 3,000 miles away.

Change, in of itself, might not be of particular interest; but how we collectively react to it can be fascinating. The change this article is concerned with has brought together a wide range of teeth gnashers from all walks of life. Company executives, Doctors specialising in renal medicine, parents, children, members of parliament and the kind of people who hate socialising so much that they do all their shopping at 3am (in the nearest 24hr petrol station to home, never buy anything that needs cooking and, if you had a photo of them, would look like the “before” image on an advert for vitamin D supplements) have chimed in with their opinions; mostly on Twitter and Facebook (which are really important media outlets these days apparently).

So, what of the history of change?  What changes can you remember, that have sent shock waves of indignant self righteousness across the desktop and handheld devices of the beleaguered First World? Did you completely lose your shit when you found out about Marathon being re-named Snickers? Perhaps, upon noticing that Cadbury Picnic “now contains raisins”, you spent weeks making several purchases of various automatic weapons, which you took to school after listening to a heavy-metal album in reverse. You may have even tried to goad your son’s idiot friend to throw himself off a tall building, just because he tried to change the spelling of a popular wooden platform used for the efficient transportation of heavy or bulk items.

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By the same token, there have been changes that have passed by with barely a whimper of discontent. How many people noticed a recent spate of changes to certain items in Sainsbury’s? It started with them buying substandard, disgustingly tasting luncheon meat from a new supplier. Then the packaging for their own brand coffee whitener changed without warning, while the contents had also changed for the worse. If those things were not bad enough, they completed their triumvirate of hatred for customers by ceasing the sale of Warburtons Super Toastie and Hovis Soft White Doorstep sliced bread loaves.

Each and every one of these changes made my piss boil, yet not one online petition, indignant twitter feed or witch-burning Facebook group ensued. I was alone. I contemplated a naked protest in the store or erecting a tent outside the entrance for a year long sit-in, but I had to go to work and, besides, I still had the cease and desist order from Morrisons hanging over me after a particularly unpleasant HP Sauce recipe change incident in 1989. I had no choice but to accept that my days of doorstep luncheon meat sandwiches and creamy coffee lunches were over.

Considering the pain that people (myself included) suffer when the things they have come to love over many years and decades are suddenly no longer available, one wonders why the manufacturers (AKA wankers) risk making the changes they do. It’s simple really: they (and I mean every single fucker amongst them) hate us. Think about it, what other explanation can there be for the filling in Creme Eggs, what they pass off as a walnut whip these days, pork pies with no jelly, not being able to say sugar puffs and making it illegal to buy creosote?

There are those who take the cynical view that it’s all about maximising profit by, for example, arseholes using cheaper ingredients, or shitty manufacturing processes, yet still continuing to charge the same price. Another get-out clause for the evil corporate bastards is known, by clipboard carrying cunts, as the “healthy option gambit”, which allows big business dickheads to use substandard shit to make out that they’re following some poorly thought out government guidelines, designed to prevent everyone from ending up on dialysis (the cocksucking morons). Of course, such opinions are not for me to say and, as a part time online journalist, I am bound by expected professional standards to remain impartial, which is why I am writing this article.

The recent change that has so many people frothing at the keyboard was pointed out to me by my sons. They were incensed by it and asked me to, honestly and without bias, depict all the issues surrounding this change. It turns out that the recipe of Lucozade has been changed, and the fizzy, sugary concoction is now unrecognisable. My eldest son was so unhappy about this change that he mistakenly thought I would be interested in a Twitter feed of rage about it and had also embarked on a panic-buying operation to secure a lifelong stock of this teeth-rotting substance. Frankly, I don’t like the stuff, so I don’t really give a shit, but I’ll tell you something: if my favourite butcher does anything untoward with his sausages I will kill again.

Lee's Dad and occasional detractor/podcast guest.