When in doubt, write it out

    Colin Beaven vor britischer Flagge
    Von Colin Beaven

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    It’s important to know what’s going on in the world. One does one’s best to keep up to date. But can we really to spareerübrigenspare the time? Life is too short to spend hours watching the news. Time ticks by, and while it does, none of us is getting any younger.

    It was useful, therefore, when the BBC ran a news update at eight in the evening. It lasted 90 seconds, and it meant that you heard the headlines without having to watch a full half hour of global misery at six or ten o’clock. But this 90-second news update was recently axedgestrichen, eingespartaxed. Perhaps it really was too short. Without going to the other extreme and watching non-stop news on CNN or the BBC News Channel, 90 seconds of information about the day’s events do leave you a bit short of details.

    The 90-second formula hasn’t gone completely, though. There’s still a whole page on the BBC website with 90-second summaries of all sorts of news stories. And the other day, there was music on the radio that the announcerAnsager(in)announcer identified as “Haydn’s 90-second symphony”.

    “Ninety seconds?” I thought to myself afterwards. “Surely it lasted longer than that.” It took me a moment to realize that the symphony to be sandwiched between sth.zwischen etw. liegenwas sandwiched between Haydn’s ninety-first and ninety-third. I’d been listening to number 92.

    It’s not the only time there could be this sort of musical confusion. If you book yourself a ticket to see 42nd Street, the hit musical that’s been playing in London with great success, don’t think you’ll be out of the theatre in less than a minute and back on the bus before the traffic lights have changed. The musical, set in New York’s theatreland, lasts more than 40 seconds, and 42nd Street is the one that’s sandwiched between 41st and 43rd.

    There are times, though, when “60-second” means a minute and no more. The firm Crabtree & Evelyn makes an upmarket (UK)exklusiv, hochwertigupmarket hand cream called the “60-Second Fix for Hands”. The idea is to use it for 60 seconds a day as a way of looking after your hands and protecting them from ageing.

    On the one hand, then, there are numbers like sixty-first and sixty-third, and on the other hand — there’s hand cream.

    Worrying about the use of everyday skincare products may seem pretty (ifml.)ziemlichpretty trivial. But what will happen when even cosmetic surgerySchönheitsoperationcosmetic surgery takes little more than a minute to perform. As technology advances, there won’t just be rapid treatment for hands. The day will come when cosmetic surgeonChirurg(in)surgeons will need no more than seconds to take years off their customers’ appearance.

    Clients arriving at their chosen clinic will no doubt be welcomed with the news that they’re about to have their “90-second facelift”. How are they likely to respond?

    Like this, I imagine: “How to darewagen, sich erdreistendare you! I’m not to suggestbehauptensuggesting this is the first time I’ve had this done. I don’t mind admitting I’m well into double figures. But there’s still a long way to go before I’m even close to 92 of them.”

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