Waitrose, John Lewis? The im­pos­si­ble dream

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

Joni Mitchell, Su Pol­lard and Sharleen Spi­teri CHEERLEADERS for the City of Cul­ture bid never ex­plain the ben­e­fits for most Coven­tri­ans, and Adam Steiner ( Oct 27) is no ex­cep­tion. He wants it to “en­sure a sus­tain­able and nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment for Coven­try’s next gen­er­a­tion of artists, mak­ers and cul­tural pro­duc­ers.” But th­ese var­i­ous artists – with their groovy pop- up gal­leries etc – al­ways turn out to be the ad­vance guard for the prop­erty de­vel­op­ers. He men­tions Berlin ap­prov­ingly, but that is just what hap­pened there. This City of Cul­ture project is not pri­mar­ily about cul­ture, but about mar­ket­ing and gen­tri­fi­ca­tion. For coun­cil lead­ers and prop­erty de­vel­op­ers, the goal – or the im­pos­si­ble dream – is a Waitrose or a John Lewis in Coven­try. But where would this up- mar­ket Coven­try leave most of us? In par­tic­u­lar, what of the poor and the strug­gling? ‘ Trickle- down’ eco­nomics has been com­pletely dis­cred­ited. Surely what Coven­try needs is a “sus­tain­able and nur­tur­ing en­v­iorn­ment” for all its cit­i­zens. That means di­rect­ing en­er­gies and re­sources to­wards ser­vices for the young and the el­derly, to­wards men­tal health, drug and al­co­hol abuse ser­vices, more fund­ing for li­braries, parks, pub­lic trans­port, more pub­lic toi­lets... I could go on. For 40 years my shop has made its very small con­tri­bu­tion to real cul­ture in Coven­try. I’m cer­tainly not back­ing the bid! Robert Gill Gos­ford Books Coven­try YOUR cor­re­spon­dent ( Oct 25) rightly points out that the con­sump­tion of two grammes of su­gar does not in­crease body weight by a pound; it in­creases it by two grammes.

But this is be­fore the su­per ef­fi­cient me­tab­o­lism gets to work on it by com­bin­ing it with oxy­gen pro­vided from the air by the lungs via the blood­stream. This re­ac­tion of oxy­gen with glu­cose from the break­down of the su­gar pro­duces the en­ergy which pow­ers our life pro­cesses, such as breath­ing and heart­beat, as well as en­abling us to use our mus­cles and ex­er­cise if we are so minded. So far, so good!

Pro­vided the food in­put bal­ances the en­ergy ex­pended, we re­main healthy. Un­for­tu­nately hu­mans be­ing what they are have a ten­dency to eat too much food and to do too lit­tle ex­er­cise, so an en­ergy sur­plus is cre­ated, which the body stores away as fat.

If this im­bal­ance con­tin­ues, fat builds up so that it af­fects our health and possibly our mo­bil­ity too. This means our tea­spoon of su­gar does in­deed pro­duce a lot more than two grammes of fat.

All car­bo­hy­drates are even­tu­ally bro­ken down into glu­cose by the body, the prob­lem is that su­gar be­ing the one of the sim­plest of them ( yes, su­gar is a car­bo­hy­drate!) is the most read­ily changed into the body’s glu­cose fuel. It also makes food and drink more at­trac­tive to the mod­ern palate, schooled since baby­hood to find it so.

Thus, while su­gar is not the only cause of obe­sity, it is the prin­ci­ple one in the mod­ern diet, and the most eas­ily re­duced. We could live quite healthily with­out any re­fined su­gar at all, as our an­ces­tors did for thou­sands of gen­er­a­tions.

I don’t need to be an ‘ ex­pert’ to know the ba­sic process by which food is turned into body- pow­er­ing en­ergy; it’s knowl­edge that any 13- year- old should have ac­quired. Peter Moody Stoke Park MY en­counter with Nor­man Paint­ing was a decade be­fore the photo you pub­lished ( Nov 4).

In the late 1950s, I was a pupil at Leam­ing­ton Col­lege. Nor­man had stud­ied there some years be­fore, and was by then al­ready well es­tab­lished as Phil in The Archers.

Still liv­ing lo­cally, he came over to give an in­ter­est­ing af­ter- hours talk on life at the BBC and sim­i­lar top­ics. My first meet­ing with a celebrity!

The col­lege later merged with two oth­ers to form North Leam­ing­ton School, and moved to a new cam­pus on the edge of town. Its listed 1850s build­ings on Binswood Av­enue are now a ‘ re­tire­ment vil­lage’. Mervyn Leah Rugby

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