The Money Shot - 10th February 2012

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando


In winter, the temperature in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, can drop as low as -60 degrees centigrade.

It’s a long, brutal season – commencing in earnest in early November, and lasting right through until March, with the only respite from the cold coming from the occasional Chinook, a unique meteorological phenomenon caused by warm air from the Pacific hitting the craggy Rocky Mountains to the west of the city, which raises the temperature for a day or so to something approaching that of summer.

Calgary International Airport, 3,348 ft above sea level, soldiers on regardless. It has to. Because of the country’s vast size, air is the safest and easiest way of getting about in the winter months. Approaching the airport from above at night-time, the city, bathed in the soft orange glow of street lamps, looks like a gigantic cold patchwork tartan quilt, with life going on quite normally in and around it.

Taking the trials and tribulations of airports in more challenging climates into account, the unfortunate British travellers who had their flights cancelled at Heathrow airport before even a flake of snow had fallen last weekend  might be forgiven for thinking that the airport operator BAA’s actions were a bit rum.

And despite the fact that this sort of thing happens every year, the rather defeatist way in which the operator admitted that the airport just isn’t up to the job when it came to dealing with snow was bound to rankle.

Still, this sort of palaver is a good reminder to get your travel insurance in early doors and not leave it until the last minute – if you’ve bought your policy when there’s already a chance of your flight being snowed off, then you might ultimately end up getting the brush-off from your insurer if you have to make a claim. This is, categorically, a rubbish thing to have happen, so to make sure that your contingency plan is as rock-solid as possible think about getting your policy as soon as you’ve booked the flights. It’s something to bear in mind for the next time the country feebly grinds to a halt because of a bit of snow.

Quote of the week

The not-unattractive Rochelle out of The Saturdays isn’t a great fan of our ads, by the looks of it. Our cuddly brand mascot Gio Compario issued a cheeky riposte, asking if the former S Club Juniors babe would care to join him for a Valentines Day mixed grill. So far, she appears to be ‘playing it cool’ and hasn’t yet responded. He won’t be losing too much sleep over it – he told us his favourite is Frankie, anyway.

The past ain't what it used to be

The world was a very different place this time in 2005. Folk were just starting to cotton on to something called ‘Myspace’, the Olympics hadn’t yet been awarded to London, and some people were still using Minidisc players as the iPod hadn’t quite completely cornered the personal portable music player market yet. The world economic crisis wasn’t even a glint in a banker’s eye,Tony Blair sat resplendent in Number 10 Downing Street, and some people were even led to believe that the Kaiser Chiefs were the future of British music. Crazy days indeed.

A lot has changed since then - not least the cost of running a house. Sainsbury’s Bank reckons that mortgage repayments, the cost of energy and council tax going up has pushed the figure of running a home to over £11,000 a year, £1,109 more expensive than in 04/05. Robert O'May, the bank's home insurance manager, said: 'It's becoming more expensive to run a home, which makes it all the more important for homeowners to shop around to ensure they are getting the very best deals,' possibly whilst reminiscing about that glorious Champions League final in Istanbul and wondering whatever happened to The Bravery.

News in brief

Shoppers are being ‘urged’ to think twice about warranties on electrical goods, as the OFT reckons that they’re a bit of a rip-off and often just duplicate stuff people already have on their contents insurance policies.

Liechtenstein, the landlocked state sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, doesn’t just have stunning scenery and a football team who seemingly always crop up against the home nations in the qualifying rounds for international tournaments…it’s got also got a tax regime more relaxed than the dress code at your local indie disco, of which several wealthy Brits take full advantage of.

“Brizzle my nizzle!” as popular rap artiste Snoop Doggy Dogg would doubtless exclaim – a new hyper-local currency for Bristol has launched, which intends to stick it to ‘chain store Britain’.

Over 100 local businesses have already signed up to the scheme. We should all be ‘russian’ to check our statements when we get home – the Daily Mail’s money pages reckon that folks’ stolen details are being flogged for as little as £19 a pop on websites in the former Soviet Union.

On News this week…

Ever seen Joey Essex, Getafix from Asterix The Gaul and RMT Union boss Bob Crow sharing the same webspace? Well, you have now.

Loved up? Skint? Stuck for something cheap to do on Valentine's Day? Well, Rachel England has a few suggestions up her sleeve which will make your February 14th go with a, er, bang.

Should you decide to pop the question this coming week, Dave Jenkins has some ideas to dramatically slash the cost of the big day.

Kristian Dando spent the week driving a SEAT, then penned this road test feature which will hopefully keep you glued to yours.

And finally…

A Welsh council has expressed that it was ‘quite dissapointed’ after paying nearly £1,500 to hire Mr Bump and Little Miss Sunshine, stars of the Mr Men books, to switch on a town’s Christmas lights, only for the characters to be unable to flick the switch because they couldn’t sufficiently move their arms.

"It may be amusing to some people but those who organised the event are quite upset about all this,” tut-tutted a Torfaen Council spokesperson, reflecting on the events in Pontypool last December. "These characters weren't as cooperative as they have been in other years - when we had Noddy and George from Rainbow they were great.”

Join us next week for another instalment of THE MONEY SHOT.