Last year or the year before, following a request on PooterGeek for you lot to suggest somewhere I might buy a bridge computer for my dad for Christmas, I ordered one for him from DreamDirect. DreamDirect is an evil chimera of The Gadget Shop and SAGA magazine: apart from selling fine handheld bridge computers, their business is pushing shonky electronic gewgaws to the free-bus-pass demographic.

Normally I would only get spammed by DreamDirect once a month, but Christmas has been here and, like all retailers, they pretend that the Twelve Days of Christmas run to rather than from the twenty-fifth of December. Every day there’s another email bulked up with HTML promoting another piece of geriatric-friendly tat. One day it’s battery-powered heated gloves. Another it’s an “antique-style” gramophone. I await his’n’hers quartz-controlled Viagra dispensers that go off once a week and then play Sailing By after a timed delay.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself buying anything from them, first: think again, and second: don’t write your email address on the order form or the same will happen to you—not that they have my private email address; it’s just my twisted curiosity prevents me from cancelling the throwaway one I gave them two years ago.