You've probably seen the advert for BT Infinity ("The internet in an instant"). It starts with an explosion of light in outer space, then cuts to some street dancers under a railway bridge, a child trampolining while inexplicably sporting a fox's mask, a prancing white horse and an elderly couple drinking champagne (on a boat?). This all happens to the sound of a folky backing track: "Doo-doo-doo-doo". Tingly, supernatural, futuristic. I think that's what they were going for.

Soon, the shafts of light are plunging into people's homes and cars. The white horse goes a bit bonkers, as you would if there were white beams spearing the earth around you. The beams represent BT's new fibre-optic broadband. The voice-over, breathless with anticipation, tells us that "our internet is changing".

Infinity. It's a bold claim, implying that the service will go on for ever and has literally endless scope. Infinite is overused generally. A newspaper article recently referred to Tiger Woods's "infinite" number of mistresses, which, even by his standards, is pushing it. It's laziness, a casual approach to words when what you want to say is "a lot".

BT, however, has a brand. It will have brainstormed this name. ("Guys, I've got it. We want people to think this is basically the biggest thing ever. Like, there's never been anything bigger. Ever. So, I present you with: Infinity!" Cue chest bumps round the boardroom table.)

But then it undermines the meaning of the term in its very own advert. "BT are investing in our digital future by starting to roll out fibre-optic broadband," says the breathless voice. Starting? That doesn't sound very infinite. It turns out you can get this broadband in certain areas, but not in others.

BT says that about 40 per cent of the population will be able to access the service by the end of the year. That's the least infinite thing I've ever heard. I suppose the company uses the phrase because it sounds epic and exciting. But where does it go from here? What, once you've got a base of "infinity", do you call your next hi-tech, whizzy invention. BT InfinityPlus?

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

This article first appeared in the 05 April 2010 issue of the New Statesman, GOD

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SRSLY #13: Take Two

On the pop culture podcast this week, we discuss Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, the recent BBC adaptations of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie, and reminisce about teen movie Shakespeare retelling She’s the Man.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen to our new episode now:

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SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

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If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we'd love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

The Links

On Macbeth

Ryan Gilbey’s review of Macbeth.

The trailer for the film.

The details about the 2005 Macbeth from the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold series.


On Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie

Rachel Cooke’s review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Sarah Hughes on Cider with Rosie, and the BBC’s attempt to create “heritage television for the Downton Abbey age”.


On She’s the Man (and other teen movie Shakespeare retellings)

The trailer for She’s the Man.

The 27 best moments from the film.

Bim Adewunmi’s great piece remembering 10 Things I Hate About You.


Next week:

Anna is reading Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.


Your questions:

We loved talking about your recommendations and feedback this week. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.



The music featured this week, in order of appearance, is:


Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 



See you next week!

PS If you missed #12, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.