I get Paul Foot's newsletter e-mail... this months made me chuckle and I had to share...

"The Foot Factor!" you cry, "What is this - a new TV singing contest spread across ten weeks in which I am the only contestant as well as fulfilling the role of all three judges?"

As good as that would be, The Foot Factor is, in fact, shorthand for "The Paul Foot Guide to which Sun Lotion Factor to Buy". Because buying sun lotion is a complete palaver. So to make life easier I've explained these factors for ye below in my Foot Factor Guide:

FACTOR 0

What is it? Factor 0 sun lotion is a completely conceptual product that defies logic but does actually exist on pharmacy shelves. Factor 0 vaguely acknowledges that there is a sun in the sky but is much more focused on the fact that there are also some very stupid customers out there.

What should I do instead? More protection would be provided if you saved your 8.99, transferred it into one hundred and seventy nine 5p coins and two 2p coins and hurled them into the air towards the sun, saving your body momentarily as a fistful of tiny metal discs eclipse the sun's rays for approximately three seconds (depending on how well you can throw - which is probably quite well because you're clearly an expert already at throwing money away).

An alternative is to spend your money on a marker pen and write, "I wanna get sunburnt" all over your body. That would at least block up some of your pores with toxic black ink, sparing them from the sun (I think).

FACTOR 10

What is it? Factor 10 turns the sunny terrace of your rented villa into an avant-garde crematorium as you decide to cook yourself very slowly, a bit like cooking a fillet of salmon by leaving it on the top of a tumble dryer - it's not the best way to cook salmon, but it will eventually cook; just as with Factor 10 you will lose the essence of life on an atom by atom basis, as well as losing the will to live, courtesy of Ryan Air.

What should I use instead? Sunshine is a source of Vitamin D so many believe Factor 10 helps them to soak the sun's goodness up. However, you can also find Vitamin D in mushrooms, so why not smear a few tins of 'em over your poolside chops? "Mmmm... Family flavour!"

FACTOR 50

This provides genuine protection from a suntan - which, for the avoidance of doubt, is your skin being destroyed by the sun.

What could I do instead? An alternative is to walk out of the door of the sun lotion shop without making a purchase, through the exhaust-fume-stained automatic doors and straight into the path of an oncoming bus. Death is actually quite a good way to protect yourself from the sun. Unlike pricey bottles of sun lotion that run out, it alleviates the dilemma of nurturing a sun tan FOREVER in exchange for the more cooling pursuit of lying underground decomposing inside a box until your family forget about you.

Have a good summer.

from Mr. Paul Foot, Life President of the Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs Paul Foot | The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs