To be honest, the title should probably be A LOT of self-promotion and bonfires, but that seemed somehow wrong.

To get the nitty-gritty of this dealt with first – there are a lot of bonfires planned for this week and some of these will exact a miserable toll on the country’s wildlife. If you need proof of that, pop along to a wildlife hospital and take a look at the few who survive being roasted. So the British Hedgehog Preservation Society makes a very big point at this time of year to ask you all to just check before you light your fire.

I did a piece on BBC West Midlands a while back where the slogan they were generating was, I think, ‘poke a bonfire, save a hedgehog’ … and as long as you use the handle end of a garden fork, that is great. Try and see if you can lift it a  little and look underneath. Better still, collect all your fuel in one place and then move it to the bonfire the day you are going to light it.

In 2009 the hedgehog lovers at Spontex have got in on the act, securing bouncers to protect a large fire, stopping hedgehogs unwittingly installing themselves in the wonderful shelter …

(photo by Fay Vass – BHPS boss)

Spontex have a good history of idiosyncratic hedgehog-related advertising as my previous post has shown …

So please, check out your bonfires before you light them. Hedgehogs face enough of a threat from everything else we do, so please give the pile a poke before setting it alight.

And now the payback – I have asked you to consider the dark misery of roasting hedgehogs, now I offer you some relief …

I am performing my almost ecological-stand up routine at the Idler Academy on November 22nd … and I want (to be honest, NEED) an audience of enormous proportions … and that is only partly because the amount I get paid is relative to the number of tickets sold … it is also because I want to instil my brand of hedgehog-love deep into the hearts of as many people as possible … and also to introduce new people to the wonder that is the Idler Academy … So, please, book tickets and tell your friends. It will be fun …

I was sent an email by a BHPS member (thanks Mike) wondering whether I had seen the car tyre advert that features a hedgehog … strangely it had passed me by, so I went looking for it – and found that the exceptionally inappropriate pairing of hedgehogs and cars is something that has gone on for a while.

My quest was for this one from Continental; but before I found it I had stumbled upon this one for GoodYear. So I wondered what else was out there – and quickly found Mercedes had been at it too. Frustratingly, there is an advert I have seen featuring a hedgehogs hitching a lift in a car, but I cannot find it now …. I think it was from South Africa …

But what gets me all hot and bothered is the fact that, while there is obviously a joke to be had at the expense of the hedgehog/car relationship, it is also a really serious problem – even more than the pain and suffering – the way that the roads and our cars fragment the landscape is at the heart of the massive decline in hedgehog numbers being seen around the UK.

On a lighter note, as I was looking for car adverts, I found a whole bunch more … I had no idea quite how far the hedgehog had gone in its quest to sell us things we probably don’t need. The have been used to try and sell sponges (this video has almost adult content, you have been warned); I have written before about shoes and banks; unsurprisingly, they have been used to sell hedgehogs; Cadburys originally used a hedgehog as opposed to a gorilla, think that the hedgehog was better; BT Broadband … they might use hedgehogs, but I prefer the PhoneCoop. There are so many, will stop there. But please, pass on to me any more that you find. I might have to start a campaign featuring the hedgehog as the nemesis for mindless consumerism … and another one to try and get the European hedgehog featured a little more often!

And just to conclude – where would we be without the wonderful road safety adverts … and where would we be without the evil sick minds who made this! (I know this will offend some people … but I think it actually makes the point a bit better than the cutesy story line of the unmolested version).