Will global warming mean London’s new airport becomes home to white collar criminals in skirts?
I’d like to say it’s stopped raining but it hasn’t. From the very first day the national hosepipe ban was announced last spring – reservoirs nearing empty after a long dry spell – it has poured cats, dogs and most other animals with hardly a dry day between.
Aside from very serious trouble for some, what this means for your average Jo is a lot of worn outerwear. We all got macs and wellies for Christmas but now they’re looking threadbare, or thin if latex is your thing.
Just as well it’s London Fashion Week and all manner of oddity is on parade once again to gasps of wonder, as in, you expect someone actually to wear that? Amid the crepe shoes and tungsten skirts, how much waterproofing will be on offer? If past years are a guide, not much. Any sign of the genius umbrella hat? No. The rubber Stetson? No. See-through Drizabones? Negatory. It’s the same old lace, leather and synthetic gear, barely practical for life in the new order.
When fashionistas say something cannot be made to look cool, who are we to argue? So umbrella hats will never cut it. But still, it’s a shock considering what does pass muster and get worn. With a straight face.
I’d like to think all it takes is a few high-profile sorts to make the move and inspire us, but perhaps timing is key. Skirts for men, for example, regularly star on the cards. Yet the nearest they’ve got to ignition was in 2002 when Jean-Paul Gaultier showed his autumn workwear collection.
For a week or two, man skirts were sighted in offices around town, and it was like being on the brink of a revolution, until their owners took them home and changed quick smart (into felt dungarees or the like). This year talk is rife of their return. You heard it here first.
Also this week, London is host to legendary Koori elder Uncle Jack Charles recounting his true and extraordinary life at the Barbican centre. It’s part of a series of Aussie storytellers in the run up to a full-scale Australia and New Zealand arts festival coming in May, and which follows December’s major exhibition at the Royal Academy gallery that showcased a slew of great Australian artists, from Rover Thomas and Emily Kame, to Nolan, Boyd, and Williams, and on to Shaun Gladwell and Tracey Moffatt, many on display here for the first time.
Londoners are awash in Aussie high-end culture. It makes a welcome balance. For the last 25 years, every day nearly every child in the UK has watched Australian soaps on TV shown at kiddie prime time between five and six o’clock. The majority of viewers will never visit Australia and yet they have felt the bright colours and open manner seeping deep in under their skin. It’s an odd phenomenon and perhaps an unintended reversal of cultural fortunes. Put altogether, where Australia once felt shy with cultural cringe now it extends a giant bear hug.
In other news this week, figures released show almost 6,000 bankers, brokers and assorted financial advisers were sacked or disciplined for reckless or dishonest conduct here since the banking crisis began in 2008. The Freedom of Information Act has required the Financial Conduct Authority, very reluctantly, to share the stats. They’d much rather still keep quiet about it all.
It’s a strange number since public opinion holds that almost no-one has been properly punished. There was Bob Diamond from Barclays, and a small handful of others, but people wanted blood. Jailtime. Profuse apologies and a fairer system, if not brokers in the stocks. Perhaps it’s too unpalatable a reality that, although many adjustments have been made, and the world teeters on recovery, the banks continue to be so profitable. Feeding news of the 6,000 to a public eager for justice should have a calming effect. But anything could happen.
Meanwhile, Mayor Boris Johnson wants London’s new airport to be built on an island in the Thames estuary. If it doesn’t stop raining, so much of the country will be waterlogged, sea planes may be the only way to go, and they can land anywhere. Then we could use the island for a sort of prison cum new bank. All the finance crims could work in it, and their customers would be anyone who’s done time or got a record. Swag Bank perhaps. I’m not saying they’d have to wear skirts. It could be optional.
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