The sun is setting on the Blairs and shining on their neighbours, the Browns, who wait breathlessly for the dawn of June 27 when the Blairs will depart and they will move into 10 Downing Street. But Londoners seem least bothered about this imminent momentous change. For them happy days are here at last with the clouds above dispelled and the sun shining fairly regularly every day.
Visitors are pouring in. Russians and Indians are frolicking around, emptying their pockets on designer clothes, concerts and expensive restaurants. It is impossible now to stand on Oxford Street: the throng of moving, chattering tourists will push you forward even if you don’t want to move. The stores are all doing roaring business; Marks & Spencers with its new designer clothes the current favourite. To cope with the rush, M&S have even brought back shop assistants, a species that had become nearly extinct in recent years.
Sartorial change as well
With Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair, a change of political style is only to be expected. But there will be a change of sartorial style at the highest level as well. Brown, so far, has refused to wear a black tie or formal suits. The Governor of the Bank of England must have winced each time he saw Chancellor Brown walking in to attend formal dinners sans tie, looking like a middle-rung taxman. A kindly soul has now offered Brown a lovely formal suit for state banquets, stitched in Los Angeles, as a coronation present. Will he accept, and will he wear a tie with it?
Whatever Brown decides, the fact is that ties — black or otherwise — once compulsory wear with a suit or blazer, are out. Except perhaps among some oldtimers, bankers and estate agents. Ties are no longer de rigeur even at celebrity events.
The PM-in-waiting David Cameron is as tie-phobic as Brown. Those who love open shirts have nominated him the patron saint of open-necked shirts.
The British love their pets. No wonder some companies have introduced “peternity” policies, giving employees paid leave to look after sick pets.Royal Mail — the postal service — is considering compassionate leave for staff if their pets pass away. Google in London allows employees to bring their dogs to office, knowing most are uncomfortable about leaving them alone at home.
Men for a change
There is nothing lewd in Porn for Women, published recently by the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative. The 98-page pink-bound book is full of “steamy, sultry images” of fully-dressed men doing household chores. The publishers claim that what really turns women on are “men who clean the bathroom without being asked, make a gourmet dinner, or bring flowers home without any reason”.