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7/7 trauma is fading

Tourists are returning to Oxford and Regent streets, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2005 13:43 IST

It is time to open the wardrobes and brush up the woollies. The first signs that

cold and chilly winds are poised to come back are of leafs getting greenish gold and readying to fall off.

Likewise London seems to be getting back its old fragrance of abandon and zest for living it up. The trauma and the sense of foreboding following the July 7 suicide bombings that killed 52 innocent people has fazed.

More than a month has passed without any incident since the last abortive bombing attempts on July 21. Commuters have got back to the old habit of reading books and tabloids on tunes and buses.

True, when some one with a rucksack enters, specially if he is young and bearded, he gets quizzical looks.

Tourists are returning to Oxford and Regent streets although most Londoners are still wary of shopping there. The result of such reluctance has been disastrous for the central London stores. Millions of pounds have been lost and most stores have slashed prices and are advertising heavy discounts.

Customers are returning to restaurants but not in areas like East End, where some curry houses have retrenched their staff.

The musical adaptation of MM Kaye's internationally acclaimed Far Pavilion has been the first casualty among West End shows of the bombings. It is closing on September 17, four months before its scheduled closure. It reportedly started suffering a loss of £30,000 a week. Producer Michael Ward is now planning taking to smaller towns with reduced cast. He wants Far Pavilion to live on, and many do hope he succeeds.

London, however, has from time to time news and reports to keep its dwellers titillated. One study, we were informed, proved that those who work hard become Casanovas in bedrooms. Another study suggested that accountants are truly a dull and boring lot. People avoid them, so full they are of figures of the numerical kind.

More interesting was a report that a burglar got his inspiration from BBC. A programme called Beat the Burglar was quite instructive for him, an out-of-work gas engineer. He started seeing it regularly, wherein ex-burglars break into people's homes to demonstrate how vulnerable they are.

He realised how easy it was to burgle and then used techniques shown in the programme to break into houses in broad daylight. But unfortunately for him things did not go as well as on the screen. He is now serving a two and a half year sentence.

I have also often wondered what is in London that it inspires people o do the most absurd and extravagant things. This is at least the view of people like me who think twice before entering a bar in a five-star hotel. The rich do not bother with such "inanities".

A banker from Monaco, spent nearly £22000 on vintage champagne, not to drink but to splash at a "memorable party he threw for his friends at a West End night club". He bought 72 bottles of the world's finest champagnes, shook them and then sprayed them round the VIP room, in the style of a Formula I racing driver on the winner's podium. It cost him another £15000 which was charged by the club as cleaning expenses and £3000 in service charge. The names of the champagnes sprayed would give fit to any bubbly lover. They included magnum of Cristal, Cristal Rose and Dom Perignon.

What has happened to the banker one does not know. But when six bankers from Barclays had spent £44000 some time ago on wines to accompany their dinner, five of them had been sacked.