LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
21 February 2016
When Pigs Fly

Not quite. It’s when dogs fly. No, really. No, not with strapped on wings, attached
to drones, shot out of a canon (oh definitely not), but aircraft as in - planes.
Twelve pups are being trained to be pilots. OK. Not for jumbo jets but for light
aircraft. No pressure; it’s early days yet. Amazingly amateur fliers reported a
dog at aircraft-style controls – last year. Surely they were shocked, as you
would be.

The rescue (what’s not to love here?) dogs have been living a lovely life at a
mansion in the Sussex countryside (what’s not to love here?). The best of the
best will be sent to flight school. I can’t write ‘what’s not to love’ again, but you
get the point and may even be saying it to yourself. The dogs will undergo 10
weeks of intensive training. The best of the 12 will take the controls and fly. Sky1
is offering a series, Dogs Might Fly.

‘I got no car and it's breaking my heart…but I've found a driver and that's a
start…beep beep beep beep yeah’.


Food for Thought

Asda removes food bank donation points from UK stores. Nice. American
Walmart owned (take over from originally British-founded in 1999), second
largest supermarket chain in Britain, has made the decision to stop customers
from donating food bought in store or brought from home. This without revealing
its intentions to the media or to the local charities. Nice. The massive
supermarket chain has also ended its green token scheme. Nice. Having never
pushed my trolley around Asda, I just know it isn’t a good thing. These tokens
had allowed control over which local charity donations went to. Asda’s
contributions accounted for 15%-25% of a single charity’s donations.

Asda’s excuse? According to the chair of trustees of one charity now says: “The
explanations we have been given are that customers want to know where their
donations are going, and that there has been shoplifting from collection boxes.”
Oh right. It was because of all of the shoplifting.

Even cats didn’t escape Asda’s determination to remove all help helping the
helpless. A charity that helps stray cats (called Cat Call, what else) were recently
told that a box for donated cat food and a box for cash contributions would have
to be removed. The cat collection point had been in the store for about two years
providing 85% of the charity’s cat food. I know. It’s cats. But if you have one,
you’ll be ‘barking mad’. All pet-lovers’ sympathies are welcome here. ‘Mad
enough to kick a cat’ is just not on is it?

Asda said they would invest £2m “into local good causes” via their Asda
Foundation. Do they consider cats a ‘good’ cause I wonder. An extra £2m?
Really? Hmmm. The company’s spokesperson said: “We’re investing an
additional £2m, so it’s definitely not to do with cost-cutting.” Really? When their
owner (the evil) Walmart is closing masses of supermarkets in the US and
clearly is suffering financially. Hmmm. The media has revealed that Asda has an
ongoing cost-cutting drive due to pressure from increasingly successful rival
discount chains Aldi and Lidl. Charity begins at home I’m thinking; if you have
one.


After a Fashion

Is it just me or was the New York Fashion Week ironically boring since
American designers did their feverish best to be oh so bizarre, cool, innovative
and the results screamed arghhhh. Eg: Marc Jacobs did gothic. Oh really. Think
matte black lipstick. Oh really. And I thought that was so last year. Okay; last
month.

All over-zealous, over-sized, over-done, over-the-top, over-hyped. Thom Browne
did the ultimate ‘chalk & cheese’. Oh dear, not bits of coats/jackets recombined
and sewn together. All so ‘make do and mend’ – and not in a good way.
The designers were trying desperately hard to be so, so cool and their outfits
look so, so ridiculous. Loads of disparate deconstructed elements: leather + lace
+ real fur + patchwork + ad inf. They should have used Victoria Beckham’s
latest line as an inspiration on how to do clever, wearable and actually bloody
brilliant.

Carine Roitfeld, Ex-chief editor of Paris Vogue, now a global director of Harper's
Bazaar, who has her designs for Uniqlo now in the shops, recently said London
is and always has been the source for all creative fashion. Not Paris, not NY.
London. No matter how many American (sportswear) brands have taken over the
high streets and malls, it still holds true.


In and Out

Good God. Not another four months of ‘are you in’ or ‘are you out’? Yes, it’s the
endless EU referendum. Isn’t literally moment-to-moment Trump coverage
enough to drive us into a catatonic state? And now it’s in or out…out or in…in or
out…I’m in. And no, Brexit Boris and his new ‘adult’ hair style won’t convince
me. George Galloway and Nigel (Farage) are enough to keep us in.  
The
Independent
front page: Boris Out For Himself. No News there. Sigh….
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