LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
4 October 2015
Red Flag vs. Red Button

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he didn’t sing the national anthem because
he didn’t know the words. However, he does know the lyrics to the Red Flag.

Feel free to sing along:

It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

Enough? Inspired? OK. Back to reality.

Oops. We know Corbyn can read; he added stage direction from the
teleprompter during his Labour Party conference speech by reading out: ‘strong
message here’. You just know you have to imagine an emoji smile here.

Oops again. The appointment of Professor Joseph Stiglitz (American Nobel
Prize winner economist and Columbia University professor) to Corbyn’s new
advisory team was a surprise to the professor; he had no idea who Corbyn was
a mere six weeks previous. Can we assume Corbyn etc knew who he was?
Possibly, possibly not.

Another oops. When the now rather famous best-selling author, French
economist Thomas Piketty was added to the advisors, the shadow chancellor,
John McDonnell, didn’t have a clue as to who he was. Huh? Really. You know
who he is, I know who is, the French know who he is; who doesn’t? Well, now
we know. Not good is it?

Oops continued. When McDonnell was asked on Sky News about Thomas, he
called him ‘Oliver’, more faux pas on Radio 4 followed. Oh dear, oh dear. This
does not bode well does it? It’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, John. At
least read the reviews. He also mispronounced the name of Professor Mariana
Mazzacuto, an economist at the University of Sussex. Pay attention, John. The
Chancellor of the Exchequer: responsible for Britain's money and economy.
Hmmm.

Media oops. A press release on behalf of Vodafone called McDonnell,
McConnell and the BBC’s Sarah Montague thought she’d join in by doing the
very same. Problems with name recognition all round. Parallel universes?

A major oops. Clearly a favourite object of media obsession is Trident. Oh make
it stop. Well, no worries, it will. We all know Corbyn has emphatically said ‘No!’
to Trident, but we didn’t know Isis has said ‘Yes!’ - to total genocide.

According to German journalist, Jürgen Todenhöfer, who spent ten days living
among Isis allowing him to interview their senior leaders about their plans for the
future, as you do over tea and a few decapitated heads, says it’s all over.
Seriously. We’re not even ‘dead men/women walking’. We’re to be totally
obliterated. No ‘à bientôt’, arrivederci, bis spatter then. The plan is for 500,000
million of us to be displaced into the atmosphere. A major nuclear holocaust of
the West. Yikes! Todenhöfer new book is 'Inside IS - Ten Days in The Islamic
State', if you dare to read it.

If you do dare: “I don't see anyone who has a real chance to stop them. Only
Arabs can stop IS. I came back very pessimistic.' He warned that the terror
organisation is far more 'dangerous and organised' than people in the West
realises.

He said the West has 'no concept of the threat it faces' from the Islamic State
and has underestimated the risk posed by ISIS 'dramatically'.

He went on to say that ISIS are 'completely sure they will win this fight'. A pity
Russia is bombing mainly anti-Assad rebels. Who knew? We all did.

Ultimately then Trident won’t be of much use will it? Corbyn said he would never
hit the ‘red’ button – while singing the Red Flag? Well, he wouldn’t get the
chance would he? So, it’s the ‘dance of death’ then....


Calling the Fashion Police...

Was it fashion? Was it performance art? Was it modern dance? Was it
rubbish? Rick Owens’s last big catwalk caper featuring full-frontal male nudity –
you do remember those strategically placed holes in the fabric, right? Of course
you do. And that surely was the point – as it were.

Well, this collection in Paris was all ‘look at me’ – well, look at my models – my
models in flesh-coloured outfits – my models ‘carrying’ each other. Wait. Well,
not exactly. More “Oh. Is that your bum in my face”? Well, yes it is. How did
they do it? Big straps. The two models were harnessed together. “Just think of
me as your backpack.” “Hmmm. Rather like frontpack really.”

Owen said - and oh dear where would we be without an explanation? I know;
we'd have art: “It was to represent the strength and power of  womanhood”. Oh
pull the other one.

The collection was called Cyclops. RO wrote: “The Cyclops is a mythological
creature, formidable with focused vision”. Really? We are familiar with the
mythical primordial giants, RO. Surprisingly then that the models didn’t each
have a third eye.

RO doesn’t stop there: “Who among us wouldn’t appreciate that kind of
description? In the spring men’s collection, which shares the same name, that
focused vision was propulsive and aggressive. When applied to women, I see
that focused vision being more about nourishment, sisterhood, motherhood, and
regeneration. Women raising women, women becoming women and women
supporting women. The world of women I know little about and can only attempt
to amuse in my own small way”. “I know little about”? Clearly.

“I see the stores full of boxy jackets and a-line skirts and I want to see an
explosion, I want to see something flung,” he sighed. “Watch me fling.”
Goodness me. Not the models? Well, one hanging model could easily fling her
hair to efficiently sweep the floor. Terribly practical, dahling.

Curious if anyone purchased a human backpack using their must-have latest
accessory. Touch the blue gem stone on the ring containing a NSC chip and
you’re immediately the proud owner of the must-have item on the catwalk. Model
included?

Moving on. Hussein Chalayan made a splash on the catwalk. Commentary: ‘In
the centre of the runway space at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, two models clad in
papery lab coats stood still in a sterile white cube. Halfway through the show,
simulated rain began to pour, and the coats disintegrated until nothing remained
but the slinky, Swarovski crystal-embellished dresses underneath’.

‘As for the theatrics, the papery trenchcoats that melted under a cold shower,
turning outerwear into asymmetric slip-dresses, made for an amusing moment
and a charming reflection on the transformative nature of fashion’.

Quelle relief that was explained for us. Thinking about it, rather cool really.

Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanaby, Yōji Yamamoto all naturally supplied the art.
Très sensationnelle.
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