LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
18 February 2017
The Fur Flies

“If fashion in the Sixties conveyed an image of drug-fuelled binges and partying,
today is much more about sophistication, champagne, shows, presentations and
drinks receptions rather than craziness and irresponsibility.” Or so says the
boss of Jimmy Choo, Pierre Denis with regards to Fashion Week.

He was speaking in London, while at New York Fashion Week, oh dear, it was
blood and punches. Rather sixties? Not even; more New York. “Something
happened outside where there was blood on the ground,” a witness said. “The
ambulance had to come. It was a really bad vibe.” Vibe? Right.

The Fendi party went out of control – or had a bad vibe - at New York Fashion
Week. Fashionistas don’t queue there. The throngs did snake around the South
Street Seaport venue, people were pushing to get in. One fashionista reported
there were “full-on fistfights.” Ah. When vibes get out of control just when you
simply must buy fur.

Now all those fashionistas have descended for London Fashion Week. Hmmm.
Well, Joshua Kane is hosting his huge show at the London Palladium. And the
reason? Yes. There is a reason. A lovely reason. “What I want to do with my art
and my creativity is an attempt to celebrate it as much as possible and have
people be able to access to it…it’s not just about selling products.” How much
are we liking this guy? “Fashion is becoming more and more exclusive and the
doors are becoming more closed (note: Fendi). “Fashion should be about
characters and experience.”

For £10 you can experience an Edwardian London train platform on a stage.
The runway collection is titled Journey. Ah. Lovely.

Competition? Who would have thought it? Amazon is getting ready to launch its
own UK fashion label in the spring. Oh you probably knew this already.
Primark's menswear buying director, former head of design for womenswear
and accessories at M&S, and M&S former womenswear director have all been
poached. Think quick drone delivery.


Naked Ambition

Just when you think the world is going to implode via US war on Iran, North
Korea being North Korea, an unpredictable meteorite, the hysterical US religious
right praying for the Rapture and surprise, surprise, we’re about to be magically
transported to the 50’s when men were macho and women were mere objects.
Playboy is not only bringing back their creepy clubs, they are going to thrill us
with nude pics in the magazine. Evidently we’ve had a reprieve for a year.

Hugh’s son (did we know he had one? We knew about his daughter but didn’t
really care), Cooper Hefner is the chief creative officer: “Nudity was never a
problem because nudity isn’t a problem.” What? To naturalists? Was he
speaking Trump-speak? “Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming
who we are.” ‘Soft’ porn promoters? Cooper has clearly inherited his father’s
remarkable intelligence. Aren’t the regular readers of Playboy over 80 by now?
Or dead. Hugh’s 90 and still alive – more or less. You don’t know whether to
laugh or cry. I’m crying.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – not in that order

The Ugly: Surely you didn’t think Nigel had disappeared for more than five
minutes? Yawn, not a chance. Nige is become suspiciously – erm – like his best
orange-faced friend; he seems a bit madder than usual.

“Funny isn’t it, we get a south-easterly wind and all the pollution from Germany
comes to British cities and we’re told it’s our fault. I suggest we leave quickly
and we don’t pay the £300 million fine.” Germany, Nige? More distancing
yourself from your estranged German wife? Or simply stupid. Or both.

No Nige. The prevailing winds in the UK come from the west or south-west.
West, Nige. And then there is the effect of locally-produced nitrogen dioxide by
diesel vehicles. We are facing an impending £300 million fine because the air
quality in our cities isn’t good enough: London, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow.

The Bad: “I’ve always been a big Diet Coke fan, right from the original ‘Break’
ads we all remember with great fondness. The brand is well known for
celebrating friendship, fashion and fun, which are all very important to me. I’m
excited to be involved!” said the omnipresent Holly Willoughby. So clearly not
written by the omnipresent Holly Willoughby.

What she meant: “I love multinational corporations that control the world. I love
multinational corporations that destroy third world culture and economies. I love
supporting multinational corporations that create carcinogenetic products. I love
Coke. I am going to make a lot more money so I don’t mind lying.”

Lovely, charming, fun, pretty Holly Willoughby is now going to sell you and your
children a known dubious product from a company infamous for its dubious
practices as well as its false advertising.

Not only is she off my Christmas list, she’s off my telly. That includes: This
Morning, Celebrity Juice, Surprise Surprise, Play to The Whistle and Meet The
Parents. Parents? Holly has three young children. Just saying. Oh wait. She has
written a string of children’s books with her sister so her children can read while
they drink Coke. Perfect. She is reported to be worth £11 which will increase to
at least £21 million. She is paid a mere £400,000 to co-host with Philp Scofield.
That’s making her one of the highest paid female TV presenters in the UK.

Holly also had her own BHS homeware range before they closed last year. She
has her own clothing line with Very. Anything else? Of course there is. Holly has
entered into a lucrative venture with Peter Jones’s partner. Yes, you know, that
Peter Jones. They set up an interior design firm which promises to more than
double her financial worth.

It’s all a bit – unsettling: all that attractive now ingratiating, obsequious charm.
Must I say “it’s not pretty”?

The Good: Approximately 3 billion fortune cookies are manufactured every year
around the world. Trying to remember one? Any? Here are a few: ‘Your smile
will tell you what makes you feel good…Don’t panic…Two days from now,
tomorrow will be yesterday…It could be better, but it’s good enough…You are
cleverly disguised as responsible adult…Okay to look at past and future, just
don't stare…He who dies with most toys, still dies’. Oh someone stop me! I didn’t
make them up, really. ‘I cannot help you, for I’m just a cookie…You will die
alone and poorly dressed’…. Now that one did make me stop. Not those fist-
fighting fashionistas.

The thing about fortune cookies is the optimistic anticipation, followed by the
inevitable disappointment. ‘Run’ is a good example.

Wonton Foods claims to be one of the world’s largest producers of fortune
cookies, has lost its Chief Fortune Writer after 30 years. Donald Lau has
reached fortune cookie satiation. Mr Lau has been suffering from fortune cookie
writer’s block. “I used to write 100 a year, but I’ve only written two or three a
month over the past year.” So it can happen, but who knew?

4.5 million fortune cookies are produced by the Brooklyn/Queens based
company each day. Really. Mr Lau is training a nephew of the company’s
founder to the promote wellness and serenity.

“When they eat their fortune cookie, I want the customers to open the fortune,
read it, maybe laugh, and leave the restaurant happy so that they come back
again next week,” Mr Lau said. But don’t worry for the no longer prolific Mr Lau.
He will still serve as Wonton Food’s Chief Financial Officer. Whew.


The Ultimate Ugly

So at 10:30pm Saturday night (note: not 6 or 7pm) BBC and Sky choose to
show that tiny-mouthed-orange-faced-psychopath instead of covering the
Sunday papers. Ranting will not help, nonetheless…

The journalists ready to reveal what was in the papers were shut up while we
were thrilled to see The Donald’s plane glide in, stairs supplied, door open –
which naturally stayed open for what seemed like days before the orange-one
graced the crowds with his presence. A press conference? Breaking news? No.
A relaunch rally in Florida. What?

Why? Why? Why? Who is making these insane, inane decisions to cover every
single second – nanosecond – of his mind-numbing life? Why at 10:30 on a
Saturday night do we want to see his relaunch rally in – Florida?

I’m imagining channelling Babe in EastEnders when she stood outside the
Queen Vic spewing vitriol with her tiny twisted mouth: “I curse you! I curse
youuu! I cuuuuurrrrssssse you!”  OK. I’m not, but I wish she would.

Note: BBC2 on Tuesday night at 10pm: Inside No.9. The good, the bad and the
ugly. The best.
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