Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dedicated Followers of Fashion

Went to the Natural History Museum with A, N and S today.  Great day out made great for me by the breathtaking architecture.  The museum itself was packed, lunch cost 20 quid and the kids were mainly interested in pushing, pulling and twisting the interactive exhibits rather than taking in anything of educational value.  

But the investment in culture is of greater value.  A grew up in a house with regular trips on the train to all the galleries and museums going whereas I grew up in a household where a visit to the pantomime on ice was the big day out.  This is not to diss my folks, they did what they think was best in the same way that I do too, my point is that I and A want for our kids what she had and I didn’t.

Anyway that’s not my main subject for tonight’s delectation although the theme of culture and the world in which we want our kids to grow up still figures.

I was a bit pissed off when we were forced along Kensington High Street to get into the museum because the grassy area out front of the Natural History Museum had been cordoned off for London Fashion Week.  Huge temporary structures complete with air conditioning and hair dressers had been erected to house the hospitality suite for the big show.  As far as I could tell the main catwalks and studios were erected elsewhere.  This was one hell of a carnival with the performers were the wannabes and hangers on to the coat tales of the glitterazzi trying to look important whilst drinking champagne and eating tiger prawns.

And as I passed by the burly security boys my rational mind set switched on and played messages of ‘this is a world you do not inhabit – do not judge’ and ‘this is an industry creating wealth and work for loads of people across the world’ and then I came to a stop.  This is an industry were to be at the top is to influence how people should look, FFS.  This is an industry that is so self referential and narrow minded that they’ll design the same clothes as last year and sell it to us as ‘retro’.  This is an industry that fuels the exploitation of millions of workers so that we can all gorge ourselves at the feeding frenzy of wanting to look like a celebrity that we’ll never know beyond what the industry tells us.  

I’m so sick of it.  I feel contaminated.  I don’t care how I look as long as I’m clean enough to not smell.  I don’t care how much I weigh so long as I can be fit enough to chase my boys around the park for a long time to come.  I have no jewellery save my wedding ring, no cosmetics save my tin of Right Guard, no clothes save those from the charity shop and a posh waking jacket for enjoying the beautiful but wet British countryside.  

There’s still so much more I could do but at least I’m trying.  Check out The Year of Living Generously for some ideas of what you could do.

How do I cope?  I keep a couple of photos of child labourers on the cupboard door next to my desk.  And when it gets all too much I stare into their dark, hollow eyes for a while and then it all seems to fade away, for a while.

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