Sunday, November 29, 2009

Charmless garments: 2

I have more than one good reason to loathe the second item in the series, but I confess that what seals their fate from my unbalanced perspective is their strong association with a certain marketing person of my acquaintance: a bleached blonde harpy ("as I came up to Mathers Inn/Three hellish witches drinking gin..."), a colleague in the early days of my career whose favourite smart-casual work look was a pair of black ski-pants, or stirrup pants, teamed with a blouse, high-heeled pumps and loads of gold jewellery.

Awful memories from my early working life aside, just look at them: is there a single redeeming feature? High waisted, and therefore unflattering to anyone fatter than a stick (ie everyone); tight where it's unmerciful and loose where it's unwise; and capped off (or bottomed out) by the wholly unnecessary feature of the stirrup. Truly vile.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas bizarre

Walking through Stanley on Saturday morning I saw a large sign proudly advertising CHRISTMAS TREES FROM THE USA. Yes, that's right: someone is flying Christmas trees thousands of miles (from Oregon, or Wisconsin, to Hong Kong) so that buyers can say that their trees are American. There is something so completely wrong about this that I was tempted to stick a note on the sign. Stanley houses a fair few American expat families, especially along Tai Tam Road and around the American Club, and no doubt many of them, and other numpties, will be gleefully ordering their American Christmas trees without a second thought. To satisfy someone's desire to have an American Christmas, a tree will be chopped down and shipped by air or sea to Hong Kong along with thousands of other trees. How does this make sense?

Predictably enough, the trade goes the other way too: 85% of artificial Christmas trees sold in the US are manufactured in China.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fake bake

There's something a bit unsettling about the recent resurgence of cupcakes. I declare an interest, or rather the lack of it: the cupcake promises much but doesn't deliver, and I don't really like them anyway. But I instinctively distrust the way we're all supposed to be cupcake eaters now: sold the ersatz promise of reliving some halcyon time which never actually existed, in the drawing rooms of 1950s America, where the only thing close to a job description any woman was permitted to have was "cook". Commercially produced cupcakes always taste slightly oily, the "frosting" is too sweet, and the disappointment is palpable.

I read in the FT today that women in the British Diplomatic Service were not permitted to marry until 1973. Cupcakes, to me, epitomise that reactionary era. Give me a Laduree macaron any day of the week. Or, more simply, a coffee and two pieces of Lindt chilli chocolate (see above as freshly made by me).