Jul. 25th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
I've been looking for a long-sleeved white linen shirt for my holidays. This has entailed visits to stores the like of which were foreign lands until recent days. Although I have steered clear of "Fat Face" (who dreams up these brands?) I did succumb to a visit to White Stuff, where I bought an item of clothing coloured "Espresso". Apparently nothing can be called brown any more.

I also returned to slightly more familiar territory in Marks & Sparks, Gap and Next.

What three of these stores have in common (Gap is the creditable exception here) is that, if you are a male shopper for clothes, a visit to the clothes store is a bit like buying hard pornography. Your stuff is tucked away in the hardest part of the store to reach.

Retailers would presumably claim that it's because men don't like to shop, and that women are their bread and butter income. But this is reionforcing. At M&S there is women's clothing on the ground floor and on the first floor. The men's section is up three sets of escalators, parked with "Exchanges and refunds" and "toilets".

At Next, you plough through piles of discarded size 16s (women are not tidy shoppers at sale time) to reach the stairs down to the basement - following a sign saying "Men and Children". Charming. And Next pants are pants, btw.

White Stuff, a brand which I thought was devoted to beach-wearish kind of surfing stuff, must presume that 70% of surfers and beachers are female, because that's the proportion of floor space that they get. And this is in the City, where I think there is still a majority of male employees (albeit only just). The men's section is, once again, tucked out back. And, once again, the staff are stronger on the female clothes than on men's.

It may be coincidence that I bought an awful lot more from Gap than I did from the other three storse, but I somehow don't think so.


Is the game up for Brown? The humiliation in Glasgow East, where John Reid was remarkable mainly by his absence in the campaign, must surely make for an uncomfortable Party Conference, and the politickers, who like nothing more than a good conspiracy, with press leaks and the like, have a whle summer to spread rumours. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that Gordon Brown won't be brought down in a bribery scandal. Will there bne a stalking horse challenge? One thing is certain -- Labour is so genuinely fucked coming through to the next election that they must be thankful that their seats are more resilient than the Conservatives in the face of a meltdown. Even last night's result would have left more than 100 Labour members sitting in the House. Although only one of those would be from north of the border (and it wouldn't be Brown). I think we should ask West Lothian about this.

3hands )

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