Thursday, November 10, 2005

day in, day out.

Another day in the features department, my current posting. All seem affable, in the slightly oestrogen-addled way of features departments. Much excitement yesterday at the arrival of Hello magazine.

“Hello!” cried my boss, clapping her hands together. “I love the smell of Hello!”
When pressed, she claimed that it smelt of ‘pure celebrity trivia’ at which I scoffed internally. Until I smelt it... and she was right. A brand new copy of Hello smells so, well, glossy. You know new car smell? Well, this is the gossip equivalent.

A better class of freebie is also in evidence here: not only have we had chocolates, AA Gill’s book and ‘chocolate salami’ (much nicer than it sounds); yesterday, a consignment of stick-on toenails arrived.

Am overwhelmed with excitement at the proximity of work to actual shops. It turns out that the only thing which has kept me solvent for the last year has been the fact I’ve been working in places like Wapping and Farringdon. Here in central London, I have turned into the Demon Shopper, apparently. I’m worried my personality might have been melded with that of hangthedj in some Fly-esque experiment.

Take yesterday. I made some very conservative purchases from Zara - black jacket, v-neck jumper. Totally justifiable. Then I wandered into Hobbs, where I was practically mugged by the sales assistant, who was desperate to help me try stuff on. This should have set the alarm bells ringing - the more attentive the staff in a clothing shop, the more money is about to be sucked from your wallet.

It’s like food: the more hyphenated adjectives a dish or ingredient accrues, the more it costs. Witness those M&S adverts: pan-shaken, hand-picked, orphan-bagged new potatoes that cost about two quid a pop - and anything hand-dived, pan-roasted or honey-glazed is going to require a mortgage. You can see it in Tesco’s too. Bog-standard bangers are enigmatically branded ‘Pork Sausages’ (and with the value range, you’ll be lucky to even find out what animal they’re from) but go to the Finest range and suddenly they’ll tell you everything up to the name of the pig and its inside leg measurement.

But I digress. The woman in Hobbs was good: very good.
She sidled over as I was trying on a dress which made me look, truthfully, like an albino pygmy going to a children’s birthday party.
“Oooh,” she cooed. “You’re so lucky to be able to wear a dropped waist. You look like you have such a long body.”

It was then I knew I wasn’t escaping without buying something, because that is the most bare-faced lie anyone has ever told me. I am freakishly, storkily, out of proportion, with my mid-section shifting imperceptibly from rib to hip with no apparent waist in between.

But I went for it before I had even realised.
“Do you think so?”
“Oh yes,” she purred. “Perhaps you should try the skirt and top as separates. That would be so much more versatile.”

Now, she knew as well as I did that there was no way even her charm could persuade me to buy the pygmy dress, but there was a pretty big chance that another ten minutes' intensive complimenting would yield a sale.

And so it was: I was suckered in, and walked out of the shop many pounds the poorer, carrying a red (red! me, the person who regards grey as a little bit risky!) ballet cardigan... covered in sequins. I’m wearing it now, and I honestly cannot decided if it’s really fashionable or something my mum will want to borrow and wear at Christmas, because she thinks it’s “jolly”.

I also realised that my decision to team it with a tutu-ish A-line skirt and ballet pumps means I now look like I’ve been hired by Sadler’s Wells as the result of some new anti-sizist discrimination law. At least I didn’t get it in black... that made me look like Liza Minelli. And not Liza Minelli in Cabaret: Liza Minelli now.
Clearly, I can’t be trusted to go shopping alone.

On another note (but, happily, a related one) hot email debate has been raging over the worst shopping centre in Britain. JXH offers the following spirited plea for Meadowhall:

"By the way, if anyone has seen the [work] trip to Meadowhall (also, and more accuracy known as Meadowhell) and been vaguely tempted, not having lived round Sheffield before and thinking it's be worth a try, thought I'd warn you off.

You'd have to pay me a not inconsiderable sum of money (a good week's wages) to get me there as it is the most godforsaken hell-hole full with chavs and chavs-with-kids who dawdle with buggies (not to mention the old people who shouldn't be allowed out on any day other than pension day, and certainly not on weekends when working people have their one chance to shop and all these senile old codgers clog up the pavements). The only thing for it is a cattle prod frankly, optionally with an explosive shell on the end, to shove up the derrières of these sloth-like dimwits.

So that pretty much is Meadowhell, not to mention the crappiness of the shops, and over proliferation of 'girl' shops (surely between every Dorothy Perkins and Accessorise there should be a Dixons so at least there is a TV screen with football scores on to read) and the hugely marked up substances which pass for food in the nasty eateries.

Don't say you weren't warned."

Surely there must be worst places? I know the Bullring is all sparkly and new now, but surely there are still awful provincial malls, specifically designed to reconcile us to the prospect of death...


ps. you cannot see, but i am currently crying tiny tears of smug joy. my post about the gay penguins got listed on the newsweek website (here). Finally, I am the astute social commentator I always dreamed of being.


Anonymous Laura said...

At last, someone to share my Hobbs obsession! I clearly spoiled you when I convinced you to buy those Ted Baker trousers and now you can never go back to the Days of New Look.

You should get some bright red lipstick to go with your cardigan. Only then will you truly complete the 1950s glamour look.

11/13/2005 3:18 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

The up and coming Hobbs obsession is quite worrying. There were, I would guess, about 5 things I tried on which I would have happily bought.

Sadly, had I done so, I would now be living in a crisp packet and turning tricks on the street.

11/14/2005 1:23 pm  
Anonymous Laura said...

You do tricks?!

11/14/2005 5:45 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

er.. probably not the type of tricks you're thinking about.

11/16/2005 10:26 am  

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