China Crisis

Trying to get my head round this Chinese import problem. It seems the focus of the newsmen’s ire is the fact that there won’t be as much cheap tat on the shelves at Asda, Tesco and Primark as there should be because Peter Mandleson and his Euro cronies are being a bit mean and not letting Chinese goods in because they’ve made more than their import quota. The point is (and for once I’m right behind the French on this one) we should be protecting the fragile European textile industry.

[hypocrisy warning: this post might contradict some elements of this one]

Here in the Kingdom of the East Angles (that separate state that Jade referred to as East Angular) there is evidence all around of the boom years in the textile industry. You only have to look at the grand buildings of Lavenham and Norwich to see what a bit of wool and factory labour could do. I’m not saying that these were great times for everyone in society and I’m no historian but I see no reason as to why we couldn’t force ourselves to produce more stuff in this country. The way I see it, impounding half a billion pounds worth of jumpers, bras and trousers isn’t going to derail the Asian economy but this emerging wave of cheap imports could substantially damage Europe’s. Everyone seems to hate the US these days but their economy has grown, in part, due to their clever use of quotas. Look at the efforts made to protect their steel industry. If Europe is to survive as a trading bloc it needs to be clever in the same way, ensuring member states’ economies can provide for each other without having to rely on Asian goods to fill the ‘budget’ market.

That is not to say we shouldn’t trade with the East or the West but that we should leverage our position in the world to ensure we get the best of both. What’s the alternative? We’ve replaced traditional primary and secondary industries (mining, fabrication etc.) with low-level tertiary ones (call centres) and yet these are now leaking out to the Indian sub-continent. Whilst nature abhors a vacuum and the sensible answer is to assume ‘something’ will fill their place, it’s difficult to see what. For my part I think a few more intelligent industries, high-tech cost-efficient production (of which textiles could be one) and such like would be a good start. Agriculture is another one. With the climate apparently shifting toward a Mediterranean one for Northern Europe, is now the time for us to re-visit our agricultural leanings? We could become a net exporter of food to the developing world and the rest of Europe, improving our own health with a supply of locally grown produce at the same time. The knock-on effect of greater scientific research into cost-efficient, sustainable high-tech agriculture could benefit us all too. I’m not advocating a return to the ecologically damaging deforestation and hedgerow removal of the last 30 years, but more of the intelligent organic farming (c.f this debate) that, at the moment is too low volume and costly.

I risk verging on to topics I don’t quite understand but that’s the beauty of blogging. You rarely get challenged! I just think that instead of moaning about the likelihood of paying a few more quid for a jumper (which I conceded in an earlier posting might actually be keeping our inflation in check) could be offset by a general boost in our economy by an emphasis on more home-grown production. I know Clarkson always bangs on about the fact that it’s British engineering that we should be proud of and that ingenuity in this area is being ignored, I would add that this woeful neglect of our own national potential has a great opportunity to shine in the next few years as we move towards becoming an international showcase. After China in 2008 will flex its muscles as an (emerging) superpower we have a chance to show, in 2012, what a traditional superpower once was and that in the first decades of this millennia, there’s more to a nation than sheer weight of numbers, that democracy, human rights and the environment are more worthwhile than the numbers of jumpers you can produce in a year.

I really would be interested in comment on this. Feel free to add comments by clicking the ‘comments’ link at the bottom right of this post.


Abercrombie & Fitch store in London: Details


Thanks to the (honestly) thousands of people that have viewed and the tens of people that have emailed or commented on this post. The wait is over.


-----original post follows-----

An update on my Abercrombie & Fitch posting (currently the most popular posting on this blog) … A&F are set to take-over the Jil Sander store at Burlington Gardens in London with plans to open more stores across the UK.

At present it’s anticipated that these will be the only outlets – i.e. Not through wholesale agreements and in-store franchises. Presumably they still want the brand to keep a level of exclusivity in the UK.
10th November 2005 ... read about some
problems they appear to have had with recruitment
The Burlington Gardens store was anticipated to open in 2006 if this letter regarding
recruitment of London Abercrombie & Fitch staff is to be believed.

:: Update 25.November.2005
This post continues to draw traffic from Google and so I'm duty bound to update it. According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance the
Abercrombie & Fitch London store is due to open in 2007. This information is repeated on PR Newswire. and seems to have stemmed from their official Q3 2005 fiscal annoucements.

Old Sources
There’s an article in Vogue, “
The Fitch Pitch” And on Fashion United

Update 11.FEB 2006
Here's an
application for planning permission to Westminster City Council to amend the current Jil Sander store in Burlington Gardens for the use of Abercrombie and Fitch. I don't know the status of this application however.

Update 24.MAR 2006
Another bit of detail on the applications for planning permission to Westminster City Council, there are a
range of applications that have been submitted. This is the most recent one to change first floor use at 1 Old Burlington Street from class B1 (Offices) to class A1 (Retail) and perform interior refit. This was submitted on 17th February 2006 by their appointed architects, Househam Henderson. If anyone knows more about this, please let me know.

Update 05.SEP 2006

Michael Page posted this ad for a payroll manager at the new store. There are additional planning applications lodged with Westminster City Council too...

Update 13.NOV 2006

March 2007 is the most likely date for the opening of the Abercrombie & Fitch London store according to an email I received recently and this response on Yahoo Answers. If anyone from A&F wants to invite me to the opening for being the top blog search response for A&F london they can contact me here. Added the image of the hoarding from Bello on Flickr, thanks very much!


Blogging at 115MPH

Sat here on GNER's Mallard service to Leeds and blogging as the train departs Doncaster ... amazing really as I'm fully connected through the wonders of wireless. GNER were the first people in the UK to offer this service on the move and it's fantastic ... now, if only I could access the work network through VPN, then that'd really be something. Will just have to do some 'offline' work instead ...


Piano Man 'Sham'

As if to confirm my assertions that this part of North Kent is a bit of a peculiar place, the Piano Man ‘mystery’ was solved today when it turned out the guy was a German, never played more than one note on the piano and simply discharged himself and flew back home to a family farm. Great. The only mystery now is the West Kent NHS and Social Care Trust’s sudden insistence on patient confidentiality when previously it was more than happy to let the media print what they liked about the whole daft affair. I also have absolutely no idea why the Mirror thinks it’s relevant to mention the fact he’s homosexual. There’s an element of venom in their sentence that he’s ‘a gay German’

Various sources
:: The Mirror’s ‘exclusive’ ..
Piano Man Sham
:: The Times takes a more considered approach and
:: BBC News post
their first effort around mid-morning today which lacked any of the Times’ detail.
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Nuts, Gillette build on the Everyman momentum

Like most men I need to shave regularly and, like most men in their twenties, I need to check for lumps regularly too. I’d never put the two together but Gillette have. Opened a pack of new blades this morning and a little leaflet feel out from Cancer Research. What a great idea. Now, I consider myself pretty well-informed on the issue, as an educated rational male I don’t see the sense in being all coy about such things but here was a great way of pushing the issue into something routine. A piece of advice (sadly left to the back of the leaflet) suggested checking yourself when you refill your blades on your razor. What a neat little idea. The leaflet wasn’t patronising, was positive and contained all the stuff you’d want to know and links to more if you’re a little more curious.

There have been some great successes in breaking the stigma of testicular cancer in the last five years:

Lance Armstrong. The book, the success, the wristbands. No-one epitomises human victory from testicular cancer the way Lance does.
:: Robbie Williams’ cinema/TV ad which aired a few years ago. No-nonsense and raised awareness, first outing for the Everyman group.
:: Rachel Stevens … a personal favourite and another Everyman idea …
take a look at her cheeky ad

As far as I was concerned, the message had got through, “check yourself” but this Gillette idea really made me think about keeping up a regular pattern of examination and for that to come from such a simple device is particularly impressive.


Sunday Supplement

Excuse me for filching the title of Parkison's show on Radio2 but a long journey back from Reading this morning got me thinking about plenty of things to blog about and MP was nattering on in the background. Thought it was odd that he uses his TV show theme to introduce the show. Would have to assume from that that he's got the rights to it. He did play a new track from Cullum’s album ‘Catching Tales’, it was ‘On Day Will Come’ and I wasn’t much impressed I have to say. At least he'll get in the charts which is something that appeals to Jamie who's a bit less cynical and peculiar than Madeleine Peyroux who's gone missing just as he album sales climb.

Anyway, I'm going to do these in bullet points as I remember ...

1. Read an interesting article on using MindJet's MindManager to blog ... not got round to it yet, assume things flow by typing (see previous post regarding scepticism about MindMapping)

2. Started to read THISISVILLE! and realised my posts aren't always as cerebral as they could be. Lead me to some interesting stuff on Britishness which is worth a read if that sort of this interests you. Not sure on his slating of Michael Buerk
by the way, from what they were saying on the radio this morning it seems his RT interview has been misquoted. I think gender debates are fascinating though, I really do. Having been at York and now being engaged to someone who studied under de Groot and Rendall there, I have to listen to an awful lot of gender politics and I always try and think of this stuff in relation to my interpretations of Sacha Baron-Cohen and some of my evolutionary Psych reading, it's not always easy and the only certainties are that such debates will continue ad infinitum. THISISVILLE! also one of many sites around the web praising Mo Mowlem. How weird that we've lost Mo and Robin Cook in one month? Two labour stalwarts and (particularly in the case of Mo) two politicians that were as shrewdly aware of their plublic image and how to play it as Tony himself. The only two that could match this in the Tories were Ann Widecombe and Boris Johnson though notably neither has had the same governmental success. Perhaps their excentricities went too far.

3. Despite my optimistic postings, it seems that the demolition and development on the waterfront in
Ipswich isn't quite progressing as nothing's been done since the banners went up. In cyberspace (eugh!) this is mirrored by the fact that a cheeky lifecoach has registered the url http://www.ipswichwaterfront.com to cash in on his business. You have to wonder why? If someone's looking for leisure and entertainment on the Ipswich Waterfront or accommodation etc. why would they then think 'oh, a life coach, actually let's have a look and book up some sessions?' this sort of URL hijacking is idiotic. No doubt he'll now expect the council's marketing department to stumble across this URL and pay him 000s for it out of our council tax. Pillock.

4. Had a trawl through some bookmarks today in my browser. I've got loads of the damn things and many of them link to things I was planning on looking at again but I can't for the life of me remember why. It's a revelation looking through them to see what, at various browsing stages, interested you. Why not have a look through yours in a spare moment.

5. The economy. Why is it that petrol prices are going sky-high, my electricity bill is significantly more than last year and eating and drinking out seems to cost a ruddy fortune ... yet inflation is peanuts? well, it's because other prices are sinking and cancelling out these rises and we're all getting paid more too. The cost of clothes, consumer electricals and furnishings are all sinking at a ridiculously fast rate due to the emerging economies of the East being able to produce these items much much cheaper. In tandem with this, their demand for resources - coal, oil and financial services - are pushing those costs higher and higher. These economies (and I'm thinking particularly of China and India) have grown so quickly that they either don't have the material required (oil) or haven't had time to put it in place (services) hence the need to import these in massive quantities. In the developed world this is pouring money in to financial centres inflating wages and keeping price rises in energy in proportion. Perhaps this is an over-simplified model but it helped me to understand why - when I feel that I'm pouring more than I should be away in petrol and bills - I do not seem to be significantly worse off because of it. (Read this and some comment on another site

6. Lost. Should finally get round to watching these this week on tape.

7. Danny Wallace, I will blog about this eventually...

Right, all done. If I remember more stuff I was supposed to blog about I'll let you know below...

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