Part one was published here yesterday.


As far as interior decoration was concerned, another feature from pre-war homes was again in vogue – the dado rail – but this time made of MDF and stuck on the walls.  For a time, it seemed that no house, whatever its size, was complete without dado rails and no ceiling complete without a textured finish – and in some cases textured walls.  Doors were often removed and made into shaped arches (as you would have seen, say, in Spain) along with tiled floors, which all looked beautiful in Mediterranean countries but a bit cold on the feet in the U.K in the winter months. And then came decking, enough of which must have been sold to decimate an Amazon forest, before many found that the fashion soon turned very green and slippery in our less-than-dry climate and as a nod to nurturing wildlife, a popular haunt for rodents. Most of it ended up being burned, which must have helped with air pollution.

As individually-designed furniture became rather expensive, many bought fashionable furniture from large stores, which, if nothing else, gave the interior UK homes an increasingly uniform look which matches the uniform designer look of housing developments from Southend to Scunthorpe and increasingly the people that live in them.

Large kitchens and new look bathrooms gave way to the next must have – the ‘conservatory’, later to become the ‘orangery’ and the once fashionable French doors and patio door look gave way to huge sliding doors built across the whole rear elevation of even small properties, despite the look being of marginal value on the compact homes being, it seems, mass produced everywhere these days. Windows became bigger, then smaller, made from wood, then aluminium, back to wood, upvc, then green, and now black (sorry, anthracite) all having their five minutes of fashion.

Along with identikit clothes, furniture, homes and gardens, eventually came identikit vehicles. First were Chelsea tractors for the apparently wealthy, followed by for aspiring Chelsea tractor owners the MPV – aimed at the cheaper (sorry entry level) of the market, which often looked like a pizza delivery van, or at the other end of the market particularly when painted black, the fashionable colour of choice for a time, looked just like a mini hearse.

Then the automotive industry hit the designer cult large, with over-designed vehicles complete with toys to play with for the many designer label people willing to pay loads of money to, in their eyes at least, impress the neighbours to the extent that now, huge pick-up trucks are the most wanted ‘look at me’ vehicle for some, as the poor old saloon car falls out of favour – as it will do until economic reality rears its head again and people realise the shortcomings of pick-up trucks, particularly in bad weather, along  with as depreciation and running costs. Dave the plumber or carpet fitter (flooring consultant) soon took advantage of the work available from people who were either unwilling or unable to do anything for themselves and leased the largest ‘must have’ van available, used mostly used for transporting air around, while having a ‘Day Van’ for use in down time and ‘quality’ leisure time with the family to the great outdoors which usually means one of the fashionable destinations ‘of choice’.

Driving across the country it’s possible to see how fashion has distorted many areas. At one time each county had a distinct personality.  Although most of the U.K felt like home, there were distinct differences, from people’s clothing, shopping habits, homes were built often using local materials and even locally made bricks, all gone of course now, no thatched roofs of the midland counties, or red and blue brick homes of urban industrial areas. Vehicles once wore the individual registration letters of local authorities, buses had distinctive liveries.  No differences now though between liveries on emergency vehicles or uniforms of their personnel, and this is not all down to economics, a lot of it is driven by contemporary business management fashion, just like everything else it would seem. Business leaders follow fashion of course and often have their own exclusive language, ‘tranche’, global thinking’, ‘going the extra mile’, ‘finding solutions’ and so on while politicians live by slogans, change, hope, better tomorrow and so on, it’s just hype and gives the outsider or thinker an insight into how these people see themselves and more importantly you.

And the driver of this ‘fashion’? Well T.V and media hype, the fact that many have not experienced life before fashion and credit took over, when retailers provided some choice to their customers because they purchased goods from different suppliers and manufacturers.

Develop a product, create demand by convincing the masses by marketing and advertising hype  that this or that is just what you want, build in obsolescence, which keeps demand up, coupled with the desire of many these days for instant gratification and often instant credit to pay for it, in a world when people tell you they are individuals, but look at and read the same media, dress wearing the same clothes, eat the same food, in the same houses with the same furniture and drive the same cars but would have us believe that they are individuals.

It seems that media hype works, just as was intended; politicians are playing the same game now, free stuff, spend on this spend on that, all will be well if you vote for us, and the masses will fall for it and pay for it yet again.  As they watch these ‘elites‘ acting as if they are in the latest episode of ‘West Wing’ although to be fair, much of the population following fashion look and act complete with exaggerated facial expressions, talking in the most fashionable idiom, quoting group think are much the same ‘init’.

So which box would you like, a red box, a yellow box or a blue box?  They are all very tacky and many will find they are all the same. They all went to uni and they all came out the same. * Which has become self-evident over the last few years.

As we know, doing the same thing over and expecting a different result is madness, but hey who cares as long as we are fashionable. Fashion rules O.K! Now where are my faux suede working boots? I can’t go to work in these white trainers and has anyone seen my keys to the pick-up?

*Apologies to Pete Seeger.

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