Sam Cam visits Am, Obams Say ‘Dayum’

Behind every great man is an even greater woman

Whoever said this clearly wasn’t a tabloid journalist, or someone who writes for the Daily Mail. Because it seems that you’re ranking in society, or achievements in life don’t make any difference when you’re standing next to another woman. 

How do we know this? Because Samantha Cameron has visited America with her giant glans of a husband and all everyone can talk about is who is dressed better, and not what benefit two wives of two of the World’s most powerful men can do once they compile their resources and influence. 

Obviously Sam Cam only has influence in her ra-ra mates who own vast estates and have names like Huntingdon-Smythe, and like to vacation at places that probably don’t even sell English Breakfasts, the monsters. But Michelle Obama, the grooviest, lip smackingest President’s wife since Dolley Madison is one of the most influential black women in the World, with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people clamouring to emulate her. She teamed up with Beyonce to dance and try and save fat kids from being fat. In front of the World’s press. And sent H&M into the fashion stratosphere by wearing one of their dresses at a proper fancy engagement. This woman is a tour de force when it comes to popular culture.

This woman is an important part of the make up of America. She’s a woman who’s got her own career behind her and isn’t just coasting along with her rich husband while fannying around with paperclips and ring binders on the side. Michelle Obama has her own law license, she is the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago and has even earned more money than the actual President of the United States. 

So why is the World’s press insisting that all of their (mainly her) achievements are simplified to who’s wearing the best outfit? 

What women are wearing is important, but instead of pitting them off one another and see which one is better dressed, why not just applaud them both for not dressing like extras from Geordie Shore and looking as good as what they can, despite their appearance being  picked at like Sunday’s chicken on Monday morning? 

Give them a break, Samantha has to sleep with David Cameron. She needs as much sympathy as possible. 


Now That Kirkwood Is Off, What Should Happen With Eastenders

Right, before we go any further, let’s get one thing out the way. I’ve watched Eastenders for a massive percentage of my life; being terrified of early doors Dot Cotton shaped my relationship with cigarettes and men in leather jackets, Pauline Fowler irritated the flesh on my bones until she lay down in the snow and died for decades. It’s safe to say that, albeit unintentionally, sitting down with my family to watch Eastenders on a regular occasion was one of the few times that we would sit down together. There was always a hushed silence punctuated by scoffs of derision when Ian Beale’s moustache bristled its way onscreen. Or when Michelle’s fallen perm waved on the breeze through the market, sometimes pregnant, sometimes not, but always with a miserable grimace on her face. If she was German she would be called ‘dour kraut.’

But as depressing and bleak 80s East London was, to my family in the North, it was a totally different from the one we lived in. And that was great. The Market bustled with knock off clothes stalls and Winstons and Big Rons, whereas we were hit with some of the largest unemployment levels (with the mines and that), so any time that shook off the stigma of being unfortunate Northerners, a constant wherever you went in the 80s and early 90s, was much appreciated. Although there was Geordie Jeans, so take that Maggie Thatcher you crotchety old titwitch.

But for the past few years Eastenders has gone through an invigoration of sorts, with more focus being set on making sure that the headlines are pulling viewers in compared to their competitors like Coronation Street and Family Affai- we couldn’t even finish that sentence without descending into howls of laughter and vomiting. A negative invigoration. A nega-ration. But without the racist overtones.

I’ve placed the full shaft of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Bryan Kirkwood, a man who thought it was a good idea to bring aspects of his previous position as head honcho at Hollyoaks with him to Eastenders. Even though it’s a tradition that youth focused storylines don’t work. Remember Vicky Fowler’s brain mushing transatlantic accent? Or Sarah Hills and her crusade to make everyone in the Square as religious as she was (I’m discounting Sharon and Michelle’s friendship because they both looked like they’d hit the menopause well before Rolie kicked his paws).

He’s single handedly brought us the Baby Swap storyline, thrusting Kat Slater back into our lives when no one asked for it, brought in a whole new branch of the Moon family tree, again that no one wanted, brought back Mandy Salter (apparently the actors who played Sanjay and Gita weren’t available), blew up The Vic and then built it back together, added some sofas and called it a new design. And David Essex.

It’s been attention destroying madness that is almost daring you to turn it over. The madness manifested itself moreso tonight as we saw part woman, part dying hawk, Dot Cotton phoning a telephone banking service to withdraw some money, despite there being no way for her to get access to the money from the handset. Yes, Dot’s old, but surely she knows that you don’t get money from an actual phone. If anything, the fact that this was even written is insulting to older viewers.

So this list is the chances that I would enact if I was magically instated to be Executive Producer.

1. Cut superfluous characters that no one likes: Rose Branning/Cotton/Whatever, Ben, Billy & Lola Mitchell, All Moons excluding Michael, Stacy Slater 2.0 Whitney Dean, Roxy Mitchell.

There’s no point in having characters filling up precious minutes when we could be having Kim doing something fantastic like getting Janine’s name wrong, or getting a sausage roll. Tameka Epsom should be given a bigger part.

2. Stop rehashing the same storylines again and again. Does anyone want to see Max getting hot and heavy with a woman that isn’t his wife? Well some people do it seems, but I don’t. It’s boring and annoying.

The same with the Mitchells. The only aggressive thing he’s done in the past few years is the time that he attacked that cake. Telling us that Phil Mitchell is a hard man but not showing us why eventually dilutes what it means to be a Mitchell. I think it was author extraordinaire Grace Dent who said “Being a Mitchell is like being a Womble. You have to keep reminding yourself or the spells broken.”

3. Stop with the useless stories about a character coming into money only to lose it again. The residents of Albert Square have as much solvency as a chunk of brick.

4. Have Tracy the Barmaid have a fully fleshed out storyline for once. Possibly have her go on a rampage when Alfie says she can’t have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee off. Or starting a ladies detective agency with Kim!

5. Bring back Danielle.

The Crux Of The Problem

To me, menswear is very important. Obviously because I’m a man, and I wear menswear. But not only that, but also because it allows all men to show what they are comfortable wearing: an unconscious paragraph of who you are that is passed on to everyone you meet before you even speak. It’d be lovely to say that people don’t judge you on what you wear, and that they should wait until they get to know you before making any judgements, but that’s a load of baloney. Making the most of the latest trends and using them to their fullest advantages will have you leaping over fences while the Samaritan in a tan, badly fitted suit is still leaving the gate.

But something terrible has happened over the last decade. Menswear has lost its way and strayed into the choppy waters of ever changing trends and this is not a good thing, however fetching One Direction may look in suits and brogues.

Where does the problem stem from? Personally, it may seem short sighted, but the very first time that I noticed that the standards of menswear were dropping were during Topman’s ascendancy to lynch pin of the High Street.

It was around the turn of the millennium and Russell Brand was the hottest property going. He had the distinctive look that was enforced with his rebellious nature. Everyone knew his name, and was aware that his hair looked like someone had detonated a crow inside Tim Burton’s imagination. So it was inevitable that someone was going to try and sell an affordable version of his look, and taking the lead happened to be Topman. For the first time we saw something on the High Street that hadn’t been seen since the 70s: skinny jeans.

It may seem a trivial thing by today’s standards, but they were a brand new addition to a boring wardrobe. There was nothing as form fitting for men. If they were lucky a pair of straight leg jeans might be cut a little too short on their ankles. For the first time in decades, menswear was hit by a ‘trend.’ And that trend was to look like an heroin addict as much as you can.

A “rockier edge” (a phrase that makes me want to crawl inside my own anus to die) is still something that Topman holds true in their ethos. Even now, almost a decade after Pete Doherty overdosed for the first time, and Amy Winehouse was a buxom jazz star, Topman’s clothes are still made for those of us who are skinny enough to play Where’s Wally in a pile of twigs. Which, not only smacks of the least amount of innovation possible, but also, laziness.

For the first time there was a trendy trouser that seemed new, and exclusive. To begin with, you couldn’t find skinny jeans anywhere, and then Topman democratised them and they flooded the market. Everyone had their own make and style until eventually, they became the norm, and a norm is a terrifying concept in fashion. True fashion should never be normal, or even usual. It should be special, different and individual to you. Which I promise is the wankiest that this article will sound.

There has been trends before; disco, punk, New Romanticism, they’ve usually gone hand in hand with whatever music is in vogue at the time, so having people dress up as the bands of the day: Razorlight, The Strokes, some other awful indie cunts, is nothing new, but the trends of decades past lasted for years at a time (its rumoured that disco didn’t die until 1980 when Diana Ross’ favourite batwing dress caught fire one night because it was so extravagantly created), this time round, the Indie Bollocks Trend only seemed to last for a year, maybe two, tops and then died a death. Razorlight went back to Australia, only to pop up again combined into Noel Fielding and Russell Brand offended ageing celebrities and married young celebrities, but this was only the beginning of the problem.

Buoyed by the success of the Indie Bollocks trend, Topman’s profits reached a record high and started to establish themselves as an influential name on the High Street; an area that had longed for a new market to reinvigorate itself with. But how do you continue a success? By making the market for yourself. So Topman set off mimicking the very successful womenswear plan of having trends that come in one season and are discarded the season after, leaving behind out of touch lotharios like Frankie Cocozza and Russell Brand in their wake.

Although these trends are summed up in new packages with fancy new graphics, they all stem from the same principle. In the Spring/Summer months there will be a nautical inspired look, this year it’s focused more on Scandanavian fisherman than last year’s 40s sailors, and in Autumn/Winter, there’s the wrap up warm, chunky knits that, although may look different from last year’s (A/W11 has cable knit and encouraged hideous prints) are essentially the same thing. The whole process is very shallow. In that there’s no depth to it, and everything is just a facsimile of the previous year; a rehash of what worked and what didn’t.

Unfortunately where Topman leads, everyone else follows, so eventually the same homogenised product is found wherever you go. Whichever store you go in, you’re destined to find the same thing. Stripey t-shirts in a variety of colours tend to be the most popular repetition.

This Slight Altering of a Trend plan has watered down what could make menswear something truly special. I’m not looking for some drastic change of fashion so that massive shoulder pads are necessary for men, or that skirts are going to be de rigeur. We still have self esteem. Waltzing around in a bra would be a mistake.

“But why does it work for women and not for men?” I hear you ask. Well first of all, drop the attitude. Second of all, it works easier for womenswear because womenswear has a wide and varied selection of looks to be copied year after year. Although they stick to a tried and tested regime of ‘Nautical then Knitted’, women have more variation in shapes and fabrics that can be employed to bring differentiation to the trend. For instance, with menswear, jumpers come in one style: jumper. But for women, they come in jumper dress both long sleeved and short, jumper again short sleeved and long and cardigan (long length, mid length and bolero). There’s a lot of difference in that one area of garment alone.

Menswear doesn’t have that variation so eventually everything is going to seem like you’ve seen it before, because essentially, you have. How many hundreds of jumpers did you trawl through last year to find the perfect one? Were they essentially the same thing but with a slightly different design? Of course they were.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing much that can be done because of it. Once something is democratised then it becomes very difficult to depose instilled ideas of what the norm is, leading to self-propelled ideas becoming rehashed and rehashed. When upcoming fashions can be deduced like a piece of trigonometry, then something is definitely wrong somewhere.

Obviously I can’t tell you what to wear, I can’t even find something suitable for me to wear. There’s just so much around, it’s a shame that it all looks the same.