Tuesday, February 28, 2017

London through its charity shops #34: Marylebone W1

Ah, mythical minted Marylebone High Street – its fabled charity shops are always in lists of best charity shops in London (such as Time Out and the Evening Standard). I was in the area anyway, and decided to check out Daunt Books too. I'd not ever been there but seen every other female hipster toting a Daunt Books tote bag (what great, free advertising). A lovely book shop with a great travel section.

But onto the charity shops: Oxfam is large, spacious, posh and pricey. Stacks of records and books at the back but people come for the bargain designer clothes, apparently. As they do at Cancer Research, a little further along. Mainly clothes with a boutique feel, it's not really my kind of place. But if you want cut-price Dior or Miu Miu, this is the place for you.

That's it for the High Street, but just off it on George Street is Barnado's. Again, mainly clothes with a small book and CD section. Best of all, though, and not just because the chatty Scottish lady working there complimented me on my jacket and my shoes, is Geranium, on the other side of the road to Barnado's. A fraction of the size of the other charity shops in the area, it feels like an Aladdin's cave. Lots of bric-a-brac, art books and auction art catalogues, an old accordion (£199) and a great leather jacket (£69) which the Scots lady proceeded to try on and model for me.

No barngains today (when you can't even afford charity shops, you know something's wrong) but the previous weekend I'd got some good vinyl: King Crimson's Discipline in Octavia Barnes and Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here in Cancer Research Clapham Junction (£5 a piece).

Previously on Barnflakes:
London through its charity shops

Friday, February 10, 2017

Start of Basic Income for the Finnish

Previously my interest in Finland was limited to Moonins and the filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki. Now, however, with Finland recently becoming the first country in Europe to launch a Universal Basic Income pilot (Switzerland had a referendum on the issue last year – though it was rejected, 22% of voters were in favour of every citizen receiving £1,755 per month regardless of whether they work or not), I'm thinking of moving there. Admittedly the project is only available to two thousand unemployed folk, and they only receive £480 a month (it's called Basic for a reason), but it's a start. France and the Netherlands have run similar pilots recently, and Scotland is to run a trial over the next few years.

Being paid to do what we want to do (even if that's nothing!) in life is such an obvious and natural yet radical idea, and yet, capitalism – that most unfair and utterly pointless of systems – still bizarrely seems popular.

(The nutter eco-warrior who's threatened me a few times would earn £30K for picking up our rubbish; someone else would earn £30K for watching bad YouTube films all day; someone else might want to work in an office and would still get the £30K on top of their office earnings; someone else would travel and take photos. There may even be some people who would want to work in offices.)

(Or how about we're all paid the same amount as our age? So, if you're 18, you're paid £18,000; if you're 57, yup, you're paid £57,000. It's that simple. Why not? The wage system is so unfair. We're all doing essentially the same thing in an office (ie we're all in an office, staring at screens all day). I know people paid £120K a year, and others on £22K a year. They're essentially doing the same thing (giving up their precious time to work for a faceless corporation); they're of the same intelligence and capability as each other, yet the gulf in pay is horrific.)

Previously on Barnflakes:
The dream of Basic Income for everyone

Monday, February 06, 2017

See it. Say it. Sod it

Late last year the trite 'See it. Say it. Sorted' campaign was launched to encourage train passengers to report any unusual items or activity on major railway stations. Thankfully, the ads have already been banned but the announcements at stations are constant, and for some reason drive me crazy. Spoken by a slightly common, possibly regional, annoying female voice, the sort of woman who works in HR and doesn’t allow you that extra day’s holiday as it’s against company policy, and if she did it for you she’d have to do it for everybody, it comes across in a slightly condescending manner as if she's telling the message to children. "Now, if you see something that doesn't look right..." Like what? Litter on the ground? Trains so over-crowded trains I can't even open my Michel Houellebecq book? Broken toilets? Late or cancelled trains? Oh sorry, something that doesn't look right. You mean like a clean, empty train running on time? Gotcha.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sartorial sexism

(or Gender bender II)

Within reason, women can wear what they like to the office in all seasons. In spring and summer it's skirts, dresses and sandals; in the autumn it's black leggings; come winter it's fur-lined boots and hooded coats with (perhaps) pink fluffy fur inside. Men have a raw deal – all year round, it's shirt, tie, suit and shoes (so we're sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter). All of which are either grey, black, blue or brown. Even men's umbrellas are always black whereas women's can be a riot of colour and pattern. Generally, women's office attire reflects the seasons of nature; men's reflects lack of imagination – his only means of expression is via tie, socks, pants and facial hair.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Top ten most boring Instagram photo subjects

1. Sunsets
Sometimes it's just about being in the moment, why ruin it trying to get that perfect sunset shot, which invariably turns out too dark or too light. All sunsets look the same anyway – sunrises are usually far more interesting.
2. Selfies
3. Beaches
Yes it's fun when you're on them but we don't want to know about it.
4. Marketing/products
Should be banned.
5. Landscapes
What looks wonderful to the eye, and perhaps even exhilarating to the spirit and body, looks rather flat and boring on a camera phone. At 2x2", rather pointless too.
6. Pets
7. Food
8. Flowers
9. Babies
10. Filters
Barnflakes on Instagram here.