It's that time of year when London experiences a surge in the number of short term visitors. Tourists used to be easy to spot; garish casual clothes and a camera slung round the neck. Now they are just as easy to recognise, but they seem to take up so much more space.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Their uniform has become that of the great outdoors. Cargo pants with a seemingly infinite number of pockets, weather-proof jackets in space -age materials ( and more pockets), a day sack overloaded with water bottles and technology, and trekking footwear that is at least twice the size of ordinary shoes.
I'm all for dressing appropriately for the conditions. And much of this gear is eminently suitable for striking out into the wilderness. But I am curious as to how this has become the chosen apparel for city visitors. When you see a group of them together they look like a gaggle of mature anthropologists on a field trip.
I guess it may be due to all those headlines about the perils of city life. So could it be that those cargo pockets are stuffed with self defence equipment, distress flares, and emergency rations?
It's not just visitors who have recently stepped off a 747. This also includes indigenous parties who arrive at a London mainline station from the depths of Surrey or Hertfordshire looking like they must have got on the wrong train. Surely, kitted out like that, they meant to end up on the Yorkshire Moors.
Well, it's their choice. But I am left musing whether this is what they wear at weekends at home. Do they dress like this to go shopping?