Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Not fashion

Joan Smith, who covered the Yorkshire Ripper murders in the early 80s, has an outstanding and lengthy analysis in the Guardian today on the sex trade and the Ipswich murders:

To begin with, it seemed as though nothing had changed since the 70s when Sutcliffe's murders unleashed a torrent of insensitive headlines about the women he preyed on in the red light districts of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and Manchester. The Sun's "Fears for vice girls" on November 16 2006 was followed the next day by the same paper's "Fears for hookers", while the Times joined in on December 5 with "Ripper murder strikes fear into vice girls".

But public attitudes to women in the sex industry have changed, as the press quickly discovered. In Ipswich and elsewhere, people were outraged by TV and radio bulletins that baldly announced five "prostitutes" had been murdered in Suffolk. Many people are uncomfortable when the word is used in headlines as though it's no different from "teacher" or "dentist"; the dead women were daughters, mothers and girlfriends but their whole lives were being defined by something they had embarked on out of absolute desperation. "As soon as it became a national story, it became apparent that the language used to describe the women was inappropriate," says a journalist who went to Ipswich when the third body was found. "Everybody knew one of the victims or had been to school with one of them."

That yeti look, again

MaxMara AW08 - do the designers know something we don't? Or haven't they heard of global warming?

On the road

From early Monday I am on a three-week book tour of Singapore, Adelaide, Melbourne, various places in New Zealand, culminating in a one-day shopping trip in Hong Kong. (Thank you, Sarah.) Details of the events will be going up on my main website in the next day or two.

I will be maintaining this site, but it will be more of a travel diary. No thought for the day, I'm afraid, or polls.

In the meantime, I'm pleased to say that I have just signed a contract with my publisher to write a non-fiction book about our relationship with clothes. The provisional title was Why Clothes Matter, but my editor has come up with a better name: The Thoughtful Dresser. Now why didn't I think of that? Publication is scheduled for this time next year.

I hope to meet some of you in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. In the meantime, keep checking in.

Thought for the day

in memoriam: Gemma Adams, Tania Nichol, Anette Nichols, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell

'"My dear, I had to laugh," she said. "D'you know what a man said to me the other day? It's funny, he said, have you ever thought that a girl's clothes cost more than the girl inside them?' 'What a swine of a man, ' I said. 'Yes, that's what I told him,' Maudie said. That isn't the way to talk,' I said. And he said, "Well, it's true, isn't it? You can get a very nice girl for five pounds. a very nice girl indeed; you can even get a very nice girl for nothing if you know how to go about it. But you can't get a very nice costume for five pounds. To say nothing of underclothes, shoes etcetera, and so on." And then I had to laugh, because after all it's true, isn't it? People are much cheaper than things.' Jean Rhys