Monday, 31 March 2008

You can rule your life in the fine shop Sky-Lark

I returned today to the shop where I bought a finger puppet for my niece just before Christmas.  I bought three more to add to her collection.  They have a big selection of different fairly traded animals, some more exotic than others.

Perhaps being able to buy fair trade toys in Lewes, or anywhere for that matter, is nothing out of the ordinary: fair trade goods are now the order of the day.  Sky-Lark, however, has an interesting mix of products; frivolities seen in the picture but also books, world music, foreign-language films and even food.  

It was the small selection of couscous, almonds and olive oil that was the most interesting; they all came from various cooperatives in Palestine.  It is heartening to see Palestinian products on 
sale even in a small town like Lewes.  Let's hope that Palestine, a country with an economy broken by various embargoes, has more future trade with the world and that we see more Palestinian goods in our shops soon.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Carla Bruni, a politician's wife like no other?

Now the seemingly endless chatter in the British press about Carla Bruni has cooled down perhaps it's time to reflect. 
Carla Bruni, or should I say Sarkozy, is a supermodel.  She is the first lady of France.  She is from Italian aristocracy.  So is it any surprise that she wears a wardrobe of Christian Dior clothes, looks beautiful and greets the Queen with gracious poise? 

Now Carla fever has hit Britain with high speed gales the British woman could be forgiven for feeling a little windswept and fed up that her poshest frock (the one she'd meet the Queen in if she had to)  comes from Karen Millen.  The newspapers, whilst trying to create a story on a slow news week, have bemoaned the fact that our politician's wives are not nearly as stylish or glamorous. Obviously that is all one can hope to get out of politics: a beautiful politician's wife.  

Carla Bruni has hopped over the channel back to France but for now we can think about whether politics in Britain is stardom for the ugly. Or we could think about reality because in a world full of problems our thirst for celebrity can easily make us forget them in a second. 

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Not such a Sport Relief

I was watching Sport Relief last night with the two children I was babysitting for when I started to think; is this charity at all?   I am in no doubt that the work done by the charities that are supported by the public's donations do incredibly useful and life saving work but is it the right thing to just throw money at problems?

Many people today obviously think it is a solution; just look at the Federal Reserve pouring money into Bear Stearns  in order to keep the economy afloat and, on this side of the pond, the Labour government burning money in the NHS.    

But there was something that turned my stomach when watching a clip of "Sport Relief does the Apprentice":  Louise Redknapp, a rich pretty wag,  was persuading one of her "celebrity" friends to buy a ticket for an event they were running as part of the show.  "£100,000 for three tickets?  Oh you're a rockstar!" she yelped.  Quite sickening.  Injections of cash may help charities incredibly but won't eliminate poverty or social problems.  These things can only start to be eradicated by changing the attitudes of individuals so they can then influence the governments who have the real power.  It's a shame that the BBC didn't think about what charity can be like without vast amounts of money and glossy programs to dress it up.  After all, charity begins at home. 

Friday, 14 March 2008

The White Rabbit.

Last night was spent at The White Rabbit pub on Kensington Gardens,  Brighton, for a friend's birthday celebrations.  It was an evening with good company and drinks; the vodka and cranberry were sharp with just the right amount of lime.  However, I couldn't help but notice the effect of the smoking ban... still.  

I don't smoke and probably never will but have not failed to see the ban's negative effects on a night out. Conversation is disrupted by quick trips outside to have a smoke and at gigs one can hardly not notice the terrible smell of sweat and passed wind; smells much more disgusting than stale tobacco.  So what to do?  Well I think proprietors of drinking and eating establishments should invest in some good air freshener and I'll have to wait until friends succumb to the pressure of health groups to give up.  But for now I'll keep a peg on my nose, or a notional one at least.