Friday, December 19, 2008

Nothing if not adventurous, we spent Friday night at a salsa class followed by a music-hall-hip-hop fusion review. The salsa class run by a mad couple in lurid green spandex took us through a few basic moves which I totally failed to master – or at least I managed to clomp through the steps by the end of the class in a John Sergent sort of way. When the class ended, we went on to the revue – a Christmas show by an Australian who took on the character of an elderly woman blending the likes of “doing the lamberth walk” with hardcore rap – actually quite successfully as it happens.

Sunday was the Mark and Debs’ Christmas mulled wine do. George made a lot of friends – mainly because Mark and Debs have daughters who all wanted to play with him. As a father, Mark is amazing to watch – he always manages to find time to give the children attention without seeming to be constantly distracted by them. It’s quite a skill.

Gearing up for Christmas, I took George to the nursery Christmas party while Lisa was at her work’s do. The party was basically a few of the mothers of the nursery’s children along with about a dozen babies. Actually, it was less stressful than it sounds. The babies were all well behaved, and played happily while we sat on the floor and ate ice-cream. George had his MMR vaccine this morning, along with an extra bonus pneumonia injection - but it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down.

Earlier in the day I had wanted to get a bit of last minute shopping done, but failed totally because I couldn’t get George’s pram into any of the trendy, gifty overpriced shops I Lordship Lane. Not because they were full of people – they weren’t – but because they’d all ordered in extra quantities of pointless gifty nonsense which nobody was buying, so it was all crowding the shelves and isles, making the shops inaccessible.

Funny thing, this recession. I think retailers – or at least advertisers have got the wrong end of the stick over it. Just because the statistics are showing that spending overall is going down, there are lots of sales on – fair enough – but I don’t think that’s how it works. If overall spending goes down 5% that doesn’t mean anyone’s spending 5% less – it means most people have still got their jobs so they’ve got exactly the same amount to spend as they had before, but some people have lost their jobs and have no disposable income at all.

A sale means the first group buy the things they were going to buy anyway, but cheaper, and the second group couldn’t buy them if they weren’t on sale, and can’t buy them when they are. – so it may be counterintuitive (as the Americans say) but I’m not sure sales actually help the economy. Except, of course, if the shop down the road is having a sale, then you’ve got to have one too.

Another case of the free market shooting itself in the foot – which it seems to do more often than the political mood of recent times would like to admit.

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