December in London

1 million people packed London’s central shopping throughfare last weekend, spending over £100 million on Saturday alone. (A unbelievable amount of money, but I will leave that diatribe to another time).So, I survived the pandemonium that is Oxford Street in December. I also live to tell the tale of a strangled jellyfish, limply hanging onto a shivering wire for dear life. Next to it, a shrunken octopus, forlornly left out in the cold, dangling from a cable like a pair of year 4 plimsoles. Cast your eyes above shop-front height and you too will see the marine misfits suspended in commercial chaos.These are, it appears, the Oxford Street Christmas lights.It looks like a tidal wave has flooded central London and receded, leaving marine life caught up in the abundance of electricity cables and overhead lighting systems. We’re far from the sea, and at least 4 miles from Billingsgate.By the end of December, over 40 million people will have seen these little straggly blue creatures. Compare them with the simple, innovative and eco-friendly garlands of holographic light in Carnaby Street, where the colourfeul glow is lit by surronding every-day street lights.

One of London’s most iconic streets is decked with cheap-looking, badly designed, unimaginative and, frankly, silly lights. There is no class here, no chic touches of christmassy tradition, no taste and certainly no style. Indeed, it seems the octopi and jellyfish are an uncompromisingly bland backdrop for the sponsors of the Regent Street silly season, Disney.

Is this really the best London can do? It all comes across as an almighty damp squib – or should that be damp squid?

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