These Are The Days Of Our Lives…

‘What??!!’ I hear you say.

Yes, there is one – dedicated to marking the last 120 years or so of British history using the everyday items that have surrounded us. My colleague at work came in a couple of week’s ago bubbling about it, I was working from our offices in central London today and I thought I’d make the most of the fine weather and close proximity.

The brochure says this:

The history of consumer culture is revealed decade by decade in our ‘time tunnel’, from the naive charm of the Victorian era to the sophistication of today.  The exhibits reflect how our daily lives have changed over the years, the unimaginable revolution in shopping habits and the things we buy, the huge impact of motoring, aviation, radio and television, the effects of two world wars, and the gradual emancipation of women.

A tube ride, a wander through Notting Hill and £6.50 later, I  entered the time tunnel for myself.  It was amazing!

I spent almost an hour and a half surrounded by more than 12,000 items from yesteryear.  Gathered from the Robert Opie Collection (and aren’t we rather glad he was a little OCD about this particular passion!), every corner turned revealed more products and brands and their evolution alongside society.

I was fascinated to see products evolving in response to advances in culture, technology and changes in behaviours and attitudes.  Everything was grouped in decades so you could see how the prevailing views of the time were reflected in the products we bought and the things entertained ourselves with.  Royal weddings peppered the trail starting from the marriage of Queen Victoria to her beloved Albert and ending with the recent nuptials of William and Kate.

As I walked out through the cafe, there were rows and rows of old televisions and one of them was playing a reel of old ads – this one was my favourite and a perfect illustration of how products and brands are so integral in our daily lives, yet go unnoticed:

So in short, I loved it.  And you should go!  No kidding…

Oh Happy Day!

I have resisted a Royal Wedding post, thinking that you may have had enough by now.  But it’s the first day of May, the sun is shining (again!) and I’ve discovered I have something to say on the matter. 

There has been much discussion about The Dress(es), The Kiss(es)The SpeechThe Abbey, The Guests, The Outfits, The Cost and The Boon To The British Economy.

There have also been lots of comparisons drawn between the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and Friday’s festivities and I am of an age to remember both – having sufficient ‘vintage’ to remember the first and enough of my faculties still present to remember the second despite consumption of such English fare as Pimms (and the sugar loading that is scones with jam and cream).

But in the main, I want to say this…

They looked so happy.  Like two people celebrating their choosing of a life together and basking in the affection and good wishes of everyone around them…just like a bride and groom should.

And I, along with approx. 24.5million others here in the UK, watched proceedings on Friday with a little tear in my Republican eye, raised my glass scone and wished them a wonderful life together.