Ties are history — wear pyjamas to work
two things occurred to me while watching the BBC news last week. the first was that business editor Robert Peston can’t be getting a huge amount of sleep these days, because whenever i turn on the television or radio he and his elongated vowels are there — it’s almost like he has taken up residence in my living room.
the other major news of the week was that the Peston tie, having held its own through the first stage of the financial crisis was finally beginning to lose ground. At first, the knot appeared to loosen imperceptibly but by the middle of the week it had plunged — and his top button had also been undone . that was when i knew we were in trouble.
the Peston tie is not the only one to be loosened at the BBC. Male newsreaders still wear ties at all times, whereas tired business editors are occasionally allowed to wear them at half mast, and if you happen to be a foreign correspondent in a vaguely dangerous location (ie downtown Kabul rather than the g7 summit), you can get away with wearing more or less anything.
outside broadcasting, there is a similar story of encroaching tielessness. in days gone by everyone on the tube would be wearing one, including the driver. Ditto at shul where even as late as the 1970s, many off. now many bankers wouldn’t wear them even if they could afford them.
in the world of print journalism things have always been a little more laissez faire. obviously, when i am sitting at my own PC i can wear pretty much whatever i want. For example, as i write now i have my pyjamas on. this did cause a little bit of a stir when i arrived at the office this morning but to be honest, people have been pretty unshockable at the JC ever since the editor turned up in his spider-Man costume a couple of months ago.
Compare this to 40 or 50 years ago. i have photos of my mum and dad on holiday in Rome in the late 1950s — he even wore a tie to go sightseeing. People used to wear shirts and ties to go to football matches. they always blamed the peasouper fogs for constricted airwaves during this period, but i think the Ascot knots might have been to blame.
Although i do own three ties, i wear them so rarely that i have pretty much lost the knack of tying them. the last occasion i did so was when i interviewed the former Lord Chief Justice. halfway through, the knot started to go south faster than the FtsE index — it would have been less embarrassing to have worn the pyjamas.
Come to think of it, given Mr Peston’s schedule, how long before his own pyjamas make their debut on the 10 o’clock News?