Ties are his­tory — wear py­ja­mas to work

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

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?

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