London Update… Shorts, Sun and Rising Sap

Andy Ives, Contributing Editor

Earlier this week, I went to the shops WEARING SHORTS AND A T-SHIRT. Yes, Spring has arrived in London, and with it a taste of Summer sun. It must be a feeling unique in countries that experience severe winters, but walking along Tooting High Street that day, the world felt different; people were smiling, the outdoor market was busy and the fruit on the stalls looked more colourful and appetising.

The next day, I went to the 3rd birthday party of a bar in London Bridge. There was the usual mix of bartenders and brand reps slamming free booze there, as well as many of the bar’s well-heeled regulars. I floated around being ‘journalisty’ and spoke to people from each of those three groups, and they all said the same thing: “Things are picking up.”

There have been some quiet, largely ignored voices in the media saying that the horrendous weather over Christmas had a lot to do with the UK’s poor economic figures for the first quarter of ’09. In the face of banking corruption and criminally inadequate governmental oversight of the economy, some grey skies and a bit of snow may seem like small fry when it comes to a country’s bank balance. I’m not so sure though. Obviously I can’t profess to be an expert on geopolitical economics, but I do know that for the first time in months, my entire group of friends are hooking up on Saturday for beers in the sun. No sitting indoors with a DVD and paranoia this weekend, the sun is out and we want to get drunk. And if my friends are doing it, everyone else’s will be too. Bar takings all over London will spike this weekend, those figures will come out next month and hopefully the press will acknowledge it and consumer confidence will slowly start to climb.


Small steps of course, and the urge to make a Spring related jibe about the ‘shoots of recovery’ is to be avoided, but just as our industry is one of the first to be hit in tough times, it is also one of the first to feel the effects of positive change. Hopefully the sun will keep shining, and in true British style, we can drink our way out of trouble this summer.

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