My newsagent is so “Cambridge” it’s funny. The top shelf carries American Scientist, “The Magazine of Sigma XI, The Scientific Research Society”—a sort of Scientific American for people who still know how to use a slide-rule; Foreign Affairs, not part of the Richard Desmond empire; and, of course, The Economist, which this week, for once, looks in place up there. It has some tastefully rendered stockinged and high-heeled female legs on the cover because it has been reporting on the sex industry, in its usual impressively rational way.
On the other side of the legs of the lady of the night is an inside cover ad for Singapore Airlines dominated by photos of two Asian babes and the slogan “Singapore Girl, you’re a great way to fly”. Perhaps this is an ironic “70s revival” kind of marketing thing, or maybe it’s just a nose-hair-pullingly ill-considered piece of adland fuckwittage. I leave it to the secretary of the female CEO planning her boss’s post-MBA-graduation long-haul flight to the Sydney office to decide.
Anyway, one of the many things that made me snigger about The Economist‘s extensive coverage of the oldest profession was the revelation that British working girls are being competed out of the local market by overseas newcomers, especially from Eastern Europe. Non-Brit readers (and SquanderTwo who hates shopping in IKEA) will not be surprised to read that the immigrants offer better standards of service: “All the agencies will tell you that English girls are unreliable workers”. When it comes to dealing with customers, we can’t even lie on our backs properly.