Saturday 8 July 2017

Reinventions and Disinventions 9

Let's reinvent windows and:

Nissen huts
Pin-striped suits
Two-way streets
Seats in shops
Tea shops
Huge porcelain stoves that you sleep on
Deposit on bottles
Sandwiches that don’t have to be toasted
Feather beds
Someone has reinvented the curtained four-poster bed – as the “bed tent”.
German couples sleep on two single mattresses under separate duvets.
Comfortable soft mattresses (Back now.)

Big windows
Mansion blocks (Nicholas Boyes Smith)
Terraced bungalows
Glass porches inside a front door, especially in restaurants (brrrr!).
Libraries – one room in your house where you keep all your books
Built-in seating: padded seats round the walls

The Arts and Crafts Style, Bypass Variegated and Span houses. I’m so sick of Barratt Homes feebly copying Poundbury – with tiny, tiny windows.

Lewisham's PLACE Ladywell is a modular development of 24 homes for homeless families, designed to last 1-4 years. 

A 2008 Cambridge University study concluded that keeping British Summer Time would save £485 million in energy bills and cut 170,000 tonnes in carbon emissions each year. (And if we had Double Summer Time in the summer?)

Refugee resettlement programmes are reviving dying Italian villages.

Put up the price of petrol in the US, and Americans will have to live next door to each other, and near shops, again.

Unlocking small spaces could be the key to solving London’s housing crisis.

Restore medieval cathedrals by removing all later additions – Victorian glass, Elizabethan tombs and that awful kitsch Gothic fan vaulting. And then repaint them in the original colours.

Temperance hotels and alcohol-free holidays at home and abroad (sell it as a “detox” and provide activities).

Schools are reinstating the house system. (The idea that children will work harder if they’re competing with each other refuses to die. “We’ve got the house shield for spelling this year!” I mean, who cares?)

Boar-hunting: The Countryside Alliance have time on their hands since the hunting ban. The UK wild boar population is out of control. Hunters – meet boar. (Reintroducing the wolf and the lynx would help, too.)

Pigeon and rabbit farming for food, stock private lakes with fish to catch and eat. And if people want to eat grouse, why not farm it? 

Mother Goddess worship 
Suit for breach of promise

Warning girls against cads and bounders – they never went away, but we pretended that all “relationships” were now equal partnerships entered into after mature discussion. 

Teach clerics how to hold up long skirts when going up or down stairs.

Import peat briquettes now everyone’s got a wood-burning stove (or make our own).

In the 1930s, Britain’s Ministry of Transport built an extensive network of bike highways around the country... For decades, it was entirely forgotten... so much so that no one seems to remember that these lanes had existed at all. ( There’s a move to reopen those that still exist.)

Jeans with the waist on the waist – “mom” jeans are the trendiest Spring 2017. (It's still hard to buy them – "mom" fashion is always five years behind. Moms are still waiting, 2021.)

A pub in South London is keeping afloat by turning itself into a community centre (baby dance, knitting).

Community singing and sing-alongs of popular songs. But they’ve almost been reinvented by Gareth Malone.

Magazines like Woman’s Own circa 1975: stories, problems, medical advice, knitting patterns, recipes.

Don’t look now, but table service seems to be making a comeback.
And someone’s reinvented folding pince-nez “Your reading glasses are always with you!”

But the government will want all those nuclear bunkers back now.

For the Tories, “Let’s reinvent xxxx” means “Let’s revive some school types that were around when voters were young”. Labour reinvention changes the title, rewrites the history and rubs out the name of the original inventor because it has to be “New X!” to get the funding and the credit.

Improvements that aren't:
The sound quality on mobile phones is worse than on landlines.

Sixty per cent of workers spoken to would choose to work from their own desk... A measly 4% would opt to hot desk. (

Let's disinvent:
Lawns – too much time, trouble and water
Fitted kitchens
Concerts or plays of over an hour without an interval
Illegal religious schools. Make that all faith schools.
Envelopes you have to lick.
"Neutering” (castrating) pet animals.

Remakes, because they’re all lame. (Except Maltese Falcon – the second remake – was a masterpiece.)

MEPs moving from Brussels to Strasbourg once a month, and back, with all their paperwork. (We've Brexited now and have no way of stopping them.)

Policewomen's bowlers (unchanged since the 60s).

There are tentative suggestions that some train line may abolish first class on some routes at some times. (May 2016)

Can we scrape all the street food, boats, carousels, buskers and yellow paint off the South Bank?

And let’s ban:

The sale of acid and oversized kitchen knives
Mobile phones in class
Grouse shooting
High-stakes betting machines
High-strength alcohol
Balloon and lantern releases
Diesel engines
Puppy farms
Trophy hunting
Most dogs from cities
Very low chairs in restaurants

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. I'd like there to be more hat-wearing, without in any way making it obligatory for those who don't like them.

  2. Hats are so useful for keeping your head warm, and protecting your eyes from the sun. :-) I even had a dream about the evolution of hats 1960-1970.