Velcro ties!

I don’t know – you do your middle class, system-exploiting, pushy-parenting best to get your daughter into an up-and-coming state school that’s already hoovered up millions of pounds of government money, been rebuilt by cool London architects, and kitted out with state-of-the art equipment. One that has gone from 0-60 in five years (where 60 is an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofstead, and 0 is, as one recent local school leaver put it, ‘you wouldn’t even send your dog there’). A school that now offers Latin, shares playing fields with a famous public school, and even has a house system, for Christ’s sake. And what do they give you? Velcro ties!

Now I’ve nothing against this revolutionary form of fastening technology, and I’m not sure how George de Mestral would feel about this misuse of his invention (no doubt much the same as the Manhattan Project scientists who gave the world the nuclear bomb), but the concept of sticking a ready-tied tie onto a band that fastens at the back of the neck under one’s collar, is upsetting on many levels.

Firstly, children should learn the basic skill of how to tie a tie. OK, so court appearances aside, they may never actually have cause to wear one in adult life (especially the girls), but that’s not the point: we had to, so should they.

Second, children are being denied the basic right of self expression and clique allegiance of extreme tie-tying trends. These of course fluctuate between really skinny ties (worn back to front, with thicker end tucked inside shirt, or, if you were arty or went to a comp, slashed to ribbons), really thick knots with short, stubby descenders, and something so low slung the wearer looked like they’d been lassoed.

Nowadays schoolchildren have no option but to look immaculate with their perfectly proportioned neckwear covering their stiffly-fastened top buttons.

Next you’ll be telling me they don’t have to use log tables any more…

[originally posted 10 Aug 2010]

About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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