Over there? That, young man, is where The Beatles had the
Apple Corporation. Yes, quite right. It is indeed the very rooftop upon which
they stood, one last time, to play their tunes for the public. Brass monkeys it was, too,
that day, a right chafer.
You’re a bright boy, ain’t you? Come over here. Blimey, I
can’t remember what songs they played; it was a different world back then.
Three thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire?
Stone me. Well, could be, could be. Who’s to say? Truth told, the police were soon on the scene. Uncommon quick.
Before then, Savile Row was merely a street at the
heart of Mayfair. Yes, just like in the game: do
not pass go, do not collect two hundred! No, not many hotels, I don’t think,
but Pitt lived here. Pitt the Younger. Prime Minister, you know, very
salubrious. And his mates, of course.
Now - see that frontage? By the gutter? The old RoyalGeographicBuilding? That’s it, have
a good look.
Well it was rumoured they breasted pigeons for sport. No, it's not difficult, just like unzipping a coat: you put your fingers up through the ribs and pull the
meat out, as easy as you like. You don’t even have to remove the feathers if you
don’t want – and look, pigeons were just as simple to come by then as now.
Later, the tailors moved in, drawn by the celebrity. They were complex, not men to
cross, you see? As the years went by, they modernised Savile Street into the Row you see before
you now. They updated it all, young man.
In its heyday, many passed through their hands. They were a
bespoke association and were proud to boast of at least 50 hours of hand labour
put into each suit. It was, so to speak, a golden mile of tailoring.
Fashionable? I should say so. It was all the rage.
Of course, they were bound to come a cropper in the end.
Tastes change, you see, young man? That ‘London Cut’ they were so proud of,
well the arms were free to move but, the holes, well they was too close to the
neck for your modern fashion. And those glass frontages, put there to help in the
work, revealed the flaws in the designs.
And they couldn’t fix it, you see? So they were driven
out. And quite right. They were unable to pay
the rent, so they were spent.
Let’s move on.
Now, young man, shivering, ain't you? Cold? Ladies and gentlemen, let’s
get back on the bus and head west, to our next stop: the old Shepherd’s Bush.
“Only two very short messages from me for the duration of
this week, everyone.
“Now, likewise, pupils who want to leave your lesson part
way through, to go to the toilet. Now these pupils have been told that they
must not go to the toilet during the middle of your lessons, or the start of
your lessons; likewise at the beginning of period 5 commencing after lunch. No.
No. They have time during the lunch break and in addition to before lunch,
likewise after lunch. Unless these pupils have a ‘permission to go to the
toilet during lesson card’ issued from the office.
“From here on, I don’t think the suggestion to call it a
‘wee-wee pass’ is a good one, in addition to complaints we have received from
certain parents. I realise there is a groundswell on this one and most parents
object to wee-wee and, of equal importance, poo-poo on the pass.
“Opposite to this, for the duration of this week, please
could tutors check that nail varnish is not applied inappropriately to school
rules about nail varnish or on ear rings. Pupils may wear a stud. It must be a
plain stud, likewise, skirts should be at maximum extent and must not, never,
under the circumstance, be rolled up above knee length.
“Parents have been told by me that, for the extent of the
week, please could all teachers, at the origins of lessons, check ear rings and
nail varnish and insist that all misappropriated items be removed by sending
all pupils to the toilets at the start of lessons immediately in order to
remove the items forthwith and quickly.