Of gusts and shadows
Buffeted and battered by one wind tunnel too many
Monday 01 May 1995
GB Venturi (1746-1822) was an Italian physicist, and the Venturi Effect describes how the wind accelerates when it blows between tall buildings. It can be most unpleasant. It pulls umbrellas inside out and causes flared trousers to flap wildly round the ankles. It snatches sheaths of valuable documents from your hands and litters them under taxis. It is enough to drive you crazy.
It's a cold wind, too. Even in summer it never seems to warm up. The Lovin' Spoonful once sang that there "doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city", but this is, in fact, wrong. There are lots of shadows and the darkest ones are in the windiest streets. It's all horribly bleak.
The worst part, as I said, is that there's no one to blame. Nobody to seize by the shoulders and give a damn good shaking, because nothing can be done. We can't hold Sir Christopher Wren nor Sir Richard Rogers responsible for cities being windy - that would be akin to accusing Michael Fish of fixing the weather.
Still, it's a bit much having to put up with the show-off antics of seagulls flying backwards in the headwind along Baker Street. Or, worse, having our hair tousled by a great, big invisible hand. Thank God for Black and White "Long Hold" hair conditioner, that's what I say; or even for Brylcreem. "Get a hat," my grandmother would have said: they all wore hats in her day. If the wind blew they just pulled them down harder.
Nowadays if someone wears a hat they are generally thought to be trying to build their personality around it. Look what happened to Malcolm Allison: he was taken over by his hat. No, only someone like Frank Sinatra could pull that off. And it would have to be somewhere like Chicago - the world's official "windy city". It doesn't sound like my kind of town at all.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Mal Peet dead at 67: Tributes to children's author who was 'universally adored'
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'