The 1990s are the new 1980s

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The Independent Culture
TWO YEARS AGO, I was taken to task by a number of distinguished thinkers for suggesting that the concerns of the Eighties were undead. Had I not noticed that a new, more mellow and concerned mood had caught the brightest and the best?

The last two years, however, have seen mega-mergers, major advertising growth, increasing status for spin-doctorism in every part of our national life - and completely bongo City bonuses. Perhaps it's just all happening in a more mellow and ironic way. And now, here is the relaunched Sunday Business. Hasn't anyone told them it's 1998?

The commercial starts with lovely sun-dappled images of the day of rest, the cruel heart of London transformed by emptiness into something approaching civilisation. The council street-cleaning lorry pootles over a deserted Thames bridge. Elegant views of City towers, gold-filtered, make them look like the Pyramids. Even the brokers' dealing rooms are empty.

Then fade to black. "If you believe that you're already a day behind," it says on-screen, and then demonstrates how a modern person ought to be - ie, in a gargantuan Bonfire of the Vanities room, wearing serious specs. And what a modern person ought to do, ie, scan the Sunday Business's pink pages for investment opportunities, acquisition vulnerabilities and the like. Sunday, you see, is the first day of the working week.

I believe the new Sunday Business has something to do with Andrew Neil who, it has to be said, is a heavy user of brightly coloured braces.