Peter York on Ads: Pink-faced Trustafarians in long coats called to account
Child Trust Fund
Sunday 24 July 2005
Trust fund always were two lovely words. They meant that there was so much money around that the beneficiary didn't really have to work. He could play at things. Over the last century, the kind of playing that trust fund boys and babes did changed with fashion. You could visit far horizons and pretend to be Wilfred Thesiger or Freya Stark. You could buy a little place in Chelsea and pretend to be a painter. Later, you could be a trust fund revolutionary, a trust fund drug dealer or a trust fund rock roadie.
But the trust fund idea I liked best was being a Trustafarian (who coined that brilliant word?). Trustafarians hung around the All Saints Road in Lower Notting Hill - before it was redeveloped as a shopping and leisure centre - and thought they were black, mixing with men of colour with dreadlocks, and they used all those "I and I" phrases in their flattened-out, smart voices. Trustafarians particularly liked The Globe, a tiny club run by one of their own. It had walls covered in newspaper and a population of unusually tall people in their teens and twenties with long coats and pink faces. I can't remember exactly when the Globe was - late Eighties? or the early Nineties?However, nothing is too good for the people. Every child should have a trust fund in 2005 and this Government is going to give them one through its new child trust fund scheme. The commercials are all about funded children growing into something worthwhile. Such as a footballer. Or a dancer. (This campaign has unaccountably left out investment banker and intellectual property lawyer - the ways people really make money.)
So there's a tiny - really tiny - two- year-old footballer in a red kit who's sent on the pitch as a substitute. "Go on my son", says the manager.
The little creature manages to score the winning goal in a surprising way. As he's lifted shoulder high the voiceover's telling you that the sooner you open his Child Trust Fund account, the Government will send him a £250 voucher. I think that's the sequence of events.
And then what? Cut-outs of trustees - partners in Withers or Farrers? Funny relations with flutey voices and strange dentition? A share in a place near Marrakech? "What will you grow into?" they ask.
In another treatment, a tiny, half-Caribbean girl is doing exercises in a dance studio in front of a rapt audience of grown-ups who follow her every movement. Start as you mean to go on, I say.
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