How scooters became the new feng shui

'Otherwise sensible people have had dragons etched on parts of their anatomy that are not quite indecent'
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The Independent Online

If anyone had said to me a year ago that scooters were going to be the new roller skates, I would have said they were crazy. Scooters are kids' toys that are loved by eight-year-olds and despised by 10-year-olds. You grow out of them at nine, and they go out into the yard to rust. They don't go uphill very well, and their only friends are gravity and a push from your free foot. They represent a stage of transport evolution reached by the bicycle before it acquired pedals and chain.

If anyone had said to me a year ago that scooters were going to be the new roller skates, I would have said they were crazy. Scooters are kids' toys that are loved by eight-year-olds and despised by 10-year-olds. You grow out of them at nine, and they go out into the yard to rust. They don't go uphill very well, and their only friends are gravity and a push from your free foot. They represent a stage of transport evolution reached by the bicycle before it acquired pedals and chain.

Do you remember pictures of those things called hobby horses, which looked like bikes, but which young Georgian gentlemen sat astride and pushed with their feet either side? Yes? Of course you do, even if you don't. In 1830 or so they were all the rage. There were probably courier firms in London using them in the 1830s to take vital pieces of paperwork from one Dickensian firm of lawyers to another, and passers-by would sigh as young courier bucks on hobby horses roared past, legs oscillating back and forth, splashing them with mud, and say to each other: "I see hobby horses are the new rock'n'roll, then."

Of course, they didn't have rock'n'roll in those days, so they wouldn't have said that. They would more probably have said: "I see that hobby horses are the new waltz." Waltzing was still the dangerous new dance that had arrived from, I think, Germany, and that was dangerous not just because it involved high speeds and risky overtaking, but because two people waltzing were partners and held each other in their arms, oblivious to parents and chaperones, whereas previously all dances had been group efforts and easily monitored. It is true that Lord Byron, the Will Self of the 1820s, had declaimed furiously against the waltz, but that was just because he had a bad foot and felt left out of it...

In any case, when I was in Stansted airport a few months back waiting for my son to emerge from the gate marked: "OK, YOU CAN RUSH FORWARD AND EMBRACE THEM NOW, IF YOU LIKE", I was amazed to see a grown man float past on a scooter. Not knowing it was the coming thing, I imagined simply that the man was either deranged or a retarded eight-year-old or affected in the way that people who carry fly whisks or Spanish fans or monocles look affected. It never occurred to me that this little toy was a harbinger of the new feng shui.

Toy, of course, is the wrong word. These scooters are not kiddie scooters as you and I knew them, dear readers. They are made from the finest aluminium or similar metal, as is used in the finest aircraft such as Concorde; they are collapsible; and they have a sort of hi-tech elegance that means they look all right in colour supplements.

And what this means is that somebody out there was ready for this craze, ready and waiting with a production line to satisfy the need for scooters, because every time something becomes the new stand-up comedy or the new rock'n'roll or the new Tuscany, somebody somewhere is ready to supply the punter and make a big buck out of it.

Shall I give you an example of this? In the past year or two, tattoos have been very popular. They became the new ear-piercing. Otherwise quite sensible people have subjected themselves to having dragons, lizards and butterflies ineradicably etched on parts of their anatomy that are not quite visible and not quite indecent.

But as you can imagine, someone somewhere has been waiting for the end of the tattooing craze, and dreaming up the new tattooing.

Shall I tell you what it is?

Scars.

Scars are all the new rage. You can now get yourself a designer scar in a scar studio.

The scar artist will give you a German-type duelling scar on your cheek, perhaps, or a knife scar, or a fake Caesarian scar. And they are all genuine scars. The scar artist actually takes a knife and...

A reader writes: Hold on there! This is preposterous! You can't be serious! You're making this up, aren't you?

Miles Kington writes: Wanna bet?

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