Alice Jones: Combining Jesus and a leopard print minidress

IMHO...

Share
Related Topics

What do pink lacy thongs and faux Navaho ponchos have to do with Jesus? It was with this spiritual question that I found myself grappling in the unlikely, overlit surroundings of a former HMV store on Oxford Street this week.

Here, on Wednesday, Forever 21 opened its first London store, in a storm of fringing, jelly beans and hysterical queuing. An institution in New York and LA, with 480 stores worldwide, the American chain offers fast fashion on a neon shoestring. New trends stalk straight off the catwalks and onto its buckling rails daily. Nothing costs more than £40. It's Primark on speed – and, as such, is set to be embraced by bargain-loving Britain.

There's one slightly odd thing, though – and I'm not talking about the tribal print leggings. Should you buy one of their Harvard crop tops, you'll take a Bible verse home with you too. Printed on the underside of their neon pink bags is "John 3:16". It's there because the founder of Forever 21, Don Chang, is a born-again Christian. Soon perhaps John Lewis will print a chapter from the Koran on the back of their receipts, or we'll find Buddhist mantras printed on the foil of our M&S ready meal. It's a buy one get one free whether you like it or not. In buying that leopard print minidress unaware shoppers are somehow also buying into the shop owner's religious beliefs. "The bag is simply a statement of faith," says the company. The parallels with "For God so loved the world that he gave his own begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." are hard to fathom, though. Is this the gospel of pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap? Or simply a sermon on patience for the fractious customers queuing, endlessly, at the tills.

***

This time next week, the Edinburgh Fringe will be in full swing. With 961 shows on the programme, you could, if you were a glutton for punishment, watch comedy around the clock. Or for a flavour of its highs and lows without leaving the sofa, you could just watch Show Me The Funny. ITV's X-Factor for stand-ups, offering one circuit slogger a live tour, DVD deal and £100,000 prize, is formulaic but for fans of the genre, it's a must. Aside from some silly tasks and an old-fashioned insistence on observational comedy, it's fascinating to see experts unpicking the mechanics of jokes and to spy on the dog-eat-dog envy up close.

Putting stand-up on television is a tricky art. Until now, the default setting has been to film slick live gigs in front of thousands of pliant fans which bear about as much relation to a real comedy night as Michael McIntyre does to Michael Jackson. As the hapless jokers on Show Me The Funny prove, live stand-up can be knee-grippingly, knuckle-chewingly unamusing. It's the jeopardy that makes it so much fun: the lead balloon lows make the highs – when an arrow-sharp heckle or a punchline hits the mark – so much more electrifying. They might not have planned it this way, but it's ITV's willingness to show us the unfunny that has me gripped.

***

I made the mistake this week of booking a Ryanair flight while half asleep. Like driving or operating heavy machinery, it's an activity for which you need your full wits about you. Potential penalties pop up at every click – £1 for a confirmation text, here, £89 to buy an "official guaranteed cabin bag", there. Mysterious "administration" and "web check-in" fees materialise out of the ether. Even when you've paid, you're not out of the woods. Should you forget to print your ticket, you face a £40 charge at the airport. And if you leave a detail off your online check-in, that rises to £150.

I stupidly clicked to add 15kg of luggage, piling £40 (or half the fare again) on to my booking. Realising my error, I instantly called Ryanair and asked for a refund. "Not possible," I was told after 12 minutes of hold Muzak (at 10p a minute). "Why not?" I asked. "Because that's how Ryanair works." Indeed it is: this week the company announced quarterly profits of £138m. Sometimes, though, I wish they could be a little less ruthlessly efficient.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Representative

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Civil Engineering

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Business: This company is going thro...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS1 & KS2 Teachers Required

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind Recruitment are currently working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
John Rentoul outside the Houses of Parliament  

If I were Prime Minister...I would be like a free-market version of Natalie Bennett

John Rentoul
 

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea