The Third Leader: French letters

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The Independent Online

Luvva dcuk, blwo me, stoen the crwos, srtipe me pnik and kncok me dwon with a feahter, French Connection UK is rethinking its most famous asset. "Use of the fcuk logo," announces a spkoeswmoan (all right, I'll stop now), "has been toned down and will be used in a much more subtle way."

Well. My first thought was about how exactly they're going to do it more subtly - am I alone in missing massed asterisks and ranks of jagged stars? - but then I began to wonder whether we had arrived at a cultural watershed, or cusp (very tempting), or whatever we are calling them at the moment.

Is the fashion for retro about to double our entendres? Are we to return to the nudge, the wink, and the lost, innocent days of the Flake advert? Will I soon be able to risk reading T-shirts again? Is it time for a Kenneth Williams revival? Blimey.

Blimey, by the way, is itself an example of the more subtle way. It's a medieval massaging of "By The Lady Mary", and reflected sensitivities towards cursing in public which survived until Dick Van Dyke's way with it in Mary Poppins sent us all scurrying, quickly, for something stronger. After that, it was a clear path to the day that Trevor Beattie first gazed upon the French Connection acronym and smiled.

And who could blame him? It was a terrific, irresistible, slogan, which worked. But now it's old, sales are down, and change is irresistible. As it happens, I have something which might be just the ticket: "Excuse our French." Subtle, nostalgic, and an apology, which is very fashionable. No, don't mention it, good lcuk.

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