The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan does it a lot. David Beckham too and Joseph Gordon Levitt. A whole raft of show-biz types in fact and including on occasion and to my horror, my eldest son.
I refer to pulling a certain face for the cameras. Ben Stiller called it Blue Steele in his movie Zoolander, but I think this pose is slightly different.
It involves the narrowing of the eyes and adopting a subtle general strain to the face. It’s a look that says, “Hey, I’m sexy. Have you noticed?”
It might be classically described as ‘the smoulder’ but I think a more accurate description is the ‘doing a poo’ look.
This post will be included in my forthcoming book, Dominic Holland takes on Life – and might be a perfect take because it’s a book designed to occupy toilets and presumably some readers will be doing this look as they read.
A previous Mayor of London is currently the Prime Minister of Great Britain and no doubt the ambitious Mr Khan would love to repeat this career path. Hence his ‘doing a poo’ look in all his publicity shots to capture our votes and the top gig in years to come. But this is a tall order.
Under his Mayor ship, the old roads of London have been butchered to make way for hundreds of miles of cycle lanes – and because we are British and not Dutch, none of these cycle lanes are being used. Where I live, the newly installed cycle lanes are shunned for being too perilous; having to accommodate bus stops and trapping general detritus to tip cyclists off too easily.
Meanwhile, the remaining constricted roads are much more congested. Journey times are longer. Emissions up. Cars crammed and crawling next to empty cycle lanes.
Fuel consumption up to go with frustration levels. And compounded by the radio advertising campaign (at our expense) extolling the virtues of its transport policy with the catchy slogan…
“To the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL), every journey matters.”
Unless your journey happens to be in a car.
In the movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner was instructed to build the field and the players will come. And they duly did.
The same logic is employed here.
Build the cycle lanes and the cyclists will come.
But will they?
No one would argue against the merits of the bicycle. But in cities as vast as London, when it is dark by 3pm in the winter, wet cold… how realistic an option is cycling?
The politicians though are determined that this will happen. Cameras at every junction await to charge and fine motorists and squeeze them out of their cars and on to bicycles.
It might work but I doubt it.
A dangerous gamble then. It is not just the millions of £ spent on this new infrastructure. It is the political careers of the politicians on the line.
These individuals will be hoping and praying that they are vindicated. And they will be fretting that their call is wrong. Our mayor might even be shitting himself and if this does come to pass, then at least he is well practised at doing the look.