Monday, 8 August 2011


I tried to start writing this post about three hours ago. What happened to those 180 minutes I could have spent typing? Well, twitter and rolling news had a large part to play in it. As did obsessive email checking, and scrolling through BBC coverage.

Why the interest in the London disorder? But more importantly, why the need to find out what is constantly going on? The nearest I was to any rioting was watching my brother and a friend earlier use water-pistols to spray my windows as they laughed hysterically.
It’s awful – I know it’s awful. These riots will result in lost homes, lost livelihoods and potentially even lost lives. The looting and violence is shocking. I spend quite a bit of time in London, so although I do not call it ‘home’, I do feel for the capital and its inhabitants. No-one deserves to be subjected to the scenes we have seen on various websites – of buildings burning and crumbling, of masked gangs roaming streets like zombies, of ransacked shop fronts. It’s a Monday for heaven’s sake!

However, I didn’t really know much about what was happening until I turned on my computer this morning. I have a new policy of trying to cut down on internet consumption (a web-diet perhaps?), and spent the weekend enjoying the freedom of spending hours reading and scribbling ideas in my notebook. I went for a long walk, had endless family discussions, and finished sorting out my room.
And do you know what? I felt better for it. Not knowing what dreadful things were happening in the world, just for two days, helped me to clear my head.

So, as one can imagine, I had quite a lot of catching up to do in regard to the situation in London – which is still unfolding as I type - a strange thought. As these words make the journey from my head to the document in front of me, people are being affected. Firemen and paramedics are facing risk as my fingers move across the keyboard.
It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s happening – I do, and I think that is important for everyone to educate themselves about current affairs. But there’s current, and then there’s current. Twitter, like many other forms of social media, provides a constant stream of instant updates. Want to know what is happening in Hackney, right now, this very second? There are pictures, comments, hashtags and even blogs devoted to the events unfolding step by step.
Sometimes this is good, as it leads to instant (and very often important) knowledge, awareness and positive action. However, I do also sometimes wonder if Henry Miller was on to something when he wrote in ‘The Colossus of Maroussi’:
“To be silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip.... to be thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself”.

Along with the need to read and spread information (eg, advising people about where unsafe areas are), there is also an addictive quality to constant updates. It’s the same as seeing the ‘Inbox (1)’ message, or finding a Facebook notification or a blog comment to moderate. The internet seems to have sped us up to the point where we always crave the new, the next, the immediate.
I know that many may disagree – I realised that when I started trying to articulate these feelings. But my question is, is instantaneous news always healthy? Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes it feels a bit voyeuristic, like seeing news footage of waves engulfing the coast of Japan as it happened.
The news focuses on bad events like a child with a magnifying glass – sharpening every detail, and sometimes sizzling the subject of its scrutiny.
It’s true that we deserve to know what goes on in this world, especially if it affects us directly. But do you know what else is good? Letting go for five minutes, so that one can appreciate sitting outside on a windy day with a cup of tea, or reading a beautiful sentence in a book. Knowing that there are still good people in the world, despite the reports of criminals treating London’s shops as one large trolley dash.
I guess that is possibly why we find the past so comforting. We already know what happened, and that there is no way the events of previous years will change. They are constant - something we can analyse and dissect, safe in the knowledge that we cannot be harmed by history’s villains.

Which brings me on to the inevitable part of the post – the clothes. These photos were taken a few months ago; a now comfortable past. I remember the sense of solidity while sitting on the stone wall, years of work beneath me. Then there was the reassuring familiarity of the various locations that change daily according to light or season. But these are the changes that are anticipated – even expected. They don’t cause anxiety or worry.
I am wearing a second hand blue woollen blazer and patterned shorts, with Topshop shoes (and wellies) and Next tights. The ‘Mummy’s Scissor’ necklace is homemade, and the belt was my grandma’s.

Finally, to all those affected by the horrific London riots – those who have lost their business premises, valuable work or homes, those who have been subjected to violence – all I can say is that my thoughts and wishes are with you on this dark and deeply chaotic night.

Edit: In light of overnight coverage, my article seems already quite obselete. Is that how fast news is moving now? The havoc wreaked through this beautiful city - from Chalk Farm to Croydon - is beyond belief. In the end, I couldn't look away from coverage. It ended up being personal. I know some of those streets, I know people living in various affected areas.
Having tried to switch off from the terrible news, and finding this impossible, I started reflecting on the role of the media. All websites and feeds were linked directly to the rioting - useful for information, not so good for spreading inspiration. 'Copycat' events taking place in Bristol, Birmingham and other cities couldn't have happened as quickly in the past, as the pictures and coverage of mayhem wouldn't have been so immediately accessible. And that's before we even start looking at Blackberry Messenger. However, social media such as twitter has also been instrumental in the extraordinary riot clean ups taking place this morning; an inspirational group effort. Media - a double edged sword.
Finally, I was saddened to realise that many of those creating the lawlessness were of my generation - teenagers.  
For a very eloquent and thought-provoking response, by Camila Batmanghelidjh (who I admire very much), see here -


audrey73 said...

Hi Roz! I´m delighted to read that such a young lady like you are so concerned about the riots in London. You really give hope!!! I really understand you: we have this kind of issues in Argentina quite often, and they make me very sad. I hope that everything will calm down very soon.

As regards your outfit, it´s just wonderful, as usual.

xoxo, Mariana.

the nyanzi report said...

all i can say about these london riots is...clockwork orange.

Sofie Marie said...

Your post makes me think of the beatles lyrics(sorry to be all "hipster" and go quoting songs)- "living is easy with eyes closed".
I toil with these sort of thoughts-is it not just easier to let youself be free of worries,and only live in your own world-yet isn't this a selfish act. But really,to be aware of the worlds atrocities,but not take action-is that not just completley pointless?

I'm not sure what I think about the riots in London-I'm not sure whether to label it as criminality-I've yet to form a proper opinion of it though.

Your outfit photos are wonderful as usual.

Heather said...

I really appreciate this post so much. I completely agree. It is hard to balance how much you "let in" especially when blogging becomes a big part of your life. thank you for the insight. My thoughts are with the people of England.

-Heather from

Marie @ Lemondrop Vintage said...

What a thoughtful post, but still filled with all of the usual loveliness. You are perfect in that blue.

Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
Vintage ROAD TRIP giveaway

Virginia said...

wow it sounds very wild there, i had no idea that riots were occurring in london although know things just are turning worse pretty much everywhere around the world. much has to do with the economy, here in the US anyways. Mexico has the drug wars going on, haiti is still recovery very slowly from the earthquake, education systems are falling. Its very sad.

Ta said...

I really love the periwinkle blue and those stockings.

I had a similar reaction a few days ago when i was reading about the helicopter crash in Afghanistan. My brother has just been deployed over there and I was just struck by how terrible it is to be bombarded by the information about terrible things and by extension that terrible things are happening to people.

kate funk said...

Gorgeous photos. I love your tights. These photos remind me of Scotland. So gorgeous.
velvet cupcakes

Closet Fashionista said...

I love the outfit!
And yes, I know what you mean about immediate news, its scary how fast we find things out now and how we can know what is happening all around the world. It actually frightens me a bit too much so I try not to pay attention to the news even though I should.

Maisie said...

I love your necklace, you take great photos.

adrielleroyale said...

I love that first shot, love love love it :) Love also your insight about the past...perhaps that is why I have always had a soft spot for history :) I hope all settles soon for all of you!

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I must say I am embarrassed to learn of these riots through reading your post (and thank you for bringing it to my attention). I had spent the weekend sans BBC news footage in a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil stupor. I am shocked, not used to this type of social unrest in London or cities I've spent a lot of time in. I am hoping our blogger friends in these cities and their families are safe.

Outside of that, you look lovely in your cornflower blue outfit. Those scissors are so interesting -- it reminds me of Anna Dello Russo's padlocks and chains in Paris! xxx

Siriana said...

I must say, I do love reading your posts. Something about your voice in writing is just wonderful.

And I will definitely be quoting you on "The news focuses on bad events like a child with a magnifying glass – sharpening every detail, and sometimes sizzling the subject of its scrutiny." because that is just a magnificent way to put it.


alexandratherese said...

Last night was completely bizarre and even though I'm not in London I was following everything so closely and only making myself more and more shocked and infuriated as more news broke. That was why I wrote my blog post on the spur of the moment - to try and make sense of what was happening. I know what you're saying and I completely agree - it is no crime to enjoy the simple pleasures of our own lives and it should be encouraged. Life is short - we should grab hold of what is physically in front of us and not always be glued to our laptops/tvs/phones for the latest update. Yes, it is good to be up to date, but not to a point where I went to bed hours after I had meant to because I just couldn't bring myself to turn off my laptop as new riot updates were coming in thick and fast.

Today I'm up early because I'm journeying to one of the most beautiful, calm and tranquil places on the British Isles - somewhere where I won't be able to get a mobile signal, let alone internet access on my phone. And for one I'm glad - after last night my brain is bombarded with too much information and I need this time alone with my family and my camera, away from the rest of the world. As you put it, I need to clear my head.

As usual Rosalind, you've voiced what so many of us (or at least myself) are thinking. I think now all we can do is wait for it to be sorted out, and send our very best wishes to those affected.

Alexandra x

silviasiantar said...

really nice! you look stunning!!!! i really enjoyed reading your blog. it's amazing.

following your blog now.


Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

It grieves me to hear of the riots in London. People are dying. There's no joy in that. You look contended amongst the green trees and the solitude of nature. Back to reading "A spy in the house of Love" by Anais Nin;-)

My Passport to Style said...

Loving the contrast between the blues and the golden yelow gorse stunning! Sharon xx

MariƱa " La Marquesa" said...

from here the situation seems complicated....because this is something like in Madrid there is also going on a little revolution but...completely different...sometimes I wonder...what is going on with this world???? why people react like this? are young generations loosing their values???

Flis said...

Some of the rioting happened only a few miles away from me, so it was pretty scary! There were so many rumours spreading on Facebook and by text that it was so difficult sitting at home and waiting to find out if it was your town that was to be hit next by rioters - it's hard, also, to go out in the day for fear that the rioting will start early.

On a brighter note, have you seen that your picture is in this month's (British) Vogue? - page 204 :) X

Moda said...

Amo il tuo stile !!! Baci Marcella

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

It's really shocking about London. Why do people feel the need to do stuff like that?
I love your web-diet. I think I need that. I spent too much time on the internet. Doing nothing useful..

You look absolutely lovely. Those shorts are adorable!

Sandra said...

So sheek! Love it! :)

Stop by :

Erin said...

Very thoughtful post. Everyone needs breaks from the constant stream of information that comes at us.

Polka Princess said...

Those shades of pale blue look so lovely & soothing......almost like the feeling of peace that should be practised by mankind (and not some riotous actions).

Caitlin Rose said...

I was just listening for a radio show about the internet and our human need for novelty and how these two things can create a need to always live in the future and never the present. But the person discussing this said that we have the power to train our minds, and so if you are feeling like your on blogs too often, or whatever, you can go on an internet diet, and you will probably feel better. I know I've been taking it pretty easy on the whole internet thing lately.

as for the riots in London, I'm sorry to hear that anything has happened to such a beautiful city and that such wonderful people have been hurt in anyway. My thoughts go to everyone in need.

Ann said...

That's why I seldom watch the news these days ...
they tend to focus too much on the negative things that are happening and its giving me stress...

Love your look ♥

Vix said...

It was a bit of a shock to get back from a wonderfully chilled-out weekend to hear the news. It's not entirely unexpected, the summer of discontent has been threatened since last year.
Growing up in 1980's Birmingham it's something I had hoped was behind us but as I type Birmingham City Centre is yet again under seige and there's hellicopters and sirens going off in the background.
I do agree that it's the Sky/Twitter/Messenger causing these youths to act the way they are, a news blackout sounds very draconian but if it restores order then so be it.
On a brighter note you're looking ravishingly beautiful, as always. Woollen tights in August are never great but you wear them fabulously. x

daisychain said...

I love how you've captured the events of the last day or so in such an eloquent manner, despite there being nothing nice about what is going on.

You are one talented lady x

awishisarainbow said...

I agree that the London riots are appalling....and my thoughts are with them all.

On another the last photo...there's something very carefree about it, yet with an underlying depth. :)

Dylana Suarez said...

Stunning in blue girl!


Daysha said...

Love your post! Your outfit is so chic <3

SomeoneLikeYou said...

What a total gem you look like in this outfit! the soft sky blue colors are so pretty, and your key necklace makes my heart pitter patter ❤

RETRO REVA said...

i am so happy to have found you blog. so inspiring and i see wee have a mutual friend in vix :)
isn't she lovely?
you images, inspired outfit and musings are wonderful.
i'm really speechless!

AvaPilar said...

The Rioting in London (not to forget Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, and so on...) is horrible! I know how you feel about the news, it can be so poisonous at times! Not to mention it's known use as a manipulative tool. Though out of all news sources BBC is the most reliable.
I love your wellies! I have recently decided wellies to be the most practical item to own.

Miu said...

I love how you can put in words what I want to say, but just can't.

You always use a cultivated language sharing your thoughts and not only about superficial occasions.

This is why I love your blog.

Thank you!

Emma said...

Congratulations on being in Vogue! You and your blog are absolutely wonderful.

Rosie said...

I'm sorry for what's happening in london and other cities in UK right now. Reading all the updates on the topic, I too questioned myself 'why do I need to know every single bits of it?' But to really understand what is going on, you need as much information as you can get. Only then, you can make reliable judgements. It reminds me of how people are so confused right now in Japan, since they don't know what is really safe. Japanese media question the safety of food products, certain areas and activities (should PE classes outside be banned? etc) makes people powerless and worried, but they need to know these things and see the big picture.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

I'm disgusted with what's happening in London! I can't believe it's still going on, has become so out of control.
On a nicer note, you look lovely as always, Roz. I see you're wearing the scissor necklace. :)
- Style Odyssey xo

Dresses for Dinner said...

You are simply stunning!

Michelle Elizabeth said...

You are really lovely! Following!

danniekate said...

the riots are terrifying for two reasons; the immediate danger to property and people, and also that that kind of hate and anger has been incubating in the hearts of so many young people for so long.

Evi said...

Love your outfit and especially your necklace... You look like a model ...great photos ..well done !!!

Evi xoxo

Tim Robinson said...

Nice photos, nice outfits. Great blog!

bonita said...

~ * ♥ * ~

It's amazing to me how quickly things can spiral out of control, but for myself I like to be a bit "disconnected" from it all, like you were saying. I feel for all the people that have been/are affected by the London riots and it makes me appreciate the peacefulness of life even more.

I think that disconnecting from the internet, t.v., radio, etc can help with that. It gives you a chance to just stop, be thankful and breathe...

Anyway, those are just my thoughts ~ I love your outfit Rosalind. The muted blues and your cute tights and shoes! Very lovely. : )

bonita of Depict This!
~ * ♥ * ~

Michelle Lee said...

love your look :)

Lx said...

What you say about the riots is so true and it is such a total waste...
I also do not know very much about them but hearing all the anger they have caused in people is hideous!
Thank you for your wonderful post :)

Fashionistable said...

Happily things are quieter now. Wonderful images as always. My favourite image is the 5th one. As always the styling is excellent. Xxxx

Macarons&Coquelicots said...

So cute. Love.

Virginie. said...

adorable style :)