Superdrug, Kirkgate. The revolving stand for sunglasses swings empty in the breeze. On the shelves where ranks of sunscreen, sun block and factor 321 sun lotions once stood there are now acres of blank space. Shorts and spaghetti stringed tops are off the menu in Peacocks.
Yes, the sun has arrived, and with it, the Scots deranged headlong plunge into summer, this year attired in styles influenced by Rio, an unexpected impact of the World Cup.
Of course, Leith is not Manaus, although it has to be said we are used to the combination of rain and sun at the same time. The people of Scotland are not Brazilian. I think that’s where the problem starts. The people of Brazil are a truly eye-poppingly beautiful bunch. I think it’s something to do with the fabulous melting pot of cultures that met on the shores of the Amazon. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m only too aware that some of the folks who wound up in Rio didn’t want to be there. Brazil imported more slaves than the entire United States of America. And a lot of people who had been there since the start, like those pesky tribal people, soon found themselves being shouldered out of the way when the Portuguese turned up. Brazil is one of the most divergent populations on the planet. The United Nations says so, so it must be true. As a result, they have great genes. They have created stunningly beautiful people. Stands to reason. When you add lovely ingredients together, you get great cakes.
So, when the girl from Ipanema goes walking, the people go ahhhh, and when the boys from Brazil swirl off their teeshirts, the girls go weak.
When the average Scot unleashes pale winter skin to the searing heat of the summer sun, people have to shade their eyes.
It’s like looking into the glare of a 100 watt bulb. When the boys go ‘taps aff’ at Porty, it’s hideously reminiscent of the remains of a chicken dinner left bleaching in the sun, as they expose their patriotically pale blue skin and bones.
It is summer, by jingo, and we shall wear what we please, and devil take the hindmost. There are those of us who are aware that the wee summer top we bought last year has shrunk dreadfully in the wash, and that those midi-length dresses with elasticated tops are a nightmare to actually keep on when moving at anything above an amble, and that, quite frankly, the sight of Scottish toes in open sandals can make lesser beings lose their lunch, but we care not. Ignore the sneering opprobrium of the fashion experts, expose your bingo wings and lardy tums to the fresh air.
Stroll Great Junction Street and make like a Rio fiesta queen. Some of us are large enough to be our own one-woman float, baby!