Peter York

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Across the Atlantic, commercial therapy of all kinds provides so many more comfortable outlets for people when they are under pressure. The English tradition is to get a grip, whereas the American version is to get in touch with your feelings, to say: 'I'm a good person. Isn't it terrible when bad things happen to people like me?'
Advertising has always been a huge unrecognised source of outdoor relief for the arts.
All brands, whether high-ticket luxury ones such as Cartier or Rolls-Royce or 'masstige' ones with luxe-y overtones but altogether more affordable, all want to grow. Even brands that may have started in a modestly niche design and lifestyle fashion can find themselves under pressure to go global or to sell out at the top.
All I'm saying is that Louis Vuitton and L'Oreal didn't invent branding at some point in the mid-Eighties. Big, reassuring names have been around a long time. Time
Been trading up recently? You have, haven't you? You'll be squawking that you're too rational, too busy and too socially concerned for any of that. But go through the fridge - come to think of it, what about the fridge itself? I bet it's bigger than its predecessor.
Brands are useful ways of short-handing practically anything - look at the way Tom Wolfe first used brand name lists to sharpen up a character and a situation. Look at the most brand-referenced novel, Bret Easton Ellis's 'Glamorama.'
By the 1980s, practically no one under 60 in the real civilian world wore hats for anything except weddings, funerals or Ascot. Hats had been in competition with hair, and hair had won. Thirty years before that, Brits of all classes and ages wore hats all the time. Time
By the late Nineties, we had become a more visual nation. Big-money taste moved to global standards - new architecture, design and show-off contemporary art. The Sloane domestic aesthetic - symmetry, class symbolism and brown furniture - became as unfashionable as it had been hot in the early Eighties. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Celebrity poverty, that's the hidden scandal in Blair's Britain. You can't help but worry for them. A girl I knew developed X-ray eyes for celebrity sorrows. She taught me to read the subtext of the down-market celebrity interview, she knew all the Hollywood codes, and followed the deep backgrounds.
Chandeliers are marvels of drop-dead showiness, the jewellery of architecture.
Decorators never quite saw the point of massing books. Books brought colour to a room and filled it up, but shelves bearing just one thing struck them as a decorative display opportunity tragically lost.
Eponymous brands aren't that popular with analysts and investors now. You can only take an eponymous brand with a living figurehead so far, they argue. What happens when they grow old and die? What happens when they misbehave and go seriously off-brand?
Fashion people think that the careful Nice companies are boring beyond measure. (Nice people think fashionistas look silly and should Get A Life). Life
For me, wearing a tie is a pleasure, a recherche one but a pleasure nonetheless. You could say that I'm avoiding tie avoidance. My own gorgeous collection runs into hundreds and I buy them the way I buy books - I simply can't pass a shop. I have loved them since I could spend my own money on them. Money, Coins & Minting
George Bush is by American standards rabidly Upper Class - Eastern, Socially Attractive, WASP, 19th-century money, several generations of Andover and Yale (and, while we're at it, his father, George H. W. 'Poppy' Bush, was a former president and his grandfather was the Nazis' U.S. banker in the 1930s). Money, Coins & Minting
Girls like Diana Spencer, armed with nothing more than a guinea-pig-rearing certificate, proud to say in that old Sloane way that she was 'as thick as two short planks,' became the exception as girls from Benenden and Downe House started to fast-track towards the City and law, consultancy, media and the arts.
Global new money has houses everywhere, and serious helicopters, it doesn't aspire to the Miss Marple life of St. Mary Mead. Life ;Money, Coins & Minting
Haagen-Dazs (a clever Scandi-sounding name invented by Americans in 1961) was bought for its Euro-sounding sophistication by the kind of Americans who first bought those Mercs and Beemers, while Ben & Jerry's (now owned by Unilever) brought a post-hippy sensibility to bear. Buyers saw the brand as saying 'all-natural, organic and Fairtrade.'
Have you got a Beemer, an Audi, a Saab or a Volvo that replaced a Ford, Vauxhall, Rover or Nissan? Many Brits have. Your first Beemer. A particularly nice smell of leather. Something rather plain but satisfactory about the interior. And that lovely enamel wotsit in the middle of the steering wheel. A moment of quiet 'because I'm worth it' pride.
I can remember when anything further downtown New York than Canal Street was risky and the whole area still looked like a '70s cop movie location; when the original loft-owners were more dash-than-cash, artistic types.
I can't actually read interviews with thesps now because they're almost always fantastically predictable, the men especially. Actors are forever stressing their ordinariness, their beer and football-loving commitments.
I cling to the basic set of tenets laid out in Tom Wolfe's 'New Journalism' - to get out there like the great French novelists of the 19th century and study life. I am a Tom Wolfe fan of the first order. Life
I often find myself worrying about celebrities. It's an entirely caring thing; it's not like the people who commission those photographs with cruel arrows to go on the covers of the celebrity magazines. The photographs show botched plastic surgery, raging eczema, weight gain and horrible clothes for maximum schadenfreude.
If beauty isn't genius it usually signals at least a high level of animal cunning.
If you've done a bit of journalism, everyone assumes you must be moving into PR. We're absolutely not becoming a PR agency and we're not turning into Brunswick. We will remain SRU, but we will be owned by the Brunswick Group. It's quite different.
I'm certainly not a person who spends their every waking moment soaking themselves in signs and signals of the sort that cult studies people study; and it's partly, I suppose, because some of those signs and signals aren't worth bothering about. You have to be selective about these things.
Imagine a State occasion where the Queen is wearing trainers with her tiara because she thinks it will make people like her better, more folksy. It's unthinkable. But that's patently the thought process Gordon Brown (or his spin doctor) went through before the Prime Minister appeared on the world stage in Beijing without his suit and tie.
In Britain, eponymous lifestyle branding as we know it started in the late 1960s, with two fascinating families - the Conrans and the Ashleys - who in increasingly brilliant settings and catalogues sold rather different visions of what the new ideal upper-middle-y life looked like. Life
In London - and forget those extra public pressures on politicians - the lovely old Sloane world of manor houses simply hasn't cut it since Big Bang in 1986, the point at which Mrs. Thatcher really started to achieve her ambition to make this country more like America - its ambition, economy, it's very tangible measures of success. Success
In the 1940s, cigarettes would be shown in classy situations, endorsed by celebrities - real A-list Hollywood stars in America - the ads would make claims about tobacco quality or manufacturing science and, bizarrely, some brands had what almost amounted to health claims. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
In the future, people will blame the Eighties for all societal ills in the same way that people have previously blamed the Sixties. The various Thatcherite Big Bangs - monetarism, deregulation, libertarianism - have been working their way through the culture ever since. Future
It's just as well that I write in the same facile way wherever I am - no blocks or anguish, no contemplation, no elaborate revision, no need for love-tokens or nice views.
Kate Middleton's a pretty girl who sounds nice.
Like lots of baby boomers, I was brought up on archaic anthropomorphism. Upstanding Christian dogs. Rabbits with family values. Because the ancient texts and pictures were sacred - Potter, Milne and the rest. Even concerned parents who knew Freud and Jung never saw the contradictions in feeding us on them. Families, Children & Parenting
London clubland divides itself between the St James's refuge for toffs, and the Conquest of Cool, for the arts and media.
Marmite - like that other little black-jar job, Bovril - is so much a Mark 1 staple-of-Empire brand, so much part of the Edwardian world of enamel advertising signs, the history of grin-and-bear-it industrial food. History ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Men turn to formal wear when they want a new job or when they think their current one is in danger. They try to present themselves as powerful and successful.
My friends adore 'TOWIE' - the TV documentary series, 'The Only Way is Essex.' They like it, I'm afraid, for the most unworthy of reasons: class mockery. They tune in to wonder in a 'can you believe those people?' way at the natives of Brentwood and Buckhurst Hill.
Nobody knows anything. I deal with people in all walks of life, some of whom should have some idea of what they're doing. And they're all clueless. It's astonishing that any bridges stay up, or that planes don't constantly plummet from the sky. It's heartening, in a strange way. Life
One should never learn from one's mistakes. Making the same mistakes, over and over again, is a source of unremitting pleasure.
People are fretful about lifestyle retailing because the idea that anyone's immortal soul and deepest longings can be quite so readily anticipated and consolidated with several hundred thousand other like-minded types is worrying.
Pop managers are fixed in the dramatic stock character repertoire too, ever since the first British pop film musical, Wolf Mankowitz's 'Expresso Bongo' of 1959, with Cliff Richard as Bongo Herbert and Laurence Harvey as his manager. The key components were cast as X parts gay, X parts Jewish and triple X opportunistic.
Prince William looks good in uniform and Man-at-Hackett black and white tie (he has grown up wearing it constantly); less certain in his suits, which sometimes look borderline archaic; and variable in casual. But completely comfortable in the Sloane uniform of non-designer jeans and chocolate-brown suede loafers. He'll look fine in Boden.
Real writers - serious writers with serious subjects, who earn their living at it - all seem to write in small rooms with that knotty-pine 1974 look on the top-floor rear of their houses. Rooms with views.
Rock and roll is the hamburger that ate the world.
Selling scent is a key job for celebrities. At any one time, there'll be hundreds of them at it, going on the world's talk shows, doing photo-shoots, providing employment for thousands. Celebrities are instant brands. Time
Socially smart people have always mocked the threateningly mobile, and anti-branding is a central strand of high-end status conflict now.
Stephen Jones' hats are what we used to call 'creations'; extravagant, odd things for extravagant, odd people like Madonna or Lady Gaga. They're worn in a parallel universe.
Successive generations of middle-class parents used to foist their own favourite books on their children. But some time in the late Eighties it began to wane - not because children had lost interest in adorable animals but because most of it was available on useful, pacifying video. Time
Tabloid discussion of bad children always blames baby-boomer liberals, careerist mothers and fashion-crazed Nathan Barley types who think it's all enormously funny. But the centre-leftish psycho-thinker Oliver James says it's all down to the Thatcher-and-after culture of turbo-capitalism, making people acquisitive and unsatisfied. Humor
The library was one more essential in the parade of rooms in a big 18th-century house - and part of the required kit ever afterwards. The important thing was to have the books, not actually read them.
The newsprint thesp celebrity interview as a middle-brow art form suffers from desperate overproduction. There'll be at least 10 in the broadsheets today and every Sunday hereafter. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The old process of social assimilation used to be mainly about English new money - generated in London, the mucky, brassy North or the colonies - buying those houses and restoring them, and doing the three-generation thing, mouldering into the landscape, and the 'community,' identifying with the place in a familiar way. Money, Coins & Minting
The White Company offers its loyalists an altogether better, whiter world. The White people have edited out any colours that aren't white, off-white, milk chocolate, grey, taupe or black. They can't be doing with Johnnie Boden's cheery Sloane jokes, his spots and stripes, his occasional 'if it's me, it's U' loud colours.
There are pop managers, and then there's Simon Cowell, who isn't gay, Jewish or particularly riveting. He's not without interest but he doesn't exactly have the hinterland of, say, Brian Epstein.
There is an interior style we intellectuals and design policy wonks know as Haut Euro Pooftastic, which really takes the biscuit.
There was a time when formal clothes were one of life's great pleasures, as well as a way of describing instantly a man's status wealth. Toffs wore the most, the proles the least. Fast forward to 2008 and clothes are still an unrivalled pleasure but some men - and this includes many of our betters - have confused status with fake informality. Life ;Time
There's no Peter York Foundation, and you're no one without one.
This may sound insulting to some of my cult studies friends, but there's a lot of cult studies people who ignore, shall we say, the wider canvas - because they simply don't know about its existence or they don't know how it operates.
When I hear about something allegedly happening in the world I always ask: 'Who is doing it?' Trends break out because they're based on real demographics, like there being fewer nuclear families or more people living alone. If 10 people in Shoreditch are doing it, it's a 10-minute fad.
When you get inside a literary novel you feel that the author, more often than not, just doesn't know enough about things. They haven't been around enough - novelists never go anywhere. Once I discovered true books about real things - books like 'How To Run a Company' - I stopped reading novels.