Jul

16

NigelHaving recently abandoned the barbaric practice of shaving in the morning I've been looking into the history of facial hair. It seems that the killer blow was dealt by Gillette in 1903 when they started making razors with replaceable blades that could easily be used by anyone at home. This certainly made shaving easier and more convenient (not to mention safer), and when you add in a modern obsession with youth the clean-shaven look was bound to win out. But will this continue into the future? Who knows.

The impact Gillette had on beards got me thinking about what higher energy costs and ever greater wonders on the technology front might do. I think there may be many different effects, not least of which will be to make home based working a lot easier and commuting a lot more difficult to justify. So perhaps a new paradigm will govern the property market with people wanting to live in either the city (no commute) or genuinely pleasant places whilst 'commuter towns' will become an anachronism.

What does this mean in practical terms; bullish on York, bearish on Milton Keynes. And the coming viability of working remotely via tech might also explain the relative strength of the Naz, despite the fact that conventional wisdom would have us believe it should lead any decline.

Misan Thrope adds, somewhat off topic:

Shaving a 'barbaric act'? Until I recently I thought a 'barbarian' was someone who did not shave (from the Latin Barba = Beard).  However it seems that there is some controversy on this point and some say barbarian derives from the term ba-ba-ba which the Greeks used to caricature those who spoke any foreign (i.e. non Greek) language. You learn something new from Daily Speculations every day.

Riz Din remarks:

I have spent most of my life in Milton Keynes and am living in the town at present. It is a strange place, made up of extremely straight roads intersected by endless roundabouts. In my childhood, I would often venture to Birmingham or London to see my family, and for a long time, I thought these places were very strange, what with there bendy roads and the like. Over time, I realized it was Milton Keynes that was strange. Fortunately, the town managed to avoid the tidal wave of ugly concrete buildings that swept across the country in the 70s and so is relatively easy on the eye. It is still a somewhat sterile place though, and because the 'new city' was created by top-down city planners, it lacks any sense of organic evolution. Personally, I think it is a fine place to grow up as a child, or to retire if you want the quieter life with all the conveniences. For one's middle years, it isn't so much fun - the proximity to London maintains my sanity. That said, Milton Keynes is growing, and growing. Some people clearly like it. Technology reduces barriers and makes remote working possible, but the impact on the workplace has been less marked than many expected. It still pays to be in the thick of it.

P.S. I was disappointed to learn that the name Milton Keynes has nothing to do with the great economist and investor.


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