Friday, June 30, 2006


"Look , its Mar(i)-lee-bone station" comes shrieking from the mouths of the American tourist teenage rat pack that is next to me on the Bakerloo Line. Of all the many things Americans mispronounce in England this one really irks me. Just how can they make a neighbourhood in London sound like some southern belle out of Steel Magnolias? I had to stop myself from belting back "No, bozo, it is actually pronounced Mar'l-e-b'n.

And then I was overcome with smugness. I suddenly remembered that despite the threatening hangover I had just spent a really good evening in Mar'l-e-b'n, without an embarrassing, hip sack wearing tourist in sight. Oh, and did you know Marylebone actually gets its name from a church, called "St Mary's" (now known as St Marylebone Parish Church), it is a common misunderstanding that the name is a corruption of Marie la bonne.

Whilst there are many pubs lining the High Street, there is one at the top, northern end closer to Regents Park than Oxford Street called The Prince Regent. On the surface, it doesn't look anything special. And once you scratch a bit, you realise it isn't and that's what gives it cache with the local trendy set.

Just like the High Street is a peaceful oasis from the Oxford Street mobs and yobs. The Prince Regent is tucked away just enough to retain a sense of being a pub of the people. But mind you the pub of the people in this pocket of W1 is more Pinot Grigio than Pride.

Drink prices are average for London. They have Becks on draft which is unusual, the bathrooms are swanky for a pub, there is live music every Saturday night, and the nachos and chips are better than average. And whilst the crowd does get filled with a few too many self conscious hipsters, it is a bit of a trashy thrill. Like reading Heat.

So when you find yourself in the centre of town this weekend, scouring the sales racks of Zara's or John Lewis, and you want a buzzy spot for Sunday lunch, think of The Prince Regent. Or for a celebratory drink after the big match. There isn't a telly which keeps away the hordes, so it will be a priceless discovery come 6 PM Saturday.

Celeb spottings at The Prince Regent (over a few visits):

Jefferson Hack, father of Kate Moss's baby, co-founder of Dazed and Confused magazine, and now editor of Another magazine. Credentials listed in order of importance obviously.

Sienna Miller, Jude Law's ex and wanna be London's Edie Sedgwick.

The Prince Regent is at 71 Marylebone High Street, W1
(020) 7467 3811

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hot Tip on Hot Chip

Album purchasing is often a desperate act taken to satisfy an urge to buy something, usually the last ditched destination of any failed shopping trip. And in this day of ubiquitous clone town Britain, the record shop (are they still called that?) is almost certainly HMV. And it is here where I found myself last night, chasing the endorphin buzz. And no, you armchair psychologists out there, it was not desperate escapism, I just wanted to update my Ipod.

On the face of it, HMV seemed a safe choice during sales season. How much damage could be done with the purchase of The Best of Nina Simone at £2.99? But last night I went into HMV on a mission to resist the throngs, and headed straight to the non- discounted Staff Recommendations section, a useful cheater's guide to instant music taste.

And then I zoomed in like a falcon's swoop on my prey, The Warning by Hot Chip. What a cool name, both band and album, and the cover wasn't too bad either. Crucial criteria for us discerning music listeners for whom NME stands for Not ME.

On first listen I was so taken in by the frantic opener 'Careful' I played it again straight away and that is the actual Warning.. This album is addictive.

Hot Chip play catchy electronic vibes with emotion filled lyrics. They give bleak electronica some much needed heart and soul. Hot Chip, dare I suggest such a lofty comparison, remind me a bit of New Order. And The Warning reminds me of the cool album you heard in that trendy boutique run by the stoney faced girl, but were too embarassed to ask what it's called...and she looked mean anyway.

The singles 'And I Was a Boy From School' and 'Over and Over' are brilliant and the latter has a catchy but fun homage to repitition with "Like a monkey with a miniature cymbal". The album will make you want to dance around the kitchen with your socks on (like Hugh Grant in Love Actually, but with groove).

Well, that should at least make us all feel a bit better about missing the Pet Shop Boys in concert at Tower Bridge last night.

Price tip:

£7.99 from Amazon or £9.99 from HMV. Not sure what the cooler music establishments are, or how much they charge.

Oh, and Hot Chip come from Putney, South London. In case you are going to a Pub Quiz.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

a Ding Dong for Ping Pong

You are forgiven for initially thinking I was referring to the recreational version of table tennis, commonly called 'ping pong', which many of you probably know was invented by the English in the late 1800s. Although, back then it was played with a line of books as the net, a rounded top of a Champagne cork or knot of string as the ball, and a cigar box lid as the paddle. And to think it has now grown to the second most played sport in the world. See, the empire really does strike back!

Yet, I am not talking about that ping pong, but rather the new chain of dim sum restaurants bearing the same name that are popping up in the bastions of trendiness that are Westbourne Grove and Marylebone Village. The original is on Great Marlborough Street near Liberty's. And there are a further 23 branches set to open within the next five years.

On the face of it Ping Pong serves up, (ah! so that's where the name comes from). It offers good value at an average £10 per person, with an excellent drinks list all at £5.50 for deceptively potent long cocktails or martinis. They only serve one beer called Sun Lik, but it is a pleasant Asian-like Pilsner. The major downfall to the drinks selection is the limited and overpriced wine selection including standard Aussie and New Zealand wines priced at £21-£25 which are £5-£9 at Thresher's...much better value in the 3 for 2 offer. Stick with their specialty, the Kumquat Mojito.

The best dishes are the steamed dumplings, rolls and buns. The fried ones are pretty average, and pretty greasy. My favourites were the prawn & bamboo and spicy chicken dumplings, the Chinese leaf wrap, and the spinach & pork wonton. Although these are sparsely filled, and largely bulked up with dough. The steamed buns are tasty but even more dense, none offering a low-carb choice. They recommend 3-4 dishes per person, which is plenty, and at £2.80 each you can come out at under a tenner. And herein lies the appeal.

So I see why the formula works, for now. The setting provides expectations of fun and big city eating all at good value. Low lighting, big group tables in the center, discreet banquets to the sides; all screams "I am in a Sex and the City episode" until you remember that Carrie is no longer, and SJP is pushing a pram around NYC and married to Ferris Bueller. You still end up leaving with a rather full wallet, a good few drinks down you, and enough carbs in your system to keep you bloated and spoken for.

But whilst sure it is edible, it doesn't leave me desperate to return. The experience is more like a first date where you get through the evening, but would rather get back for Newsnight than sit through dessert. I just don't see it doing the same thing for dim sum that Wagamama did for the noodle.

Best (if pressed) of the three locations:

10 Paddington Street, W1 (off top end of Marylebone High Street) because it has outdoor seating. If outside is not available ask to be seated downstairs. The space is bigger and upstairs is small and usually crammed with prams.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Animal instinct

New Yorkers are ablaze this week over a new book release entitled "Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers by Amy Sutherland. The book is on the surface about the students at the training school in Moorpark College, California as they are taught an improbable talent: how to communicate with animals.

But never trust New Yorkers to let sleeping dogs lie. No way, intent as ever to delve deeper into the meaning of modern relationships many have turned these lessons of exotic animal trainers into a guide to training a species more familiar: the modern man.

Seems only logical, really. If exotic animal trainers can get their students to do the seemingly impossible: sea lions to offer their paws for a nail clipping, dolphins to spin on command, and chimps to skateboard. Surely, there must be a tip or two from which to train the modern man?

And indeed there are:

"Approximations", defined as rewarding the small steps towards a new behaviour. Which really means you can't expect a man to pick up his socks and underpants off the floor all in one day, but you should reward him by praising every small act (i.e. one sock) every time he does it.

"Incompatible behaviour", my favourite, which is defined as a behaviour that is impossible to perform at the same time as another specific behaviour. In practical terms, this refers to giving your partner a chore which necessitates that he/she can't interfere with what your doing. For example, if you want peace in the kitchen whilst cooking set out a beer and the sports section across the room. You will quickly find you are on your own. Simple, but genius.

And lastly, "Least Reinforcing Syndrome", the idea being that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behaviour. But if it is unable to provoke a response, the behaviour dies away. So the next time you hear panicked pacing, doors slamming and the inevitable shrieking "where are my keys?" just ignore it, as hard as that can be and wait and you are likely to hear a calmer voice announcing "I found them."

Like doctor's swear to the Hippocratic oath, trainers vow that "It's never the animal's fault." And this is likely to be the hardest part - not placing blame when you don't get the result you want.

But heck, we also have to accept that some behaviours are instinctive reflexes that can't be trained into extinction. Like you can't stop a bird from building a nest, you can't stop a man from losing his keys, or a woman from ranting after a glass too many.

Where to get a copy:

It is only published in the US for now, but you can order a copy on amazon though for £12.67.

Could make for good summer holiday reading material, and allow you to try out some training techniques on the beach. But don't take my word, I also have a copy of Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? by my bedside table. Which must emit some incompatible behaviour signals, now that I think about it. I must remember to move it, or at least turn it face down.

Oh, and in the Evening Standard yesterday:

Pictures of both Kate Moss and Kate Middleton sporting respective Mulberry handbags, with Ms.Moss toting the coveted Emmy design. But we knew this.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Market Boy

Romford Market, Essex (1985-1990) is the setting of David Eldridge's smash-hit play, Market Boy, at the National Theatre, SE1. And Market Boy refers to the boys working in the market stalls of Romford Market, not the kind favoured for favours by certain Lib Dem MP's. They are commonly referred to as rent boys. Hope that doesn't disappoint too many of you.

The play opens in 1985 with shy, naive Boy (Danny Worters) forced into work by his single mum on the trader’s shoe stall. Boy (as he is referred to throughout the play) realises quickly that there’s an art to selling stilettos and he better grasp it quickly. He will need to learn a good wind-up, learn the pull of cash, learn drugs, learn sex, and learn to survive male rivalry.

In real terms, this boy has everything to learn.

The characters range from Boy's boss, a ladies man in skintight ski-pants, to a psychotic Falklands vet, now record dealer, who discovers rave culture on holiday in Ibiza. And that is forgetting the fish staller wife who becomes a post-op fish staller bloke.

But perhaps my favourite element was how the 80s nostalgic element is stalked by the freakish figure - Lady Thatcher herself. Apologies Dave Cameron, I hear you have had different types of thoughts about said Lady. Similar to the figure in Billy Elliott -Mrs T (remember Mr T, now that was Real 1980s) appears here in various guises, yet at all times, the blue power suit and chunky ankles remain indisguisable. Incidentally, why do all successful female politicians, and even the wives of successful male politicians have chunky ankles...think Cherie, Laura, Hillary, Condie?

The play itself is both a sharply realised proximation of a market and a metaphor for Thatcherite Britain. In many ways market life is built around a family atmosphere, but this only belies the ruthless individualism of Thatcherite days. And Eldridge brings this point to bear in the end as the market declines into backstabbing, bankruptcy and personal misery. The eighties free market dissolves on stage into the nineties freefall recession.

But don't be mistaken, the play is far from consumed by heavy political overtones. It is a great night of fun-bold, fresh, and daring fun. The plot lacks substance at times, but we are talking about the age of Dallas, Dynasty, a still black Michael Jackson, and "by the power of Greyskull you HAD the power."

Liz's ticket tip:

'All this and just for a tenner, Guv'?

Yes, it is part of the National Theatre £10 Travelex season.

Oh, and you know that after the interval you can move to any seat you prefer in the theatre? Well, you do now.

Culture for the masses?! Now Maggie, that is my kind of "opportunity for all"

But don't delay as only 22 performances left (on until 24th Aug) and the £10 seats go quickly. I went this past Friday and it was rather full. all sections. or 020 7452 3000

Friday, June 23, 2006

Weekend plans in the bag

Today's Guardian tells us that the average office worker spends two hours a day dealing with petty distractions - answering the phone, responding to emails, making cups of tea, wondering if Eriksson actually 'would switch teams for Beckham'...(no, not that way, to Real Madrid of course). And other research shows that 90% of conversations after 5PM on a Friday are spent doing informal SWAT analysis over potential weekend plans.

Liz's petty distraction:

Hottest ticket this weekend
Michelangelo Drawings at the British Museum, closes Sunday.
All pre-booked seats have been sold out, so you have to get there early on the day of and hope you don't miss the walk-up allocation. Box office opens at 9:40. There was a queue from 9AM this morning, but as of 11AM they had not sold out. So chances are if you make the effort to get there, you should get in.

And if you do manage to get in, the museum is open until midnight on Saturday as is the cafe and there will be live music. It would be quite something to celebrate the longest day of the year with one of the greatest artists of all time. If transmuting flesh and blood into line and shape is your thing, of course.

But if you simply can't get in, the British Museum has kindly created a free PDF version of "Closer to the Master: A Book About Michelangelo," which you can download from the website to read at your leisure.

And if your thinking is more Dolce-Gabbana than Michael-Angelo, the Mulberry sale has started in full, both in store and on-line( There are good deals to be had if you aren't traditional about colour. Just think yourself Kate Moss not Kate Middleton when considering the lime green tassled option. And don't dare look at the new and very non-sale priced ones for Autumn. The Emmy (pictured above) gets my award, but at £595 is not for us mere mortals...

If only to be a WAG for a day
It is a big price to pay
But to lay hands on an Emmy
I would wake up to Rooney

PS - Rumoured knock offs in Oasis starting at £35

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sex in a stencil

Before we start, let me dismiss any notions you may have of my artistic, creative or (heaven forbid )authentic license to comment on anything. And at the top of the list must be anything deemed edgy. A word I find ironic, in an Alanis Morrissette 'ironic' way. Because in my view (please refer to line one of this paragraph), it is usually the people that think themselves 'edgy' that are anything but. They rage against the system sticking it to The Man, but not before stopping in for shampoo at Aveda and streetwear at Carhartt.

The later which, by the way, is synonomous with hard wearing clothes in the US (think Brokeback Mountain). American Carhartt wearers hang out at Rodeos and Nascar races, London ones at the White Cube Gallery and the Tate Modern Bookshop. Go figure.

But, all of this has digressed from the the Banksy stencil that is fuelling debate today in Bristol. In the past Banksy has sneaked his work into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Musuem, even the controversial wall that separates Israel and Palestine. But this time he sneaks it on the side of a non descript sexual health clinic in Bristol and the town is up in arms.

I was first surprised that the image could be deemed offensive to one's sensibilities, rather than attractive to one's faculties. The classic Banksy style was unmistakable as he turned a cheeky image into a statement of our time by first showing an image of devious sexual behaviour and then by choosing to place it on the side of a sexual health clinic building. Now that is true irony, Alanis!

The image is open to any number of interpretations. On first glance, it reminded me of all the films where people end up hanging off ledges, which led me to King Kong, which led me to I Love Lucy (c'mon stay with me) and how that must have been the best show ever on television. But Lucille Ball's humour was a timeless art form, Banksy's a most fleeting one.

And then I became overfilled with emotion - not for thoughts the image could have provoked about the bereft state of modern marriages or for all the victims of love triangles hanging off the ledges this very minute. No, I felt sad that this significant piece of public art could just easily be washed away at a small cost to the local council.

So, instead I comforted myself that at least I had some tangible tribute to Banksy in the form of a lovely book with the best of his work - old and new.

Liz's far from edgy recommendation:

Wall and Piece by Banksy, £11.80 from Amazon

It probably subverts Banksy's smashing of middle class complacent attitudes by recommending it as a very hip coffee table book (even if you don't live in a loft). Or for the selfless, as a great gift idea for anyone interested in art, or cities, or politics, or the world; or who simply thinks that they are fab, cool, edgy and counter cultural.

As of today, the ICA did have copies. I imagine the larger Waterstone and Borders branches will as well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We'd go dancing

I would be hard pressed to declare myself as any expert on British musicals. Sure, I have seen Annie and Oliver many times (in the 80s), even recently saw Mary Poppins (well, in 2005). But in that self admittedly far from extensive repertoire, none come close to matching the enjoyment I got from going to Billy Elliot last week.

I must admit I was initially apprehensive of the prospect. Why would I want to schlep out on the Death, sorry I mean District line to Victoria to watch young boys dance around, surrounded by a corp of singing and dancing middle aged men dressed as miners.

Turning small scale movies into big musicals is treacherous business...think the Full Monty. It bombed because it lost all its gritty truth when musicalised (if that is not a word, it is now).

It is the opposite in Billy Elliott. The musical brings out the realness of the gritty political context of the time. There are some catchy one liners and a song 'Merry Christmas Margaret Thatcher' a song that celebrates Christmas Day as 'one day closer to her death' - a great example of dark British humour.

Billy's 'friend' called Michael in the play is infectiously supurb. Everything about him celebrates the cuteness of showbiz and Michael's character resembles a male Judy Garland type.

And if all that weren't good enough, then comes along Billy's Grandma's song. Elton John's score is supurb throughout, by the way. Grandma sings an ode to her late husband that I want played at my funeral. Okay not word for word, or even sentiment for sentiment. But at the very least the gist of the gest.

If I'd only known then what I know now
I'd've given them all the finger
And gone dancing, and not give a shit
and spin around and reel and love each bit
And I'd dance alone and enjoy it
And I'd be me for an entire life.
Instead of somebody's wife
and I never would be sober.

And that was it. I was had (in a Jerry Maguire-esqe 'you had me' moment). I was convinced that this musical was really and truly uniquely appreciated by me. Everything - the romance, the regret, the dancing, the drinking. Me, Me, Me!

This was more my song than Sinatra's My Song. Which incidentally random polls have shown more people truly believe IS a unique tribute to their life. So Carly Simon was spot on about our baseline levels of vanity. We really do think this song is about us.

When musicals are great, they make us feel great. And in this day and age there is no price to pay for that. Well, almost...

Liz's best price seat tip:

Best to ring the Victoria Palace Theatre direct for tickets 0207 834 1317.

Request middle section, Row A or Row B of the Grand Circle. Seats are cheaper at £25 because they are a restricted view. But this is simply a railing bar that you can easily see above or below. Bargain for a top West End show.

But if price is not an issue than I would opt for the Stalls. The minor disadvantage to the Grand Circle is you see the special effects as they happen, so they lose a bit of impact.

As of today, they had no Row A or B Grand Circle for this week, but yes for next.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No man's woman

"I don't wanna be no man's woman
I've other work I want to get done
I haven't travelled this far to become
no man's woman
no man's woman" (Sinead O'Connor)

Remember Sinead O'Connor, who would contest that she didn't want to be 'no man's woman'? The simple act of shaving one's head is enough to quell that notion. The rest of us so much as trim our fringe and we worry that any former ability to attract the opposite sex is lost forever...or at least until it manages to grow out and we lose the result of what we just paid for. Tricky logic at play there.

Which leads me to the real 'burning' question of the day. No, not who feels slightly uncomfortable about Nicole Kidman's upcoming wedding to the country singer (although, I do hope she has consulted with Rene Zellwegger).

Rather, what is the correct emotion to feel towards the WAGs? For those who haven't been following 'The Media's Other World Cup', WAGs stands for the Wives and Girlfriends of the England footballers.

Without getting into specifics or individual fingerpointing, beyond the right here crowning of Victoria as Queen WAG - based on seniority, of course, as she has been a WAG as long as anyone can remember.

I mean generally, taking them as the collective bunch of contrived glamour that they are, should we admire their shameless conspicous consumption or abhor their narcissitic vanity ridden ways? Given they are a collective mix of bimbos and highschool sweethearts, it is hard to feel much for them, one way or the other.

Which leads me back to the WAGs and on to a more philosophical (ok, not by the strict textbook definition of the word) question - do they want to be a man's woman, or is everything they do to make sure they are 'no man's woman'?

The parading around shopping all day in virtually invisible to the naked eye hot pants, with stick insect legs poking out atop 4 inch stilettos, only to be unbalanced by inversely proportional breasts, would lead one to believe that they are the creme de la creme of the ladies of leisure.

With all this glitzy orchestration, it is easy to forget why they are there in the first place. Their husbands and boyfriends are playing in quite an important football tournament, apparently.

But, as anyone who has watched the WAGs in action over the past week would know, 90 minutes on the pitch pales into insignificance alongside the Olympian stamina required of a professional footballer's wife on tour.

The pecking order is only set in so far as Victoria is Queen Bee not just Queen B. For the rest of them, the month is filled with constant jostling for the next rung up.

If their hair, sunglasses and handbags are oversized, that's nothing in comparison to their budgets. And all because they don't want to be 'no man's woman.' If they weren't afraid to let their husbands and boyfriends (HABs) determine their pecking order, wouldn't they just sit back and let the HABs fight it out on the pitch the old fashioned way - punch for punch, not gucci for gucci?

No, not this breed of WAGs. No way, I mean even us fans are struggling to completely trust their HABs to make it happen...

Liz's tip on where to watch:

Selfridge's(Oxford Street)has transformed a section of the basement floor to cater for football fever including wall to wall screens, a special whiskey bar and a Square Pie Company concession. To top it off there are loos right next to the screens,and trust me loos are a rare commodity in Selfridge's. So if you are there to actually watch the footie you won't miss a kick.

And watching it in Selfridge's is the boldest way of saying you ain't 'no man's woman'.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The 3 for 2 Threshers Trap...

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me...than a frontal labotomy"...good old Dame Dorothy Parker. Well, if she isn't a certified Dame, she certainly is one in my books. And since when is being called a Dame a matter of distinction, I thought it used to mean tough?

Well, Ms. Parker came to mind this weekend after I had what has become a frequent exchange about my drinking habits...'But, I mean, you don't drink THAT much do you Liz?'

Well, it depends on who you are comparing me to...if it's Charlotte Church pre - 'I now role play as a coiffed 1950's Stepford Wife in the new Walkers ads (which by the way, needs more than a cleaned up Charlotte to make Lime an attractive flavour for anything other than ice lollies)... than NO!

No matter how much I drink I never seem to manage that 3am Daily Mirror 'money shot' - i.e. left boob hanging out of corset top whilst attempting to disembark from a limo at 4am with legs split wider than Nadia Comaneci. Never mind that my boobs wouldn't fall very far in the first place, nor that it would likely be the Bakerloo line at 8:30PM after a leaving do for the chap in accounts...

No, the closest I come, and I 'near' it nearly every night, is firm denial. I boldly launch a blame war on the Threshers 'buy 2 get 3rd free along with your Official Road Map to AA meetings' sale. Ever since Threshers started their deal, I have an economic rationale for stocking up...and for drinking up. They were on sale! A very lethal (albeit, irrelevant) defense in any addict's stockpile.

It also means that I am now a much posher drunk. No more Jacob's Creek Chardonny from Tesco's sale bin at £3.99/bottle (which incidentally always felt a bit Bridget Jones-esqe). Not any more, not when you can buy Petit Chablis at £7/each which after 3 for the price of 2- breaks even.

So yes I drink too much and too well by standards of unit, but thankfully not standards of leud behaviour.

But I blame this on Threshers. Actually I blame this on the English. Why can't you follow the Americans notion of a sale? Buy 1 Get 1 Free. Far more sensible. Who ever goes to Boots needing 3 tubes of toothpaste or 3 jars of anti-wrinkle eye cream?

Unfortunately, the logic doesn't extend to Threshers anymore. I now always go there in need of 3's...

Liz's recommendations (based on personal 'research'):

Under £7/bottle
Haut Poitou Sauvignon at £5.99/bottle
2004 Vineyard X Garnacha, Campo de Borja, £3.49

Over £7/bottle

Kumala Winemaker's Selection Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Western Cape, South Africa £8.99/bottle

Friday, June 16, 2006

DRESS it up

Yes, we all now know know that dresses are the must have fashion item of the summer. And we are happy. They are low maintenance, cheap and cheerful, and make us appear feminine and full of frivoulous fun. Well, to men anyway. To women it just becomes another saga in the fashion epic that is life.

And listen up this time as the answer is not to be found in the usual suspects - TopShop or H&M. Rather the -more convincing than Kate Moss's cocaine use -winner is The Gap (aka the Generation Gap - yes, that is where the name comes from afterall.)

No joke. Gap is all over the dress it up fashion of the moment.

Great designs, great colours, and all in a limited edition. Which means once they are gone that it is. Accept no imitations.

Oxford Street stores are open late this week as well - 9PM (smaller ones across from Topshop and John Lewis) or 10PM(main one opposite Bond Street tube).

Liz's favourite of the range:
Look out for the Marni knock off. It's a short sleeved, white button down cotton design with gold horizontal stripes. Unlike the others in the range, the cut suits only the slimmest of figures, but is a knock out if you have been sipping diet coke instead of downing pints of lager watching the boys kick around in Germany.

And even if that is you, Victoria Beckham, expect to go up a size or two. If you manage to get your hands on one.

As of yesterday many locations had completely sold out.

Cost £25-£40 various