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No. 12: Cars are coffins

After much deliberation, and intense negotiation, Gamine have come up with a cunning plan to subvert the impending war.

Although neither the government here in Britain, nor the one in America is behaving democratically, there have been statistics gathered as to people's opinion of the purpose of instigating war, and, 'amazingly', the majority of these people think the motive is not, as you might think, to rid the world of the evils of terrorism, but, more importantly, for the economic gain of George W. and his cronies, sorry, 'allies'. Popular opinion is that they're after Saddam's oil, and the nice fat reconstruction contracts afterwards, when everything they blew up needs rebuilding. Since we like to consider ourselves a band of the people, these are the statistics we must go by.

You will find that Gamine are, as a matter of course, anti-war. We feel war diverts one's attention away from the importance of music and can lead to much pain and suffering, of which, we believe, there is already enough in the world - more than enough, in fact, to inspire a heartbreaking songline, or a haunting refrain. If it is oil that will be the cause of this superfluous suffering, then we should all simply cut it out of our diets, and we shouldn't use it to fuel our cars. Who wants to drive cars anyway? I know I have professed to owning a few beautiful old British and Italian sports cars in my life but I wouldn't dream of driving nearly anything post 1975 - far too ugly. Owning these vehicles is rather an ineffectual exercise anyway as you would usually see me pushing them down the street instead of driving.

Now, my favourite modes of transport are walking or horse and carriage when I am socialising, riding Nelson in the country, sailing, when travelling to foreign countries, and, for the city, I feel a bicycle is the most magnificent way to move around. Some of you might be a little sceptical as to how 'gamine' it is to bicycle but I can assure you that, ever since it was invented, it has been favoured by intelligent, independent women of style and charm. It can also be a very masculine and romantic way for men to travel - I am forever falling in love with men on bicycles.

However, it has somehow, along the way, adopted a rather unfortunate aesthetic of ill-proportioned garments, in unflattering silhouettes, with horrible fabrics, in unfortunate colour coordinations. It is this reputation, I feel, that sometimes inhibits those less confident in riding a bicycle - they are afraid that it might undermine their chic or cool. My darling readers, I know this does not apply to you as you have already proved your strength of character by overcoming any prejudices, and being fans of Gamine. Therefore, I am entrusting you with the mission of reinventing the glamour of the bicycle.

High heels on a bicycle are perfectly feasible - I can't cycle without them. Pretty dresses are also easy - just wear pants to match for that unexpected gust of wind.

Gamine do not wear helmets when cycling because, I believe, that as long as I am singing I am protected by Heaven, but I appreciate they can be a good idea in the chaos of the city; however, helmets are not an easy accessory to pull off with pizzazz, which is why we have designed a range of helmet-covers disguised as classically stylish hats. For those who prefer everything in life to be practical - a philosophy I cannot confess to adhering to, but understand in others - we have put into production a number of cycle friendly costumes with the Gamine endorsed stamp of approval. If you cannot yet afford Gamine couture, and I admit we can be quite pricey, then simply take inspiration from these illustrations and create your own beauty on a bike.

Everybody should be able to afford a bicycle, but if you can't, then borrow one, or write to us and we will provide, maybe, for the world would be a sad and unfair place if not everybody could have one. When Gamine are in power we will advocate bicycles for the masses. Cars are coffins, let the people ride bikes!


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