As the “Ramadan Rush” draws to an end in London and the police’s “Operation Cubo” claims its latest supercar victim, the streets of the British capital will no longer throb with the roar of Bugatti Veyrons and Lamborghini Murcielagos as they accelerate wildly for pitifully short distances. Let’s face it, the streets of Kensington and Knightsbridge hardly allow normal motorists to achieve the 30 mile per hour speed limit, let alone give free reign to a petrol head at the wheel of something that does 0-60 kilometeres per hour in less time than my blood pressure rises when faced with my daily commute. According to Scotland Yard over 650 vehicles were seized in one day alone last month, that leaves me wondering where on earth are they managing to find parking spaces for all these gorgeous machines? I like to imagine that they have all been spirited away to an aircraft hangar in the heart of Middle England, where they are watched over by a single security guard, rather like a nanny in the nursery of aristocratic offspring, abandoned by their pleasure loving parents.
I do understand that these supercars have been labelled as a menace to society as they are left parked in untoward places and the noise of them accelerating annoys residents, but I have to say, I rather like seeing these wildly expensive cars being driven around town by people who look young enough to enjoy them! Had I been lucky enough to get my hands on a Ferrari in my twenties there wouldn’t have been a corner of London that I wouldn’t have tried to race through. Of course, now older and wiser and living in the country I do see a number of supercars that have been stabled nearby but always, always driven by someone who really should know better at his age! Buying a car that costs as much as, if not more than, most people’s homes and then having the wherewithal to fly said automobile to another country just for a vacation is the stuff of dreams. But a word to the wise, it seems a bit disingenuous, having gone to all that trouble, to forget to secure the appropriate insurance, resulting with your $500,000 glow in the dark supertoy being crushed to smithereens. Not a good holiday story!
London’s shisha culture
The other addition to London life is the enormous number of outdoor spaces that have sprung up to accommodate the shisha smoking holiday makers around town. It is well known that you cannot smoke indoors anywhere in the UK so enterprising London hotels have pitched tents on their roofs and created “indoor” outdoor spaces where Arab visitors can enjoy a smoke without falling foul of the authorities. The Mayfair Hotel has gone one step further by introducing E-Shisha pipes – the electronic health-conscious alternative – available in several flavours including grape, mint and strawberry.
The ‘Ramadan Rush’ as it is known is worth a whopping £150 million to the UK economy with stores across London gearing up to the pre and post Eid holiday shopping sprees enjoyed by visiting Arab touristsAhlya Fateh
As usual there are serious economic factors to all this – the Ramadan Rush as it is known is worth a whopping £150 million to the UK economy with stores across London gearing up to the pre and post Eid holiday shopping sprees enjoyed by visiting Arab tourists. It also builds brand awareness for British brands across the board and retailers are wise to this fact; Harrods introduced a limited edition range of handbags and worked with British designers to create dresses which take their guests sensibilities into account – long sleeved, full length dresses by Roland Mouret are this season’s exclusive additions. Restaurants are full to brim at all times of the day around town, many of them having tailored their menus to include Halal items and to indulge the sweet tooth of their visiting customers.
So as the streets of Knightsbridge grow quieter and the fragrance of apple tobacco retreats to the environs of Edgware Road, we draw breath and wish our Arab friends a belated Eid Mubarak. For those gleaming machines that escaped the long reach of Scotland Yard this summer, we look forward to admiring your polished surfaces next year. For their owners, a warning to check the small print in their insurance policies lest their super car ends up as a trophy for a zealous traffic warden.
With extensive publishing experience and significant knowledge of the fashion, retail and luxury industries, Ahlya Fateh is currently a highly regarded senior executive who combines a strong creative vision with an astute strategic understanding and exceptional management skills. In 2010 Ahlya was brought in by Tata Naka as Managing Director to re-launch the fashion brand at London Fashion Week. Previously Ahlya was Managing Editor of Tatler magazine from 2001 to 2010.