All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


I popped into New and Lingwood to treat myself to a pair of new pyjamas recently. I had completed an intense period of work with very little sleep and, as a periodic insomniac and fan of Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, I felt I deserved them.  It is a lovely shop at the Jermyn Street end of the Burlington Arcade in St James. Quite posh.

There is a famous music hall song featuring the arcade called "Burlington Bertie from Bow" about a young idler with high West End social pretensions who really lives in the then lowly East End (and obviously with no connection to yours truly).

PJs are not the sort of thing you can really try on so I spent quite a while choosing and finally selected a rather natty pair in black with a broad acid green stripe.  A well-dressed assistant had been hovering behind me for some time and as I turned toward the counter he said:

"Did you go to Eton sir?" (For non UK readers, Eton is an old and exclusive English private school)
"Er, no I didn't" I said.  He indicated the pyjamas:
"You did know that those are Eton colours though?"
"Er, no I didn't."
"Did you have to go to Eton to be able to buy them" I asked
He looked slightly crestfallen:
"Not any more sir."

Well a sale is a sale, despite the world having obviously changed for the worse,  so we proceeded to the counter. I thought I would try to cheer him up as I paid.

"So, will I be cleverer when I wake in the morning then?"

He hesitated but got the joke after a moment.
"No, I am afraid not sir!"

We smiled at each other and I turned to leave.
"But they may make you better mannered.."


Unknown said...

Now this is a charming anecdote! I am especially heartened to hear that an exchange like this can still take place in 2013.

Sounds like something right out of Wodehouse - excpet I would expect that Bertie would've chosen mauve striped pyjamas and that Jeeves would've had them sent back to the shop.

clerkenwell kid said...

I wish J!
The English class system staggers on - in odd corners.

Avida Dollars said...

Hello! Hooray! What a nice day for the Eton Jammies... couldn't resist...

clerkenwell kid said...


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Anonymous said...

... I may have to make you a custom Creature Comfort Brooch with a "Go Faster Eton Stripe" on it.