After the revolution, the after party.

Where your dad adopted Guevara's radical chic as pure style, today's urban guerilla is far too politically astute and uncompromising to make such a naive gesture. With their cultural and economic inheritance under threat, they naturally pay homage to that great leader of men, himself forced to overcome the debilitating foot disease mazamorra, by adopting ultra-orthopaedic spastic pods as preferred footwear.

Comparison between Batista's Cuba and late nineties London are obvious. Both are one-crop economies burning with insurrectionary fervour where every man, woman and child will one day be the owner of the land they work - who will struggle to the last drop of their rebel blood to make their land a sovereign republic...

Cuba Libre! Viva de largo la cerveza de la gente!

As an exercise in reducing human struggle to one dimension you could ask no more of any stealthy pr agency. Having previously bled seventies Italian armed class conflicts of all political context, to artfully conjoin them with oversized denim turn-ups, it's obvious that Che looks so right for now. The poster collection surely expresses a startling, radical reappraisal of imperialist anti-marketeering in the face of a grass-roots call for popular access to Time-Out listed bars in Hackney Road.

But this evening's opening stands as one of life's harsh lessons. The first blast hit those nearest the cash desk. The floor now a mush of visa slips, sodden with piss and blood. Leisure-grade Kevlar useless in the face of foot-long shards of reclaimed office furniture unwittingly forced into active service. And grabbed too late, the urban-pollutants mask, skillfully integrated into the tube-necked anorak, hanging limp and apologetic - fatally, having missed its one true calling.

The violent escalation of air pressure provoked an immediate and sweeping Across-Class, Within-Category Comparison of all-comers, now spread naked and awkward with a sense for teselation previously known only to Dolce & Gabbana's bisexual parfum.

And meanwhile the path towards the metronomic flash of light on marsh mist, Canada Tower, the star of the east, is narrowing. No haven in Bow. No respite in Bethnal Green. No dunroaming in wider-than-the-sky Whitechapel. The people who prettified All Saints are doing the same to Charlotte and Curtain.

When London Fashion Week arrived in Brick Lane two years ago it cadged a lift with the Harrod's tour bus, which, since this is before the Paris/tunnel/death conjunction, celebrates life as viewed through shatterproof glass.

Spied from c-list vantage points, the soon to be knee-to-the-bollocks rent-rised flats, above the streets grievously unwashed of journalists, style commentators and other assorted ponces, the horde of top models teeter on highest heels. Muglered-up to the fucking eyeballs, fighting each other for access to the Beigel Bake and stuffing their bony faces with virtually-fat-free dough as quick as you like. Nowadays. Nothing looks out of place. Every night's the same: a festival of the press.

Waiting for Hackney or Islington councils to annex that contested corner of Tower Hamlets to free-up the market for Sixties office space in E1; you'll make your move. Switching from the destratified to the novel hierarchy, converting your new media design collective into something altogether more formal. Running your employees as a real-time simulation, AntiRom, AudioRom, AudioWeb, alert to every governable structure that emerges. You're thinking of turning some part of your life's leisure into a business start-up. People will always need to eat, remember...

Better watch that man. That Branson. Free-wheeling, high-rolling, as blue-jeaned as your Father. Before investment and banking and ballooning The Grin larged it with grim intent, scooping youth into bite sized nags and gobbing Jean Michel fucking Jarre over twenty-something hippie twats. You will be him.

Indolence and arrogance occupy a special place in every young man's life. Beginning and end of youth. Staring with hatred and vengeance at teen in the rear view mirror, Thirty appears through the dust and heat-haze, no longer just the staple of gritty Granada mini-series, but a searing, sickening reminder that a life, despite the body, exists for some but not for you.

No matter what the double-think, the intellectual circus act you perform, the body will always reappear to disrupt the discursive limits which you so cleverly and carefully impose upon it. As the curve of your career flattens in a one fingered salute to your expanding wasteline, desperation is never far away whether programmer, project manager or brand architect.

Blinds drawn against the sodium glare, stalking the high-rent cell that is all your own, you'll swear that it's coincidence, that there's no connection with the bullish economic forecast. But in lucid moments, between latte and korean pan-fried salad, you can feel the libido-suck of the Capital. Being a late adopter of media London's drug of choice doesn't help matters. Where champagne and charlie can look glamourous up the nose of a nineteen year old provincial soccer star, it looks shit on the expense account of a fucked-up, scruffy media dickwit ten or fifteen years their senior.

But then again, what choice do you have?

Simon Pope April 1999