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The Rolling Stones light up Carnaby Street in London

Report by Mario Dunn

Carnaby Street was synonymous with the "swinging 60s" as the centre of fashion in London. The Stones were closely associated with that era the beautiful girlfriends and great clothes, although it is probably The Kinks song, "Dedicated follower of fashion" that most accurately sums up the style of those heady days. Carnaby Street is still there of course but over the years it has lost its appeal somewhat. However, it remains a good shopping area with many high end clothes shops and is a magnet for tourists.

Each November most British shopping districts put up "Christmas lights" these are designed to kick start and extend the period over which consumers spend money over the seasonal period. Up and down the country bright display lights are switched on to great local fanfare. The main thoroughfare of Oxford Street is the largest of these with Robbie Williams turning on the lights there earlier this week.

This year the theme of the Carnaby Street lights is The Rolling Stones. The band are featured in displays up and down the street. Huge gold discs bear their pictures and the tongue logo is everywhere including on big banners welcoming visitors to Carnaby Street.

At one end the Stones "pop up shop" has opened, featuring a range of overpriced Stones merchandise that the on line store sells. The artwork for Grrr features heavily in the frontage. I tend not to buy that kind of stuff but I will be keeping an eye on the store as an obvious outlet for tickets should the band play a London club gig (no plans so far I that I know of).

Last night - Thursday November 8 - the lights were officially turned on a DJ set up in the middle of the street played Stones songs for several hours while a mix of fans and tourists gathered to listen and enjoy. We found a store giving away free beer (true!) and drank the night away watching the fun and listening to the boys. Carnaby Street is certainly the Stones centre of London this year and a must see for anyone over for the O2 gigs later this month.

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