Taking Stock - 12 September 2011

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The Lights are on, the kids have gone back to school and, for most of the past week, there’s been a severe gale blowing along Blackpool Prom.

It can only mean one thing – summer’s gone, unless you count the Indian kind which, looking out of the window, seems a somewhat unlikely prospect right now.

As the summer memories fade, so do the tans, earned on loungers and deckchairs, on beaches, in gardens both home and abroad (but let’s be honest, mostly abroad)

Let me, at this point, make it clear I’m not talking about my own tan. I don’t do tanning – instead lurching almost instantly from white as a sheet to lobster red.

I’m the only person I know who, thanks to the quantity of factor 50 smeared over any potentially exposed skin, manages to come back from a fortnight in the tropics a lighter shade of pasty than when I left. Not that I’m bothered. After all I’m a Brit, and a semi-ginger one at that, which means it’s my duty to be either deathly pale or glowing red like a beacon.

You’d certainly never catch me indulging in this fake tan business – whether it be by sunbed or spray.

I’ve never aspired to be orange, or should that be tangerine, which, given most of the recently baked folks I’ve seen, appears to be the most popular of shades.

Perhaps it’s a football thing, this being Blackpool and all.

If that’s the case, I do have a little sympathy.

Playing five-a-side outdoors in January my extremities tend to go a lovely shade of sky blue, while my face turns claret, matching the colours of my favourite team.

If it’s more a fashion thing then I’m a little more baffled.

But I’m most definitely in the minority.

You can’t turn on the TV or pick up a paper these days without coming face to face with a member of the Tangoed generation. I’m not naming names, but I think we can all name the chief culprits, male and female.

And it’s not just the celebs who are up to it.

It seems we Brits spent more than £35m last year on fake tanning products – a remarkable amount for a nation supposedly still struggling out of recession.

Just think what the readies splurged on all that bottled sunshine would buy.

For a start, it would bag you just somewhere around 17m Euromillions tickets or, at a rough calculation, somewhere in the region of 70m real oranges.

And, here’s a thought – just a fraction of that total, maybe even the price of a bottle, could pay for a last-minute sunshine flight.

Plenty of time to top up those tans, if that’s what floats your boat.

Who needs a bottle?