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Rice bunnies, mood-reading vending machines and the Prada ostrich feather trousers

This reporter would love to have been a fly-on-the-wall at the meeting of the Prada design team when they dreamt up the ostrich feather-trimmed wool-blend trousers. She wonders just how the dialogue progressed.

So, they ponder, we have here these perfectly functional, woollen trousers, but there's always been something missing. What could it be, they further ruminate, until one bright Prada spark jumps up and declares: "By jove, I think I've only gone and got it, ostrich feathers around the hem".

Cue a rapturous round of applause, much air-kissing and the lighting of the celebratory Jo Malone candle and the ostrich feather-trimmed trousers officially become a fashion thing. Just throw in the matching jacket.

Now, this reporter suggests we both put on a pair because she has an invitation. Seeing as we are getting along so well, she would like to take you out for dinner, to the local Chinese restaurant no less, where she has heard they have a new dish on the menu - the rice bunny.

So here we are, a corner table, watch your ostrich feathers on the candle flame. Two bowls of rice bunny please signore. But here this reporter has a slight confession to make. There is no rice bunny - at least not in consumable form. In fact, there is no Chinese restaurant. This is a TV studio and we're up against a green screen.

The truth is rice bunny is actually an emoji code used by furtive Chinese feminists on social media in place of the now outlawed (in China) #MeToo.  As you can imagine, young Chinese feminists endure an uphill battle against the Communist government and thus they are coming up with ever more ingenious ways to get one step ahead of their would-be censors.

The finest example is rice bunny - combining the Chinese for rice (which sounds like me) and the Chinese for bunny (that sounds like too) which, if put together alongside the rice bowl and bunny face emoji, is a clever way of sending coded messages in support of the worldwide social media campaign against sexual harassment. Feminism in China is the ultimate game of cat and mouse.

Follow me down this corridor, ignore that unusual looking vending machine - we'll come back to that later - and through this door to another TV studio where they are filming the BBC panel show Have I Got News For You.

Team captains, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, have been in the news themselves this week for declaring the reason there are so few female hosts is because women - in their words - are naturally more "modest". It is not for lack of inviting women on, Hislop protests. They keep turning it down.

Hislop elaborates: "On the whole, women are slightly more reticent and think, maybe modestly: 'I can't do that'. Maybe more men in public life say: 'I can do that'".

Far be it for Hislop and Merton to look within themselves and question whether the panel show is an inviting arena for women. The blame, it appears, lies smack bang within the, assumed, natural state of women.

Do you have a 50 pence piece because we are going to need it for the vending machine we passed back along the hall. Let's reverse to it and just before you put your coin into the slot, this reporter must advise you, this is no ordinary vending machine. It dispenses snacks on the basis of the user's mood. Doughnuts to those in need of a sugar hit, Solero ice-cream for those dreaming of a holiday?

Alas no, again our hunger is not to be assuaged. Instead the vending machine dishes out maps, packs of pencils and written prompts all designed to "lighten our mental load". The machine is not even real but an art installation designed by Australian artists Mark Starmach and Elizabeth Commandeur.

This reporter can only assume this vending machine idea looked far better on paper, like these ostrich feather-trimmed trousers that, if this reporter wasn't so "modest" she would loudly declare are getting right up her nose. Atishoo.

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