I had an 30 minutes to waste at Nottingham Station, so I sat on a bench and wrote this. At about 547 words, I became suspicious I had written it before. Hell, it’s free…
There seem to be more ways to look ridiculous now than there have ever been before. Humans have been prey to fads and fashions and nonsensical garb once they have got over the earlier hurdles of the fight for survival. Once the battle to exist seems to have been successful enough that life is not all fleeing and fighting and hiding, then that has made time for dressing up like a dick.
I have found time to dress like a dick in my past. I adhered to the rigorous dress code of individuality in my late teens and twentysomething years. Levi 501s, a preposterous quiff made with hair like glue, knees exposed in rips, a big baggy indie music jumper that was quite the wrong colour for the time. I liked the look of The Housemartins, then a black denim jacket, for a while an oversize biker’s jacket, possibly even a Greek fisherman’s sort of hat. That was all over and done with reasonable haste. I never looked cool, neither nature or nurture has given me fashionability. At one point I think I looked like Nigel Kennedy, by accident not design. I soon settled back into the grey black suit jacket, jeans, DMs and black turtleneck or plain shirt from the local charity shop. The lack of attention to detail that had spanned most of my life returned, the main influence now being my wife’s horror and “you can’t go out like that.” I am now settled in my cardigans.
I still look like a dick, but not due to effort. My hair has had a knack of jutting out at angles, a Boris Johnson property without the deliberateness or wish to act as a mask to real intentions. “I mean no harm, how could I? I have no comb”. How easily we are fooled by cultivated eccentricity.
The problem now arises from baldness. I woke up this morning and realised that the pillow had styled my hair into a comb over. Have no doubt, I am not trying to delude people that I have not inherited the long line a male baldness genes that run down the family line. I now have to pay attention to my hair to ensure that it has not accidentally fallen into a pattern that suggests careful brush work to deny the truth of my revealed scalp.
My main clothing issues are -
- remembering to check my flies, especially before going in stage or picking up my soon from school.
- making sure things I wear do not smell.
- checking I have matched the cardigan buttons to the matching buttonholes. An audience member noticed the non-aligned cardigan I wore on stage a while back and was surprised at my surprise when I realised I had stood for two hours in front of an audience with another level of ridiculousness beyond even what cane out of my mouth and mind.
I think looking preposterous is important when you are young. It is good to be able to look at your 18 year old self and wonder what you were thinking and laugh or weep at a past where you reckoned you were the bee’s knees, a shoe in for a splash in The Face magazine.
It is not seeing the young that makes me mumble, “what do they think they look like?”. I think I can recall enough to know what they think they look like, it is when I see people my age playing the fashion game. I don’t mean dressing stylishly, I wish I could do that but I can’t, my body scuffs and crumbles anything put on it.
It is that refusal to realise that the garb you have chosen is not for the 45 year old, it doesn’t sit comfortably, it looks like a human in denial of the aging process. It hints at Baby Jane-ism. It is that news feature that says some middle aged TV presenter is “growing old disgracefully”, because they have had a tattoo. There is no disgrace in a tattoo, it just means that you are screaming, “arghhh, I am old, I am old, stop this. No, look, I am young, I have an elf on my shoulder and a snake on my calf, I can’t be 53…can I?”
Why not “grow old disgracefully” in a less egocentric way, by allowing your mind to rebel rather than just redecorating your scalp or body with a new tattoo or a hair weave “as used by cricketers”.
I am off to Huddersfield, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Cambridge, Salford and a town near you soon. Details HERE
I have had complaints from people of the West Country that I am not coming to you. I was in Falmouth, Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol last week, that’s why, hope to be back soon.