OK, so we’ve had three days of warm, sunny weather, delivering the hottest day of the year thus far. However, what effect does this have on the public? Well, it begins with the inevitable complaints of it being too hot. Brilliant. The weather of 2012 has been, to coin a technically accurate meteorological phrase, ‘shit’. All I have heard is “when is this going to turn nice?” Now it has, do not even dare complain about it anywhere near me. Or I’ll drench you in something altogether less pleasant.
It’s a quirk of the British psyche that we feel compelled to complain about conditions we have no control over, but never complain about things you do. How many times do you bemoan a train being late? If so, and you can feel yourself becoming irate, ask yourself: are you driving it? Do you control signals for Network Rail or London Underground? If the answer is ‘no’, then please stop moaning about it. It is out of your control. It might be an inconvenience, sure, but you can’t do anything about it.
Sir Clive Woodward, the diminutive Penfold-alike and former England coach that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 – and hasn’t let any of us forget it for a single fucking minute, by the way – instilled in his team the mantra ‘control the controllables’: you can’t control the bounce of the ball, the weather, the referee, but you can control your fitness, your position, and your response to decisions that may go against you. Ultimately, if you control that, you have control over your destiny in the game, and retain concentration for the things that matter. So, get to the station in time, or get up earlier so you’re not late for work in case it causes you anxiety.
In this regard, having spent not even a full afternoon in London’s West End, gawking at the fashions of the day being paraded, I have to wonder what the blue, bloody blazes the majority of men were thinking when they awoke this morning. If you’re over the age of 7, there is a fair chance you know what clothing you should be putting on. If you are of an age where you have hair on your balls, this writer would like to think that you might even consider what those clothes say about you as an individual – what style or flock you potentially belong to.
I suspect I am not alone in loving the irony of World Goth Day being in late May, so that the need for wearing a knee-length, aroma-filled, walk-on-its-own leather trenchcoat for an hour became more like running a moody marathon, with added angst, some genuine suffering and pain (rather than the self-imagined pain that is more painful than any pain ever felt by anyone who’s ever felt pain EVER!).
But what Goths do so well is dress in a way that says ‘stay the fuck away from me’. Fine. I get it, you don’t want me in your gang, and I am happy not being in it. Add a top hat to the look, and I am more likely to use that as target practice with an empty beer bottle, like a Glaswegian William Tell, than admire your ‘individuality’. Goths need to be told firmly and publicly, in true Dad-knows-best/shut-up-Dad! way, that they all look the same, so stop pretending that you’re the first generation to stretch a black jumper over your knees, whilst smoking a roll-up. I happily/miserably did that for a few weeks at the age of 15, AND saw the Cure in their backcombed pomp. So there. Nerr. Ha! I hope that makes you really miserable.
But what was more disturbing was the proliferation of men in the following costume, from top to bottom: straw hat, patterned shirt, skinny denim jeans shorts in ‘jaunty’ colours, and a pair of low-top Vans/Converse. What, pray tell, are you trying to say with this combination? Is it “Hey, I’m a party kinda guy, that loves the sun, and want to show how much fun I am”? Or, in reality does it say “Hey, I have no personal identity and want to display this by being told what everyone is wearing, starting with a hat that looks like Wurzel Gummidge trying to be in Kid Creole and the sodding Cocounts, and a pair of shorts that does nothing but display a pair of legs so skinny and blue, that when it contrasts with the purple denim I look like a melted packet of Starburst in human form”?
For the record, your Ivory Tower dwelling scribe has been wearing pretty much the same style of clothes for nearly 20 years. From the top, for comparison and fairness: hair, tee-shirt or checked shirt, loose jeans, decent trainers (as those long-term sufferers of these pages will attest, this is very important). Every 6 years or so, I am almost ‘in fashion’ – never actually in it, just near it. A bit like John Terry and the Champions League Final, without the alleged racism or shinpads. This I am not only comfortable with, but is something I can control.
My father, whom I reference regularly here also, hit similar strides. At one point when I was a child I actually thought he was born in corduroy trousers and a Viyella shirt (but I also thought that ‘profoundly deaf’ meant Lester Piggot’s Spitting Image puppet quoting Nietzsche around the same time). Perhaps it is generational, that there comes a point when you hit your personal zone, know what you’re comfortable in and stick with it. Or is the very essence of high-street fashion such that in 20 years time, you look at photographs of yourself and ask what on Earth you were thinking? And that, genuinely, is something you can justifiably complain about. And then you become the master of your destiny. Control the controller? Balls.
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