May 13, 2005

Isn't it a nobby one

I used to wear a baseball cap for a couple of years in my twenties. One promoting my trade union was normally the cap of choice, probably in sartorial reference to Arthur Scargill if the truth were known. Mind you, I used to wear a football scarf at all hours of the day as well. I've never had any idea what clothes to wear or how to wear them, or any more idea than you'd expect from a chessplayer and librarian. I do wear a shirt and tie at work these days, not because I'm expected to but because it amuses me to do so, and if I could learn to tuck the shirt in properly - it's only five weeks until I'm forty and it's really time I learned - I might look more like I knew how to dress and less like I had forgotten everything halfway through putting on my clothes.

I might go back to the baseball cap if I hear any more nonsense from the government, who have apparently decided to celebrate the election by making absolute fools of themselves in a way that they haven't managed since Tony Blair made his off-the-cuff speech about marching drunks to cashpoints to pay on-the-spot fines. (Cuffs. I can do them up. I can even keep them done up sometimes.)

I'd take rather more convincing that it was worth travelling all the way to Bluewater to make a point, seeing as I'm hardly likely to do any shopping while I'm there, but I have an inkling that a thirty-nine-year-old white professional wearing a shirt and tie is somewhat less likely to be thrown out for sporting a baseball cap than someone who comes into none of those categories except the one relating to headwear. (I am, however, off to the Royal Opera House to see Rigoletto next month, and I am already half persuaded that I need to wear a baseball cap in the Champagne Bar during the interval. One wonders whether it will be necessary to call the police.)

It is curious what is considered aggressive clothing, and what is not. One of my other baseball caps was of a khaki design, probably because I purchased it from Army Surplus, whose range of clothing has always appealed to me. Indeed, this very weekend, while sat at a chessboard in Nottingham, I shall be wearing, on one of the three days of the tournament, a khaki T-shirt. (My other two will be a facsimile of the Penguin Farewell My Lovely book cover, and one tendentiously proclaiming Rugby League - too tough for Jonny.) If wearing army clothing does not signal some sort of aggressive intent, then surely something is very wrong? Perhaps the army ought to rethink their couture, and switch to hoods and baseball caps.

In the meantime, if Mr Blair is concerned about aggressive behaviour in public - not, apparently, unusual in Nottingham - he might try having a word, not only with his Deputy Prime Minister, but with his best mate. Who is an advocate of the right to carry arms in public. I'd certainly swap my baseball cap for an AK-47 any day of the week. I am reminded of the quote, attributed to Brendan Behan, that:
bombs are all right so long as they're big and dropped out of planes.
Violence and intimidation only matter if they're relatively trivial. Which, as it happens, Brendan Behan was not. I'd have loved to have seen him in action at the Champagne Bar.


At May 15, 2005 2:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you remembered to pack those t-shirts.

At May 15, 2005 8:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "dressed to kill".
Does a baseball cap suggest "dressed with intent"?
Yes, I have witnessed your battle with a shirt and tie (not putting them on of course, just wearing them).
Nobody else seems to have the same problem. Would ironing play a part?


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