Growing Old Disgracefully

The first song to appear in today’s shuffle list is. Say When, by Lene Lovich; my favourite part being the whistle in the background of chorus two. I much preferred this song from the album, Stateless, to the mostly remembered Lucky Number, which had an alternative version of the brilliant, Home on the b-side. I love how a song can transport you back in time and evoke memories that have lain dormant. Maybe one day I’ll see what assortment of memories a few hours on shuffle will bring, but that’s something for another day.

Say When, reminds me of walking down the road in 1979, with my blond hair dyed a mixture of blue and black, (not a good look for a pale youth), dressed in skin-tight green drainpipe trousers, pointed winkle-picker shoes and my fathers jacket that was many sizes to big and covered in safety pins and assorted buttons. Growing up in a small village meant I stood out and that was the intention. I won’t claim to be original or rebellious, what I was I think, was outlandish by choice.

1979

I was always looking for a way to stand out, and if people sniggered and pointed than I had achieved what I set out to do. I had a time in the eighties when, (long before Prince) I’d wear stiletto boots  and double-breasted shirts, with bolero jacketed suits, made for me at the time by my wife. I do my shopping in Tesco or pop to the pub wearing make-up and dressed to shock . Androgyny soon became the in-thing and so I fitted in; which I didn’t want to do. Singing with a band meant that my musical tastes changed, I started to develop a liking for darker indie rock, and with this the amalgamation of androgyny and my previous punk looks developed.

Baz 1

Around 1984, my life was unsettled, I was still singing with the band and felt that although we had success locally, we could achieve more. I arranged a gig in London at the prestigious Camden venue, Dingwalls. We took a coach full of fans to see us perform for some record company A&R men. They were impressed, but felt as a band we weren’t marketable, however they thought I had potential, and with a change of image maybe they could work with me. This coincided with the end of my marriage and I hastily made decision to move to London. I did some backing singing work for Virgin records, there’s a few singles from the period that had my BV’s on, but I’ll not name them here. I did some acting work and my style reverted back to a more punk look, back came the spiky dyed hair and spray-on trousers. Having a 26 inch waist meant my bottom half looked like Olivia Newton-John in Grease posing like Elvis Costello. (He had a way of standing with his legs at odd angles that I adopted).

Skip on a few years and I settled down a little, gone was the deliberate shock-dressing and in my 30’s and 40’s it was supplanted by unusual shoes and loud shirts, but there was still the hair that defied gravity, or as the kids I taught called it, my crown. Then of course there was those moments when I was able to be as outrageous as I wanted to be, performance day for the kids I taught, whether it was punk inspired story or a bunch of freaks, the teachers all joined in the fun and dressed accordingly.

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Cirka No Prata 2011 (There’s those buttons)

So will I grow old gracefully? Probably not, I may no longer wear jackets festooned with buttons, or dye my hair pink. I do still wear flowery shirts and very pointy shoes, and my hair, which is now rapidly turning from blond to white still stands on end like I’ve had my fingers in a plug socket.

Age, it’s just a number, isn’t it?

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Abruzzo 2013

Call the Fashion Police

Today I received a text from a friend asking if we’d like to come over for a bite to eat, so as, Let the Rhythm Get You, the Megatone Records classic by, Touch and Go plays, I reply in the affirmative. The remainder of the day passes without incident and it’s soon time to get ready to go out. Now you have to bear in mind that we are still living on what is essentially a building site, so it’s a strip wash at the outside tap, a shave in the washing up bowl with hot water provided by the kettle and hair washing bent over the ancient washing tub out the front. Oh the joys of house restoration. (I have now learned the times the school bus passes, a semi-naked Englishman at the outside sink, is not what a bus full of kids want to see.)

So with most of my clothes and shoes boxed up and stacked in the darkened space that is due to become the bathroom, I have a small amount of clothing that is worn, washed, worn, washed etc. So small is my wardrobe, that I’ve not really paid attention to what is on the dust free (ha! that’s a laugh) pile of washed clothes. There’s only twenty-minutes in which to dress and leave if I’m to be punctual for our dinner date and the options do not look good.

There’s a pair of what I call my, One Direction trousers, two pairs of balled-up socks: yellow or purple and a red or a blue shirt. I hunt around for shoes and cannot find any, only the pink canvas pumps that I’ve been wearing of late. I’m shouted at to get a move on and with a less than friendly reminder, it’s pointed out that we no longer have time to pop into Eurospin to buy a bottle of prosecco to take with us.

So I hurriedly dress, slipping on the socks, wriggling into my green, One Direction trousers and then receive a look that Medusa would have been proud of. “Are you going out like that?” I’m asked, I look down and shrug before saying, “This is all I have that’s ironed. This and my Orange Ted Baker pyjama bottoms and a yellow vest.”

As we climb into the car, the Oh says, “It’s a good job we’re not going out in public.”

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There’s a siren in the distance, could it be the fashion police, or has Gok Wan just collapsed with apoplexy.