As anyone who knows me will readily attest, I’m not much of a one for clothes. Of course I wear them, but, problematically, I always wear exactly the same ones. I often dissemble, pretending that like Einstein I have a wardrobe filled with identical grey suits, my equivalent being a pair of three quid blue jogging pants and a green hooded top.
Fashion is something I don’t get. No not even fashion as such, but wanting to look nice. Who gives a shit? Partially this is just arrogance of course; clearly I’m so intellectually dazzling in person that even a patchy beard and reeking trainers couldn’t put the ladies off. Partly it’s often the sheer shitness of the way people w ho have clearly gone to a huge effort to look good actually look. Christ, they must have a chronic case of turd polisher’s elbow you think to yourself as they lumber in seven hours late still looking like a sack of dung and dogsick with a knot tied in the middle. Plus it takes thought and effort, two of the exigencies of the human condition I normally do my best to avoid.
Sometimes though I have no choice but to think about it. I’m no longer allowed to wear my one pair of jeans to work, you see. This wasn’t a problem for a while as I simply wore my one pair of army trousers. You think I exaggerate but to give you an example, I recently went to Japan for a week with one piece of hand luggage. It weighed three kilos. Two of them were books. What’s the problem with taking off your clothes, or in my case maybe I should use the singular, clothe, taking of your clothe, washing your clothe, sticking your clothe on the radiator overnight then putting your clothe back on again the next day? Still I digress. My army pants are now in such a state of disrepair that I can’t with a clear conscience wear them to work again. You can see my underpants (or perhaps I should say underpant) through the holes both front and back.
I attempted to buy some trousers on Oxford Street just before Christmas. After dragging myself round the major chains for what felt like an eternity in pursuit of a pair of black cords you’ll be pleased to hear that I did finally manage to come back with six cds and the Preston Sturges DVD box set. Then I couldn’t face the prospect of trying again until it was absolutely necessary, hence today’s trip to my local retail park.
The first and most pressing problem I face clotheswise, and this may be a big factor in why I’m so disinterested in them, is that it’s virtually impossible to find anything in my size. Waspish of waist and sinuous of shank as I am I need a thirty four, thirty six. Does that exist anywhere in the UK? Pretty much not, unless you want to pay a hundred quid for a pair of dun Farah slacks from Fatty and Lanky,” weirdly sized clothes for freakishly proportioned social pariahs”. Hey, where’s MY consumer choice Mr Kapitalismos. Oh I see, I don’t “fit” into your convenient retail pigeonholes, huh? Kollectivize Matalan!!!!!!!
The best part of it all is shopping for shoes.
Impostume (entering store: of beleaguered mien) Hello.
Shop assistant (chirpily) Is there anything that myself can be doing for yourself vis a vis the helping of you, izzit?
Impostume (momentarily non-plussed) errr…what’s the largest size you do in a man’s shoe?
Shop assistant (glances down at Impostume’s feet, then recoils in shock and horror, arms flailing up over her face) Fuck me comatose! You could feed half the dossers in London with plates of meat that size!
Actually they’re not THAT big but they are a rather inconvenient size twelve and a half. Meaning you either Rudolf Nureyev around the shop wincing as they tell you they’ll stretch, or flap about like Charlie Caroli as they try and flog you some insoles.
So effectively, for a man of my proportions the British Retail Sector (RIP) gives neither good trouser nor shoe. The trouser it does give suggests that we’re a country populated largely by the pygmy hippo. Fifty two inch waist/twenty six leg? No problem. Can we really fundamentally be a nation of morbidly obese dwarfs? And I’m not even just talking about the Chavscum’s emporiums of choice, where you might think decades of going to work (as if!!!!) on two handfuls of Haribo Star Mix and litre of Red Bull Sugar Blast (“Insulin spike! Yussssssss!!!!”) would have kept them tubby ‘n’ teeny. I’m talking about quality prêt- a-porter clothiers like, err…. Burton and Peacocks.
So anyway the point is I found some. They’re too big round the waist and just about long enough in the leg. Another pair of black Army pants. Expect to both see and probably smell quite a lot of them in the near future.
Still. That’s that for another three years. See you down there in 2012. If anywhere is still open.