Friday, May 20, 2005

Fashion Statements…..

Alfie decided to do a bit of power shopping on Saturday. Well, Summer is on the way – and that can only mean polo shirts and baggy shorts draped around a cool dude countenance.

Unfortunately, ‘cool dude countenancery’ does not come cheap. Not even in my local branch of 70’s banality that is known locally as ‘Gone for A’…..I didn’t get any change from a hundred quid. The guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted the hangers.

"Are they freemans?"

He nodded.

"Then I’ll have ‘em"

He packed them away in the big plazzy bags and smiled and nodded an imaginary football to me. I nodded it back. I’ve known this guy for years. Whenever I bump into him we sort of nod to each other, like we’re in a nodding dog competition. I don’t know his name – but I’m 54 – 28 up in the imaginary game of imaginary footy we’ve been having over the years. He nods it to me, I feign to go right, but at the last moment I give him the old Stanley Matthews body swerve and bullet it to the left.He falls for it every time.

I noticed that he has begun to grow his hair. Suddenly, he’s got long flowing locks cascading over his collar and onto his shoulders. It’s sad, very sad to see. He’s trying to over compensate for the stuff he’s losing on top of his bonce…. I bet next time I go into that shop, he’ll have it in a middle aged pom-pom pony tail.

I digress.

We got the bag of style back home and reviewed. Yes, it’s fashion week down at Alfie Towers as yours truly slinked up and down the cat walk in baggy shorts and XXXXXXL shirts.

Pink appears to be ‘in’ this year, draped around a no style hulk with dodgy knees. Just as well then that I tick all those boxes! Trinny and Suze would be proud.

All went well until I tried on the last polo shirt. This little number is pink and light blue stripes. It looks cool and Summery, but something is wrong. Very, very wrong. At intervals of around 2 inches there is fraying all along the edges of the collar and sleeves. It looks like there has been a fault in the manufacture, or else some div has been stabbing it with a knife.

We march back to remonstrate with man-in-denial man at Gone for A…

He flicks his curly locks around his shiny, seen better days collar and tie – As if tired of constantly, constantly repeating himself.

"Sir, that’s the style. It’s distressed, it’s meant to be like that……. Look, they’re all the same"

With that, he wafts his wafty hand, with sovereign ring accompaniment towards a veritable infestation of racked pink and blue striped polo shirts. Every single one of them is ‘distressed’

His triumph is complete. Game set and polo match. We make a feeble excuse – and leave. I passed my frustration onto Alfreda.

"We’re so in a rut, we don’t know style and hipness, even when it comes up and slaps us right in the jallops – We're stuck here in Squaresville, in the heart of Nowhereshire…… a little tiny spot on the bum that is Blairland"…

"Yeah" she confirmed. "It’s all Tony Blair’s fault"….

On location…..

Alfie will be off on a bit of a jolly for the next few days. I shall be on a boat, never too far from a pub, a pint and a pie.
Norfolk and its Broads are the object of my desire…. Although I’ve heard they are a bit rough in the more seedier parts of the County…

I will attempt to get the odd report from the boat - watch this space.....

Monday, May 16, 2005

I’ve been thinking……. Again.

I’ve been thinking about how I could waste 4 million quid. Blow it, in one gloriously pointless exercise of pointless excess. Shouldn’t be too difficult to do should it? It’s sort a recipe of madcap disposal. I’ll get the ingredients together – I’ll need a pad - check, a pencil – check …. And four million quid – cheque.

I could buy Emile Heskey – mind you, I’d still have nearly 3.75 million left.

I could buy a seat in the House of Lords – but the going rate is apparently only around 100 grand - deposited into Labour Party coffers of course…


Phew, getting rid of 4 million is certainly harder than I thought. I really must try and think a bit more expansively…… I know, I could buy some Man Utd shares, or invest in Rover Cars?……

Maybe not.

Hmmmmm. I’m obviously an amateur in the genre of excessive fiscal blow-outery – I haven’t really had that much practice. Not too many 4 million pound wads have fallen into my lap lately. The nearest I’ve got to holding that much money in my mitt is courtesy of the Bank of Toytown….

I need to consult an expert, someone with the appropriate amount of largesse – the right mix of style and panache to do it almost without thinking….
Step forward, Philip Green – plutocrat, retailocrat and now, a right old pratocrat…

Phil has just spent an estimated 4 million sobs on his son’s bar mitzvah party. He flew out over 300 guests to stay at the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in the South of France. They were entertained by the blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Destiny’s Child featuring Beyonce.

OTT or what?

You can just imagine the chit-chat as the guests hand over their prezzies to little Brandon, the 13 year old bar mitzvah boy.

"Wow – a 15 quid book token, thanks Auntie"…

"Excellent, a PlayStation game"
"Glad you like it, I’ve got the receipt in case you want to change it"…

"Great! A Destiny’s Child cd"…..

I don’t know. What do you get the kid who doesn’t have Balloon Artist, Zippo the Clown, but does have Beyonce and pals at his birthday bash?

Answer: A sense of perspective, all wrapped up in a sheet of humility….

Suggestions for presents for Brandon Green, aged 13 years.
1) Fund a tiger survival project.
2) Sponsor an African village/district/country.
3) Purchase vast swathes of Amazonia and sell the lot to the indigenous peoples of the area for the grand total of 27 glass beads (well, it’s been done before, hasn’t it?).
4) Replant and restore the ancient and fast disappearing woodland environments of England.
5) Start a charity, dedicated to stopping works of art from being lost to the nation….

Brandon, tell your billionaire Dad to get his gold-fingered digits out of his very deep pockets. Don’t blow obscene amounts of cash on facile acts of wastefulness that would put even Elton John, Marie Antoinette and Posh Spice to shame.

Do something constructive with it!