Tuesday 14 April 2020

Hats entertainment...

It's brilliant how the brief mention of something in a blog can trigger thoughts in others' minds too, so it was really lovely to see recent posts by my dear fellow bloggers Alyson and The Swede on the subject of...


However, they took theirs one step further and each included a lovely photo of themselves in some very dapper headwear too.  It seems only right therefore that I should take up the gauntlet thrown down by Alyson at the weekend to try and find an image of myself also wearing a rather bippity-boppity hat.  Not easy!

So the image above is from 1986 - it's a screenshot from a little DIY film, which was such a novelty at the time as we really weren't used to being in front of a camera and seeing ourselves that way.  Some friends in a band* wanted to make a video about themselves, and this is from an afternoon in the rehearsal studio where Mr SDS and I were invited to watch whilst their manager mate nearly buckled under the weight of a huge, hired, shoulder-supported Camcorder.  Thus I donned my finest (posey!) garb for the occasion and made a cameo appearance.  I also smoked a lot of cigarettes.

How was 1986 for you?  What were you listening to?  The charts were full of Five Star and Simply Red, and there was very little new stuff around that was floating my boat.  I was 23 and had been discovering '60s psychedelia and beat, the US 'Nuggets' and 'Pebbles' albums, all that kind of thing.  I've written about my love of that '60s revival period here before, and how it seems strange looking back to be so young but getting into music that was (or seemed at the time) so old.   But this music was new to my ears, and that was enough.  It was so fresh and exciting to be exposed to it for the first time, and fantastic to have so much to delve into from previously unplundered archives.

Songs like this:  Rupert's People - Hold On (1967)

Having a whole new genre of music to investigate brought with it too an interest in the fashions, attitudes and ephemera of its original era and I scoured the charity shops for dated clothes (including that hat), wishing myself back to a fantasy version of life where I might have shopped at the 'Granny Takes A Trip' boutique on the Kings Road or seen a trippy band at the UFO Club.  But the reality was quite different - perhaps that's why.   We were still in the midst of the Thatcher years, renting a shitty top-floor flat with peeling wallpaper in a new town well-known for the ubiquity of its concrete.

Granny Takes A Trip

Still - I had the pleasure of working in a record shop and spending my wages on interesting vinyl.  It was through this that I discovered other bands who didn't originate from the '60s but who still wanted to revive or at least borrow something from that whole era.  Paisley Underground, Garage Revival, call it what you will... it ticked a lot of boxes.  It meant you could do more than just stick on a twenty-year-old record and dream yourself back to some idealised version of the past, instead you could go see a band the same age as you, making similar exciting sounds in real time.   Things evolved too, different elements were thrown into the mix by these new bands - not only was there the mod influence but there was a hint of the punk ethos about it too, if that makes sense.  Fuzzy guitars or contemporary lyrics and more radical haircuts or over-the-top cover designs - something with a harder, brasher edge was going on which fitted in to the contemporary setting.  We had bands like the Godfathers and the Prisoners here in the UK, alongside Scandinavian groups such as the Nomads and the Backdoor Men; there were the Fuzztones from New York (and many more).

The Fuzztones: Bad News Travels Fast

Anyway, I'm waffling on but just wanted to put the above image into context. It's how I came to be watching a young new band rehearse in 1986 and yet didn't feel out-of-place in a pair of  '60s style granny glasses and a bippity-boppity hat!

*Just in case they ever stumble upon this, for the sake of anonymity/privacy I've missed out the band's name. But we thought they were great.

Monday 6 April 2020

A bippity boppity hat


I have long wondered what a bippity boppity hat looks like - haven’t we all?

But I was thinking, if ever there was a time to start wearing one it must be now, with the current widespread despair about our uncut / unstyled hair.  I jest, but still...

I’m imagining it could have feathers, or sequins perhaps (to go with the satin tat).  Would it pull down over the ears? Or have a wide brim?  

I found some women's hats from the early 1900s that strike me as being very bippity boppity.

Bowie’s memorable lyric also puts me in mind of a character from a James Thurber children’s book, The 13 Clocks.  I have a copy tucked away; it’s a great fairy story, but a detail which has stayed with me most vividly is that a central character, known as the Golux, wears an “indescribable hat”.  

“He wore an indescribable hat, his eyes were wide and astonished, as if everything were happening for the first time, and he had a dark, describable beard…” 

Is that not brilliant?

Thurber was blind by the time he wrote The 13 Clocks and could not add his own images as he'd done in the past, so he got his friend, Marc Simont, to illustrate it for him.  He then asked Simont to describe all his illustrations; Simont was unable to describe the hat.  Thurber was, quite rightly, satisfied.

The Golux in his indescribable hat, as illustrated by Marc Simont

My copy is illustrated equally charmingly by Ronald Searle

Anyway, when it comes to some hats I would like to wear to disguise lockdown hair, I love the look of some from the 1920s.

If you're male (although not necessarily), maybe one of these would take your fancy?

Or something more flamboyant perhaps?  It would make our daily exercise allowances so much more interesting.

Berets are a favourite of mine and I actually have a few, but I seldom wear them.  If only I could appear this cute

but I reckon the reality is more like this nowadays...wot with me glasses an' that.

Wrong on so many levels

I may be going slightly mad.

Take care x

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