About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Monday 23 January 2012

DAY 23

I very nearly decided, Sod it, it's a slobbing about day.  I was feeling fed-up and I knew I wasn't going to have to go out again after my run.  Why not slump about in trackies in front of my computer?  It was the thought of writing this blog which galvanised me into making an effort.

So, I'm wearing jeans.  I've worn jeans before, as you know.  But so far you have only been introduced to one pair in my jeans collection, my skinny jeans.  These are currently languishing somewhere in the laundry system, so that leaves me a choice of 8 other pairs.  Yes, eight.  I just counted them  That's eight pairs of blue jeans.  I'm not counting the white pair, the pink pair (pink jeans had a middle class moment about a year ago, along with the Dukan diet) and any other pairs I may have forgotten.

Nine pairs of blue jeans.  That's rather a lot for anyone really, isn't it?  Especially if I only ever wear one pair.  No wonder she's not buying any new clothes in 2012, you're thinking.  She doesn't need to go to a charity shop: she owns one.  Well, it's not about need, is it?  It's about want.  It's about acquisitiveness.  It's about greed dressed up as self-gifting because I'm worth it.  We live in a bizarre era where self-indulgence has been re-branded as a positive character trait.

Today is exactly the kind of day when I would ordinarily have gone out and bought myself something new to wear.  I was feeling a bit bleah and grumpy.  Waiting to hear from my agent about whether he's sold my book, and powerless to do anything about it.  Plus I'm cold.  A new jumper, a nice Nordic style jumper.  I don't have a Nordic jumper.  That's what I NEED.  I deserve it.  And everywhere I look, this attitude is endorsed by advertising.  You'd think self-denial was a crime against humanity.  A triumph of rampant consumerism: here I am in one of my nine pairs of blue jeans still managing to feel a bit hard done by.

This pair of jeans is what we describe as 'boyfriend' jeans.  These days any boyfriends I have tend to be gallant octogenarians in the cathedral congregation, a group not known for their denim-wearing.  I dare say by the time men my age are in their 80s this will have changed, and jeans will be the clothing of choice for the older gent.  Jeremy Clarkson looms as a grim warning of this.

'Boyfriend' clothes are specially cut to look as if you've borrowed them from your boyfriend.  This is a cunningly contrived artifice.  If you actually borrow your boyfriend's jeans you will just look stupid.  Unless you are a gay man, maybe, and have chosen your boyfriend with an eye to ransacking his wardrobe.  On most women, however, men's clothes are just all wrong.  Boyfriend jeans are sort of slouchy and baggy, but only in the right way.  Notably, they are not baggy round the crotch, which genuine bloke jeans are on women.  My own jeans are ASOS, bought for £1 in a charity shop in Knighton.  They have many superfluous pockets and rivets and loops, implying that I not only have a boyfriend, but that he's handy with his tools.

Baggy jeans mean that your top needs to be tight-fitting, or you'll look fat.  So I'm wearing a tight black sweater.  But baggy jeans also mean you can't tuck them into your knee-length boots unless you want to look like a mad Cossack.  The Mad Cossack look is not having a moment right now, so I'm wearing a pair of silver baseball boots (River Island, menswear, because there weren't any women's silver baseball boots).  And because it's cold, I'm wearing a big olive green chunky cardigan.  Which makes me look fat.  In the battle between vanity and comfort, comfort tends to win more frequently after the age of 40.  Alas.

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