Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

I am not at all certain of how this will pan out: this is not my usual way of doing things.  The starting point for my little ragbag of ideas and mental cul-de-sacs is normally just that, a starting point – a first sentence, sometimes a paragraph, a vague idea of destination and an unrecognized postcode for the satnav.  Occasionally a topic will present itself, usually some vague gripe or perceived injustice or I may just spot a bubble I’m dying to burst.  Today I have none of those things, just a nebulous conviction that I should return to a topic of the past in order to measure how I view it today, compared to yesterday.

I plumped for Fashion.  I first did so in January 2019 (you can find it here) so it must have provided me a reason for the visit back then.  I don’t know.  I decided against reading it until I had finished scrawling today*.  I was interested to see whether I had returned to old themes, or maybe repeated the same jokes.  (In my head, old jokes are always delivered by Danny Dyer.  I have no idea why.  I think it is probably because there is so little to commend an old joke delivered by somebody who believes it’s a new one – especially when it is one of your own.)  Nothing goes out of fashion quite as quickly as a bad joke – except, perhaps, for tartan edgings.

Now, I know that my love of old comedy makes me deeply unfashionable.  In a weird kind of a way, I embrace bad comedy as warmly as I cling on to great comedy (I have to, I have written plenty of rubbish over the years).  I cast my mind back to when a joke was written and view it from that perspective, but (and this is a really big ‘but’) I cannot defend the indefensible, what was once hurtful, remains forever hurtful.  Racism used to be normal, an acceptable means of getting a laugh, seldom intentionally hurtful and yet in reality bitterly so, as it remains.  Sexism, racism, religious intolerance – all fair game once upon a sit-com, but now?  I desperately hope not.  These are things that should never have been tolerated in the first place and most certainly should never be revisited. 

And now I can’t stop thinking about okra**… 

Little in this world is as fashion-bound as food.  When I was a boy, mash was not mash without lumps: veg was not veg unless it turned into soup at the merest prick of a fork.  Everybody ate offal – it was cheap and nutritious and about as welcome on a young boy’s plate as boiled sock on a mountain of brussel sprouts: think boiled fish and lumpy mash with a watery sauce of unknown origin; think tinned sardines on toast.  In my middle years, nobody ate offal – it was cheap and therefore vulgar.  It could probably turn you into a mad cow.  (It was to my great amusement to find, on holiday in Greece in the late 80’s, that every bar had a sign outside the entrance  guaranteeing that their kitchen served no ‘English Crazy Beef’.) Now it is impossible to turn on Masterchef without being confronted by the lights of some unfortunate small mammal being turned into a bon-bon.  Meat – I think particularly of duck and pork – that once had to be cooked for a fortnight before being considered edible, is now served twitching.  I have not eaten meat for almost forty years, and for many of those years, I have considered Vegans to be some kind of vegetarian extremist wing: Patty Hearst with a carrot, but veganism is now viewed not only as normal, but as the way forward for the whole planet.  It could well be true.  Until, of course, somebody throws a spanner in the works by proving that plants really do experience pain and distress.  I have to ask myself, could I eat a carrot if it had big cow-like eyes?  Could I eat corn on the cob if it made orphans of its little kernel children?  I saw a TV programme recently about laboratory made meat, and it made me feel more queasy than standing beside the air-conditioning unit outside a KFC.  Sooner or later, as always happens, the way ahead will come to be seen as a wrong turn and we’ll all have to find somewhere else to go.

That’s what fashion does to us, isn’t it?  It makes us feel as though we are doing exactly the wrong thing, at precisely the wrong time, in completely the wrong clothing – although there is every chance that they will all be the right thing in the morning (except for those flares which, believe me, are never coming back).  The danger is that putting right past wrongs can also be branded as a fashion and surely that can’t be right, can it?  If we follow that logic it would be wrong of me to denounce the brushed denim loon just because I, myself, once wore them and at the time I didn’t think that it made me look like a dork.  My purple, patent leather, cork-heeled boots might not have ruined any lives – but it still doesn’t mean that I would choose to go back to them.  Nothing can put yesterday right – I’m not even certain of how we could possibly try to do that.  All that we can do is to acknowledge that it was wrong and make bloody sure that, like leg-warmers, it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

**…which I have now done.  It is actually far more concerned with what I would call actual fashion, but none-the-less, similarly anti-fashion.  Sadly, two years on, I still feel like a directionally dyslexic arrow with no map towards the target; a slightly warped quill in a world of carbon shafts.  I still feel like I have a sucker at the end…

*I fear that you might have to pick your own way through that little lot.  If you can make sense of it, perhaps you can pass it on.  This is a light-hearted little blog, not designed for big beefs, but sometimes they bubble up anyhow.  What I have to say can never change anything – although what we all have to say just might – and when I get mad, I think of okra…

19 thoughts on “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion

  1. Fashion, food, tastes, comedy, so much of yesterdays hot look is now not cool but dead cold. Looking back now its good you can’t go back home. Even the best has dated poorly. Parts of ‘Porridge’ now have a sexist paternalistic content that makes me queasy. I watched the original ‘Fun With Dick And Jane’ and I was rather shocked, sad to say. Yesterdays norm, todays scorn.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Even the very best 20th century sit-coms have moments that are shocking by today’s standards. The worst – that used sexism, homophobia, racism for cheap and easy laughs – should be preserved in a museum as a warning. The worst thing? We laughed at them then 😢

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like Okra In fact I have grown it myself. On the subject of fashion however i care very little. I wear what’s comfortable. Then as fashion comes and goes I am either very hip or a total loser and I have never changed. That’s very funny to me. As to the subject of cow eyes on vegetables. I am going to eat something I don’t who complains about it

    Laugh On

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.