The Duke - July 15, 2015

Have your say

There’s something about the summer that brings out the best and the worst in us all when it comes to fashion.

Clearly the worst (as a bloke) is seeing so many men who should know better take to the streets, pubs, and even restaurants, in the sort of shorts made famous ,but never fashionable, in dated sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

Then there’s the sorry subject of sandals which, let’s face it, even the 12 disciples didn’t look that good in.

On the other hand (or foot?) clearly the best (as a bloke, and an ageing one at that) is that there’s a vastly increased amount of female flesh to try and avoid gawping at – and the welcome substitution of real suntans (against medical advice) for those false ones which partly wash off in tiger stripe style after the first rain shower.

The Manager has a complete change of wardrobe for each of the four seasons (excluding Frankie Valli) – and a ritual “clothes swap” day to go with each.

I don’t have quite the same luxury of choice. I have long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts and T-shirts. But by the time the weather is warm enough for short-sleeved shirts (and it has to be pretty darn hot I can tell you) they are buried so far down The Shirt Drawer I’d need a miner’s lamp to locate them.

Which brings me to T-shirts. These come in various categories. First there are The Ones I Like So Much I Can’t Bring Myself To Wear In Case They Shrink In The Wash (eg the first Blackpool Music Festival).

Then there are The Ones I Used To Like So Much But Now Feel I Ought to Wear (eg one from the film The Boat That Rocked and another with a caricature of comedian Roy Walker and the one word “Legend” on).

After that come The Special Memories ones (eg Mr Beer Says Life Is Good which I bought in San Francisco, and one from the late lamented Stiff Records which bears a slogan too rude to be worn in public).

Then there’s The Ones Which Have Fallen From Favour So I End Up Sleeping In Them (including War of the Worlds re-issue and a customised Duke With Attitude tight fit).

But by far the biggest category is The Ones Which Fitted Much Better When I First Got Them. These usually advertise some long gone alcohol brand and were gifted to me years ago by Blackpool publican Dave Daley. They have worked their way from liking too much to wear to feeling I ought to wear to It’s a Bit Pointless Buying New Ones When I’ve A Draw Full of Unworn Ones Already.

These are the ones I take away with me on holiday, only to discover too late they have mysteriously shrunk since the last time I tried them on leaving me stranded with just a blue Guinness Bar Staff one and a gaudy red one plugging Cuban American singer Jon Secada’s 1992 nearest thing to a hit, Just Another Day, which (unlike the song it’s advertising) refuses to either fade or fade away.

I’ve always tried to shy away from Badge of Honour t-shirts. They are the ones bought at long forgotten rock concerts (or usually the cheaper versions purchased from dodgy street dealers – saving you from actually having to suffer through the show itself).

Getting caught in one these though might lead to embarrassing questions about what your best memory of the gig was.

But just in case history shines kindly on former Blackpool rock band K I’m hanging on to their unworn Know t-shirt for a bit longer.

Whisper it, but silence is golden

The Four Seasons and The Tremeloes were wont to tell us all that Silence Is Golden. Paul Simon, and his tousle-haired chum Art Garfunkel, added that the Sound of Silence is/was “written on the subway walls.”

I’d like to add my tuppence worth that, like gold (and probably subway walls) silence is fast becoming a valuable and very scarce commodity.

The Manager and I are just back from a week in and around the Yorkshire Wolds, where normally you can hear a pin drop (if, in fact, they actually drop pins in God’s own county).

Not so this time. First we stayed at a country golf club (no, I don’t play!) near Pocklington where green trimming, hut hammering and tree felling seemed to go on around the clock.

Then we moved onto a former mill in the heart of next-to-nowhere, with impossibly beautiful countryside views and road re-surfacing starting at 8am (the same as breakfast), complete with a massive machine allowing a full view into our bedroom.

And, finally, on to Harome and our favourite hotel in the world (not the Wold) where the annual Noisy Lawnmower Competition took the edge off the quiet of a chilled chardonnay afternoon’s relaxation.

It all makes life on the Fylde coast seem positively peaceful – but we’ll still go back next year.