Like a badly wrapped parcel

That’s what I looked like at my son’s wedding. Reviewing some pictures just recently I was struck by how badly I wear clothes. When I worked for the printers in the late stage of my career I was supposed to look smart but being a tad older than most and unused to wearing a tie apart from to keep my trousers up, most clients thought that the scruffy old geezer must be the owner, so a sort of benefit. One of my colleagues regularly used to tease me with the expression ” Who dressed you this morning? ” I thought it was what’s called “banter” these days, but on reflection I think he might have been serious.

I was told when quite young that I was built for comfort and not for speed. More banter? No just an honest truth.

Looking at the wedding picture I said to my son recently, Why did you not tell me? He just shrugged his shoulders and said it did not matter. He looked terrific, so at least I did not take any of the shine off him.

Thinking of badly wrapped parcels took me back to college days, where on the Foundation Year I dutifully wore a brown overall type of coat that my mother kindly got me, she thinking that I might get a bit messy. It was only at the end of the year when one of my fellow students said that all year he’d thought I was one of the technicians and not a student. I ditched the brown shop steward’s ” three biros in the great pocket” garment and went for the then fashionable mods parka, complete with fur on the hood. I don’t think I ever took it off for the next three years and after those years it would have been able to stand up on its own. I went to the odd wedding here and there but thankfully left the parka at home.

Some of my fellow students were much more natty dressers. Paul G turned up to the first day of our degree looking like a chessboard, red shirt and very bold checked jacket, as you can tell from this it made an impression. Our other friend Bryan got married in a white suit! He looked like one off the Bee Gees. He carried it off very well, and I only saw the pictures.

I recall a day when one of our fellow students brought in a bottle of whisky that he’d wrapped for a friend for Christmas. Joe was meticulous and this packaging was proof of that. You could still recognise that it was a bottle with dimples, as the packaging even went into the dimples and you could see no paper joints. He always wore a sports jacket to college and looked like one of the squires from the estate about to check out if the hunting was ok to go ahead that day. Quite unlike an art student. He became a quite renowned typographer: perfect job for him, getting everything to work exactly right. Thanks to his behind the scenes meticulous typography the art directors won numerous design awards. I hope that gave him a bottle of Dimple when they did. I seem to remember also that he was a man of very few words, reserved might be an exaggeration. He lodged in a room over a pub, and ended up marrying the landlord’s daughter. He seemed to get a lot of things right in his own quiet way.

For my own wedding a few years later I looked reasonably presentable at the Hammersmith Registry Office with the sound of the flyover traffic roaring through the ceremony, but the trousers were what I call ‘ambitious’ as I recall. Too tight.

A sort of self portrait with the original parka.
Quick drawing of my good friend Paul G in his smart very loud check jacket. He became a very successful art director in advertising and looks exactly the same now as he did when at college 50 plus years ago.

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