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Saturday, 30 March 2019

As the abyss

I continue to wear all-black: black polo-neck, black jeans, black gym shoes. A couple of months since my last visit to the hair salon and a great thatch has developed - fluffy white morphing into dull grey as the days slide by. I've never been ideological shampooer.

I'm not sure why black. Perhaps because I prefer villainy to antiquity. I get the feeling people stare more these days as I pick up The Guardian; imagining I'm out under licence with a tracker bolted to my ankle. I walk faster which may be menacing.

On Tuesday mornings, over our small Americanos at the Tesco café, I watch other male ancients arriving at the supermarket. Their clothes are unimaginative but always new. I suspect their wives are in control: "You may be old but there's no need to look shabby." The shirt sleeves often show ironed creases. The husbands visit the barber (always a barber never a salon) more often than I do. Perhaps the wives book the appointments.

Clothes are the easy bit but what expression should old men adopt? No doubt, some look defeated; hag-ridden by all those visits to the lav. Others, holding their ailments at bay, go for cranky surprise. "Youth's the stuff will not endure," except they've only just found out.

In The Seventh Seal Ingmar Bergman dresses Death in black and, not surprising, this gives the other characters the colly-wobbles. Significantly Death doesn't wear jeans so I'm off the hook for that.

One disadvantage: spilt food shows up on black. Being a messy eater undermines any benefits such clothing confers. Since I’ve still got my own teeth I eat apples and avoid the crumbs.


  1. Black is better then beige any day. (The beige brigade if pensioners etc.)
    I hope no dandruff?

  2. Black is always cool, and I don't mean breezy.

  3. Well, Terry Pratchett's "Death" in his Disc World books is a quite interesting and sympathetic character. Perhaps a personification you might develop? He always speaks in CAPITALS though and that might annoy your editorial background.

    (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(Discworld)#Character

  4. Sabine: Thanks for being positive. What I haven't allowed for in this post is summer. Then the weather is too warm for my black jeans and I'm forced into chinos. And chinos aren't chinos unless they are beige. Why, you will ask, don't I wear I shorts as I used to do during Pennsylvania summers? Because surgery, decades ago, has compelled the use of support hose; to expose them to the public gaze would be nothing short of a tragedy.

    I hadn't thought about dandruff. I'll check this out.

    Colette: Am I breezy? I suppose I am. En route to the filling station (for the newspaper) I initiate "Good mornings?" rather than wait for others to do so. Occasionally this startles people; only their lips move, nothing is audible. But I don't care because this is a feature of old age - the number of things I don't care about grows each week.

    Avus: Tried TP but couldn't get on with him (VR is a minor fan).

    The thing about all-caps is not an editorial whimsy. Size for size caps-and-lc carry more visual information than all-caps. They're easier to read. The beginnings of sentences are more obvious. Here I'm talking more about posters and forms to be filled in. But where would the Bible be without all those pronouns with initial caps that signify the Deity?

    All-caps render text less subtle, as if the author were shouting. As for example:

    Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
    For your love is better than wine;
    your anointing oils are fragrant;
    your name is oil poured out;
    therefore virgins love you, etc, etc

    Compared with:

    etc, etc. It could be an ad for corn flakes.

  5. I entirely agree with all those points, RR