For years I’ve been meaning to buy myself a good coat. This year I had a decent budget and went up the west end, but with no success. On my way home, walking along Holloway Road, I went into that mad little second hand clothes shop near the college and picked up what looks like a mint condition tweedy overcoat that used to belong to Jacques Chirac, made by some posh tailor in Paris. It only cost £20 and now I am hooked. I’ve a feeling that this same shop has some of Francois Mitterand’s old shirts, a George Pompideu suit and a very tiny 1998 era Manchester United shirt that I’m convinced must have been worn by Nicolas Sarkozy.
Three teenagers enter Humana, a second hand clothes shop in Hammersmith. They are all decked out from head to toe in the new Urban Jessie look. The tallest one is called Simon. He is the alpha male of the group in a skinny, weedy, thick glasses, grandad suit weedy ponce vicar’s son sort of way. Behind him comes an earnest, small dark haired studenty-looking girl (kind of late 90s Dora Carrington) and a jolly faced, plump bloke in coolnerd clothes that look make hime look like he’s pilfered his Dad’s wardrobe in 1979 (he is the Beta male, I suppose – still in testing). They all have outrageously posh accents.
Girl: Simon, like, you can do film at art school you know, yeah.
Simon: Hmmm. (he flicks through some shirts)
Girl: ‘Cause, like, you know, you don’t HAVE to go to film school to do film.
Simon: (while holding up a Godawful 70s kid’s shirt) Yah, but art school isn’t my thang, like, you know.
Tubby: (points at shirt) Oh wow, that’s, like, SOOO AMY.
Simon ignores him. Then he picks out another one, with little checks. “That’s like totally cool,” he drawls. “Yeah, like cool!” says the Girl. She picks something – “Oh my God, that’s, like, SORRY?!?”
Tubby: Yeah, totally, like, so ‘summer holiday’. (He hasn’t mastered the lingo. The other two ignore him).
Simon starts twisting the circular rail looking at the shirts – he’s an Individual and is only looking at the stuff most people would laugh at. Tubby tries hard to be heard by being even more Valley-Girl-meets-Latymer-Upper, but he’s getting nowhere, so just laughs at nothing. Then Simon picks out a shiny, big collared number.
“Oh my god that’s, like, Totally Woolworths!!!”, exclaims the Girl, and they all laugh.
Seeing as I was barred from using Stoke Newington library due to by inability to let go of their copy of ‘Water Nymphs and Fairies’, I decide to venture into town and browse around for stuff in the huge new Waterstones in Picadilly that used to be Simpsons department store. We went along for their closing down sale. Every tweedy sports jacket in the country had been rounded up here before being taken off to the countryside to be shot and burned on huge pyres. My Dad, who likes sportsjackets and has been wearing them since 1957, caressed them longingly but decided not to buy. I asked a sales assistant if they had anything about the masons and underground rivers. Sorry sir, this is a clothes shop. Come back in a few months time when Waterstones will ve here,