Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 25 June 2012
I'm feeling quite chuffed with myself this morning - last night I bought a very large, very discreet and hardly worn, $4000 Black Label Armani suit for £160 (spotted by fashion-magnet H.I. whilst trawling for something to add to her bulging wardrobe).
Aside from white-tie, black-tie and Keeper's Tweed, the only other suit I have is also classic Armani, but it's wearing a bit thin now so I have been looking out for a newer alternative, ready to pay up to £1000 in the London sales. This one was obviously bought in New York City, judging from the label, and was fitted specifically for the seller.
I asked him if it had long sleeves, because - from the shoulders down - I resemble an under-nourished gorilla, and he responded by saying that he was 6 foot 6 inches tall, so it should be ok. I looked up his feedback for items purchased, and came to the conclusion he is a sportsman, what with all the sports gear and nutritional supplements he seems to have consumed. That, and that he has a 35 inch waist. I may have to make a few adjustments, being 6 foot three with a 37 waist, but it should be ok - what I lack in muscle, I make up for in flab.
It took me a couple of hours to work out why H.I. was so keen for me to get a new suit, then I remembered her daughter's wedding which is coming up in a little under a year. The wedding - in fact - falls on the date of my 62nd birthday.
So I had a little fun by sending daughter a text message telling her of the good news and adding that I would not want to let her down on my birthday. When she booked the fabulous venue a couple of months ago, she readily accepted the date offered because it was the only one available in that period (there's still plenty of money floating about amongst the middle-classes), but it wasn't until later that evening that the significance of it dawned on her.
She called me up to confirm her suspicions and I pretended to come over all excited, shouting "IT'S GOING TO BE ALL ABOUT MEEE!" She didn't find that very funny, because she has been looking forward to a high-profile, white betrothal for all of her 42 years, but - due to some extremely bad choices of partner - has had to put it off until now, so that her 20 year-old son can give her away in place of a less than enthusiastic father.
Years ago, I bought a designer-lable suit off the peg by arranging an overdraft with my bemused bank manager, in the days when banks actually had them. It was a jet-black Katherine Hamnett, with wide shoulders and narrow ankles, and made me look like an under-nourished gorilla from the waist down. I only ever seemed to wear it for funerals, so it's very fabric became saturated with a melancholic miasma, making it difficult to wear on any other occasions. It didn't help that a friend of mine with the same physical build, used to borrow it from me whenever he had to attend a funeral. It turned out that he needed to go to more funerals than I did, so I ended up selling it to him, then borrowing it back on the rare occasions that someone I knew had died. Then one day, a mutual friend of ours died and we ended up tossing a coin for who should wear it. I won.
I wore it to my mother's funeral, and when all the family gathered to get into the black limo which preceded the hearse, the only room for me was in the front of the car, next to the driver.
When we arrived at the crematorium, I got out with the rest of the undertakers, and walked up to an aunt who I had not seen since I was a teenager, then stood next to her in the yard.
She shot me a nervous glance, and moved a few feet away from me, so I took up the space by moving closer to her in turn. This happened about three times until she looked up at me with an extremely angry look on her face, and then she recognised me. Thanks to Katherine Hamnett, she thought I was an inappropriately familiar undertaker with no sense of personal space.
A curious thought came over me last night, after I had paid for the suit. It sounds a lot more depressing that it actually was, and I was really in a perfectly fine and happy state of mind when I thought it, but it occurred to me for some reason - 'I wonder if I will still be alive this time next year, in time to wear the suit for the wedding?' Who needs a skull on their study table, when this sort of morbid speculation on mortality comes readily to mind?
And on that cheery note, I wish you a happy monday.