Friday, 30 July 2021

The Last Days of Disco (and other outfits)


Hooray! Lynn's Auntie Gladys's sunflowers are blooming and aren't they magnificent? Jon's six feet tall so they're not only gorgeous but they're whoppers. Our passers-by love them, too. A few have stopped to ask if they're hard to grow, they're not. I planted my seeds in individual pots in March and left them on the kitchen windowsill until the risk of frost was over, planting them out at the end of May. Some of the leaves have been nibbled by slugs but it's a small price to pay for such golden cheeriness. 



Thursday was warm, sunny and dry and such an occasion called for Summery gear. Jon went for an African wax-print cotton shirt and shorts and I reached for a cheery block-printed frock, my Dilli Grey "Farah" dress via eBay, teamed with my gold Lottas although you'll have to take my word for it, Jon chopped my feet off. You can't get the staff, can you? 


Our last-minute trip to the neighbouring town's chazzas proved fruitful although, after finding nothing in the first couple of shops, we were starting to wonder if we'd be going home empty-handed but the chazza goddess was on our side and by the time we got back to Young Kim our bags were stuffed with treasures.


What did we find? A vintage Swedish Art Glass bud vase; 1970s Palm Spandex disco pants; Brutus rude boy shirt; Namaste fair-trade jacket, handmade in the Himalayas; 1980s silk and sequin cocktail blouse; Bally of Switzerland 1970s leather heeled loafers; a Warrior, a British Ska label, button-down shirt and a vintage 70s Indian silkscreen print scarf. 


Vintage 1970s sequinned boob tube; 1980s The Warriors vest (we both LOVED that film back in the day); Unworn 1960s Empire-made white vinyl gloves; a vintage Made in Portugal glass bud vase; a Lambretta button-down shirt; 1980s Lady at Lord John blouse and a pair of vintage etched brass bangles. 


A Brook Taverner satin backed moleskin waistcoat; an Autograph leopard print jumpsuit with £65 store tags still attached; Another Warrior button-down shirt; A basket and the first pressing of UB40's iconic Signing Off album (when they were young & cool). 





Released in August, 1980 on Black Country indie label, Graduate Records, Signing Off reached number 2 in the UK album charts and made UB40 one of the most popular Reggae bands in Britain. The politically-charged lyrics struck a chord in a country with widespread public divisions over high unemployment, the policies of Margaret Thatcher's recently elected Conservative party and the rise of the National Front, while the record's dub-influenced rhythms reflected the late 1970s influence in British pop music of West Indian music introduced by immigrants from the Caribbean after WW2, particularly reggae and ska. This was typified by the 2 Tone movement, at that point at the height of its success and led by fellow West Midlands act The Specials, with whom UB40 drew comparisons due to their multi-racial band line-up and socialist views. Food for Thought was an attempt to publicise and condemn the famine in north Africa, comparing it with the Western over-indulgent celebration of Christmas, nearly five years before Band Aid brought the subject to widespread attention. 


I was delighted to spot the gold sequinned boob tube as I owned an identical one in the late 1970s and unbelievably, in the next shop, I found the same Palm Spandex disco pants I used to wear with it! Yes, my Mum was one of those women who dressed her 11-year-old daughter in the same clothes as her. Thank god she wore cool clothes and not the conventional frumpy "Mum" clothes favoured by most of my friend's mothers or I'd have been doomed!


I occasionally read blog posts and online articles saying that women shouldn't wear clothes they wore the first time around. Apparently, it's ageing and of course, women have to look fashionable and relevant or else they're invisible or a laughing stock...yawn! 


And here I am, wearing almost exactly the same outfit 44 years on from my school disco gear and not giving a toss as to whether they (whoever they might be) think it's right. I had such a laugh deadheading the dianthus at the front of the house and waving back at everyone on the bus.

After washing our goodies & pegging them out on the line, we spent the afternoon in the garden getting on with staking, watering, sweeping and weeding. We had halloumi and roasted veg for tea, watched back-to-back episodes of The Antiques Road Trip before I retired to bed with my latest read, a gripping spy novel by the stupendously good Mick Herron. If you haven't read anything by him I recommend This Is What Happened, a shockingly good, stand-alone thriller.


Friday morning lived up to the BBC's promises and absolutely pissed it down. I braved the rain to gather some strawberries for breakfast and to dash to the Kinky shed to retrieve the stock I'd sold overnight, wrapping it after my Wii Fit workout. 


 Jon was due at the dentist to chat about a possible implant and while he was out I finally got round to taking up the hem of my Indian Imports of Rhode Island maxi skirt, a task I've been meaning to do for over two years! Typically, after putting it off for so long it only took me an hour.

I cracked on with another task, ironing the shirts we'd bought on our charity shopping expedition yesterday. I'd just finished when Jon got back, drooling and mumbling incoherently. It turned out that our lovely dentist, PK, decided to have another go at reattaching Jon's crown and also mended a tooth he'd broken the previous day but hadn't told me as he knew I'd nag him about his evil Black Country pork scratching habit (don't ask me, Google is your friend). This involved an hour in the chair and three injections. I shouldn't laugh but it was hilarious watching him trying to eat his lunchtime noodles.



An exciting week for parcels! Sarah sent me an amazing Indian cotton skirt and embroidered tunic she'd found on her travels and Katy sent me this Alan Warner book (I love the cover). I read These Demented Lands a few months ago and I've noticed the film based on his book Morvern Callar is currently on the BBC I-Player, I've not seen it for years and it might make a change from antiques.


I managed to snag Jon a pair of Bank Robbers aka Clarks' Originals Desert Trek boots in a beeswax finish. New, they're well over £100 and even the secondhand ones command crazy prices. Someone put these on as a Buy-it-Now for such a great price that I think they might have missed the zero off the end and I snaffled them straightaway.


They're known as Bank Robbers in Jamaica after someone likened the tooling of the hiker on the back of the boot to a criminal carrying a bag of money. The Clarks' Desert Boot dates from 1949 when the crepe-soled boot became the staple of rude boys and others considered society’s outlaws. The Clarks Wallabees model quickly became just as popular, particularly in the hip-hop culture of New York and among musicians in Jamaica. The Wu-Tang Clan and Ghostface Killah wore the Desert Trek in the 1990s.



We had a brief respite from the rain and I was able to dash outside, photograph the shirts and upload them to eBay before it returned with a vengeance. I checked for any plant damage but thankfully everything was still holding up and looking rather lush.



It had been ages since I'd cleaned the spare bedroom so I swept, mopped and dusted both that and the landing. When I shared my Lotta collection the other day Jem asked where I kept them all so this is especially for her, they're neatly stashed on the Utility bookshelf. My flat sandals live in the Ghanian basket. My boots are under the bed and at the bottom of the wardrobe (hopefully I won't need them for ages!)


Jon's face had gone back to normal so he cooked fish & chips for his tea and a spinach and Feta parcel for mine. 


It's rum and coke night (again), cheers!