10 October. The week before last we were wearing shorts. This week we're having to contemplate wearing gloves. Winter is on the way, I guess. (Postmen, of course, will carry on wearing shorts regardless, even when it's snowing. Why do they do that?)
I don't know about you, but I've begun to notice that brown cars are beginning to make their presence known on the highways and byways. Well, I say brown, but more usually the colour might better be described as sludge. In various shades of, depending upon the manufacturer.
Now each to their own and all that. And I admit men do reach a certain age (let's just say that it's when we're past our procreational best) when we answer the call of corduroy in just such a colour. In trousers mostly, although the designers amongst us would prefer to go the whole hog and we hanker after a suit. Preferably from Old Town.
But to choose to have your car that colour – that's altogether on another scale, isn't it? Now I know from recent experience that manufacturers only offer a very limited range of colour options these days, and that not all of us want the liability of pristine white or the anonymity of silver. But it completely mystefies me why anyone should go into a car showroom and think "that model would look so much better if it were the colour of diarrhea".
So, if you should be so tempted, I'm here to remind you that brown cars (and all shades thereof) were a bad idea the first time round:
Well maybe I was wrong about those white range rovers being predominently a man thing. For yesterday I spotted one on its way to be united with Angie (there were trade plates in the front):
Admittedly it's not quite so pimped up as many others I've seen - but hey, Angie, you're going to need to take out a car wash season ticket if you're going to be driving that thing around Hammersmith on wet January mornings. Mind you, like the men, I bet you've got well trimmed hair in a certain place - perhaps so well trimmed that there's none at all, if you see what I mean :)
I've been seeing a lot of these around lately. Well when I say a lot, that's something of an overstatement. Let's say enough. Yes, I've seen enough of these lately.
And it makes me wonder what sort of man (and I'm guessing that they're invariably men) would choose to purchase something where the reality of ownership can't possibly be at a further remove from its function.
I happened to pass a showroom yesterday which had two of them. I also passed two 'adult' shops in the same street. And, being unfamiliar with the area, I'm sort of guessing that that isn't entirely coincidental.
I was going to post this under the 'god's way of telling you that you've got too much money' category. But that would assume some level of self-awareness on the part of said men. And I suspect that they have none. Perfectly trimmed pubic hair, maybe (what a horrible thought). But no self-awareness.
I'm going to tell you two things about myself that you might or might not already know. The first is that if I listen to the radio (which I mostly do while I'm either driving, cooking or making my morning espresso) it's invariably Radio 4. The second thing is that I am completely disinterested in sport. So much so, that the sport section of my daily Guardian goes straight into the recycling bin without even being unfolded.
Anyway, when I'm making my morning cup of espresso and listening to the radio, it will always be to the Today programme. And if you're familiar with the programme you'll know that there is a three to four-minute sports slot around about the half-hour. So three or four minutes of an hour's worth of listening, in other words. Now I work from home, so I have no set time when I have to be in front of this screen, so consequently I only set an alarm if I have to be somewhere in particular in the morning (and that is probably only once every two or three weeks). Which means that I wake up when I wake up, which is naturally - and that can vary by anything up to (at a guess) 45 minutes either way.
But here's the thing: whatever time I wake up, when I turn on the radio in the morning, nine times out of ten it will be right in the middle of the sports slot. Why is that, I wonder?
I've been lunching with Mike once or twice a week recently. Although, actually, lunching isn't quite the right word. You see, Mike suffers from a degenerative disease which means that he's confined to a wheelchair. But Mike enjoys a pint or two, so I've been taking him out and about to some of his favourite haunts. My task is to take care of the driving back and forth, so I can't join in with the drinking. Which means that I become a bit of an observer. And Mike has introduced me to the world of real ale, which is one of those things in life that I completely fail to understand.
But real ale and microbreweries are enjoying a boom, apparently. And it's a funny old design-free world, it seems to me. Or at least judged on the basis of their branding efforts, which really only consists of the labels on the hand pumps. But these seem to be a source of great fascination and discussion on the part of those who partake. Indeed, Mike himself wants to know the ABV of every brew on offer before deciding upon which he's going to splash out on. Can you really tell the difference between something at 4.3% and 4.7%? Or is the rate at which you become inebriated part of the pull?
Mind you, for all their lack of sophistication, I can't help wondering whether these microbreweries haven't in fact got their target audience completely nailed. For they're always men. And, without wishing to appear to be too judgmental, men who are past their prime. With views and opinions to match. And the beer pump labels that I've seen in the past few months seem to be spot on when it comes to reflecting the thought processes of those who like to down a few pints over a lunchtime.
Here, with the help of the Pump Clip Museum, are a few examples to illustrate my observations. Top of the list is the belief that the barmaid wants, more than anything else, to engage in some form of sexual activity.
But sometimes the barmaid isn't so attractive. Which means that attention has to turn to those who are getting the sort of sex that you can only dream of.
But three pints down and with it comes the onset of brewer's droop. Which means only one thing: thoughts turn to steam trains.
And with steam trains comes nostalgia. And so, inexorably, to our hero - Winston Churchill.
And from Winston, and thoughts of all those unwanted foreigners, there's only one place to retreat to - the safety of the Union Jack.
But I'm still sober, remember. And my mind's beginning to wander. But mine's a designer's mind, so what I want to do is inject a bit of fun into the proceedings, and untilize my skills along the way.
So what am I going to do? Well, I'm going to give that last label a modernist makeover.