Beckham baker's boy cap, beyond the pale, Birkenstocks, Biro, Channel 4, Clothing Bank, Diane Abbott, Islington North, ITV, Jeremy Corbyn, Jezza, Jon Snow, Paisley pattern, Pele Tower, personal style signifier, Robert Peston, snowclones, Whiter Shade of Pale, Wurzel Gummidge
Virginia Fisher-Gyles had to admit to a certain frustration over her
relationship with Augustus Snodbury, Senior Master at St Birinus
They had enjoyed each other’s company over the school holidays
and were planning a half term break to visit Gus’ ex-squeeze, who
had been reconciled to her ex-husband, Murgatroyd Syylk, the erstwhile
picture dealer. Now Diana, for that was the name of the lady so lucky
in love, was adapting to her new role as chatelaine of a renovated
pele tower. To boot, her spouse was the epitome of good grooming.
Virginia felt no pangs of jealousy, architectural, or otherwise, but
what really niggled at her lately-enjoyed sense of being a deux was a
certain slight embarrassment at her partner’s wardrobe.
Gus seemed to have shadowed Jeremy Corbyn on one of his sartorial
shopping treks round Islington North market stalls. The schoolmaster
wasn’t guilty of the white vest solecism, but he did have a very similar
beige jacket, albeit with unco-ordinated elbow patches.
Like Jezza, Snod had a habit of keeping a spare Biro in his shirt pocket.
One hot summer day, before term had ended, Peabrayne Minor had
practically freaked out, as he had noticed a crimson seepage from his
teacher’s breast. He had run out of the classroom to fetch the San Sister,
thinking the old boy was haemmorhaging. Some of the other boys on the
front row had noticed the phenomenon too, but had realised that it was
a leaky marking pen that was gradually creating a map that the more
geographically-aware members of the class were already identifying as
Snod had been sporting cords since the Seventies- possibly the same pair-
because he appreciated their comfort, which only increased, the baggier
they became round his increasing backside.
For more formal occasions, such as a Parents’ Evening, he added a rakish
personal style signifier in the form of a Paisley patterned silk mouchoir,
which protruded from the aforementioned jacket pocket.
Virginia had been relieved that her had stuck to his old cricket flannels on
their European cruise. At least he had not worn shorts with his Birkenstocks.
That would have been beyond the pale, as far as she was concerned. She
privately made a bet with herself that his legs had not seen the light of day
since A Whiter Shade of Pale had topped the charts in 1967. Anyway, she
wasn’t going to go there.
So, for her beau, beige was the new black. She had read that such
expressions were termed snowclones. How she wished that he would take
a leaf out of Jon Snow’s book and, at least, display a hint of hosiery style.
However, since Gus was not a Channel 4 type, she would just have to accept
that he was happier to converge with the likes of Robert Peston. But if the
economist was to defect to ITV, there might be a hope of persuading her man
that Wurzel Gummidge was an unsuitable role model, or fashion template.
So, boho-Corbynesque seemed to prevail. What was she supposed to do
about it? Threaten to dress like Diane Abbott?
No, she would start her campaign early and ensure that he wasn’t just
getting socks and Boxers for Christmas. This was going to tax her
organisational skills as a PA to the limit, as well as her personal shopper
aspirations. It was heartening, however, to know that Snod’s daughter,
Drusilla, was on board and had offered to hijack his laundry and take it to
the Clothing Bank at the re-cycling centre. They would probably charge
her ten quid to incinerate it.
Virginia thought that might be a risky strategy, although a tempting one.
However, since Nigel, Drusilla’s boyfriend was adopting the same
magisterial uniform, in the Latin sense, perhaps the two women could
form a twin-pronged attack on both males and achieve successful
At least neither of them owned a Beckham baker’s boy cap. So, there
might be some hope after all.