Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dressed To Kill

WARNING: Readers of a nervous disposition should avert their eyes from today's image.

A large shopping centre has banned people wearing hoodies or baseball caps. It seems these items are associated with criminality and are intimidating to respectable citizens going about their lawful business of contributing to Britain's one trillion pounds' worth of personal debt.

Now my late mother often wore a hooded anorak in order to protect herself from a sudden shower. But I don't recall her ever mugging any fellow oldies in the Post Office pensions queue.
On the occasions in my life when I've been struck or threatened with violence (I have that effect on some people), none of my assailants was wearing either a hoodie or a baseball cap.
I sometimes wear a baseball cap myself to protect my skull on hot summer days. I only do this in the privacy of my own garden. That's for aesthetic reasons (like most middle-aged men I look a prat in a baseball cap), not because my appearance on the street would have my fellow villagers running for cover.
But I hardly need to labour the point. I credit my readers with more sense than that.

So let's consider John Prescott. I know you don't want to but it's relevant to the story.
He said this morning that he fully supported the shopping centre's policy. This is the same John Prescott who punched and wrestled with a man with a mullet who had thrown an egg at him in the 2001 election. I'm sure Mr Prescott was wearing a smart dark suit at the time of his punch-up.
Maybe people with mullets should be banned from all public areas. They obviously have a propensity to throw eggs at people.
And - you won't believe this - bruiser Prescott, who didn't think twice about taking on a beefy, mullet-wearing Welshman, admitted on the radio that he had felt intimidated by some youths wearing hoods. Apparently they had tried to provoke him at a motorway service station. One of them was even carrying a video camera to record the altercation.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Sounds very much like a sting to get the mullet-wrestler on the front of a tabloid. But it hadn't occurred to Prescott that even youths as intellectually challenged as himself might think twice about picking a fight with a Deputy Prime Minister who was surrounded by bodyguards in a busy motorway service station.

But if this policy of sartorial criminality catches on, where will it end?
What about those people on horseback who wear red coats, a clear sign of intent to commit what is now a criminal activity?
And if we broaden it to giving public offence, what about the 20 stone people who waddle around in tight shorts or cellulite-hugging lycra? Or the old men I've seen in the village library in the summer wearing very short shorts the better to display their varicose-veined, lily-white legs? I've sometimes had to skip lunch after seeing that.

So leave da boyz in da hoods alone. (Sorry. That little sally into the argot de la rue was ill-advised).
Is the nation that watched with bemused equanimity the glorious flowering of punk fashion in the seventies now crapping itself at the sight of a hooded anorak? That's what I'm talking about. (There I go again).
In olden days a glimpse of a teddy boy's tasselled shoe was rather shocking. He had a flick-knife down his sock as surely as night followed day.
Except that in most cases he didn't. U get me? (Damn. Time for my afternoon nap.)
That's all I'm saying.


At 2:18 AM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

Great post. I really never thought about it like that. You are right though, it is very exploitive of children...I am, however, 100% positive that if these shows were around when I was a kid, your arguments would've done nothing to stop my own mother.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I assume you have similar shows in the States then. We probably sell the various formats to each other.
BTW, glad I'm not the only one who puts comments on the wrong posts on people's blogs :-)

At 7:30 AM, Blogger JayMaster said...

Thanks Willie – I have been incandescent (well lukewarm) with rage about this for days. Bluewater may have decided to ban ‘hoodies’, (or hooded-tops as I thought they were called until last week), but I don’t see them telling Gap etc that they cannot sell them. I am sure it couldn’t simply be a publicity stunt to highlight the shopping centre and encourage people who would otherwise use their local town centres to pay a visit?

I saw a young lad in Dixons at the weekend with both a cap and a hoodie, my immediate thought was that he was about to either steal something or mug me for my recently purchased asparagus and blueberries. I quickly left and went to Greenwoods were the attire assured me I was safe for crime.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Yes, that thought had occurred to me too. Bluewater have had publicity worth millions. Factor in the current slump in retail sales and it becomes a very plausible theory.


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