London: a new uniform (2006)

Winter soon clung close and the uniform I had so furiously enclosed myself soon wore thin. A synthetic fabric was not relevant to the season which was growing violent. A tracksuit couldn’t survive the harsh conditions nor could it match my mouldy face any longer. Four pockets were not enough. And I was soon getting denied access to the more prestigious door wells of London. The tracksuit simply didn’t cut it anymore. I needed garms of a finer thread. I needed a new uniform. I felt like a young boy in tracksuits and trainers. Was I going for a run? Clearly not. I hadn’t been for a run for centuries and I was smoking plenty. But this wasn’t the atmosphere for health. The outfit required needed strength, it wanted to be heavier, strong, durable and hard. The tracksuit was a mere soft vibration. Useless in the eyes of Reason. The [wool] absorbed Lenor Fabric Conditioner. The garments I was in search for absorbed nothing. They matched the black wine and oak doors and ale pies and strange women. They matched London Bridge and The Thames and pavements and pipe tobacco. They matched ‘a book in the top pocket’ and leather boots, oil,  grease and liquor. There was a striving for peculiarity and Englishness and blood. There was a striving need for pockets and heavy thread and tightness, tailor and form. There was a need for the Old days and some of the New, perhaps a cane and top hat and –
No, that was too much.
Hence I had decided to venture out. It was, after all, payday where the taxman was concerned. (Perhaps this had spurned my thoughts of a new and more sincere fashion?)
Oh, fashion is the word.
Sick man am I… to be at so ill ease with my own choice of ‘style.’ I think, perhaps, it is this city for in my ganders around the world I never once looked down at my feet to ponder the relevance of my socks.
I stared down at the clothes I had. My options. They weren’t pleasant. The brogues would have to go, I knew that much. They drained all blood from my feet and let it seep from between the seams. The tracksuit was a dead burden now. Although… a hooded top was mandatory in such times. And the rest: the rest was pure fiction. I had to start over again. Almost everything could not be used.
I pulled the shirts to one side and kept them. They alone seemed the only item worth harvesting. I needed new trousers, new boots …a new jacket – one with enough pockets to sustain. Long enough… but not too long. I am after all, not too tall.
I constructed a list written with a broken biro on a flat matchbox and stepped outside of my room, turned down the misty stairwell and into the wet streets towards the bus.

I found a quiet corner at the back behind an old Indian woman with a face covered in headscarves. She appeared quite used to boredom and bore it well with her hands folded over one another quietly upon her bright dress. She wore untidy sideburns and a pair of sleepy eyes that stared directly out of the scratched window of the No. [47] bus to Camden Town thinking of __________________. What is it such women think of? And why is it men like us shall never know?
I slowly began to feel like a fraud whilst watching her. For surely she could deduce my thoughts in an instant…young confused Western man with a mild disturbance of mind and a heart longing for peace. Why was it so easy? Was I really that simple when I had thought myself so complicated? So….indepth.
But…shallow really. Shallow and Obvious.
Schoolboy. I was a text-book procedure. A cheap psychotherapist’s economic dream.
Wasn’t it so plain? What was I doing anyway? …finding a new suit to wear so that I may disguise myself amongst the public? What utter ridiculousness. What absurdity. Why had I chosen to complicate matters when I could have stuck with the basics of a tracksuit? What was all this ‘heavier garments, coats and pockets?’
But no – I was right. I did need a decent pair of trousers. Trousers and boots. And a coat of course. But I must not contemplate those things too much or gain expectations. Go by what is comfortable. Simple. Remember the city you’re in, remember the company you keep.
I inspected my list:

coat. (long. Pockets. black. pinstripe?)  —- Camden?
boots (dr. martens?)


And the word ‘cane’ crossed out.


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