We are in the Isle of Wight having a very lovely holiday in a properly British seaside kind of way – it is a bit cold, there is quite a bit of shingle, ice cream, donkeys, sausages and chips – so many chips – chips with everything except cereal. I am officially in love with the IOW and cannot understand why it has taken us 8 years to come here. We are staying in Seaview, which is a very small, cute, cold little village (if three shops, one church and a pharmacy constitute a village) with barmy Victorian/1950’s hybrid cottages right up against the sea wall. There is only one shop which does takeaway coffee and rock cakes that fill your mouth up like raisin-studded putty, but there is a Tesco five minutes from here which is open 24 hours. Balanced, the IOW is not.
More on the Isle of Wight stylishness later. Which brings me neatly round to my New Topic:
Stylishness And UnStylishness – The Harridan View
Ah yes. It occurs to me that I see the world applying this consideration as my yardstick. Not for me the application of ethics or morals or philosophical ideas to the stuff of everyday life. No, I just like things that are cool and cost quite a lot.
So, stylishness matters. If a thing is stylish, it is worth thinking about, talking about, and generally endorsing. Many other things fall into the Bad Category of Unstylishness, while everything else left over is best left to the Thinkers. In a long, self-indulgent internal monologue yesterday, while sitting on the beach at Ryde getting battered by a cold wind and having my ears subjected to the outraged screams of Cold Angry Baby Ned, I interviewed myself in manner of investigative journalist to get to the bottom of this superficial and terribly one-dimensional worldview. It was AWESOME. Here is an excerpt.
MYSELF: When did you first acknowledge that Stylishness trumps all?
THE HARRIDAN (that is me, fellas): I was about 12 and I was home from school, and had taken off my uniform and put on a purple t-shirt and black bike shorts, and was by myself downstairs watching Beverley Hills 90210 (the original version) and I had an epiphany. I realised that wearing bike pants was entirely unstylish, and that the way forward was to strive for some element of interest or quirkiness or general stylishness every day.
MYSELF: Is having children a Stylish thing to do?
TH: Well, having 4 is Stylish, having 5 is Unstylish, but having 6 reverts to Stylish again. Something about even numbers, I think. Or it maybe that Patsy Henderson Effect. [All those who went to Tikipunga High School will understand this point].
M: The most Stylish city?
TH: New York. But everyone knows that. Next.
M: Is having a job Stylish, and what job should that ideally be?
TH: Yes, it is very Stylish to have a job. In a perfect world, one would be a music TV presenter or the owner of an art gallery in some edgy part of Manhattan. An editor of a magazine would do nicely, but only in certain, specific, Stylish fields.
M: What foods are Stylish?
TH: Not chips, but some sausages, depending on their heritage. Expensive foods are Stylish, but so are foods from Stylish markets, like Avondale and Portobello. (You are surprised at the Avondale reference, I know, but cheapness is Stylish when it is in a market context. You may find vintage gold there in amongst the bok choi. You just might).
Bread is Stylish if it is crusty and made properly. Fish and other seafood-related foodstuffs is neither Stylish or Unstylish, just REVOLTING. Crisps are not Stylish, but pork crackling is very Stylish. Supermarket-own-branded food is so Unstylish I can hardly bear to type it. Burgers from posh chains are fine, pizza only makes the grade if it is thin-crust. Butter is elegant and cool, but only if organic.
M: Are animals Stylish?
TH: Many are, but mostly dogs. The bigger, the better. Hamsters are less so. In fact, rodents are generally Unstylish and owning them as pets is a very Unstylish move.
M: Botox and teeth whitening – your verdict?
TH: Increasingly, I think they may make the Stylish grade. But only if I can afford them.
M: Are shoes Stylish?
M: How would you sum up Stylishness? Is it about the inner self, or the outer self?
TH: Much more important than being stylish is to be yourself. NAH – kidding! Stylishness is best summed up as a Chanel 2.55.
M: Scrabble. Stylish?
TH: Immensely so.
…And so on, and so forth. That is a snippet of the inner workings of The Harridan’s mind. SHUDDER.