I don't have footballers as heroes, maybe it's because I've had the chance to meet those who had the potential to acquire such status. Ian Rush, Mickey Thomas, Joey Jones, they'd have heroic potential but I've got their numbers in my mobile, so that it somehow makes them a little too ordinary, no matter how much I loved the way they played.
My heroes are to be found primarily in music. The lead singers i grew up trying to look like-Terry Hall, Bernard Sumner, Shaun Ryder and, the real deal, Kevin Rowland. If More Specials was my first 'hip' LP, 'Searching For The Young Soul Rebels' was my first, bought-with- my-own-money cassette. And it was the first thing I played on the Aiwa portable stereo I got for my 13th birthday. I still have the tape somewhere, replaced by CD and then download. I love it still. But it's not why Kevin's my main man.
I bought everything Dexy's I could get my hands on as I lad, so I was one of the few people to purchase 'Don't Stand Me Down'. The first thing I loved about it was 'the look'. The donkey jackets and boxer boots had given way to dungarees and gym pumps, both striking but not what i'd ever wear but now it was full on Ivy League-chinos, penny loafers, button-down Oxford shirts. Kev had done it again, the sleeve looked great.
Of course, the album's a work of genius, I've got 3 different versions of it now, there's even a 'director's cut'. But the look of that album's always exerted a strong hold. It's sporty but smart, uniform but colourful.
Now, as I sail ever further into my fifth decade, I've marked it down as the look best suited to my early middle age. It carries a lot of the hallmarks of my youth, polo shirts, boat shoes, sweaters, pastel shades, bold colours and there's opportunity to indulge in a bit of label-love, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Timberland deck shoes, but I'm a man with an eye for a bargain and a budget that demands it.
M&S do all that Blue Harbour stuff but it doesn't really do it for me, it's less Boston, more Boscombe. Having said that, I did pick up a pair of BH brown leather deck shoes at the York outlet the other week for £9 and they've barely been off my feet since.
"Now, as I sail further into my fifth decade, I've marked it down as the look best suited to my early middle age."
Talking of Boston, Asda have been doing their own preppy range, Boston Crew. There was some good stuff last year and, as always with supermarket clobber, it ended up getting reduced to next-to-nothing. I bought blue button-down collar cotton shirts, one in a blue check, two plain and a great pair of cotton chinos which are dark enough to wear into autumn. Combined spend was about £20.
Flannel shirts have been filling my wardrobe as well. They're the new hoodie, perfect for slobbing around, worn over a plain white t-shirt or under a plain, cotton crew neck sweater. I've had two top sources-Dunnes, the Irish version of Primark, did some great ones last winter, about £6, and Uniqlo, my favourite online retailer. Their stuff is reasonably priced anyway but they regularly have great discounts. I've got 3 of their flannel shirts now, the latest in a red/green/black check, reduced to £5. I really like the flannel shirt with a hood they've got in this season's collection, but it's still full price so no deal yet.
So today I stepped out as if I were heading for the Hamptons, rather than the office in Leeds - chinos, check shirt, boat shoes and padded gilet. Or maybe I looked like a trainspotter? It's a fine line.
I've been researching the subject, I may need some Nantucket Reds product, sold only in a shop on some island off the New England coast. Originally a red trouser that faded to a pink, there's now a full range of gear for wearing down the yacht club. I like the crew neck sweatshirt, $62, mind you, I've already got something very similar, again from Uniqlo, cost a whole lot less than that.
After his preppy phase, Kevin Rowland moved on to dresses and stockings and suspenders of course but, to be honest, I just haven't got the legs for it.
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