1 EAGLETON NOTES: Goodbye Old Friend

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Monday, 2 June 2014

Goodbye Old Friend


Or the alternative title is "We've been together now for fifty years".

I'm having a clear out: a serious clear out.

In 1965 the UK had a Commonwealth Arts Festival hosted by the City of Liverpool.  I was seconded to assist in the running of it.  My principal job, as I recall it, was to deal with protocol arrangements for dignitaries and others attending the many events from civic functions to theatre and other shows.

I have many fond memories including several opportunities to see full length professionally performed ballets (the first time I'd had such an opportunity and the start of my love of that art form).  I was privileged to meet  Ravi Shankar and hear him play.  

I learned that the High Commissioners of the time for India and Pakistan were good personal friends despite their countries being at war and that the more important a person was in public life the less likely he or she was to care about pomp and ceremony and the importance of their own position.  In other words I learned that in matters of protocol the people at the top didn't care and the people at the bottom (me for example) didn't matter but that the people in the middle cared enormously for their 'rightful' position in the order of things.

During the whole of this wonderful experience the evening suit that I had had to acquire for the functions was my constant companion.  

The late sixties in the city were magical times in many ways.  The age of elegance was still with us and at the many dinner dances and formal occasions that seemed constantly to occur the ladies wore long dresses and the men wore evening suits.  The sixties were also contrasting times of great social diversity and experimentation in the city.  Through all this my evening suit and I were faithful friends and companions.  

Just to prove that the jacket still
buttons up!
When I moved to Scotland the less formal approach to life in the Western Isles meant that we rarely had the opportunity to be seen out together although we have fond memories of the 'posh frock dos' that friends used to organise during the winter.  Despite the fact that for a few years now I have had a new evening suit my original DJ and I remained companions.  Until today.

Today has seen a huge change in my life.  The reality is that we will never be seen out together again.  We are both showing our age and at any formal function now I am more likely to wear my kilt than I am to wear my new DJ.

So it was with great sadness that I decided to try DJ on for one last time before depositing him in a clothing bank along with many other items of my wardrobe.

The sadness was alleviated to some extent by the fact that I could still fit into the suit.  Surprised? Impressed?  I was - both.  The shirt was a bit too tight around the neck I have to admit.  And, just for the record, I would never normally have worn a pre-tied bow tie!  In fact I have no idea where this one came from.

29 comments:

  1. Well, just look at you, Mr Edwards. As dashing as ever! Well done for still fitting that impressive outfit. One year in the 60s I had no fewer than 6 full length ball gowns (admittedly I made them all myself so they didn't impress me all that much). How times have changed. Actually, you don't look all that different to the bloke who tripped around the north with me.

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    1. Pauline, dashing is not an adjective I'm familiar with in reference to me except in relation to the speed I used to move (but no longer do!). As for tripping I seem to recall being reasonably steady on my feet even if it was as a result of leaning heavily on my walking pole. I truly hope, by the way, that it was not our last trip.

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  2. Wow! You look amazing in it. Do you really have to get rid of it?

    PS Please can we now have one of you in your kilt?

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    1. Careful GB - she will want you to display a picture of what you wear under your kilt too! Garrood rhymes with rude.

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    2. Frances my new suit is, well, newer. Although my first suit was still 'acceptable' it was beginning to show it's half century (though perhaps less than it's master). I think that one in my kilt may have to wait until my son's wedding in August. Although you never know....

      I'm sure YP that Frances is far too ladylike. I might remind you, too, that Y P is a question. Not a name I'd want.

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  3. Well done! I can still fit into some of the things in the sixties (the loose ones) but somehow I don't seem to look the same ... whereas you look wonderfully smart.

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    1. Thanks Jenny. I think the answer lies in fashion. My suit is as fashionable/unfashionable as it ever was. Ladies unfortunately rarely have the luxury of things looking fashionable 50 weeks after they were purchased never mind 50 years.

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  4. Wow, how dashing you look....saying goodbye to some of our favourite clothing always takes us down memory lane.
    I cleared out lots of my clothing last weekend and spent a couple of hours reliving various outings and having a twirl around my room in a few of them before making the decision to say goodbye.
    Did I mention how dashing you look....very very dashing.

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    1. Thank you Virginia. It's a long time since I had a clear-out. I usually wear clothes until they are finished. That tends to mean that there are an awful lot of unfinished clothes lying around which will never be worn again. Not now though!

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  5. Well, that's a very handsome gent in the photo! There is something to be said about more formal attire but it's not for me. Cool that you got to meet some very influential people.

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    1. Handsome is an adjective I've not had applied to me before that I'm aware of Red. It's amazing what a good suit can do for one though.

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  6. You have made me lost for words. A first.
    I can't always spell them but it's a rare day when I can't think of something either rude or complementary to say.

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    1. Well I've achieved something then Adrian!

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  7. "Dapper" - I think that's the term that should be used to describe you in your DJ - either that or "penguin" It's funny how we become attached to certain items of clothing. Even if I were a millionaire, I'd still want to hang on to some of my old unfashionable "friends". Perhaps we will see somebody else in your old DJ one day - maybe a TV news item about down-and-outs in Glasgow and hey - look there that fellow is in GB's suit!

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    1. Oh one can always rely on you for a droll review of things YP.

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  8. I'm sorry to see it go, GB. You look very smart indeed. In American vernacular, a sharp-lookin' suit. Personally, I'm sorry no one dresses up for anything any more, and have occasionally been subject to fits of pique when I opined that once -- just once! -- I would like to go somewhere that denim was not part of the dress code. But sadly, it's pretty clear that ain't gonna happen! xoxo

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    1. Now I'm getting to the maudlin stage DeeDee. It had to go. One has to let the past become the past but I will never forget my old companion.

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    2. You're right that we all have to let go of the past, but it can be hard. xoxox

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  9. It seems to me that all the suit-able adjectives have already been used in the comments above... You do look very smart, and may certainly feel proud of still fitting into it!

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    1. Thank you Monica for you very punny comment.

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  10. I think everything has been said about smart, your fitting it still etc. All true. I would like to know why are you sad today? What triggered the clean out.... Is the sad because of it or the reason for it?
    I have shad a few quiet tears this weekend because my elderly parents are having a clear out....and it is making them sad. I know they are facing the future bravely... And making it easier for them to downsize and me to clean up eventually, but hard to think of life without them...hopefully still a long way away, but inevitable eventually.

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    1. No, Fiona, I'm not really truly sad. It's true (well spotted - but then you would) that my subconscious is obviously thinking about the future. However I've also decided that I have let things accumulate for too long and when I look at my house and realise just how much 'stuff' there is in it I am almost ashamed. Whole communities in some countries will have fewer possessions than I have. In a few days I reach my Biblical allocation but as that's many more years than I expected when I was told that nothing more could be done for the cancer in 2008 I'm very happy with the way things have turned out.

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  11. Farewell to your suit, it will serve someone else's needs now. When I read about goodbye and saw all the books I thought you would be clearing out books. My dh and I are devoted to reading and books, and have begun giving a lot of our books to the library. A new favorite word of mine is "decluttering" and for me it is a happy word. Nice to know you have a kilt to wear.

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    1. Thank you Terra. Yes decluttering is exactly what I'm doing at the moment.

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  12. I'm looking forward to seeing your in your kilt... :-)

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