Invisible Stranger


Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

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Friday, October 29, 2004
Clothes-Lines
Over the weekend I spent a couple of hundred quid on a new leather jacket to replace the third-favourite one I've had for I can't remember how many years now (no, it's not this one – it'll take more than a twister in Kansas to part me with that particular piece of designer cowhide).

Now, a Brando I most certainly am not, and the closest I ever come to being a Wild One is when someone nicks my Stella when I'm not looking, but as I schmoozed the Soho streets last night, I don't think I've ever before attracted so many admiring glances, at least not since I started shaving.

Motorbike jacket, white tee, and faded blue jeans, it’s the classic nelly look, all mean, moody and Mary-magnificent, and the fact I'm too much of a weed to ride a Harley or a Suzuki is neither here nor there. For on Planet Gay, when all else fails, and when the DKNY's been dumped and the Diesel discarded, and you realise that Versace isn't fun or ironic anymore, but just that tiny bit naff, then there's always your reliable leather jacket, the gay world's equivalent of Coco's little black dress.

It was a wrench throwing out the old one, but what really decided me was when I realised that our marriage had been merely one of cheap convenience, entered into purely so I could gain admission to those sort of sleazy perv-palaces I never could with my other swish and designer gear (not even when all the lights had been switched off, as seems to happen so very often in these places).

So sadly it won't be joining my other sartorial souvenirs, those fashion mistakes and triumphs I'll probably never wear again (even if I could fit into them), but which I just can't bear to chuck out. Things like the silk sarong from Lamu island, the memory of a perfect African summer, and a look I was sporting years before Becks; my Eric's tee-shirt and my Trade flying jacket, the only two clubs ever to have me as a member and let me get up to the things I did; that raggedy old school tie together with the platforms and bell-bottomed jeans I wore at that time precisely because you weren't allowed to; the UNEP watch which stopped forever at exactly five minutes past midnight when my heart was broken for the very last time; and, of course, my hooded green pixie jacket with the tassel and the embroidered tattoo and the pixie boots to match (don't ask).

Clothes maketh the man, so they say, and you really wouldn't want me to shop at Marks and Spencer's now, would you?