When seeking a title for this post, which will have later some recourse to the milliner’s art, I was surprised to encounter the concept of a runcible hat and felt it was too good not to use. I had previously thought that Edward Lear applied the adjective only to a spoon, but he was far more liberal than I knew and as well as hats it was also used to describe a cat, a goose (analogous to the idea of a “silly goose”) and a wall. As a fan of Neal Asher, I also know it as a Polity FTL teleportation device – but this usage comes from the “original” spoon. Mr Lear himself gives no clues as to the form of a runcible hat, though it is worn by one with a perfectly spherical body. Despite the paucity of data on its form, I find that one can buy a runcible hat (or at least a hat which claims that invented adjective for itself) – which I feel must say something about the world in which we live. All this, of course, means that despite the confident assertion of the title, there may have been signs (and more) of a runcible hat.
As this blog has noted before, I would rather like to be a hat-wearer myself but have always struggled to find the right headwear to bring out (or perhaps properly submerge) the inner me. Nevertheless, I live in Hope – or I will do once I find a suitable property near the confluence of the River Noe and Peakshole Water. The hat spotting period which I will be considering in today’s seminar is the weekend just gone (or, perhaps still there but inaccessible – depending on your thoughts on the concept of block time) which was rich in opportunity. I did not deliberately seek out the be-hatted, but my chosen evening entertainment on both days delivered head-borne hats aplenty.
On Saturday evening, I strolled down to the Art House Cafe for the second of their musical evenings I have managed to attend. These are pretty cheap, but you are taking a punt on the musical fare as the artists are fairly unknown (to me at least, and I listen to 6Music and know the surnames of most of One Direction – which gives you some feel for the breadth of my musical knowledge). Still, even bad music live is good, there is something wonderfully visceral about live music and I still fondly remember a night in a bar in Cortez, Colorado with (I presume) a local band playing (way back in 1990), or visiting the Dublin Castle, NW1 (£5, £4 concessions) to see (among others) a band who lived down the road from my sister in Polegate. Happy times and I often regret I don’t do this more often – but unlike classical music, I don’t know the ropes and I do rather like a chance to sit down at a gig. The AHC offers chairs and I know the general, slightly shambolic form and so this seems an excellent place to sample some live music. We had two bands on Saturday night and I could check out a little of their oeuvres on Soundcloud in advance, so had some idea what I was about to receive (and for which I was – as you will see – truly grateful).
The evening started with Noah’s House Band who play something in the folk space (I think), with short jaunty songs that are nominally animal based. This was great fun with plenty of opportunity for foot tapping. The band were generally arrayed in blue-and-white striped tops, beards and newsboy caps (or such is my best guess from a subsequent internet image search). They pulled this off with some style, but I fear that both horizontal stripes and the newsboy cap are not for me – and I lack the patience to grow a beard.
After fortifying myself with some of Sam Smith’s Organic Pale Ale in the intermission, we were treated to The Skull Kids in Act 2. I’d say they had hints of The Doors and The Coral, with maybe a smidgeon (which, as you will know, is a small duck) of For the benefit of Mr Kite – though they may disagree. Despite some musical links to the 1960s, I don’t think the band had even experienced much of the 1990s, such was their youth. The music was really good fun and I believe if you visit the AHC Facebook page you can see the back of my head enjoying one of their songs. Most of the band sported hats in the bowler/derby space – though the lead singer went with a topper (and red tail coat). I think I may be able to pull-off a derby (well, I was born relatively nearby) – though this is on the assumption that I have more in common with the bassist (Will) than the keyboard player (I think Alfie may have had a hat – or head – of the wrong size or is just even less well configured for hat-wearing than I). All-in-all, it was a really great night out and vastly better than sitting at home in front of the dire televisual offerings which pass for entertainment for the more moribund members of our society.
Last night, I went to the Nuffield for an evening with Celia Imrie – which was very enjoyable. She had literally disembarked from the QM2 the night before (like me she dislikes flying, but takes this dislike more seriously – I am a mere dilettante, in this and so much else) and then spent the day rehearsing. The event was a fund-raiser for the theatre, so post show I found myself having drinks with Ms Imrie – what a strange turn my life has taken. Celia wore a number of hats during the show, but for the closing number the entire audience were issued with paper sailor’s hats and we all had a sing along. I have retained mine, just in case of future need. Well, I may need to blag my way onto a naval vessel – or it may add to my allure (and let’s face it, it could use some additions) if I ever obtain any traction on this whole dating project.