I have never thought of myself as being particularly hip, rather more square if anything (though as the famous 80s newscaster Huey Lewis taught us, these attributes are not necessarily mutually exclusive). However, a few recent events have made me wonder if I am inadvertently becoming slightly hip.
A few weeks back, in that London, a chap who if not actually gay certainly took sufficient care in his dress and appearance not to embarrass himself in such company (I fear I may be veering into stereotype territory here) complimented me on my shoes. Before I describe this praise-worthy footwear, I should perhaps mention that I have an aversion to dark coloured footwear on my feet – I’m fine with it on the feet of others, just not my own. I do not own a pair of black shoes but an impractically large proportion of my shoes are (mostly) white. For formal occasions, I rely on tan shoes – the lighter the better. Anyway, the shoes in question are suede brogues in a shade of duck-egg blue (for suitable duck) which I rather like (especially as I acquired then on the cheap), but are rather impractical in our climate – particularly as experienced at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014. This is not an issue that I recall Mr Presley mentioning – though I am just as keen as he to keep people from stepping on them. Once again, let down by popular music…
Only this week, a very attractive young lady approached me with a recording device to elicit my opinions on the subject of rap music. Sadly, my knowledge is this field is rather limited – I believe a quiet ocean (or, if you prefer, a silent C) is involved – and I felt unable to decide whether “classic” or some newer genre of rap meet with a greater degree of my approbation. Still, it was kind of her to ask an old codger.
It was also this week that an Italian asked me whether I had lived in Italy. Apparently, my pronunciation of Italian patisserie was so good that I could be mistaken for a native. Obviously, the ability to obtain cake in other languages is a key (and very cool) life skill – but in this case, it did massively oversell my facility with the Italian language (which is almost non-existent, I can read a little especially if related to power stations and that’s about it). Lest you are starting to think that I am naturally gifted with languages, I can assure that this is not the case. My Italian pronunciation comes courtesy of Messers George Frideric Handel and Nicola Vaccai coupled with the hard work of my singing teacher to undo the effects of my Latin schooling so that I can better render bass arias for an (as yet non-existent) audience.
I’m not that hip though. I regularly pass what I presume to be nightclub which offers a night named something like “Angels and Demons” (or “Heaven and Hell”, or “Vicars and Tarts” or something in that Manichean vein). Among the many delights on offer on these nights are “angle grinders”. I presume these are there to offer noise and sparks, but I like to think that their inclusion shows a resurgent interest in engineering among today’s youth. I like to imagine future nights will offer lathes spinning some discs or perhaps a DJ spot from a Makino MC65 CNC milling machine. I fear this may mark me out as terminally un-hip – though, Hitchhikers fans need not worry about my backside falling off.
Actually, the angle grinder gave me an idea. When folk prove particularly resistant to absorbing new data using traditional methods, my previous strategy was to write out the information long-hand on a baseball bat and beat it into them (it’s never failed yet!). We seem to be saddled with a particularly obtuse political elite at the moment, I do wonder if constructive use of an angle grinder could make them more acute? Yes, after all that, it was all leading to a cheap trigonometry pun.