The Scribbler spent a considerable part of his life clad almost entirely in black.
Over a decade in fact, from around 1978 to 1990, at which time The Scribbler met his dearly beloved, who slowly but surely weaned him, not without a struggle but with gentle and simply irresistible persistence, off the total blackout.
Up ‘til then it was black Oxfam/Notting Hill Housing Trust/ or some such like jacket, or a battered (had to be battered) leather biker jacket. Black shirts with occasional bootlace tie if going somewhere special, black jeans or trousers, and black Doctor Martens shoes (not boots). Standard outfit.
Doctor Martens were also worn until they almost fell apart (could take maybe two years if I remember correctly) – and they were the only shoes owned – obviously.
It wasn’t a Goth look. There was a quiff in there (also sadly banished in the 90’s) of varying height. It was more New Wave, sort of ex punk.
But even after the early 90’s it cannot be said that The Scribbler suddenly became a riot of colour in his apparel.
Black is still heavily favoured, but The Scribbler has gradually accepted greys and dark blues, and even an occasional brown. A check shirt is occasionally deemed acceptable.
The exception to the uniform black used to be the odd crazy shirt. There was a period of buying the most horrible shirt possible (often women’s blouses) from charity shops, to wear to parties along with the black. One was so successful that the revolted girlfriend of the time got out a scissors and cut it into very small pieces when we got home.
Black was not an unusual look in the late 70’s, early 80’s. In fact amongst a certain age group it was almost regulation. The Scribbler was a student at one point, but it was not a look restricted wholly to students. When you ceased being a student in those days, you went on the dole. Then if you were lucky (!) you got a crap job (making bits for petrol pumps/ warehouse work, etc, etc). It was the era of Margaret Thatcher, of dole queues, of gloom.
Of course the music was like that too – punk had petered out and it was Joy Division, The Fall, The Cure, Pyscheledic Furs, the Cramps, The Fall, etc. It was dark. And there was not much to look forward to. It all felt black.
We thought it looked good too, of course.
Mums could be a problem. “I knitted you this. I know you like black, but I just thought I’d put this little red stripe in. Nice isn’t it? It’s mostly black…” Ta mum.
Actually, come to think of it, don’t know where the bootlace tie is now, either…