The Emperor’s New Clothes

At 5:40am this morning, my body performed it’s remarkable trick of waking up ahead of the alarm clock programmed for 6am. I rolled over, felt for a mobile phone shape on the bedside table, and disabled the alarm. I don’t know why I bothered – two minutes later my other half’s iPad erupted in Farmville notifications in the darkness – mooing spectacularly. She slept straight through it.

Half an hour later I was downstairs, showered, shaved, teeth brushed, hair brushed, clean shirt and tie on, and checking the railway timetable. Twenty minutes after that I found myself trudging through the back roads towards the railway station in a curiously dark and deserted version of town.

Emerging from the darkness towards the railway platform, a lady was issuing tickets to passengers as the approached – the first time I have ever seen that happen, and a damn good idea. I’ve made this journey in the past without seeing a ticket seller at all, and had to explain at the barriers in London what had happened (along with several hundred others). Her job was made more difficult because I typed the wrong pin number into the machine on the first try. I mumbled something about it being Monday morning, and she laughed.

The rest of the journey was entirely unremarkable. A very dapper young man sat opposite me on the train for most of the journey – he used VO5 hair wax. I know this because he dropped it when he took his bag from the overhead compartments, and chased the rolling tub along the carriage floor.

I arrived in Regent Street perhaps half an hour ahead of my meeting, and found a nearby Starbucks with comfy chairs, and most importantly coffee. While waiting for my order a tall blonde business woman became fixated on me through the muddle of people waiting – I became self conscious – wondering if there was something wrong with me. She walked past me to enquire about her order – a bizarre mixture of instructions that I had never heard and could not even begin to repeat. Some kind of skinny frappachappa dooby doo. I have no idea. I ordered a cappuccino. I can say cappuccino. I like cappuccino too.


You’re probably wondering about the title of this post. While sitting in a comfy chair – chosen deliberately because nobody was sitting in it (always a bonus), and more importantly because it was facing the rest of the coffee shop – a rather “smartly” dressed gentlemen walked in.

It has never ceased to amaze me how quickly fashion rips through a certain demographic that live and work in London. This guy was wearing a pair of silk trousers, that while no doubt were the epitome of lad-about-town high fashion, made him look like he was seven years old, and didn’t want to let go of the favourite pair of trousers he had been given for his fourth birthday. Just to add to the ensemble, he had pathetic excuse for a scarf very carefully wrapped around his neck (it looked more like a dish cloth), and had a Lewis Hamilton-esque haircut – where it seemed the barber had chopped lots of bits off, and then stuck them back on top of his head in some kind of cone shaped mould.

I had to look away to avoid laughing. I imagine other people in the shop wondered why the tall guy in the corner was grinning at the floor like a deranged lunatic.

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