Wednesday 25 April 2007

Men in skirts

December 2006

Should men wear skirts? Hold that thought while I backtrack a moment. Yesterday afternoon we drove over to Bampton and parked James with his grandmother. We left them playing Monopoly while we went to see Casino Royale at the Tivoli in Tiverton. I love the Tivoli – it’s one of those old-fashioned independent cinemas that make going to the movies a real treat. You don’t get ripped off for your ticket or your popcorn (unlike the big multiplexes where you need to take out a mortgage before venturing in). It’s huge and you get to choose where you sit. OK, there’s a slightly odd smell (possibly damp or stale cat pee) and you need to avoid certain parts as a chill draft blows through. But the screen is huge and the aisles are wide. As the lights go down a rather camp voice welcomes you to the Tivoli, politely asks you to turn off your mobile and to be considerate to your fellow viewers, and then conjoins you to ‘And now sit back and enjoy…….(empathic pause)…..Casino Royale (said with a true actorly flourish).
There’s an intermission halfway through and a chap comes out with ice-creams and waits patiently at the bottom for the kids to tramp down and pick out their Cornettos. Have to say the film was good fun – incredibly violent and very graphic, but Daniel Craig is pretty damn gorgeous. Adrian loved the fights; I loved the lingering shots or Mr Craig’s pecs – so we were both happy.
Incidentally, the Tivoli is now under threat of closure - so if you want to save a truly independent cinema go to and add your signature to the petition.

Then we flew back to mum’s, put James to bed and headed off to West Anstey for a party at friends (the ones who are considering having to move to the city). It was a dark clear night and the stars were very bright. Given the intense gin episodes of the last few weeks I’d volunteered to drive (as it’s probably the only way I can avoid a huge hangover the next day!).

The house looked lovely – all sparkly with candles and fairy lights. There was a good mix of people we knew, and people we didn’t. Including Roger the skirt-man. Now Roger is famous (should that be infamous?) around the area for wearing skirts. Not kilts, let’s be totally clear, but full-blown skirts. He was clearly in festive mood last night as his skirt was a frivolous two-tone number in some kind of taffeta.
We’ve known Roger and his wife (no, you see, you thought he was gay, didn’t you?) Paula for quite a few years. Paula is fabulous – she is a native Devonian with a rock-chick mentality – a stunning blonde who has been known to run home barefoot in the snow following a night on the vodka. Roger – we thought, when we first met him – was a musician or something off-beat but it turned out he sells printer cartridges. So you see, you should never judge a book by its cover. Anyhow, the one thing nobody has ever mentioned – the elephant in the room – is why he actually wears skirts.
No such reticence from Guy – a chap not known for his tact.
‘So,’ peering askance at Roger’s legs (very nice legs actually – not far off Daniel Craig’s), ‘What’s with the skirt then?’
Roger looked bemused. I don’t think anyone has ever asked him.
Guy continued. ‘Are you Scottish or something?’
‘Er, no.’
‘Is it a health thing then? Have to keep yourself aerated?’
At which point I snorted into my fizzy water and wished I had a big glass of the wine that was mulling on the cooker.
‘Er, no. I just, er, like it.’
Guy wasn’t going to give up. ‘Feeling of freedom eh? Light breeze in the nether regions.’
‘Something like that.’ And Roger turned and got busy with the pizza.
So, we still don’t really know the whys and wherefores.

At that point, Paula and I decided we needed to dance and shimmied our stuff to the Scissor Sisters and Girls Aloud and Abba. Fantastic. I knew Adrian was well away on the Slowgasms when he actually asked me to dance! The last time he danced was in 1996 when we had a New Year’s Eve party and I put on the Sex Pistols for a laugh. He had been one of the original punks (which is hilarious, given his ultra-conservative current look) and he jumped up and did an enthusiastic pogo before head-butting the door and passing out. I’m actually really relieved he doesn’t like dancing as he has two left feet and no sense of rhythm (odd for someone who plays guitar and adores music) – and my feet are always in acute danger. Last night I was wearing my one pair of smart high-heeled suede boots and didn’t want size 12 footprints on them so declined the offer.

We drove back through the star-spangled night to Bampton, which looked very cheery with its Christmas trees and twinkly lights.

Hope the picture works OK – you can just about see the glow of our Christmas tree!


Anonymous said...

I have been pondering the same question recently due to being rather uncomfortable in trousers, so in answer to your question, I think the appropriate answer would be yes, why not. I don't think that flowery, frilly skirts would be suitable though.

Anonymous said...

Full marks to Roger "the skirt man".
Skirts are simply MUCH more comfortable than trousers.
Practical, well thats another matter.
A bit of a challenge when working up a ladder for instance.
Being a 60yr old grandfather who discovered the comfort factor of a Sarong while on holiday in Greece, I decided to wear one at home throughout the summer,
The only problem with a sarong is you MUST know how to tie it securely, Mentioning this to a lady friend one day, she pointed out the obvious: "get a skirt". Simple.
Bog standard denim skirt at about knee length, not only feels good, it looks ok as well. So please pass my compliments to Roger and ask him for a picture for my website on the subject ( Don't ask about the name.
Oh, I got my five minutes of fame being interviewed by the late lamented John Peel about it on home truths. Rather an unsubtle "outing".