When I was growing up and my baby brother was still, well a baby, my Dad had no choice other than to take me along to Premiership football games at Coventry City. This was back in the days of Dion Dublin, where every single season we managed to hang on from relegation by the skin of our teeth. Although my father spent much of his time trying to shield me from curse words and hooligans; politely informing them if they bumped into me one more time he would have to punch them into next week, fellow supporter though they may well be, we used to have a great time together and until my brother started to come to the games it was our little father and daughter day out. One of our collective favourite memories of going together, I would say my own was when I met Kevin Keegan when we played Newcastle but I think my father was too busy trying to prevent me defecting teams to enjoy the experience; was when we scored a goal in the last minutes of play thus escaping relegation for another year. It had snowed and everyone was so overjoyed that there was a massive pitch invasion which my father joined in with. I felt extremely proud as I watched him return his face aglow having thrown a snowball at one of the opposition players.
As I got older and my brother got taller my Dad started taking both of us along to the matches. It was a pity really but the costs just got too high and naturally he felt obliged to bring his son along to an experience which is more often associated with father and son pairings. I had reached the wonderful age of answering back and instead of attending matches in a pom-pom hat and baby blue corduroy coat I wanted to go in tight leather trousers, thick green statement knits and berets. It was not that I wanted to be a wag I had just started to become as interested in fashion as I was in football and I guess it was difficult for my father to take a Faux French daughter to a football ground. I still went to see Coventry play from time to time and watched football on TV when I had the time, particularly match of the day if my Dad had it on and I had been allowed to stay up, but slowly but surely I started to spend my Saturdays hanging out with friends in town shopping with the little money we had, drinking hot chocolate, chit chatting and checking out boys.
These days my Saturdays are spent in much less clear-cut pursuits, but I would do myself an injustice if I did not admit that football and fashion are still the main focus of this day. If I am not checking the web to see how the games are going, I am bopping about town looking for bargains whilst glaring at anyone foolish enough to mention the results, hoping I can catch them on match of the day before anyone gives the scores away. I have been lucky enough to report on matches for the non-league paper, and got to take my father along to a spectacular end of season final between Durham City and Woodley Sports where visitors Durham came behind from three down to win the match and rise up to the next division.
As I wondered round Manchester yesterday however I was struck by how many things have spilled off of the field to become everyday behaviours which have a negative effect on my fashion finding. As I waited outside the Arndale I was shocked by how many people emerged from the double doors to spit out the contents of their mouth, be it spit or chewing gum. Assuming these people had not been engaged in rigorous sport inside the shopping centre, (though shopping can at times be a fast paced activity it can certainly not be compared to the cardio kick which is the great game) I could not understand why they thought it was acceptable to spit in a public place. I wish I had had the courage to face them but foolishly I had read an article about a woman who was knifed after asking someone to be quiet in the cinema and my usual interfering nature escaped me. The other fashion I noticed whilst waiting for the boy to emerge from the shops was bear bellied girls. It was not that I found the sight of these girls stomachs particularly hideous, they were extremely tone tummies, it was just that they looked so completely wrong in context. Although most of the snow has left Manchester it is still utterly freezing, even I have lately had to abandon outside shoots till the weather improves, and yet these women were walking round like they are in the Bahamas. Although this dress leaves little to the imagination in terms of length (I did have to exclude some photos from the blog) when on the street I was cloaked in many layers and more importantly other than my face and hands no bare flesh is being exposed to the Northern elements. In a club or on a hot day you expect to see flesh, on the football pitch you hope to see it either in appreciation of the beauty of the male form or because your team have just scored a goal and the scorer is celebrating by whipping off his top regardless of the card he will receive, but outside in Manchester in January bare flesh is about as unexpected as the spittle which lines the pavements.
Today’s dress is 1980s vintage Miss Selfridge. The material is thick and heavy and although I had to wear a vest tucked firmly into tights to protect myself from the elements it does feel like a winter dress with minimal need for remodification. I must admit I was thinking of saving it for an interview or a film inspired post but I was feeling a bit low yesterday and needed the kind of lift which wearing such a brilliant item can give you. Like much of 80s fashion it has the all important power dressing factor. The shoulders are so wide that even my cloak hanger upper form struggled with wearing it. It has really unusual braces which you pull in and clip to the material to give you as little or as much of a waist as you might want. I wore it with patterned tights and Kurt Geiger statement purple and dark blue heels from last years collection. They are all of about sis inches high with a platform at the front and mean I do not feel at all intimidated by lout returning through town with too much drink in their bellies as I am usually several inches taller than them by the time defeat or alcohol has bent their back. I went full force with the make up, tracing gold and beige shadow up to the brow and leaving my hair naturally large to fit in with the time although I had to wipe off my lipstick as I was looking a little too lady of the night. I got the dress from eBay for 0.99p plus postage and packaging. Sometimes you get really lucky on eBay if nobody else can see the potential of a dress off the model or the floor especially if you decide what you are paying and take into account postage and packaging. I think I had to pay £4 to have this delivered, but even for £5 I think it is a good bargain and am already a little sad that I didn’t have the energy to wear it out last night and settled for match of the day and Poland’s finest export to date krupnik instead.