Monthly Archives: November 2011

Afghan Flashbacks

I was looking at a coat the other day, it was in a sale and a real bargain. I liked the colour. I liked the shape. I could do with another coat that’s not as formal as the one I have already so wouldn’t be a waste of money. I liked pretty well everything about it …. except ….. it had a fur collar. Not real fur, you understand, that wasn’t the issue. I can’t do any kind of fur collar. The reason for this is due to a terrible trauma that happened to me as a child. The trauma involved being made to wear an Afghan coat. I was eight years old. Worse than that, the whole family had them, all different colours. I’m not making this up. Sometimes we were made to wear them all together on family outings. It was the 70’s but there’s still no excuse for that kind of cruelty. There’s a picture of us all somewhere, all stood in a row in the front garden, maw, paw and 3 kids all wearing these things. Can you imagine the utter humiliation?

Afghan coats aren’t even practical. They stink to high heaven and if they get rained on, it exacerbates the smell to such an extent, you feel like you’re dragging a dead carcass around with you. If it rains a lot, the coat gets water-logged, so it feels like you’re dragging a heavy dead carcass around with you. Over time, the fur becomes matted and revolting to touch. I don’t know what the Afghanis were thinking of when they dreamt up such a thing; maybe the whole dead carcass vibe works in their climate; or maybe some other nation dreamt it up and realised that it was a terrible idea so named them Afghan coats as a cunning ploy to deflect attention from themselves so they didn’t have to take responsiblity for foisting this disgusting idea for a garment upon us.

Whatever the reason, all these years later, I stood in a department store and one look at that perfectly nice coat with its unfortunate fur trim had me focussing on controlling my gag reflex until I legged it out of there.

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A Tape Full of Memories

This picture has been doing the rounds for a while now, on email and social networking sites. The gag being that younger people will have no clue the hours some of us spent winding tape back into a cassette with pencils when our tape-decks or ghetto-blasters chewed them up. I actually bought a new ghetto blaster the other month. I was kind of surprised they still sold them; more surprised still that it had a cassette deck in it. My Geek Friend at work burst out laughing when I mentioned this and refused to believe such a thing still existed until I sent him a picture of the one I’d bought. And, despite being presented with the evidence, he still objects to me calling it a ghetto-blaster; he may have a point, even the saleman in the shop tried to stifle a splutter when I used that word to describe what I was looking for.

My Cousin Dave used to have a huge vinyl record collection and he would record music he thought I’d like onto cassettes for me. Some of his vinyl records had scratches on them, resulting in the needle getting stuck occasionally. It would take Dave three steps in his living room to go over to the record player and stomp on the floor beside it in order to move the record on. I’d seen him do it on many occasions. I’d often listen to those tapes and there would be a ‘stuck’ bit and I’d mentally count three steps and a stomp and, sure enough, the tune would move on. Occassionally, I’d be listening with my friend Carol and on the ‘stuck’ bit we’d turn and mouth ‘one, two, three … ‘ to each other and grin when the tune moved on.

Sometimes I wonder what gets lost in our quest for perfection, I daresay the Apps Generation will have some nostalgic equivalent to the cassette tape but personally I wouldn’t want to give up my memories of hearing a tune getting stuck and picturing Dave walking over and stomping it right for me.


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