I love really old men with long hair, sporting a couple of earrings and wearing Black Sabbath tee-shirts! There, I’ve said it.
Now, before you unsubscribe, unfriend me, and slowly back towards the door, please hear me out.
What I really love is any form of eccentricity, anything slightly off beam, a tad off centre.
Well, I say any form of eccentricity, but there is a line, I suppose. Donald Trump stands out, and I don’t love him. When I was researching images to illustrate long-haired old men, the screen was suddenly filled with images of Jimmy Saville. I screamed and switched off my computer. I certainly don’t love him. I went to school with Harold Shipman, the eccentric who morphed into a serial-killing G.P. and saw off half his patients. I didn’t love him.
But Uncle Albert on Only Fools and Horses is alright. Phew, I’m back on track.
And it’s not just outlandish people I admire. When you drive along any main road, you come across hundreds of jelly moulds driving towards you, so unmemorable that you’re hardly likely to spend time discussing any of them at the water cooler. But come across a gleaming red Morgan and, guess what, it has your attention.
If you’re a tennis fan recalling the glorious days, do you reminisce about Bjon Bjorg or John McEnroe? Both as skillful, both from a similar era, but one of them, the one with ridiculous hair, famous for shouting obscenities at the umpire and anyone who’d listen. You cannot be serious!
Or, if you were a snooker fan in the eighties, who commanded your attention? The bland machine that was Steve Davies, or the whiskey swilling, womanising, foul mouthed Hurricane Higgins?
I once saw a little fat man walking around Verona dressed as a bee, for no other reason than he enjoyed walking around Verona dressed as a bee. He made me smile – he was interesting. I couldn’t describe anyone else that had been walking around Verona that afternoon.
Variety is the spice of life. Some people stick like glue to the archetype, some vary dramatically. Who do you tend to remember? And don’t answer, “The nutters!” They’re not usually nutters, although I do accept the fact that nutters are specially equipped to excel at such activities.
Let’s be kind and call them head turners. I met someone at a hotel in Rhodes recently, and he certainly turned my head, because he was dressed as a woman. There with his wife, whom I should think helped choose his wardrobe, he strutted his stuff around the hotel for seven days. Lovely gear, but I’m guessing he didn’t turn many guys on, because he was so obviously not a woman. He knew that, we knew that, but he held center stage all week. He was happy and I suspect most of his captive audience was happy, because he showed them something different. Stop it! He was on the same return flight as me, now a very normal, grey haired sixty odd year old man, who could, and did, get lost in a crowd. In a way the real guy proves my point perfectly. Normal, run of the mill, mundane people don’t stand out in a crowd. They’re instantly forgettable.
My son often accuses me of idolising the likes of George Best and Oliver Read. He describes them as washed up, drunken tossers. Is he making a link here? I regard them as slightly flawed geniuses that demand your attention.
But wait. I suppose you could turn that around. If everyone in a room, except one, was an outlandish, centre of attention, larger than life character, and that one person was a little, bland old lady, maybe she’d stand out. Because she’d be the different one.
So maybe there is a case for the occasional jelly mould after all. Just not very often.
So don’t forget to watch out for weirdos. They’re out there in force. You are very welcome to report any sightings on this blog.
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