January 18, 2011

Bling! Or, Put It Away, Sir

Now then. As it ‘appens.

The image of sad-old-man friendliness when I was a child was Jimmy Savile. Anyone outside of Britain will not know who this is/was. He is/was a kindly fellow – once upon a time he was a Radio Luxembourg DJ, and the first ever presenter of Top of the Pops, if he needed any cred – who had a show in which he ‘fixed it’ for children to have their hearts’ desires. I wouldn’t usually think of the ‘80s as an age of innocence. But then there was Jimmy. Sir James, as he later became, was very fond of his mum – lived with her always so far as I know – and when she died he kept her room just as she had left it. It was a shrine, and Jimmy will go to his grave a mummy’s boy, in the nicest possible way. He is a good lad, now pushing 85 I should think; always a fit man – ran dozens of marathons – but a perennial cigar smoker; and a huge benefactor of noble causes and charities. The English tend to think of him as a national institution; a classic English eccentric. He wears a lot of jewellery, for which he is famous. He looks like this:

He used to look like this:

Sportswear and jewellery remain his most recognisable motifs, save for a few choice phrases. He kind of reminds me of this:

Which is to say, that unless you’re a kind-hearted English eccentric, beloved by old and young alike, and honoured by the Queen, you look like a bit of an idiot in jewellery and sportswear. But you know that. The point I’m leading to is rather more positive. What jewellery can you wear if you happen not to be said national institution, or an idiot? Why this, for example:

Gold and mother-of-pearl cufflinks. Edwardian I think. Picked up by my wife at what I call a ‘rifle shop’ (so named because you have to rifle through a lot of junk to find the good stuff, which is always there if you’re patient). My brother has the matching pair, which I gave to him on the occasion of him being my Best Man.

Keep it clean, simple and honest and you cannot go wrong.

How’s about that then?

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