Soon the winter wardrobe will come out of the box where it oversummers. But not yet. September often brings a lazy summer to these shores. It is as if , becoming sheepish re. its ghastly show through August, when all the schools are out and maddened parents sat huddled under windswept wet canvas near beaches throughout the land, weather tries to put things right. So it might be October before the woolies make their annual reappearance and a strange ritual takes place behind the velvet curtains of The Warren.
Each winter I am a year older and each year takes its toll on the bod. What stays the same is the pleasure I get from performing for the mirror at changeover time, sorting out those clothes that need to move on and seeing which ones still do the trick. It’s become a ritual over the years. I used to play George Michael while trying on and taking off but it’s got raunchier as the years have gone by. Slowly over time I’ve evolved a routine moving about to old burlesque standards. Nothing as corny as David Rose’s The Stripper mind. For me its more Bull Moose Jackson’s Big Fat Mama’s Are Back in Style Again. Not that I am a big fat Mama, I should point out. I’m much more Charlotte Rampling than that, though I have to admit that by the time I get to the stripping part, I’m rather on the lumpy side, what with faux fur gilets and scarves and hats and jumpers and all. But to get to that point of departure I have to start at skin and work outwards in a sort of reverse strip and all the way I’ve got the music thumping and the lights lower every year and what fun I have prancing about doing those knees together up and downs and all the other movements I’ve picked up from watching films and stuff!
None of my friends admit to such antics, probably because none of them has ever ascended to my level of narcissism. That’s a part of the package I’m sure. All those years of having to check that I was there in passing mirrors and window reflections, so divorced was I from the feelings going on inside. As a teenager I remember raiding the dressing up box on bath night and taking silks and furs into the bathroom -the only room in the house with a lock on the door- and whistling quietly as I paraded in front of the little swivel mirror with black patches all over it. The feeling of excitement was exquisite.
It’s nowhere nearly as exciting these days but then bacon doesn’t taste as good either. But one thing that doesn’t seem to diminish with age is the sensuous pleasure of touch. Silk is still interesting and fur is more of a pleasure against skin than it ever was. Sound is still good too. I can still slide down the back of a saxophone note and my fuck- me shoes make an annual appearance that cannot extend beyond the hallway, for reasons only my bunion and I understand. So there’s life in the old Moocher yet and Cab Calloway is just the man to bring it out. The honey is now in the pantry but the memories have still got years, I hope, to run.