It’s a miracle I’ve had this hat as long as I have.

I left it under the chair again, but it was still there when I went back.

This one was my uncle’s. Peter. It’s by Lock and co. They are the world’s oldest hat company. They’ve been selling hats since 1676.

A number of Lock and co hats have passed through my hands over the years. One blew into the underground line at Kentish Town. One was taken off my head in a dancing crowd at a festival and vanished quickly, I got it back. Drunk people like to try and steal hats. They tried to bully me off it but I got it and then about two months later left it on a plane.

I’m thinking it’s time I went to Lock and bought my own hat though. I could put a homing chip into it. I rarely buy my own hat, knowing that hats find their way to me, and that I can be forgetful. I have a large wide selection of millinery at home, but this one is definitely the best for daily use. Top Hats, Bowler Hats, Stovies and Tricorns all abound at home alongside baseball caps and flat caps and deerstalkers and all sorts of other occasional hats. The last hat I bought was a Panama hat from Uruguay. I’m getting good use from it when it’s hot. But… to have my very own monogrammed Lock and co hat… that’d feel like a step forward. I might take that step soon.

Peter’s is getting a bit tatty. I’ve had it a long time now. I’m ok with looking a bit threadbare, but I have to occasionally remind myself that I’m in a cosmetic industry and should probably present myself better in case other people have different value systems. “The apparel oft proclaims the man…” Proclamation: “A stained and slightly wonky human being approacheth!” I mean… it’s accurate. But maybe a different proclamation would help me enter stronger.

We all used to wear hats. Seeing old footage it’s remarkable to see that the uncovered head is the exception. Seas of commuters in bowlers. The hipsters have helped bring them back a little bit from the austere times in the early noughties where we few male hat wearers were assumed to be just upset about going bald. Then it was perfectly acceptable to mock us. Now you do start to see them more often. They are great things. They keep in the warmth and make being out in the rain without an umbrella considerably less unpleasant.

We made a piece of weird live art in Jersey as part of the Arthouse Residency one day – we made it about this particular bashed up hat and I was proud of it. But next time I book a great big job where they pay me enough to make up for me losing one of my lifelines, I might pop to Lock and hang this one up for good.

Today though I’m very happy to have gone back and found it where I left it. We had Sunday lunch in the St George Inn in Kemptown. A wonderful calm quiet day by the sea the sea the sea!!

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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