Wasn’t it Bruce Springsteen who sang a song entitled ‘Fifty seven channels and nothin’ on’?
It was back in the early 1990s when we in Northern Ireland would have thought 57 channels to be pure indulgence as we flicked between our four terrestrial offerings of BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV and the relatively new Channel 4.
One of my sons was surfing through the hundreds of digital channels now available and he paused at one programme, a repeat on one of those nostalgia channels which must have been transmitted originally around the same time Bruce was singing about those 57 channels.
It was Family Fortunes from back in the days of Les Dennis, not the more recent incarnation with Vernon Kaye or whoever it is. It was in old format too, without the clear high definition values of today’s TV.
A television set the size of a small wardrobe, a VCR player (a what?). Well, he wasn’t even born when that was pulling its original audience. He may laugh, I explained, but a VCR player was the cutting edge of technology at the time.
I was more taken by the fashions – how we dressed in the 1990s. Big shoulder pads, big patterned suits and big hair to go with it.
I suspect in another 20 years we’ll be looking back at pictures of 2015 fashions with the same open mouthed amazement.
I’m thinking specifically here of the new ‘blanket scarf’ which I have to admit, I’ve caught on to a little late this season. It got its first outing on runways of the autumn and winter style shows and it is what it is – a big piece of thick blanket material worn like a cape, draped over the shoulders to hang down stylishly on either side and which every starlet seems to be pictured wearing recently in magazines. Think Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.
Some are wearing them with a belt over the top which doesn’t seem like the best advice if you’re more than, say, a size 6. From bitter experience I can testify a belt isn’t always the most flattering on the curvaceous woman – I appeared on screen one night in my news presenting days with what I thought was a lovely jacket and trousers with a nice tie belt.
An elderly gentleman viewer, clearly with an eye for fashion, made a point of phoning in after the programme to say I looked like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle. Charming, eh?
Mind you, when it comes to winter wear, one female former colleague had a lovely heavy coat which, because she was reporter, she needed as she braved the outdoor elements to bring the news from weather beaten locations across Northern Ireland. One lady approached her in town one day, recognising her, or perhaps what she was wearing, for the greeting to the reporter was: “You’re ‘yer woman off the news, aren’t you?” Quickly followed up with the backhanded compliment: “You’re getting great wear out of that coat.”
Comfortable and warm it may be, the blanket scarf is not the most flattering piece of outdoor wear I’ve ever seen. We can only hope it will last a season and fade away into oblivion. In the meantime, if you’ve already invested in one of these, I’ll leave you with a quote from Linus in the Peanuts movie, describing his comforter: Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown.