Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Up and down. Down and up.

Down the road to Brighton, up the stairs with a load of equipment. Had a good time playing – the audience was subdued, respectful almost. Which made us worry a little…in the UK they tend to get rowdy, loud. “You’re doing fine!” someone shouted.

I’d worn a new old dress I’d picked up at a vintage shop in Norwich. Pleased to have something different to wear, something that hadn’t been knocking around my suitcase for the last four months, something I hadn’t seen myself in on YouTube, Facebook and mirrors in toilets before shows without dressing rooms. Ladies in the audience had given me some lovely compliments – it’s usually the girls, not the guys, who comment on what you’re wearing.

So we’d finished playing and packing up and I changed into whatever clothes I’d worn in the van all week. Sitting alone in the room with the last of our stuff and a guy stumbled in.

“You look A LOT better now than in what you were wearing before. That dress looks TERRIBLE. You shouldn’t wear it ever again.”

Like being slapped in the face. The ravings of a madman or the sage advice of a fashion expert? I mumbled something ineffective, like “other people thought it looked, umm, okay”. What did it matter what this guy thought? He had what looked like a perm growing out. He was drunk. But like the lone bad review that sears itself into your brain, every critical word crisply echoing in your head for the rest of time while the positive press composts in a wet pile, his was the voice of authority, the one that says “You thought you were something, didn’t you? Well you’re WRONG.”

Then he said he was looking for his hat.

I perked up. “A pork pie hat?” He nodded, excitedly. “I saw some guy leave with it a little while ago.” His face fell and he lumbered out of the room, leaving me wondering.

Wondering why I’d tried to defend myself instead of just telling him to piss off.

Wondering why I hadn’t told him that a man with a perm is in no position to offer fashion advice.

And smiling at the memory of the table of drunk people who’d picked his hat up off the floor and passed it around. “Hey, look at me! I’m a dork in a pork pie hat!” Low on the forehead, tilted back – they’d put that hat through its paces. “Take my picture, take my picture!” one of them had shouted. He’d leaned against the wall, glowering, the hat at a ridiculous jaunty angle. “Photo of a man in a stolen hat,” he’d deadpanned, before they’d all fallen about laughing.

Did I wear the dress again?

Of course I did.

8 thoughts on “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

  1. the fly in the web

    It takes a special sort of person to give their views on one's appearance uninvited….the sort of person who wears a porkpie hat.I haven't seen one in years but then, the French never really got into men's headgear, did they?

  2. amy

    Thank you Cynthia!Sometimes people say things without realizing the effect it might have, I guess that's it Fly – especially if they've had too much to drink?As far as hats and France go, along with the food not being what I expected, that was a real shock to me – how you rarely see people wearing hats. Some old guys still wear casquettes or the occasional beret, but they're something too odd about it. Which made that Sopranos episode where Carmella goes to Paris all the more touching where she feels adventurous and bold and pops on a stylish hat. To wear a hat in Paris a woman would have to be really out there – as chic as some of the people look they are quite conformist.I miss you Marti! And I know that you understand what it's like going out there…Sadly Adrian it wasn't my camera that took the pork pie hat photos – it'll have to live on as a hazy memory.

  3. spencer thomas

    HiSorry I insulted you in my drunken state. I can't remember why the dress had such an impact on me.I had been distracted by it all during the set… even a bit obsessed. My friends were unmoved and probably thought I was being pretty weird.Fashion sense is not something that figures much in my psyche … I've never really felt that comfortable in anything I wear and I.m almost glad that the hats's gone.I'd love to have straight hair but not enough to have it straightened… was definately overdue a haircut though. Another thing I hate.I quite like to wear sandals. Sometimes with socks. Recently flip-flops and walking socks… but that was only a one off…. I had no idea what to expect from your gig. I really enjoyed you guys. It was refreshing and unpretentious. I hope I'll be wellcome at future Brighton gigs?Sorry again for the impact of my drunken observation. Don't suppose there's a chance of a photo of you in the dress?Love and best wishes from Porkpie hatman aka Spencer

    1. amyrigby

      Spencer, now I’m the one who’s sorry, because I never saw this until all these years later. I look back at a lot of my old posts and feel I was quite mean-spirited (I was going through a tough time myself) and for that I apologize. Maybe it’s the hippie spirit of Woodstock (we live near there now) but in retrospect I know your comment wasn’t meant as I took it. I hope you made it back to another one of me and Eric’s shows in Brighton (I think there’ve been four since then) and enjoyed it! and who knows, maybe you were right about that dress being too distracting for such a small room xxAmy

  4. Pingback: Who Are You? | Diary Of Amy Rigby

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