Some of y’all were advising me on a “look” for my band, once I start a band. That, of course, is a worthwhile consideration — yet another thing to settle before actually forming the band itself, along with the band name and playlist.
I tend to think back to when I saw Dylan with The Band in Memphis in 1974. Basically, they were casually dressed with dark sport coats over work shirts, and jeans or other casual pants. I seem to recall a scruffy old sofa on the stage. It was comfortable, homey, and vaguely old-fashioned. They were dressed sort of like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, only without the guns and cowboy hats.
That’s the sort of look I’m comfortable with. It’s the way I dress. It’s more or less the way I’ve dressed since high school. There was once a sort of clearance/warehouse sale at the base exchange at Hickam Air Force Base back in 1970, and they were getting rid of all kinds of out-of-style items. I picked up a couple of sport coats for $5 each. One of them I really liked. It was wool, a sort of rough, tweedy wool. It was a dark, dark blue with other dark colors in it, vaguely seen, and a faint sort of reddish pinstripe running through the hard-to-see pattern. I wish I still had that jacket, even though it wouldn’t fit me now. It was very like what The Band would wear, or what a cowboy in a particularly cool western might wear, and have to pull out of the way to draw his sixgun.
Over the years, I got dressier than that, and took up such items as the bow tie. But nowadays, when I do wear a tie, I’m the only one at ADCO who does. And more and more often, I don’t wear one at all. So I’m drifting back more toward that look I had as a student. But part of that look is that I always, always wear a jacket.
How could I not? How would I get around? Where would I put my:
- Car keys (right outside pocket)
- Wallet (sorry, but I’m not going to deform my spine by sitting on a wallet in my hip pocket)
- notebook (my Moleskine fits perfectly in my inside pocket on the right
- flip-up shades (breast pocket)
- pills, tissues, etc. (antihistamines and such that I always carry — left outside pocket)
Where would all that stuff go without a jacket? And then there’s my iPhone, which I wear clipped to my belt — you want me to go around with my phone exposed to the weather?
The other day, on NPR, I heard an interview with British actor Bill Nighy, who among other things said the following:
SIEGEL: You have a look and bearing that says, at least to my American eyes: British gentleman. Is it true that you feel naked if you’re not wearing a suit?
NIGHY: Yeah. In fact, a jacket, really. I’m a jacket man. And if I’m without one, I am kind of seriously disabled. I don’t know how to operate in shirt sleeves.
SIEGEL: You don’t?
NIGHY: It makes me anxious and uneasy.
SIEGEL: Even to a reading for a part or something very informal?
NIGHY: Yeah. It’s ludicrous. People sometimes inquire why there’s a lack of classical work on my CV with the emphasis on Shakespeare and I have joked in the past that it’s because I can’t operate in those kind of trousers. But, in fact, it’s true. I can really only operate in a decent lounge – what we used to call a lounge suit. It is kind of my muse and I am ludicrously attached to the idea.
I did a play on Broadway here in New York and the director desperately tried to get a jacket off me. He said, you’re in the garden. It’s summertime in England. What would you be doing wearing a jacket? I said, I always wear a jacket in the garden. Anyway, he did get the jacket off me and he actually made me appear without socks, which was deeply unsettling.
SIEGEL: This was very difficult for you.
Exactly! How indeed does one get along with a jacket? I can’t imagine. I gathered that this was supposed to be heard as an expression of the actor’s eccentricity, but I thought he made perfect sense. No wonder I like Nighy in pretty much anything I see him in (“Page Eight,” “I Capture the Castle,” “Love Actually“).
As for going about without socks? Totally beyond the pale. Let’s not even go into that.