Monthly Archives: May 2012

Summer Clothes





If you are a British woman who hasn’t been 18 years old within the last 10 years, read on.

For as long as you are UK-based in the Summer season, you have only two sartorial options: cover up or stay inside.

You weren’t born to do this, it’s not your thing. You’re good at table manners and online shopping- Summer clothes, not so much.

Forget skin colour (though acres of the grey-blue sort could always be saved for the wretch who put a ring on it- just a thought).

It’s about colour colour- the stuff that says you’re alive within and sassy and eat anchovies at tapas bars after hopping off your Vespa.

Home-grown gals shouldn’t attempt it. When the mercury rises above 23 degrees, our sensibility goes into free-fall.

Suddenly we’re off-piste; complaining and sweating at the same time is bothersome and sarcasm feels wrong. We start to sleuth frantically for the style secrets of our Continental sisters but something gets lost in translation, a few miles outside Bradford.

So you’ve found a sunny picture of your Mum looking soignee in the 60’s with a bee-hive, in some crepe de chine?

It was a one-off; she never wore Summer clothes either- that’s why she got someone to take a photograph of her when she did.

Slogans and surf motifs and ‘brights’. Tunics, playsuits, florals, halter-necks, waist-high shorts. Blazers, linen, gingham, gypsy tops, tie-die, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. T-shirt dresses, floppy hats, beach bags, capri pants. Kaftans, festival gear, sunnies (expensive), jewellery (cheap). Jean Seaberg stripes, whispy scarves, floaty skirts. Skorts. Camp blouses. All safari-wear. Anything ‘sportif’. Every single piece of Cruise Collection apparel that has ever been made. The preponderance of peacock blue and burnt orange. An entire wardrobe’s-worth of ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!’

It’s like a desperate romp through the inspiration vortex of Karl Lagerfeld’s brain after he’s got wind of a rival’s catwalk triumph.

Maxis, minis, camis: all tragi.

There isn’t one single trend in which you won’t look a disaster, and the optimistic way you’ll try and fail to wear it, will only make matters worse.

‘Actually, I’ve got this rather sweet…’

No! How can I put this? That’s the one you look worst in. Book groups talk about you in ‘that dress’ and not because it’s held together with saucy safety pins.

Shoes are even worse. Strappies, platforms, ‘fit’ flops, sandals- like Russell Crowe in drag walking off the set of Gladiator into sun-congealed Leyland paint pot samples.

Pedicures do not equal pampering or ‘you’ time. They’re trotter worship. Toes are, de-facto, nasty little items. Keep them away from thongs and jewels and stuff them back into polyester socks, where they belong.

You don’t look frivolous or glamorous or less like the psychotic bunny boiler your Winter clothes allow you to be, just because you’ve sailed down the road in poplin.

You still look needy and almost bursting with a desire to bitch about the domestic chores your partner doesn’t help with.

Plus you are, in fact, wearing holiday clothes, which are an entirely different species to everyday Summer clothes. And no-one wants to see your sun-downer sex look at the school gates.

So heed the kindest thing anyone will say to you this Summer…

You’re only 6 weeks away from depression.

Don a pair of wincyette pj’s and stock up on St John’s Wort.



Filed under Mumbo Life, Mumbo Obsessions, Uncategorized

I mean really, Part II: it’s War

Loyal Follower,

May I remind you of my recent pursed lip response to Bruno’s reading homework, Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, after which he came home with dishwater material for a few weeks- still, dishwater composed of real-ish words.

Imagine the self-righteous excitement the subsequent appearance of Stink stirred in my somnambulant loins.

I had won the first battle, but this! What else but a declaration of WAR?!

I imagined that having dedicated lonely nights to finding the dullest books ever committed to paper (in order to drive home the point that cartoon profanity stories are fun and engaging) the teacher had decided enough was enough and Bang! she’d take out that chip on my shoulder.

In fact, Bruno had chosen it because he thought it looked fun and engaging.

For the second time, I scribbled a note:

Hello, Bruno’s Mum again. This book is American and full of slang. Do you have any English books, please? Th-u. Smiley face.

(The last two bits of my message were supposed to communicate subliminally that Look, I use text language and cartoon imagery and I’m an uptight prig- what’s going to become of my offspring if he isn’t even made to learn uptightness and priggery? He’ll become a career language criminal, that’s what!)

Whereupon, the prodigal son brought home another pet story and order was restored until…

Mr Gum was out on the table and I was back to patiently explaining that ‘strangery’ rhymes with ‘mange’ and not ‘fang’ and it’s not even a bloody word in the firstery place.

Whilst perhaps not quite as conspicuously odious as the other offenders, this one had the following on its cover (and I barely paraphrase): ‘So this book’s about Mr.Gum, right? And he does this, yeah? And he’s SO no doing that. So it’s dead fab, got it? Ok, see ya!’

Inside, it had Zoe Ball dumbing down to praise its contents along the lines of, ‘This wordy turd is a well wicked read.’

Next day, traumatised child tells the teacher Fascist Mum’s gone off on one again and this reply materialises in the homework book, penned in tight little writing.

Dear Mrs Stout,

We will change Bruno’s book to a more traditional one but it might be helpful if he encounters slang because we discuss non-traditional uses of language as it appears in SATS papers- as do speech bubbles (in more comic forms of literature).

Miss Wotsit

The upshot is, I’m going to run with the wolves.

I’m going to start crunching scary statistics on the percentage of primary school children who don’t speak English as their first language because I no longer have to worry that it’s the teachers who are making my child a dunce:

Hey, Miss Wotsit- whassssuuuuuuuuuupppp?

So, groovy, yeah, I’m totes on board with the whole alternative English learning thing.

I can see I’ve been cramping your style something chronic with all my traditional crap, running bonkers through the library like Cath Kidston in a bonnet- it’s SICK!

I thought 6 years old might encounter slang helpfully in the playground but it’s great the National Curriculum wants them to actually sit down* and study it.

It means I can stop boxing B’s ears judiciously for spelling ‘fart’ with a ‘ph’. (I’ve put that chunk of language in a speech bubble- whaddoyasay? I mean, it’s just no FUN without one, right?)

Where the hell’s he going in life without getting the basics down, right, yeah? Certainly to a no-good, shit, arsebag, pimplefink secondary school- I can tell you that for starteries.

In fact, why stop at comics and American slang? Have some fun, woman! How ’bout some porn? A couple of BNP pamphlets? A bit of Jeffrey Archer?

Pirate adventures are for sissies!

I’m warming to the wise-cracking kids dissing each other and their parents in all your Stink, Bum, Shit stories- it’s cool.

Plus, unless a joke’s based around an audible bodily function, I’m sorry but it’s JUST NOT FUNNY.

So keep at it, Sister, and Respect.

Yours sarcastically (a non-traditional, highly enjoyable use of language)

Mistress Underpants and the Great Big Oleaginous, Scatological English National Curriculum Bonnet Bee xx

*that’s a split infinitive. I said a split infinitive. It’s when you… oh, forget it. It’s all a bunch of bollocks, innit?


Filed under London Mumbo, Mini mumbo, Mumbo Life, Uncategorized