Thursday, 8 September 2011 INDEX

Real leather
When I was 17 I got a small 4 stroke Japanese motorcycle. It went surprisingly fast and I think my mother was worried that I was going to hurt myself. As a result I believe she bullied one of our neighbours (a guy called Peter Allen, I think) into parting with an old leather motorcycle jacket he had. I don't think he was very happy about losing it.

I knew Peter because he kept ferrets and sometimes we went ferreting together, a rather ghastly and strangely pointless business (you don't catch many rabbits). But there's something to be said for country walks and the ferrets themselves, with their almost overpowering woody smell, were both fascinating and friendly.

Not long after I got the jacket (I recall paying Peter £7, though it may have been less) I tore it when I fell off the motorbike going round a corner in the rain. Evidently my mother was right. But 40 years later I could still wear it. The difference is in my teenage years I could put a full size cooked chicken (a perk of my job as a kitchen assistant in a fish and chip shop) beneath the zip, whereas the zip can only contain me now.

It's one of the few things I still have from my teenage years, even though by nature I'm a hoarder. But truth be told the jacket has seen better days.

The label (pictured above) got removed when I had it repaired a few years ago. The neckline is cut open showing the lining. It certainly doesn't look as stylish as it did, but neither do I.

Sometimes I wonder if I should give it a decent burial (it is leather after all). Perhaps a Viking funeral? Pushing it out on a burning boat at the Hollow Ponds (Whipps Cross) might be nice, but I'm not sure the authorities would allow it.

I can't afford to get it fixed properly and don't want someone to do a hamfisted repair. So what do I do with it? It seems cruel to let it rot on a coat hook.

Posted by Jonathan Brind at 02:26
Thursday, 8 September 2011 INDEX