Monday, 17 September 2007

Green Flashbacks

My nephew has got a job. Just a few months after emerging from university with a degree in modern history, he's doing some events management thing in which he can work from home on his laptop. He wanted to start at 10am this morning, which was fine as I had to be at the dentist in south London at 10.30. As I was preparing to leave....Woman's Hour came up on Radio 4 which he was listening to via his laptop.

There were a few bars of Blondie's Hanging on the Telephone ....... Heart of Glass ....... Atomic ... Call Me ...... As they were playing I said to him: "You know you're getting old when the things that were edgy, punky and dangerous are being played 30 years later on Radio 4."

Before he could say anything the Woman's Hour presenter said, as she introduced Debbie Harry: "I shed decades listening to that..."

At 63, Ms Harry recounted that she was still flattered that people remembered those tracks. I couldn't listen to the rest as I had an appointment.

The trip to the dentist has been one of my life's constants. No matter how disastrous a relationship, no matter how awful the conditions at work, Mr Le Sage's surgery hasn't changed location, neither has the 109 bus stop near it. Neither it seemed to me today has the colour of the paint on the shop on the corner of the street a bit further on.

As I walked through the front garden of the surgery towards the side door entrance, I noticed an arrow on a piece of paper pointing me to the front door. I ignored it because for 40 odd years the entrance has been at the side. I arrived at the side door and a piece of paper, of course, told me what I had just disregarded.

Silently upbraided I went towards the front door and I remembered the trips to the surgery with my mum when I was a child and how I thought it was a bit weird that the entrance wasn't at the front.

Well now it is. Because I'm now so fluid and flexible I can't say I'm overly put out by this radical departure but I did say to Jazz, the dentist, that it felt a bit strange altering the habit of a lifetime.

Since taking over from Mr Le Sage, Jazz has certainly changed the look of the place but the quality remains.

The same is true of Green Flash. These gym shoes have of late had to cope with the onslaught of Nike, Puma, Skeechers, Bleachers, Movers and Shakers shoes.

Dunlop has responded to the phalanx of competitors by giving Green Flash velcro flaps or big, thick green laces.

This has imbued it at times with the sheen of retro cool and at other times it has made them look tired and desperate.

I, because I have narrow feet as well as slender and shapely ankles, have kept the faith with the product whatever the weather.

But Green Flash have, apparantly, been at times profoundly out and then deeply in. My nephew, from his fashion-driven time at secondary school right through three years at university, has been a barometer.

He took great delight in telling me before I left home this morning that Green Flash are only available at trendy shops. "Don't look so pained," was his rejoinder as I headed down the stairs chirping inside: "I'm in the phone booth, it's the one across the hall...if you don't answer I'll just rip it off the wall..."

The joy of teen screams.

I went to Covent Garden to purchase my Green Flash. Gone are the days when you could buy them in the local shoe menders. I probably could have found them somewhere nearer Streatham but since I have to be in central London for work, I might as well go into town.

Now the quandary is how am I going to get them to look as if I've had them for a while? When I was younger having a lily-white pair was, well, a red rag to a full-scale playground bullying.

I'm not going to wear them around the office.

It took a while but I came up with the answer. A walk on Tuesday morning around Tooting Bec Common and I can get to kick some conkers too. I haven't done that since last autumn.

The joy of life's constants.