In the corner of the bedroom there is a rickety cloth and metal clothes-hanging contraption of the sort you might find being hawked for £8.99 in one of those 'Storage Solutions' pullouts that fall out of the Sunday supplements. I fondly but inaccurately refer to this device as my 'wardrobe'. Hanging from its various ramparts and stuffed into its every crevice are all manner of vestments in various states of repair, approximately 70% of which have not seen the light of day this century. Last night I decided enough was enough, and, armed only with a bin bag, set about the 'wardrobe' with ruthless intent. This was to be a zero tolerance clearout.
One cathartic hour later the bin bag was full- bulging with half-forgotten (and best-forgotten) items such as the orange tartan shorts from the summer 1997 holiday in Majorca, the semi-see-through brown and yellow H & M Saturday night shirt from 2001, and the fantastically expensive cherry red designer T-shirt I bought from some chic boutique off Carnaby Street in summer 2003 (in the days when I had more than £2.50 of weekly disposable income) but only ever wore twice because it was a trifle uncomfortable around the neck.
At first sight, it seems that only those garments able to present a clear case for their retention on strictly utilitarian grounds have survived the pitiless midnight purge. Closer inspection, however, will show that there are certan items which have resisted the bin-bag- and not for the first time. I'm not sure why, but this handful of items appear to have some hold over me which effectively grants them Unthrowayable status. They include:
1: A black pair of Geordie Jeans, size 28.
Yes, there really was a shop in Newcastle called Geordie Jeans. It was on Clayton Street, and only sold its own-branded hardwearing cut-price legwear, featuring the back-pocket logo of an Andy-Capp-esque character doing his washing in a soapy bucket. Until I was twenty-three I never even considered buying a pair of jeans anywhere else. I can't believe I ever fitted into these particular ones- I certainly never will again.
2: A second hand navy blue shirt with a pattern of tiny white diamond shapes on
This veritable indiepop garment has graced such floors as the Riverside (Newcastle), and the Venue (Manchester), cauht the Darling Buds live before they signed to a major label, and if it catches you unawares will start telling you long and implausible stories about the time it met David Gedge from out of the Wedding Present in a backstreet bar in Barcelona. It's slightly frayed around the edges nowadays (read: the cuffs are about to fall off) but I really can't bring myself to part with it.
3: An Aston Villa goalkeeper's shirt, circa 1992.
This isn't even my shirt- it was lent to me for the duration of season 2001-02, when I was last line of defence for the now-defunct Ringos All Stars Five-a-Side team. We finished top of Division Three in the Monday Night league (largely because half the time the opposition never turned up), and, possibly suspecting we had reached the apex of our collective sporting careers, immediately disbanded.
4: A sky blue shirt festooned with photos of skyscrapers, circa 2000
This impulse purchase from TK Max is so garish I can't really believe I ever wore it at all- but for three months or so around the turn of the Century it was a Friday night out-on-the-town-after-work fixture. Showing true Mancunian spirit, this one brazenly dares me not to consign it to the bin bag, arguing its case so damn loudly that I can find no answer.
One day, maybe the Unthrowayables will be called into action again. Not today though- I'm not sure the 8:43 to Oxford Road is ready for a middle-aged Geordie squeezed into a twenty-year-old pair of faded drainpipe jeans and some tattered thing in navy-blue which looks suspiciously like a pyjama top. One day though- one day....