Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Dahly Dahly

Let’s face it, Roald Dahl is no Sophie Dahl, by which I mean that fashion is not his business, although there are a number of other differences. You’ll never find a Roald Dahl dress me up dolly because Roald Dahl was one of those naturally aristocratic people who, despite often being surrounded by the best in life, tend to eschew obvious comforts and, shuffle around in knackered old slippers wearing a cardigan with a hole in the elbow and mustard on the cuff. What was left of his hair did its own thing; his teeth were terrible. His demeanour was avuncular but rather sinister, the sort of uncle who isn’t actually related to anybody, one who might nip you if you beat him at darts or trip you up during a race because he's told everyone he used to be an athlete and you're making him look like a liar.

His appearances introducing the few series of ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ sets the sartorial bar pretty low, even taking into account how shit a six foot six man looks when crammed into a wingback chair, pinned in by a piece of wood with some pencils resting on it. Take this outfit, for example, a brown shirt. There is never any excuse for a brown shirt, even when worn with a contrasting tan suit. Roald doesn't even have the suit, just the shitty shit coloured chemise. It isn't even done up properly. As the shot comes from Series One, it may simply be a case of a nervous Roald trying to camouflage himself by blending in with his chair.  

Here he is sporting a slightly more formal look, the sort of outfit I imagine he'd don on a Sunday to meet one of his daughters new boyfriends - mercilessly picking at the boy with a series of barbed asides over lunch before giving him a withering but undeniably accurate critique over coffee that leaves the hapless suitor wishing he was dead.

Waffle knit was big in the eighties, wasn't it? It's insulative powers are just what you need when you spend most of the day sitting in a shed.

Finally, the furthest out the big man ever goes. That's the sort of tie one wears to a fete you don't actually want to attend. The tie is fun, so it does most of the work for you, ditto the red cardigan. It's a cheerful ensemble that will people will notice, making it easier for you to slope off home after about forty minutes, i.e. everyone has noticed you, so assumes you are about somewhere. The man was brilliant.

Roald strikes me as a man who, periodically, has clothes bought for him, which he then wears until some more miraculously appear. I can’t imagine him shopping. People like him don’t waste time queuing up in Primark, too busy creating works of genius. That said, he knew he was going to be on the telly and could have smartened himself up a bit. Maybe that is his smartening up a bit. Either way, it’s hard to see a glint of giving a hoot in his hard, flinty eyes: he’s Roald Dahl, motherfucker, he’s killed people in the war and spends his days disposing of kids and adults in brilliantly nasty ways, he’ll sit there in his wangers if he has to, mate, as long as he’s got his massive brain and his sharpened pencils, he’s not bothered, so do one.

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