Inside Style by Annmarie O'Connor - as featured in The Dubliner magazine - October 21st
I was walking up Drury Street the other day when I heard my name being shouted. Approaching me on a push bike was an unidentifiable man clad in a reflective gilet. “Hello!” cried the stranger, waving furiously. Could it be? Oh, please God no. The luminous yellow figure grinned from ear to ear clearly happy to see me; if only we shared the same sentiment.
“How are you?” he enquired earnestly while removing his helmet. I would have answered had I not been blinded by the Day-Glo trauma of it all. It was Mr. Blind Date: a 45-minute lunch in Cafe Bar Deli that resulted in two-months of stalking. I thought I had seen the back of him. How wrong I was. “Love the neon!” I blurted clumsily. “Wait ‘til you see the other side,” he enthused. Facing me in hand-written marker were the words ‘STOP THE BANKS!’
And therein began the flashback. ‘You know I’ve been saying this for years Annmarie...” After hearing about LETS, corporate theft and the minutiae of his divorce over a feta salad last year, I was now forced to endure another political soapbox marked ‘What’s Wrong with this Country: Part 2’. Between talk of sustainability, aquaponics and refusal to pay his credit card, I regained consciousness long enough to recall him referring to his ‘statement’ jacket as ‘fashionable’.
Could it be? Was the vegetable growing political activist rocking an early adapter trend? Well, stranger things have happened (see: Jedwardian hair). I had to admit, as he waxed lyrical about fish poo, I realised he wasn’t quite as excremental as my original estimation. After all, where would fashion be without its rebel yell? Katharine Hamnett was the first to spearhead the slogan trend with her WHAM!-friendly ‘Choose Life’ tees. Let’s not forget Vivienne Westwood’s ‘I AM NOT A TERRORIST’ epithet or Henry Holland’s Cockney-rhyming couplets. Fair enough. ‘Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey’ won’t encite social activism; but it will most certainly get people excited.
Despite the eye-opener, I was keen to keep our sophomore encounter brief. This was the same guy; I had to remind myself, who took ‘thanks for lunch; goodbye,’ to mean ’she’s into me’. As he cycled off to Blazing Salads, I watched ‘Down with Banks!’ fade into the distance and thought ‘Danger: Approach with Caution!’ might be the stronger statement.