My favourite item of clothing is my leather jacket. My old leather jacket. My old, broken in leather jacket. When I’m wearing it, I feel confident, sexy, indestructible. I have an inkling my Mum felt the same when it first arrived in the small, quiet city of Ripon in North Yorkshire, from hectic, cosmopolitan Camden in London, back in 1979.
My Mum used to be a biker chick way back when. With my Dad, she would motor around the British Isles, camping in a tent that looked like it had migrated from a child’s drawing. When I was a kid, Mum’s jacket was an endless source of fascination. I was obsessed with touching all the pins she had attached to the front, ones she had collected from the Isle of Man TT races and the like. I loved messing with the tassels and the smell – it was oily and dank and I fucking loved it.
I think I nicked it out of her wardrobe six years ago. All but two of the pins were gone (sold) but I wasn’t bothered. It fitted and I looked fucking class. I’ve worn it pretty much continuously ever since. The zip broke back in 2010 I think and I managed to rip a gouge in one side. I tacked it with sewing pins and vowed to get it fixed. To date, I haven’t got around to it, but I still pull it on every day. Its soft. It’s been worn in well. My jacket has been around the world. France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia. It’s been back down to London more times than enough, and to Camden. Without knowing, I’ve probably been inside the leather shop where Mum ordered it from for fifty quid. It’s been to black metal gigs in dingy pubs, it’s been up cold, snow capped mountains, it’s been to metal festivals and Viking ship museums and deathbeds. It’s accompanied me to every important place I’ve been to in the past six years.
I remember a couple of years back, one of my friends, out of the blue, told me that the jacket really suited me and that I was one of the few people he knew who could pull off tassels. (They go across the back of the jacket and down the length of the arms) I tell you something now, I felt like a fucking goddess.
I take my jacket with me when I go to do creative writing workshops. I use it as an example, to inspire people to write about a piece of clothing that they feel strongly about. I’m going to wear this beast until it literally falls off and then, well, it’ll get a Viking funeral. I’ll construct a ship and send it off in a flurry of flames down the River Tees. Nah. Who am I kidding. Not even a Viking funeral is good enough. I’ll get it repaired, that or hang the remains on a central wall in my house, for my Grandkids to see and admire and regret asking about.