It was the week of the suit. I had three conferences at which I was presenting workshops, plus a visit to a local electronics factory, and smart trousers and a light fleece jacket just weren't going to be good enough. It was the first time in my working life that I had worn a suit more often in the week than I hadn't, and fortunately it occurred at an era in my life when dandruff on the shoulders is no longer a possibility.
I'm on my second suit now. The first was bought for my graduation. Unlike the plain black two-piece I now sport, it had a dapper waistcoat and featured a subtle but natty pinstripe. It looked great. It felt awful.
Somewhere along the line, a mistake was made in ordering the material for the trousers and, instead of wool, sandpaper was used. Most of it seemed to be gathered at the crotch (cue Dick Emery joke), resulting in a walk reminiscent of John Wayne after a sudden bout of incontinence.
I loathed that garment and only relished wearing it to christenings because there was a chance that a cradled child would terminally damage it by throwing up over me. In the end, I couldn't wear it out - it was wearing me out - so I had to put on weight to render it useless.
The week of the suit was also a week of missed opportunity. If I hadn't been work shopping and had been able to find a telephone, I could have been on the radio. Someone from the Gary Robertson show wanted me to speak about Matthew Fitt's book But n Ben A-Go-Go, the science fiction book written in Scots that I raved about in this column some time ago.
I consider the fact that my voice was not heard across the nation to be HMI's revenge for all the Phil Harrass pieces, as it was their conference that had me otherwise engaged.
Matthew's book got me "into" the Scots language and I think I may have mentioned before that some of my poems feature in an anthology of manky, mingin rhymes called King o the Midden. I'm not yet sure what the reaction to the HMI event was, but I am indebted to a regular reader for passing on to me his experience of the effect the verses continue to have.
He's an English teacher but still worth listening to. Having bought King o the Midden, he tried the Cliff Richard pastiche "Bacon Roll" on his S2.
Apparently the "greasy, squeezy, triple cheesy" line was too much for one lad, who ran out of the class to be sick in the corridor. Now there's something to try when I go off my latest suit.
Gregor Steele also features in the just published anthology Blethertoun Braes (available at all good bookshops).