On a recent visit to Manchester with the folks, my dad commented on how drab everyone looked. I say commented, it was more of an hour-long rant about how the city had no style of sense or happiness considering all the fuss that has been made about it by the press (and a load of other people, but mostly the press).
Actually, there were the odd one or two people who stood out. They probably stood out because everyone else looked very, very similar. It has provoked me to ponder whether the fact that we have too much choice nowadays is ruining our sense of individuality and confusing us with what the latest trends really are, forcing us to buy the same thing we always do.
There's a great line in the Simpsons, which I know is a strange thing to quote but it fits in really nicely with this argument. It's from the episode where Marge becomes friends with Ruth Powers. At the beginning, they're watching a telethon in aid of public-funded TV programmes and there's a comedian on it (who reminds me a little bit of Ivor Cutler, in the way that he reads his jokes from a little book). Anyway, he says "He goes into the diner, sits down and reads the menu carefully. And then, he orders the same thing he does every single day". This just sums up what I'm trying to say. When faced with a choice, we're much more inclined to revert to doing what we would normally do rather than being adventurous and trying other things.
Perhaps this is what happened with the Mancunians (or Manc Land as it has now been lovingly renamed - it's seriously not that bad!). They have tons of stores, both designer and high-street and the biggest Primark I'd ever seen (casing point, I haven't actually ever explored London, so that probably has a bigger one still) and yet everyone looked similar. Or at least old, like they hadn't grown up or changed their style in years.
As a result, I received some very odd looks from some of the locals since I was dressed in a bright red jacket. I stood out almost too much against the grey, black and general drab that other people were wearing. I don't know whether to feel sorry for them or not. A malaise like this could only be remedied by someone capable of rewiring the minds of each and every individual, like turning a little light on in their head.
I cast the dullness off as just being because of the bad weather yet in my head I knew that everyone genuinely had lost their sense of fashion direction. It's sad to see that even now people are either afraid or unwilling to try new trends or stand out from the crowd. I think the world would be a much more exciting place if we all decided to be a shade braver.