Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blue Jeans are Green

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Till I’m gone to Carolina in my mind " - "Carolina in My Mind", James Taylor 1968

"Who is James Taylor?" - "Anon", 2014

New Yorkers in Jeans, DUMBO
Today, May 20, 2014, marks the 141st birthday of the Levi's 501 jeans.

At the 2014 Brainstorm Green conference in Laguna, Levi's CEO Chip Bergh claimed that Levi's "are the ultimate in sustainable apparel.... [They] will last a lot longer than most people's waistlines will." - (Levi Strauss CEO: Stop washing your jeans).   Good to know that Levis are cradle-to-cradle. But I have given up wearing jeans of any kind for some years now. Jeans might retain their shape, or shrink -but out bodies don not.

There was a short period where I weaned myself off blue jeans them by wearing them in black. But for at the past two years, even black jeans have ceased to have a place in my wardrobe.

Whoever said, "Don't trust anyone over thirty," might have shown some fashion sense had he added, "Don't wear jeans over fifty." Hang on while I google who said it.

It was Jack Weinberg who turned sixty on April 6, 2000. I wonder was he wearing jeans.

In America they have "Mom jeans". According to Wikipedia, "Mom jeans is a humorously pejorative term for a specific type of fit of women's jeans, considered to be both unfashionable, and unflattering to the wearer's body shape. This style usually consists of a high waist (rising above the belly button), making the buttocks appear disproportionately longer, larger, and flatter than they otherwise might."

Earlier this year Sarah Palin used the words to try to insult Obama. "People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates." It was enough to make me go out to buy a pair.

But no, I just can't do it. Jeans might be cradle-to-cradle, organic, and free-range, but they don't necessarily look good on women, or men, of a certain age. I intend to age gracefully. Of course you don't have to be under forty to look good in jeans and maybe I could even look OK in them. But the "Mom jeans" thing got to me.

Just another thing that I have lost. But then look how much I've gained. Growing old isn't all negative. Why just yesterday I discovered another until then unknown upside. I have completely forgotten all the books I read in my teens. I'm in the middle of Camus "L'Étranger". Don't remember a word of it.

Yes sister Helen Reddy.
Oh yes, I am wise
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am invincible
I am woman

Yet but I still don't look all that great in jeans ...

But look how much I've gained ...

A whole new library awaits me.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Living in the Seventies

I feel a little crazy
I feel a little strange
Like I'm in a pay phone
Without any change - Skyhooks, "Living in the Seventies", 1974

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed ’til the tolling ended - Dylan, "Chimes of Freedom", 1964
Earth Day at Earth Fest, Battery Park, New York 2014

There's something about the seventies - they just won't go away.

I gave birth to my children in the seventies, and spent most of that decade in rural Australia. Back then Manhattan seemed a century away, as did "Swinging London" which I had recently left.

Days of macramé housewives, potteries, Fowler'sjars, and a fear of anything petrochemical. Needless to say we all drove 8 cylinder cars, but our hearts yearned for horse-drawn buggies. Memories of Gladydale, Victoria, Australia, The World, The Universe.

Where a friend of mine tried to grow rice on the side of a mountain top, in sandy soil with no irrigation or regular rainfall. My mind jolted back to the days of vinyl when children had names like Sunday, Zero and Chaos. When men sprouted sideburns and babies wore cloth diapers. When James Taylor was beautiful. Well, all of us were.

 Forty years on.

The bottom tip of Manhattan NY. Battery Park. Earth Fest 2014. Time warp.

Sunflower Seeds and Clay, Earth Day, Battery Park
A scattering stalls that may or may not have been selling something. It was hard to tell. Laid back and organic, with almost cult-like starry-eyed optimism, the vendors were all into customer participation.

A red-headed bearded man was showing me a few grains of rice, explaining that he had grown them on an island on the East River. I can't remember its name. Millrock perhaps? "Does anyone live there?" I asked and he told me no. I wondered how he got there everyday to tend a few clumps of rice. Perhaps he had a raft.

A band way playing songs I'd never heard of. Downbeat. I later discovered it was "Bluegrass" and performed by either "Gotham City Pickers" or "Five Mile String Band". Scorning advertising there was no sign. Actually I shouldn't be mean. It was all very pleasant. Laid-back and un-commercial. There was even a farm, based on strip-farming - the open-field system that was the prevalent agricultural system in much of Europe during the Middle Ages.

Kids rolled sunflower seeds into clay balls under the supervision of eager teenagers from one of the local schools. A communal bucket half-full of muddy children juice was available to clean tiny toddler hands.

But I am being mean again. I just can't help myself. I blame it on a guy called Bill de Blasio - New York City's new mayor. But that's another Letter ...