Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tied up in knots and choked by choice - Why less is more.

I have just moved house.  Notorious for inclusion among the three Ds of devastating stress: Divorce, Death and Decamping.  It must be a near universal experience of a house move to be horrified at the sheer quantity of stuff that has been accumulated over the years.  Perhaps there are ascetics who have forsworn belongings who manage to make moves by bus rather than groaning pantechnicon and squadron of burly men.  If there are I’m not sure they and I would have much in common.

A paradox in my own approach to life is that I pride myself on an ability to turn up at a departure gate with all necessary belongings in a plastic bag.  Yet in my permanent life I am dwarfed by mountains of pointless detritus.  I have twelve ‘fancy’ waistcoats for wearing at weddings.  This is not normal, it is not healthy and it is not OK.  I need a motto or slogan for my life, a Max’s maxim - Nobody’s looking at you mate.

This is not exaggeration, as this inadvertent experiment I undertook demonstrates.  The name Karl Stefanovic is unlikely to mean much to most Brits but he is an Australian news anchor who wore the same suit on screen  for a year to expose the contrast in scrutiny of men’s and women’s appearance. 

In my own tiny recreation of this endeavour I have worn this tie to work every day for the last three months:

It is a plain blue handmade tie from Paris.  I did not buy it I inherited it.  It is from a manufacturer so discreet there is no mention of it on the internet.  It is a very nice tie and was no doubt very expensive.  My reasoning was if you’re going to wear one thing it best be a very nice thing.

For three months I have got up and have not had to give a second’s thought to my choice of neckwear for that day.  It has been one less worry at a very worrying time.  You of course may feel that a normal person  would hardly have to worry about what tie they were going to put on.  But, as I have already said, I am not normal.

Now that I have been reunited with what my wife determinedly believes is the effluvia of my past rather than a jointly owned cornucopia of delights I can once again choose what message I wish to convey to the world via a scrap of cloth about my neck.

It is not an easy choice because this is my tie collection:

As all barristers know there some situations that are so grave that there is no mitigation so the only defence I will raise is that I inherited the vast majority of these, of this insane profusion of peacockery. 

Never have I understood better that if I want to tell the world something I can do it with my mouth, or even better my actions, rather than through some obscure semaphore of silk.  Not one single person remarked on the monotony of my tie, nobody decried my lack of imagination,  in short nobody cared.
When Gandhi died, a barrister who knew a thing or two about travelling light through life, these were all the possessions he owned in the world:

The moral of the story is: little but lovely.

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