Sunday, March 23, 2014

Day 23

That awkward stage when you know you wanna be freaky but you still don't know how to be freaky so you end up looking like a kid set to random. Shoulder length hair, lime green tuxedo jacket, tie-dyed jeans you had the nerve to wear twice, an assortment of shirts, home decorated. Baubles around the neck and wrists. Sashes, for gods' sake. These growing pains can eventually lead to some balancing act, less high visibility shrieking and more jeans and t-shirts.
    My first foray into fashion statements was a sweatshirt initially light blue but faded into white that I painted a question mark onto. Large and in the front of course. This was the initial spark that would set me off. It was followed by a tourist t-shirt from Kalamata that I'd scrunch up on the garage floor and spray paint with red and blue. Toxic tie-dye. The real tie dye started shortly thereafter and yielded great results. I still balk at that 'fake' hyper swirled dead-head stuff you can get at head shops. Real, detail oriented organic hippie home-made jobs are the best. They went well with my array of hand crafted macrame bracelets I'd learn to make.
    It may be ironic that my first hippie-ish clothes and accessories came from Greece. The first was a blue and white pullover cotton shirt that a classmate, Roger Palewandrem, laughed at and called a rice sack the first time I wore it at school. I was not to be deterred. The rice sack was worn well and I can only thank the gods that I didn't go into full luxurious ethnic circus pattern stylings as I grew. I almost did. Indian cotton shirts can easily lead to billowy button downs decorated like gauche temples. I also dodged a bullet by not being able to find or afford when I did full-length capes. My courage was also limited. The poncho I did wear once or twice was just too big and I felt odd so my mom stitched up the neck hole and it became a throw. Other Greek details were the leather string one could get at any souvenir shop in Kalamata. I bought the stuff by the metre and also picked up ready made macrame bracelets. I say ironic because Greek hippie kids in Montreal don't come by the dozen. My high school was almost 80 % Greek. The kids at school in the mid 80s were predominantly Lumber-Bums, greasy haired, lumber jacket, Ozzie t-shirt, Kodiak boot wearing rockers. Much to my dismay, the summer between grades 10 and 11, they seemed to all turn into Aldo shopping, Azzaro cologne wearing Madonna fans. Their girlfriend shaped them up, the poor saps.
    My gang were budding punks and new wavers, a metal head or two. I was welcome to try things out. I went to the punk matinees in my love beads and I started slam dancing in my desert boots. Though punk shows came and went, that scene wasn't fully mine. Neither were the Tam-tams, the weekly drum circle that was gaining ground. I bought my incense, studied the sixties which eventually led me to appreciate random un-moored freakiness as opposed to the patchouli historical revisionism of the 80s. I met some other freaks, got introduced to Discordianism, zines, the international global mail-art network and that original question mark sweat shirt came to signify exactly what I was to become.