Six ways to look a thundering tool in… outdoor clothing

SLIGHT nip in the air? Warnings of frost? Then kit yourself out in five grand of outdoor gear best suited for Everest base camp and parade down Thetford high street!

Canada Goose

A coat stuffed with down from the most vicious bird on the wetlands walk is, in an ironic reversal that’s so fashion, a dead cert to get you mugged on the underground’s more vibrant and lively lines. That roundel on your left arm’s migrating all the way to eBay, bae!

North Face

The classic original with that am-I-behind-that-bloke-from-Coast-who’s-gone-GB-News-oh-no-it’s-a-woman style, it’s basic but brilliant. Should be capable of dealing with Antarctic temperatures and worn on suburban streets in light drizzle over a T-shirt.

Walking boots

The higher, more waterproof and uglier the better. Your statement here is anti-fashion: ‘I don’t follow trends! I wear what’s comfortable and practical, not what tastemakers say I should? What do you mean, Mammut Kento Tour boots aren’t particularly practical for ABC’s Lexicon of Love orchestral tour at Bridgewater Hall? Stop judging me!’

Ugly bobble hat

As Boris Johnson knew when stepping out onto the catwalk of the Covid inquiry, the more obscure the better. But if you can’t source an original Grimsby Town FC hat like Da Boz, shop around; lower-league football, rugby of both stripes or the logo of a prominent brewery wins respect from the bobble massive!

Technical gloves

Think SWAT team. Think those endless scenes where squads of men with laser sights enter an abandoned building, muttering ‘On my six’ as the tension builds. Those gloves, but instead of being curled around the trigger of a Heckler & Koch they’re impudently dangling four pints of milk in the queue at Tesco Metro!


Fashion is nothing if it ain’t one-upping, and strapping on these bad boys to walk 15 minutes down the street to a gastropub means you win. Designed to stop water getting into boots during horizontal rain in the Cairngorms, pair them with jeans for an insouciant ‘I don’t know what these are for but fuck it’ feel. Prepared!

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This week in Mash History: Karl Marx's sister gives him smaller half of biscuit, 1824

ONE of the 20th century’s most dominant and divisive figures, Karl Marx’s work shaped hundreds of millions of lives. Which makes it all the more suprising it began over a biscuit. 

More than two decades before beginning The Communist Manifesto, a young Marx was awakened to the philosophy underpinning it after receiving much less than half of a Lebkuchen.

While his sister Louise may have thought the act playful, academics argue this event to be Karl’s first encounter with the unfair division of resources that would become his life’s work.

The eight-year-old’s first publication, known to historians as Das Kookie, reads: “There is no natural explanation, no justification, for why I should get less biscuit than my sister.

“Louise claimed the halves of Lebkuchen were even, but I could clearly see she kept the bit with the bigger splodge of icing for herself. This is mankind in essence, but must it be this way?

“My mother, as a class enemy, told me that Louise does not embody the unnatural evils of modern man, that I should be happy with what I got and not be greedy. Which caused me to realise society must be restructured from the top-down.

“It is my mother who ‘owns’ the biscuits. She stifles the supply. This biscuit was given to us when we helped to sweep the floors. But it is not a gift. It is the just reward of labour, and was only honey-spiced and not even chocolate.

“My sister is a mere cog in the machine of proletarian deprivation. As it is passed on to me, she nibbles a little off for herself. She claims she didn’t, but I saw her, and my bit of cookie is damp, so I licked her forehead and now I’ve been sent to my room. A political prisoner.

“I tried to tell Louise the system forces our conflict. We are Hansel and Gretel, kept at arm’s length from whole houses of cookies, and must seize the means of production. But she says she won’t be my friend unless I play dollies. The cycle of injustice continues.”

And so Marx realised the world was unfair, set out to right it and formulated philosophies of economics which are conservatively estimated to have killed millions – all because of a biscuit.

Next week: to 1960, when Che Guevera produced 100 T-shirts with his face on to advertise his car-washing business.