Saturday, 18 September 2010

No Brown In Town

I have just seen a statement in another blog which bluntly asserts that what the blogger calls "the rule" No Brown In Town "has pretty much no relevance in London today". In Book III I mention 'rus in urbe' and, although it is a tag that is normally applied to gardens, I recognize that there are times and places in town when a relaxed attitude might be taken over dress when out and about.

However, so far as the blogger's heedless generalization is concerned: First of all, No Brown In Town is not a general "rule" but often a carefully observed custom, in such places as certain places of work and the better clubs. Moreover, even though evening dress has disappeared as everyday wear, there are many who would take a dim view of a man pitching up to the opera (or to a funeral) in brown shoes. Sometimes, it is an actual rule (e.g. advocates appearing in a Court are still instructed to wear black shoes).

Just because the threads of our civilization are being unravelled by barbarians and its remaining customs are being rent asunder by just about all those who can grab a a corner of them, are not reasons to hasten the process with gratuitous exhortations to destroy perfectly reasonable, established customs on the (implied) false premise that they are oppressive "rules" imposed by an overtaken elite, whose customs are being disregarded in the free-fall, free-for-all scrum of The Common Man in modern Britain; which, incidentally, Blair, Garden Broom and Mandy did not invent; as Thatcher laid the foundations for the rot setting in with her statement that "There is no such thing as Society".

The photograph is a still from the film My Fair Lady of Audrey Hepburn, Wilfred Hyde White - and Rex Harrison an example of rus in urbe but he wouldn't have been likely to get into the opera in that rig "Not in them days Guv'nor!"; even if, within the confines of the phantasy of the film, he does get into the royal enclosure at Royal Ascot, dressed in tweeds.


  1. Plenty of people go to the opera for the music you know; my goodness Dr D was a brilliant literary character precisely because he did not care for the frippery of his bourgeois set. If the character had cared; he would not have been so loved.

    Were you ever in the Gods at the opera? It is mostly jeans and laughs all round matey. When you really love music; clothes are so much less important.

  2. of course, Prof H not Dr D; a shadow commission on salaries and bonuses of top financiers has recently been voted for at the TUC conference in England; the most wonderful ruse because for the low paid it turns the Goverment's insistence on bodies to cap their pay on its head. A speaker from a union in the North talked of the oft quoted fear that invoking limits on the top would mean that their brains, skill and greed would abandon the country for richer pickings elsewhere; tax havens; and places where no law of the land could reach them. He said, my grandfather used to come home from the mine covered in dust; bathe and then, when he got out, did he miss the bugs and the dirt that had previously cleaved to him? Of course he didn't! He was felt better without them.

    Now never a truer word surely. But on another note can you advise me what to wear on the 19 Oct when I join the TUC march in london against the ConDem cuts? I was thinking that sackcloth and ashes might go well...

  3. I have given you a photograph in a post as a suggestion for your TUC march.

    However, what I can't understand is why a red-under-the-bed is doing winding himself up here.

  4. Trying to improve myself of course

  5. Well,hang on in here, buster.

  6. swinging baby