Tuesday 29 April 2014
About bowler hats
On my way back to work, after I left the train station, I saw a man going to it, wearing a bowler hat. You see rarely people wearing bowler hats these days, except eccentrics, and this man looked very much like one. I had seen him from time to time, dressed like a Bohemian dandy, the bowler hat is his trademark. It struck me that I recently saw bowler hats: I (re)watched recently The Great Train Robbery, where they are featured a good deal. I associate bowlers mainly with another movie. I am referring of course to A Clockwork Orange. For Alex, who wears it in the movie, and for the Bohemian guy I saw, the bowler hat is now a sign of marginality, their refusal to conformity. Ironic, as it was maybe one of the most conform hat ever invented, worn through history by all social classes. It does have some sober elegance in it, and if hats were ever back in fashion it could go with everything. Except maybe my head: it would look far too round with a bowler hat, I think. But the bowler hat can also be a sign of oddity, even have sinister tones: Oddjob in Goldfinger wears one, it is both his trademark and his weapon of choice, as the hat's rim is doubled with a circle of metal that is strong enough to break a neck. Alex and Oddjob show that it can appeal to sadistic thugs. All the same, I wish bowler hats were back in fashion. I find it somewhat sad that it is now a sign of eccentricity.