I had a little wardrobe issue at my talk at the Sherborne Literary Festival today.
First aside of this ramble - thanks to all those who came along for being so kind, and to the organisers for being so effective and excellent. I had a splendid time.
Right, back to the main point. This may come as a surprise but I always think carefully about what to wear for a talk. I never claim to be a master of fashion (an apprentice might be more accurate), but at least I can try.
The balance I try to strike for talks is to be smart enough to look professional and prepared, and to ensure it's obvious I'm taking it seriously ...
... yet relaxed enough to be a cool, arty, authory type (and also to feel comfortable.)
It's not easy, to say the least! In fact, it's multi-tasking, and I'm a man so say no more.
However, the look I've settled upon over the years is a good pair of shoes and a decent shirt (always some shade of blue; it goes with the eyes, don't you know?) and a jacket (to demonstrate the smartness), but a pair of jeans (to emphasise the cool side.)
I rarely travel to an event thus dressed though, as it can involve a fair drive and I want to be fresh when I start. So I tend to make use of a green room, as they're called in the luvvie trade, to get changed.
Which is all very well, as went the plan today at Sherborne, except -
I walked into the hall with plenty of time to spare before the talk, dressed in trainers, white shorts, a T-shirt and a hoodie...
... only to find that punctuality is a local strong point, and the place was already mostly full.
Cue some surprise, rapidly followed by excuses along the lines of - I went to the gym this morning, I will get changed I promise, my apologies... and a quick and red-faced dash to the green room.
Ah well, happily the people were forgiving folk, and the talk went nicely. It was great to be back in Dorset, a wonderful county where I was fortunate enough to be first posted by the BBC as a trainee TV reporter. Happy days, and twenty years ago now. Sigh...
I like to try to learn lessons in life, so the next time I do a talk I will investigate the existence of a side door or back entrance!