I Will Call Them Shades

I don’t know whether this was just paranoia, but wearing shades in the UK always made me feel like I was stepping over a line. “Whatchoo need them for?”. Like wearing a scarf in winter. This makes no sense, I agree. I’m not even sure it’s true. I live in California now, and while the Bay Area isn’t exactly Venice Beach, it is sunny a lot. Shades are a reasonable thing to wear.

I wear glasses anyway, so shades for me have to be prescription. I won’t wear those light-sensitive things because I’d end up looking like a cross between a late 80’s estate agent and my father. This means there is a certain amount of swapping, which is a small pain, but no agony. I have a couple of pairs of cheapo-from-Hong-Kong things, which have served me OK. I’m considering getting some clear-framed ones like this. Thoughts? It would be $100.

I will call sunglasses shades with no shame, for these two reasons. Firstly, in honor of David Rappaport, actor and performance artist, who played Randall in the excellent Time Bandits, was part of the Ken Campbell Road Show (he can be seen drinking bleach on stage in The Secret Policemen’s Ball), and who shot himself in a California park in 1990 because of depression. He appeared on mid-to-late-70’s-early-80’s “anarchic” British Saturday morning show TISWAS, with the nickname ‘Shades’, due to his habit of always wearing wacky-shaped plastic sunglasses. Secondly, the Hawkwind song(/spoken word piece) Ten Seconds Of Forever contains the lyric

In the second second of forever I thought of the pair of broken shades lying on the tarmac

That’s the good thing about cheap shades – it doesn’t matter too much if they get run over.