E Jane Dickson: 'Clara looks like a midget pole-dancer'

Share
Related Topics

I am In Ireland, out shopping with my mother and my daughter. Clara selects a gorgeously sequinned pair of ultra-low-slung Britney jeans from a garment rail and urges me to try them on. "Not in a million years," I say. "Don't you think I am a tiny bit old for buttock-cleavage?"

I am In Ireland, out shopping with my mother and my daughter. Clara selects a gorgeously sequinned pair of ultra-low-slung Britney jeans from a garment rail and urges me to try them on. "Not in a million years," I say. "Don't you think I am a tiny bit old for buttock-cleavage?"

"No," say my daughter and mother together, but for different reasons. Clara, because she thinks I should update my image, and my mother because she hasn't got her specs on and doesn't realise that the jeans in question wouldn't cover half my bum. "All the same," says Mum, folding her arms to mirror Clara's, "you're not that old. There's no need to go round like Stanley Baxter impersonating a Sicilian widow."

"Thanks, Mum," I tell her, "I was actually aiming for 'Ronnie Barker does Nana Mouskouri' but you've opened my eyes to a whole new style spectrum."

"No need to get shirty," says Mum, shirtily. "It would be nice to see you making the most of yourself, that's all."

"Have you, perhaps, considered the possiblity," I ask (because my mother and I routinely address each other like ham actors in a lunchtime courtroom drama), "that this is the most I can make?"

The counsel for the prosecution sniffs meaningfully. For as long as I can remember, my mother has dressed in impeccable navy separates (with the odd, moment-of-madness grey skirt thrown in). Yet she persists in the notion that I, at 43, am far too young to be let loose on the classics.

It's always been the same. When I was 12, and obsessed with perfume, I would be propelled firmly in the direction of Charlie or Aqua Manda or some such noxiously "girlie" scent, when what I really wanted was to reek of sex in Shalimar and Chanel (as a matter of principle, I still steal a scoot of Mum's perfume every time I pass her dressing- table). I am about to drag the Great Cologne Controversy up for an airing when Clara appears, breathless with triumph. She has found a pair of almost identical off-the-bum sparkly jeans in her size. Not only will they make her look like a midget pole-dancer, they cost £39.

"Not a chance," I tell her, but Granny has pre-empted the stand-off by finding a faintly less obscene (though no less sparkly and barely less expensive) pair and already the two of them are waltzing off to the cash desk.

"You'd never have allowed me something like that when I was Clara's age," I point out to my mum.

"No, but your gran would have bought it for you anyway," she says. "That's what grans do."

It's the first time either of us has mentioned Gran today. It's the second anniversary of her death, which is, partly, the reason I'm here in Ireland - to be with mum on a difficult day for us both.

We don't really go in for anniversaries in our family. There will be no tears, no formal observances to remember my beloved, irreplaceable grandmother. An act of inter-generational defiance will do just fine.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
John Rentoul met Ed Miliband aged 23, remarking he was “bright, and put up a good fight for the utilities tax, but I was unconvinced.”  

General Election 2015: Win or lose, Ed Miliband is not ready to govern

John Rentoul
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk