On Saturday me and your mum were going to an ideal homes exhibition. It's where
we bought the Alice in Wonderland pictures which will hang on your nursery
wall. I hope by the time you read this you have happy memories of those
As we were driving we passed quite a few people on their way to 'Parklife'.
Parklife is a kind of festival which takes place in Manchester. It's not really
a festival, more of an event which takes place in Heaton Park.
We were laughing because the kids who go really dress up as if they're festival
goers. With kind of hippie clothes and wellies.
Those kind of festivals took place in the 60s, before even my time. And people
dressed that way because of a political movement and changing ideas. The idea
of peace was offset against the ideas of war which had been happening across
Parklife has nothing to do with any of that but I guess the younger people see
how the older people behaved and try to copy as they find their own feet and
try to make their own print on the world.
So me and your mum were talking. And we wondered how you would turn out.
Neither me or your mum are particularly image conscious. That doesn't mean we
don't take care of our appearance (your mum probably more than me) but we're
not massive victims of social pressure and we hope you won't be bothered by
these things either.
This doesn't mean we don't know how it feels to want to fit in. I can remember
when I first started realising about fashion and how other people see you.
My mum used to always buy my school bags from the market. They'd be a pretend
make and it didn't mean anything to me then. They'd also be cheaper which is
why my mum bought me them.
Anyway I suddenly became conscious of this bag, I'm not sure why. I didn't want
a bag from the market any more. I didn't want to stand out by having something
so cheap. I didn't want to stand out for being fancy either. I think I just
wanted to fit in.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to fit in. But this is a hard lesson also
because you shouldn't just do things because other people do, either. You have
to learn to be your own person and do things because they are right for you.
Sometimes that makes you stand out, sometimes it makes you blend in.
As long as you do what's right for you and not because other people make you,
or pressure you, then you'll be okay. Of course that doesn't count if me and your
mum tell you to do something- most of the time we'll be right there, even when
My mum didn't buy me a bag from the market that year. She bought me a bag from
a proper shop. I think maybe she took me along to choose it. I'll never forget
that school bag. It was a Head bag and it was black with purple and green. I
felt on top of the world with that bag. I was proud of it. I don't think anyone
at school ever commented one way or another but it made me feel better and
sometimes that's what's important.
And how times change. I just sent your mum this to read over and by the time
she was at school, 10 years later, Head bags had become, in her words, 'snide'.
Fashion and trends are fickle and they change fast. What is inside you will be
with you forever.