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Dom Joly: Seeing red trousers

PUBLISHED: 12:09 12 May 2014 | UPDATED: 12:24 12 May 2014

In London red trousers are almost invariably the preserve of the hipster, who tend to favour trousers that cling to their skinny legs, often topped with a hideously ironic tank top

In London red trousers are almost invariably the preserve of the hipster, who tend to favour trousers that cling to their skinny legs, often topped with a hideously ironic tank top


In London red trousers are almost invariably the preserve of the hipster, who tend to favour trousers that cling to their skinny legs, often topped with a hideously ironic tank top. Dom Joly experienced his own red-trouser-moment a little closer to home.

So I was standing on the railway platform at Gloucester, minding my own business when I spotted a ‘youth’ on the other side of the tracks staring at me. Having had quite some experience in being ‘spotted’ in public by the public over the last 14 years or so, I could guess his intentions. This was a guy who had thought of something funny to shout at me but couldn’t quite pluck up the courage. I started to enjoy watching his struggle with nerves. Three times he worked himself up to release but then pulled out. Finally, as his train pulled in he issued a limp – “get a proper job Dom…” before the carriages shielded him from my reaction.

I’m not sure what he imagined my reaction to be? I’ve had a lot of stuff shouted at me in the street and this was very much on the lower end of the abuse scale. I get a lot of “HELLO” and “I’M IN THE STREET IT’S RUBBISH” but I also get my share of one-word invectives. The exhortations for me to get a ‘proper job’ therefore didn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact I was rather pleased, as my idea of hell is a ‘proper job’.

The only thing that did bother me was the fact that this ‘youth’ was sporting a pair of eye-wateringly bright, red trousers. I have a real issue with red trousers. I’m not sure why but they really annoy me and, come the revolution, they will be the first item of clothing (followed closely by the ‘gilet’ and those stupid Afghan caps) to be made illegal.

In London the reason for loathing red trousers is obvious. They are almost invariably the preserve of the hipster, an annoying ‘youth’ tribe who do very little but manage to look very smug about it. They tend to favour red trousers that cling to their skinny legs, often topped with a neatly pressed granddad shirt and a hideously ironic tank top. Hipsters are incredibly annoying but, in the case of the youth at Gloucester railway station, innocent of all charges in ‘properjobgate’. This is simply because no self-respecting hipster would have a proper job themselves and therefore would never think of hurling such abuse at me on a railway station platform. Also, no hipster would be seen dead at Gloucester railway station but that is by the by.

So this leads us to the second red-trouser wearing group – the ‘country set’. This group is more prone to baggy red trousers, sometimes cord and often with a tendency to bleed into vivid salmon or puce mustard hues. The younger percentage of this set has recently taken to a tighter style of red trouser in an attempt to look vaguely Twentieth Century. These are to be worn with brown brogues, a thick check shirt and a blue blazer of some description.

Although not an exact match to my protagonist at Gloucester station, he was close enough for me to assign him to this group. If I were to go further I would guess, by his accent and general demeanor that he was not in full-time employment himself. I would plump for a student of some form, but not the radical hipster type or the irate demo type. No, this was more a Cirencester – Agricultural College type – someone who very much believed that the world both owed him a living and should admire his bright red trousers while he roared around the countryside in an old Land Rover shouting at townies.

I could be completely wrong. The ‘youth’ in question might very well be a local councilor or a member of the Cheltenham Planning Committee – actually scratch that – to be a member of the planning committee, you have to be over 60, shop at C&A and you would be entirely incapable of reading a railway timetable.

My only other suspect would be the editor of this very magazine who has been spotted sporting a particularly lurid pair of ‘trouser reds’. Possibly he was already airing his displeasure at this column? There is the ‘youth’ problem however…

If the actual offender reads this – do get in touch.


This article by Dom Joly is from the May 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.

For more from Dom, follow him on Twitter: @domjoly


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