Saturday, July 31, 2010


What better pastime for a hot and muggy day than ironing?
I call it 'joining in with the weather'.
The iron and myself are strangers; I bought a cheap one from Sainsburys and have been battling the terrifying snorting hog ever since. It is a steam iron that steams when you don't press the button and doesn't when you do.
I steamed the toaster to a flurry of blurred chrome, and dried the wrinkles into my clothes.

It was the silk Italian holiday-shirt that made me fight the ironing board out of the cupboard (only six bruises so far!). The shirt has been bundled up for weeks begging to be restored to its original glassy sheen.
As I slid the fizzing and spluttering device over printed pictures of important Italian buildings, I mused on the idea of teaching geography by clothing. Madras shirts, Scottish woollens, Chinese cotton shoes... world-plunderers, we are.

I remember finding out that my main feminist friend ironed her partner's shirts. I was shocked!
My ex-partner was a perfectionist and I suspect him of re-ironing his shirts after his mother did them.
(I wonder if she thought I was too lazy?).

There is something peaceful about it, if time is  no pressure; it can feel like ice-skating for the hands, or at least that's what I tell myself to avoid boredom.
And then the clothes are flat and smooth, and fit again even when you thought you had got too fat for them: does ironing stretch them?
You can stuff more of them into the drawer and you don't have to send them (back) to the charity shop.
Thank goodness I have finished: that's the job over for at least another three months!

Reading back over my posting, I have noticed short sentences and an unusually 'punchy' delivery. I have been adversely influenced by Mark Radcliffe's awful autobiography, a book I bought to read on holiday. It's full of short sentences. It's an attempt to make it pacy. It's almost breathless! Like this!
I got a two-for-one offer with the equally terrible biography of Malcolm McLaren by Ian Macleay. What a mess: there is a stack of good information there tossed about casually like a summer salad. 
It's so frustrating to read; he darts about from one time period to another, padding it out with irrelevant information. It is a distressing attempt to cash in quickly on the man's death; McLaren was interesting and articulate, if not very likeable, and he definitely deserved better than this.
No wonder I have almost stopped reading altogether...

1 comment:

Antonionioni said...

Ironing can be relaxing to the right background music, which i find is soothing music or music kept quiet. The worst experience of ironing i ever had was listening to a loud Manic Street Preachers album while ironing. It was a double whammy of depression and meaninglessness.