obsessive pursuit of perfection for my costume, I decided I needed
more...er...black leatherette. This rare substance, rarer even than
mithril, can only be had in a legendary shop called Trimmings, or the
Dublin Woollen Mills, on the Liffey Quays (where you might remember I
was almost flattened by a runaway bus so I was understandable reluctant
to go back there)
I can just about reach it from where I work if the supervisor turns a
blind eye to when I get back from lunch, so I hopped in a taxi and sped
The shop was full of people getting material for their Hallowe'en fancy
dress costumes, something I could hardly criticise, could I?
There were aisles and aisles of gorgeous fabrics, and if I had been
making up an Elf costume I could have had a great time, there were
silvery, star-sewn gossamer-like materials in every hue....but I am a
wild lonely Ranger so I hunted about for boring leatherette but
couldn't find it.
There was a big table with an even larger Ioreth-type lady behind it
brandishing a big pair of shears. She called over to me to ask if I
needed help and I was just about to ask her where the leatherette was
when I saw it at the back of a row of other fabrics.
'I'm all right, I see what I want..' I called to her taking out the
long bolt of material. But as I did so I felt it tugged from my grasp
and when I looked I saw that the other end was held by a punk rocker
with pink hair, black fishnet tights and sooty mascara.
'Sorry, I'm taking this' I said, noting there was not much left on the
roll. She gave me a grim look and held on. I walked to the table. She
did not let go, so I towed her after me.
I was aware that black leatherette is to punk rockers what food is to
hobbits. But I had not dashed across Dublin to be outbid by a Clash fan.
At the table Ioreth said;
'Right now, who is first?'
'I am' I snapped. She picked up the shears and eyed the material
doubtfully - black leather, after all - then asked the question no shop
assistant should ever ask;
'What do you want this for?'
The punk rocker smirked. I stammered;
'Well, it is for a costume....'
'Oh!' said Ioreth 'Who are you supposed to be?'
'A Ranger' I said, turning crimson. As she looked blank I added lamely;
'A character from The Lord of The Rings, sort of like Aragorn...'
It was Ioreth's turn to look blank, but the punk rocker said enthisiasically;
'The Lord of The Rings! I did my thesis on that!'
'It is the film character...' I began to explain, then Ioreth broke in;
'Oh THOSE films! Star Trek!'
'No, not Star Trek...' I said
'I loved the first film...' said the punk rocker
'But that second film, with Aragorn falling off the cliff, I HATED it.
I cried for weeks about what they had done to my wonderful book....'
'It's not that bad!' I said 'You have to understand the difference between film and book as a medium...'
'Are you going as Mister Spock?' broke in Ioreth 'I LOVED Mister Spock...'
'No, I'm not Mister Spock' I said to her 'It is not Star Trek, it is a book...'
'Who wrote this book?' demanded Ioreth
'JRR Tolkien...' I answered in exasperation
'Oh HIM!' exclaimed Ioreth to the by now long queue waiting for their material to be cut.
'He wrote Harry Potter!'
'I did not even go to see the third film, I was so sick about what they
did to Aragorn...' said the punk rocker sadly. She seemed to be
reliving the trauma of seeing the book filmed all wrong.
'It's not THAT bad...' I said. There was the tearing sound of fabric
being cut. I saw there was plenty of material left on the roll.
'It cuts up really well' I said to the punk, meaning the leatherette but I think she thought I meant The Lord of The Rings.
Ioreth gave me a scrap of paper with letters scrawled on it and I took
it to the counter where it was examined as if it was holy writ, then
fed into massive computer.
'That will be thirty euros, please...'
As I made a dash from the shop, material under my arm, I looked back
and the punk girl was gazing wistfully after me. I realised she wanted
to talk about The Lord of The Rings. Even if we Ringers disagree on the
film vs book stuff, we are united by more than what we are divided by.
I would have loved to stay and talk about it, perhaps try to convert
her - at least persuade her to see The Return of The King, but I had
promised the supervisor I would hurry straight back, so the opportunity
had to be missed....
Mr Spock indeed....