It’s that time of the year. Everybody is looking up the lowest temperatures you can legally work in, dreaming of finally experiencing being sent home “before you catch your death”. You can’t even stick your leg out from under the covers on a morning without feeling like you’ve dipped it in the North Sea. Yet, there is hope. There’s something to cling on to. A burning beacon during the winter months as all other lights go out. Chiming in the darkness, it’s sweet tones reverberate around the country.
The Big Coat Klaxon has sounded and lads, I am fucking thrilled.
Big coats are the best. They always say bigger is better and the same goes for coats. Nothing beats a big coat. They’re everything you’ve ever needed, all morphed into one waxed, faux-fur lined bundle of joy.
There isn’t a question you can ask where the answer isn’t “Big coat, mate”. Try it. Need to stay warm and dry at the same time? Big coat, mate. You want to feel like you’re walking round still wrapped up in your duvet? Big coat, mate. Want to bring nations together and stop wars? Big coat, mate. See. Big coat, mate.
There’s nothing you can hate about a big coat. They’re practical as fuck. All that mad Scandinavian technology that’s been wrapped into every stitch keeps you as dry as the Sahara desert in the middle of July. The thick layers of imitation fur or down make you feel like you’re being hugged by an old friend next to a blazing fire.
There’s enough pockets to fit a bottle of Lucozade, a bag of crisps and a big bar of Galaxy in. Everyone wants to be a walking tuck shop when they grow up. That’s not to mention the MI5 style secret inside pockets, so you can have a right good go at being James Bond. I just stick my pens in them ones, like.
Big coats are also the most versatile and stylish pieces of kit you can own. On the terraces, in the office, down the pub, round your Nan’s for tea. There isn’t a situation where walking in decked out in a big coat is looked down upon. You walk into a room with a big coat on, the atmosphere changes.
You’re the one running the show now. Big coat for the big man on campus. You look ready to climb Everest, yet as relaxed as if you were walking through the countryside. They make you look great. Big coats can make the skinniest lad look like an absolute unit and give that slick, suave aura to the more Brexit bellied gentleman.
The biggest issue, the only issue with big coats really, is when it becomes “acceptable” to dust them off from the wardrobe. You don’t want to misjudge it just because it looks a bit gloomy on a morning, fire on the Fjall Raven and end up sweating like Prince Phillip the first time he meets Meghan Markle; your poor choice physically weighing you down as you have to carry a coat round for the rest of the day. There isn’t really guidelines of when the Big Coat Klaxon will go off, but when it does, you just know. It feels right.
For me, it’s when my SAD kicks in. When getting out of bed on a morning becomes a genuine challenge rather than just an excuse for five more minutes kip. If I become near incapable of leaving my bed, what better way to carry on with life than taking my bed with me? A bed that I can fit packs of comfort food in, a bed that I can zip up and cover my head with, a bed that gets me knowing looks of admiration in the street.
Like any first, you’ll always remember your first big coat. Your first summer romance on that camping trip to France? Nah mate, nothings compares to your first big coat. Mine was a tan coloured Penfield Kasson Mountain Parka. At 160 quid, it was only attainable to a 15 year old me one way. Christmas. My Grandma, my on Earth guardian angel, stumped up the cash with the proviso “you can only have it on Christmas, or else you’ll have nothing to open off me”. Won her round, didn’t I? No Grandma can resist my doe eyes, pet lip and INCESSANT PESTERING.
From the minute my arms slipped inside the lumberjack-style checked lining and pulled that exquisitely crafted blend of American fabrics around me, I was a new man. I’d fallen in love hard and fast. For nearly two years, it became my best mate; protecting me from the rain and the wind, comforting me from the cold, always there as we made memories together.
Marvin Emnes creeping the ball over the line at Selhurst Park as the aftermath of the London riots hung in the air, Barry Robson thundering one into the top corner on Boxing Day against Hull, getting served for the first time in a pub and subsequently whiteying my guts up from booze for the first (and definitely not the last) time. We were together for everything.
It’s still hanging up at the end of my wardrobe, traded in for fancier and fresher models as the ravages of time have taken it’s toll on it’s once shining beauty. Just like that lass everyone at school used to fancy, but now looks a solid 6/10 after going through 4 pregnancies and 40 fags a day.
There’s a pyro stain on the elbow, the wrists are discoloured and worn from too many spilled pints and the zip is rusty from neglect but every so often, I’ll throw it on for a quick dash to the shops. Then the memories come flooding back. Suddenly, I’m Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, swept off my feet by Richard Gere as Joe Cocker’s gravelly baritone belts out the opening tones of “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong”. You’ll never beat your first love.
This Christmas, give your heart to someone special. Buy a big coat, fall in love and look cool as fuck doing it.