Dedicated to Bill Cunningham, the New York Times street fashion photographer. (Documentary, “Bill Cunningham-New York” streams on Netflix) The power of a simple life. He’s not a model for me, rather I saw the film on him and identified a lot with his methods. The simplicity and practicality, and seeming lack of distraction from what he loves. The pursuit of beauty, he built his life around. He sleeps on a bed made from a wooden board stacked on crates. He doesn’t want to be owned. He knows that more stuff, more things and adoration will just get in the way of the pursuit of his love, his passion, his creativity.
A tune to perhaps accompany the reading… if that’s the sort of mind you have right now 🙂
So I’m a pretty regular guy I guess. That said I’ve got some quirks. Here’s a little something eccentric (or is it practical?) about me that has interested a lot of folks over the years. I thought I’d write about it.
What’s the last thing you saw me wearing? For those who’ve met me in person, friends and strangers, the answer would all be the same. Black pants, plain black T-shirt. Maybe a coat, black, and possibly a grey hoodie I acquired a year ago. All the photos you might see of me reflect this.
That’s it. For well over 10 years I have never had to choose what pants to wear in the morning. I have multiple pairs of identical Black Ben Davis pants. Once those pairs get old enough, err faded enough, I cycle them out and bring in a new generation.
I came to choose Ben Davis years ago because one, I like them, and two, they’ve been around for a really long time making the pants virtually the same all this time so I knew it was likely they would be available, unchanged, for a long time to come. Same goes for shirts. I’ve got a bunch of generic unbranded black t-shirts, some long sleeve black Ts and that’s it. Long sleeves come in when the weather requires it. I’ve got two or three additional layers for weather, as in a hoodie, coat, raincoat, basically all having a specific calling. This is a bit nerdy but when I get dressed sometimes I have referred to it as “suiting up” for the day. When I switch from one pair of Bens to the next, each pocket is designated for something specific and the contents are just moved to the respective pocket in the “fresh” pair. My keys are kept on a quick release mechanism and every pair of pants has it’s own identical clip for my keys to lock into. Unclip from one, clip into the other.
Its funny when I think about it how this is really just a simple form of practicality for me, and at the same time it represents so much about me. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but over the years quite a lot of people have made a big deal out of it. Never negative, just intrigued I guess. It’s not like I’m the only one. I do take it to a higher level then most but it’s a pretty regular thing for people, especially guys, to not put much thought into the day to day outfits. I just chose one outfit which happens to work in virtually every situation I’m in, and took the thought out of the equation 🙂
One thing I really love is that I never have that, “Doh! I should have worn that other thing!” if I see someone I want to impress or attract. This is how I look, that’s pretty much it. I just gotta make sure my clothes are clean and voila. Lars, take it or leave it.
I suppose my “uniform” has other aspects too.
Every 2-ish weeks I buzz my hair with clippers 3/8 of an inch. I recently replaced a pair of clippers I paid $20 for like ten years ago. Crazy. I must say on the subject, the ones I replaced them with are unimpressive. Same brand but maybe they realized they were making them a little too good back then if you know what I mean.
The only truly unique part of what I wear everyday, that no one could buy at a store for themselves, are some handmade custom necklaces that my good friend, and former band mate Jonathan Alden made for me. Years ago he played bass in a rock trio I was in and when I broke or changed a guitar string in his presence he would ask for the end of it. For those non guitarists out there, guitar strings have a tiny loop or ring at one end, on the side that is usually within the guitar where you can’t see it. It anchors the string to the guitar and acts as a starting point for the winding of the string. He told me to give him all the ends of any string I broke or replaced. One day, he presented me with a gift.
A necklace he had made of stones and other natural materials which included the ends of the strings I had given him. There are a few ends that came from his bass and actually a few from an immensely talented guitarist friend of mine, Chris Devine. I never wore any sort of accessory up til this point in my life. I’d made a few attempts to find something but nothing ever clicked. Honestly at first I was worried I’d feel obligated to wear it but it quickly became a must for me. Its a little hippy dippy but the personal history and music that has passed “through” these pieces is something I like to carry. Since then he has made me 2 more, both of which are also made from completely natural components, and having string ends sourced exclusively from my own instruments. To this day, I save all ends in an envelope and pass them on to Jon when the collection gets big enough.
I have yet to find and settle on a reliable, unchanging shoe I can live in. It is much more challenging than the other elements I wear. Long meandering walks are one of my favorite things in life, and a great source and place of inspiration for me. A few years ago these walks got so long I jokingly told people I had a “walking problem.” I fantasize about having shoes made for me and I can see this becoming a reality some day. I’d love to have a couple pairs that I can just resole as needed. One day…
Who knows what the future holds for this uniform of mine. I could see it being with me into old age. I can also see it taking a different form. Since the origins of this are from practicality (and some vanity management no doubt) it would make sense that if another form became more practical for another stage in life, then I am open to that. For now, my robes are set in this form.
OK. It may not seem this way, but it feels weird for me to talk about myself like this. I’m working that out. I’m a very private person though so I guess it kind of makes sense.
In other news, I’ve been exploring different places for street performance in the Bay Area. Had some good times in San Francisco and have recently been exploring the south bay. I’ll be heading up to the Northwest for a couple weeks in August hopefully playing for some of you while I’m there.
Take care everyone. I hope you’re feeling good about your role in this grand life 🙂
As usual feel free to write me directly at lars[at]larsmakesmusic.com or go to the contact page.
If you haven’t already checked out my new acoustic record please do.
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