Hill 60, Wrangler Jackets, and the Art of the Cool

A little while ago I was sitting at the top of Hill 60 in Roundhay Park, enjoying the slightly hazy sunshine. The school holidays are in full swing, parents with out with their kids, boys playing frisbee, and teenagers simply hanging out.

I was one of them once, back when I was about 14-16. Those with long memories will recall that Hill 60 was once terraced, somewhere for people to sit and watch the Saturday cricket matches or the events there. On a sunny summer Sunday, or during the school holidays I’d walk the half hour up there from home and sit myself on the bottom terrace. Not for the cricket, but for the girls who went past.

Of course, I had to be dressed just so. A shirt, sometimes a paisley one, Levi’s, and my petrol blue cord Wrangler jacket. Because, of course, that looked cool. Maybe. And I’d always have a book with me. Not only because it made me darkly intellectual, but so I could actually read it after I’d had enough of being ignored by the passing girls.

I wasn’t cool, of course. I was a music and words nerd. I played bass in a band, although we’ll slide over the fact that we weren’t very good and only played one gig, where the main comment was ‘turn it down.’

Did I ever meet any girls on those long, sunny afternoons? I seem to recall talking to a few, since I wasn’t the shy, retiring creature I was today, and going home with a bit of a tan, my mother saying I look brown as a berry. But I don’t believe I ever went out with any of those girls. The dates seemed to come from Roundhay High School, right next door to Roundhay Grammar, where I was a pupil.

But it’s nice to think that for a couple of year I looked cool. Maybe.

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