Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Baseball Caps Make Sense in America. Here They Just Spell "Idiot"

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Baseball Caps Make Sense in America. Here They Just Spell "Idiot"

Article excerpt

I was sitting in a traffic jam in horrible, violent Kentish Town when a juvenile delinquent came walking out of a side street. He wasn't much more than three foot tall, and probably about eight years old. He wore gear that I've lately learnt to call Chav: luminous white trainers, baggy jogging pants, sweat shirt with the hood worn down to make way for the cherry on top of the Chav ensemble: the baseball cap.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I watched this kid. I knew he was going to do something violent and illegal, it was just a matter of when. I'd only moved a few feet forwards before--this being Kentish Town--the kid found a glass bottle in the gutter. This he thoughtfully rolled out into the road ahead of me, probably in the hope of puncturing my tyres. A middle-aged man in non-Chav gear (a long mac) saw this action, rolled his eyes at the kid, and walked into the road to retrieve the bottle. "Why did you do that?" he asked the kid. "What?" said the kid, who then added, after a pause for thought, "Fuck off."

The kid's baseball cap carried the Nike tick, which, when so located, always seems like the affirmative answer to the question: "Idiot below?" Five minutes later, as I parked in Camden, I saw a girl sitting on a traffic bollard which had been transplanted to the middle of the pavement. She was kicking it rhythmically; she was wearing a baseball cap.

It used to be that all Britons wore hats, and that is becoming true again. As I sat in that traffic jam, almost all of the dozen or so people who walked past my car wore hoods or hats, mainly baseball caps. I've never seen anybody in a baseball cap that I'd like to have spoken to, and Michael Moore would cut more ice with me if he didn't wear one. I must admit that I own one myself. I can't remember where it came from. It says "Arsenal" on the front, inevitably. …

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