Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Still Reeling from a Black Tie Nightmare; Dave Robson

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Still Reeling from a Black Tie Nightmare; Dave Robson

Article excerpt

T'S that time of year again when I often look through my fashionable yet homely wardrobe and think of refreshing it.

IAnd then I usually buy another jumper. But there's one item of clothing which has remained conspicuously absent from my largely on-point and pretty damn cool collection - the black tie dinner suit.

Despite my position among Teesside's movers and shakers - well, in my house anyway - my invitations to black tie events have been few and far between. Which is a shame because I reckon I'd rock the dickie bow look - I'd out-Trump Trump.

But if I ever needed such a suit, I could always hire or borrow. Then I remember Alnwick and come out in a cold sweat.

My first proper job was in that fine Northumberland town, where I spent an enjoyable three years among farmers, leek growers, petty criminals and sheep. Perfect training for here, really.

After just a few weeks in the job, I was invited to Alnwick Castle - as subsequently seen in Harry Potter - for a "sportsman's dinner."

My editor, a Hank Marvin lookalike who breezed through life with a slightly inane grin, decided a black tie sportsman's dinner was just the thing to get me networking with Alnwick's male movers and shakers. He also couldn't be bothered to go himself. But for someone like me whose idea of "smart" was a new pair of white Reeboks, it posed a challenge - especially because I was skint and didn't want to buy or hire a suit.

"Don't worry," says Hank, "you're skinny like me, I've got one you can borrow."

We were, indeed, of similar stature, although I preferred to call it lean. But I trusted my new boss - after all, he was, legend had it, a pop star (in the year I was born, Seven Golden Daffodils by The Cherokees peaked at number 33 in the chart - their one and only hit.) And so, as the big night approached, I walked past Greenwoods with a jaunty air, knowing I wouldn't, after all, be needing their black tie suit hiring service.

Perhaps I shouldn't have left it until two hours before the event to pick it up. …

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