“I’d like to thank you all for joining us this morning. As you all know, the situation is grave. First we’ll have the minutes from last month and then we’ll move on to this month’s agenda. Oh, hello John, we heard the traffic was bad. Grab a seat. Nice tie… Oh, what’s…?”
“Oh, this? Just my tiny tube of Pringles for lunch. It fits snugly in my breast pocket so I can access it whenever I want.”
“I see. Well I hope you won’t be eating your reconstituted potato snacks while we discuss how a no-deal Brexit will severely impact on our…”
“John, I really don’t think this is the time or place to be…”
“John, seriously, we’re going to have to lay people off. The business will be decimated. 99 years in the industry and we’re facing an existential threat. It’s highly inappropriate to…”
“Put it away at once.”
“I’m sorry it’s just like the advert says once you pop you can’t stop . There, I’ve popped it back in my breast pocket where it belongs now.”
“John I can’t concentrate with the moustachioed face of Julius Pringles peering over the seam of your breast pocket. I really don’t think it’s a good idea…”
“… to put a tiny tube of any potato snacks in the breast pocket of a suit when you’re going to work – in fact I can’t conceive of any situation whatsoever when it might be wise to match a suit jacket with a novelty starch-based snack – whether you intend to eat them for lunch or not!”
“Sorry Anthony. I’ll turn the tube around so Julius isn’t looking at you.”
“Thank you. So the first item on the agenda is the compulsory redundancy of 50% of our workforce…”
This is a search phrase that repeatedly led readers to this blog, back in the day when it was possible to measure such things. And perhaps it is; Jacamo has never shied away from deviating from the norm when it comes to body shapes – and I’ve no truck with that.
But whether that was ever true or not, that was certainly the perception. And that’s not all. Jacamo has been a byword for cheap, mainly bad clothes made for gangs of deeply unfashionable men who skipped straight from their Mums buying their clothes to “that looks OK” online clothes shopping. In this way I guess it performs a vital public service for men theoretically old enough to live independently but not sufficiently decrepit to be on the radars of any age-related charities.
The recruitment of Andrew Flintoff – a good cricketer who has enjoyed a bafflingly successful television career, mainly by virtue of apparently being a cheaper Paddy McGuinness – or being a noted purveyor of dressing-room banter, evinced by his pained friendship with Robbie “Sav” Savage – did little to convince that Jacamo customers were not the sort of people sustained by a diet of chicken takeaways, whey protein and Jeremy Clarkson books.
And now this. Men doing men things. Count ‘em: playing the guitar; having tattoos and facial hair; going to the football… my guess would be that you’ve hit about 90% of Jacamo’s audience with that particular hit-list of homogenous demographic traits. Factor in a Ladbrokes app on their phones and you’d expect smashed the jackpot to laddish smithereens.
And buying your wedding clobber from Jacamo? The pathos is almost unbearable – like buying a Festive Bake for your Christmas dinner or sending a Page 3 girl a Valentine’s card.
As it is we get to see these absolute chiefs walking into a church wearing various shades of washed-out colours like a packet of Refreshers, having psyched themselves up appropriately to “own their moments”.
I tire of this apparently inexhaustible drive to make us imbue every second of our lives with almost unbearable importance. In an age where we are literally driving ourselves to mental ill health because of our fear of missing out, sentiments like this are like pouring petrol on a particularly dumb bonfire made of fast fashion, grilled sauce-smothered chicken and Instagram filters.
I urge you to reject this concept of owning the moment – or even a shitty, lavender-coloured v-neck vest. Enjoy the moment instead. It’s perfectly possible to do so without getting into the zone before a fictional gig, like you never do anyway; cheer on the terraces of a sparsely-populated and mysteriously cosmopolitan football match, like no one ever does; or head into a waiting church full of people for an imaginary wedding looking like the interior of a 1990s hospital waiting room – as if you’re a bunch of extras from Hollyoaks.
I’d like to lay ‘Jacamo is for fat bastards’ to rest once and for all – because there’s nothing wrong with being fat, after all. And being a bastard these days is pretty much par for the course.
But judging by the desperate need for approval, instant gratification – not to mention acting and dressing like everyone else – Jacamo is certainly for sad bastards.
Buy an old pair of cords from a charity shop. Go for a walk. Head to the pub with a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Eat a cream horn. Deactivate your account. Have a really big, guilt-free wank.
There’s a healthier prescription for life in the 21st Century – and you can’t buy it online.