Today, I had my first eye test in five years. After the compressed air in the eyeball and the 'clearer/more blurred' thing with the different lenses, brer optician told me that my eyesight hadn't changed at all since my last test, and that I needed new glasses only if I fancied a change or the old ones were falling apart.
As it happens, I do fancy a change, as, like just about every other four-eyed git in Britain, I have little oblong specs, because they seem to be the only ones you can get. I don't like them, though. I'd quite like something that improves my peripheral vision as well as the main focus. Little oblong jobs don't do that. I have it on good authority that Hank Marvin wears big glasses partly because they're his trademark, but also because with little frames, he wouldn't be able to see his guitar properly when he glances down.
When I was at university, I affected a pair of round tortoiseshell specs that can only be described as Richard Wattis-chic. They came from Specsavers - bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. No chance that they'd carry similar styles now, the swines. Fortunately, Opera Opera in London have very similar frames in stock. They know how to charge, but as they have them custom-made in Britain, rather than stamped out in an oriental sweat shop, that's understandable. They also offer them in clear plastic, which would be wonderful as long as I don't wear them with a dark suit. I admire Jonathan Meades too much to invite even superficial comparisons.
Back to the high street: in one shop, I asked why all of the glasses on display were little, oblong jobs. The assistant replied "There's no call for any other kind, sir". I replied that I was calling for them, couldn't find any anywhere and that maybe, just maybe, there would be some other calls for them if they had any in stock. "We tried, sir, but no-one wanted them". Having a suspicion that I was well over halfway round a circular argument, I gave up. I also suspected that the alternative styles they'd tried had come from the Dennis Nilsen Serial-Killer-About-Muswell-Hill range. So, what's the story there? Does an optometric insider have the skinny on skinny glasses? What, to be frank, are they trying to pull?
STOP PRESS: I've gone for these in tortoiseshell. Named after the Two Ronnies and only £34. It had to be done.