Monday, October 10, 2016

Chris This: Hats Off to Columbus and a British Baby



Whenever the second Monday in October rolls around, I can't help but hum this little ditty (I've crossed out most of it because it's the last four lines that really stick with me.):

"One day, I took with me on the subway.
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
I put it down upon the seat beside me,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
A big, fat lady came and sat upon it,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
A big, fat lady came and sat upon it,
My tall silk hat, my tall silk hat.
Christopher Columbus, now what do you think of that?
A big, fat lady sat upon my hat,
My hat she broke and that's no joke,
My hat she broke and that's no joke,
Christopher Columbus, now what do you think of that?"

Columbus's hat is a mighty big part of his old-world getup.  Sure, the hat in the song is a high silk one and not Chris's soft, brimless headgear of choice.  If anything, these song lyrics designate Columbus as, not a hero, but some sort of creepy anachronistic observer (given the whole subway bit).  Still, the association between the explorer and his most recognizable accessory is undeniable, and I wanted to do something fun to commemorate that.  My first thought was to hunt up some of those mini straw hats and make barrettes, but I couldn't find any (a situation created, no doubt, by a run on make and take scarecrow projects).  So, I came up with these hat-topped lovely ladies.  If it's not clear, then they're a work in progress, their red lips, hat bands, and decorative flowers (I'm still on the fence about eyes) still floating around in the lime Jell-O that is my imagination.  They're a little too big to be barrettes but are just the right size for strong statement brooches.  I can see them popping against colorful lapels, scarves, and sweaters, their feisty flip hairdos an homage to mod style (minis being much more intriguing than dusty old robes, or whatever it was they wore back in 1492).  Because what better way to greet a stranger -- or communicate an eagerness to, ahem, explore uncharted territory -- than with a fabulous felt likeness of some unknown lady smiling over your shoulder?

Speaking of hats, many a fine one was featured in Bridget Jones's Baby.  I know, I know.  It's poor form to review a British movie in what's meant to be a post about an American holiday, but then I did once wear a Union Jack ring on the Fourth of July, so clearly I'm without boundaries.  Anyhoo, I enjoyed this third cinematic installment of the Bridget Jones saga (and not just because of the hats, which, to be accurate, didn't even make their appearance until the very end).  Slightly more sophisticated (she's a news producer now!) but still charmingly goofy, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) wins our hearts on a new stakes-raising level.  Divorced from her beloved Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), she's returned to her sad sack spinster status, although to be fair, she is now a svelte spinster.  Well, at least until she gets pregnant.  That's right.  Rom com's real girl has ensnared herself in her stickiest snafu yet, i.e. single motherhood with two possible fathers -- stern but sweet ex Mark (Colin Firth) and ready-for-anything mogul Jack (Patrick Dempsey).  Yes, it's silly and contrived and a huge departure from Mad About the Boy, the novel upon which it's based.  In that book, Mark has died, leaving Bridget to raise their two children alone while, sigh, once again scouring London for love.  It's a good book, but I can see how a movie version would be a bit of a downer.  You know, more Sundance-indie than lunch-out-with-the-girls.  So, I'm glad that Bridget Jones's Baby stuck to the script to do what rom coms do best -- which is to say, give you exactly what you want.

I started this post with a song, so I might as well end it with one, too.  And in honor of Bridget and milliners everywhere, I'm going with Amy Grant's 1990s B-side gem, (what else?) "Hats" (mercifully, chorus only):

"One day I'm a mother
One day I'm a lover
What am I supposed to do?
Hats!
Workin' for a living
All because I'm driven
To be the very best for you."

So that's that, Mr. Columbus.  After all these years, you're still more than a mattress sale.

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