dressing up – the Archaeologist and the Aztec

2009-05-13 20.24.40

who are these people?

I love dressing up. I really do. Have done since I can remember. I suppose it’s part of a classic ‘make ’em laugh and they won’t hit you’ strategy. See, I was a big child – an eye-watering 10 pound 14 ounce baby (sorry Mum) – but a wimp and an easy target. So playing the fool, and using dressing up to hide the fact that I was mortified, made a lot of sense.

This week’s prompt from Lisa Reiter is Bite Size Memoir No.8 “Dressing Up”. Which brings floods of memories back. But more images than stories. So this week’s flash will be about the Archaeologist; as he has already had the audacity to challenge my (in)fallible memory I expect a comment on this piece too. Still at least I get to set out the facts as I remember them first.

The Archaeologist and the Aztec


Long before science crossbred a geek and a nerd, the Archaeologist was a neek. Amongst other punishments I suffered for his galaxy-sized intellect was a trip to the British Museum to see an exhibition of Aztec artefacts. I remember a crystal skull and the mind-numbing boredom. He was as happy as a politician with a blank expenses form. Back home, unbeknownst to the rest of us, he made himself a cardboard Aztec warrior outfit. With it on, he announced he was going to walk around the neighbourhood. I can still see my mother’s anxiety and my father’s barely suppressed laughter as he set off, like a little lost parcel clutching a small sword. He spent an age out of sight, possibly seeking a neighbour to sacrifice, before returning for tea. The costume was recycled into a replica of the Black Hole of Calcutta but fortunately I was too big for it.

And here are some photos of me down the years, up to and including last weekend….

05 BOX-002

a liking for drink shown early by both the Archaeologist and me

05 BOX-007

just a simple country boy

05 BOX-023

an early attempt at a moustache; sadly the reality (ten years later) was a lot worse

2008-04-17 03.15.45


banana man

my fruit phase

alice family

And so we turn full circle: the Textiliste and I celebrate 30 years of marriage; the Lawyer plays it cool and the Vet tries glamour. And the rabbit..?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, memoires, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to dressing up – the Archaeologist and the Aztec

  1. Gordon Le Pard says:

    The Archaeologist Responds

    Of all of the Author’s tales of our childhood published so far, this is the one I have least to disagree with. My joy of museums hasn’t diminished over the years, I will always seek them out if I can, and can spend a happy afternoon in the ‘Museum of Water Supply and Drainage’ or what have you (thought curiously enough my wife will often seem to be less fascinated by a model of a nineteenth century pumping engine and rapidly makes her way to the tea room or garden).
    And as for dressing up, that is undoubtedly a family thing. I remember the Aztec costume, though whether I explored the neighbourhood in that I am not certain, I certainly went out dressed as one of Dr Who’s enemies on occasions. This love of dressing up has continued on my side of the family, my sons, to give them names in accordance with the author’s methods would be the Artist and the Teacher, also happily dress up. The Teacher is, I think, set in about 1930 whilst the Artist is more eclectic.
    This was born out at the Teacher’s wedding last year, we naturally all wore tail coats, our own not hired. This somewhat surprised the Author who commented that he hadn’t realised he was stepping onto the set of Downton Abbey (thought I think delighted the bride’s parents, Singaporean Chinese).


    • TanGental says:

      The point that has to be made bruv is when will you start blogging?


    • Norah says:

      I’m so pleased you replied so soon. I would have been disappointed to have not found your response here. It’s amazing that you both enjoy dressing up so much. I don’t remember being enamored of the practice, though my Dad was pretty creative at dressing us kids up for a fancy dress parade, winning a few prizes along the way. I don’t think the interest has carried through any of the descendants, three generations down.


  2. Mel Hickish says:

    Fantastic photos 🙂


  3. Norah says:

    I love all the photos – very cute. It also looks to be a lot of fun. I have always found dressing up to be more of a bother than fun. You would get along well with one of my colleagues. She and her family dress up at the drop of a hat, so to speak.


    • traceintime says:

      My husband’s family are like that, Norah, they have a history of dressing-up parties but never had music at a party until I married Phil and hosted a New Year party! To be honest I hate planning dress-up, but often get into it at the last moment, throwing something impromptu together.


      • Norah says:

        Something impromptu can often be the best! It’s easy to buy a costume off the rack, but putting something together – that takes imagination!


  4. Norah says:

    PS Happy is my favourite. Reminiscent of Robin Williams?


  5. willowdot21 says:

    Wonderful photos , I really think they are amazing.


  6. Sarah Brentyn says:

    Hee… I must admit I haven’t read yet but I am loving these pictures. Awesome. 😀


  7. traceintime says:

    I enjoyed all the dressing-up pictures, Geoff. I remember a dressing-up box when we were kids and I always had one for my kids too. I made them lots of costumes as well. For the record, my final child, my daughter, weighed 10 pounds 9 oz at birth (a beautiful home birth) all my three sons weighed between 91lb 8 and 91lb 12 oz.


    • TanGental says:

      I’ve always agreed with the notion that if men had the babies we’d have found a different way to child birth by now and those sizes confirm it. Hats off to you Tracey.


  8. Lisa Reiter says:

    Fantastic photos – I especially love the dressing up for your 30th wedding anniversary – a brilliant theme, it must have been a fun event – can I choose that for the compilation or do you have a stronger preference?!
    I’m a bit like Tracey when I hear we’re invited to a fancy dress party and moan and grumble even more than usual about ‘what I’m going to wear’ but always end up enjoying myself !! A completely different story when it comes to providing dressing up.. as I competitively slave over original costumes for the aspiring actor! More when I submit my own offering.. 😄


  9. Sherri says:

    Isn’t dressing up fun? We love it and I’m struggling how to pin it down to 150 words for Lisa’s challenge! Me, hubby, the kids?? Loved your pics 🙂


  10. Charli Mills says:

    I would have loved running around the countryside with Gordon and Geoff Le Pard! As a kid, dressing up was all part of play acting outside where we could be Aztecs or Washo Indians (I was frequently Dot So La Lee, Kit Carson or Laura Ingalls). And cardboard makes for excellent costume material. Great bite and fun photos!


  11. TanGental says:

    Thank you everyone for such brilliant comments.


  12. Pingback: Dressing Up – Bite Size Compilation | Lisa Reiter - Sharing the Story

  13. Peter Le Pard says:

    The fascination for me of dressing up definitely came into its own (as im sure it did with many people) at university. Being a member of a particularly creative course, I felt I had a duty to uphold to have the most amazing costumes possible for every halloween, heroes and villains or just because we felt like it, night out. Of course the fact that myself and my friends were (and still are) very disorganised meant that almost 90% of costumes were made during the few hours before we actually went out. Needless to say the costumes were always high concept but hastily executed, usually utilising whatever we had lying around the studio. I can still remember walking into one of the student bars on campus, having the dj pause the music and point to me saying ‘ok, that guy is getting a f**king prize!’. This was for a particularly ambitious attempt to construct the famous twisted hillside from Henry Selicks darkly animated ‘nightmare before christmas’ complete with spindley jack skellington atop it.
    But the love of dressing up has also extended beyond those drunken uni days, to drunken ‘regular-member-of-society’ days (im usuing he word regular here in its loosest terms). I have, and still do, attend many events in london dressed in as much victoriana as I can possibly throw on myself for the increasingly popular ‘steampunk’ nights out that are held all over the city.
    Im now thinking Geoff that perhaps what we need for the next big family gathering is the largest, most audacious fancy dress party that could possibly be imagined.


  14. Love all of your costumes! There is definitely something magical about becoming someone/something else for a time beneath makeup and fanciful fabric. It is something that I do even with my writing. I have a a super writer cape that I don when I feel the need for more strength, or to be someone else, while I write to be able to get the words onto the page. It is all in good fun but it also works. =)


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