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In praise of - a good hood.

WHEN I say "a good hood", I don't mean in the modern sense of a district or neighbourhood.

I cannot think the young persons in my Embra suburb count as "kidz in the hood", though there is the odd one, of course. Oddly enough, he's likely to be clad in what I understand is known as a "hoodie", an insubstantial garment that gives the wearer a furtive, medieval look.

No, I have gathered you here today to talk about proper hoods: on substantial anoraks of the sort sold by serious outdoor shops.

This column has waxed lyrical about anoraks before, with a colleague fingering them as a peculiarly male thing. Could be something in that.

It's with shame that I recall how my ex used to have to sort my hood for me. Can't cope with toggles, d'you see? Hate the damned things. Can't get my head round them. And they're supposed to be getting my hood roond ma heid. Best anorak I ever had featured a hood that just fitted your head on the simple but profound understanding that most bonces are roughly the same size. There was nothing with which to fiddle, nothing to draw too tight. It just went on. Marvellous.

Of course, it was soon withdrawn from the market. Nothing lasts nowadays, particularly in fashion, which even extends to anoraks. Lines are discontinued and stuff you might have bought again simply isn't available.

At the time of going to press, I'm thinking of buying an anorak with a snorkel hood. Controversial, eh? These were big in the 1970s.

And, boy, they still look cosy, as well as hiding your coupon from disparaging eyes.

True, you can't really see properly out of them either. But I didn't get where I am today by knowing where I was going.

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