What Not To Wear… To The Races

Our journo on the street confronts that age old style question: what does one wear to the (dog) races?

greyhounds how to the races what not to wear

The accident of my birth had me dropped out of the womb in West Hampshire. If it had been North-East Hampshire, it would all be different, you see, because that’s where the horses are. Nobody can make a horse stay in the South or West because of the Southampton antimagnetic repulsion, apart from the happy little dopey ponies that get pinned up in the New Forest for the sake of local colour. Now some of the people I know out of the East are great at the races, because they understand what all the numbers mean and can do clever things with fractional odds without a calculator. But as for me: when the call comes – “come to Oxford, we’re going to the races” – I assume I’ll be standing around in a hat with a glass of Bolly, losing filthy amounts of money, yelling “come on the brown horse!” and maybe touching some of the trainers for a little Ketamine party-bag. I thought the races would look like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Sq1Pax7h8
As did most of the people I went with. We wore waistcoats and velvet suits and conditionered our hair, we drank G&T’s and spoke the Queen’s English, we bought opera-glasses and parasols and dinky golden tie-pins, only to discover from team leader Jim, when it was all too late to change, that this was – the greyhounds.


At the greyhounds, there is not a waistcoat in sight. Anything that suggests that the wearer might be the artistic kind of man with who knows what’s in his flowerbeds must be strenuously avoided. Passing members of the public were quick to point out our apparent ability in the field of countergradient horticulture, which could only be allayed by the purchasing of much, much Guinness, which tends to confuse the one-track-mind of the judging onlooker just enough to avoid an instant mugging. Once the crowds had stopped remarking on our good-with-coloursness, we gained the collective nickname of “the Chelsea Twats” . The barmen didn’t look us in the eye. All the dogs we bet on fell over or died on the track. Going to the toilets alone was obviously out of the question.



So what not to wear? No ties. They’re too easy to be strangled with. Tie-pins make a good defensive weapon though, so keep several in the pocket of your tracksuit bottoms. Puffy jackets, anoraks and flasher-coats are an excellent substitute for trim and dandy suits. But the greatest faux pas:



The little hat. Don’t wear a little hat. The little hat was the source of much demotic comedy.
“Mate, do you need a bigger hat?” – “Fuck me, has your head grown?” – “That hat’s really small.” – “Little-hatty slut.”
Laughter and applause. Don’t ever wear a little hat to the greyhounds. Wear something with a hood, preferably two. Don’t have washed your hair for a long time. Cubicles, not urinals. Smoke, a lot.

And choosing the dog with the best name never works.


Models: Capability Blue, Beta Proximo
Photographer: Egmont Lad
With thanks to: Spice Please, Butter Pumpkin and Doorway Onyx, for losing all my money.