The Bowler Hat….. Yep I Wear One


So every musician has a gimmick to one extent or another. Whether it's long hair, crazy hair or no hair, certain jewelry or clothing style they wear, specific stage props and/or light shows, EVERY artist has a "THING" that's theirs to call their own and it helps fans identify with them and their music or their look or whatever their statement is to be. So why a bowler hat for me? Well as a kid I grew up watching cartoons naturally and Elmer Fudd in some of the early appearances by him wore one and after cartoons were over there was often Laurel and Hardy on certain channels and it wasn’t any worse than cartoon violence so I was allowed to watch it. I was fascinated by this show and what they did and that it was in black and white because I never saw any of their episodes in colour due to the time period in which they were made obviously. I would immitate their antics and when I heard the “talkie” episodes I was again struck by the charm they had on television. It was different than other comedy troupes like The Three Stooges which i never got on with, wasn’t my bag for comedy. Also watching The Little Rascals/Our Gang shows some of their characters wore them as well like Stymie and one other kid I think too.

As I got older and was able to stay up later and watch the late night teley with my parents on Friday nights we would watch the British comedy shows like; Benny Hill, Dave Allen at Large and of course Monty Python all of which had skits that sported the bowler hat.












The Ministry of Silly Walks was a huge hit with me as a kid growing up before the age of 13 watching BBC Teley comedy programs with my parents who were both big Carry On fans so my sense of humour developed unlike the other kids at school but the teachers got my jokes so I was chuffed by that. After being heavily submersed in Monty Python(still am btw) and again imitating their jokes and routines I searched all over the city for a bowler hat to no avail and if I did find one it was really expensive for me at the time and well out of my reach. Ya see, we didn’t have a computer in the house until about 6 almost 7 years ago now, long past the time when pretty much everyone else had one or three in their house! So we’re a little behind the times but not complaining at all. The one I wear is now 70 years old and fits quite nicely on my rather large head lol. Thank the makers for places in Toronto like Goorin Bros. They’re a store that specializes in hats that are rather eloquent and fashionable hats like Sammies, Bowlers as well as Fedoras so they are well worth checking out and getting the best look from them. I know of no other store in Toronto that sells this type of product line.










Upon my first trip to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) I was eager to get to the surrealism section as I was a big Dali fan and upon getting there I was stopped in my tracks in awe by an unknown to me Belgian surrealist by the name of Rene Magritte. Most people will know his work once they’ve seen it. It’s usually the giant green apple in the room taking up pretty much the entire space and this one from 1964 called Son of Man and a self-portrait according to Magritte as well as one of my personal favourites. Notice that the left arm is reversed and the elbow faces outward!

About the painting, Magritte said:

At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present


The other artist that blew me away was in the hallway out of the surrealism section and lead to the next. At the end of the white wall hallway on the wall at the end staring me in the face was the impressions larger than your average human was that of Gerd Arntz. Isotype is the medium here. The simplicity of it just floored me and I soon discovered what would become my next four tattoos and what Isotype was all about. As mentioned in the previous blog it’s picture language where images replace the words used to describe it. We’ve all seen them everywhere in the city, the crosswalk sign people, radioactivity, train crossing, signs on the bathroom doors depicting who goes in what door. Started by Otto and Marie Neurath in Austria, Arntz was also doing these and did thousands of images to which there is a museum in the Hague, Netherlands dedicated to him which i will and MUST visit one day! But he too took to using the bowler hat in his images and I admired them all of which one of them graces the body of The Gurum!

The teal picture has the man with the cane and bowler hat, this is the picture on the body of Gurum just past the bridge. The top two depict the Bowler man in the top left leaning to the right with the attache case and top right on the top of the bus sitting and holding his factory in his lap. So it’s a very prominent piece of head wear and I love that I have chosen it to adorn the look for me as OddsFiche. Super heroes can have capes and flashy cars with all kinds of neat gadgets in them and villains can have all the weapons of mass destruction they want but in the end…. I have my weapon of choice, music and my special piece of identification…. The Bowler Hat!






Published by OddsFiche, A Canadian Perspective