The Joy of Socks!

Please disregard Lady Fuchsia's sweaty feet

Strike up the bands.
Strike up the bands.

Today is July the Ninth.

Today is the birthday of Mervyn Peake, author of The Gormenghast Trilogy and other works. But, even though Peake has been dead for 44 years, he's partly to blame for the several pairs of black-and-gray striped socks I own. Although he's got nothing at all to do with the more colorful pair of cartoon-skull socks that I also have.

No, those socks are due to the generous machinations of Hawthorne.

See, it's like this: I was in the middle of reading Gormenghast when I went with my wife Katherine & our friend Rowan to the Texas Renaissance Festival last year. And so my mind was sort of attuned to the fashions of Peake's convoluted and gothy world, among which fashions one could (I certainly did) easily imagine black-and-gray striped socks. And so when I saw such items for sale in a clothier's outpost at the Festival, I figured, okay, what the hell, if they're good enough for the seventy-seventh Earl of Groan … and I bought a pair.

And later, actually wearing the things, I was able to convince myself that they were a particularly attractive and not at all goofy form of male hosiery.

I was distinctly not engaging, however minutely, in some form of cosplay; I did not for a moment mistake my aging corpus nor my station in society for that of, say, some 15-year-old girl flashing leg-colors on a Harajuku street corner.

Those socks of mine were handsome, is all, and they perfectly complemented my typical uniformly black-and-gray attire. And so I wore them all the time, even while flailing away at Chronicle volleyball a couple times a week. And so I wore them out, eventually. A hole in the toe, y'know? A little unraveling here & there. Ah, hell.

So I needed some new ones.

So I went online.

And there, among the seemingly infinite merchants of the Internet, I found Sock Dreams. And they had, whoa, shit, dozens of different stripey socks – as well as all sorts of other designed hosiery and leggings and so on. An amazing selection of footwear, there at Sock Dreams.

I purchased only a few pairs of the black-and-gray striped socks I'd gone looking for, though. (For quite a bit less than what I'd paid for the ones at the Ren Fest, too, btw.) And that was that, end of story; thank you, Sock Dreams; thank you, Mervyn Peake.

But then there was Hawthorne.

Not Nathaniel Hawthorne, the great & revered American author, but Rebekah Hawthorne
(who, even with that spelling of her first name, is sadly unrelated to the Seven-Gabled bard).

And I don't know Rebekah except for online. We'd met on the (late, lamented) Vox site a few years ago,
and we were rather simpatico, and so also later became friends within The Elaborate, Increasingly Monetized, and Blue-Framed Social Apparatus of Mad Doctor Zuckerberg.

And, a few months ago – apropos of nothing, it seemed, but possibly because I'd sent her an instance of Minerva's Wreck and she'd elsewhere noted my penchant for skull designs – Rebekah sent me a pair of socks:
Gray socks, with clever little skull designs on them.

Oh ho, I thought, someone else knows about the ol' Sock Dreams emporium!

But, no, just as there's an entire world beyond Gormenghast Castle (which we discover only in Peake's unfinished fourth Gormenghast novel), there are other fancy-footing companies beyond Sock Dreams.

The company that Ms. Hawthorne ordered her kind gift from is called … wait for it … Sock It To Me.

Anyway … I'm sure there are even more such companies – retailers or wholesalers –
to be found in the World Wide Web, but I'm just mentioning the two I've already had personal connection with.
You're in the market for socks, you can always look even farther.

And – hey?
Let me know if you find any others that are particularly remarkable?

I've got a lot of notes to make, here;
a lot of things to highlight in this ongoing blog.

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
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Nov. 20, 2017


socks, Mervyn Peake, Gormenghast, Ren Fest, Hawthorne, 15-year-old girl flashing leg-colors

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