30 for 30 – as I reach my fourth decade of being, I’m writing about some of the things that made the three that came before what they were. 30 – mostly trivial – things that have been a part of 30 – mostly trivial – years.


Glasses, those hideous glasses...

I wear glasses.

Actually that’s a lie.

I mostly don’t wear glasses. My eye sight is not THAT bad, but I can’t pass your average eye test to get a license. Over the years I have learnt to live without glasses.

I find them uncomfortable. And maybe it’s because I don’t wear them enough, but I’ve never gotten used to it. They steam up, they feel weird when I smoke and are useless in the rain.

I also like looking people in the (fuzzy) eye. Something about wearing glasses makes me feel like I’m in fancy dress. I’m pretending to be the me that wears glasses. I take my glasses off when I meet people. I just feel like I’m lying to people otherwise.

But the real reason I don’t wear glasses is because usually I’ve lost them. Or broke them. I’ve gone through over a dozen pairs, some barely survive a month.

My latest pair, I got them two weeks ago. And over the weekend I left them in Cardiff, but managed to drive back and get them – 4 days later. And they are expensive, so once broken or lost, it could be years before I replace them. The ones I recently replaced, well those were lost in Berlin 8 months ago.

It’s a tempestuous relationship. They seem to always be trying to run away, or commit suicide. And I don’t like them that much anyway.

So many people I know have glasses. Many might not wear them all the time, but I don’t think it’s a minority thing.

Has years of monitor use destroyed a generation of eyeballs? I think maybe. Monitors have gotten better, but in the 90s, I spent almost all my spare time in front of a shitty little monitor. My whole age group did.

Even now, when I spend too much time in front of a computer, my eyes hurt. And the ones who carried that daily computer-staring over into office jobs? Well, we are a Glasses Army.

My Mum, Dad and my brother all wear glasses. Not all the time but we all have them. Our kitchen table are sometimes covered with them, along with wallets, keys and other pocket paraphernalia. So maybe it’s genetic? Does my family have weak eyes? Or maybe it’s racial – many Asian kids have glasses. Who knows.

But it’s funny to think, in school, being someone with glasses was not the majority. And of course, it left you open to hopeless jives of “four eyes” and whatever. But it’s been many years since I’ve heard someone being made fun of because they wear glasses. Even on TV or movies. It’s just over.

Why are glasses designs so shit? It’s another reason that my heart is against glasses. What people make, and what seems to be popular, doesn’t click with me.

There are these mad looking designs out there. Huge patterns and logos scarring what would be nice glasses. On my last hunt, I barely found anything I liked.

For many years, in school, I had very thin, almost invisible frames. I lost them immediately. $100 or so of my folks money – bam! Gone.

Later in my teens I got a spare pair – black rimmed ones. They stayed with me for almost a decade, when the more expensive, thinner ones came and went.

When I went back packing, I decided to take these spare, black rimmed things with me. I lost them. But I like the style now. Black frames – that’s me.

Of course, proper black frames are classic, aren’t they? It’s like a thin black suit. All across popular culture. Clark Kent. Buddy Holly. Elvis Costello. And personal heroes like Rivers Cuomo and the members of the band Sloan.

In culture, glasses have been historically a sign of weakness, I guess. But it’s also been a sign of smartness. I do sometimes wear my specs to feel smart (it doesn’t work).

There was a time, aged 17, in the heart of my obsession with the band Blur, wear I wore my glasses when playing in a band (I also wore a lot of adidas). They broke. And I hate wearing glasses when I play. Sweat always steams them up, and I sometimes hit my the microphone, scratching them. So I stopped that madness.

Which is a little bit of a shame. Look at people like Buddy Holly. And Costello. Those glasses are their icons. A Buddy Holly best of just needs to have the glasses on the cover. It could have been some defining thing. Now they live in a box on the shelf, taken out mainly when I go to the cinema.

No wonder they kind of hate me.

Someone asked Bruno once if they could try on his glasses once.

He replied, “Can I try on your bra?”

It’s a line I’ve stolen.

Glasses are not a toy. I don’t like passing them around. Don’t ask. Only if you’re a friend. And you have a similar or smaller head size to me. Thank you.

I like girls with glasses. I always have. Nerdy/smart girls. Although two people kissing with glasses on is weird. Even just the hello peck. I’m afraid I’ll hit something, and an airbag will explode over my eyes.

I did, because I was asked to, had sex once with my glasses on. So, here I am, a guy who finds glasses uncomfortable, makes him self concious and weird. Have a guess how that went.

So what about contacts? Or laser eye surgery? I don’t think my vision is that bad. And I’m used to it now. I don’t really work with my eyes anyway.

They are a pain. Whenever I move, I pick up my glasses and think – you! I have to pack you too! Bastards. They just sort hang about no matter what.

But it’s like a bad marriage I intend to stick with it. Whenever I go on trips, I have things that I know I need. Like toothbrush, keys, wallets and ipods etc. These dozen or so things I will always bring. And the glasses case is a part of that. It has been something I’ve been doing all my life. I can’t quit her now.

My new specs

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