May 07

A pair of ‘questionable leather trousers’ at the Brighton Festival!

If you have read the previous blog post, you will know that I gave a talk about Fanny & Stella at The Brighton Festival recently, which was reviewed by Duncan Hall in The Brighton Argus.  If you have read it, you will also know that he described me as ‘clad in a pair of questionable leather trousers’.  I thought you might enjoy the letter I wrote to the Editor of The Brighton Argus in response to that comment!


Dear Editor,

I was, of course, delighted to read Duncan Hall’s glowing review of my talk about my book, Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England which opened the literary events of the Brighton Festival.

But when Mr Hall described me as ‘clad in a pair of questionable leather trousers’, I must confess myself a little dismayed.

The brown leather trousers in question have an impeccable pedigree. I’ve had them for nearly twenty years, having bought them to wear for Channel 4 editorial meetings. Nowadays, I only wear them to the most exclusive and superior events, such as a party at Kensington Palace and, of course, the Brighton Festival.

As I stood behind a lectern for nearly the entirety of my talk, it would have been very hard to get a good look at my leather trousers and Mr Hall must have strained considerably to see them.

Surely the capacity audience in the Dome Studio Theatre were there to hear about Fanny and Stella’s frocks, and not to gaze at or speculate ­­ about – pruriently or otherwise – my leather-clad lower body?

Is it possible that Mr Hall’s fascination with my leather trousers reveals more about his subconscious than my fashion sense? If so, perhaps I should be flattered by his attentions!

Cordially yours,

Neil McKenna