Okay sorry if you don’t have a clue what Peaky Blinders is. But you really should. And you’re very late to the party, so go ahead and find it on Netflix, watch at least the first episode and then read on.
Pretty fookin’ good, right? And not just because Cillian Murphy has the most ridiculously beautiful piercing blue eyes ever seen on television. I mean that’s a lot of what makes it great, but there’s also his steel-cut cheekbones. And his three-piece suits. And when he rides the horse down the street in the first episode and I start feeling my… ah well, never you mind. Oh and there’s the flat caps.
Pre-Peaky, I associated flat caps with my grandparents. Along with mothballs, pot pourri and scratchy toiletpaper, it’s all part of the nostalgia. It seems that as men get older, and thoughts turn to tweed, they gravitate towards the cap. For some it’s due to thinning hair or expanding ears, while for others, like Prince Charles it’s due to being a total knob from an early age. Pre-Peaky, British TV with men in flat caps meant Emmerdale Farm or Last of the Summer Wine. And more recently Alan Partridge on a ramble. Very non-sexual. The male version of the dungaree.
But the Cillian Murphy/Tommy Shelby hat isn’t really a flat cap in the traditionally known sense. It’s a ‘newsboy cap’, a title coined by the Irish newspaper sellers. It’s a looser, baggier creation with an eight-panelled top. It also has the space between the fabric and the peak where you can slot a razor blade and give yourself a close shave when you’re busy and on the go. Or pull out the blade and slash it across the eyes of your enemy before they see it coming. Multi-purpose in other words.
Erik is a great hat wearer. He wore a top hat and tails when we got married and looked incredible. Since then he’s bought a whole variety of hats — though mostly of the 40s and 50s Homburg style. Happily for me he’s not a huge fan of baseball caps (or baseball). We were recently exploring our neighbor’s hat shop (check out The Hat Box, owner Lauri is amazing). I’d already tried on three of the most expensive hats in the store, and Erik already had his Homburg picked out but Lauri suggested he try on one of the newsboy caps. I was a bit unsure of the whole idea but the minute he put it on I felt my whole body shift and I started chanelling my inner Polly Gray (nee Shelby): “My senior position within the family means I don’t often have to ask permission from anyone to do anything” I yelled. A bit surprising but honestly as the eldest of the three of us it’s about time I asserted my position in the household.
Unfortunately we couldn’t fully roleplay Peaky Blinders because Erik only has one alternate dialect – Pakistani with a hint of Welsh. And though the black country dialect isn’t the most charming it sounds positively delightful by comparison. So instead I forced him to put on his Peaky cap and took a photo of him outside the closest thing we have on Kinney Avenue to the Small heath foundry ––the abandoned house next door but one. I know it looks more like he’s about to go and work on the rigs for a couple of months but this was the best we could do. At least the haircut is authentic, those shaved down sides. Now we just have to get Riley to play Arthur Shelby Jr. We’ll shave the sides of her coat and leave a strip of hair down the middle, put her in a bow tie and then wait for someone to ring the doorbell. Arthur Shelby hath no fury like a Riley dog spying a delivery driver.
So here he is. Me fookin peaky blinder. Hands off.