In Me Shorts, Midwinter: Why a Kilt Would Be Welcome

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by John Connor |

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It was Burns Night last week, which is always a joy. I love whisky and am very partial to haggis (tricky to source, as we only buy the outdoor roving haggis!).

A few years before MS hit, I went to a Burns Night supper where the only thing missing was bagpipes — beyond the ken for a bunch of Sassenachs to organize. The haggis, though, was addressed (we read Burns poetry to it) and I had borrowed a pucker kilt from my Scottish brother-in-law.

I’ve never wanted to be Scottish, though I’ve spent more time in Edinburgh (a product of a misspent youth in the arts) than any other city in the world, apart from London. My one published book, “Comics,” was all about standup comedy at the Edinburgh Festival.

In me shorts midwinter. (Courtesy of John Connor

Yet now I would dearly appreciate a Scottish ancestry, so that the kilt could be my winter garb. The reason? My  functional electronic stimulation (FES) device. I got one last March, and found within a few weeks that the thing was easier to manage while wearing shorts. Yes, I have tried it with long trousers, but if a wire pops out or an electrode peels off your legs, that’s it. Walk over.

I spent a weekend at a luxury hotel last year for my 60th birthday and thought long trousers were definitely fitting. They made using my FES machine a nightmare — I’ve been in shorts ever since! I could do with some new ones. Roll on, summer.

To make shorts more palatable winter wear, I’ve taken to wearing that ’70s stalwart: leg warmers. Strangely, the ones that work best really do claim to be for teenage girls — I’m definitely a fraud.

Curiously, the first joke I ever had performed by a professional comic involved this garment. The early ’80s were a time when fashion was in one of its melange moments. The New Romantics were about to burst out, but for now ’60s, ’70s, punk and post-punk fashions co-existed.

A lot of explanation for a gag that worked for that brief moment of time.

Comic points to a lithe audience member: “You’re only wearing leg warmers to hide your flares!”

Boom …


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Bill Dolighan avatar

Bill Dolighan

say more please about "flares". Never heard of it.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

The staple trousers of hippy culture - maybe in the US they were know as bellbottoms? But I think 'flares' was fairly universal.

Bill Dolighan avatar

Bill Dolighan

FES or functional electronic stimulation- where might I find out more about this?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

If you're States based a fellow patient columnist, Mike Knight, corresponded with me recently re FES devices and stated 'I tried both Walkaide and BioNess, seem to prefer Walkaide'. So maybe start a net search with these names.


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