Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Today is Corduroy Appreciation Day!
This is the transcript of an interview on National
Public Radio (NPR) in 2006, with Phil McGuire of
the Corduroy Appreciation Club:
LYNN NEARY, host:
November 11th is a day of great significance to
members of the Corduroy Appreciation Club. That's
because it's the date that most resembles the
vertical lines of the fabric. Today the club
convenes its second 11/11 meeting in New York,
and corduroy enthusiast Phil McGuire has flown
all the way from London to join in and perhaps
take the club international. Scott Simon spoke
to him earlier this week.
SCOTT SIMON, host:
Why corduroy as opposed to denim or silk or
Mr. PHIL MCGUIRE (Corduroy Appreciation Club): I
think for a lot of people, for me I think corduroy
is very comfortable fabric, but it's also very
comforting. And for many people it reminds them of
their youth. I remember the first item of clothing
that I was allowed to choose was a second-hand sweater
that had corduroy patches on the shoulders and the
elbows, and I've been fond of it ever since.
I believe corduroy actually originated in my home
city of Manchester, England, formerly known as
Cottonopolis. So I'm very proud to be sitting here
wearing corduroy today and to be a member of the
Corduroy Appreciation Club.
SIMON: You haven't been to a meeting yet, right?
Mr. MCGUIRE: I haven't.
SIMON: Do you know what they do there? I mean do
people just sit around and rub each other's
Mr. MCGUIRE: There is - I think there is some
(unintelligible) one of the things that the people
do is - instead of clapping, people don't applaud,
they wale. We call it waling. So they rub the fabric
together. I don't know if you can hear this.
(Soundbite of rubbing)
SIMON: In fact I can. Yes.
Mr. MCGUIRE: Yeah. I was just waling. So that was
for you, Scott.
SIMON: Oh, my gosh. I'm enormously moved and appreciative.
Thanks very much.
Mr. MCGUIRE: That's my pleasure.
SIMON: I gather now - I mean, now you see corduroys where
it alternates wide and smaller wales. You see horizontal
ribs of the corduroy. How do you feel about that stuff?
Mr. MCGUIRE: I'm actually sitting in a jacket that
alternates with the wide and the fine wale, so I feel
very, very happy about that. I believe that the quality
of corduroy has declined since the end of the '70s, and
I'm quite sad about that. The Corduroy Appreciation Club
plans to investigate this in the near future.
SIMON: What happened after the - what even I remember as
the golden age of corduroy in the 1970s because, God forbid,
I had a purple corduroy suit then.
Mr. MCGUIRE: Fantastic.
SIMON: But I digress. What...
Mr. MCGUIRE: It was the introduction of synthetic fibers
that led to the decline in the quality. But you can still
pick up fine corduroy items.
SIMON: Is there any place to which you would not wear
Mr. MCGUIRE: I think one place that I might think twice
is at the swimming baths, simply because I've not been
able to find any swimming trunks in corduroy as yet.
SIMON: Well, Mr. McGuire, awfully nice talking to you
and good luck.
Mr. MCGUIRE: Thank you very much indeed, Scott.
SIMON: Phil McGuire hopes to start a British chapter of the
Corduroy Appreciation Club. The club meets November 11th,
a day to wear corduroy with pride.