Thursday, September 05, 2013

glasses: a spectacular history

So, lots of us wear glasses. Some of us find that to be a pain, what with the taking them off and putting them on, having one pair for reading, one pair for looking at far-away things, one pair for X-ray vision, etc., etc. I, on the other hand, having been wearing glasses since I was about two years old, find it as natural as breathing, indeed I feel odd being out of bed and not wearing them. Now naturally I don't mean I've been wearing the same pair of glasses since I was two, that would be ridiculous. My prescription would have changed a bit, for one thing, and while I've always had a fairly large head it has certainly got bigger over the years.

So since I've got some old family photos on a DVD, let's have a look at changing glasses fashions over the years. Just to elicit some sympathy, let me start by pointing out that in addition to your basic long-sightedness I suffered from a lazy eye as a small child, so I started out with glasses and an eye-patch. Cute, huh?

1973(ish): the John Lennon round pebbly specs look.

1978: your classic NHS tortoiseshell rims.

1979: similar, except these would have been purchased in Java, so the NHS bit doesn't apply.

1986: scary aviator-style ones seemingly designed to obscure half the face. The giant plastic nose-piece is a bit weird too.

1998: similar, but slightly smaller and in a funky red-and-black colour scheme. You'll have to excuse the slitty bleary eyes; this was taken in Dublin and I was probably very drunk and/or hungover.

2001: a return to the Lennonesque round design; not such a good look after 28 years of galloping head expansion though.

2004: heading towards the sober middle-aged rectangular look.

2006: gone properly rounded rectangular now. All I remember about these is that a) they were by Quiksilver and were well expensive and b) they lasted all of a few months before being sat on and mangled by Doug (or possibly by me after a night out with Doug). It was Doug's fault, anyway, is my point.

2008: this pair got broken as well, in this case solely through my own fault; a misplaced golf club in a moment of pique (note that I wasn't wearing them at the time) causing a fatal weakening of the nose bridge resulting in an unexpected snappy failure a few months later. It was at about this time that I realised that I was nearly forty and it was about time I put away childish things and stopped randomly breaking pairs of glasses.

2009: not much to say about these except that they were black and slightly too small for my head.

2012: the black pair were replaced by this pair of cheapo Vision Express own-brand green metallic ones. I almost immediately saw where the extra money didn't go, though, as my excessively sweaty head corroded the green paint off the side-pieces, exposing the bare metal and bringing me out in a rash. Nonetheless I persevered with them for quite a while with the regular application of black insulating tape. Eventually they were consigned to the great glasses graveyard in the sky by my daughter's grabby glasses-yanking habits, which eventually popped a small screw out, never to be found again, which left one of the arms all floppy and the whole shooting match liable to falling off my face at the slightest provocation. Which is probably why I'm using a fleecy hat to hold them on in this picture.

2013: a bit more strapped for cash these days, I resorted to buying glasses off the internet, and very successfully too, as it turned out. These two pairs are from Glasses Direct - the blue-grey lower pair are just from their standard range, but the top pair (which I intend to be my main pair) are your actual Patrick Cox designer jobs. And still a smidgen over 60 quid for two pairs, including lenses. The internet is great. Apologies for the mad starey eyes of death, by the way; taking selfies in dubious light will do that.


The Black Rabbit said...

Anna and my favourite comedy sketch EVARRRR is this, by Jason Byrne.
If you haven't seen it, you NEED to,
especially after writing this blog post about a cock eye.

Cock eye and broken knee....

Tim Wigan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Wigan said...

Buying glasses on internet is easy and cheap. Get a new look with full rimmed, semi rimmed and rimless prescription glasses at low prices in uk from

Optickart said...

I have ordered back up glasses on line also and never had a problem with any of them. Great deal pays to check with your friends
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Anonymous said...

Hi there, bit of an odd question for you.
You wouldn't happen to know what model the NHS glasses were by any chance?
I've been looking all over the internet for a pair for my next prescription and cant seem to find them anywhere.
sorry to be a bother x

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