Jewellery is something I have always had a small obsession with: something I probably got from my mother. But I – and she – could be just as charmed by some £5 curiosity found on a market stall as by gold and diamonds. The Tory leadership contest as akin to a choice between a maggotty dead rat and a mountain of dogshit, tonight’s Twitter twattery about Liz Truss wearing ‘earrings from Claire’s Accessories‘ is distasteful. Much of it is misogyny-as-usual, of course, though many people are equally bewildered and horrified that it’s suddenly a hot topic, in the current situation (like the idea that Ed Milliband’s butty was the most important factor in the 2015 general election). This nonsense seems to have originated with Nadine Dorries though, as with a lot of her social media output, it’s quite difficult to ascertain what she actually means – is it good to wear cheap earrings, or bad? Is it wrong to wear cheap earrings that look expensive or vice versa? Fucked if I know, myself, though I recall looking in the window of an enormously pricey jewellers a few years ago and thinking that I would really struggle to tell the difference, in wear, from some of their stuff and near-identical necklaces and earrings from Primark or, indeed, Claire’s Accessories.
I have nothing at all against Claire’s Accessories and sometimes shop there – they are one of the places that are great for novelty seasonal jewellery, of which I have quite the collection. I’ve always liked to wear something vaguely’ ‘relevant’ when trading at fetish fairs, for one thing. And kink-related jewellery has always intrigued me (a long-vanished novella of mine centred on a ring with a pattern of keys which indicated membership and status of a particular kink group, for instance) especially that borderline between stuff that is a subtle signal of kink interest and stuff that is a little too NSFW. I have recently taken to collecting earrings from fellow fetish traders, absolutely none of which are suitable for the day job but most of which I can just about get away with in an average pub. If people don’t look too closely.