Page 183. " karma "

The Hindu concept relating to the process of cause and effect set in motion by an action or deed. Under this concept, karmic effects of a person’s deeds and actions will actively shape their past, present and future.

Page 183. " the Devil "

The Devil (from the Greek diávolos, meaning “slanderer”) AKA Satan, Lucifer or the Prince of Darkness (Beelzebub was a philistine god, but appears in the Bible as a Satanic synonym) is seen in many cultures and religions as a supernatural figure or entity that personifies evil.

For others, the Devil is an allegorical representation of free will and thought, wisdom, enlightenment and rebellion (indeed, some see him as the first rebel) whose image as a horned, ghastly beast bursting with a lust for hatred and darkness has been entirely constructed by modern Christianity.  

In Christianity, the Devil was a fallen angel who questioned God and was condemned to the “Lake of Fire” along with one third of the angelic host, who became his “demons”. God and the Devil are portrayed as an eternally embattled pair, the former seeking to save souls and the latter seeking to damn them.

In Islam, the Devil is known as Iblis and, similarly, was expelled after refusing to submit to the grace of God.

Page 191. " Mirror "

The Daily Mirror is a British left-wing tabloid newspaper founded in 1903 by Alfred Harmsworth. It was initially aimed at women and staffed entirely by female journalists.

The paper was hit by scandal in 2004 when it printed what were said to be exclusive pictures of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. The photos were revealed to be fakes and the outcry led to the then editor, Piers Morgan, being fired. The Mirror claimed they were victims of a “calculated and malicious hoax”.

As of 2010, the Mirror’s circulation stands at 1, 247, 073 copies daily.

 

Page 193. " an eccentric black hat – a wide-brimmed one, the sort you see on gangsters in 1920s movies. "
Fedora
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFedora - Credit: Fabiform

Jon is describing a fedora (as opposed to a Trilby, which has a narrower brim), a felt hat with a dipped crown, popular in the first half of the 20th century.

The name came from the 1889 play Fédora, written for the great French tragedienne Sarah Bernhardt, in which she played a Princess of the same name and sported a hat of this design. As a result, it was initially a woman’s fashion item, particularly popular in the demimonde of 1920s Weimar Berlin.

It found its greatest favour with men however (especially in an era of open-top cars) and is, as Jon demonstrates, often associated with the Prohibition era. Orthodox Jewish men adopted it in the early 20th century, and remain staunch wearers to this day.

Aside from young urban Bohemians and assorted retro enthusiasts, anyone sporting such a hat in the 21st century – especially in the provinces – would indeed seem “eccentric”.

 

Page 193. " HOODIES! "
Sign in London pub window
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSign in London pub window - Credit: CFord

The antithesis of a fedora, ‘hoodies’ are zip-up hooded tops and the favoured term for teenagers (usually male) wearing such garments. Hoodies have been the subject of much flak in the last decade, initially owing to the fact that wearing one allowed shoplifters and muggers to conceal their identities from CCTV cameras.

As a result, there’s a widespread assumption that any teenager or group of teenagers wearing hoodies is spoiling for trouble. The Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent made headlines in 2005 by banning the wearing of hoodies on its premises, and many pubs forbid them. Some see the controversy surrounding the item and its wearers as hysterical, and even Prime Minister David Cameron suggested in a pre-election speech that the hoodie was worn for defensive reasons as opposed to offensive ones.

As an item of clothing, the hoodie is not, as some have tried to suggest, a subcultural youth fashion in the one-time manner of leather jackets and parkas. Although as a ‘look’, a billowing hood worn over the head has roots in American hip hop, hoodies are worn by youths with wildly differing musical tastes, background, ages and ethnicities. There is no tribalism among hoodies as there was among punks, goths or skinheads, nor is there any sense of aspiration, as there was with mods.