Comfortable with Corduroy Phil Maguire has come over from England to attend Saturday's gathering of the Corduroy Appreciation Club in New York. He answers Scott Simon's simple question: "Why corduroy?"
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Comfortable with Corduroy

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Comfortable with Corduroy

Comfortable with Corduroy

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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.


Why corduroy as opposed to denim or silk or moleskin?

PHIL MCGUIRE: 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?

MCGUIRE: I haven't.

SIMON: Do you know what they do there? I mean do people just sit around and rub each other's shoulder patches?


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.


SIMON: In fact I can. Yes.

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.

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?

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.

MCGUIRE: Fantastic.

SIMON: But I digress. What...

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 corduroy?

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.

MCGUIRE: Thank you very much indeed, Scott.

SIMON: Unidentified Man: Now, if you had a pair of corduroy pants on, you turn into a one-man band. You know, boom-boom, flap. Boom-boom, flap.


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