Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Monday, 30 August 2010

Pandora's Box Erotica & Flashes Of Mad Men

First off, great to see Christina Hendricks, " Joan " of  Mad Men on the front cover of British GQ! Also the article inside was ace, with a short interview with Jerry Della Famina  who wrote one of the cult texts that inspired Matthew Weiner to write Mad Men.

With season 4 still quite a wait away for us Brits, I've gone back through the first two series and am still blown away by each episode!

Fantastic imagery, slick writing viviidly showing the wild lives of  Advertising Agency employees at Sterling Cooper on Madison Avenue from the late 50's onwards.

Deciding now just a little into this post I'd love to just put up a few of my favourite shots from the past few series & if you haven't caught any of this series yet, shame on you! It's not to be missed, currently being repeated on Sunday evenings on BBBC 4.

Below, Don Draper, Creative Director

Roger Sterling, partner of Sterling & Cooper

Pete Campbell, Head of Accounts, though a thorn in Don's side.

Bettie Draper, Don's wife.

And of course Christina Hendrick as Joan Holloway, Office Manager at Sterling Cooper.

So back to our  " real world " on the South Coast, last night we were off to Bournemouths first Erotic, Fetish & Burlesque Festival. Before really inquiring what this event was all about I just thought that it's about time we got to a Burlesque night in town as there's bound to be some Vintage rags there!

As we arrived though, PVC and rubber were also added to the dress code! Oh well, we're here now let's see what it's all about! And see we did. Great live performances, of course with a Vintage feel, a saucy compere, fetish costumes that Dita Von Teese would've been proud of!

My camera only worked on certain shots, bbeing in Rubyz Cabaret Club the lighting was all spotlights and hard to focus  but here are a few attendees looking cool as  . . .

Lord Jason "The Barber" Bailey

The gorgeous & tallest Burlesque dancer of the night!
Signorina Messalina.

Great pair o' specs!

Vintage & demure Ruby Adams!

Warming up & getting sassy!

After the main show time for some Jiving! Something the girl & I have decide to take up soon at the local Pavillion Ballroom so watch this space!

And  below the cutest, sexiest and chicest of all on the night, "the girl"  Zozo Gabor!

Until more Burlesque, corsets 'n' stockings  Au Revoir!

The Delicate Subject of Man Bags. August 20, 2010

Man bags, shoulder bags, courier bags, even carrier bags ( as some do dare ) though never ever as handbags?  Well after quite a while for trying to source a decent bag to only hold the essentials, phone, fags & keys I decided that a wrist bag was the way forward.

There isn’t nearly enough of these on the market, bigger than a wallet and of course smaller than a case or holdall I find the size ideal for work and general everyday use, while still looking “manly” enough certainly not to be mistaken for a  purse!

These originally caught my eye when hanging out with Black Cab drivers at golf driving ranges in and around London in the mid 90′s. Though a few, like the one below, looking a tad “touristy” for my liking.


Wads of cash nicely placed inside silver money clips and loose change in tiny holders.

At the time  Paul Weller was spotted by a certain Noel Gallagher who quipped  ” what the fuck are you doing with that man bag?” to which his reply was ” I ain’t ruining the line of my suit for anybody mate”. Surely in regards to bulging one’s pockets with keys and wallets. Well said Paul.

Also noting that Samuel L. Jackson’s character Ordell Robbie in Jackie Brown was also using one again and again to pay bail bonds man their “lil thousan’ dollars”. If it’s cool enough for Samuel it’ll

I’ve owned a couple in the past but this time decided to make my own! With some help from the girl and her nifty sewing skills! Below is the fairly simple process I took.

Choose some scraps of leather from the missus’ stash.

Cut out the desired shape and iron on some vilene to the leather.

Choosing some patterned tie silk for the lining
 Tie silk sewn in & ready for the strap. This is where it’s handed to the girl to let her do her magic and voila!

Spot on for daily essentials.

Even the cool cat’s impressed with the Schnauzer wrist bag!

And of course gentleman these are now available to order from Vintagedoor2door in collaboration with “Love From Hetty & Dave”.  

Until next time when on the agenda could be ’50′s pin up tattoos!

Idle Summer Mornings (and Afternoons). August 1, 2010

With the week before last being nothing but hot and manic, with visits to recruitment agencies and interviews, Monday morning welcomed five complete days of idleness. Thanks must first go to Adam of Adam Of London with supplying me with the one of the loveliest suits I’ve ever owned and and drew compliments from all interviewers and nods of acceptance from a few Mods on the street.  

With a couple of successful interviews and a whole month to go before I start a new job the only thing I’ve to worry about is can I actually wait until my first wage packet to aquire another fine Whistle from Adam? 

Nothing beats that feeling from the time of being offered a job and to actually having to start it. And I have all of August for that until I start in the first week of September! And when Monday morning rolled around this week the obvious question arised “what the hell am I gonna do today?”

With time on my hands to ease myself in gently I could take pleasure in doing all morning rituals at a leisurely pace. First to come to mind was working on achieving the perfect shave. Something every man at some point or most days strives for. It has, I think, become something of a lost art, no longer a glorious tradition passed down from Father to Son, more a daily chore with cheap disposables. It was suggested to me a few weeks before to try or go back to “double edged – safety razors” and I’ll admit I was apprehensive. These razors looked like they could do a bit of damage and if my memory served me right, at 15 years of age, they often did.

Even so, it was off  into town to pick up a chrome safety razor  and blades. A full £1.92 for 6 stainless steel blades! And they were the dearest. The actual razor, I was pleased to notice felt like a precision made metal tool in my hand rather than cheap moulded plastic.

For years now I’ve believed that the single most important ingredient to a good shave is the use of a brush applying cream to my skin rather than fingers. A lot of shaving brushes  on the market will be made from boars’ hair, but these are much stiffer, pricklier and not nearly as comfortable as a badger brush which can be picked up from around £30, to some a little exrtravagant but worth every penny.

After using  small flannel/towel to wet my face with hot, not scalding water, for 3 to 4 minutes, and applying cream, not gel or foam, with the brush into a deep lather from a shaving bowl, the first thing I realised HAD to be done was conveniently, take my time.Choosing a  glycerine based cream would be the best move. Guiding the razor over my skin and not pressing down in the slightest. Years of use with a Mach 3′s and Wilkinson Quattro’s allowed quick sharp strokes. Not with a DE razor! And paradoxically, with a DE, using a lighter touch, a closer, smoother shave will be achieved! Also any burning sensation and red marks will start to go away immediately and disappear for good.

At completion it’s time for only cold water to be aplplied, maybe on the flannel/towel to properly close all pores and pat the skin dry.  A non-alcoholic aftershave or moisturiser is best applied rather than the all stinging alcoholic variety.

If you end up with a few nicks after your  first few shaves with a DE, don’t worry. Afetr a few days figuring out how it’s best used you’ll be amazed at the results it produces and wonder why you haven’t been shaving with one your whole life! Apparently ” this is one of  guy grooming secrets that separates the men from the boys “, so girlfriends can take note for future gift ideas! The English Shaving Co. is 
great place to start by the way girls!

A quick couple of glances at shaving company’s sites or shaving forums you’ll be amazed  at the variety of scented creams, brushes and razors and bowls. An opportunity now each day, not to get a necessary sleepy chore out of the way but to partake in a forgotten mens luxurious treat and to know it is possible to look and feel your very best every morning.

A Dash for a Day ’Round London for Rags. July 14, 2010

I never need much of an excuse to visit home but when the excuse is “I need a new suit & I need it this week an’ all,” the only place to head to, quickly of course, is London.

With West from Portobello Road over to Brick Lane and then back into Soho having to be covered in a matter of hours, plus having to arrange coffee and lunch with friends and family, it wasn’t long out of the tube that I instantly became completely comfortable with walking at such a pace that  must  have looked like I’d a delicate medical condition & needed a private cubicle as soon as possible. 
First stop at Portobello Green was ” Adam Of  London “. A retail outlet specialising  in  Men’s suits, shirts, coats & ties, adhering to the design rules of London’s tailoring scene in 1963 ’64/’65.

Approaching the shop in the small arcade, my excitement grew at the sight of mohair, silk handkerchiefs and tab collar shirts on display. I was happy to know I was in the right place after the notice in the window caught my eye also!

Having been in despair at the UK high streets’ attempts on quality, well made & cut menswear for years, I’d been waiting to find an independant establishment with this attitude for far too long!

Once inside, meeting the staff, and Adam himself,  the owner & designer we were quickly on to patterns, wool blends, ticket pockets & side adjusters.  Nods of acceptance from the girl were immediate as the first all grey wool blend, 3 button jacket jacket was tried on.  The fit, after swapping  around and finally down a size soon felt spot on.

Trousers luckily  hung  at the perfect length, all standard with belt loops & side adjusters &  slanted  frog mouth pockets, which cause the trousers to have a clean, close fitting.

A  light brown mohair with cloth buttons was an instant favourite, though seemed a liitle too much for this weeks forthcoming interviews. The greys felt more suitable and hard wearing and my final choice  was a two piece, light grey with red, Prince Of Wales check.

Happy with my choice & time pushing on, it was over to the East, Chesire Street just off Brick Lane to the leather wholesalers. Stocking up on all needed colours and different skins for the girls designs for her chic label ” Love from Hetty & Dave”. 

Into Soho, shouting up a first floor open window on Berwick Street to friend & mentor Nicholas Lynn, aka Nick The Tailor. Quickly catching up on cloth, websites & extortionate mobile phone companies. Onto Kingly Court the girls friend, a fashion editor at Vogue then skipping through the rain to St. Martins Lane for a late lunch with my Mum!  Then a ponder upto Monmouth St. & a browse in Pop Boutique. 

It was time to head back to Victoria & home to the South Coast. 
A lovely day of dash ’round old Londinium.

British Summer Style 11 July 2010

“It’ll be a hot one this weekend, so take it easy and don’t knacker yourself out” said Mum, on Friday, it was and I didn’t. Easing ourselves into Saturday morning we headed to Southbourne where the girl has two new stockists for her wonderful designs at Coastal Creatives then on to The Southbourne Barbers – Tattoo Parour, for a trim and to see owners Tammy and Jason.


An uber cool couple with a love of fashion and design from the ’20′s to the 50′s.


This is one establishment which is a “must visit” stop on anyones way travelling through on the South Coast or resident of Bournemouth!

A perfect start for any Vintage lover is some of their fine espresso, 1920′s Jazz sounds, a quick trim with a short back ‘n’ sides please or for the distinguished enough gentleman a full cut throat shave with hot towels. One of the very few true luxuries a man can still have these days!

As we headed into the heat and the afternoon it was back to the flat to get ourseves ready for Kate and Sam’s wedding. The hour and a half was enough time to test out our lovely new ( old ) DansettePortabe record player from the 60′s.

Stacking some 45s and  while Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and some Tamla I coudn’t help but imagine how my excitement would’ve compared to a lucky teenagers who owned one the first ones when they were released in the early 1950′s by the Margolin family. At a price then of 33 guineas ( around £800 ) and a chance to listen to the music you wanted to, not your Mum or Dads’ , or to take the player round to your mates house must’ve seen the first ” teenagers” of Britain going bonkers and bursting at the seams anticipating the sounds that they coud delve into for hours at a time and let them live their own independant lifestyle. I was fairly excited, in comparison I must say once Ella’s voice came through.

For a summer time wedding reception in 30 degree heat, a crisp  white shirt, with Harry Fenton links, sky blue Merc trousers with 15″ bottoms and semi brogues were called for and pleased I didn’t have to break into a sweat with a suit, as some chose to!

The Bride and Grooms’ vowels and the short ceremony was perfect and I can’t remember ever being witness to a couples such evident public love for eachother.  Tissues were at hand, not for myself.  Though I may have been ready to grab someones’ off them at one point!

With Pimms for the girl all afternoon, mostly pints of them,  and sobriety for me. I waited to catch the first person to drop, arse ovet tit preferably, or some fracas which I was told is always to happen at a wedding. I waited, and waited. Until the speeches, and then it was my poor girls time to sit on a seat that had felt ” a lil’ bit rickity before ” to completely collapse leaving her on her derrier in front of 120 people, some standing to get  a better view and cries of  ” taxi for one!

It is important I’ve learnt, for a relationship to work and continuously grow, you have to make each other laugh and sometimes nearly make each other wet themselves.

To  laughter forever, summer weddings and rickity chairs.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dads 'n' shirts 20 June 2010

An early morning start last Sunday at 4.30am was worth the lack of sleep to arrive at Mum & Dad's a little after 8 in Central London. A day of shopping was anticipated though after breakfast & a nap the opportunity to sift through piles of Mum's old photographs from the 50's through to the 80's was too good to pass up!

                 To see my Dad in & around London enjoying boat rides in Hyde Park.

                       On his way to Soho Jazz clubs which were full of American GIs

In tails at weddings larking around being Jack The Lad. In envy I closely peered at at each individual one.

Mum cutting a waifish figure in the secretarial offices at United Steel in Grosvenor Gardens SW1. " That fella who was opposite me. . . . . .forever asking me out he was!"

                                              And of course the 1977 wedding!

Now seeing both of them in a completely different light though obviously as we've all heard from our parents " I was young once aswell you know!"  It really has made me appreciate these current days of my own life. Being as my Mum says " up in the clouds" & " loves young dream " is probably true. The girl & I are seven months in, no proposals as yet, no tiny feet running ffrom room to room, apart from our cat Jaques. Time we spend together hand in hand, in the counrty side, on small towns high streets popping in & out of antique shops is how we live our life together.  And this week back to a favourite " Serendipity One " in New Milton, a lovely late 60's Japanese Kotana clock was aquired and now proudly hangs above the girls' work station.

For this week focus was on new shirts. The modern man's shirt has a long history, with Brown Davis & Co. of Aldermanbury registering the first shhirt with buttons all the way down the breast in 1871.

For me collars have always been one of the most  important parts of a mans formal shirt. With plenty to choose from of course my favourite would have to be a white pure cotton, pin collar shirt, no breast pocket, split yoke with two back darts from Savile Row. " A shirt for those who eschew the trend for more casual collars in favour of precision & decisiveness."

Functioning in a similar way to the tabbed collar, it keeps the collar in place and lifts the knot to provide a more aesthetically pleasing arc to the neck tie.  A classic piece of Menswear popular in the late 50's to early 60's which I think could still have a place in todays' far too casual way of life. How about a dress up Friday anyone? Rather than the awful dress down one.

I'll always rembember someone once mentioned to me there's no greater event worth dressing up for than life itself! Here's to that, ching ching!