Saturday, 10 December 2011

Inbetweeners Summer Shoot

Flicking through earlier editions today. I still love the blue Gingham with red or yellow slacks.  British GQ featured the cast of The Inbetweeners in the Summer edition.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

To Take A Seat In A Sanctuary

I've recently learnt the space in which I dress can indeed affect how I dress.

I remember not too long ago, renting a room in a house. It was warm & cosy enough, though being fairly small in size I never felt there was much of an opportunity to really think about the day ahead and more importantly what items I would team together to make the look for that day, seem whole.

Luckily. now living in a flat with a spare room. I have ample space in the christened "Dressing Room" to plan ahead, to take time and think about what I can leave the house wearing.

I rise for work most days when it's still pitch black outside so recently have acquired a few Antique pots which have taken their place in there, most mornings it will only be to serve fresh black caffeine.

While moving into this flat a few  weeks back, I had to dismantle my veneered wardrobe. That meant of course, having to put it back together again. I realised I needed about 8 arms to stop  it toppling every 10 minutes. It was like playing a vertical game of Twister. To which I have found out, I am useless at. So the wardrobe split at a few corners & I thought, well I could do with the space anyway while launching it down the hallway.

The doors were still outside on the landing a few days ago, I took one & popped it on top of a couple of rails I have & now in the dressing room is a "centre piece", for which I have no name,(any suggestions would be welcomed) but which has become more than useful.

Being able to walk either side, jackets, trousers
& ties around the back. Shirts & boxes at the front with a suit stand at both ends.

It's much easier to navigate around while bleary eyed at 6.00am.

Caual Friday? Not really my tree.

It's now a fairly fun room. As getting yourself set up for the day should be. I now go to sleep looking forward to waking up a little bit more than usual, getting out to work & safe in the knowledge I won't really look as though I got dressed in the dark.

Of course it will evolve & the blue carpet shall be covered in time & lots of framed photos & prints to collect to adorn the walls to make it more homely.

Though from a mere spare room
 to Man Cave, to Dresing Room. All in a weekend. And all thanks to my complete inabilty to put a wardrobe back together again. Praise the Lord & In Mod We Trust.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

Mr Bill Nighy

Having had the privilege of meeting Mr Nighy briefly on a few occasions in & around the West End in the past, it's great to hear his views in Mr Porter on his owns personal style, what suits him and how fashion has dictated what roles he's played in the past. A great stylist.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Man Caves & Manctuarys

When I first heard this term, it did sound a little, well, American. And surprise surprise it is. "Man Caves" have taken off over the pond in the last few years what with celebrities such a s Johnny Depp, Nick Cage & Brad Pitt opting for not just one Man Cave at their properties, but 2 or 3.  Housing everything from Pool tables, flat screens, records, cds, & even motorbikes. 

Though these caves are nothing new. Great Men of the 20th Century had their own spaces. Churchill, Brando, Twain & Roosevelt, each styled theirs to their own specifaication stocked with items, acquisitions that inspire them & more importantly make them feel at home aswell as spaces to entertain their friends.

Mark Twain's Billiard Room.

1960's MC.

                                                  Theodore Roosevelts's "Trophy Room"

Having recently having to move apartments (again) due to a visit from Fire Inspectors deeming my previous abode unsafe. I've moved three doors down to 2 bedroom First Floor. In which I have more than enough space to swing my two new cats. The Spare Room just couldn't be called "the spare room". 

I wanted my influence to be a little warmer and of course British.

A Jermy St. Shirt Makers would be fine!

Though these MC are certainly nothing new & with thoughts of how to fill mine, flat screens & gadgets weren't too appealing to me. Being a lover of fabric & rag I would appropriately start to put together my own dressing room. There's still  lots of work to be done having only started it a week or o ago.  (The old blue carpet will be covered by rugs for a start) but it's well underway & starting to take shape.

Links, scarves, lighters, glasses,wallets, watches, rings, collar bars & tie pins all thankfully in one place.

Suit stands & seats for the cats.

Enough room  to dress & swing the cats, though not literally obviously.

In the end, designing the ultimate man room is about creating something that will work for you. My own will take many months to get where I want it to, mainly because sourcing items takes time if they're thing I really want & have to wait for them to turn up at auctions, boot sales or local Antique shops.  Figure out what pieces you want, and then be willing to wait to find them.  It definitely doesn’t mean walking into a furniture store and loading up the truck with the number of items that you need just because they were the first thing that you laid eyes on.

I've found myself spending more time in here reading & writing & hardly ever being in the front room watching TV anymore.

Long live the Man Cave (or Dressing Room) we say!

Monday, 7 November 2011


This is as though it was commissioned by the Missus & I, but it wasn't.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Fags Have To Go & 'e Legs Have To Grow

I think I'm a little more than obsessed, with my new obsession. And I've put off writing this particular Blog for a while just incase this particular one passed as many others have done in the past. Some have come & gone in days, (a few in a couple in hours) but most within a month or two. However this one remains & now I'm not so sure it is an actual obsession. It's rather become part of my life  (rather than a contiued & irresistible thought that outweighs all others) it affects much what I do with my days now  as the health benefits that come with it have begun to ingrain themselves in most parts of my daily life.

Two months ago, I was a smoker. An avid smoker. With absolutely no intention of ever giving up. Then one day my Vintage "Golden Pigeon" bicycle from China began to fall apart.  Having to walk the rest of the way to the girl's shop, I knew I'd have to find another bike fairly sharpish & she soon suggested "Jeff & Victor have an old Racer out the back, they said it'd suit you".

Kind of suit me it did, at the Princely sum of £35.00 it was more than a bargain & I was back on the road. Immediately I was astonished that I, who would only have to jog to the ashtray & have to catch my breath, was overtaking not only pedestrians but also other cyclists! The brakes hardly worked but that didn't bother me in the slightest. I was hooked.

Of  course as soon as I could I had to replace the vulgar white leatherette saddle with a handmade Brooks B17 & Brooks bar tape!

Within a week or so I went out for a ride, without a destination, just for the sake of going out for a ride. Literally for excercise! Bonkers.  Living on the South coast I headed west on the road for 4 miles,stopping for a break,  then took the seafront back home.

 30 minutes & I was physically shattered. But, weirdly, felt quite good, and not really bothered with the pain from my neck,al the way down my back & obviously in my legs. Three days  later I did it again & timed myself. I wasn't any faster but definately wanted to be. So I planned to do the route everyday for the next 7 days.  I did get faster & it did get easier. After each ride a rush of what felt like adrenalin, but probably wasn't, poured over me. Someone mentioned "that'll be the natural endorphins", so I thought I'll have some more of them please! And I did.

Week 2 was 12 miles a day, though by now, with a speedo & taliking to other cyclists, we were into kilometres - 20 a day & being able to go longer without a break, I gradually began to feel . . . . kind of fitter, obviously & well, more alive. I could feel the blood pumping through my legs, gasping for breath after making it up the zig zags to a cliff top.But always ending with a smile on my face & a sense of accomplishment.   JFK wasn't wrong when he said Nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride. I began to sleep better, rise earlier & the better I felt the more I wanted to get out on the bike.

It was after this second week that I said to myself, "the fags have to go & the legs have to grow", if I'm gonna take this half seriously & be able, not only to keep up with fitter cyclists  & friends but able to put in 40+  miles in a day. So to my local "Smoke Stop" it was. Patches & mints. I must admit I've found it tricky, the odd one here & there after a week of none at all. But I'm I'm confident they'll be gone for good soon enough! My relationship with food has improved no end, cycling allows for huge apetites, before a 30 mile ride I've had an Armstrong breakfast, bowl of pasta, 2 bowls of muesli, 3 bananas, Vitamin C drink, a pint of protein shake & an apple. Three black coffee & as many cigarettes was all I ingested & interested in for many many years before noon.  It's quite a change & possibly the best change I've ever made in my 32 years.

The clothing's been tricky. "Fuck lycra" I've quipped more than once, but a few close fitting Vintage cycling Jerseys look quite the trick on the Vintage Racer.

Mods in the early '60's were obsessed with any apparel from the continent, & cycling jerseys were on their backs regularly. It's not all about Harrington's & Desert boots. (In fact they miss the point completely if you ask me) So I'm slowly entering onto a new "scene", not one with concerns of showing 1/2 an inch cuff out of my mohair, 3 button jacket, but one of "group sets", derailleurs, Mavics,  and thankfully one hell of a stylish Co. called Rapha. All Mod. All Cycling.

So, for me a new "Way Of Life" has begun. I'm getting through a book a week on the giants of past and present in world of cylcling. Jacques Anquetil & Laurent Fignon, awe inspiring characters form bygone eras. With endearing philosophies on their role of what being a World class cyclist meant to them of course can inspire everyone & they certainly did me. In Fignons "We were young & carefree" he says

" The lust for excitement, tempests & battles has always been there. It springs from the tiniest inkling of an idea. It looks wide eyed out at the world. I always wanted to grab life with both hands. Otherwise, what's the point of being on this earth? Is it pride when you prefer the surge of living things  to slavish complacency? Is it vanity when you want to surprise yourself again & again? Is it a crime to have a competitive soul & a gamblers blood? Cycling is a living breathing Art. Those cyclists who forget that are halfway to becoming slobs. I wanted life to be full, every instant of it, beginning again everyday, I wanted it to be complete & loaded with surprises."

I of course couldn't express how it feels any better than that.  I've begun to love my bike & everything it offers. Having made a few new pals who've been in to it for years, I've been convinced to go from Land's End to John O Groats next June for charity.  Now I have the excuse, "I'm not going for a ride, I'm training. I'll see you in a bit."

I feel amazingly lucky also that havng only been into cycling for 6 weeks or so, it's coincided with Britain's best ever results in the World Championships in Copenhagen last week. Not only was it their best, they were better than every other nation with 6 medals in total & of course Mark Cavendish winning the Men's Elite Road Race. I haven't shouted at the TV so loud in years & was proud once more to be British.

 And having the honour of wearing the coveted Rainbow Jersey all nnext year at events & main Tours.

Anyway, I really do have to go, the New Forest is calling & I wanna make it out there for sunset. My, how Friday nights have changed!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Just one more flight up . . . .

I heard myself saying this to friends, family & delivery folk who were helping me move into my new abode, whether they were carrying up boxes, tables, books, lamps, clobber or just themselves. A fourth floor penthouse (attic flat) is my new residence on the sunny South Coast.

The only thing I had in mind when starting to kit out this place was the the kit would all be pre 1960's. The best find of the lot, thanks to Amber at Decades Of Design,  was the 1950's Harrods, green leather Chesterfield. I was simply  anxiety ridden for a whole week before it was delivered as to whether it would actually fit up the four flights of stairs and round a couple of tight corners. Five strong men, actually four as I was one of them, managed in the end though!

So now settled in it's starting to feel like a home, the only things to add is art work for the whitewashed walls!

These are the most unused ornaments of the lot.

My much traeasured photo of myself with my eldest sister in '81 giving Princess Diana a rose on her leaving day at the local Kinderarten in St Georges Square SW1.

What is missing though sadly is a portrait of our monarch. Trawling through car boots, antique shops, charity shops, Ebay, Auction rooms not one has come up I like the look of. Must keep hunting.

As I write on this sunny Tuesday, apparently the riots are kicking orf once more in my beloved home town of London. Thankfully SW1, where my parents & sister still live has come out mostly unscathed but my thoughts & prayers are with all the boroughs & communities and locals all effected by the mindless stupidity.

How lucky I feel to have somewhere  where I call home, free from worry or even terror that some in this land are feeling at present.

Take care London Town and stick together. X

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Art Deco Perfection?

In the last few years I've seen a few of these come up for auction, but not in as pristine condition as this. 3 days left to get a bid in!

 An original early 1930's  Art Deco - Machine-age in era and design Black Americana antique rarity - A Figural " Ronson Touch-Tip" desk top lighter featuring a prohibition era bartender shaking a martini behind his streamlined state of the art modernist speakeasy era bar with all top accessories intact!!

This lighter is pictured in all of the collectors books and is viewed as an iconic andimportant American Jazz-age modernist art deco design. It appeals to tobacciana collectors, Black Americana collectors, Barware and cocktail shaker collectors, Pre-prohibition era advertising collectors, and fans of the streamlined industrial machine age modern aesthetic.

This is only the second of these we have ever offered for sale in nearly 30 years of dealing antiques and this one is in fabulous & gleaming in complete very good - fine condition.

It is untested but the touch tip element is there and with a flint and fuel and service this would likely spark and light for you as designed. I do not believe the lighter element has ever been used as seen in the touch-tip jpeg photo seen below.

It can be found on Ebay through this link.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A Physical Path To Albion Begins

Nothing would please me more than to continue writing about Vintage in  all it's forms, it was this that this Blog started with it's main purpose of using Fashion, Design & Style as vessels if you like that would steer me toward my own Albion. Recently however, well a couple of months back, the girl noticed I had bagan to "put on a few pounds".

Now I have ALWAYS been  a complete "ectomorph". Skinny as you like, eating whatever I wish, whenever. I've always been completely indifferent about food. It certainly never made any sense to me to spend more time cooking something that the time it would actually take me to eat it.

So now noticing my little round pot New Delhi, something had to be done. I've got beautifully cut trousers, many a one off in a 32" waist and I absolutely panicked to think I could  become too big to not fit in them.  

Though I had  a problem. I haven't taken part in any form of excercise since I left college at 18, I've smoked everyday, binge drank my way through my 20's and I fear my slender frame may have something to do with my willingness to sample evreything that every narcotic buffet had to offer all the way through the noughties. And I liked being slim, I often said, "you'll never see a fat  Mod".  And you wouldn't. The cut of suits I loved so so much, favour themmselves to be worn on a slim frame.

So it was actually by chance  and to my utter relief a couple of weeks ago I came across an article that has since motivated me to go running every day since reading it. It was from the excellent online magazine called  "The Art Of Manliness".

This was the first of their series on the "5 switches of Manliness". Physicality. And I liked the idea of adopting their maxim " - By small and simple means I will flip the switches of manliness.”

When seeking to activate the deeply encoded parts of primitive masculinity, there is no better place to start than physicality. Primitive man used his body all day every day: building, hunting, walking, dancing, fighting.

For modern man, these activities have been replaced with sitting. Many of us sit for twelve hours or more a day. Sit down for breakfast, sit in the car on the way to work, sit at your desk all day, sit in your car on the way home from work, sit in front of the tv at night….Rinse and repeat

It quite rightly goes on to say (you can see I'm converted already) that we  were born to run.

Our bodies were made to move. We’re beings of flesh, bone, and muscle. If we weren’t designed to move, we would have evolved to be great blobs of tissue–human clams. 

And excercise in general. Anyone who has exercised regularly is familiar with the phenomenon of the “runner’s high.” It has been described by researchers as:
pure happiness, elation, a feeling of unity with one’s self and/or nature, endless peacefulness, inner harmony, boundless energy, and a reduction in pain sensation.
That’s a pretty powerful feeling. Can you really expect to feel fully alive without a regular dose of it? It’s no wonder that studies have shown that exercise is just as effective as antidepressants in treating clinical depression.

I've chased many highs in the past, so one more shouldn't hurt!  I won't bang on, it's fair to say the article would have to be read for yourself! Man or Woman!

I'm not long back from a run myself, and very pleasant it was too. I'm kind of sitting here all smug. I "go for runs" now. It used to baffle me why peolple did it. They never even got anywhere, their destination was their starting point, literally going round in circles. And I once read it was also, research proved to be an utter waste of time. Saying, the exact amount of time you spend running is probably what you will add to your life expectancy. So, you may have well have been doing something else. Something you enjoyed. Chasing a high maybe? I'm no longer of that mind set. I actually enjoy it. And also starting more excercises, weights and stretches. Also, taking up Martial Arts again in a couple of weeks. Good Lord, all from one article. And a pot belly.