25 August 2014

Two Mile High Club (Cusco, Peru)

Said to my beautiful blonde then-girlfriend (later first wife) as we hiked up the cobble-stoned steps of Cusco, Peru: "So, you want to join the Two Mile High Club...?" Although I succumbed to a terrible case of altitude sickness--during which I lay bedridden in an ancient Spanish colonial room in a secluded hillside garden villa watching giant spiders crawl about on the ceiling--my directive was eventually granted an affirmative response.

21 August 2014

Cocktail Specifications

20 August 2014

Waugh on Truth

Note: large decanter of Gin on office floor
'You should tell the truth as often as you can, but in such a way as people don't believe you or think that you're being funny.'

- Auberon Waugh (1939-2001)

15 August 2014

Chicks Dig Jerks

Chicks dig jerks. Apparently, they also dig philandering alcoholic nazi surf bums.

14 August 2014

Wax Fax

(sans beard)
The Southern California summer proceeds apace.

In recent weeks the salt water and sun have taken quite a toll on my Saxon-blond moustache and beard. Which are, I can report to you, still attracting increasing public attention.

Still, issues remain. In light of which, can any readers of this column recommend a suitable brand of facial hair wax to keep the chap-wool under tight control?

Many thanks in advance.

Sent from my iPhone

12 August 2014

Funny (Black Lips)

09 August 2014

Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica (Matthew Parker)

'Goldeneye: the story of Ian Fleming in Jamaica and the creation of British national icon, James Bond.

From 1946 until the end of his life, Ian Fleming lived for two months of every year at Goldeneye - the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica's north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here.

Fleming adored the Jamaica he had discovered, at the time an imperial backwater that seemed unchanged from the glory days of the empire. Amid its stunning natural beauty, the austerity and decline of post-war Britain could be forgotten. For Fleming, Jamaica offered the perfect mixture of British old-fashioned conservatism and imperial values, alongside the dangerous and sensual: the same curious combination that made his novels so appealing, and successful. The spirit of the island - its exotic beauty, its unpredictability, its melancholy, its love of exaggeration and gothic melodrama - infuses his writing.

Fleming threw himself into the island's hedonistic Jet Set party scene: Hollywood giants, and the cream of British aristocracy, the theatre, literary society and the secret services spent their time here drinking and bed-hopping. But while the whites partied, Jamaican blacks were rising up to demand respect and self-government. And as the imperial hero James Bond - projecting British power across the world - became ever more anachronistic and fantastical, so his popularity soared.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Ian's family, his Jamaican lover Blanche Blackwell and many other islanders, Goldeneye is a beautifully written, revealing and original exploration of a crucially important part of Ian Fleming's life and work.'

07 August 2014

The Girl from Slovenia

There's a cute twentysomething girl who works at my local cocktail lounge. Brunette, 5'3", bright eyes, wide smile, tight curvy arse. She's very flirtatious. But she has the oddest accent. It sounds as if she has some kind of speech impediment. And so for the last several months I assumed she was slightly retarded. But just recently, when she inquired if I were German and we connected, did I discover that she isn't retarded, but foreign.

04 August 2014

Mensur

31 July 2014

contre le monde moderne

h/t zentropa

Cocktail Command Post

30 July 2014

Bearded Furor

"I love the beard," she said to me as we walked to one of our regular cocktail establishments in Newport Beach. Tables of diners dotted the patio. Young surfers and their girls rode by on beach cruisers, boards in hand. "It looks hot."

She continued: "But don't think I don't notice all these women checking you out."

"Of course they do," I replied. "But I don't pay attention to that sort of thing."

Well, not quite. I knew that a moment ago, a young red-headed hottie did a double-take as I walked by her table. And the previous night while we were out, I received maximum eye-contact from the local girls, which made her visibly agitated.

This has been happening a lot recently.

I attribute it to the beard.

As you know, for the last two months I've been growing out my beard. It's now fairly long [think: Commander Whitehead], and sports an intriguing mixture of blonde, red, and brown colours. My blonde moustache, in particular, is getting quite long, Hussar-style, and I'm sure I'll soon be able to wax it.

As you're no doubt aware, beards (and tattoos) have become quite common amongst the hipster set. It's an attempt, I think, to look edgy and masculine. But these young men tend to be rather skinny and unassuming. Beards often look awry on them.

The only men therefore who should be allowed to wear beards are tall, muscular chaps who look as if they could take care of themselves down a dark alley after midnight. But that's just me.

She tells me it's unique and that she hasn't seen any other chaps around with similar facial hair. Which is true.

"You look like one of those guys from Vikings," she pointed out, referring to the History Channel televisual show.

Sometimes, as she explained to me, beards just look better on some men than on others.

Indeed.

Safari Style

© Hackett

28 July 2014

Thor Steinar

25 July 2014

My Nazi Connections

Diana Mitford (1910-2003)
A recent post by Taki, whom I've been reading since the 1980s, inspired some German recollections of my own.

As you know, I've been to Germany numerous times. From Munich, Frankfurt, and Regensburg to Berlin, Heidelberg, and Bonn. I visited East Berlin with some English schoolmates in the mid-1980s. However, one of the most interesting encounters I've had with my fellow Germans was in London in the late 1980s.

At the time I was in central London toiling deep inside Tory circles as a junior press officer, taking some time off from prep school before university. Most of my job included writing press releases, contacting journalists, and occasionally assisting Conservative MPs. I was assigned to escort a visiting German official for the day. I was told this individual was someone who played an important role in the war. I happily obliged.

Much to my surprise, the German official turned out to be a statuesque blonde blue-eyed woman in her 70s, about 6' tall, still quite beautiful, with an exquisite Nordic face. She looked like one of the Mitford sisters. It soon transpired that she was an ex-officer of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) [League of German Girls] of the Hitler Youth, a fact I later confirmed with colleagues. She was elegant and quite talkative. We connected immediately.

We spent the day travelling around London visiting various shops, while she told me her life story. After the war she married a Scotsman and moved to the UK, followed by the Falkland Islands. She laughed as she recounted to me how she fooled the Allies and escaped their clutches, which delighted us both. A fascinating lady.

Beards I Like

A Cossack volunteer in the first Chechen War

24 July 2014

Rowing Blazers

Rowing Blazers looks at the authentic striped, piped, trimmed and badged blazers that are still worn by oarsmen and -women around the world today, and at the elaborate rituals, elite athletes, prestigious clubs and legendary races associated with them. Each university, school, college and club featured in the book is represented by a blazer-clad rower or group of rowers including world champions, record holders and Olympians such as Sir Steve Redgrave and Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss of The Social Network fame. The stunning original photographs, many by prep guru F.E. Castleberry, are taken in situ at the historic boathouses, campuses and team rooms of clubs in the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and beyond. These enchanting portraits are punctuated by thrilling action shots from the Henley Royal Regatta, the Head of the Charles, the Olympic Games and the Boat Race; and accompanied by histories, anecdotes and captivating descriptions of the esoteric traditions behind each blazer.

Rowing Blazers, by Jack Carlson (Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2014)

23 July 2014

Too Old To Die Young: Mötley Crüe in Concert

Never have I see so many hotties in one place!

By that I refer to last night's show by the Los Angeles-based rock group Mötley Crüe. They were everywhere: gorgeous made-up females in their teens and beyond, in figure-hugging outfits, garter-belts, high-heels, leather mini skirts, fishnet stockings, doing their slutty best to look fuckable. It was quite a spectacle.

Formed in 1981 as a reaction to the New Wave scene in Southern California, Mötley Crüe took inspiration from punk and glam rock, and it showed. Although I was never an avid fan, I certainly sympathised with the spirit and lifestyle. There is something of the Männerbund about such groups. They've had quite a run.

I wanted to see them on what is billed as their final tour, partly for nostalgic reasons, but mostly because I simply wanted to have a good time with like-minded friends. I met a group of chums for what turned out to be a long music-, drink- and drugs-fueled evening; I'm still feeling the after-effects.  In fact I'm still drunk as I write this.

Among my companions were a patent lawyer, private banker, surfwear industry executive, and business owner. It was a fun, good-natured crowd. According to my friends, my biker 'look' and blond Viking beard attracted loads of attention from the ladies, which I'm sure irritated my girlfriend had I been sober enough or interested enough to notice.

In an era of unprecedented demographic and cultural change, it is a curious experience to be surrounded by thousands of people who--minus the occasional beer guts, leather, and missing teeth--look pretty much like me. Though, of course, without the handsome fogey features.

22 July 2014

21 July 2014

David Saxby Discusses Tailoring

20 July 2014

David Bowie: Five Years (Official Trailer)

17 July 2014

Style

16 July 2014

Kenya Cowboys

As you know, I spent some time in Kenya in the late 1980s. We went on safari, hiked Mt Kenya, and explored the coast. I partied in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi with English expats, slim, stylish young men and women, some of whom were taking a 'gap year' working in tourism or conservation projects in the region. They worked hard, but also knew how to have fun. Today, one of my best friends is a Kenya Cowboy expat who works as a commodities trader in Los Angeles.

***

"This is the world of the KC, also known as the Kenyan Cowboy. An insular group, descending from white English families that came in the early 1900s, is privy to both adoration and contempt within broader Kenyan society. When the first generation arrived, Kenya was primarily made up of tribes with expansive tracts of unsettled land. The English settlers, most of them wealthy social misfits, were seeking a level of freedom that turn-of-the-century London did not provide. One notorious group, the Happy Valley Set, settled around Lake Naivasha in the 1920s. As the years progressed and the West faced economic decline, the number of settlers swelled to around 20,000. Various scandals, including drug use, affairs, wife swapping, suicide and murder followed the settlers for years. It wasn’t until the early 1950’s during the Mau Mau uprising (which was followed by Kenya’s bid for independence in the 60s) that the Happy Valley lifestyle began to shift.

 The focal point of the KC community began evolving into that of development and conservation. Many members saw themselves as intrinsically linked to the land and worked together to create a number of conservation parks, agencies and some of the very first safari companies. With this they also continued managing a number of farms and cattle ranching. It was here, in the middle of nowhere, that they raised their children and developed intricate networks among themselves. While boarding school was de rigeur, almost all of their children returned to Kenya to work on the family business, or expand their own entrepreneurial companies."

Kenya's Last Cowboys, Persephone Magazine, 2 April 2012

15 July 2014

Summer Cocktails

13 July 2014

European Conquests

What a magnificent World Cup match! I'm still drunk from earlier today. Our local German Club was so full, by 10am they were already turning away spectators. Despite best efforts, I failed to instigate a riot, although I did my drunken utmost to provoke our adversaries, much to the discomfort of my gf and companions. I'm just a little surprised I wasn't arrested. A world removed, I admit, from my youthful Chelsea days.

11 July 2014

10 July 2014

09 July 2014

David Ogilvy on Productivity

07 July 2014

Lord Mandrake

04 July 2014

Missing You