21 November 2014

Fuck Yeah Menswear: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman

A girlfriend recently gave me a copy of the book Fuck Yeah Menswear: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman (2012). It's very amusing. I swear I've spotted a few of my own creations in there, from the time several years ago when I participated--if that's the right word--in the online style community. I trust you know what I'm referring to. Recommended.

Sent from my iPhone

20 November 2014

Vile Bodies First

"A first edition copy of Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies (1930), complete with its original dust jacket, made $18,750 at Swann Auction Galleries in New York on November 18, surpassing its $9,000 estimate by 108.3%.

Very few copies of the book are sold with an unrestored jacket, with this example among the finest known.

Vile Bodies is a biting parody of the London party scene (of which Waugh was an enthusiastic member) and is today considered among the most evocative novels of the jazz age."

The Ghosts of Happy Valley: Searching for the Lost World of Africa's Infamous Aristocrats

'Happy Valley was the name given to the Wanjohi Valley in the Kenya Highlands, where a small community of affluent, hedonistic white expatriates settled between the wars. While Kenya's early colonial days have been immortalised by farming pioneers like Lord Delamere and Karen Blixen, and the pioneering aviator Beryl Markham, Happy Valley became infamous under the influence of troubled socialite, Lady Idina Sackville, whose life was told in Frances Osborne's bestselling The Bolter. The era culminated with the notorious murder of the Earl of Erroll in 1941, the investigation of which laid bare the Happy Valley set's decadence and irresponsibility, chronicled in another bestseller, James Fox's White Mischief. But what is left now? In a remarkable and indefatigable archaeological quest Juliet Barnes, who has lived in Kenya all her life and whose grandparents knew some of the Happy Valley characters, has set out to explore Happy Valley to find the former homes and haunts of this extraordinary and transient set of people. With the help of a remarkable African guide and further assisted by the memories of elderly former settlers, she finds the remains of grand residences tucked away beneath the mountains and speaks to local elders who share first-hand memories of these bygone times. Nowadays these old homes, she discovers, have become tumbledown dwellings for many African families, school buildings, or their ruins have almost disappeared without trace - a revelation of the state of modern Africa that makes the gilded era of the Happy Valley set even more fantastic. A book to set alongside such singular evocations of Africa's strange colonial history as The Africa House, The Ghosts of Happy Valley is a mesmerising blend of travel narrative, social history and personal quest.'

Beard Effect

19 November 2014

80s Surf Style

Surfing Photographs from the Eighties Taken by Jeff Divine (2011)

C'était un rendezvous

18 November 2014

Land-Rover

Newspaper Tales

Newspapers at one time were a small, daily pleasure of life. Over a cup of tea and ham-and-cheese croissant in a cafe on Old Brompton Road, or in bed on a rainy Sunday, making one's way through the paper used to be so comforting. Sitting in front of a computer and browsing the interwebz in search of news isn't quite the same experience.

I used to be a daily reader of newspapers: Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Wall Street Journal. When I took the commuter train into Manhattan for my first Wall Street job after university in the mid 1990s there was a special technique for folding the paper into tiny squares, so as not to block your neighbour in the crowded seats.

And let's not forget, newspapers were once incredibly useful for lining the cages of incontinent budgerigars and for swatting campus Bolsheviks in the face. Today, sadly, budgerigars shit on clean floors and campus Bolsheviks go about unmolested. It's a frightening state of affairs.

The current order, of course, won't continue and is subject to change and decay like all things. Computers, iPhones and other modern gadgets won't last forever. At some point, as technology declines, newspapers will come back. When they do, we're just going to have to make sure that we own the printing presses.

17 November 2014

16 November 2014

Raising the Kaiser

As you know, in the last year I've been supplementing with strong daily dosages of magnesium (1500-2000 mg) and l-theanine (400 mg). Both of these promote workout recovery, relaxation, and deep sleep. Magnesium in particular is known for producing strong, vivid dreams.

Most of the dreams I've been experiencing involve surfing, spearfishing, and generally hanging around various exotic beaches and wilderness settings. Sometimes they feature family members whom I've neither seen nor spoken to (or even thought of) in years. Last week I dreamt I was witness to the bloody beginning of a race war. Rather exciting to say the least.

Last night I dreamt that I had a son. I first saw him as an infant and then as a toddler. He had reddish-blond hair and blond facial hair. As a teenager he was the spitting image of Kaiser Wilhelm II, King of Prussia and last German Emperor, and walked stiffly around in a formal dark suit. Outside in the town square a homeless female violinist stood on the cobblestones below our house and played Mozart in the pouring rain in the middle of the night.

What does it mean? It probably means I've been taking too much magnesium and l-theanine.

14 November 2014

Kentucky Fried Georgian (Young Fogeys)

Kentucky Fried Georgian
Alexandra Artley and John Martin Robinson
The Spectator, 22 December 1984

Conservation fogeys love expressing opinions. They bang on about COUNTY BOUNDARIES ('they can call Yorkshire what they like. I come from the NORTH RIDING and PROUD of it'); ABOLITION OF TELEGRAMS ('I shall write to the Post-Master General'); OPEN-PLAN TRAINS ('the crack of ring- pull cans was DEAFENING!'); CEN-TRAL HEATING ('don't beso FEEBLE. It will split your mahogany'); FITTED CARPETS IN CHURCHES (`absolutely OUTRAGEOUS'); BUILDINGS BY AGEING MODERNISTS ('meretricious TAT'); MODERN RC CHURCH ('Father Banjo 0' Marx'); THE ANGLICAN CHURCH ('Runcie-balls'); BRITISH TELECOM ('TeIeCON more like'); HABITAT ('ha-ha-ha'); THE NATION-AL GALLERY ('a national DISGRACE'); NOUVELLE CUISINE ('had to eat a CHEESE SANDWICH on the way home'); MICROWAVE OVENS (laughter in the house); Then, plop, the Spectator falls through the letterbox and Mr Fogey sits in COMPLETE SILENCE and reads it. The flashing synapses of high-powered fogey brains burn food. Conservation fogeys are the world's greatest diners out. They have developed the art of eating huge amounts while campaigning, SAVE-ing and talking non-stop most convivially.

`And now Silent Night arranged by Stock-'

THOSE OPINIONS boom out while roast beef, boiled potatoes, cabbage anglaise, yummy, proper gravy in a hot boat, rice pudding with skin, or failing that, crème brulee, fly down the fogey throat. With dinner they like little Knoxian jokes ('Do you take this margarine for butter or worse?).

In winter, conservation fogeys often dine in Spitalfields, home of the new Baroque. At nine, through the dark of the decayed vegetable market they come in Suits, tweeds, grey wool scarves in plain but not purl, thick corduroy trousers from the Bedford Riding Breeches Company, macs and chestnutty brogues dull with dubbing. In the high art gloom, groups of derelicts brawl with bottles round wild fires (very Joseph Wright of Derby). Fire and gloom play a large part in the fogey temperament. When a fogey is invited to dinner he arrives with wooden crates pulled off a skip to fuel his host's huge hearths. Fires in fogey dining rooms are so fierce that Mrs Fogeys often get burn marks between their shoulder blades from molten bra hooks.

Dinner in Spitalfields is a very chiaros-curo matter. Fogeys like dancing shadows in panelled rooms and the smell of roast meat or Brick Lane Indian take-aways wafting up from the basement. Then there is more talk, campaigning, new strategies, DISGRACEFUL, large whiskies, bashed silver candle-sticks, strong beeswax candles bought by the pound from church suppliers, eye-to-eye contact with canvas instant ancestors, chipped cream-ware, dripping-wax sconces on the walls and the bong of bones dropped on threadbare rugs for seething animals. In the candlelight long fogey arms whip out for the eye- watering English mustard. At three in the morning there are several feet of restless ash in the hearth and a slim chance of taxis from Bishopsgate to other fogey haunts. Last comes the lost cord: at night bachelor fogeys stride home to thick striped pyjamas. Conservation fogeys bounced off Sixties' property spivs and stack-a-prole planners. They are the first English generation since the Thirties (Robert Byron and friends) to be visually literate and to feel sorry for down-and-out things as well as people. The two are often connected. Buildings are pulled down and their vulnerable inhabitants moved on. Keeping philistines routed is quite time-consuming. Consequently, Mr Fogey consults a huge half-hunter worn on a watch chain and warmed by his chest. He never wears anything on his wrist (it stops him speaking off the cuff) but he likes plenty of clocks at home (boing, boing' boing). Other accessories include an old, very heavy bicycle for racing to conservation meetings. Sometimes, when cycling, he wears a pair of Thirties' leather motoring goggles. Fogeys cycle with an upright Edwardian posture and hang out like yachtsmen round Hyde Park. When Mrs Fogey sees this from a bus her heart gives a horrid leap.

The conservation fogey is an urban chevalier and his bicycle is his horse. He loves and understands the British city. When he is not cycling he walks long and purposefully across it like Dickens. The most time-consuming thing in Mr Fogey's life, apart from campaigning, is a house, or when he is a poor Very Young Fogey, a basement or garret flat in the right sort of house. Fogeys differ from young Sloanes in the way they look at London property. Sloanes choose the area they want to live in and then find a house. Fogeys find the perfect house to restore and don't give a damn about the area. They go where the architecture is and this is usually the rotting Georgian centres of big cities. Fogeys like Places to be socially crunchy. This means a healthy mix of young, old, crims (criminals), Bangladeshis, clergy and council Estaters. Whereas Sloanes treat everyone in a jolly way, they like to maintain class difference where they live because it feels safer. Conservation fogeys give the impression of being fierce, but they live in Socially mixed areas because they like the Individualism of different types of people. In grand circles this used to be called feudal familiarity. Mr and Mrs Fogey like to live in decaying splendour with wonderful, slightly broken things. They love costly tatters, the aristocratic aesthetic of pleasing decay. Their walls of patchy bare plaster give the Crumbling Palazzo Look. It is like hanging pictures on the inside of a Stilton. To go With that they like old china repaired with brass rivets. (If they find a pretty mug in Woolworths, really mad fogeys break it and get it repaired by a pro. Then it looks very interesting.) All fogeys love pink lustre china (sweet disorder on a shelf), English cream-ware and grisaille pieces. scigey cats are encouraged to shred bits of silk to make them look like the cushions at Sissinghurst. For special occasions like weddings, christenings, house birthdays (250 YEARS OLD TODAY) or ordinary human birthdays, Mrs Fogey sits down at the kitchen table to splosh out pink lustre greetings cards with pinky-bronze ink. Meanwhile, Mr Fogey keeps obelisk culture alive. Obelisks mean I REPRESENT CLASSICISM, visual literacy, proportion In all things, restraint, the vanity of human wishes, and fogeys like them a lot. China obelisks are very expensive so fogeys make temporary ones from marblised paper, varnish them and letter them with the Roman numerals and greetings (A NUPTIAL OBELISK, A BIRTHDAY OBELISK, ANOTHER OBELISK). This is clone on the theory of decoy obelisks — the cardboard ones might attract the real ones in due course.

To repair their houses properly, fogeys invented architectural salvage. Miles away when philistines are gutting an old house, fogeys pick up high-frequency distress signals. Suddenly, they are there, saving the bits if they can't actually stop the destruction. Cracked marble fireplaces, panelled doors masked by crude hardboard flushing, sash windows, shutters, Carron grates and strangely brilliant old glass are mourned over and carried home. Another good building RIP. When a demolition pickaxe shatters the work of the human hand, fogeys feel it is a blow against humanity. If an old house is modernised with a new crudely-panelled front door, fogeys call the style Kentucky Fried Georgian. The streets where fogeys live swirl Fogey superloo in the shape of an obelisk. [...] with greasy boxes anyway. Like playing with Leggo they swop building bits (one small Georgian reeded marble fireplace broken in three places equals a big cast- iron bath on claw feet).

To keep in touch with world fogeyism Mr Fogey hunts down big black telephones; heavy square bakelite ones which do not move when his fingers are doing the walking. Fogeys letter them with the romantic names of old London telephone exchanges (EUSton, portal of the North, MUSeum, heart of Bloomsbury). Consequently, drunken guests have difficulty getting taxis late at night. Radio Cabs says, `What is your number?' Drunken guest says, `TERminus 2020'. The taxi never arrives and the guest slumps to the floor to be covered with blankets by Mrs Fogey.

Thomas Hope furniture springs eternal in the fogey breast and here fogey couples mildly disagree. Mr Fogey is a purist and he likes formal (that means rather hard) chairs and sofas while Mrs Fogey prefers squashy hippos in washed-out chintz. All over Bloomsbury the frilly hippos slowly emigrate upstairs. In Spitalfields, home of the guttering candle, fogey couples argue about light "bulbs. Mr Fogey screws in 25-watters to maintain the Baroque gloom. After four o'clock on a winter's afternoon, this means Mrs Fogey needs a torch to fasten the tabs on her baby fogelet's Pampers. 

England is a very masculine country and conservation fogeys have rather masculine views. (A woman is a — you know funny sort of CHAP who steadies the bottom end of a ladder.) Fogey couples often meet at a SAVE lunch, on the first Friday in the month. They are drawn to each other, the lovely meat-paste sandwiches and grim photographs of a threatened factory in Bradford in the polychrome Egyptian style. Together they vow to save it. Fogey courtships take place on coach trips (`the chara') to see such things as glass cases of rotting taxidermy at Calke Abbey. The fogey lovers sit at the back of the bus and share a Buildings of England. The first sign of love is when Mr Fogey offers her a swig from his hip flask and says to her, 'Listen, WOMAN, your views are quite APPALLING'. The honey- moon must be somewhere architectural and is usually Rome, in a hotel five feet from the Pantheon. Rome is so wonderful, the fogey-weds think they have been dropped head first into a box of chocolates. The honeymoon photographs rarely have Mr Fogey in them because he uses his bride to get scale into architectural photographs.

Back home Mrs Fogey wears a droopy skirt, three long sweaters and free-range ear-rings as she runs lightly through the conservation area. Quickly she learns that trying to ripen an avocado pear in front of a gas fire is useless. For years she saves the lead cappings from bottles of wine in case they can be melted down to repair the roof flashings. From good Spanish bottles she keeps the gold nets to make a little Rioja snood.

Fogey families believe in conservation heroics. They live with no roof, then no floors, then only a few walls, but lots of dry rot, Greek builders drinking Coca-Cola, collapsing ceilings, cold water, layers of filth, cellars full of old tights and tea- leaves, re-wiring by day, re-plumbing by fly-by-night and donating the drawing room as an emergency campaign office. Fogeys learned to rough it in the early Seventies. They trained as conservation commandos in squats and Direct Action against London's rapacious property developers. On any given evening, according to how the architectural battle is raging outside, Mrs Fogey can expect none or 14 people for dinner. Consequently, she depends on the flexibility of cottage pie and semolina. Down the stairs to stuttering candles and soggy cabbage the convivial fogeys come: large whiskies, the smell of outdoors, DISGRACEFUL, clomp, clomp go the brogues, GRADE II I THINK. Keeping the best of the past is one way forward and fogey-land dines again.

13 November 2014

Tory Youth

Note the purposeful stride

12 November 2014

A Vision in Tweed

11 November 2014

F*ck the Modern World !

Lady Diana Mosley - Interview

The British South Africa Police (BSAP)

Items in my Rhodesiana collection acquired in South Africa and England

Rhodesian Defender

Policeman, Rhodesia 1971 (Note: Land Rover Defender)

10 November 2014

Tweedos

(h/t Return of the Chops)
Not to be confused, of course, with bespoke Harris Tweed boxer shorts (here and here).

05 November 2014

Leopard Slayer

Bearded badass

04 November 2014

Deus Ex Machina

03 November 2014

Surfside Pistoleros

Gratuitous hottie with pistol
It's critical, in this age of the impending oblations, to be prepared and well-armed. With this in mind I recently visited a few local gun shops to look for a new pistol. The clear favourite as always was the 1911 .45 ACP. A wonderful style perfectly designed to bring down savage hoodies, hippies, and Bolsheviks from 30 paces. The shops were crowded. I met one of the store owners. He told us interest in handguns has skyrocketed in recent years and they can barely meet demand. What caught my attention was that the customers in each store were all of European descent, attractive and clean-cut, with a large percentage with blond hair and blue eyes, like me. There were also a few hotties in attendance. Clearly I'm not the only one thinking along these lines.

Weejun Fever

Leather & Steel

Triumph Bonneville

02 November 2014

Reds Don't Surf !

01 November 2014

Fight Night

As you've probably heard, I almost got into another punch-up last night.

The circumstances, as they usually are, were quite silly. While I was ordering cocktails at the bar of a trendy upscale restaurant in Newport Beach with my crew, an older gent sitting next to me contrived to lean over and rub his back against me a few times and then complained loudly that I was standing too close to him. Very odd.

It set me off. I told him repeatedly to fuck off, directed a variety of non-mild epithets at him, and even picked up a small serving plate with which to strike the bastard in the face. That was when he backed off and turned around. My chums, bartenders, and a friendly tattooed couple sitting near us were all visibly relieved. His date looked embarrassed for him.

When he was ready to leave, my adversary came up to me and, offering his hand, apologised for his behaviour. He was drunk. Fair enough. We've all been there. I don't hold grudges.

I've found over the years that in these kinds of situations it pays to be bold and daring, and to not tolerate the petulance of ill-mannered strangers. Still, it amuses me to think how quickly I escalate such encounters, especially when I'm drunk on gin.

29 October 2014

Hounds

Thor Steinar Accessoires

Fogey Tea Time

28 October 2014

Wine Season

In recent months, on the advice of a weight-lifting comrade, I've been drinking greater quantities of red wine in the evening.

I'm not a wine snob, as you know, but I do enjoy it. I was raised on good wine--courtesy of my parents and the environments in which I grew up (for which I'm extremely grateful)--but I never developed a love or obsession with it, like a lot of chaps I know. It's boring to me. Wine is to be enjoyed, not studied. Still, knowing a bit about wine can be good for business. It's also good for meeting women. They fucking love the stuff.

The exclusive photo (above) shows two recent acquisitions for my table. Nothing particularly fancy, mind you. But, as you will notice, there was a certain je ne sais quoi about each of these bottles that drew me in.

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)