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


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

27 June 2014

Admiral Cod On Tour: Northern California

Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

Hunting With Hounds

24 June 2014

The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh

Roman Catholic reactionary badass
Introduction to the Project

The Complete Works project is working with Oxford University Press to print all Waugh's extant writings and graphic art: novels, biographies, travel writing, short fiction, essays, articles, reportage, reviews, letters (about 85% of which are currently unpublished), diaries, poems, juvenilia, parerga, drawings and designs in 42 beautifully crafted volumes. It's quite an undertaking - and a very exciting one.

The project will revolutionise Waugh studies and influence twentieth-century literary and cultural studies more broadly too. The expert editors of our new volumes will place Waugh’s works within their rich literary and historical context, enabling us to greatly expand our knowledge of the range and complexity of Waugh's thinking and artistic practice, linking this to the work of his contemporaries in Britain, America and Europe. No other edition of a British novelist has been undertaken on this scale.

Our editors have been given permission by the Evelyn Waugh Estate to quote freely from the writer's published and unpublished materials, a privilege never before available to Waugh scholars.

The Complete Works project was initiated by Alexander Waugh, Waugh's grandson, who curates the massive Evelyn Waugh Archive at his home in Somerset. Alexander is the edition's General Editor. Professor David Bradshaw and I then became involved as Co-Executive Editors, submitting a successful bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council to support the work.

As I am Principal Investigator, the project is based at the University of Leicester. Cutting-edge digital humanities technology, driven by our Research Associate Dr Barbara Cooke, is at the heart of what we are doing, using this website as a research tool and global seminar space for our editors, Waugh students and enthusiasts alike. Anyone who has anything to add to Waugh's story is encouraged to use the Waugh Forum and comment on the project blog, Waugh and Words. We have also pulled together the best Waugh resources on the web, and are working on some new ones ourselves, in order to make the best range of research and study materials available in one place. Back in the physical world, the International Conference 2015, the Book Club, and all our Project Partner events over the next four years are open to the public.

In my early years at Leicester I edited Evelyn Waugh: The Critical Heritage (1984), and wrote a two-volume biography of Waugh (1986, 1992). Since then I've worked on other authors - Ford Madox Ford and Muriel Spark in particular - but it is a great delight to return to Waugh and we hope that all those who become involved with this research, at whatever level, will find equal pleasure in his writing. No matter how well-read you are in Evelyn Waugh, you're bound to discover reams of new material in our planned edition. Those unpublished letters and unexpurgated diaries might cause quite a stir. Watch out for the first volumes in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Waugh's death.

Although work proper on the edition began in 2009, the groundwork was laid a long time before and the project is in many ways the culmination of half a century of Waugh studies. In 1967 Paul. A. Doyle published the first Evelyn Waugh Newsletter, which year by year amassed details of all the primary and secondary Evelyn Waugh material its contributors could find. This project could not be possible without the work of Doyle and his colleagues, particularly Robert Murray Davis and Donat Gallagher, who are now editors on our new edition of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh.

Martin Stannard
Professor of Modern English Literature
School of English
University of Leicester

23 June 2014

Cricket at Westminster

Cricket at Westminster

For King And Country

17 June 2014

Trans Europe Express (Kraftwerk)

12 June 2014

The Death or Glory Boys

Lord Flashheart

Rik Mayall RIP

11 June 2014

Royal Duty

In the wake of the Duchess of Cambridge's recent dress mishaps, it has come to my attention that the Palace has hired a female 'minder' to accompany her to ensure embarrassing incidents like these don't occur again. As a loyal supporter of the Crown, I should like it be known that I am perfectly willing and able to monitor her backside 24/7 to prevent further predicaments. I hereby offer my services. You know where to find me.

10 June 2014

In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (Documentary)

Brylcreem: Brilliantly Classic

"It's Bryl!"
After popping into my local gentleman's barber for a quick touch-up, I noticed on the shelf that Brylcreem have recently updated their packaging (at left). It has a nice retro feel to it. And as you know, retro is all the rage these days.

Brylcreem has been around since 1928. I've been wearing it off and on since the late 1980s. It has a very distinctive odour, which I find pleasantly reassuring. I've dated women who said it provokes memories of their father. That might not be a good thing if you have designs on their panties, but I persevere anyway.

As you know, I favour a nice tight short hairstyle with the front slicked back or to the side. It seems to have caught on among the youth. In recent years I've noticed a lot of younger chaps with short back-n-sides haircuts and pompadours, which they comb back with cream or gel. I suspect part of Brylcreem's strategy is is to increase their share of this market. Best of luck to them. In local surf towns, the hair product of choice seems to be Hawleywood's Layrite Deluxe Pomade.

Brylcreem remains a classic of grooming accoutrements for chaps.

03 June 2014

Cali Jugend

28 May 2014

Young Love

The recent actions in Santa Barbara, according to media reports, were perpetrated by a frustrated college student who was unsuccessful with women. His problems, apparently, started at a fairly young age. The killings prompted recollections of my own childhood interactions with the opposite sex. These were, I can happily report, overwhelmingly positive.

From a very young age I was attracted to girls. Fortunately it was reciprocated. Today there are too many girls to remember by name. There were a couple of girls in my neighbourhood, including the cute heiress of a family of well-known New York supermarket moghuls. My recent Interwebz research indicates her current looks hardly justify my early interest, more proof (as if more were needed) that the ageing process is much harsher for women than it is for men.

In what was apparently my earliest sexual harassment case, in 3rd grade I was reported to the teacher for kissing the girls, which resulted in my father sitting me down and having a talk. He explained, as best as I can recall, that girls do not appreciate being kissed without being asked first. It struck me as nonsense, for much of my experience with them up to then involved them initiating contact with me.

As expected, this didn't put much of a damper on my girl-chasing activities. In fact the girls were all too eager to kiss me and show me their goods, which resulted in my being made quite aware at an early age of the peculiarities of the female anatomy. In suburban New Canaan, Connecticut in the 4th grade, at the risk of sounding vulgar, fingering was the done thing.

I do remember, however, the names--and other details--of a couple of teenage babysitters, as well as those of a beautiful young exiled Persian nanny. Which are topics for a future column.

26 May 2014

Hussar Style

Manly Essence