Flying Pan Am in its peak in the early 1970s was certainly a luxury. We had wide seats, and entire tables to ourselves. The stewardess uniforms were smart, and the food was good. Passengers actually dressed like adults. In some respects it was like an airborne cocktail party, and moving about and mixing with other passengers was encouraged. Much has been lost since then. I have learned that the 1970s "Pan Am Experience" can be had at Air Hollywood. I may pay a visit. Not quite the same thing, I'm sure.
Over at The Spectator, the venerable Taki has posted a piece on how to seduce women. Modern young men certainly need the help. There's a lot of good material in the article. I encourage you to read it.
I've been reading Taki since I was a schoolboy in England in the 1980s. Somewhere I have books of his High Life columns, and his prison memoir Nothing To Declare was particularly helpful to me at a certain time in my life.
So, I read the article with considerable interest, expecting great insights. Alas, there are several key misses . Also, I noted some hints of white-knighting and blue pill thinking, which I find very shocking and disappointing in a chap of his calibre. Taki, a male feminist?! Say it isn't so!
As an aside, I wonder how much input his female relations had in the article. At times it reads as if he's writing for them, and not for the single men requiring some help in the seduction department.
These days chicks dig jerks over gentlemen. They may claim they want gentlemen, but their behaviour says otherwise. They consistently favour the cads, thugs, bad boys, and rogues over the nice guys. Nice guys indeed finish last. Most of the time they don't finish at all, if you get my meaning.
I almost choked on my morning tea when I read this line: "women, unlike us, have a conscience." Nonsense. Women are far crueler in their own way than men. Women also don't love in the same way that men do. Men suffer when they expect women to reciprocate affection with the same quality and intensity. It's men--not women--who are the romantic sex. We are doomed to love them.
In picking up women, wit and humour are indispensable. Self-deprecation, not so much. Women want confidence and cocky bad-boy charm.
Taki recommends that young men write poetry and love letters. I have to admit, this was a tactic I used as a schoolboy, before emails, the interwebz, and smartphones came along, and I still have the letters to prove it. The written word is indeed powerful, but we shouldn't give our young men the impression that going around quoting Shakespeare is going to moisten any panties. Keep in mind, too, a lot of American and English girls these days are barely literate.
Being direct with women in California works. It's amazing how effective "I want to f*ck, let's go somewhere else" can be here. Crude, I know. But the days of courting "ladies and well-brought up young women" are long over. Especially in the Anglosphere.
If "the way to success with the fairer sex cannot be taught," as Taki claims, then what is the point of an article such as his? It can be taught, and it can be learned. We should be teaching more of our young men the new realities of women, relationships, and sex. And this includes teaching them Game and the art of seduction--not the art of sucking-up.
I enjoyed a somewhat controversial career at university, as you've probably heard.
One incident sticks out. It involved my views on the presence of Africans in England, namely, my instruction to a visiting African scholar to "go back to Africa." After all, I continued, why should Europeans tolerate the presence of Africans (and others) in our homelands, since Europeans had been kicked out of theirs? A perfectly sound position and one which was, as is my custom, intended to provoke.
It caused quite a storm, as you may imagine. I was not expelled. Instead, I was brought before a committee consisting of senior tutors, college academics, and university officials. I sat alone before them as they gave me a series of sanctimonious lectures and stern warnings. Curiously I was not asked to apologise; I wouldn't have done so if asked. I think I was also given some sort of minor punishment, the nature of which I've forgotten now.
A few days later I received in the post a letter on university letterhead confirming my official censure. I framed it and hung it on the wall, where it remained for the rest of the term.
Man to his girlfriend: The main reason I don't want to follow you into [high end department store in Newport Beach] is because over the years I've dated [and/or banged] several women there. This is an opportunity for all of us to avoid some public unpleasantness. Go ahead and shop. I'll stay outside and drink my tea. And check out the hotties.
As you may have heard, my beard has been turning heads in the street, literally. It's a most amusing spectacle. I wanted to share it with you. Of course it may be my height, build, and general all-around fogey awesomeness, but I suspect it's the beard that continues to attract the attention of strangers and passersby. Admirers include both females and males, which, as I've written before, I attribute to beard envy. It infuriates my ladyfriends when we're out. That, I have to admit, is a large part of the fun.
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.
"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."
'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.'
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.