Naughty Forty

On Wednesday the 27th of March, I hit the big four zero.

Only a week before, I’d driven home through Headingley, closeted in my refined Germanic bubble of leather and walnut veneer. With misty eyes I smiled at the fancy dress wearing students, heading out for a night of Jägerbomb and M-Cat fuelled thrusting and merriment. Bless them. I was young too. Once.

Twenty years, gone in a flash. My ponytail, Danny Rampling tape, and king sized Rizla replaced by a Whangee umbrella, Borsalino fedora and Mulberry briefcase. Read More

Flower Power

I’ve just read the biography, “Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge” and it’s an absolute belter.

Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridges department store in London, was the ultimate showman. A risk-taking visionary with ambition, self belief, unbridled energy and boundless enthusiasm.

Sure, he had his demons (girls and gambling), but here was a man driven to succeed, with the charisma to inspire others to follow him. I devoured every page but it was how he started his day that really made me smile. Read More

Hairy Times

The beard is back. Even my brother is growing one. A face full of fur smacks of swashbuckling “derring-do.” It’s testosterone on a chin. The hirsute marque of heroic daring.

Beloved by World War two fighter pilots and pipe-smoking chaps who raced along country lanes in their Morgans, a bristling moustache embodied the spirit of British invincibility, but like many things, it’s often hair today, gone tomorrow.

Facial fuzz is no longer a foible of the few. The birthright of a geography teacher has been embraced by the many, with varying degrees of success. What starts off in the mind’s eye as a dead ringer for Tom Ford, can quickly transmogrify to Jeremy Beadle in the mirror. Read More

Festive Finery

Mark-2BRonson

Christmas, to me, should be a Dickensian schmaltz-fest of ruddy faced joy and conviviality.

The clatter of a carriage on cobbled streets. The crunch of snow under stout leather boots. An Inn with a crackling log fire where bearded men swill porter and supp mutton stew.

No Sky Sports. No games of pool. Just raucous laughter bathed in the warm glow of gas-lamps, as wenches with flaming locks, heaving bosoms and velvet dresses behold the swelling scene. Read More

Tinker, Tailor, Shoulder, Spy.

007. Three digits, one man, five billion dollars in revenue. James Bond is the ultimate brand.

After the front page of Google, Daniel Craig’s pecs must be the most valuable space on earth. Pay per nip advertising – his agent’s missing a trick.

A third of Skyfall’s £100million budget was paid for by product placement deals and who can blame them. Bond is a living god: the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit of all things cool. Read More

The Best of the Vest

The days of the Dandy are back and that’s a fact.

Last week I clocked four young lads in Leeds on a Saturday night out, suited and booted-up to the max. Sharp threads breed confidence and like giants they swaggered past a group of shouty, red-faced Wetherspooners, wobbling into The Leopard Lounge for early-doors titillation.

Whilst the wheel of fashion continues to spin, dapper remains very much the done thing and that’s been great for bespoke tailoring. Cool young things with Frodo haircuts have all jumped on to the good ship slick and for good reason. The Suit brings gravitas, sex appeal. It’s got history. It’s got soul. Read More

Surf, Sushi and Saxon Sheep

This month, I’ve been on it like Wallace and Gromit. The showroom lights of Michelsberg HQ have been burning long into the night and like Scotty in Star Trek, “I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more.”

There’s been many an evening when I’ve shut up shop, my cheeks a deep red, the vein on my temple throbbing like an electric eel on steroids. It’s been a mental month and for that I’m extremely grateful. Read More

The Church of Good Taste

What’s the deal with blokes who insist on getting their kit off in the City centre?

I crossed paths with this chap yesterday morning, his nipple rings flashing at me in the glorious sunshine. Brave as ever, my grip tightened on the handle of my Whangee Umbrella as I prepared to defend myself against this unsavoury character.

Luckily, he had no designs on my wallet, nor waistcoat, the latter which I would have gladly provided in a bid get some of that pasty skin off the streets. Read More

What Ho!

I’m halfway through Stephen Fry’s second Autobiography and it’s an absolute gem. When it comes to penning polished prose, he’s a master and it’s a joy to see our beautiful language used with such fondness and aplomb.

As an actor, he was marvellous as the towering, mustachioed ‘Melchett’ in Blackadder – perhaps the best sitcom ever? – and I also enjoyed his performance as ‘Jeeves,’ the infinitely wise, dexterous and diplomatic valet in ‘Jeeves & Wooster.’ Read More

It’s Cuffing Winter!

The days of grilled fish and a lingering G’n’T after work are gone. Winter is upon us and it’s time to pull up the drawbridge, uncork the red, slam a pie in the oven and welcome back the captains of crap TV into out homes. May I propose a toast to Messers Sugar, Forsythe, Michel Roux Jnr, and the modern day Cowley that is Sir Harry Pearce.

It’s also a time to sort out the wardrobe. Light grey suits in floaty nine ounce cloths must give way to heavier twelve ounce weights in darker tones, with Flannels, Corduroy, Moleskin and Tweeds getting their turn in the spotlight. Read More