Baron Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the Olympics) said, “It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts.”
Utter tosh. These are the words of the loser, the also-ran, the dud, the deadbeat, the defeated.
In battle there is no prize for runner-up. Coming first is everything.
One day, like Brian Clough, I hope I can look back on my career and declare: “I wouldn’t say I was the best tailor in the business. But I was in the top one.”
“Firsts” are truly special. Your first car. Your first kiss. Your first suit. All a rite of passage into the engine revving, tongue tussling, thread wearing world of Manhood.
Mine – a VW Beetle, a Spanish lass called Candice and a two piece that lit the touchpaper to what is now the bonfire of vanities that dominates the wardrobe space at Casa Michelsberg.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The night before my first ‘ball’, standing in front of my parent’s full length mirror. Patent leather loafers, black leather tie and silver grey double-breasted jacket with padded shoulders to rival those of Krystle Carrington in Dynasty. With the sleeves rolled up and lemon yellow socks, I was Yorkshire’s answer to Don Johnson.
All the big moments in my life have a suit memory attached. My first job as a Marketing Assistant – the get-up, a navy blue three piece, bought from Reiss on the Kings road. With my slicked back hair and Marketing degree I was ready to take on the world and ended up making the tea.
Fast forward five years and I was earning decent wedge in London thanks to the telecoms boom. I was on business in Rome and walked into Valentino on the Via Condotti and left with a black two piece. As I skipped up the Spanish steps and jumped into a taxi back to the Cavalieri Hilton, I thought I’d made it.
And then the suit that changed my life. My first Bespoke, fitted by the legendary Graham Rigby, a lovely man who is sadly no longer with us. I popped my cherry with a blue pinstripe cloth from LBD with a bright purple lining and every bell and whistle known to man. It was then that I realized I had a drop shoulder and sway stance. Not perfect? Me?? Never!
There are many others. The morning suit at my wedding. The tweed at my first daughters christening. The John Steed special at my first Pitti-Uomo in Florence. They all have their place but that Miami Vice number was my true first and will always be ‘The One.’
As far as the Olympics go, I’m no sports fan and couldn’t really give a monkey’s. But to see someone who has dedicated their lives to being the best win gold and achieve their dreams is chicken soup for the soul.
Whilst getting onto the Podium is truly something, being the last to get off is everything.