30 April 2010

Night Flights

Very Drunk

28 April 2010

Young Fogey: Rory Knight Bruce in Fair Isle

The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of "Joe" Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water

'British eccentric Marion "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993) was a world-class speedboat racer, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, ruler of her own Caribbean Island ... and a cross-dressing lesbian. This biography places Carstairs's adventurous life in the context of 20th-century attitudes toward sexual deviance. During the permissive 1920s, Carstairs was able to flaunt her taste for women in the bohemian circles of London and Paris. She had affairs with numerous gals, including Natalie Barney and Dolly Wilde, Oscar's niece. When writing about Carstairs's boat races, the press of that roaring decade regarded her as a loveable tomboy. But as social norms shifted in the '30s, Carstairs's lifestyle was frowned upon. So she acquired Whale Cay, an island off the coast of Florida, turned it into her own version of paradise, became a gentleman farmer, and had an affair with Marlene Dietrich. Carstairs's most important and long-term relationship, though, was with Lord Tod Wadley, a stuffed leather doll.'

French Double-Breasted

27 April 2010

Edward Green Shop

Tartan Tuesday

26 April 2010

Admiral Cod On Tour: Beverly Hills Bespoke

I paid for sex in Beverly Hills.

Well, not exactly. I certainly paid— but not for sex. My purchase was even better than sex: bespoke shoes from G.J. Cleverley & Co. Ltd.

But the process was roughly similar (from what I understand). The harried phone calls confirming the appointment. The arrival at the hotel. The awkward inquiries at reception. The anxious knock at the room door, wondering who and what one would discover splayed out before one in the suite. And finally the sampling of the delights within.

I was well rewarded this time. The several dozen shoes arranged throughout the rooms presented a dazzling sight. The combination of Southern California sunlight and high-grade shoe leather was intoxicating. If smelling salts had been available, I probably would have taken them.

In the end I submitted two orders, including a pair of chisel-toed, punched-cap, elastic-sided slip-ons in black calf (for which the firm is known) and a pair of chisel-toed adelaide semi-brogues in virgin calf’s blood claret. Plus, I picked out a selection of Russia calf accessories to tide me over until the shoes are ready later this year.

I drove home as if in a dream. Ensconced within my antiquated Mercedes Benz motor car, I switched on the record player and put on one of my favourite Bowie LPs for the trip back to OC. Vinyl, in case you were wondering, sounds even better at 100mph than it does at 65mph.

If I had been going slow enough, you would have seen me drive by with a smile on my face and a friendly wave hello.

Brompton Oratory

25 April 2010

Thesiger: Three-Piece Suit

23 April 2010

Admiral Cod On Tour: Beverly Hills

Group of Creed

Happy St George's Day 2010

21 April 2010

Love is the Drug (Roxy Music)

Bachelor Party

A Sacrificed Generation: Houellebecq on Love

"From the amorous point of view Véronique belonged, as we all do, to a sacrificed generation. She had certainly been capable of love; she wished to still be capable of it, I’ll say that for her; but it was no longer possible. A scarce, artificial and belated phenomenon, love can only blossom under certain mental conditions, rarely conjoined, and totally opposed to the freedom of morals which characterizes the modern era. Véronique had known too many discothèques, too many lovers; such a way of life impoverishes a human being, inflicting sometimes serious and always irreversible damage. Love as a kind of innocence and as a capacity for illusion, as an aptitude for epitomizing the whole of the other sex in a single loved being rarely resists a year of sexual immorality, and never two. In reality the successive sexual experiences accumulated during adolescence undermine and rapidly destroy all possibility of projection of an emotional and romantic sort; progressively, and in fact extremely quickly, one becomes as capable of love as an old slag. And so one leads,obviously, a slag’s life; in ageing one becomes less seductive, and on that account bitter. One is jealous of the younger, and so one hates them. Condemned to remain unvowable, this hatred festers and becomes increasingly fervent; then it dies down and fades away, just as everything fades away. All that remains is resentment and disgust, sickness and the anticipation of death."

Whatever, Michel Houellebecq (1994)

Against Robots

20 April 2010

Tennis International

It should be obvious to you by now that our days here are a sequence of debits and credits. Or to put it another way, God gives and He takes away. There is nothing we can do about it. It is with this in mind that I comment on my most recent activities in the area of tennis.

My tennis game has improved significantly, you will be pleased to know, since I last reported on it in this column last autumn. The feel for the game that I had in my extreme youth has returned. I no longer wear all-leather Stan Smiths, but my white Lacoste shirts look pleasing against tanned limbs and blonde hair. Tennis is an opportunity to achieve a superior level of fitness, but it also gives us a chance to indulge our need for social interaction, affection, and cocktails. I play weekly with enthusiasm.

The lucky chap with whom I regularly hit the balls is a fit, 6’5” Brazilian of German background, a quantitative analyst at a local asset management firm known for fixed-income business. Despite the advantages of height and fitness he has poor control over the ball, which usually results in wildly off-target shots that keep me scurrying from one side of the court to the other just to maintain the rally. It is a challenge, but I welcome it.

The hot European girls on the neighbouring court, in abbreviated white shorts, white visors, and pony tails, their smooth brown skin glowing through the haze, are a pleasant distraction. Likewise, the gold-vermillion hawks riding low overhead and the solitary raven hopping along the shaded grass under thorn trees. Spiny-scaled lizards scatter into the shrubs. I have seen ugly men, but I have never seen a creature that is not perfect and beautiful.

Has your partner ever been unfaithful to you? Mine has—but when I say partner I mean tennis partner. A few weeks ago I noticed a slight improvement in my friend’s game. When I remarked on it, he sheepishly admitted to having bought a home-made tennis ball machine with which he practices alone at odd hours on the court. The machine itself consists of little more than a pair of large plastic industrial waste buckets, plastic plumbing pipes, a vacuum cleaner engine, and various high-end motorcycle parts. Like a man who discovers his wife has resorted to battery-propelled means for erotic satisfaction, I admit to feeling some irritation.

As you know, I am against robots. I am not a fan of gadgets and contraptions in general. They dehumanise us. They make life without other people possible, desirable and preferable even. They are anti-social. Machines are against life. The one gadget for which I would be willing to make an exception is a cocktail cart, a mobile imbibing device for away-matches, which might be delightfully appropriate in this situation. Do they even make such a thing?

My partner and I play weekly matches of two to three hours in duration, a habit that has resulted in my sustaining acute injuries, including tennis elbow, tennis knee, and damage to my Achilles tendon. Still, we press on. There is no use in surrendering. I live according to the philosophy that if a daily glass of wine is supposed to be good for one’s health, then five or six glasses are even better. Why stop at just one? The key, as in most endeavours, is perseverance. Never give up, even if it means you need to use a cane and codeine to get out of bed in the morning. Your dedication will be rewarded.

Should you find yourself in Laguna Beach, do let me know. A lovely game of tennis, sans ball machine, is just the thing to break the ice and help us forget. Let us set up the cocktail cart, exchange a few toasts, and begin. Reflect upon the moment and enjoy the ritual for what it is. We run about in the light and the heat, a breeze rushing through the coastal palms, and, above us, the hunting-birds floating in the Sun-Wind.

Tartan Tuesday

19 April 2010

17 April 2010

The Goshawk (T.H. White)

Young Fogey: Dr. John Martin Robinson and The Georgian Group

© The Georgian Group

16 April 2010

15 April 2010

The Chauffeur (Duran Duran)

Duran Duran - The Chauffeur [uncensored] on Admiral Cod Video.

Alec Waugh: Noble Spirits

...The first duty of wine is to be red. The second is to be a Burgundy...

...I am prepared to believe that a dry martini slightly impairs the palate, but think what it does for the soul...

Alec Waugh, In Praise of Wine and Certain Noble Spirits (1957)

At Home: Peregrine Worsthorne

Various Affairs

You should not laugh when I tell you I receive hand-written notes from chaps and ladies seeking my views on various topics. What they must be thinking, I have no idea. Despite what you read in the papers, I am not in the business of providing advice. I am the absolute last person to weigh in on serious matters. It is a situation I avoid at all cost. Dullness, of course, is a cardinal sin. If I am attending a garden party in a khaki suit and madras tie and a dripping hot brunette asks my opinion on, say, interior design or the sexual habits of celebrities, I quickly change the subject and offer to show her the unique orbital patterns of the inner moons of Saturn. No, my advice is limited to money, as you know, and it is quite simple: Save it. There is more to life than buying and selling widgets. Find the courage to resist consumerist temptations. Shun the merchants and moneychangers. Live your life according to the higher sartorial principles. But if you must, then spend your money on basic necessities, such as beautiful women, fine food, rare imported wines, tailored suits, exotic holidays, and bespoke shoes from London. There is no shame in living within your budget, especially if it is the size of a small Central African country.

14 April 2010


13 April 2010

Young Fogey: Gavin Stamp and English Country Houses

Real Tennis

Hackett 2010

12 April 2010

Against Universities

Not even a stiff drink can stifle the disgust when scenes of ineffable ugliness intrude upon our view. Other means are required.

As you know, I have the misfortune of living within brief motoring distance of a university. Whenever I have reason to be in the area, usually for a supper rendezvous or a cultural event in a coat of Tweed, I am startled by the spectacle of repulsiveness before me. For stalking the university campus and the surrounding neighbourhood are some of the most unattractive people I have ever seen.

Distorted bodies and misshapen faces.

Bizarre, unnatural couplings like a horror-show.

Sociology students with beards and knit caps squatting in doorways chewing pistachio nuts.

Bearded academics in thick socks and sandals walking about unattended in plain view.

Fat bald men in sunglasses sitting in groups of five or more and shouting in various Central Asian dialects.

Throngs of menacing Tongans in hoodies and flip-flops.

I find the whole situation most distracting, when all I want to do is enjoy my wine and codeine in peace. Even I concede that it would be going too far to claim I am personally offended by the grotesque; but at the very least it leaves me seriously disgruntled. There must be a reason for it.

Why the preponderance in academia of people who are diseased and deranged? Maybe it is because such individuals are drawn to scholarly work. Not having been blessed with style or good looks, they adopt a total life of the mind.

Or perhaps ugliness itself is the physical manifestation of the soul-death caused by the bizarre ideas and antiquated theories promulgated by universities. Like an afflicted oak whose withered brown leaves are testament to the disease at its core, the petulant hunchbacks that populate universities are symptomatic of a rotten system.

Whatever the case may be, I have decided, it is our obligation to cultivate a life of beauty and goodness as an antidote to prevailing conditions.

Sir Edwin Lutyens: Architect of The British Empire (Official Trailer)

10 April 2010

09 April 2010

08 April 2010

God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols)

French Colonial Rugby

Rugby-Club Marine Sidi-Abdallah 1908 (Tunisia):

Team Captain:

Note the impressive moustache, close-cropped hair, properly trimmed sideburns, and stylish rugby shirt.

Office Kit

In another exclusive scoop, my award-winning photographic team arranged to snap a few still images of my gear during cocktail hour in the office. Featured in the photograph (above) is a Vineyard Vines graph check shirt in two shades of blue and a Brooks Brothers club tie with bright yellow stripes like rays of sunlight shining on my black heart. The next image (below) depicts me lounging around chatting with the other inmates, probably not making much sense but looking smashing nonetheless, in a pair of Brooks Brothers tassel loafers and lightweight Southwick trousers in serious charcoal.