31 July 2010

Cocktails in the Afternoon

La Brasserie

30 July 2010

Brideshead Revisited: Plovers' Eggs

Rubinacci Club Style

© 2010 Mariano Rubinacci Spa

29 July 2010

The Berlin-Baghdad Express

28 July 2010

Sterling On Drinking

Blazer: Made in England

Do you remember Blazer? My memory was jolted by the arrival of several parcels from my uncle in Connecticut containing, amongst other things, this old Blazer neck tie (see photographs at left) that had been in storage for 15+ years. I admit I quite like it, though I would probably not wear it to the orifice. For one thing, the pattern does not match.

Summer mornings in London: cup of tea, ham and cheese croissant, the Telegraph, and then some shopping errands. I recall walking down the King's Road as a very young man to pick up a pair or two of cotton trousers at the Blazer shop. There was also a Blazer branch off Kensington High Street and one in Covent Garden. Good for basics such as khakis, sport shirts, and v-neck jumpers. The Blazer line of chinos, I seem to remember, was dubbed 'Faithful Friend' with an image of a dog.

I once bought a navy cotton suit at Blazer that I wore out during an exhausting stint working for the Tories as a junior public relations officer. It was the same summer the revamped version of the film Lawrence of Arabia was released, complete with an accompanying exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I must have watched it a dozen times. I also picked up from Blazer a navy field coat with a scarlet lining. I first wore it on a trip to Italy, where I paired it with khakis, OCBD, and suede brogues. It survived several seasons. A sound coat to be sure, but certainly no Barbour.

27 July 2010

Not Yet Kameraden ! (Das Boot)

Harbour Sailing

Tartan Tuesday

26 July 2010

Sloane Ranger Style: Henry's Clothes

Take Ivy Now

25 July 2010

Spiegel im Spiegel (Arvo Pärt)

24 July 2010

Dating an Investment Banker: Where to Find Your Perfect Partner - 12 Top Firms

Down at the investment bank, every day is a stress test. To relieve the pressure we inflict pranks on unsuspecting colleagues intending to embarrass and humiliate. Banter of an explicit racial and sexual nature abounds. We discuss in some detail the sexual merits of female bankers and office staff. Which is amusing I suppose when one learns they return the favour. Here is the City, a popular Wall Street dating website, rated 12 top financial firms in terms of how likely they are to provide single females with their perfect partner. Here is the list:

* * *

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Keep to the guys who are based in the main financial centers, as the others can be a little rough around the edges. If you are looking for a life-long commitment, then these guys are generally not your best bet. The Merrill set, in particular, have been known to stray. Relationships can be very intense, yet of relatively short duration. These guys often have low boredom thresholds.

Barclays Capital

These guys are pretty smart, and are usually quite happy to splash their cash, bearing in mind uncle Bob Diamond is always happy to dish out big bonuses each year-end. Be a little careful, however, especially with the bankers who came over from Lehman - some of those guys had a lot of their net worth invested in that firm, and aren't now as well off as you might expect.


Those Citi boys are really quite a decent lot. Your mother would like them. They are generally respectful and are into commitment. You'll know where you stand. The only downside, however, is that they can be boringly conventional.


If going out with a 'jack-the-lad' type appeals to you, then you should probably go hunting at Commerzbank. These guys might not earn the most money, but generally they have great sense of humours and enjoy a good night out. The downside is that your Commerzbank man might well prefer to be at Upton Park or Stamford Bridge, rather than at home having a romantic evening in with you.

Credit Suisse

Family men. Dull, but worthy. If it's a secure home and quiet family life you want, go fishing in the Credit Suisse pool. But it may be more exciting watching paint dry.

Deutsche Bank

Cool, polished, and debonair. Deutsche Bank man has the look (and feel) of James Bond about him - except the guys from Essex. In fact, you are probably better off searching out an Italian or US soulmate from the German bank (the place is full of them). It might take you a little longer to reel them in, but it will be worth it. And Italian bankers from Deutsche make the best lovers.

Goldman Sachs

What can you say about Gold man ? If you can bag him, you are in a no lose situation, although he is generally cautious, and wary of ladies who might see him as a meal ticket (which he is). And remember, those canny Goldman types always hedge their risks, so they probably have stashes of cash secreted away, and you'll never find out how much they are truly worth (and neither will your lawyer!).

Jefferies & Co

The firm might be a relatively small one, but these guys aren't small in any way. Generally tall and imposing, they are casual yet sophisticated. Many have huge packages (they do well at bonus time too). Intelligent and high-minded, the only downside is that they can be a little intimidating for a girl on the make.


Imagine a firm full of little Jamie Dimons. Exquisite. OK, so there are a few Tesco Tonys (and Willy Wal-Marts) scattered around the firm, but JPMorgan men are the guys that will generally sweep you off your feet. If you are playing for keeps, look no further than Jamie's finest - each built in his image, and comes with a money-back guarantee!

Morgan Stanley

If you find a Morgan Stanley banker who is rich, free and single, you'll need to snap him up quickly. Girls put their names down early for these White Shoe boys. But be careful - you will have to pass the 'Mummy' test on both counts - you'll need to come from good stock to gain the approval of the family, and be made of stern stuff yourself, as babies are likely to come off the production line in quick succession following marriage.

Societe Generale

A glint in the eye, a warm French smile. Oodles of charm and fantastic sex. But your SocGen dream man will probably turn out to be happily married too.


Surprisingly adventurous and open-minded, UBS soulmates are generally good fun to be with. You'll need to be selective, however, as they are a mixed bunch. Keep away from the ones who might be into leather and latex though (unless that's really your thing).

23 July 2010

22 July 2010

Anderson at Deyrolle

Riviera Style

Cricket Whites

I Can Change (LCD Soundsystem)

21 July 2010

Life of Chivalry

Do you think chivalry is dead? No? Neither, it seems, does Chivas Regal. I typically ignore televisual advertisements, even for alcohol, but this one caught my attention. Take a look. How this advert made it past the Planetarian censors, I have no idea. I see it several times a day on Bloomberg TV. It was filmed in Argentina. The message is provocative. It speaks to a code that is true to our nature and therefore eternal. Today the code is buried or ignored, or obscured by kandy-koloured rainbow haze of consumerist propaganda. But for how long? I wonder. New challenges force us to reassess commonly held beliefs and to undertake actions unthinkable just yesterday. Challenges include growing energy needs, government control, environmental issues, Islamic incursions, competition over resources, racial and cultural clashes engendered by migration trends. The postmodern world is breaking down. The decline deepens. A condition of chaos prevails as the world swirls furiously on the Z-axis of time. Our task is to identify an eternal code and grasp it. For the world is returning to archaic values. There is no stopping it. Human beings are not individual atomised units, but rather, as Hellenes knew, zoon politikon. That is, we are political animals, or social beings, who belong to distinct biological and cultural communities. This is the true meaning of Being. We engage in a struggle for survival. History has not ended; it is about to be written. Forward to the past.

20 July 2010

Henley Picnic

19 July 2010

Eton Fives at Aldenham

Will to Style

"The dandy represents the type of man who stylizes himself...He has sublimated the will to power into a will to style...Endeavoring to stylize himself, he stylizes the world and accomplishes this mission when he captures a situation in an elegant formulation...For that, he must subject himself to discipline, abnegation, and rigorous asceticism."

- “Le dandy dans sa maison forestière: remarques sur le cas Ernst Jünger,” Nicolas Sombart (2000)

Will O' The Wisp (Pierre Drieu La Rochelle)

This novel covers the last forty-eight tragic hours in the life of a young drug addict, Alain. At the opening of the novel he is living in a fashionable clinic, ostensibly receiving a 'cure' for his addiction. His life has always been an empty one. He has lived off women ever since he was able, money having always been a bigger inducement to marriage or the taking of a mistress than love. He has always had vague 'projects' which would occupy him but which his spiritual paralysis has prevented him from putting into action. In these last hours of his life Alain searches among his friends and acquaintances for an example, for one person so committed to life, so obviously leading a fruitful, meaningful existence that they can give him an argument for life. He finds no such example and commits suicide. Will O' The Wisp was first published in France in 1931 and was based on the actual suicide of one of the author's friends.

18 July 2010

17 July 2010

Old Champagne

'World's oldest champagne' found on Baltic seabed

BBC, 17 July 2010

Divers have found 30 bottles of champagne thought to pre-date the French Revolution on the Baltic seabed.

When they opened one, they found the wine - believed to have been made by Clicquot (now Veuve Clicquot) between 1782 and 1788 - was still in good condition.

The bottle - whose shape indicates it was produced in the 18th Century - has now been sent to France for analysis.

If confirmed, it would be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world.

Diver Christian Ekstrom was exploring a shipwreck on the Baltic seabed when he found the bottles.

Think of England (Martin Parr)

England has been a key subject of photographer Martin Parr's work since he started taking pictures. Think of England is a comic, opinionated, affectionately satirical, colour-saturated photo-essay about the identity of England. As Scotland and Wales consolidate their status as nations and Great Britain begins to unravel, this book of new work contributes to the debate about what it means to be English. Quintessentially English himself, Parr's great achievement as a photographer is his ability to transform the obvious into the surprising, reinventing clichés of Englishness as provocative revelations. His tour of obvious England takes in Ascot and the charity shop, seaside resorts, herbaceous borders, the bring-and-buy stall, cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea, baked beans and bad footwear.

16 July 2010


monsieur en afrique

15 July 2010

Peter Beard

Investing: Style Notes

Swiss private bank Vontobel is issuing equity-linked structured notes that track the performance of luxury goods retailers such as Hermes, Polo, Burberry, and Coach. Bloomberg reports:

The two-year note is aimed at private banks and asset managers, according to Georg Vonwattenwyl, Vontobel’s Zurich- based head of financial products distribution. The bank will issue as much as 20 million euros ($25 million) of the notes, which start trading July 16 on the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd. and Germany’s Stuttgart and Frankfurt bourses.

Luxury goods companies in Europe are expected to post sales growth of 7 percent on average this year, after slumping 6.6 percent in 2009, according to a Vontobel report. Fashion companies returned about 50 percent last year, according to the Swiss bank, almost double the 27 percent gain in the MSCI Europe Index of 461 stocks.

Vontobel’s notes will return to investors any gain or loss on the basket of 11 stocks that also includes Bulgari SpA, Burberry Group Plc, Coach Inc., Cie Financiere Richemont SA, Louis Vitton Moet Hennessy SA, Swatch Group AG, Tiffany & Co. and Tod’s SpA.

The Swiss bank issued similar notes in 2004 that earned 20.3 percent for buyers that held them for all of their 18-month term.

I wonder if a similar instrument could be issued to track the profit performance of, for example, Brooks Brothers, Cleverley, J.Crew, J.Press, and Crockett & Jones?

Given the amount of cash we drop on their wares--hell, I am practically a shareholder--these companies should be doing quite nicely.

14 July 2010

je combats pour moi

"Quand je ferme les yeux, j’aperçois parfois un sombre paysage de pierres, de falaises et de montagnes, à la lisière de l’infini. A l’arrière-plan, sur le rivage d’une mer ténébreuse, je me reconnais moi-même, minuscule figure qui est comme dessinée à la craie. C’est mon avant-poste, tout proche du Néant--là-bas, au bord du gouffre, je combats pour moi."

- Ernst Jünger

Day of the Weejun

Summer mornings are at the top of my list of favourite times of year. I rise when the owls are going to sleep, but when other birds are just waking up. The warm stillness when there is no one else about. The lick of dew on shrubs. New garden spider webs spanning the walkways. The red morning glow of the sun behind the distant mountains. The striking mix of rich brown, khaki, red, and green of the foothills. The hills are not like white elephants, as Hemingway would say, but rather like a collection of limited edition original twill from Bills Khakis. But even in the tranquility of deep summer there is a black mark. Every year July 14, or Bastille Day, seems to appear at the same place in the calendar, much to my frustration, and despite my best efforts. At Schloss von AC it is not a day of celebration, it is a day of mourning. I wear a pair of Weejuns, black boxers, and a generous smile on my face, as a tribute to the counter-revolution. How do you mark the occasion?

11 July 2010

Rolex Blue-Water Performance

10 July 2010

Poseidonians (C.P. Cavafy)


Ποσειδωνιάταις τοις εν τω Τυρρηνικώ κόλπω το μεν εξ αρχής
Έλλησιν ούσιν εκβαρβαρώσθαι Τυρρηνοίς ή Pωμαίοις γεγονόσι
και τήν τε φωνήν μεταβεβληκέναι, τά τε πολλά των επιτηδευμάτων,
άγειν δε μιάν τινα αυτούς των εορτών των Ελλήνων
έτι και νυν, εν η συνιόντες αναμιμνήσκονται των αρχαίων
ονομάτων τε και νομίμων, απολοφυράμενοι προς αλλήλους
και δακρύσαντες απέρχονται.


Την γλώσσα την ελληνική οι Ποσειδωνιάται
εξέχασαν τόσους αιώνας ανακατευμένοι
με Τυρρηνούς, και με Λατίνους, κι άλλους ξένους.
Το μόνο που τους έμενε προγονικό
ήταν μια ελληνική γιορτή, με τελετές ωραίες,
με λύρες και με αυλούς, με αγώνας και στεφάνους.
Κ’ είχαν συνήθειο προς το τέλος της γιορτής
τα παλαιά τους έθιμα να διηγούνται,
και τα ελληνικά ονόματα να ξαναλένε,
που μόλις πια τα καταλάμβαναν ολίγοι.
Και πάντα μελαγχολικά τελείων’ η γιορτή τους.
Γιατί θυμούνταν που κι αυτοί ήσαν Έλληνες —
Ιταλιώται έναν καιρό κι αυτοί·
και τώρα πώς εξέπεσαν, πώς έγιναν,
να ζουν και να ομιλούν βαρβαρικά
βγαλμένοι — ω συμφορά! — απ’ τον Ελληνισμό


[We behave like] the Poseidonians in the
Tyrrhenian Gulf, who although of Greek
origin, became barbarized as Tyrrhenians
or Romans and changed their speech and
the customs of their ancestors. But they
observe one Greek festival even to this
day; during this they gather together and
call up from memory their ancient names
and customs, and then, lamenting loudly
to each other and weeping, they go away.

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai, Book 14, 31A (632)

The Poseidonians forgot the Greek language
after so many centuries of mingling
with Tyrrhenians, Latins, and other foreigners.
The only thing surviving from their ancestors
was a Greek festival, with beautiful rites,
with lyres and flutes, contests and wreaths.
And it was their habit toward the festival’s end
to tell each other about their ancient customs
and once again to speak Greek names
that only a few of them still recognized.
And so their festival always had a melancholy ending
because they remembered that they too were Greeks,
they too once upon a time were citizens of Magna Graecia;
and how low they’d fallen now, what they’d become,
living and speaking like barbarians,
cut off so disastrously from the Greek way of life.

09 July 2010

Brooks Brothers Crew

Edward and Mrs Simpson (credits)

Written by late chum Simon Raven...

Congo Dandies: The Religion of the Cloth

Paradise is a Fabulous Suit

For the Congolese Sapeurs, haute couture isn't just an abiding passion, it's a religion.

By Anna Weinberg
Photos by Héctor Mediavilla Sabaté

Their canon of saints reads: Pierre Cardin, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Fendi, Ferré, Gaultier, Gucci, Jourdan, Miyake, Prada, Saint Laurent, Versace, Yamamoto. A typical ballad runs: “Listen my love. On our wedding day/The label will be Torrente/The label will be Giorgio Armani/The label will be Daniel Hechter/The label for the shoes will be J. M. Weston.” Brussels, their shopping mecca, is referred to in Congolese as Lola, meaning paradise.

These are sapeurs, acolytes of a 25-year-old movement called la SAPE—La Societé des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (aka Kitendi, the religion of the cloth)-—that revolves around the possession of the most expensive, most luxurious, most extravagant fashion in the world. Followers of SAPE wear $10,000 jackets and $500 shoes, but these mostly young Congolese men otherwise barely eke out a living in the rubble of Kinshasa and Brazzaville or the ghettos of Paris and Brussels, washing dishes or washing bodies, and sometimes selling their own.


Thanks to D. in Dublin

08 July 2010

My Friend the Mercenary

The Misogynist (Piers Paul Read)

Cuts You Up (Peter Murphy)

Houellebecq (BBC Interview)

07 July 2010

Last Horizons

In recent weeks a number of scenarios and opportunities have been presented to me. An English chum has asked me to get involved with a safari and deep-sea fishing resort project in Mozambique. Another wants me to help start a hedge fund in South Africa. Two American chaps of my acquaintance have recently immigrated with their families to Uruguay. Another colleague is planning to move to New Zealand. Europe beckons, as always, and I think increasingly of picking up a villa in sunny Portugal, Spain, or Croatia, or a secluded mountain chalet in my beloved Germany or Austria. I shall give these proposals serious thought.

Lacrosse Victory Riders

06 July 2010

The Lost Trail of the Sahara

Young Pipe Scholars

Methods of Dance (Japan)

The Art of Clubbability

Are you a clubbable type? I wonder. I ask this after leafing through a book on London clubs in my library, and following a vigorous game of squash yesterday morning. I belong to two clubs: the first, a sports establishment scoring high in the glamour scale, staffed by highly attractive towel girls and frequented by serious professionals, celebrity athletes, gold-digging single women, and rich housewives. The other, a traditional, quieter, more masculine club environment for professional chaps such as moi who appreciate a respite from the glitz.

A visit to either club is always a pleasure. I am naturally at home with like-minded chaps who dress in a tribal style with which I am familiar. Gents wearing madras shorts and yellow Brooks Brothers polo shirts. Khaki shorts and Weejuns. Tartan shirt, tan wool trousers, and thick brown brogues. Older men with sensibly short haircut, moderate sideburns, and aquiline nose. We exchange smiles and friendly greetings, and talk about the stock market. It is an agreeable place.

In truth I am somewhat of a solitary. Not misanthropic or anti-social by any means, but wary of extended human contact nonetheless. I do realise we are social beings; that is our nature. But interaction often leaves me exhausted. Do not get the wrong idea. I enjoy small talk and flirting over cocktails. And I would be thrilled to see you and when we finally do meet I am sure it will be a pleasurable way to spend an afternoon. Sincerity is my yardstick. No, the truth is people tire me. As the years pass I find I have less patience for fools; I am more discriminating in how and more importantly with whom I spend my time. Life is too short to tolerate knaves and cretins.

As much as I appreciate my chums, I treasure my privacy. And here, I think, is where private associations such as clubs play a role as a method of escape. For the modern world presents a growing challenge to those seeking refuge. The private sphere rapidly disintegrates. Traditional societal structures such as family, tribe, and church have been infiltrated, turned inside out, and delegitimised. Individuals, deracinated and confused, are afraid of getting lost in the emptiness if left by themselves, hence immersion in unending stream of information, images, messages. The proliferation of personal electronic communication devices means we are never, ever alone. Even our private thoughts are subject to remote control through self-censorship and threat of informants. The distinction between the private and personal, and the public and political, has been eliminated in favour of the latter, in accordance with Klagenfurt’s Third Allegory of the Forest. The woodcutters swarm the place. There is nowhere to hide from the blades. The searching lights follow us everywhere.

In this context, therefore, one could say the love between a man and a woman, and by extension the family and kin-based clan, because they create a kind of protective sanctuary, are subversive. Have you observed the way a couple in love often create their own special language and behaviours? Certain families are the same way. Love is the ultimate rebellion. It is our resistance. But for these reasons even love itself is under assault. It is being phased out by the market. Human emotions are cheapened by undue expression and repetitive misapplication facilitated by an omnipresent media apparatus. Relations between a man and woman have been reduced to an economic exchange of goods and services or contractual arrangement dissolved at will. In the realm of Eros, the brutal ‘law of the jungle’ prevails. Men have become atomised units randomly crashing into one another and then spinning away again. Under these circumstances love is impossible.

In this area most of all, I should note here, it would be accurate to say that my initiatives have not been as enduring as I had hoped; but it would be dishonest of me to deny that conditions have not lived up to expectations, which is putting it very mildly.

So, what to do? These are observations from a chap out of place, a trad against time, and nothing more. I have had an extraordinarily lucky, privileged life, for which I am very grateful, but it is also one marked by a peripatetic pattern that in certain moments today leaves me pensive and restless. The office routine continues, interrupted by social gatherings, research activities, and tennis matches. Days of wine and codeine afford me brief moments of unthinking pleasure as a dedicated psychonaut, but even these are unremembered and so the procedure is repeated again and again. The process of detachment grows, to such a degree that observers have taken note of it. I sense that my boat is preparing to sail. I have already embarked on a course of inner emigration. At some point the flesh must follow.

05 July 2010

04 July 2010

The Gentlemen's Clubs of London (1984)

The Last Days of Disco (Official Trailer)

Country Club Years

Under my flag I am free

03 July 2010

Royall Lyme Bermuda Ltd.

When I am not wearing Creed, 1872, or Trumper scents, I often reach for a bottle from Royall Lyme Bermuda Limited. I first tried Royall fragrances as a young prep in a Tweed of three colours. I recall finding them at local men's shops in Connecticut and New York. Did Brooks Brothers stock Royall at one time? I wonder.

I like Royall Muske, which remains my favourite to this day. It is subtle enough, I think, to wear to the office on occasion, though I am careful as always to achieve a very moderate effect in light of its potential influence on women, which, along with the trad charm, impressive physique, and deep blue eyes, can be rather considerable. From the website:

"This hauntingly exotic fragrance intrigues with its lingering scent from the grain secreted by the shy Asian male musk deer to attract the female of his species. The Ancients used musk as an aphrodisiac. Royall's is mixed with harmonious aromatics to create its own uniquely masculine allure. Try it and experience the results for yourself!"

Sounds enticing enough, if a little mysterious; some things are better left uninvestigated. In summer months I sometimes switch to Royall Lyme, a light lime scent that goes well with lawn parties and cocktail receptions overlooking the ocean, where you will find that the young brunette hottie who keeps pressing her lithe figure against you will suddenly kiss your neck and tell you you smell good. And isn't that what it is all about?

Algarve: Terras do Fim do Mundo

© Christian Chaize

02 July 2010

Kent & Curwen