29 May 2011

Summer Tartan and White Bucks

The summer season is almost here. Nature bursts forth in gloriously bright colours and encourages us to respond with summer tones. I'm doing my bit. Afternoons spent poolside have resulted in a deep tan and blonder hair, which offset the deep crimson caused by one too many G&Ts. The warm weather calls for an appropriate summer tartan, which I am always happy to provide. In the exclusive candid photo (at left) I am shown languidly lounging about the place, delivering fogey views on an astonishingly wide range of topics, wearing a Polo RL custom-fit summer tartan shirt (Bleecker model), old Land's End khakis, and a pair of white bucks. If you look closely you can just about see a rare special limited edition J.Press heritage ankle bracelet--available to chosen iGents only.

28 May 2011

Cocktail Hour

Merci à B&P

A Matter of Quality

"Buy the absolute best you can afford. Fine clothes will last ten times longer than cheap, shoddy merchandise, will feel and fit better, and of course will look better. A cheap suit looks cheap even when it's brand new, while a good one retains its appearance after years of wear. A good raincoat, tweed jacket, and flannel slacks actually improve with age and wear. It's a matter of quality."

Elegance: A Guide to Quality Menswear, G. Bruce Boyer (1985)

Spaceman (The Killers)

27 May 2011


26 May 2011

Rolex Style

If you see me smiling, it is because I have something big, hard, and shiny up my sleeve. The exclusive photo (at left) shows my new timepiece acquisition, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner, which I wrote about recently in this column. It is the new Submariner model introduced in 2010, featuring cerachrome bezel and solid lug and bracelet. The dial sports a bold black face, which certain people might find offensive; these people should be politely told to fuck off. I do plan to wear the watch whilst swimming, diving and spearfishing, for which it was intended. But in the meantime I wear it to the office, where I can be found pairing it, as in the photo, with a W.H. Taylor candy-striped dress shirt with spread collar and a Brooks Brothers 3/2-roll grey sharkskin sack suit made, I am told, from the skin of a genuine great white shark. Note, too, my deeply tanned hand; tan courtesy of the cocktail garden party circuit.

Mr Noël Coward

"I'm not a heavy drinker. I can sometimes
go for hours without touching a drop."

Colonial Planter: Old World English Gentleman

Dominica, West Indies

We were tired and we were sore and more than a little nervous as we rode up to the timbered bungalow. On the lawn there were peacocks, white and blue, spreading their vast tails. From a flagstaff the Union Jack was flying. On the veranda, in a deck chair, our host was waiting. His appearance had been described to us many times. And as he rose to welcome us he looked very much as I had expected him to look. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and immensely fat. He wore a shirt that was slightly soiled, and open at the neck. The belt that held his trousers had slipped, so that his shirt protruded, revealing an inch or two of skin. He wore slippers; his ankles, as he shuffled towards us, gave the impression of being swollen. He looked as I had expected him to look. A typical colonial planter. But what I had not expected was the voice with which he welcomed us. It was the courtly voice of the old-world English gentleman, with generations of breeding at the back of it.

It was a large rambling house; a bachelor's house. Its walls were lined with bookshelves and the odd assortment of pictures that bachelors at various periods of taste annex. There were hunting prints and college groups, and nudities from La Vie Parisienne, war-time caricatures of "Big and Little Willie." Over the washstand of each room was a printed text: "Work is the ruin of the drinking classes"; "If water rots the soles of your boots, think what it must do to your inside." A library is an autobiography. I looked carefully along his shelves. There were a certain number of novels, bought casually, a complete set of Wisden's Cricketer's Almanac since 1884, some legal books, the publications of the Rationalist Press, Darwin and the mid-Victorian agnostics, a few classics, a Horace and a Catullus, Thackeray and Dickens.

The conversation was of the kind for which you would look in such an atmosphere. The judge did most of the talking. He was an admirable raconteur. His anecdotes were scattered with reflections. He was a staunch Tory, with little use for the philosophy and the sociology of the day. What did they want to start educating the working classes for? Education meant discontent. The working classes thought so much of themselves nowadays that they couldn't make good servants.

"And what else are they any good for?" he asked. "They're no happier now. They're less happy."

Written in 1929

Hot Countries, Alec Waugh (1930)

Green Leader for President !

25 May 2011


More Than This: The Story of Roxy Music

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

24 May 2011

Harry Potter and Race-Replacement: The Biological Transformation of the West

I am not as a rule given to excessive televisual entertainment. But this past weekend, felled by a severe 36-hour gut-cramping illness caused, one suspects, by a brace or two of dodgy tacos hastily consumed on the downward-facing slope of a G&T binge, I had a chance to watch a few movies in the famed "Harry Potter" film franchise based on the novels of J.K. Rowling.

I am probably the only good-looking chap under age 42 who is mostly ignorant of the Harry Potter phenomenon--and proud of it. Yes, of course I am aware of it. But no, I have not read the books, and if I had spotted a grown man or woman reading one in the late 1990s when these books first came out in London I would have berated him or her in full public view, such is my intolerance for slavish consumer 'bots.

Allow me a superficial observation or two. To begin with, I must concede, the films are very entertaining. The result is impressive: the special effects, intricate story line, close attention to detail. The dark and Gothic mood. The series is clearly derivative of the best works of Tolkien and Lewis, and as such, is missing something of the spirit of the originals, but it is probably the best we can hope for right now. Which is not saying much. I try to refrain, after all, from kicking a civilisation when it is down.

Another thing. Having watched each film more than once--I had little else to do, as I was horizontal for most of the weekend--I noticed a certain pattern, namely, the inclusion in many scenes of masses of strikingly black and brown faces in what is clearly a British boarding school. Africans, Asians, and assorted mystery meat roam the halls and corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as if they belong there. At one point Harry Potter is even granted a romantic-love interest in the form of a Chinese girl with a preposterously Scottish accent--and a Highlands one at that! WTF?! How can this be? Britain is still overwhelmingly British, despite decades of colonisation by the third world. And British public schools (private and independent schools) are still overwhelmingly British. The indigenous people of Britain have not yet been ethnically cleansed and genocided.

I think I know why. My Hollywood insider sources tell me Rowling, in selling the film rights to the Americans, stipulated the series was to be shot in Britain with British actors. In order to get around this, and to advance the 'diversity' multikult agenda that is behind much of modern pop culture, the American movie producers loaded the extras with actors of non-white extraction, while keeping the core British. This is the same agenda at work, I think, responsible for the blatant (and statistically unrealistic) miscegenation promoted in the American media and entertainment industries.

Why should we care? The on-screen depictions of an altered demographic mix, in which white people are increasingly reduced to bit-players in their own lands, or phased out of the story completely, are probably a good portrayal of the future envisioned for Britons, Europeans, and Americans by the creative and cognitive elites presently in control of our countries. If you want to see what our rulers have in store for us, go to the movies. You have only to open your eyes to see. It takes a bit more effort to speak out. And even more to actually do something about it.

But no worries. In 50 years' time, once the world is turned right-side up and we have liberated ourselves, perhaps our young film-makers will have a go at remaking these films, just as American film producers today insist on 'updating' movie classics using Africans and other non-white actors. Or maybe cinematic technology will be so advanced that our people can simply 're-do' the offending scenes, getting rid of the superfluous, unwanted characters--a process, one hopes, that by that point will have been achieved in Western society at large.

Hunting Cufflinks

Note the trout in black tie at lower right

23 May 2011

Tour de France (Kraftwerk)

Stephen Tennant: The Rose of Apollo is Gloomed With Fatal Snow

"Stephen Tennant was a work-in-progress. Born in 1906 as the youngest son of the newly ennobled Baron Glenconner, his life was an expectation of privilege. Yet he subverted that all by becoming, in the words of Jacob Epstein, the most beautiful person, male or female, of his generation. Gold dust in his hair, vaseline on his eyelids, a leather coat copied from his brother's First World War flying jacket (with the addition of a chinchilla fur collar), he outraged staid society by dressing as a beggar in rags, and arriving with the greatest war poet, and protestor, Siegfried Sassoon on his arm.

But that dream ended, and Stephen, as the world became serious, retreated to the Arts and Crafts manor built for his mother by Detmar Blow, deep in a Wiltshire valley. There, overtaken by the vulgarity of the modern world, he recreated his beloved South of France, the imaginary territory of his never-to-be-completed masterpiece, Lascar: A Story of the Maritime Boulevards. And just as he forever re-wrote that manuscript, in ever-changing ink colours, and illustrated it with the tough tars and tarts of his fantasties, so Wilsford Manor was refurbished in his image.

Twenty two tons of silver sand were spread on the lush English lawns to evoke his Marseilles dream, Chinese fan palms planted, and tropical birds and lizards let loose in the grounds. In the winter, they took refuge in the house, accompanying Stephen as he turned the bath taps on his collection of shells, since they looked better that way. Meanwhile Cecil Beaton brought David Bailey and David Hockney, Kenneth Anger and Derek Jarman came to call, all rapt in Stephen's stories of Greta Garbo or the Ballets Russe, of the Sitwells and Rex Whistler, of dear Morgan Forster and Virginia's peculiarities, of Lawrence of Arabia and his beloved Willa Cather. And there Stephen lived on, in exquisite, decorative reclusion, reliving his past glories and imagining his future ones, such as this long-awaited exposition of his beauty and his art in London's salubrious East End."

An extensive selection of Stephen Tennant manuscript poems, letters, doodles, drawings & paintings are available from £20, framed drawings from £60.

Hendrick's Lectures Accompanying the Exhibition

More information and tickets from http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org

22 May 2011


"Gin, lace and backbiting"

Tweed Signifiers

"As he passes the stretch of green at Cheyne Walk, presided over by a statue of Sir Thomas More, he sees a man in a tweed jacket practising his fly fishing on the grass, his lurcher sitting watching patiently. The gillies in Scotland taught Julian and Simon to cast on grass with a button in place of a fly. What is it about the English upper classes that it is still so important to associate themselves with the countryside? Lurchers, rabbits, tweed, Viyella shirts, caps--flat caps are back--and those Dijon mustard trousers. Signifiers. Signifying that these people are the true people of England. You never see a Jew in these togs, accompanied by a lurcher, although that Home Secretary chap used to dress up in new green wellingtons and corduroy trousers in his constituency. God, he looked like a twat. At Eton the thickos with inherited acres regarded themselves as far superior to the merely rich or intelligent."

Other People's Money, Justin Cartwright (2011)

21 May 2011

Blazer Room

Gieves & Hawkes

20 May 2011

Reds Don't Surf !

Friday Caption Contest

Wear a Hat

19 May 2011


"Not surprisingly, squash, over the years, has been a haven for numbers of great eccentrics, and has built up a formidable amount of lore. There was the fellow, for instance--a scion of one of America's most prominent families--who would play at New York's Racquet & Tennis Club. After a postgame shower and change, he would appear in the handsome mahogany taproom of that venerable establishment and, precisely at 11:58, order two straight-up martinis. He would gaze lovingly at the twin glasses until the grandfather clock struck noon, whereupon he would gulp them down in quick succession. He would then return to the squash courts, taking on all comers until the hour of the apéritif had arrived."

Squash!, Laurence Shames, Town & Country, January 1990

City Suit

18 May 2011

High Life

High Life, Rollin McGrail

Chap Scrum: Chaps Advancing

Chaps advancing


In the evenings I settle into a solitary routine. I sit at a vintage oak writing desk, cocktails arrayed before me. Bookshelves and antique prints mark the walls above. I think of different ways to communicate an almost inexpressible rage. A regular exorcism, of sorts. I know full well what bothers me. The world is turned upside down. The wrong sort of people are on top: the stupid, vulgar, ugly, furtive, cowardly, pushy, diseased, fat, unstylish masses, stinking of envy and devoid of original thought, who, in earlier centuries, would have been left on the hillside to die of exposure. But today such runts are installed in positions of influence and control. The vermin are in charge! Are they even fully human? I have my doubts. The disorder marking the modern world is a foul aberration, a total perversion of nature. It shall not last, of that I am certain. Blood will out. With this knowledge I have henceforth decided to endeavour to walk on the sunny side of the street, and have made great progress in this direction. But occasionally I slip and find myself in the valley of the shade of despair, darker, deeper, and colder than before.

17 May 2011

Poolside Cocktails

Palm Springs, Slim Aarons

16 May 2011

More Gin

"My life is roughly speaking over. I sleep badly except occasionally in the morning. I get up late. I try to read my letters. I try to read the paper. I have some gin. I try to read the paper again. I have some more gin. I try to think about my autobiography, then I have some more gin and it's lunchtime. That's my life. It's ghastly."

Evelyn Waugh, Selina Hastings (1994)

15 May 2011

Motoring Hamper

Motoring Hamper, Bentleys of London
Do you picnic? I can barely recall the last time I went on a proper picnic, if you do not count numerous impromptu meals in remote places in California, Hawaii, Africa, and the Caribbean. One or two such picnics stand out in my memory, however, not only due to the fine company and faintly-remembered conversations, but also to the ritual and accoutrements involved in preparation. The last time must have been more than 20 years ago during my stint working for the Tories in London in the final months of the Thatcher government. One morning a group of us piled into a silver BMW and drove to Henley for the Regatta. We settled in a strategic if crowded spot next to the river and proceeded to tuck into the spread, which as I recall included roasted chicken, sausages, quail's eggs, salads, and Pimm's. Not exactly a scene from Brideshead Revisited of course, but very pleasant enough. Gazing at the photographic image (above) makes me want to fill the hamper, crank up my vintage Mercedes Benz auto, put the mobile LP player on the backseat, and motor to a remote spot on the Northern California coast with my loved one. Our civilisation may be receding at a speed of 190mph, but if we go fast enough we just might be able to enjoy a civilised moment or two before it disappears completely.

14 May 2011

A Jolly Good Time

A jolly good time was had by all, Karachi, Hotel Metropole, 1949

Classic Teapots

Hester Bateman, London, 1783

13 May 2011

Work Them Hard - Treat Them Like Heroes

The Terrier Man, Lionel Edwards (1878-1966)

May Seem Macabre (Peter Bjorn and John)


'And all but the most formal of a Sloane's suits (no vents) have two vents, for two reasons: he can put his hands in both pockets, and when he moves fast or dances, the skirts fly up, showing the silk lining (raspberry is a bit charlie, but it does look fine).'

The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, Ann Barr & Peter York (1982)

'The double vent or side slit offers the best combination of function and form. When you out your hands in your trouser pockets, the side vent's flap stays down, covering the buttocks. If you are seated, the flap moves away, thereby minimising creasing. Most men shy away from side vents because getting them to fall correctly requires more attention. When fit properly, however, the jacket's two two slits trace the outside lines of the body. An illusion of height is also created, because the side vent moves the observer's eye up from the bottom of the jacket. Since double-vented coats are costlier to manufacture and more difficult to fit than other models, you see them less frequently. However, the well-designed side-vented jacket gives its wearer a dash of style that bespeaks its English pedigree and custom-tailored tradition.'

Style and the Man, Alan Flusser (1996)

11 May 2011

Young Fogey: Simon Heffer

Youngish, at any rate

A Code of One's Own

Minouche Le Blanc and Taki Theodoracopulos,
Palace Hotel, Gstaad, 1975
'The veteran Riviera man and journalist Taki Theodoracopulos, who first met Gunter [Sachs] onboard the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos’s yacht Creole, once described Sachs to me as “a great gambler, a good skier, and bobsleigher.” I was questioning Theodoracopulos for a film I was trying to make at the time about playboys. One of the themes that emerged in our conversation was the playboy’s capacity to savor life’s pleasures in an unqualified way. Theodoracopulos explained that for these men life was purely about living for the delight of good times without distraction. That achievement became the highlight of a satisfying existence.

I was reminded of that exchange with Theodoracopulos when I learned of Sachs’s death. Life was of a piece for men of his type, where things like grace under pressure, for better or worse, were more than old-fashioned notions. They became values that evolved from what Theodoracopulos called the rules of being a gentleman. “You had to be a gent,” he told me. “You had to treat a lady as a lady should be treated. Manners were very formal...nobody came in and started spilling secrets you would tell a shrink. We didn’t know about shrinks.” The essential thing for these men was always to be true to their own code, and the accounts of Sachs’s final chapter suggest that he was faithful until the end.'

- Death of a Riviera Playboy: Gunter Sachs Departs the Party, by Jamie Johnson, VF Daily, 10 March 2011


© 2011 Condé Nast Digital

10 May 2011

Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Common People (Pulp)

Three-Piece Tweed

09 May 2011

Windsor Caps

From the collection of the Duke of Windsor

08 May 2011

Our Lady of Walsingham

Why We Fight

07 May 2011

Tipsy in Madras

It does not, sadly, contain the recipe
for the Admiral Cod Cocktail #4
What defines a preppy cocktail? Archaism (the drink must have existed pre-80s), character (nothing cheap or easy), understatement (nothing with an umbrella) and, of course, Anglicanism (if it’s exotic, it ain’t preppy). Beginning with an insightful essay on the demise of preppy culture in the early 1990s, this book goes on to chronicle the how-tos of drinking for the Lacoste set. Walker and Walsh, who make clear that they attended prep school, not boarding school, serve up a funny critique of preppy society and the beverages that accompany it. Recipes for concocting the usual drinks—Bloody Marys, Gin and Tonics, Cape Codders, Gimlets, Manhattans—are here, as well as suggestions for stocking the bar (preps, the authors say, favor Dewar’s over Chivas Regal), summertime drinking (go ahead and pour yourself a Seabreeze, but for goodness sakes steer clear of the Sex on the Beach) and brunch ("a.k.a. socially sanctioned daytime drinking"). Although the book concerns an elitist lifestyle, its tone is never snobby and it can actually be quite amusing ("unless you want to give dear Bitsy a concussion with a jet-propelled stray cork, here’s how to open a champagne bottle with safety and aplomb"). Useless sidebars (such as a list of essential summer reading—including Salinger, Fitzgerald and Updike, among other familiar choices) are the only lackluster element to this snappy guide to getting drunk Blair Warner style.

© Reed Business Information

The Porsche and the Stockbroker

A successful stockbroker parked his brand-new arctic-silver Porsche 911 GT2 RS 4.0 Limited Edition in front of his office building, ready to show it off to his colleagues.

As he got out, a truck passed too close and tore off the door on the driver's side.

The stockbroker started screaming hysterically. His Porsche, which he had just picked up the day before, was now completely ruined.

Within minutes a policeman pulled up.

When the stockbroker finally calmed down, the officer shook his head in disgust and disbelief.

"I can't believe how materialistic you stockbrokers are," the cop said. "You're so focused on your possessions that you don't notice anything else."

"How can you say such a thing?" asked the stockbroker.

The cop replied, "Don't you know that your left arm is missing from the elbow down? It must have been torn off when the truck hit you."

"Holy shit!" screamed the stockbroker. "My Rolex!"

06 May 2011

Breakfast at The Wolseley

Friday Caption Contest

[What do you think is happening in this photo?- LBF]

05 May 2011

The Admiral Cod Guide to Dating (1): How to Secure a Date

The modern world offers many situations where men and women can socialise together, providing the romantifically-minded chap abundant opportunity to search for his one-and-only. She is there for the taking. The first step to securing a date, of course, is to start a conversation. Sadly, the art of the conversation has been neglected by generations of youths raised in the age of the Interwebs. Excessive Interweb use, as we all know, leads to blindness and involuntary singlehood. But there is a way out. Through years of experimentation and overwhelming success I have found the following topics offer failsafe methods for securing a first date. Let us examine them.

(i) Perfume. Ladies like to smell nice. Compliment your potential companion on her scent. Its unique bouquet, you must tell her, is unlike anything you have ever encountered. This will demonstrate to her both your sensitive nature and your feminine side. Note, I did not say feminist side. There is a difference. You might emit an odour not unlike that of an under-buttock of an old race horse and remain unaware of it, but it is essential you let your intended know she smells like an angel from Heaven.

(ii) Carbohydrates. Approach the lady of your intended devotions with a walnut muffin in hand and gently ask her if she knows how many carbs are in it. This is important, you should explain to her, because you are in training for an upcoming charity 10K road race, "my fourth or fifth charity run this year". Not only will it draw her thoughts to your fine physique, including your large biceps and tanned sculpted thighs, but she will also be touched by your selfless concern for orphaned puppies and abandoned babies.

(iii) Women's Accessories. If you spot a beautiful lady with an expensive-looking handbag, resist the natural temptation to run into the nearest hotel bar for a cocktail or two with your chums. Instead approach her in a casual manner and compliment her on her choice of accessory. Comment on the item's exquisite craftsmanship: the beautiful Italian leather, gleaming hardware, and elegant stitching. She will be impressed by your attention to detail and appreciation for fine quality, and, flattered, will examine your wrist-watch and shoes to ascertain your worth. Which is why it is important--as I keep telling you--to wear fine makes such as Rolex and Cleverley. These things matter.

New & Lingwood

04 May 2011

The Savoy Cocktail Book

The facts of life (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore)

03 May 2011

On Cocktail Skirts

All the people at the club, as you know, will agree that I'm well qualified to represent the LBC. The Laguna Beach Crew, that is. We keep it real in shirts of madras, khaki shorts, and boat shoes. The chaps at Nantucket-based Castaway Clothing, I note, are also keeping it real. I say this because their latest catalog recently landed on my antique Peruvian tea table and it is very impressive indeed. Castaway Clothing appears to represent prep style that is both authentic and relevant. The classic men's line-up includes madras shirts, seersucker shorts, embroidered trousers, and dirty bucks. Not as trendy as J.Crew. Not as flimsy as Brooks Brothers. Not as gimmicky as Vineyard Vines. Not as old-school as J.Press. Pure, unadulterated prep.

What immediately struck me about the Castaway Clothing catalog, I must admit, was the attractiveness of the female models, particularly the pretty girls on pages 25 and 31. If there were such a thing as a preppy pin-up, these ladies would seem to fit the bill. I generally don't comment on women's clothing; it's what's underneath that interests me. Still, the young woman (at left) in a seersucker Cocktail Skirt, check shirt, and boat shoes symbolises an ideal, reminding me of the girls of my youth. The skirt is key. I wholeheartedly approve of skirts and dresses and wish more women would wear them. I find skirts attractive not only because they leave more to the imagination, but also because they compel women to walk in such a way that draws attention to and enhances their delightful feminine attributes. Trousers on women are as outlandish as pyjamas on dogs. I recall that even as a charming lad of 5 or 6 in suburban Connecticut I opposed girls in trousers--much preferring them in skirts--and rather aggressively communicated my views to the point where I had to be taken aside and ordered to "get with the times". In a world in sartorial decline, this is the last thing one ought to do.

Photo © 2010 Castaway Clothing LLC


02 May 2011

Young Fogey: A.N. Wilson

A. N. Wilson, the novelist and critic, says he wears the same clothes (usually a three-piece suit and bow tie, plus a shirt with a deep and curled-up collar) until they smell. Then he drops them in the corner of the room.

The Young Fogey Handbook, Suzanne Lowry (1985)