30 April 2011

Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style

Weekend Tennis Whites

29 April 2011

Royal Wedding Message

LBF and the crack editorial team at Admiral Cod send their Heartfelt Congratulations and Best Wishes to the newly-wed T.R.H. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to H.M. The Queen and to all the Royal Family on this blessed day. God save the Queen!

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

~ Bishop of London, 29 April 2011, quoting Saint Catherine of Siena

Royal Bertie

"Bertie was so tired after partying all last night
that he could hardly stay awake to show off his
hat & bow ensemble..."

Royal Wedding Kiss

The Mall London

28 April 2011

Royal Wedding Provisions

The word on the street is that I am some sort of royalist. For once they are right: I am, indeed, avowedly so. Monarchy is the most natural form of government and I am a natural kind of chap. I would much sooner be ruled by an hereditary monarch than by the ambitious, grasping, power-hungry products of a so-called meritocracy and party-political system. When it comes to the sacrament of marriage, however, I am rather less sanguine, in light of recent events. But never mind. I plan to celebrate the nuptials of H.R.H. Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton with determination and a smile, cocktails-at-the-ready as always.

My personal connection to the monarchy is absolutely non-existent. All I have are memories and anecdotes. I do of course remember being forced to watch the wedding of H.R.H. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 (what a glorious summer it was!) and in subsequent years was kept up-to-date on the sad decline of their union thanks to a salacious media machine. Too much has already been said and written about that, you can be sure.

In 1988 Princess Diana narrowly avoided running me over in her small blue motor car just outside Kensington Palace. I happened to be one of the first visitors to Kensington Palace on the misty morning of August 31, 1997, before the heaps of flowers, cards, teddy bears, and crowds of mourners. The public reaction in Britain to Princess Diana's passing was largely a media-fuelled triumph of hysteria and emotionalism, I thought, which convinced me the Americanisation of Britain was finally complete. But enough about that. What is good, true, and beautiful will endure. We musn't forget it.

It's time to celebrate! With that in mind, I raise my glass to H.R.H. Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton.

27 April 2011

Dimple Patrol

I rarely pass up the opportunity to spread a bit of gossip if it makes the competition look foolish. A correspondent in the office of a rival financial firm in Southern California has written to me. It appears the managing director there has imposed on the stockbrokers a "dimple rule" pertaining to the wearing of neck ties. All ties are to be dimpled, declares the manager, even going so far as to hold regular morning inspections of his staff. Miscreants are sent to the bog where they are expected to re-do their tie until they get it right. WTF?! It seems rather extreme. Maintaining a dimple in one's tie has always struck me as trying too hard, the mark of the grasping amateur, a concern of awkward i-gents on the interwebs. Certain neck ties lend themselves to a dimple; others do not. Technique aside, it is largely due to type and quality of cloth. So what can we conclude from this? Clients should re-assess their allegiance to a firm whose priorities are so glaringly focused elsewhere.

Look Back in Anger (Bowie)

Eton Dining Hall

Eton and drinkin'

26 April 2011

The First Annual Admiral Cod Bikini Census

Laguna Beach Bikinis
It has come to my attention that Stockbrokers and Bankers suffer from a reputation for being self-interested, as if a life devoted to accumulating dosh somehow leaves us a bit stunted in the altruism department. How this has come about I have no idea, but it leaves a bitter taste in my morning cocktail, I can tell you. I would therefore like to redress the balance.

How, I ask myself, could I best employ my range of extraordinarily unique skills to benefit the community at large? I do of course have much to offer: keen powers of observation, a highly-trained eye, a sophisticated aesthetic sense honed by years of experience at home and abroad. Surely these special talents could be put to good use.

I have therefore decided in a selfless act of public spiritedness to give up a sizeable portion of my valuable (and expensive) time to conduct a detailed survey and analysis of the local bikini community. As the days lengthen and get warmer, bikinis start to make their annual summer migration to our beaches and coastal resorts where they play an important role in the local eco-system. Bikinis over the years have given me so much; it is time to give something back.

If you happen to spot a tall, good-looking, tanned, fogeyish-looking chap strolling about the surf with a crystal cocktail in hand and pair of Zeiss binoculars pressed tightly against tortoiseshell Persol sunglasses, his handsome brow furrowed in concentration, that would be moi, so do stop and say hello. I shall be carefully observing the behaviour of the Pink-Breasted Sand-Warbler, Long-Legged Tawny Eyecatcher, and Red-Bottomed Nutbuster, amongst others. Just about anything, you may have gathered, in a bikini. And so begins my charitable debut.

For God, Queen, Country, and Tea

The Hunt

25 April 2011

Hendrick's Gin

24 April 2011

Happy Easter 2011


23 April 2011

Happy St George's Day 2011

22 April 2011

A Few Observations on Cocktails and Children

Poolside cocktails at noon. The Southern California sun shines and the drinks flow like the Trevi fountain, and yet my reveries are interrupted by the cries and panting of young people who run about the place like wild animals. It is most irritating. I do not ask much from life, but I do require on occasion some peace and quiet. I do my best work slipping away somewhere else. In fact I am almost there now.

As you know, I have no children--which fact makes me eminently qualified to comment upon their proper cultivation and training. Detachment fosters objectivity. Plus there is the fact--as difficult as it may be for some to accept--that I myself was once a child, albeit a famously good one who kept his crimes well hidden, which should come as no surprise at all.

Now back to poolside cocktails. I am reminded of a passage in the New Testament: "Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16) I like to think Our Lord did not have in mind the spoiled little brats that I increasingly find disturbing my morning tea and afternoon alcoholic meditations. Indeed this kind of religious thinking, if taken literally (as it too often is), can be quite damaging. It encourages adults to act, think, and dress like children. It inspires parents to indulge their children's naughty behaviour and to serve every childish whim. The infantilisation of society also promotes the interests of bolshevik-capitalist elites, for whom a crude, unformed populace is one that is easily managed. Childishness is the conduit through which consumers are manipulated. For our ancient foes, it is a winning formula; for us, it is a disaster. It is a situation in danger of getting out of hand. In which case it might be best to stop feeding the monster.

For this reason our children, the most vulnerable members of society, should be neither seen nor heard. Young people, especially pretty girls, do not really become interesting until they are aged 18 or so. So until then they ought to be kept in special compounds or schools, acquiring knowledge and practical skills, learning good manners, absorbing our people's traditional mores and customs, and memorising the complete works of G.K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, and P.G. Wodehouse. There is much to be said in favour of a convent education along traditional Roman Catholic lines.

Most certainly not should children be allowed to run free in martini bars like gangs of African savages on holiday, creating general mayhem, pestering handsome older drunk chaps in Persol sunglasses and Vilebrequin swimming costumes. In situations like these I always ask myself: What would Bertie Wooster do? Most likely he would remain oblivious to it all. Alas I am no BW and therefore must act determinedly with a cocktail and rolled-up copy of the FT in hand. Now excuse me while I stumble off to biff some grown-ups on the nose.

The English Gentleman: The Gentleman and the Church

Church Affairs

On the whole gentlemen do not like to become too closely involved in church affairs. They do, however, encourage their wives to play a full part in the life of the community. Gentlemen's wives sit on committees, are Presidents of almost everything and open fêtes at the drop of a flowered hat. Gentlemen confine their activity to giving a box of apples to the Harvest Festival and sending the vicar a bottle of port for Christmas.

By and large gentlemen believe in God because, by and large, they are confident that God believes in them.

The English Gentleman, Douglas Sutherland (1978)

Hallo, was machst du heut', Daisy? (Max Raabe & Palast Orchester)

21 April 2011

Bermuda Shorts and Tassel Loafers

Reds Don't Surf !

20 April 2011

Mossant Polo

Old Sole

"Last week, during Cleverley's spring visit to New York, Glasgow received a package from an old customer containing the spectacularly aged Derbies you see above. Dating to 1968 (all Cleverley's unique shoes are marked by hand inside with the year of their construction), they have taken many steps; they've received, at one stage or another, the shoemaker's equivalent of intensive care; they've continued to be lovingly polished, and worn a full forty-three years after they rolled off the bench of the original Mr. George. The anonymous customer, now in his seventies, left a note inside the shoes — one filled with suitable understatment: "I think it's time to replace this pair, although I'm worried the new shoes will be too new for the wooden box.""


©2011 Hearst Communications, Inc.

19 April 2011

First Gin of the Season

I can report--in an Admiral Cod exclusive--that the first G&T of the summer season was consumed this past weekend in Southern California. Here in the Southern hemisphere, where the sun shines 325 days of the year, G&Ts, madras, seersucker, and white bucks make an earlier appearance than their counterparts in the North. And for that I am most thankful. For lunch we sat in the sun on the water. As you know my gin of choice is Bombay Sapphire and has been for many years. Its striking blue colour reminds me not only of my beloved's eyes, but also of native Baltic seas for which my northern heart continues to ache. English gin produces over time a sensation of fruit bat-shit crazy, her power in my experience rivalled only by absinthe, opium, and other frowned-upon substances. After lunch we walked along the pier taking care to avoid the pigeon shit and strutting African tourists. Young surfers bobbed and weaved below us, pigging-out on crowded waves and occasionally erupting into fights, tanned blonde lads spinning in the green room. We are joyful refugees from the prying eyes of long-haired commissars from the Laguna Beach Groundnut Collective, tie-dyed and addled, whose hippy drum circles dot the coastal region tapping out a continuous death-knell to young fogey and preppy alike. Woe to those who ignore its song. In the meantime, there are cocktails to be enjoyed under the southern sun. The first gin of the season is a gift and an occasion to celebrate.

St. Hubert's Academy for Girls Shooting Club

Of Rogues & Gentlemen

18 April 2011

Young Fogeys and Tory Anarchism

"A fogey is a culturally conservative young person, prematurely young you might say, who adopts the clothing, style, and mannerisms of a bygone age. The key reference here is Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, a public school and Oxbridge world inhabited by tweed wearing, reserved (if not repressed) and wilfully eccentric young men. Adopting these mannerisms is a mark of the fogey's cultural distinctiveness and sets them apart from the trends that tend more normally to mark the life of the young. The idea of the fogey is a uesful way of thinking about Tory anarchists of all stripes as it encapsulates the nostalgic utopianism for the past that they convey in aspects of their work and in their critiques of contemporary mores. Whilst is it often a term associated with figures attached to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, it is just as useful as an insight into the world of the Tory anarchist. The term 'fogey' is an old British phrase that dates back several hundred years and refers to 'old-fashioned' people. The term 'young fogey', by contrast, was first put forward by the journalist Alan Watkins in the Spectator magazine in 1984 when he said of them:

[The young fogey] is libertarian but not liberal. He is conservative but has no time for Mrs Margaret Thatcher and considers Mr Neil Kinnock the most personally attractive of the present party leaders. He is a scholar of Evelyn Waugh. He tends to be coolly religious, either R.C. or C of E. He dislikes modern architecture. He makes a great fuss about the old Prayer Book, grammar, syntax, and punctuation. He laments the difficulty of purchasing good bread, Cheddar cheese, kippers and sausages...He enjoys walking and travelling by train. He thinks The Times is not what it was and prefers The Daily Telegraph.

From this description it is possible to see that there are a number of young fogeys across the contemporary British cultural scene, but that not all of them are Tory anarchists in outlook. The young fogey movement of the 1980s was seen as a reaction to the materialism and un-conservative outlook of the then Thatcher Governments whose vulgar materialism seemed to value little that would be of importance to traditional conservatives. Whilst this movement has largely disappeared, both celebrated and sent up in the magazine the Chap, the conditions that generated it and which have produced Tory anarchism in British culture remain. Tory anarchists are fogeys of a particular kind, however, often imbued with a sense of irony about their appearance (Waugh and Cook). They are prone to adopting a tone that is at once puritanical in its moral condemnation of the weaknesses, vices and follies of others, and at the same time likely to treat serious matters with frivolity, recognising always that life is fundamentally an absurd adventure in which human nature is most likely to condemn us to make fools and hypocrites of ourselves. Thus the impact of Tory anarchists on popular culture has been to play the role of the antagonistic outsider, pushing the boundaries of taste and excess to their often-illogical extremes whilst inviting us to laugh at our own moral failings. The puritanical fogey aspect of Tory anarchists gives their work a religious tone, as though their comments, asides, and quips were being delivered by a priest who wants both to mock and condemn his congregation."

The Strange Case of Tory Anarchism, Peter Wilkin (2010)

17 April 2011

St Mary’s Bourne Street

16 April 2011

Valzer brillante (Il Gattopardo)

Madras Clothes

"Brooks Brothers introduced madras clothing to this country at the end of the last century, but it wasn't until the 1930s that it really became popular. Vacationers to the Caribbean had first spotted the fabric being worn by West Indian natives, and before long shorts and swim trunks, sports jackets and golf trousers were all the rage round the links and club pool. By the 1950s there was not a campus in the country that didn't sport a full complement of plaid Bermuda shorts on male and female students alike--worn either with tennis shoes or with knee-high hose and dress shoes, English-style. The denim mania of the sixties and seventies dampened enthusiasm for madras in some quarters, but it remains, along with polo shirts and penny loafers, very much a part of the Eastern Establishment summer uniform.

The Ivy League shops, whether actually on campus or not, have always been the place to find madras clothes: J.Press, Chipp, Paul Stuart, and Brooks in New York; the Andover Shop in Cambridge; Britches in Georgetown; Langrock in Princeton; Julian's in Chapel Hill; Eddie Jacobs in Baltimore: those sorts of places. And as those stores attest, the campus summer uniform has not changed much in the past thirty years. Plaid madras sports jackets worn with oxford button-downs and khaki trousers are still de rigueur for parties and dances, and madras trousers or walk shorts worn with polo shirts and penny loafers or topsiders without socks are still standard day wear."

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

15 April 2011

Hackett Summer

14 April 2011

How To Be Free (Tom Hodgkinson)

"Have you ever wondered why you bother to go to work? Why so much of consumer culture is crap? Whether there might be a better, freer, happier way to live our lives? If so, this book is for you. Following up his cult bestseller "How To Be Idle", Tom Hodgkinson takes us on an inspirational journey towards true freedom and happiness. Read "How To Be Free" and learn how to throw off the shackles of anxiety, bureaucracy, debt, governments, housework, moaning, pain, poverty, ugliness, war and waste, and much else besides."

How To Be Free, Tom Hodgkinson (2006)

The Freedom Manifesto


Be Free!

Otter Hunting at the Upper Pool, Nanteos

Everything is fine.

13 April 2011


Bermuda Gent

12 April 2011

Idle Pleasures

Eroica finale (Beethoven)

Lacoste: Le Crocodile

10 April 2011

09 April 2011

Laguna Coast

Lacoste: Dress For Success

How things change! It's enough to make one laugh out loud.

When I was 10 years old the local long-haired street toughs in New Canaan, Connecticut persecuted me for wearing "preppy" Lacoste shirts and, I suspect, for being better-looking and more successful with the girls. I quickly got over it, bloodying a few noses along the way.

According to cutting-edge scientific research from Europe, however, sporting Lacoste all these years just might have helped me succeed at work and earn a higher salary--while those same New England ruffians today are probably stuck squeezing out anal glands in a suburban pet grooming salon.

Or so I like to imagine.

Scientists at Tilburg University in the Netherlands have just released findings from a unique sartorial experiment. According to The Economist newspaper:

"Rob Nelissen and Marijn Meijers of Tilburg University in the Netherlands examined people’s reactions to experimental stooges who were wearing clothes made by Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, two well-known brands that sell what they are pleased to refer to as designer clothing. As the two researchers show in a paper about to be published in Evolution and Human Behavior, such clothes do bring the benefits promised: co-operation from others, job recommendations and even the ability to collect more money when soliciting for charity...

The answer, Dr Nelissen and Dr Meijers suspect, is the same as why the peacock with the best tail gets all the girls. People react to designer labels as signals of underlying quality. Only the best can afford them..."

There are unique implications to this research. Scientists at the The Daily Finance interweb column took these findings and conducted their own comparative analysis. According to their experiments:

"In the midst of college admissions season, there's a useful comparison here: According to research from PayScale Inc., the median starting salary for a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is $47,000. The median starting salary for a graduate of Brown University--an Ivy League school--is $49,400. That's a difference of about 5.1%."

Compared to a 9% difference between wearing designer versus non-designer wear.

"In other words, wearing a Lacoste shirt to a job interview instead of a no-name shirt would appear to generate a higher starting salary than going to Brown instead of UMass. Another selling point? A Lacoste button-down costs $88 at Macy's, compared with annual tuition and fees of more than $40,000 per year at Brown -- versus about $12,000 at UMass."

Their conclusion?

"So if your kid suggests that you buy him a bunch of luxury clothing instead of sending him to an elite college, don't dismiss him as shallow and shortsighted. He just might be brilliant."

No doubt pompous trads, bolsheviks, hippies, puritans, and anti-Preppites everywhere are spluttering with indignation at this latest confirmation of human nature.

Don't be afraid. Become who you are.



Just Like Heaven (The Cure)

The New Sheridan Club

08 April 2011


The Country House Revealed: A Secret History of the British Ancestral Home

"Spanning the architectural history of the country house from the disarming Elizabethan charm of South Wraxall, the classical rigour of Kinross in Scotland, the majesty and ingenuity of Hawksmoor’s Easton Neston, the Palladian sweep of Wentworth Woodhouse, with over 300 rooms and frontage of 600 feet, the imperial exuberance of Clandeboye, through to the ebullient vitality of Lutyens’ Marshcourt, the stories of these houses tell the story of our nation.

All are the are buildings of the greatest architectural interest, each with a fascinating human story to tell, and all remain private homes that are closed to the public. But their owners have opened their doors and allowed Dan Cruickshank to roam the corridors and rummage in the cellars as he teases out the story of each house – who built them, the generations who lived in them, and the families who lost them. Along the way he has uncovered tales of excess and profligacy, tragedy, comedy, power and ambition.

And as these intriguing narratives take shape, Dan shows how the story of each house is inseparable from the social and economic history of Britain. Each one is built as a wave of economic development crests, or crumbles. Each one’s architecture and design is thus expressive of the aims, strengths and frailties of those who built them. Together they plot the psychological, economic and social route map of our country’s ruling class in a rich new telling of our island story."

In Case of Political Upheaval

06 April 2011

Lattanzi Silhouette