Thursday, 29 August 2013

No Phil Collins required, but jackets are needed

IT DOES get bloody hot over here in Cuba, crystalline rum droplets have formed on my arms and face, making one end of my Esplendido almost impossible to hold in between my lips as I type.
My Havana flat, nice as it is, resembles a sweat box and the terrible music blaring out from the floor below got my mind pondering jackets.

Jackets I hear you ask?

Well, yes the end of music as we know it being hammered out from the Che Geuvara Cheese Makers Officiando suite below is non-other than his awfulness Phil Collins, a man who almost single handedly killed the art of the songsmith.
I shudder when I think of him flying on Concorde to America for the Live Aid charity gig, yes, charity gig! I’ll say no more.

The most memorable thing I know of the midget drummer was how much I liked a song called: Phil Collins Must Die. It should have had ‘Before he kills music’ on the end of it.

Anyway, jackets …

First off it’s always good to go Military, especially in the homeland of Castro and the Universal Works Military jacket, which is a sublime two-phase coat, coming in raisin or navy is perfect.

The coat, which has a four button front, with button flap closure on the neck has a tapered waist with adjustable draw string, that gives this piece a real swagger of it’s own.
It also boasts two chest and hand pockets with flap closure.

UW have really introduced some excellent pieces for their AW range, the quilt navy Resort of a low cut neck puffa, while the Malin tweed Hyde is reminiscent of a hunting jacket I used to drawl over in the window of Norton and Sons of London, and the fact that they have arrived at Stuarts in a tie with Barbour with a remarkable team up, well let’s just say I will be talking at length about that another time. 

In the meantime, I will just change my pants.

The shorter Benbecula navy wool jacket is a smart take on the donkey jacket, with wool polyester body, zip through, two flap closure chest pockets and two side pockets. As they said in Jazz Club: Nice.

Now if you want comfort and almost snoozable style this winter try the YMC P5AAE downproof quilted bomber.

The button through, knitted cuffs and collar jacket is sweet as. I love the avoidance of a knitted waist, which gives the jacket a longer look. This duck down don has two hand pockets and is a delightful soft colouring of grey/brown.

If leather is your thing, the Versace fitted leather jacket is nice biker crossover. The flap over leather button details, funnel neck jacket is a delight, with two outer and inside pockets, along with a zip fastening. This is a modern timeless piece and would grace any look this winter.

Hasta la Victoria siempre

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

High praise for the Church shoes

THESE BOOTS are made for walking as my old mucker Nancy Sinatra sang, but she showed no real thanks after I penned that particular career-defining tune for her, along with Bang Bang, but all the ex-missus of the Chairman of the Board did was walk of all over good old Skylon and bugger off with Lee Hazlewood.

Bloody touchy artists cannot be trusted eh!

So keeping on the footwear theme I have been feeling the need to hot foot it away from the Wild Bunch, well especially The Bed after my little Wild West accident.

What better way to get away in style, than in a pair of Church shoes???!!!!?!!!

Any well-heeled man about town has always aspired to own or wearing this fabled English manufacturer and I always treasure the memories of my butlers taking flight in one the long rooms at Skylon Manor as my velvet Sovereign shoe in either black or bordeaux swung towards their feeble gonads or rear end.

This outwardly OTT slipper shoe, complete with crown logo, quilted lining and cushioned insoles, with leather sole and velvet uppers.

The shoe also comes in an Arabesque polished navy leather finish.

Now I have sported loafers for many a year, be it in the Hollywood studios with mad bad gun-totting Phil Spector, to inventing the modern Ska movement in Coventry alongside the gummy keyboardist Jerry Dammers in what was known as sugar tops.

Now the Tiverton is the shoe of choice today, the superb ‘Tassel’ full leather shoe coming in burgundy or black has delicious apron stitching, cushioned soles, short stacked wooden heel and works superbly with countless looks, coming in burgundy and black.

Whilst helping launch British televisual comedy with the icon who is Terry-Thomas, I was always aware of the great man’s style and panache, and also his family motto: ‘I shall not be cowed’, so I was also struck by the name of the stunning walnut leather soled Church Oxford style shoe the Cowes.

This 100 per cent leather double buckle monk shoe is lace up is a stand out shoe for me in the beautiful walnut leather, made with all the Church Artisan quality.

Having had countless japes using a submarine at the Cowes week and launching magnums of champagne into the floating sea stock passing I can imagine I would have been the cock of the walk sporting the Cowes shoe.

Topping-out the range at present are the Consul, again in the Oxford style simple classic lace up shoe coming in either black or walnut leather.

The Consul, due in no small part, to its aerodynamic shape make a superb arrow to launch at men servants to show ones disgust at a particularly poorly poured cocktail.

I’ll drink to that …

Friday, 16 August 2013

The real Lacoste for shooting

SHOTGUN testing this morning went very well, the lads tell me they like to keep in touch with their old skills, so I am presuming a night of cat burgling will be on the cards in the coming weeks, although I have told the guys I will not be wearing a common or garden wool balaclava, especially in this heat.

I am not sure sometimes if the members of the Wild Bunch remember where good old Skylon comes from, but elite status is my byword, as you all know too well.
So, I was delighted to see Dave ‘The Bed’ sporting some easily targetable colours with the superb summer Lacoste colours.

If one sports brand has elite status it’s the French national logo of Lacoste and although his clothes are now covered in spatters of blood, I am not that good a shot, ‘The Bed’ has shown his true class, even combining a Mac navy hooded waterproof jacket with his bullet proof vest, but removing this before I did the same with my ear plugs resulted in a bit of an accident.

Even as the staff at ‘hospital as grande’ cut the iconic blood soaked caiman red polo from Dave’s chest and attempted to calm his nerves with a heavy dose of valium, little did he know Skylon had bagged all the sedatives on the way in, my admiration for ‘The Bed’s’ adoration of the French label.

The security locks on the old botiquin, that’s medicine cabinet for the uninitiated, are not too clever in the Costa, so, as you would expect liberally helped myself to whatever was on offer. Uppers, downers, screamers, laughers etc.

It seems the WB boys have tutored Skylon well, pity for ‘The Bed’.

I always love the Lacoste polo colours, the Sauge Mari green is a superb soft finish and will be a perfect replacement for Dave’s now dissected red shirt.
The perfect two-button placket icon shirt is, well perfect isn’t it! Ahead of its time and managing to stay there, Dave is almost a slave to the French labels’ bright a breezy colour ways.

He probably should have chosen the Abysses Marl navy polo to hide the blood, but oh no ‘The Bed’ ran with the green, which is now so discoloured it is reminiscent of the Toubiere brown shirt. 

Then again how was he supposed to know I would unload both barrels into him?

Statements are always made with a Lacoste polo and softer toned cotton mix in the Sauge Mari green and the Armoise Marl grey is definitely a strong one.

His Nosara SPM blue flip flops are in a pretty bad way as well, having hit the doctors head as Dave kicked out following a rather large needle jammed into his backside and fallen into a high powered fan.
These 100 per cent rubber Havaianas style footwear is a winner.

I also do not hold out much hope for his orange chinos, which are now being wrestled from his legs.
All the delightful finishes such as the regular fit tapered hem, contrasting turn ups, button fly, angle pockets and button rear pocket are lost on the doctors who are now beating down on Dave to try and calm him as well as remove said trousers.

The scene unfolding is messy, reminiscent of a Tango orange massacre, complete with bent needles and flying white jackets.

It’s not helped by my continued valium top ups I must say, which resulted in me accidentally letting off the sawn off ‘shoota’ into the ceiling as I fell backwards after a few blasts on the defibrillator.
Even though my chest hair is now thoroughly singed, it would have been silly not to take advantage of all the thrills on hand now wouldn’t it?!!?!

I’ll drink to that, for the rest of the sun soaked afternoon at least.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Where there's a Wiggins, there's a way

LAST SUMMER could not have gone any better for my old mucker Wiggo, but just weeks after his first superbly tailored steps in Mod-herodom I inadvertently tainted his winter training and attempts to defend his famous Maillot Jaune win in France.

How was I supposed to see him training at night as I pulled out the old Flying Wing Bentley out of the petrol station in Lancashire crushingly hungover after a week with Skylon on champers and ludes. I compounded his troubles after taking out one of his Pinarello bikes out for a quick spin while over in Italy earlier this year.

It appears a few of The Colonel's adjustments; seat heights, fitting a bell, some rather nice mudguards and of course some playing cards in the spokes caused him to fall off and retire early from the race known as the Giro d’Italia with a knee injury?

So our friendship may not be in the best of places, but I am delighted to say that despite my best efforts to accidently ruin everything, Sir Bradley Wiggins has shrugged off this off and produced one of the best team ups since he and Mark Cavendish tore it up along the Champs Elysses, for a truly outstanding bit of Brit Kit with Fred Perry.

The side burn burnished cycle god has spared nothing to produce a range of shirts and track suit tops that are well … beautiful.

And having blown away the field in the recent TT in Poland, it appears he may be back in form.

The range sports two track suits tops, that scream Superstars, classic retro Wimbledon and of course cycling, the colouring of a cream white in the Ecra track jacket as they are named. The regular fit funnel neck, with world championship rainbow markings, same on the cuffs come in regular fit, zip front and one zip rear pocket.

The jacket also comes in Medievel blue. You really have to see these jackets in the flesh for them to be fully appreciated, but as with the entire range they are very limited, so unless you shift as quickly as Wiggo, you may well miss them.

It wouldn’t be Fred Perry if there wasn’t a Harrington in there, and the dark carbon jacket comes again in funnel neck with two button side pockets with flap securing.
The 100 per cent cotton jacket is lightweight, in regular fit.

There are seven cycling jerseys to choose between, with a delightful carbon polo shirt thrown in for good measure, all feature the iconic laurel wreath. 

It must be something about the style of cyclists and not just the sport itself and its current rise as one of the most popular sports in the country if not the world, with Paul Smith designing the recent Maglia Rosa, or pink, Giro d'Italia winners jersey.

The carbon polo comes in a waffle knit pattern, with a rear hem pocket, with twin tip collaring and world champion rainbow colour bands inside the neck. Zip fastening placket this top is fabulous.

All the tops come in slim fit and you know what cyclists are like, so you will need to get the sizing right, to avoid looking like some weekend warrior trying to hide a few extra musettes.

The Panel jersey comes in two versions, (There is a third, but it appears to be more of a stand alone, see below) Prince blue with a white bar band across the chest with blue laurel wreath, and kidney height band across the back, back pocket, zip this time, and tipped cuff finishing. 

The red top is the same, but in a lighter ‘Cofidis’ style red, although Wiggo probably won’t thank anyone who links him to the team he walked out on due to drugs issues with his other team members.

The Utility blue jersey is powder light in colour, tipped neck, with world champion bands on the arms, with a simple zipped rear pocket.

The Washed red top is similar to the Utility in its stark features, tipped neck and WC bands.
The Champion Tipped comes in black or French blue, the features are again similar to the Utility and Washed, with inner neck tip.

The final jersey is the Mustard contrast which features a larger chest covering black band to contrast the mustard body WC bands on the arms, twin tipped neck, rear pocket coming in black.

I can see the temptation for many enthusiasts to don these tops while out on the pedals, but the terrific quality, design and finishing will surely make them kept for that special trip out.

Either way 'Chapeau' Monsieurs Wiggins and Perry.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Right said Fred Perry

CASA DE Shotgun as you can well imagine is not the classiest of venues, but Hatchet has already fired up the BBQ, begun blarring out Simple Minds on the stereo, his tastes are somewhat locked in the 80s, a time when he made he dash to safety to the Costa Del Crime.

I am quite taken the target painted swimming pool, but the Warhol style paintings of himself dotted around the terra cotta and chrome fitted house, along with the floor to ceiling Tony Montana style photograph of Hatchet, holding a pet tiger, may be a step to chintz, for good taste.

I ignore the card playing wise guy style madness that is going on around me and head, at the invite of my host, to check out his wardrobe.

Thankfully Hatchet has impeccable taste in all things British and English and a line of the latest Fred Perry polos are a sight for sore eyes after the garish abode in which he abides, so no union flag shorts here.

The first thing that catches my eye is the Twin Tipped classic polo white body, and Hatchet’s favoured Claret and Blue marking on the arm and collar, with a claret Laurel. The two button placket is pure Perry and is part of the Laurel Wreath range.

The range comes in numerous colour ways, from classic black with white tips, to Ecru, Port and Teal, to name a few.
The Stewart Tartan button down shirt is a nice addition, simple, understated, but classic, you cannot go wrong with the long sleeve shirt, with pen chest pocket and large red laurel wreath logo on the chest. This reissue is plucked form the range’s archive and well worth a another showing for summer and winter.

I note Hatchet has stayed true to some of his Mod roots by choosing the Rose print Harrington with a nice rose trim lining.
This double button necked, zip front, two side pocket classic, proves the devil is in the detail and the lining is the perfect finish, with one inside pocket.

He has also chosen tipped Port bomber jacket, which has a sheer finish outside with boxed laurel wreath in the front, non-button flap side pockets.

An obvious Harrington addiction is proved with the addiction of the G9 Baracuta Harrington in natural, although to be honest he could have chosen any one of eight superb colourways and they would have looked cracking.
The natural is the jacket synonymous with screen icon Steve McQueen and is similar to the Perry with double button neck fastening, two button side pockets and branded buttons, but a COOLMAX lining makes it perfect for the summer.

 Hatchet is a man of considerably organised taste, clothes wise, that is and he is already buzzing about his new Barbour kit that’s winning it’s way to him.

But put him near a BBQ, cranked up on cocktails and other pharmaceuticals and you have a recipe for disaster and a large fire risk.

Not sure whether I should drink to that or throw it over the poor burning devil, or simply dunk him in the pool, what was it Paul Weller once sang? 'No more swimming in guitar shaped pools'.