Tuesday, 29 July 2014
The Optician Always Wins
I feel I have to curse my optician once more. He knows the Ripley-style spectacles from Oliver Peoples I wear (Sheldrake), so it's quite the coincidence that he just happened to have in stock some flip-on sun shade lenses for that particular style the next time I visited.
As soon as I saw the shades, my hand went into a kind of trance and levitated the wallet out of my pocket without my being conscious of it.
Since the acquisition they've been an absolute boon, I have to say. In lightweight polycarbonate, the shades are easy to attach, with wire clasps that slip onto the frame at the top and bottom. These have a brown tint to suit the frames, but there may be other tints.
It is great fun to play with the pop-up mechanism. They can pop right up to the vertical or you can cantilever them down to stay at various other angles till they're flat to the lenses of the glasses. The shades, as with the glasses, are made in Japan.
Monday, 28 July 2014
The English Rambo
Welcome to The Tweed Pig Summer Book Club. The idea is simple: We all take the same book on our hols, give it a read and then pop our thoughts on it down below, if we have any.
Nothing too taxing. We are on holiday, after all. This year we'll be reading Rogue Male [Amazon], written by British novelist Geoffrey Household. If the synopsis is anything to go by, I think we're going to enjoy it. Written in 1939, it tells the story of an English hunter stalking a European dictator. Cripes! He is caught, but manages to escape. Will he make it home? We'll have to read it to find out.
Quite an influential book, Rogue Male inspired the writer of First Blood, Michael Jayston, who introduced the Rambo character to popular culture.
So perhaps we should imagine an unflappable English-style Rambo, with received pronunciation and worsted suits. The type who enjoys devilled kidneys, the Times crossword and few words at the breakfast table — someone in the Richard Francis Burton mould.
Watch the Film Instead
Intimidated by the thought of having to turn pages on your holiday? I understand. Not to worry. Here's the film version starring Harold Pinter, Alastair Sim and Peter O' Toole:
Free film version
If that link doesn't work, try here.
You can pretend you read it and still add a comment below. How are we to know?
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
The Summer of Lime
Who doesn't want to smell like a Limey on holiday? I know I do. And it's quite simple. Just load up on the following lime-themed products and pop them in your suitcase.
Wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Bronnley - Lime and Bergamot Soap
Penhaligon's - Extract of Limes Eau de Toilette
Truefitt & Hill - West Indian Limes Shaving Cream
Trumpers - Lime Skin Food
Crabtree & Evelyn - West India Lime Body Wash
Floris - Limes Eau de Toilette
I like what 130-year-old Bronnley has done with its new packaging (top) — as fresh as the delightful soap.
Monday, 21 July 2014
Once off this overcrowded rock — Did you know that England has over four times the population density of Spain? Ever likely we queue for everything. We don't have a choice. — and somewhere along the sunny end of the continent, within stone-skimming distance of the Mediterranean, you'll hopefully find the space, quietude and climate to help uncoil that tense neck of yours. It's summer holiday-time, gents.
As a consequence, you'll be looking for jolly foot-tappers to listen to as you pack ice into a highball glass for that breakfast gin and tonic — You don't do that at home. — mentally planning your permanent exile.
Herewith, jolly foot-tappers; all tested in appropriately languid summer situations.
You can add them to the ones from last year.
Kisses - Funny Heartbeat
Kisses are an LA band. Funny Heartbeat was produced by our very own Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne fame. Good show, Pete. Kisses provide our top photo due to the splendid parrot.
Alexander Dexter-Jones - Phantastic Phone Call
Alexander is not the son of Clash legend Mick Jones, as my initial assumption led me to believe, based on vocal delivery alone. He's actually the son of Mick Jones of the band Foreigner — a native of Somerton, Somerset, ancient capital of Wessex. 'Foreigner Mick' will be proud, I'm sure. Perhaps 'Clash Mick' will be too.
Madredeus - Haja O Que Houver
Something of an indicator as to where old Tweedy is heading this summer, Portugal's Madredeus have quite a following in Latin-Europe and Latin-America; not so much in the Anglosphere. Let's change that.
Haja O Que Houver is one of their more summery numbers.
Antologia [Amazon] is an excellent introduction to this Fado-inspired band.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Last year's Day at the Seaside was extraordinarily popular, so this summer we've hired a coach again. We're travelling in a beautiful Bedford Vega.
When we get there, we can sit on the pier and eat cockles, and flick through my copies of Tweed Magazin.
I've saved the back seat of the coach for us. If it's anything like last year, I thought it wise.
Edward Gucewicz - Buffalo Horn Sunglasses (Made in the UK)
Oliver Spencer - Cotton Jacquard Shorts
Alfie Douglas - Leather & Copper Belt (Made in the UK)
Sunspel - Riviera Polo
Drake's - Animal Print Scarf
Quoddy - Boat Moc
Brady Bags - Beach Bag (Made in the UK)
Ibberson - Off Shore Knife with 'cockle spike' (Made in the UK)
Parsons - Pickled Cockles (Fished in the UK)
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
From Gardens Where We Feel Secure
I'm rather looking forward to boiled eggs and toast soldiers for breakfast this morning. It's a fine, bright day, so I might just throw on my house coat and breakfast outside in the grounds of Tweed Towers.
The perfect musical accompaniment for eating boiled eggs outdoors at this time of year would have to be From Gardens Where We Feel Secure by English songwriter and musician Virginia Astley.
The album, From Gardens Where We Feel Secure [Amazon] was recorded in 1983. It's a mostly instrumental evocation of a hot summer's day from morning to dusk, capturing, almost hesitantly, and certainly dreamily, the gentle sounds of an idyllic English summer.
The last re-release of the album was in 2005 on the Rough Trade label. If it's deleted again, you may have to take the Japanese import option; they cherish this album, as should we.
Monday, 14 July 2014
When you think about classic brands of sunglasses, you will likely first think of Ray-Ban and Persol. What about Shuron? Shuron has been making eyewear since 1865.
Shuron's frames are still made in the U.S.A. from their base in Greenville, South Carolina. (I visited Charleston in South Carolina one time. A charming place with some excellent pubs. I didn't see anyone dancing the Charleston, unfortunately. I must go back some time.)
Shuron began making its famous 'browline' sunglasses in 1947. The first browline frame— where the top of the frame is thicker and of plastic and a metal frame holds the lens below — was the Ronsir; and, as it's still available, it's safe to say that it's a classic.
The browline model you see here is the Ronsir Escapades in tortoise.
If Alain Delon didn't wear a pair in Plein Soleil — and I'm picturing him in a pair — he could easily have done so, and they would have suited him so well.
Shuron created their MacArthur sunglasses (top) for the U.S. armed forces during the Second World War. The 58 model has a 12K gold frame and mother of pearl browbar. A fabulous pair of sunglasses. I want.
Saturday, 12 July 2014
When it comes to holiday reading, you probably don't need to look further than the big three: Fleming, Christie and Wodehouse. You can add a dash of Highsmith to the mix. But why not read some Tweed this summer too? What do I mean? Do I have tweed on the brain? Yes and no; I'm actually talking about Tweed Magazin, my favourite German-language magazine dedicated to all that is civilised and chap-like.
Ein Gutes Buch
Tweed is loaded with articles of interest to any Anglophile gentleman. You'll find pieces on style, travel, tweedy living, tweedy people, classic motor cars, watches, John Nettles, cigars.
I spotted an article on our good friends at the Chelsea Farmer's Club. You'll also find intelligence on German cities, the gen on shops and whatnot.
You might also come across an interesting character named 'Troddle', seen here enjoying a drop of 'Neslon's blood'. He seems a decent sort, though I'm not sure I would have worn black shoes with those trousers.
The Bernhard Roetzel
Bernhard Roetzel, a Berlin-based writer, contributes to the magazine. Roetzel is famous for writing on British style. His book Gentleman. A Timeless Guide to Fashion [Amazon] is an excellent guide to classic men's style. British Tradition and Interior Design [Amazon] is also worthy of space on your bookshelf.
If you like The Tweed Pig, you're sure to enjoy Tweed Magazin. It makes for a fine holiday read.
Tweed on the beach, who would have thought it?
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
They keep doing it. The Merchant Fox must be reading our collective mind (which we're developing, I can assure you). They've made available the ultimate khakee trousers we're all seeking; and not only that, they've released a cloth with the right feel and colour we'd like to match as a sporting blazer.
I've always spelled it 'khaki'. Following The Merchant Fox's lead, I herewith desist. But there are numerous spellings:
The colour of the trousers here is the traditional British khakee (or 'military drab') colour, which is darker than the colour generally associated with khakee trousers. The Merchant Fox do a lighter version too.
Kahkee serge was adopted by the British army in the 19th century; the drab chosen as the 'best colour for invisibility' when replacing the 'glorious British Scarlet' in conflict.
The cotton cloth is yarn-dyed and made by a British military manufacturer in Lancashire. Looking up close, and weighing in at nearly 8 ounces, the cloth seems as robust as you could possibly want in civvy street.
The blazer to go with your new khakee trousers will be constructed of Fox Brothers' Lightweight Bright Navy Flannel, an 8/9 ounces cloth; it's lighter than the Classic Navy Fox Flannel, which weighs in at 13/14 ounces.
The example shown in the photograph at the top is constructed by Attolini, the Neopolitan tailor involved with one of our favourite films, The Great Beauty.
Monday, 7 July 2014
A Passion for Tailoring
In this interview, James Sleater of Cad and the Dandy explains how it is a passion for English tailoring that ultimately drives the business.
Sit the Course
If you haven't done so, you must sit the Suit Buying Course that Cad & the Dandy put together for us.
As you can see from the video clip, these chaps mean business.
Get the Suit
Now 'suitably' knowledgeable, you can walk right in to 13, Savile Row (where you'll find Cad & the Dandy on the first floor) and have yourself measured for a thornproof two-piece.
John Baker (top), Savile Row 'ace face' at Cad and the Dandy, might be there to greet you.
Friday, 4 July 2014
Oda of Canterbury
Might I extend a firm, manly handshake across the Atlantic today as our readers in the colonies celebrate independence from their benevolent mother country. Over here in the UK we can celebrate the feast day of Oda of Canterbury (958). Everyone's a winner.
On this day, might we suggest wearing a shirt with an impeccable American pedigree?
Hamilton Shirts of Houston
Hamilton Shirts have been in the shirt biz since 1883. The company is still family-run and based in Houston, Texas, to provide us with the provenance and heritage we seek. Hamilton make bespoke and ready-to-wear shirts.
You would certainly want a blue Oxford shirt (above). Hand cut and sewn in the USA, the shirt is made from Italian cotton and has mother of pearl buttons. Built to last many 4ths of July.
Billed as 'America's finest dress shirt', I'm liking the Pink Bengal Stripe with cutaway collar (below). I'm sure if I squeezed hard enough I could explain why pink is an appropriate colour for Independence Day, but my teapot and plate of biscuits are beckoning.
I raise a hot cup of lapsang souchong and point it in a westerly direction. From all at The Tweed Pig, wishing you a pleasant Independence Day.
The 'Mincing Rascal' Celebrates
We're celebrating the 4th of July (and pandering outrageously to our American readers). And what better way than with a corn cob pipe like the one used by General MacArthur? Wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses, and clenching a corn cob pipe steadfastly in his resolute jaw, surely MacArthur — in the photograph above — embodies (in some vague way) all that we hold dear about the USA.
The Missouri Meerschaum Company produced MacArthur's pipes, and still make them in the US today.
The straight stem version (below) is unfiltered and has a natural bowl. Fill one with some Virginia brightleaf and start embodying.
Monday, 30 June 2014
A most enjoyable little film from 'CBS Sunday Morning' (below) celebrating the dandy from a mostly Anglo-American perspective, and promoting a top-hole book on modern-day dandies called I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman [Amazon] by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams.
Our dear Beau Brummell is rightly mentioned as the father of all dandyism. Britain's own Willy Wonka gets a deserved mention too.
New York jazz singer Dandy Wellington (above) stands out in the film with his 'Harlem dandy' aesthetic. Imagine if we all were to take such time over our appearance? Bliss would it be in that dawn to be alive. I suspect Dandy inspires us all to try sock suspenders (once and for all). Thurston do a good range.
Saturday, 28 June 2014
We now interrupt The Tweed Pig to bring you an advertisement for Foad's moustache wax.
Now that's an advertisement. Actually, we 're not really interrupting anything. What's The Tweed Pig if it isn't a a series of strung-together interruptions? We're probably preventing you from doing something more meaningful right now.
For Your Top Lip Display
Foad's moustache wax is handmade by London-based Pat Foad. He sells two varieties of wax: the firmer, more sculptural Foad Wax, which is made from British beeswax; and the softer Toad Satin Wax (above). The Toad Satin Wax is a shinier affair, made with Jojoba wax and captivating unguents. Foad reckons the softer wax can be used on beard or noggin hair just as well.
Filthy Swing from the Top Shelf Band
You're wondering about the excellent band used in the advertisement? They're the Top Shelf Band, 'errant princelings from the Vaudeville Otherworld'.
They play 'filthy swing', which is the sort of music that demands the application of moustache wax when you listen to it — even if you don't have a moustache.
You should book them for your next do.
And if you're looking for a Fez, and I think you are, try our friends at Tails.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
I invested in this Hermès heavy silk printed tie to go with the Cordings pink trousers I keep going on about (here and here). Hermès, established in 1837 by the German-born Thierry Hermès, is still an independent French company (although LVMH, who own a small stake, are reputedly hovering to take it over). Up to 2006 a Hermès family member headed the firm.
Hermès licenses no products, retaining control from design to manufacture.The company supports traditional manufacturing and eschews mass-production techniques that compromise on their commitment to quality. They do not discount and they do not pass their products to resellers. Caveat emptor, gentlemen.
We are interested in their John Lobb footwear business, which they incorporated in 1976.
We are also interested in their ties, which are hand-rolled or folded and constructed meticulously from the finest silk yarns that they also use for their famous scarves.
Monday, 23 June 2014
Fortnum's Cricketer Gingerbread Biscuit (above).
Traditional Cricket Kit
Slowly we are closing in on the ultimate traditional cricketing kit, which handily doubles as perfect weekend wear for the less sporting.
Alan Paine gave us the traditional England cricket sweater.
Merchant Fox gave us their incredible cricket flannels.
A ex-pat reader was grateful for these recommendations, but he wondered how we could fill the shirt-shaped gap? We're looking for a shirt similar to the one worn by Mike Brearley, ex-England cricketer, in the photo above.
Note: We're using Mike Brearley as a template for the consummate cricketing gentleman. I maintain that he took to the field sporting a white cravat on occasion, but I can't find a photo to prove this.
Shirt-wise, we're thinking this one below from Darcy Clothing is pretty close, but do let us know if you've spotted others. The shirt is constructed of soft and lightweight cotton drill.
Anything else to add to our kit? Perhaps a splash of MCC 'egg and bacon' striping?