Monday, 1 September 2014
"I kiss at last the beloved ground of my land..."
Il Ritorno di Ringo [Amazon] — Ennio Morricone with vocal by Maurizio Graf.
And so, suitably dressed, Tweedy slipped quietly back into his routines. He sipped his tea. The tea was strong, loose-leaf breakfast tea. He needed a clear head. He lifted a shortbread biscuit to his lips and crunched with determination. It was time to begin.
A good, restful holiday (and news blackout) can take off the years more successfully than hair dye and a corset. I spent much of my time floating around in the sea like a plank, wonderfully inactive. Planks have a good life.
Tweedy's Beach Thoughts: Two things help guarantee a good holiday location. Property developers haven't spotted its potential as a place to lure in oligarchs and princelings and priced the locals out. And secondly, the fashion-industrial complex hasn't spotted its potential as a fashion backdrop, then shuttled in vacuous fashion avatars — like Alexa Chung or Olivia Palermo (or whatever their names are, they're entirely interchangeable) — to proclaim the place 'hip'.
Pity the airport experience was so tiresome on the return. We don't expect swaying and chanting peons hurling rose petals in welcome. We wouldn't want the fuss. But can we not expect a modicum of civility and politeness at our borders? When you treat people as suspects, any engagement will inevitably result in conflict.
I did manage to read our summer book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The film version should be remade. I'd start on the script, but Christmas is around the corner.
Friday, 1 August 2014
Don't be a Victim of Activity
Never wanting to become a 'victim of activity', as Michael Oakeshott might put it, it's time to padlock the gates at Tweed Towers for the summer and turn this pale skin an incarnadine red.
If you get too hot on your hols, I believe the general medical advice is to press an ice-cold glass of Sipsmith gin and tonic to your brow and relax on your terrace. Then you're meant to doze off listening to the distant chug of a small fishing boat trying to catch your dinner in the azure waters below.
Have a lovely, peaceful summer.
If you're struggling for diversions this summer, might we recommend the following? Firmly established, they're the kind of civilised events that help make the season.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo dates from 1950. Who knows what might happen to this event, and the Royal regiments that take part, should Scotland decide to walk away from the union? Get in quick.
Straight after Glorious Goodwood - which you should also attend — Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight is great fun whatever the weather. This event started in 1826, mainly because George IV liked messing about in boats.
Newport Jazz Festival
An American one. Newport Jazz Festival is 60 this year. If you can't attend the event in Newport, Rhode Island, content yourself by watching a film of the 1958 event — the wonderful Jazz on a Summer's Day [Amazon].
If you watch the film, do look out for the shaven-headed preppy prototypes in the audience and the timelessness of their appearance.
Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Bearable Lightness of Packing
It's almost time to put down the pen, strip out of the three-piece pinstripe suit, and slip into something more suited to a Mediterranean summer.
Packing shall be light of clothes and reading. I intend to read a little, but not enough to hurt me; most of the time shall be spent ice cream and lotus-eating. The new translation of Leopardi's Zibaldone [Amazon] can wait until Autumn, the reflective season.
Carefully Placed into the Globe-Trotter
Sunspel Polo and Orlebar Brown Trunks
Sunspel Polo and Chuc's Trunks
Sunspel Polo and Orlebar Brown Trunks
Sunspel Polo and Chuc's Trunks
Note that this colour of Riviera Polo is unavailable at present. I'm tapping the side of my nose as to how it came into my possession.
John Smedley Polo and Chuc's Trunks
Sunspel Polo, Anderson's Belt and Brooks Brothers Trousers
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Lie Back and Think of England
Don't look any further for the perfect towel to slip into your beach tote for a day at the beach. Travelteq say that they tried to create the best towel in the world, and I believe they've accomplished it.
The Travel Towel is made from Irish linen, and is available in various contrast colours in perfect pastel shades. It's a generous 2 x 1.45 metres. The width matters here. You can stake a claim to a decent-sized pitch on the beach, and lay out all your things without them rolling into the sand.
The towel is light. It's made in good old Amsterdam, where Travelteq are based. It has pockets for storing things. It can be used for picnics. I mean I could go on, but I'll just stay quiet and let you buy the bally thing.
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.