Friday, 28 September 2012

Kipling, Exceedingly Good Beer - Thornbridge Brewery

Thornbridge - Kipling

Kipling from the Thornbridge Brewery, England is a terrific pale ale. Sampled in laboratory-like conditions at Tweed Towers here are the results of our tasting:

The ale is very light in colour and produces a creamy head on pouring. Getting the snout in the glass, the aroma is a sensation. Billed as a South Pacific pale ale, you get the scent of grapefruit and pineapple putting the salivary glands in squirt mode. The ale is light-bodied and the taste is hoppy and fruity with a pleasant tang. Beer experts might mention the nice lacing from the head.

Do try it.

About Thornbridge Brewery

Thornbridge began in 2005, starting in a 10-barrel brewery, housed in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, Ashford-in-the-Water near Bakewell, Derbyshire, England. In 7 years they've won countless beer awards and competitions.

Tweedy Facts: As I've mentioned before, Bakewell is home to the famous Bakewell pudding - most commonly referred to as a tart. Almondy, delicious things. You've also got Brocklehursts in town and their excellent Tunstead moleskin trousers.      

Continuing at Thornbridge, they also have a second 30-barrel brewery at Bakewell, which opened in September 2009. Their guiding principle is "innovation, passion, knowledge" and they apply it to brewing and developing high quality cask, keg and bottled beers - innovating in the brewing process and use of ingredients.

The Award-Winning Jaipur IPA

Mention must be made of Thornbridge's Jaipur India Pale Ale. Described as "meadow in a glass", Jaipur IPA was recently named in the Top 50 Food and Drink within the UK in the Guild of Fine Food’s annual Great Taste accreditation scheme. Congratulations Thornbridge.

Thornbridge Pubs

Thornbridge also manages 12 pubs and bars in the Sheffield and North Derbyshire area. Thornbridge recognise the important role pubs play in their communities. Unlike the big high-street chains, it's not all about targeting and encouraging binge-drinking teenagers to maximise profits nor destroying the historic fabric of pubs that they commandeer.

As Simon Webster, Thornbridge’s Chief Operating Officer say, “We try to develop each of our venues in a way that suits either the local community or specific communities of beer, music and art.”

We like to hear the views of industry insiders on the future of British pubs. Andy Buchanan, Marketing Manager at Thornbridge, feels the government has not been particularly pub-friendly:

"On the question of pub closures, there are a multitude of factors causing this but the one I would highlight is the increase in beer duty- 43% in the past 5 years which makes the role of the publican much more difficult."

Hidden Gem - Bath Hotel Sheffield

Thornbridge's latest pub is the Bath Hotel in Sheffield. The pub is a CAMRA heritage listed pub, with an interior barely touched since the 30s. Thornbridge is committed to respecting the history of the pub and quietly invigorating it. The interior could serve as a template for how to create a perfect city pub ambiance. (Who really enjoys the cavernous open-plan bars where noise echoes around the generally minimalist interiors and it's difficult to talk?) It gets a serious Tweedy thumbs-up. Old Town should do one of their photo shoots in there.

As it isn't a tied house, they'll be showcasing the best British cask and keg beers. Thornbridge was recently judged best pub operating micro brewery by The Publican magazine.

Simon says of the Bath Hotel:

"It's great to see Sheffield become a national centre for beer and pubs. I often felt that we were an outpost fighting a lost cause, but now see that things have turned around with more and more people enjoying the ever increasing variety of beers now available and as always a great place to drink it - I'll certainly be visiting the Bath to enjoy both."

How to Pull a Perfect Pint of Beer

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Timeless is Golden - Button Cufflinks

Gratitude for Workmanlike Cufflinks

An Italian reader asked whether I was a button man or a cufflink man when it came to shirts. He seemed to think the cufflink had gone the way of the dodo in Italy. They're not big double-cuff wearers in Italy, it has to be said. In short I wear both - single-cuff buttoned and double-cuff linked - and consider links not just for dress shirts. My own personal criteria for wearing links is that the shirt needs something on top for the cuff to peak out of, be that a jacket or a sweater.

Cufflinks and a Single Cuff: It is possible to wear links with an appropriate single-cuff shirt, if you like a loose feel - and I won't stop you, in fact good on you for choosing something a bit different. Though I'm not convinced.

The 18ct gold button cufflinks (above and below) are my 'go-to' links. They were a very well received wedding present. I'm not sure where they were made, but the simplicity of the design means I return to them time and again.

Perfect on a crisp white shirt, the chain-linked buttons have a brushed finish on the inner circle. You can find similar ones with 'stitching' in place, but I like the clean unadorned look of these. They don't demand overly formal dress.

I don't want the cufflink to make any kind of statement on its own, but to provide a little detail to the attire that surrounds it, be that a suit or just a sweater. And in the week we're celebrating our wedding anniversary they've being doing that assiduously for a number of years. Thank you cufflinks. It was worth getting married after all.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mr Timothy Foxx's Marvelous Tweed

Scouting for Tweed

Summer's pretty much over and we can all get back to wearing clothes again. (Must get some net curtains.) Most importantly, we can start layering up the tweed. Fact: Everyone loves a man or woman in tweed, whether that's Miss Marple or Andre 3000.

I'm scouting for tweed in all its forms. To this effect, we have a new name for you today - Timothy Foxx Clothing - "purveyors of exceptionally eccentric clothing specialising in tweed".

About Timothy Foxx Clothing

Timothy Foxx Clothing is based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. It was established three years ago by young designer Rosalie Eustace, who named the company after a childhood toy.

90% of its production is British-based. Some of the production is in Wales, some at the Foxx HQ. All the tweed is sourced from Scotland.

(Licking lips) I spy tattersall, tweed, moleskin. Yum.

The Rupert Jacket in Duke Tweed

The pattern of the tweed on the Rupert Jacket jacket is unique to Timothy Foxx. Rosalie works in collaboration with the Scottish mill to bring fresh colours and patterns to her tweed designs. The Duke tweed is a pale based green with a subtle red and blue check running through it.

The single-breasted jacket is two-button fastening and has a double vent at the back. The collar is lined with bright red Melton fabric and has a matching red button hole. The lining of the breast pocket is designed to pull out to show off the navy spotted cotton inside.

This is the most popular men's item of Timothy Foxx.

The Yard Shirt

The tailored Yard Shirt - in olive and blue or straw, red and blue tattersall - is designed to accompany the Rupert jacket. The detail is simple with branded shirt buttons and a small brown outer label.

Made from British cotton fabric, it is hand-crafted in a small workshop in Wales - where the majority of the Timothy Foxx products are made. A team of 4 Welsh ladies - sipping Welsh tea and eating Welsh cakes, no doubt - do the cutting and sewing.

Tweedy's Teaser: Stay tuned for a feature on one of the finest Welsh heritage labels celebrating a milestone in its history this year. We'll be celebrating with them...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Music to Button a Cardigan By - English House

Kings of Convenience

Continuing the Music to Button a Cardigan By series, we bring you Kings of Convenience. In many ways the Norwegian duo are the quintessence of what we're looking for in cardigan-donning music. You don't want anything too raucous as you push that corozo button into place.

The name of the Kings' second album is Quiet is the New Loud, and neatly sums up their sound. Gentle guitar-based melodies and almost whispered vocals.

We take a favourite tune of ours from their eponymous first album - English House. You can just smell the damp of the cold and drafty place they romantically describe in the lyrics. Who needs triple-glazed UPVC windows? Give me peeling sash windows and good thermal underwear any day of the week.

We actually pestered them to record a video of this song. It came to nothing, but you don't know until you ask.

Tweedy's Plea: Know any good cardigan music or musicians we should pester? Or good cardigans for that matter? Do let us know.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It's Finished - Linley Desk

Mind Boggling Detail

Remember the Horse Guards Parade Desk that Linley were crafting to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee? We brought you a possible world exclusive on the design, which includes an architectural miniature of the Horse Guards’ Building in London on the surface.

That's right, we all wondered how it would look in the 'flesh'. Well they've only gone and finished it and there it is below. The mind boggles at the hours of workmanship to get those details right.

And you'll have a chance to own this unique piece. It's being auctioned off later this year for the Royal Foundation. If you do become the lucky owner, do let us know. I still think it's crying out for a little toy soldier parade. Make sure you do that for us, eh?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Linley Collaborations at the London Design Festival

Linley, the London cabinet-maker and design company, has launched Linley Collaborations as part of the London Design Festival 2012.

Linley Collaborations aims to feed innovation and give new perspectives on traditional cabinet-making by bringing in the unique visions of select designers. 

The impressive fruits of the first collaborations, with designers Rolf Sachs and Alex Hull, can be seen in London at Linley's Belgravia office in Pimlico Road during the festival.

Rolf Sachs

The Rolf Sachs x Linley collaboration presents the Q-UBES Library (top). Using Rolf's highly functional design, Linley has crafted the piece as individual elements that can be configured in any number of ways, like building blocks.

The inspiration for the Stack-ed Desk (below) is of a pile of freshly cut timber. The layered panels of wood receive minimal treatment and feature no nails or screws.

Alex Hull

The Alex Hull x Linley collaboration sees a reworking of Linley's classic writing desk. The EQUUS desk pares down the original shape, using advanced composite work and traditional cabinet-making techniques. As with many Linley originals, where you often find a secret drawer or compartment, the walnut centre panel in the desk rotates to reveal a secret pen holder.

LINLEY COLLABORATIONS at LINLEY, 60 Pimlico Road on 19th-26th September 2012 10am – 6pm; late opening Thursday 20th until 8pm.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Hilditch & Key - Bold in Stripes

Hilditch & Key Striped Shirt

A red striped shirt, maybe a Bengal stripe of equal width. Essential for anyone's wardrobe. With white collar and cuffs, we'd better raise that to doubly essential. Hilditch & Key have a smasher that fits this particular bill. Intended as a formal but everyday shirt, washable collar bones are sewn in.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The stripes match throughout the shirt.

Red and Green? Are You Bonkers, Tweedy?

With the canvas of a navy blazer, why not match with a green silk tie from Hilditch? Yes, that's right, red and green. The old adage about red and green should never be seen makes no sense. Try telling that to a holly bush. Colours rarely clash in nature. And, throwing the book of adages away, let's go spots and stripes while we're at it.

Hilditch Intelligence: Karl Lagerfeld and His Famous High-Collared Shirts

Guess who makes Karl Lagerfeld's famous high-collared shirts? You probably know it's Hilditch & Key, as we're talking about it here and he name drops them at any opportunity. An extremely loyal fan, they've been making his shirts since he was 16. He has thousands, and they tend to have a white collar, but I've seen a few stripes amongst them. We may be ripping up the rule book somewhat, but I think the 'Lagerfeld' collar is for the man himself and the man alone.

Tweedy's Thought: Maybe I should come up with my own shirt collar shape? I don't favour small collars and I like a deep collar. That's a starting point... 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End

Try it with Afternoon Tea

The new adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's novel of social change Parade's End is going down a treat at Tweed Towers. A handsome production and currently showing on the BBC. With the wonders of technology, we're moving our viewing time to Sunday afternoon. Ties in nicely with a leisurely afternoon tea. I'm not sure if it's showing in the U.S.A. yet, but HBO are distributors. I'm sure it will be lapped up like Downton Abbey.

I found Downton enjoyable but more of a soap-opera. Parade's End is meatier adult fare thanks to Tom Stoppard's magnificent screenplay. No jarring slips into modern idioms or voguish attempts at wooing a broad audience mean it will age well too. Quality, gents.

Benedict Cumberbatch is superb, as always, playing the lead role as English conventionalist Christopher Tietjens. He has somehow managed to gurn his fizzog into a period profile.

Reigning at the Parade

We couldn't let the production slip by without a few clothes shots. Detail is all and the costume people have paid attention to every button and tie clip. I do like those high-buttoned Edwardian/pre-war jackets.

Good beardwork from Rupert James Hector Everett in a very Peckham Rye kind of scarf.

Ford Madox Ford in Song

The Booklovers from the charming and classic chamber-pop album Promenade by The Divine Comedy name checks Ford Madox Ford. I wouldn't think many other songs do.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Yardley Man

Yardley - First Gentlemen's Fragrance in Six Years

The Yardley name as perfumers was established in 1770, making it one of the oldest soap and perfumery names in existence. The brand had been struggling with direction of late, but it's now under the careful stewardship of the Wipro group who are hoping to revive its fortunes.

I spoke a while back extolling the virtues of Yardley's now defunct Lavender Brilliantine and wondering why there wasn't a bigger men's range. I'd like to say that Yardley has listened. But that would be pompous and inaccurate. Anyway, they have finally released a new range of men's grooming products - the Citrus & Wood Collection.

Citrus and Wood - Exactly

I've been trying the Citrus & Wood Eau de Toilette. You can see it in the picture above enjoying a long weekend with me in Lynmouth, Devon. It rained a lot. You make the best of a bad job though, and with a plate of crab sandwiches and a pint of Tribute ale it was rather pleasant to watch the rain hammering on the windows of The Rising Suna 14th Century pub overlooking Lynmouth harbour.

Back to Yardley. I must say, in terms of my expectations, it punches way above its weight. Refreshing and clean, the scent combines zest of bergamot and limes with peppery spice, cedar and sandalwood. A fine return to form from this classic house. Rather than recommending Yardley raise the price on this gem, I'd sooner recommend you buy it. Consider fortunes revived.

Tweedy's Plea: I ran out of my Yardley Lavender Brilliantine eventually. Let's hope that makes a comeback too... 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tweed Pig Pin-Up - Johnny King

Johnny King - Moustache Wax Maker

Who said the Pin-Up series doesn't have legs? A terrific one this time. A new dear friend of The Tweed Pig, Johnny King.

We got to know Johnny through The Handlebar Club. As well as being a member of The Handlebar Club, Johnny is the owner and producer of Mr King’s Marvellous Moustache Wax. He lives in Reading, Berkshire, England.

About the Photo - A Moustache Journey

Johnny explains the photo:

"In this photo I was modelling for a clothing company called Paris in Cuffs. I am wearing my vintage Francesco Fasanotti Italian bowler hat, purchased from eBay, I love it! On inspecting the hat’s condition, I discovered the original receipt inside the leather sweat band, dated 1923 which made this purchase even more special.

"Although I am pictured wearing a suit and very much enjoy this look (which I often go for when attending the monthly Handlebar Club meetings), I don’t dress like this on daily basis, preferring a more unstructured look; jeans, a swag tee, fresh kicks and a cap. People often don’t think that a moustache goes with a more street look!

"I started growing my moustache just over a year ago, although I had always had some sort of facial hair, usually a beard of some size. I was due to attend a friend’s wedding, whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, so I decided to shave the beard off. Whilst shaving I played around with different styles and eventually decided to go with a 40’s pencil moustache. On arrival at the wedding it soon became apparent that no-one understood the look I was going for and instead the insults started, such as “Hitler” and “what have you come as” et cetera. The comments upset me at the time, which led to me wanting to shave it off, but something inside just wanted to stay true to who I was and to not follow the herd. On my way to work the following Monday I saw an old chap with a handlebar moustache, I just loved it and at that point my moustache journey began!"

Finding a Decent Moustache Wax

Johnny tried a number of different moustache waxes and found that none really worked for him. He decided to try and make his own. After months of research, trial and error he settled on his recipe for Mr King's Marvellous Moustache Wax

Take it away Johnny:

"I gave a few tins out to some members of The Handlebar Club to try and received great feedback, so I decided to see if any would sell. On the first day of sale I sold several tins and I was amazed! After that the orders just kept coming in and now I have stockists from around the world!"

Handlebar Moustache Care

Johnny's tips for a perfect handlebar moustache:
  • Wash the moustache everyday
  • Condition the moustache a couple of times a week (regular shampoo and conditioner is fine).
  • Comb the moustache several times to make it smooth and even
  • Apply wax and style.
Once applied, Johnny's wax has a secret ingredient that is renowned for its ability to condition hair and replace oils that when lost can cause drying and split ends.

Come on, Grow a Moustache

Johnny offers some encouragement to those men who have always kept the upper-lip uncovered:

"I think all men should grow a moustache at some point in their life, even if it’s just for Movember, though a month is not really long enough to grow a proper 'tache. It’s known that 100 days is needed to grow a good moustache. But the best way to get a nice moustache without having the embarrassment of having a lame one for a while is to grow a beard then shave it off and just leave the moustache! Once you have a great moustache and decide to keep it, then you can apply to be a member of The Handlebar Club - which I am a very proud to be a part of."

How Can I Get Some of Johnny's Marvellous Wax?

You can purchase Johnny's wax and Mr King's t-shirts on his website, which includes a blog and directions for applying the wax.

Johnny is happy to hear from you if you have any questions regarding his wax or even if you're looking for tips and support for growing a moustache that would get you into The Handlebar Club.

Be a Pin-up: Nice tweed 'whistle'? Decent 'tache? Get in touch, you sound like pin-up material to me.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Goodwood Revival

Gentility and Sport - A Winning Combination

The Goodwood Revival at Goodwood, West Sussex, England, brings three days of motor racing festivity to the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit this week.

The Revival captures the romance of the circuit's heyday between 1948 and 1966. Besides classic sports car and single-seater races (when no modern vehicles are allowed within the circuit perimeter throughout the festival), all circuit staff dress in appropriate period clothing from the 40s and 50s. Spectators are encouraged to do likewise.


From the range of Goodwood Revival products, how about these to get you in the gear-changing, clutch-pressing, horn honking mood?
  • 16oz Silk Scarf with hand-tied tassels
  • Leather driving gloves with Goodwood buttons
  • Rozalex No.1 Barrier Cream (A collaboration with Goodwood)

Friends at the Goodwood Revival

Lots of specialist retailers will be on site at the Goodwood Revival. You will see some of our friends at the specially erected Revival Market and High Street, such as Cordings of PiccadillyHunters & Frankau and James Lock and Co.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Here Come the Girls - British Girl Singers of the 60s

There Came the Girls

Here Come The Girls was a 10-album series comprising hundreds of obscure and forgotten fem pop and girl group songs from the 1960s. The albums were released between 1990 and 1999 on the Sequel and Castle labels, imprints of Sanctuary Records.

Most of the tracks in the series are by British singers. Not all tracks are hidden gems. Most have a perky charm, the odd one should remain rightly out of general earshot, but some are absolute classics-in-waiting.

The albums are out of print now. But I know you. You're resourceful. You'll find a way of listening to them and sifting out the gems.

Tammy St. John

One of the stand out tracks on Volume 1 is Tammy St. John's version of Dark Shadows and Empty Hallways.

Originally out on Pye Records in 1965, Essex girl Tammy, real name Judith Coster, was just 14 when she recorded this song of loss and loneliness. She gives the words an intensity beyond her years. The song was written by Fangette Wilson who also wrote The Northern Soul classic It's An Uphill Climb To The Bottom. Super song titles.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Elegant Male - Worsted and Talc

The Well-groomed Man in 1950s Britain

Here's a charming little clip from our friends at British Pathé entitled The Elegant Male. Click here or on the image below to watch it.

Don't Smell of Compost Heaps

Contributors to the clip offer some interesting advice on male grooming. Try not to smell of "compost heaps", says one.

That's how not to smell. So how should an elegant male smell? Of "tweed and pipes" and "fresh beer", suggests actress and singer Cicely Courtneidge.

Cicely Knows Her Men

Here we see Cicely performing in top hat and tails in the The Soldiers of the King from 1934. Perhaps, for authenticity, she's smelling of fresh beer too.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Back to Work

The tan may still be there and the sand still lodged in your espadrilles, but it's now time to knuckle-down to some work. You need work clothes that don't scream, well, anything (yet everything) - the British way - timeless classics.

Bowler Hat - Bates Hats

Sensible Haircut

Neckband Shirt - New & Lingwood

Classic Neck Band Collar - New & Lingwood

Cufflinks - Delfina Delettrez

Pinstripe Suit - Dege & Skinner

Carnation Buttonhole

Braces - Albert Thurston

Silk Tie - Drake's London

Wool Socks - Pantherella

Black Oxford Shoes - Foster & Son

Gold Pocket Watch and Chain

Trench Coat - Mackintosh

Attaché Case - Foster & Son

Umbrella - Fox Umbrellas

Silver Hip Flask - William & Son

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