Archive | April, 2012

give three piece a chance pt.2

27 Apr

Now if you subscribe to the Bertie Wooster school of sartorial styling (technically, I think you can probably only aspire to the Wooster school of style, as actually reaching those dizzy heights is beyond even the most sophisticated gents capabilities), you’ll probably be aware that along with a pair of brogues on your feet and a stiff G&T in hand, the must have accompaniment for any gentleman’s suit is a close clean shave and a quality haircut.

Amongst my more follically challenged friends, I have what they might describe as a very positive problem – lots of very thick, gravitationally opposed hair (sods law says that this post will kick start the onset of my male pattern baldness).

So a good barber that can help with the only element on my head I can easily change for the better is an imperative, which makes Gentlemen’s Tonic hidden away on Saville Row such a find.

I think because it’s nestled within Gieves & Hawkes at No.1 Saville Row, people don’t necessarily know it’s there. So for me who leaves booking appointments to the very last minute it’s one of those rare as hen’s teeth barbers, one where you can call up in the morning and get an appointment for 1pm that lunchtime.

If it wasn’t blatantly obvious from the name of the establishment, Gentlemen’s Tonic caters male grooming needs, and a wide variety at that. From barbershop classics such as traditional wet shaves, complimentary shoe shines to sports massages in a dedicated therapy room, pretty much the only thing they don’t have on site is a quartet.

Apart from cutting hair very well (ask for Mark) it pulls off the male grooming experience with aplomb. Neither too metro-sexual or too “laddie”, its traditional chairs, tiling, pots of barbicide and cut throat razors give the interior a really sharp edge (bad pun I know).

On my last visit I was quizzing Mark about wet shaves and how to shave properly. Given the average man will spend 5 months of his life shaving, I’ve never been taught the proper approach, and after reading Mark’s top tips (given to everyone who has a wet shave) I’ve realised that even if I have umpteen blades on my Gillette razor, I won’t get a closer shave without a few basic skills.

If you’re a lady reading this (firstly thanks for showing interest in this very male focused post), I’d 100% recommend buying a male companion the experience of a traditional barbers wet shave for a present.

I imagine it’s equivalent of us buying you ladies a massage/facial.. it’s pampering, but with an unequivocally masculine edge (there’s really dangerous blades involved.. grrr.). Also for us men it has an added bonus – a perfect excuse not to shave for three days beforehand…

a song for friday lovers…

27 Apr

A beautiful cover of The Flamingos “I only have eyes for you” by Beck…

You’ll probably recognise part of the melody as The Fugees sampled it on “Zealots” from their album The Score.. happy Friday everyone.

a right royal c**k up

26 Apr

Don’t think we need to say a lot about this, and well to be frank we’re pretty much lost for words.. the best tourist tat find ever?

 

Not only is fantastic for the obvious mistake that makes it “So Special”, but turn it around and the commemorative message raises the “Lolz” level that little bit higher.

 

So I imagine you’re wondering who produced such a delightful cup to acknowledge the anniversary?

Well that would be Ye Olde English Drinware, Guangdong Province, PRC

Head to one of those tourist tat shops in Bayswater / Queensway to reserve your very special edition today (cash only, no bartering).

 

give three piece a chance pt.1

26 Apr

With the other half of the His and Hers working in the vicinity of Saville Row, and this half’s predilection for forgetting house keys/mobiles/wallets, it’s of a fairly high frequency that I find myself wandering along one of the most refined streets in London town to collect my brain possessions.

Seeing the master tailors at work and the sharp, sophisticated suits displayed in the windows of these purveyors of fine fabrics is enough to make me want to purge my wardrobe of any denim and take to tailored trousers forevermore.

Much to the delight of the hoardes of hormonal teenagers visiting from mainland Europe but to the chagrin of everyone else, on the corner of Saville Row and Burlington Gardens is A&F. If you’re not aware (count yourself lucky) they are a retailer of heavily branded garments which are churned out cut in a somewhat more relaxed fit.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it is now planning to expand and encroach on to Saville Row itself, setting up a “baby” version of their store on the old site of Apple Records (a crime akin to treason itself in some circles). Rumours abound that their next expansion plan is to replace the Queen’s Foot Guards with the washboard stomach wankersarriors that flex to attention at the doors of their stores at present.

However, us Brits aren’t going to take this seizure of our streets lying down. No! we’re going to put on our best tweeds, twiddle our ‘taches and take to the streets (with a healthy supply of rough shag for the pipe and whisky in the flask of course).

Photo: Matt Dunham / AP

Brilliantly the chaps at er.. The Chap magazine organised this fantastic protest in an attempt to stem the tide of “sweat” shirts from Saville Row, and preserve its history and expertise in tailoring… By proxy I think they also raised awareness about the dangers of what leaving the confines of the home or gym wearing ill fitting sports wear can do to ones reputation.

Also situated on Saville Row a His and Hers hidden gem.. but more on that tomorrow, as I’ve now got to rush off and starch my collars.

a wednesday riddle

25 Apr

So. What happens if you cycle past this particular purveyor of fine goods twice a day, five days a week?

I think you might just accidentally find yourself purchasing this little number…


I think I need to change my cycling route. Maybe.

Miu Miu: 150 New Bond Street. London W1S 2TU

herby goodness

24 Apr

I once read an interview with a high profile chef who said “never trust anyone who recommends using dried herbs in a recipe”. Now I couldn’t be any more on board with using fresh herbs, as flat leaf parsley is basically the only concealer of my otherwise bland creations..

Sometimes however, getting your hands on bread and milk can be a struggle in my local supermarket, let alone fresh tarragon or oregano, so unfortunately Nigel, dried herbs often do come into the equation..


I always used to buy bunches of herbs, but not use them in one go. So I’d store them in my fridge only to find them limp and dank a day or so later and pretty unappealing to use.

Now I’m not sure if this is a common trick, but I was taught by a wise Greek Cypriot this method for keeping your herbs perfectly fresh, which has been used from times as far back as to when Greece didn’t have a budget deficit (longer than anyone can remember).

So, simply cut the end of the bunch of the herbs

Pop them in a fresh glass of water

Ideally stick a sandwich/ freezer bag over the herbs (we’d run out so I used a normal carrier bag).

Pop it in the fridge, and voila your herbs will stay fresh for days (just remember to change the water regularly)… bland food banished, and celebrity chef kudos ahoy!

 

 

heading south to northside

23 Apr

I am in Melbourne for a couple of weeks and there are a few little haunts that I just can’t miss when I’m in town. One of them is Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, which is home to a clutch of great little shops, restaurants and Northside Records – the “best record store in the world” (The Next Men’s words, not mine).

Ollie’s post on Friday about Record Store Day spurred me on to see how the celebrations went down at Northside. Run by one of Melbourne’s favourite DJs, DJ Chris Gill, Northside is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

To celebrate Record Store Day, Northside had amazing instore appearances from Kurtis Blow, Maseo from De La Soul, The Putbacks and The Psyde Projects. DJs were also playing all day. Chris was having so much fun he was late for a family wedding – so late that he had to divebomb into a pew just as the bride started walking up the aisle. You can imagine how that went down.

Judging by the tunes blaring out of Northside today, it seems Chris doesn’t really need Record Store Day as an excuse to have a good time, but to celebrate a decade of supporting soul – new, old and reinvented – Chris assures me there will be non stop parties all year long.

With previous instores by The Bamboos, The Congos, Eddie Palmieri and loads of Melburnian up-and-comers, I think record lovers can be confident he will be true to his word.

Northside Records – 236 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy, +61 3 9417 7557