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Edith Sitwell
Features

Edith with Attitude

Hip-hop was invented by languid 1920s socialite Edith Sitwell, argues Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer. Hip-Hop, that much maligned and derided of cultural phenomena, officially turned 40 years old last summer. In August 1973, a chap called Clive played some records at a party in a recreation room on Sedgewick Avenue in the Bronx, to raise some money for his younger sister to buy a school uniform. It seems an awfully long trek from those altruistic beginnings to the hedge-funded, greed-and-lust-fuelled behemoth that hip-hop appears to be today. In the beginning, the disc jockey was king. Clive, or to give… Keep Reading

The Hermit
Features

Wild Thing

Emma Hughes: Nowadays, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Working days are interminable, BlackBerrys keep their owners tethered to the office and professions that were once looked upon as a gentle form of day-care for the feckless and inept are tightly regulated. Even journalists, for whom a gruelling shift traditionally consisted of knocking off a couple of dozen words before repairing to the nearest hostelry, have become 24-hour slaves to Twitter. If only there were an occupation that allowed you to be handsomely renumerated for sitting around all day doing absolutely nothing. It sounds like the… Keep Reading

Douglas Hayward
Features

Get Hayward

Will Smith, newly installed as head cutter at Hayward, recalls the illustrious cinematic creations of founder Douglas Hayward. Douglas Hayward was a tailor sometimes more renowned for his friendships with film stars than for the suits he cut. Starting out in his career at the same time as Terence Stamp and Michael Caine, both of whom were personal friends, meant that he was well placed to make the most of the burgeoning British film industry, and his suits were soon seen gracing the silver screen, protecting the modesty of some of the hippest sixties swingers in town. Hayward’s actual film credits… Keep Reading

Judge Threads
Features

Judge Threads

G Robert Ogilvy, a North American citizen, unashamedly passes judgement on the manner in which the people of today clothe themselves. A few weeks ago I was sitting in my car in a parking lot outside a drugstore  –  I had just read a trend piece in the New York Times lifestyle section and found myself suddenly in need of Alka-Seltzer  –  when I noticed a man pacing the sidewalk. Something about him drew my attention. He was wearing a double-vented beige sports coat and, as he turned, I suddenly noticed something poking through the jacket’s right vent: the butt… Keep Reading

Cricket Moustache
Features

Taches to Ashes

Steve Pittard: England’s ill-fated Ashes campaign featured an entourage worthy of a gangster rapper. Also, the team’s ridiculously detailed dietary nonsense – piri-piri breaded tofu with tomato salsa, if you please – equalled any precious pop diva’s riders. Yet nobody addressed the most elementary consideration of all… selecting players capable of growing a moustache. Captain Cook’s young shavers were all at sea against the lightning Mitchell Johnson (above), who brandished an impressive hairy horseshoe. Mitchell knocked England into a cocked hat and scooped up three ‘Man of the Match’ awards in the process. Everything’s coming up roses now for Mitchell… Keep Reading

Watches
Features

Watch Men

Rev’d Oliver Harrison: Somewhere between the vulgarity of checking the time on one’s phone and the sheer pomposity of tugging out a pocketwatch’s gold chain lies the wristwatch. And of all the accoutrements a man might acquire, it is surely his watch that says most about him. Here I must confess to a penchant for vintage timepieces. And of all the makes and models I like, it is old military ones and old English ones I love the best. Indeed, in a few examples, both criteria conspire to be present at once, like the overlapping circles of a Venn diagram:… Keep Reading

Cluedo
Features

Foul Play

Steve Pittard: Armchair sleuths tackling Cluedo this Christmas might be in for a shock. The traditional Hampshire country mansion has been bulldozed to make way for an Essex style gangster’s gaff. The library has gone, with an integrated garage in its stead. The biggest crime here is not Dr Black’s demise, but the wholesale killing of six treasured British icons. Chaps would sooner attend Abigail’s party than mix with these dreadful parvenus. The rot set in when a dartboard was mounted in the billiard room The tweedy Colonel Mustard has been cashiered; stripped of his rank and, worse still, his… Keep Reading

Overcoat
Features

Long Cuts

William Smith, newly installed as Head Cutter at Douglas Hayward, incredibly finds the time to pen an instructive tract on overcoats. As the nights draw in and the weather turns, the annual ritual of retrieving heavy, woollen overcoats from their summer hideaways begins. The heady scent of mothballs brings a feeling of impending frosty days, wrapped up against the elements; trusty tweed upon back and briar in hand. As well as protecting a finely pressed suit from the elements, the overcoat provides further warmth and is another weapon in the sartorial armoury, affording the wearer another opportunity to cut a… Keep Reading

Henry Cyril Paget
Features

The Dancing Marquess

Nathanial Adams: On 13th October 1898, the fourth Marquess of Anglesey died at the family seat of Plas Newydd, an estate won by the First Marquess for the price of one leg at Waterloo (his bloody trousers are still on exhibit there.) His heir, Henry Cyril Paget, was now the Fifth Marquess, newly-minted master of considerable wealth (about £110,000 per annum,) and property (about 30,000 acres.) The proud new owner surveyed his land and took the next logical step: he hired architects and decorators at great cost, converted the family chapel into a 150-seat theatre modeled on the Dresden Opera… Keep Reading

McDermott & McGough
Features

Anachronists in the USA

Nathaniel Adams: Our message,” says Peter McGough, “is about history and time and the trap of the calendar.” Since the 1970s, McGough and his partner David McDermott have been living in the past. Under the name McDermott and McGough, they have been making art – painting, performance, film, photography – about time. In those early years they were a conspicuous fixture on the Downtown New York City art scene, along with the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel. But McDermott and McGough didn’t just take old wet plate photographs and stretch and prime their own canvases with… Keep Reading

Cricket
Features

It’s just not Cricket!

Steve Pittard: Charters and Caldicott, two cricket obsessed English gents, stole the show in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. Cinema audiences chortled at the whimsical badinage between the bluff heavy-set Basil Radford (Charters) and dapper mild-mannered Naunton Wayne (Caldicott ). Their marvellous rapport owed to inspired casting, as the chaps had only met once before, appropriately during a theatrical cricket match. Wayne’s background was light entertainment, in musicals such as Going Gay, while Radford was predominantly a straight actor. At the start of The Lady Vanishes, set in 1938, an avalanche sees Charters and Caldicott holed up in a Balkans hotel.… Keep Reading

Time Gentlemen please
Features

Time Gentlemen, Please

Steve Pittard: AMATEURS ABOLISHED! screamed the headlines in 1962, during cricket’s equivalent of the French revolution. Daily Telegraph correspondent EW Swanton condemned the change as ‘not only unnecessary but deplorable’. Moreover, it meant curtains for the traditional ‘Gentlemen versus Players’ fixture – cricket’s oldest rivalry – in which carefree cavaliers had crossed swords with paid professionals since 1806. Early duels witnessed the Gentlemen struggle. Though blessed with silky stroke-makers, few noblemen indulged in bowling – a rather tiresome pastime best left to under-gardeners and stable-lads. To compensate, the aristocrats rode roughshod over the rules. One wizard wheeze involving widening the… Keep Reading

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