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oscar-wilde
Features

A Dandy of Great Importance

Nathaniel Adams: Oscar Wilde, writer, raconteur, gay icon, large of girth, lust and ego, bottom wobbling provocatively as he climbs the social ladder from the gutter to the stars, then falls back into the muck with a splash, is arguably the most famous dandy ever. In Oscar Wilde, dandyism found its apotheosis, and after his ignoble fall, dandyism’s reputation was tarnished with sin, decadence and evil. But Oscar Wilde had watered, nourished and tended the flower of dandyism until it achieved its brightest and finest bloom yet. “The future belongs to the dandy. It is the exquisites who are going… Keep Reading

Louche
Features

Being Louche

Tom Cutler: I have a confession to make. That’s the thing with confessions, you have to make them; you can’t just take them off the shelf. But confession can be dangerous, resulting in severe injury to the owner-up and the recipient alike. Take the chap who, in a fit of bravado, admitted to his wife that he’d been to Brighton not for the ironmongery conference, as she’d thought, but for a dirty weekend with his secretary. She hit him on the head with some tomatoes and he died of a broken skull. They were in a tin, of course. No… Keep Reading

Arthur J. Raffles
Features

To Catch a Thief

Steve Pittard: England slow bowler by day and gentleman thief by night, A.J. Raffles, is cricket’s most enduring fictional character. His exploits shocked late Victorian society, who found it unthinkable that a burglar might play cricket – a sport synonymous with ‘fair play’. A.J. resides in bachelor chambers at Albany (just off Piccadilly). He can often be found at his gentlemen’s club, partaking of a couple fingers of whisky and soda or blowing perfect smoke rings. Everything about Raffles oozes class, from his silver cigarette case and silk pyjamas to his vintage cricket-bag, which still has the remains of an… Keep Reading

Bronx Pipe Smokers Society
Features

Dinner is Severed, Madam

Nathaniel Adams: You might be surprised by how well crickets pair with brie. Wrapped in a sushi roll, their carapaces’ pleasant crunch counterbalances the creamy squish of the cheese. I’m not a foodie – the only celebrity chef I admire is John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Yet there I was, munching away on exoskeletal delicacies in a mansion in the Bronx, trying not to get grease on my black velvet smoking jacket. I may have an unsophisticated palate when it comes to food, but I consider myself a connoisseur in the matter of interesting people, and my host for… Keep Reading

Disneyland Dapper Day
Features

The Dandiest Place on Earth

Nathaniel Adams: There are placards, designed in a Charles Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School-style font, placed near the entrances to Disneyland in Anaheim California, which read: “Warning: The Disneyland Resort contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” The claim of a state with so many cocksure would-be movie stars to know much of anything is debatable. And the signs’ lack of specificity regarding the type or location of said chemicals (can you find ‘em all, kids?) may be unsettling. But if these unknown chemicals are at all responsible for producing… Keep Reading

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

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