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sir-ranulph-fiennes
Features/Interviews

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Gustav Temple meets the man declared by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest explorer, to discuss climbing Everest and the Eiger while suffering from vertigo, discovering the Lost City of Ubar, being kicked out of the SAS for blowing up civilian property and using a sextant to navigate at the South Pole. The Royal Navy used to have a tradition of handing out a daily tot of rum to every crew member. Do you follow in this tradition on your polar expeditions? Alcohol in extreme cold conditions is not a good idea and we tried to avoid… Keep Reading

peaky-blinders
Features/Interviews

RIP Helen McCrory

As a tribute to the late actress, who died aged 52 on 16th April, Gustav Temple recalls an inspiring encounter with Helen McCrory in 2019, on the eve of Series 5 of Peaky Blinders. I interviewed Helen McCrory when the fifth season of Peaky Blinders was about to air in 2019. From such a huge star of stage and screen, I expected the familiar ‘luvvy’ personality and being called ‘darling’ interspersed with quotes from Shakespeare, but Helen was the complete opposite. When asked whether we had accurately described the type of cigarettes she smoked in character as Aunt Polly, she… Keep Reading

prince-philip
Features/News

The King of Spin

With the sad loss of The Duke of Edinburgh also comes the loss of one of our finest cricketing royals. Steve Pittard salutes Prince Philip’s marvellous contribution to the princely pastime. The Corfu Compton first gave notice of his sporting prowess at Cheam prep school. The blue-blooded biffer – ‘highly unsympathetic to stonewalling’ – crashed a quickfire 19 coming in as last man. At Gordonstoun he captained the Ist XI, and had to contend with beastly Scottish pitches that had only just been grazed by sheep. The establishment only taught him how to waft the willow – gentlemen didn’t bowl… Keep Reading

Sir Richard Burton
Features

Sir Richard Burton

On the bicentenary of Sir Richard Francis Burton’s birth, Chris Sullivan gallops through the extraordinary life of the notorious explorer, soldier, translator, writer, cartographer, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, diplomat, poet, geographer, expert fencer and sex obsessive. Can you imagine that, in the not too distant past, a thoroughgoing rogue might stand up in his club in the Haymarket and, after far too many whiskeys, pronounce that he was off to discover a country and, even though I’m sure that those who lived in said country knew of its existence, he would be applauded, funded, sent off amidst fanfare and acclaimed a hero before… Keep Reading

Features

Street Life: Embracing the spirit of the flȃneur during lockdown

Sophie Gargett of The Dilettante explores the concept of the flâneur and asks what we can learn from it during the age of walking in lockdown “My former ennui had returned and I felt its weight even more heavily than I had before. I doubted whether further attempts at sociability would ever relieve me of it. What I required was not exactly solitude, but the opportunity to roam around freely, meeting people when I wished and taking leave of them when I wished.” – Gerard de Nerval “We have become a nation of urban ramblers!” a friend recently bemoaned to… Keep Reading

patricia-highsmith
Features

How To Read Patricia Highsmith

In the centenary of her birth, Gustav Temple provides a top five reading list for Patricia Highsmith, plus a reader advisory warning. This year marks the centenary of the birth of Patricia Highsmith, born on 19th January, 1921 in Fort Worth, Texas. It is impossible to guess how she would have reacted to recent political events in her native United States, but she most likely would have expressed a skewed, complex, controversial opinion that neither blessed nor condemned either the incoming or the outgoing president. Highsmith would certainly not have subscribed to the prevailing view of right triumphing over wrong,… Keep Reading

pussy-galore
Features

Honor Blackman

Gustav Temple recalls the actress who played Cathy Gale opposite John Steed in The Avengers and Pussy Galore in Goldfinger Honor Blackman’s arrival on the set of The Avengers in 1962, with a pistol in her garter and a full programme of Judo training under her belt, had taken a lot of meetings, discussions, agonising and resistance from the top brass at ITV. When original leading man Ian Hendry left the series, a new sidekick for Patrick Macnee’s John Steed was needed. It was producer Leonard White who suggested a female sidekick, backed up by series creator Sydney Newman, though… Keep Reading

tiger-bay-cardiff
Features

Tiger Bay Blues

Chris Sullivan revisits what was once a den of vice, pleasure, danger and high thrills in the docklands area of Cardiff, and meets the residents who recall Tiger Bay’s glory days In the 19th Century, the moniker ‘Tiger Bay’ was used in popular literature and slang (especially by sailors) for any dock or seaside neighbourhood that had a notoriety for danger. But the most famous one, which spawned its most famous daughter, Shirley Bassey, is Cardiff’s Tiger Bay. Said chanteuse was born in Bute Street to a Nigerian father and Tyneside mother, but moved to the more salubrious Splott area… Keep Reading

clare-bradley-sewing-bee
Fashion/Features/News

Clare Bradley, British Sewing Bee Champion 2020

Minerva Miller discusses practical glamour and the lost art of mending with this year’s Sewing Bee Champion and vintage enthusiast Clare Bradley While watching the first episode of the 2020 series of The Great British Sewing Bee last April, one of the contestants immediately stood out: wearing a vintage inspired dress, she expressed her enjoyment of ‘vintage events’ at which there was ‘lots of gin’. This was Clare Bradley from Winchester, whose accurate sewing skills, consistency and creativity eventually led her to win the competition. Clare’s plucky cheerfulness and steely determination (think a combination of Celia Johnson and Jane Marple… Keep Reading

oxford
The Chap Travels

The Oxford Belfry

Gustav Temple finds that, forced to eschew the pleasures of a European city break, Oxford delivers just as edifying an experience Taking one’s annual summer holiday during a global pandemic produces one or two changes to one’s usual habits. Images of the azure skies, Gothic cathedrals and café terraces of Europe and beyond are somewhat tainted by the visions of deserted airports, sudden flight cancellations and quarantine measures upon one’s return to Blighty. It seems a much safer bet to remain within the boundaries of our own isles, and also affords the opportunity to explore the uncharted waters on our… Keep Reading

homme-de caron
Features

Creams, colognes and after-shaves

Part Two of Chris Sullivan’s history of male grooming The first rudimentary form of shaving cream was documented in Sumer, Mesopotamia (now Southern Iraq), around 3000 BC, which combined wood alkali and animal fat. Further shaving creams remained essentially unchanged from the Romans to the Renaissance, and it wasn’t until the 18th century that men started using a badger hairbrush to apply the soap. Shaving cream as we now know it first cropped up in the 1840s in England, Vroom and Fowler’s Walnut Oil Military Shaving Soap being one of the first widely available foaming tablets on the market. Since… Keep Reading

rudolph-valentino
Features

The Genteel Art of Male Grooming

Chris Sullivan looks back at the history of male grooming to ensure that post-lockdown man is ready to spruce himself up After months of lockdown, whereby a chap has been bereft of haircut, a barber’s wet shave and, for some, a manicure, many of Britain’s menfolk now resemble Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid in Harry Potter or Giant Haystacks, rather than Terry Thomas. As such, a touch – or rather a large slab – of personal grooming is in order for the well dressed Man-Who-Can-Now-Be-About-Town, while a little investigation is certainly also in order, to remind us all of the… Keep Reading

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