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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


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

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

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


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

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

Royal Ascot

The Arts of the Turf

Brigadier Gerard de Piercy: There can be few sporting events in the calendar that delineate the lingering vestiges of the British class system as clearly as Ascot in June. Royal patronage of the meeting dates back to the purchase of Ascot Heath as a place to race horses by Queen Anne in 1711. A keen hunter in her youth, Anne had grown so repulsively obese by the age of 46 that she was unable to find a horse strong enough to carry her to go hunting. The queen was forced to find another way to indulge her passion for all… Keep Reading

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