Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

Accessories, features, Gallery

Quick it is snowing – five very cool sledges to buy

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

Ok, so it predicted snow and all London got was a very light dusting, but if the forecasters are right – and they are never wrong are they?! – there should be more snow on its way.

So now is the time to get yourself a sledge. If you order it now it ought to be delivered in plenty of time for when the real dollop of the white stuff happens later in the month (That is provided the postie can brave the snow to get through to drop it off .) Here then are five great sledges to choose from and The Beatles giving a masterclass in how to use them.

Mega Bob Sledge £23.99

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Picture 5 of 5

One of the best selling sledges, apparently, this scores because it has a place for you to put your feet keeping them nice and dry. Sledges



Accessories, Gadgets

CES 2013 – Onkyo debuts its first ever headphones range

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

Japanese company Onkyo has always been big in home cinema and hi-fi and it has rustled up a pretty impressive iPhone dock or two.

Now it is having a crack at a new market – headphones. At CES it took the wraps off a new range designed to be paired up with smartphones and take personal listenting to a new level

Coming first in March are two closed-back on-ear models the £179 Onkyo ES-HF300 which features an audiophile-grade cable and the £149 Onkyo ES-FC300, which is available in three colour options and is packaged with a tangle-free flat profile elastomer cable

The phones sport two wide-range 40 mm titanium drivers and come with Onkyo’s unique ported bass sub-chambers, which apparently help define a deep, muscular bottom-end response. The aluminum driver housing (shaped to resemble the volume control on Onkyo’s hi-fi and A/V components) and single aluminum hanger presents a clean, understated profile.

The ES-FC300 is available in three finishes: black with red cable, white with white cable, and violet with violet cable. It features an elastomer cable with a flattened cross-section to minimise tangles.

There are also aluminum in-ear models due in April – the £129.99 Onkyo IE-HF300 and £99 Onkyo IE-FC300. Powered by a 14.3 mm dynamic transducer, Onkyo claims that these in-ear headphones balance silky bass with an open and natural mid range. The IE-HF300 is packaged with the audiophile-grade 6N copper cable, while the IE-FC300 comes with red, violet, or white tangle-free elastomer cable.



Accessories, Sportswear

2012 is over. Why it is time to stop wearing the Union Jack

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

Happy New Year everyone. Hope is it a great one for you all. 2012 was pretty special wasn’t it! Even if you don’t really like sports you couldn’t possibly fail to be moved by the events of the Olympics and the Paralympics and the amazing stories they generated.

And as for the Jubilee, even as person who isn’t much of a royalist,  I couldn’t help but think it brought a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. 2012 will be remembered then as the year in which Britain wore a smile on her face.

But 2012 is gone and it is time to move on and one thing I want to see as lot less of is the fashion industry constantly recycling the Union Jack flag. Throughout 2012 it has been everywhere. From Stella McCartney’s Adidas sports wear through to Clarks shoes (and million T shirts on the way) the Union Jack has been ubiquitous. And let’s not even get into stuff like this.

So why should we stop wearing it? Well it is not that I am not patriotic, or even not appreciative of the flag’s design (surely only the Stars and Stripes runs it close in iconic flags)  It is just that last year we had very good reasons to be donning the colours – this year there’s hardly any sporting events that merit it as the key ones (like the cricket Ashes, World Cup football qualifiers) feature the home countries sides rather than Britain.

Of course the Union jack has been purloined by all sorts of pop culture magpies from The Who in the 60s through to Shane McGowan (yes you read that correctly in the late 70s. But they were arguably sporting the flag in an ironic way that reflected the pop art movement and punk respectively. There’s very little irony in anyone wearing the flag  today. Even Noel Gallagher and Geri Halliwell with their Union Jack guitar and dress in the 90s at least did something surprising. No one would ever look twice at a musician donning the flag today.

What I’d hate to see is the Union Jack turn into another Stars and Stripes and become some weird ubiquitous emblem that’s emblazoned throughout the world from Argentina to Zambia on hats, t shirts and more but really is little more than cheesy fashion. It is better than that. Also  we have seen so many permutations on the flag -  green, light blue and more, that re-inventing  it is neither clever or interesting now.

So it is 2013, the  Union Jack was so last year. Time to move on.

 

 



Accessories, Football

Arsenal pursue French striker who has a knack of scoring spectacular goals

By Stefano on December 26th, 2012

With Arshavin apparently on his way to Reading and a number of clubs competing for Chamakh Arsenal clearly has space for a striker or two. One totally left field suggestion has come today from French radio station RMC.

In a story reported by LadyArse the club are being linked with a move for 21 year old French forward Anthony Knockaert. The player is currently at Leicester City and is under contract until 2015. He has had a good-ish season so far for The Foxes scoring five goals in 21 appearances and delivering four assists.

This seems like a bit of a long shot – but then so did Cark Jenkinson and Joel Campbell. This also might be an agent trying to get a bit of publicity for his client. It seems that the player is on his way out of Leicester as he is in hot water with Foxes boss Nigel Pearson after being arrested and bailed following a public order incident a few weeks ago.

Knockaert began his career at Guingamp and has represented France at both under 20 and under 21 levels.

He has a penchant for spectacular goals. Both of these beauties scored against Huddersfield in October are goal of the season contenders. Check out the outrageous flying back heel.



Accessories, hats, knitwear

Brandish Christmas list #15 Albam Breton Stripe hat £49.99

By Stefano on December 20th, 2012

Christmas is almost upon us so this is the last post in this series, but it is a good one. This year we have become big fans of the range of menswear from Albam. The company has its roots in Nottingham but also has a four stores in London now.

If you are quick you might finds this rather lovely Breton stripey hat. It is available in four colours including a very striking (and on trend) black and white. Ideally I’d like mine in red and white (think of the potential footy fans you might you might tempt guys, and it would match this too) but this, which is made in Scotland from high quality Merino wool, would make some one a very lovely present.

Check out the rest of their range, including some superb coats and blazers, here.



Accessories, features, music

Happy Birthday Keith Richards – a tribute (and some cool photos)

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

Simon Poulter of the always excellent – What Would David Bowie Do? blog on the human riff.

Britain’s Daily Mail, a newspaper you can regard with varying degrees of editorial pointlessness, surmised in June that Keith Richards – the Human Riff, the Human Lab, and a dozen other nicknames reflecting both guitar prowess and indestructibility – was now so broken, so ravaged by arthritic hands and addled memory that he was finding it hard to perform.

Almost in unison, a section of the paper’s permanently seething readership waded in with a barrage of reaction, some berating Keef for even being alive, others suggesting the Rolling Stones had ended their relevance a long time before and should now just give up.

This may go some way to explain why, when the band announced their four 50th anniversary shows, a nuclear mushroom cloud appeared above Middle England as concerned representatives of the Mail’s readership turned apoplectic at news Richards, Jagger, Watts and Wood – with a combined age of 273 – were to roll once more.

Well, today we can make that 274, as Richards chalks up his 69th birthday. It’s an unlikely milestone, even he’ll admit. This apparent freak of nature, who only gave up hard drugs eight years ago, has, for the best part of adulthood, tested human pharmaceutical endurance to its limits while seeing so many contemporaries succumb to rock’s lethal distractions. He is at a loss to explain how he has survived and others didn’t. Perhaps he should just say “pleased to meet you – hope you guessed my name”.

The brilliant autobiography

Much of Richards’ homespun philosophy can be found in his brilliant book Life. A stupendously refreshingly read, Life tells Keef’s story with well managed honesty and little obvious attempt at embellishment, either of the hard truths or the apocryphal tales. It is an engagingly rich story of a boy emerging from London’s bombsite-ridden suburbs to embrace the music of America’s impoverished south, turning such an unlikely affection into the spiritual heart of the most famous – some maintain greatest – rock and roll band of the last 50 years.

That’s an accolade that welcomes challenge: bands have come and bands have gone. “Every generation throws another hero up the pop charts”, sang Paul Simon, and the Stones have faced plenty of competition. They’ve also faced plenty of challenges of their own, not least of which the sibling fractures between Richards and Jagger that have seen them fight, tussle and, seemingly, fall apart irreparably on regular occasions.

Something, however, has always brought them back together again. Richards has always maintained that he and Jagger share a true brotherly love, a bond that occasionally breaks. In his words, Richards has, though, tended to paint Jagger as the more nefarious Glimmer Twin, the posher of the two middle-class Dartford boys, the Stone with the business sense and, now, the knighthood.

Richards, on the other hand, has frequently played up his image as the Stones’ pirate captain, the rock’and’roll rogue: unpredictable and possibly dangerous, like John Belushi’s character Bluto in Animal House, but beneath it all, fundamentally a good guy.

For a while – particularly in the wake of John Lennon’s murder – Richards regularly carried either a knife or a gun, or both. He’s not the Stone to be messed with by any order. Just go to YouTube and find the memorable clip from their 1981 tour, when Keith sees a fan jump on stage and starts charging towards him and Jagger (who deftly takes a swerve), removes his Telecaster by the neck and hacks the fan to the ground before strapping the guitar back on to continue playing. “The cat was in my space,” said Richards, matter-of-factly, “so I chopped the mother down”. That’s why you’ve got to love Keith. Liam Gallagher may have looked like he could do something like that, but you suspect only Keith Richards would.

Immersing myself in Richardsville

Over the last few months I have been immersed in the Rolling Stones. Whatever commercial voodoo they performed around their 50th anniversary has clearly worked. I’ve bought their book and visited the Somerset House exhibition of the book’s photographs; I’ve acquired Blu-ray Discs and DVDs of them in concert in the 70s, 80s and 90s, of them jamming with their great hero Muddy Waters, in the brilliant Stones In Exile documentary, and setting new records on the Bigger Bang tour. And I’ve spent a frustrating 30 minutes attempting to blow what’s left of my life savings on a ticket to one of – any of – their London and New Jersey shows. Somewhere there is a bulldozer with a tongue logo on it shovelling cash into four or five large piles.

While this accumulation will be due in part to Sir Mick Jagger’s assumed stewardship of Rolling Stones Inc. (actually, a Dutch-registered public limited company called Promotone BV which holds its annual company meetings in the curious-to-say-the-least location of Amsterdam), the company’s Chief Riff Officer and CEO Jagger’s fellow Wentworth Primary School, Dartford, alumnus, Richards, might be comfortable with his rewards, but remains at his happiest strumming a blues in an open D tuning.

These last few weeks, the more Stones material I’ve been exposed to, the more I’ve come to appreciate their music, especially its subtlety. That is not a word you associate with the Stones, who’ve often been regarded by music snobs as a Premier League Status Quo for the chugging, thumbs-in-belt-loops-ahoy boogie of Honky Tonk Woman, or the cringeworthy street patois of Miss You, and it’s equally abhorrent disco beat.

But then listen carefully to Sympathy For The Devil, Paint It Black or Gimme Shelter, or some of the live standards like Monkey Man or Tumbling Dice or Midnight Rambler, along with lesser known gems hidden away on their 26-odd studio albums. Why, even more recent fare like Love Is Strong and Doom And Gloom – knocked out in a Paris studio over a couple of days – still deliver the goods as far as Rolling Stones songs go.

You could say that for half their careers, the Rolling Stones have faced calls to quit on the grounds that they’re too old. Keith Richards, at 69, may be today a more avuncular version of his former self, with his clean living and throaty, bronchial laugh (not to mention his parodic turn as Captain Jack Sparrow’s father in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – with Johnny Depp happy to admit Sparrow was based on Richards), but he and his ageing band have endured.

That endurance has come from tampering little with the brand: The Beatles started out as rock and rollers before discovering psychedelia and inventing progressive rock; The Who applied a rock edge to Tamla Motown; Led Zeppelin deconstructed and then reconstructed the blues; but the Stones are and have always been the Coca-Cola of rock.

Classic Stones

Sure, like Coke (Classic anyone?) they’ve taken a few ill-advised diversions, but today the Stones remain, pretty much, the same thing enjoyed by each generation that has come across them. Snobs blame this absence of variety on a fairly limited musical spectrum, but much of this is down to Keith. It is, mostly, his songs and riffs that have dictated the Rolling Stones musically.

Richards might have willingly – and at times, to his patent regret – left the running of the band to Jagger, but the spirit of the Stones, the heart and soul of the Stones belongs to him. It was Keith, not Brian Jones who found the triangulation point between the Mississippi Delta, Chicago and London. It was Jagger who then took the concoction and turned it into something more exotic, more 5th Avenue than Dartford High Street, like Levi-Strauss turning workwear into the most enduring fashion item of modern history.

But that’s why we love Keith. If he has pretensions and delusions of grandeur, he keeps them well hidden. He has amassed a fortune, and his properties display copious evidence of his wealth, but unlike the apparent airs and graces of his writing partner, Richards doesn’t overplay the finer things in his life.

To see him on stage today, earnestly toiling away on his collection of Telecasters and other luthiered exotica, is to see a master craftsman at work. He may never be a virtuoso in the manner of a Clapton, a Beck or a Page, but I don’t think he particularly cares. And nor should you. Happy Birthday Keith.

Images PA

Article originally published here.

Mick and Keith - US tour 1975

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Picture 1 of 8



Accessories, Football

Houllier tells French TV Thierry Henry might not be going to Arsenal – no contact between the clubs

By Stefano on December 17th, 2012

More problems for Arsene Wenger this morning. It seemed as if Arsenal’s greatest ever striker, Thierry Henry, was destined to return to the club for a third spell this winter. Many papers have suggested that this is a done deal and that Henry would be at the club for several weeks and could even play for The Gunners in the Champions league.

However if Arsene Wenger does want the 35 year old in his squad he needs to get a bit of a move on.

For Gerald Houllier who is New York Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer, told French TV network Canal+ that there has been no contact between the two clubs.

“I find it strange what we hear in the media. If Arsene needed him, he would have called me or (sporting director) Andy Roxburgh, but this is not the case. I do not think both parties need to have this second comeback. Moreover he has become a dad again. I think he will appreciate this truce. ”

So is Henry coming. Do Arsenal need him? Might this be a cameo too far?

Image – PA



Accessories, Clothing, Gallery, Suits & Tailoring

Sports Personality Of The Year Bradley Wiggins – and where he got the velvet suit from

By Stefano on December 17th, 2012

It seemed a pretty much done deal last night that Tour de France/Olympic Time Trial Champion would win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. So in this parish at least it was as much about the suit he chose to wore as it was scooping the award.

Wiggins plumped for a bespoke velvet (very on trend) double-breasted suit made by Soho tailor Mark Powell. Wiggins has worn a lot of Powell’s clothes before – at the GQ awards in September, for example, he wore another Powell double breasted suit this time in grey.

Powell is a London-based tailor who has made bespoke suits for among others – George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Powell has worked with brands in the past including M&S and has recently launched a collection of eyewear. He says of the eyewear

‘My new ready-to-wear range, comprising 12 styles, is very retro but with a contemporary twist. A lot of designers are doing this at the moment, but mine is a nicer version.’

But then he could say that about his suits too.

If you do fancy one Powell has a ready to wear range, including some rather lovely double breasted jackets here.

Images PA

Wiggins with the Sports Personality of the Year 2012 trophy.

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Picture 1 of 15



Accessories, Football

Arsenal planning double raid on Liverpool – goalkeeper and winger on Wenger’s radar

By Stefano on December 15th, 2012

There has been a lot of Arsenal-related transfer news in the last few hours. Though today it isn’t all about where Theo Walcott will spend the next part of his career, but about the list of players that Arsene Wenger is after in a bid to add steel to his rather brittle squad.

The Mirror has a run down of those targets and the likelihood of them arriving at The Emirates. It lists the usual suspects;  Huntelaar, Zaha and Southampton’s Luke Shaw, but suggests that Montpellier’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is likely to end up in Italy.

The Mirror’s big story is that keeper Pepe Reina’s move to Arsenal is gaining momentum. It does point out though that there may be sticking points.

It says

Wenger tried to sign Reina two summers ago and Arsenal believe there’s a chance Liverpool will be willing to cash in and go for Birmingham’s England prospect Jack Butland as a replacement.

Spain international Reina, who has had an indifferent season, is on £110,000-a-week wages, which is likely to be a major issue for Arsenal.

Arsenal are also been strongly linked with another Liverpool player who apparently has an exit on his mind.

The Sun says that the Gunners are reported to be lining up a bid for want-away winger Raheem Sterling. The youngster has 18 months left on his contract but is allegedly not keen on signing a new deal. The article suggests that Arsenal will offer Theo Walcott in a swap deal for the talented winger. Manchester United are also keen on Sterling, but then they have also be linked with Walcott and Arsenal’s other key target Wilfried Zaha.

Meanwhile The Mail suggests that the Gunners are still very keen on West Ham’s midfielder Momo Diame, and that Arsenal are trying to use a loan move deal for out of sorts striker Marouane Chamakh as bait. The Morrocan striker was superb in his last season at Bordeaux and showed flashes of genius in his first couple of months at The Emirates. However his form for Arsenal since then has been woeful. The Mail also reports  that Arsenal are chasing Toulouse right back Serge Aurier as a potential long term replacement for Bacary Sagna.

Finally The Metro suggests that Arsenal are about to announce new long contracts with its quartet of young British stars. Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are all about to pen to paper and Carl Jenkinson apparently signed a new contract a few weeks back.

 

 



Accessories

Brandish Christmas List #13 Peckham Rye Paisley scarf £59

By Stefano on December 10th, 2012

I am a huge fan of both paisley and the very classy Peckham Rye tailors – who have a shop on London’s Newburgh Street. So this red paisley scarf is a must. It is small bean paisley and this one is crimson red, though they also come in eight other colours.

According to PR it is finest graded spun and nett pure silk twill with our unique hand knotted Victorian styled ornamental silk fringes.

You can wear it inside the or outside your coat or jacket and even tucked under your crew neck jumper as Pete Townsend did in the recent BBC Quadrophenia documentary.

Available here for £59.



Accessories, knitwear

Brandish Christmas List #12 Atom Retro Stripey College Scarf

By Stefano on December 7th, 2012

Just in time for Christmas, our favourite vintage store Atom Retro has just taken delivery of a whole load of stripey college scarves.

They are available in ten different colours, cost £34.99,  and we are especially fond of this one (above), the green one and the red one (below).

Stripey scarves really took off in the 1950s and have remained a Winter staple ever since. These ones are wool knitted scarves with a polyester polar fleece on the reverse.

If you don’t fancy one of these this is another favourite as is this from the lovable Scottish indie pop band.



Accessories, Kickstarter

The ultimate pen – Ajoto hits Kickstarter

By Stefano on December 7th, 2012

We don’t tend to use pens too much these days. I personally archive things on my iPad and my phone so I can access them digitally and the days of recording everything in a notebook are long gone.

The theory goes though that if you are going to use a pen you might as well have a decent one, which is why we like the Ajoto Project, which has just hit Kickstarter, so much.

Basically the company lets you put together your very own pen choosing different elements which have been carefully sourced and apparently very good quality. So you choose your pen bod – will you go aluminium or will you go brass? – and then the pen’s tops and finally the packaging and they type of refill you require (rollerball or ballpoint?). prices start at around £60.

The Ajoto team says that the pens are also designed to ‘reduce waste and eradicate the use of harmful chemicals from everything we do. We have worked hard to use materials which are recyclable and can be traced to their source.’

The Kickstarter page is here.



Accessories, Cameras, Clothing, features, Gadgets

Christmas shopping for men; your complete guide – gadgets, jumpers, scarves, randoms…

By Stefano on December 7th, 2012

Over the last few weeks we have been ultra busy putting together a series of guides which may prove very useful if you are buying presents. Here then is the full list

Gadgets

Top weirdest gadgets and gifts

Best gadgets for under £200

The ultimate tech Xmas present

Retro gadgets that are actually very cool

Best Android phones

Best PC games

Best mini tablets – iPad mini, Nexus, Kindle Fire HD

Best ereaders

Style

Best classic jumpers

Best trophy jumpers

Best under £30 jumpers

Cashmere jumpers on the cheap

Best scarves

Five party shirts

Velvet party jackets

Iconic rock band t shirts

Cool Chambray shirts

Music

Top debut albums

Top psychedelic albums

Random gifts

Best Blu-ray movies

Bikes, scarves, accessories etc



Accessories

Manuka redesigns the belt – now with added magnets

By Stefano on December 5th, 2012

Here’s a classic Brandish story. It combines style, technology and our favourite website Kickstarter, which pretty much sums up what we are all about.

Anyhow, belts, as you know, are fairly boring affairs. Not in terms of style but in the way they work with buckles and holes. This design revolutionises the boring common belt, making it smoother and simpler. Instead of a buckle and holes mechanism, the Manuka Belt uses a series of powerful magnets. According to Manuka they mix the material and then magnetise it to give it its unique properties.

Rather than the fastening clasp, the two sides of the belt are held together by the powerful magnetic force. And the magnets are pretty powerful they will take well over 20 pounds of force before they budge, which should it theory be more than enough to keep your trews in place.

Anyway the belt is on Kickstarter and the agency behind it needs to raise £22k. They are already well on their way and scored 50 backers within an hour of launch. The belts start at around £20 and there are various different types and designs and you can see them all on the Kickstarter page.



Accessories, knitwear

Brandish Christmas List #11 Sarah Elwick Tube Scarf

By Stefano on December 4th, 2012

If you have been on your bike in the last few days you’ll know that is getting a tad wintry. One way to ensure that at least part of you stays warm and toasty on your journey is to invest in a tube scarf, and we especially like this range from Sarah Elwick.

They are Unisex striped charcoal grey merino tube scarf that are available in choice of either burgundy or navy stripes.

Merino wool is rather good for scarves as it is soft enough to keep your neck very comfortable but also can be machine washed – unlike cashmere which requires dry cleaning. The tubescarves are all 60cm in length, and comes in two head circumference sizes, either standard: 48cm circumference, or large 52cm. They cost £44.




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