Archive for the ‘features’ Category

Clothing, Coats & Jackets, features, Style, Style Safari

Banana Republic launches Mad Men range (US only for now though)

By Stefano on February 28th, 2013

madmen1

Ever wanted to dress like Don Draper and his dapper Madison Avenue chums? Well now you can – sort of. Banana Republic has just launched a range of Mad Men inspired clothing in the US for both men and women which was created by the series costume designer Janie Bryant. Given fashion’s current yen for all things black and white and stripey you might have expected a few more op art type items in the range. But nope, in keeping with BR’s image the range is classy, reasonably well priced and rather conservative. The women’s stuff with its geometric prints and loud stripes is loads better.

I do however like the blue suit, though would have liked an extra button, and it works well with that tie. Not too sure about some of the range but you can make your mind up.

Nice Fedora hat though.

There’s even more here. It might make it to the UK – keep an eye on the website.

Spotted first by Modculture

Brown cotton sports jacket $200

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Two button jacket made from Plaid cotton



Coats & Jackets, features, Gallery, Style, Style Safari

Style – Harringtons – a round up of this year’s best Spring casual jackets

By Stefano on February 27th, 2013

Baracuta Made In England G9 Navy £279

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The original design from 1937 and worn by everyone from mods to scooter boys since, This is available in Navy and several other colours. As you'd expect for the price it is the attention to details that makes it stand out. It is made from 100% cotton, boasts the classic check polyester viscose lining, has ribbed nylon cyuffs and a vent on the back. Oi Polloi

I checked an hour or so ago and it appears that the temperature, in the south east at least, is heading for double figures tomorrow. Spring might not be here, but it is certainly on its way. And that means it is time to ditch that heavy wool coat that kept you warm all winter for something a little flexible and lightweight.

And when it comes to stylish casual jackets it doesn’t get much getter than the Harrington. Always associated with the mod movement – they became popular in the late 60s on skin and suede heads and again in the late 70s and early 80s when they were championed by  Jam fans – they are the staple of heritage brands and everyone from Ben Sherman through to Merc has a range.

Last year Damon Albarn seemed to spend most of the spring wearing his navy Fred Perry and there are plenty of other high profile Harrington wearers like Terry Hall and Daniel Craig.

For a classic you need look no further than Baracuta who were pioneers of the jacket back in the 1930s. If you want something with a twist check out the quilted version or the dog tooth one. Purists please note we have included a jacket or two that could be seen as a bomber jacket/Harrington hybrid. But then we make the rules.

Which one do you like? More on their history here.



features, Football, Gallery

Arsenal’s top transfer targets – How Arsene Wenger should spend that £70 plus million

By Stefano on February 26th, 2013

Yesterday Arsenal issued its latest financial update - and guess what, the club is in pretty rude health. Profits might have dropped a little, but just look at that whopping £123 million reserve in the bank. And there’s also sponsorship money to be added, plus season ticket cash and maybe even Stan’s idle millions (dream on…).

So the money clearly is there and in the summer the rebuilding programme needs to begin in earnest.

The big question for Arsene Wenger is how much re-building is really necessary? Are we looking at a wholesale clear out of the Arsenal team, or just some minor pruning but with some big name additions?

The rather huge sized elephant in the room is whether Arsenal will qualify for The Champions League? Not qualifying will lose Arsenal possibly as much as £20 million – thought I have seen it quoted as much more.

The more worrying thing would be trying to attract players to a club that aren’t mixing it with Europe’s finest. However Liverpool and Spurs have signed some pretty impressive players in the knowledge that they will be busy on Thursday nights rather than Tuesday and Wednesday.

So, Arsene, here is my take as to how you should spend your cash. Of course I personally think it unlikely that you’ll spend more than £40 million (0ne striker, one midfielder and a keeper), but we can all dream…

My little spree would come in at £120 million with most of that cash going on Cavani and Di Maria and that is assuming we have CL football next year. If we don’t then it comes in at about half that figure. Maybe the latter is more realistic anyhow…

Btw I think we should cash in on Vermaelen as well as losing fringe players like Arshavin, Fabianski, Mannone, Bendtner, Chamakh and possibly Gervinho too – which could generate as much as £30-40.

So what do you think? Who should Arsenal sign?

Goalkeeper

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Ok, so he has made mistakes this season (but then again so has Joe Hart) but for me Wojciech Szczesny should still be an integral part of Arsenal's future. I think the dip in form is temporary and besides has he really been that bad? Arsenal do however need to sign another keeper to replace Mannone and Fabianski both of whom will probably be off in the summer. I think buying a number one keeper like a Reina (who has also been indifferent this season) is not the right move. His stats don't actually compare to the Pole. Instead Arsenal should opt for Sunderland's Simon Mignloet - who would be a snip at around £5 million. Or alternatively sign a keeper with plenty of experience that they can share with the Pole. After Monday's performance West Ham's Jussi Jääskeläinen would be a good bet. So that's £5 million gone already.

 



features, Gadgets, Gallery

Apple’s iWatch – take a look at the gallery of prototypes

By Stefano on February 19th, 2013

I have already written loads about Apple ‘s iWatch, so if you want the most recent update go here and if you want the background and to take a peek at some of its rivals then check here.

Even though it hasn’t been confirmed the iWatch already exists, well in the minds of some very clever designers and Photoshoppers.

Here then are the best iWatch designs we have seen so far. Some date from a few years ago while one is from as far back as 2005.

Yanko Designs

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This pic is how Esben Oxholm of Yanko thinks the Apple team would design the phone/watch. It is a very recent design and the key feature is the curved glass that many pundits will be central to the iWatch. He says Heavily inspired by the look of the iPhone 5 and sporting a minimalistic, sleek look, the watch is crafted with black aluminum on the outside and a thin layer of soft matte rubber on the inside. It has got the highly recognizable round home button as the only physical button. The rest of the fun happens on the newly developed slightly double curved touch screen. The iWatch can be fitted to your liking, by removing or adding spacers in the lower part of the bendy bracelet. Yanko

 



features, Furniture, Gadgets, Gallery

Retro gadgets: ten vintage style record players

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013

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I don’t think it is just me but these days I find that I am increasing playing more vinyl than CDs. Spotify is my main source of music, but every now and then I fancy something that isn’t on the online music service and go and get a record out.

There is something wonderful about spinning vinyl again. It demands your attention for a start. You can’t go skipping tracks (well you can but it isn’t great for your needle) and then there’s the sound which just seems warmer and more lively than colder digital sounds.

The big question for those who are thinking about getting the vinyl out of the loft and back into the living room is what are you going to play it on? Systems like Sonos and iPhone hi-fis have replaced the seperates based music systems of yore, and if that’s you spending money on a Technics deck, or aging Dual turntable when you don’t have the amp to team it up with, is a waste of time.

Which is why old vintage style record players are making a comeback. They are the consumer electronics items that bring the generations together with some being snapped up by young hipsters types who have just bought vinyl copies of the latest releases and others the preserve of aging hipsters revisiting classic vinyl from their youth.

Another reason for their popularity is that they just look great. Team them up with a suitably cool retro table and you have a really striking bit of furniture.

If you fancy one you really ought to be thinking about an original Dansette from the 50/60s. You can get them reconditioned from dealers and also from ebay - get lucky and it’ll look and sound great.

However one reason you might want a record player is to make MP3 copies of vinyl. If that’s you then there’s a new breed or vintage style record players to consider. Up until recently most of them looked pretty horrible. However US make Crosley has changed all that and its highly desirable Collegiate player was a huge hit last Christmas and sold out in that hipster paradise Urban Outfitters. You can still buy them in the UK but you might have to wait for them come in on export.

Here then is a round up of what is available in the UK now.

Steepletone SRP1R-11 £117

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This is identical to the Union Jack model earlier, but comes without the patriotic top. Amazon



features, Football

Why Chelsea have the best celebrity fans – but Arsenal get the Hollywood A List

By Stefano on February 16th, 2013

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Simon Poulter of the always excellent What Would David Bowie Do? on football’s oddest celebrity fans – not that Noel is odd…

Good Evening…er….Molineux

Shortly before referee Massimo Busacca got the final Group B match of the 2006 World Cup underway – pitching Sweden against Sven Goran Eriksson’s England – I suddenly became aware of having my photograph taken. Quite a lot.

A large number of people in front of my friend ands I at Cologne’s RheinEnergieStadion were snapping away as if we were royalty. Rock royalty.

Three minutes into the game, Peter Crouch came on to replace the already-crocked Michael Owen. From behind me came an explosion of Mancunian fury: “What the fook is ‘e doing?!”. It was Noel Gallagher. For the next 30 minutes, up until Joe Cole settled everyone’s nerves with a quite spectacular goal, almost every England touch was described invariably by the guitar god to my stern as “shite”.

As every football fan knows, The Bloke Behind You is always the best source of entertainment. And thus Noel proved to be. You sort of wished he could be behind you at every match. Except that would mean taking out a season ticket at Manchester City.

Raquel Welch and Chelsea?

Chelsea regulars like me rarely go long without a celebrity sighting: I recently had a ‘moment’ when Mick Jones (the punk icon, not the lead singer of Foreigner) pitched up two rows behind me in the Upper East Stand of Stamford Bridge. During Chelsea’s ‘Swinging London’ era, it was commonplace for the ultra-fashionable to fit in an afternoon watching Chopper Harris kick lumps out of Billy Bremner’s shincaps (reciprocated in kind, of course).

It was rumoured that Sophia Loren was a fan, that Raquel Welch had shown up during shooting of One Million Years B.C. (hopefully not in the chamois bikini she wore for that film), and that even Steve McQueen had once paid a visit.

Today you will most certainly see the likes of Suggs (supplier of Chelsea’s 1997 official FA Cup song, Blue Day), Tim Lovejoy, Johnny Vaughan, David Baddiel, Fiona Phillips, Alec Stewart, Sean Locke, Phil Daniels and, occasionally, Damon Albarn shuffling out of (and into) the Bridge with the rest of us mere mortals. Lord Dickie Attenborough remains the club’s Life President, and he has certainly not been alone in the luvvies patronising the club.

Canadian rocker-come-photographer Bryan Adams, who lives on the Chelsea Embankment, is also an occasional patron of Chelsea. The diminutive Canadian once stood in front of me at an FA Cup Final involving Chelsea, trying to disguise himself with a fishing hat and a trenchcoat, while oblivious to the fact the six-foot blonde he was with was drawing attention his way in any case. Still, hats off.

From Madonna (Guy Ritchie allegedly introduced her) to presidents (Clinton, while an Oxford Student) and prime ministers (John Major), Chelsea has attracted plenty of celeb interest over the years. But the club is far from alone.

The FA Cup usually flushes them out. Sometimes, without any effort. The BBC’s traditional pre-Cup Final coverage always includes awkward interviews with scarfed-up TV personalities desperate to appear down with the beautiful game.

Chirpy Scouse comedians

If Liverpool are involved, you can bet the house on Jimmy Tarbuck tearing himself away from the golf course to ‘ho-hoh’ his way through a few gags about Bill Shankly and John Lennon.

Speaking of the latter, conspiracy theorists have noted that, for a city like Liverpool, with two major football clubs separated only by Anfield Park, The Beatles were clever enough to avoid swearing any allegiance to either the Red or the Blue team. George Harrison was once quoted as saying dryly: “There are three teams in Liverpool and I prefer the other one.”

Pop and football have, at times been strange bedfellows. While Paul Heaton’s patronage of Hull City should never been in doubt, Michael Jackson’s support for and even vice-presidency of Exeter City is one of the more bizarre tales of music and the beautiful game coming together. Jackson was once paraded at half time at Fulham by his friend and club proprietor Mohammed Al-Fayed. Curiously it prompted a verse of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. Can’t possible imagine what they meant.

Perhaps the most famous – if unlikely – rockin’ football fan has been Elton John. At various times, Sir Elt has been chairman and proprietor of The Hornets, though today he is a happily settled Life President alongside Graham Taylor, his team manager during his periods of proprietorship.

Another unlikely club boardroom visitor is Robert Plant. Percy is a lifelong Wolves fan, and, since 2009, a very involved club vice-president. Odd to think that he has no interest in reuniting Led Zeppelin permanently, but he’s happy to administer the half-time tombola at Molineux.

Strangely, though, for what is to be considered the national sport, football has not been as prominent in the lists of pop star likes and dislikes as one might expect. There is, of course, Rod Stewart and his tearful support for Celtic (mostly manifested from a distance, seeing as Rod lives in Los Angeles for most of the time), while there is the dubious example of Chiswick-born Phil Collins supporting QPR in the 70s (though Brentford would have been closer) before pitching up at White Hart Lane some years later as, apparently, a Spurs fan.

London clubs, in generally, have rarely struggled to attract the great and the good to their terraces.

Chas’n'Dave and co

Spurs have been spectacularly blessed with famous supporters, ranging from the hardcore like Bruce Forsyth and cockernee-kneesup merchants Chas’n'Dave, to actor Warren Mitchell (whose TV character Alf Garnett was, famously, an ‘Ammer), the Colombian literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Patsy Kensit, er…Ray Liotta and Norway’s King Harald V.

White Hart Lane could also easily open a musician’s enclosure, where you could expect to see Jeff Beck (even though he comes from Chelsea country, Carshalton), Adele (well, she’s everywhere else), the former S-Club 7 person Rachel Stevens, Andrew Ridgeley, The Jam’s Bruce Foxton (Paul Weller, for the record, is a Chelsea boy), All Saints’ Shaznay Lewis, Emma Bunton and Paul Young, clearly defying the attention of his hometown club, Luton. Somewhat disturbingly, Status Quo’s Francis Rossi is a Spurs fan, despite coming from Crystal Palace territory.

Hollywood A Listers at The Emirates

Across north-east London to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal boasts a very different celebrity clientele altogether. You could start with the unexpected – Dale Winton (although with his skin hue, he’d be a better fit with ‘The Tanners of Leatherhead FC) – before noting Arsenal’s affinity with the North London literary set (obvious example being Nick Hornby, on whose football obsession formed the basis of an entire writing career) as well as decidedly un-blokey media types like Sir David Frost and Piers Morgan (the target of much Twitter sledging by Lord Alan Sugar).

The problem with Internet-based research is that you never know what is merely plausible and what is utter nonsense. With Arsenal, there’s a thin line between the two. Because, if you were to believe it, the club has a solid following of Hollywood A-listers: Demi Moore, Matt Damon, Spike Lee, Sarah Michelle Geller, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson.

London, it would seem, holds a disproportionate dominance of clubs with celebrity support, or at least clubs with prominent celebrity support. For every singular Sean Bean supporting Sheffield United, or Stephen Fry following Norwich, Arsenal could – like Spurs – fill an entire section with thespian talent: Colin Firth, Gillian Anderson (well, she did grow up in North London), Saffron Burrows, Hugh Laurie (oh, don’t you pray for the day “Is there a doctor in the house” bellows from the Emirates tannoy system?), pasty-faced vampire Robert Pattinson, national treasure and Bubbly Blonde™, Barbara Windsor, Idris Elba (who grew up in West Ham country with a Manchester United-supporting father). Music is no stranger to the Gunners, either, with Roger Daltrey (despite hailing from QPR territory), Roger Waters, Mick Jagger, Kemp brothers Gary and Martin, and John Lydon old holding a candle for the Gunners. Preposterously, Jay-Z and Sean ‘P-Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Whatevernext’ Combs are all said to be a fan of Arsene Wenger’s red-and-white army, though what evidence exists to support this claim remains to be seen.

I started this section on famous Arsenal fans by mentioning the bizarre notion that Dale Winton is amongst their number. Let me close with the equally strange by suggesting that there is some evidence, somewhere, that Arsenal have drawn the support of both the Queen (yes, she of the Olympic parachute stunt) and her Action Man grandson, Harry. Making no leap whatsoever between the Prince and this next example, it is also understood that Osama Bin Laden was a Gooner. And, no, I didn’t mean “goner”.

Around London, there are obscure pockets of celebrity club endorsement: Leyton Orient, so often the forgotten son of London football, claims the comedian and Fighting Talk regular Bob Mills as it’s most prominent fan; Crystal Palace has David ‘Kid’ Jensen, while Fulham has ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton, who also works as the club’s half-time announcer.

Beyond London, beyond even the Midlands (Frank Skinner, Adrian Chiles at West Bromwich Albion, Jasper Carrott at Birmingham), we return to the north-west.

Madchester

Manchester’s two main teams have enjoyed no end of attention from celebrities, ranging from the genuinely passionate (Gallaghers Liam and the aforementioned Noel – who now must have separate boxes at Manchester City) to the suspiciously arriviste (Justin Timberlake, once photographed in a Man U beenie hat).

Compared with Arsenal, Manchester United doesn’t fare as well as you’d expect for celebrity fans, or at least fans who are out in the open. Prominent supporters include Ian McShane, whose father played for the club, Angus Deayton, the Guildford-born smart-arse, Sweden’s Ulrika-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka Johnsson, chirpy Oxford musical contrarian Thom Yorke, and Eammon Holmes. Man U’s celebrity ranks were recently augmented by Usain Bolt, who regularly tweets manically about the Reds, and was – possibly jokingly – offered a trial by Sir Alex Ferguson, presumably eyeing fastest man on the planet as a long-term replacement for Ryan Giggs.

So, with the FA Cup stirring back to life this weekend, with clubs like Luton (former TVam presenter Nick Owen and, famously, Eric Morecambe), Millwall (principally, Danny Baker) and Barnsley (Darren Gough, Sir Michael Parkinson) entering fifth round ties, be on the lookout for ITV cameras hunting high and low for bescarfed, rosette-adorned celebs, and be waiting, equally, for unfunny comments from Messsrs Chiles, Dixon and Southgate in the studio as a consequence.

To discover which teams British Rock Royalty,  from The Beatles to Coldplay, support go here



Clothing, Cycling, features, Style, Style Safari

H&M’s Cycling range is back – including some great retro tops

By Stefano on February 13th, 2013

h&m-cycling-rangeLast year H&M became one of the biggest clothing retailers (though Levi’s got there first) to start to take cycling seriously. Spurred on by the growth in the number of cyclists and also a little by our success at The Olympics the company teamed up with Brick Lane Cycles and launched a capsule range of jackets, retro jerseys and more

Well the second range has been unveiled and it is due to land in H&M’s 180 stores and on-line from 7th March.

The spin is that each item has been designed with the needs of modern cyclists in mind. So the items are technically suited to cycling, but still ideal for wearing all day long.

Included are water repellent rider jackets and articulated blazers, caps and more. But is is the vintage-inspired bike jerseys that caught our eye. These are very classy and are made from a mix of Merino wool and recycled polyester.

Describing the range the company says

Shirts come quilted for colder days and in plaid checks with reinforced patches on the lower sleeves. The crewneck top has a zip and ventilation holes, as well as sleeves cut for extra mobility, while the rider T-shirt has a functional pocket on the back. Rider’s trousers similar to a functional chino. Legs are cut for slightly bended knees, a reinforced crotch, and reflective tape seams on the inside leg which are visible when rolled up for extra safety.

“This collection captures the energy and excitement of Brick Lane Bikes, along with our respect for the traditions of cycling. I love how the technical details become part of the look of each piece, while the colours bring cycling’s heritage to life. I can’t wait to see guys wearing these clothes as they ride the streets of the world,” says Feya Buchwald, founder of Brick Lane Bikes.



features, Football, Gallery

Our survey says Arsenal are the most popular team among Britain’s biggest rock stars

By Stefano on February 13th, 2013

Top tip. If you are starting a band now try choosing a name that begins with the letter B. Think about it. From The Beatles to Blondie via The Bee Gees, Blur and Beach Boys, so many of the greatest bands ever starts with that letter.

You might also consider investing in a season ticket at The Emirates too. For it appears that among Britain’s rock royalty at least, the Gunners have the most celebrity fans.

In a not very scientific survey I took 12 key British bands and noted the footballing preferences of their key members.

Some, like Oasis and Pink Floyd are well documented. For others I had to dig deep into the dark recesses of web chats, local news stories and more. If you have any hearsay, gossip or best of all evidence about the footballing affiliations of the people featured in the pages that follow please add them to the comments.

Anyhow, Arsenal just about shaded it as the most supported team. What is odd though is that Man United have so few big rock stars among their fans. Thom Yorke is rumoured to be a fan as is The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft and a Stone Roses member or two, but that’s pretty slim pickings for one of the most popular clubs in the world. * UPDATE The Happy Mondays too.

Anyhow here is the list. And before you ask yes I know Coldplay and Mumford and Sons should probably be on this list. For the record Marcus Mumford supports AFC Wimbledon and Chris Martin possibly supports Exeter City.

The Beatles - Liverpool

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When The Beatles were growing up in the 40s and 50s the team you supported in Liverpool said a lot more about you than just your football preference. Religion played a role too with most Protestants favouring Liveropol and Catholics choosing Everton. Hence given the Beatles upbringing you'd expect John and Ringo to be Reds, George to be a Blue and Paul - who was from a mixed family - supporting both. It is not surprising then that in the early 60s Brian Epstein told the band to keep any football affiliations to themselves as not to alienate anyone. There are endless online debates about what teams The Beatles supported but the truth is that the Fab Four weren't really that interested in football. John, we can surmise, was if anything a Red. It was almost certainly at his insistence that one Albert Stubbins, a red-haired Liverpool striker , appeared on the Sgt Pepper sleeve. His dad was a Red too. There is quite a lot of evidence that John enjoyed a kick around. Pete Best (an Evertonian) recently said that Lennon was the best footballer in the band. However he didn't seem that interested in watching the game. Interestingly though the cover of his 1974 Walls and Bridges album has a painting he did as an 11 year old which features the FA Cup final from that year which was between Newcastle United and Arsenal. Ringo has apparently become more of a Red as he has got older (his kids are fans), though his step dad was an Arsenal fan and used to take him to see The Gunners when they played in Liverpool. George seems to have had zero interest in football which just leaves Paul. Ultimately he clearly has a thing for both teams but when push comes to shove he is a Blue. He once said - Here’s the deal: my father was born in Everton, my family are officially Evertonians, so if it comes down to a derby match or an FA Cup final between the two, I would have to support Everton,” he said. “But after a concert at Wembley Arena I got a bit of a friendship with Kenny Dalglish, who had been to the gig and I thought, ‘You know what? I am just going to support them both because it’s all Liverpool and I don’t have that Catholic-Protestant thing.’ So I did have to get special dispensation from the Pope to do this but that’s it, too bad… but if it comes to the crunch, I’m an Evertonian.” If we ignore Pete Best then Liverpool FC just about edge this one then.



features, Gallery, music

The British films that inspired The Smiths’ record sleeves

By Stefano on February 11th, 2013

the-smiths-the-complete-picture-originalIt is incredible to think that The Smiths were together for just five short years. In that time they managed to release four official albums, a few compilations of sessions, singles and oddities and of course, a run of some of the most amazing and unique 45s ever.

And one of the things that made The Smiths’ singles and albums so special was there sleeves. Handpicked mostly by Morrissey, they feature a series of cover stars most of whom dated from the late 50s and early 60s, and for Smiths fans they gave an real insight into the singer’s world – who his heroes were and the influences that shaped him.

Some of those cover stars were familiar, like Yootha Joyce, the star of two very successful seventies sit-coms. Others like French actor Jean Marais from Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée, were a bit more obscure.

Not surprisingly quite a number of the stars featured in British films from the 60s, so I have rounded up those covers and attempted to give a little more information about the films they came from. Most of them are very watchable – a couple of them are classics.

I have added YouTube links to each one. Two of the films are available in a full version on YouTube, the rest are clips and trailers.

Click on for the gallery and links.

Ask - Catch Us If You Can

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As every Smiths fan knows the cover star of the band's peerless 1986 single Ask was actress Yootha Joyce, but the still wasn't taken from her successful 70s sit-coms Man About The House or George and Mildred but from a decade or so earlier when she enjoyed a brief but significant film career. In fact Joyce managed to appear in several of Morrissey's favourite films - Charlie Bubbles and Sparrows Can't Sing - as well as one of the great unsung movies from the decade - Catch Us If You Can. The film doesn't get taken too seriously for one very obvious reason - it stars lovable Tottenham beat boys The Dave Clarke Five - the One Direction of their day. However if you overlook the way it was set up as an attempt to rival Hard day's Night CUIYC is actually a superb film and fascinating viewing for anyone who loves 60s pop culture. Without giving too much away the film is basically a road movie with Dave - and model Barbara Ferris in tow - as a stunt man and a model who escape their minders and head off into the wild English countryside. Along the way they hang out with some prototype hippies (this was 1965 before anyone was calling them that) go swimming in London's iconic Oasis pool and finish up at the stunning Art Deco hotel- which at that point was run down and deserted - on Burgh Island. They also pop into Bath where they meet Yootha Joyce, the wife of a socialite who quite fancies a bit of Dave. She eventually takes the gang to a fancy dress party in Bath spa. The pic was apparently taken off set. Catch Us If You Can is a fabulous film, directed in a highly imaginative way by John Boorman - later to shoot Deliverance and Hope and Glory. Had it featured some cooler stars it would undoubtedly be hailed as one of the best British movies of the decade. Catch Us If You Can Trailer



Clothing, Coats & Jackets, features, Style

Style – Seven striking Fisherman Coats for landlubbers – H&M, Stutterheim, Jack Wills and more

By Stefano on February 8th, 2013

Who would have thought that Captain Birds Eye would ever be a style role model. Well not quite but fisherman coats and jackets, which started appearing in the ranges of high end brands last year have landed on the (virtual) high street and are here to stay for 2013.

I guess many of these coats are being bought by outdoor types who want to look both sensible and smart, but even if your idea of great outdoors adventure is a trip round the park with the dog you’ll still looks fine in them.

The jackets we have rounded up are split between heavyweight coats designed to withstand the very worst that the North Sea (they are Scandi influenced) can thrown at them and more lightweight numbers that you can team up with deck shoes and shorts.

Stockholm Svart £195

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High quality fisherman's cost direct from a small, but impressive Swedish indie. The makers says that it features the finest craftsmanship, materials and details. Each coat is individually controlled by a skillful seamstress. Stutterheim



features, music

Beatles, Led Zep, Pink Floyd. Ten Classic Albums on YouTube (and not Spotify) and how they got there

By Stefano on February 7th, 2013

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Over the past year or so there has been a significant trend of full albums showing up on YouTube. There is invariably no video content – just a still of the artist and the music.

The interesting part is that there are now many classic albums on YouTube a good chunk of which aren’t available on Spotify or other streaming services. So for example if you fancy a bit of Pink Floyd you can hear Dark Side Of The Moon on YouTube from one of many different sources. You won’t find it on Spotify though.

Uploading someone else’s music to YouTube is of course totally illegal (as it is with music videos). However it seems that under YouTube regulations the emphasis is on the copyright holder to take action to pull the music down. And it seems that some record labels (coughs, EMI) are turning a bit of a blind eye.

They may even be on some occasions using YouTube’s ContentID system and its revenue opportunities to enable them to collect a little cash from the adverts that precede the music.

Some companies are playing even stranger games. You can for example listen to Oasis’s The Masterplan on YouTube on your laptop, but it won’t play back on your mobile or iPad.

So why do record companies do this? Maybe they figure that if you are listening to an album on YouTube you may at some point think I’ll go and buy it.

As for newer artists, well YouTube is a huge community and it can help to break an artist. There is a bit of analogy with radio here. Record labels are very keen to get their band’s singles on say BBC 6 Music, but there is a way bigger audience on YouTube.

With Spotify subscribers can take music offline and listen to it on their smartphones etc with YouTube if you want the music to travel with you then you run the risk of running up huge data costs. So you might as well go and buy it.

Some companies are more aggressive than others at taking content down. I was delighted to see The Velvet Underground’s controversial final album Squeeze on YouTube as it is not available digitally anywhere and the record itself is hard to find. However it got taken down after a while. I guess because the only people who might have bought that album would have been trawling used record stores for it and the record company wouldn’t make any money from it.

Anyhow here are ten classic albums that are all available on YouTube, and the last time I looked were not on Spotify. Happy listening. I wonder if they will all be still up in three months time?

Finally one quick footnote. I listened to John Lennon’s Imagine album on YouTube and 1, It really is a great album, much better than I remember it. 2, It is like listening to a vinyl record. There’s no easy fast forwarding or skipping tracks and you know what, I kind of like it.

1 Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of the Moon

2 The Beatles – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

3 Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

4 AC/DC Highway to Hell

5 Peter Gabriel 3

6 Oasis – The Masterplan

7 Eagles – Best of

8 Wings – Back To the Egg

9 John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band

10 The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle



features, Gadgets, Gallery

Valentine’s Day – the stuff he actually wants. Gadgets, clothes and more

By Stefano on February 6th, 2013

For her – It is Valentine’s Day in less than a week and your bloke is, as we speak, preparing an amazing day which involves chocolates, flowers, a candlelit meal and chapter seven of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The last time this level of planning went into anything they called it D-Day.  So shouldn’t you show him how much you love him? Forget the crap socks and that soppy card you were thinking about and get him what he really wants. Here are few ideas to help.

For him – Oops, you better get a move on, garage flowers won’t cut it again this year. Might be worth sticking this list in front of her – if you have been a good boy that is.

Ion Audio LP2Go £50

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Picture 1 of 14

Vinyl to go for £50. This is a very small turntable, which as it doesn't have a large platter can be tucked away in bags etc. It has a built in speaker and can be powered by mains, battery or USB. Firebox

 



features, music

Scared To Get Happy – British 80s indie box set on its way (and it looks great)

By Stefano on February 6th, 2013

primitives_picnik

There’s some serious excitement at Brandish Towers this morning about the upcoming release of a new compilation of British 80s indie bands called Scared To Get Happy.

And it seems that the compilers at Cherry Red Records must have been working some serious over time for coming in June is a five CD boxed set which features pretty much anyone notable who twanged a guitar in the UK in the 80s. The full running list is below, but it really does sound like a ‘Nuggets’ for British 80s music.

The rules for the compilation is that the releases have to have been on British indie labels by UK bands. So no Go-Betweens (because they were Australian) or Echo And The Bunnymen (as they were on a major label). Pretty much everything else is here including some gems from not just the bigger labels like Creation Records, but also more eclectic ones like the brilliantly bonkers El Records.

And while it is wonderful to see so many of the era’s top bands getting the nod (Primal Scream, Primitives, House of Love etc) it is also great to see a few more obscure acts getting a belated bit of recognition. Step forward The Seers, whose driving psych pop was a big fave of mine at the end of the decade, Blow Up – a mod-style band from Brighton, and not forgetting The Claim, a much under rated Kinks-influenced band from Kent.

Cherry Red have also tried to include tracks that haven’t as yet made it on to other comps too.

So who is missing? Well there’s no Television Personalities or Felt as neither band wanted to to be on the comp. Also I’d loved to have seen Miles Over Matter and Boys Wonder, but neither band released a record on a British indie in the period.

Anyhow it sounds like a formidable collection and Cherry Red has promised it will be lavishly packaged with images, sleeve notes – the full whack. It should cost around £50.

To get the latest news on the comp check out the Facebook page here.

For our round up of under rated British 80s indie bands – go here.

Our top Shoegazers are here.

And here’s a gem from The Claim.

Disc 1:
1. THE WILD SWANS Revolutionary Spirit
2. GIRLS AT OUR BEST Getting Nowhere Fast
3. THE PALE FOUNTAINS (There’s Always) Something On My Mind
4. JOSEF K The Missionary
5. THE MONOCHROME SET Jet Set Junta
6. THE BLUE ORCHIDS Dumb Magician
7. THE MARINE GIRLS Don’t Come Back
8. THE FIRE ENGINES Candy Skin
9. DOLLY MIXTURE Everything And More
10. SCARS All About You
11. THE NIGHTINGALES Paraffin Brain
12. FARMERS BOYS I Think I Need Help
13. JANE It’s A Fine Day
14. PREFAB SPROUT Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone)
15. WEEKEND Summerdays
16. THE LINES Nerve Pylon
17. FANTASTIC SOMETHING If She Doesn’t Smile It’ll Rain
18. THE HIGSONS The Lost And The Lonely
19. EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL Feeling Dizzy *
20. BLACK Human Features
21. STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE Trees And Flowers
22. THE DAINTEES Roll On Summertime
23. NICK NICELY 49 Cigars
24. TRIXIE’S BIG RED MOTORBIKE Norman And Narcissus
25. THE CHERRY BOYS Kardomah Café
26. AZTEC CAMERA Oblivious

Disc 2:
1. HURRAH The Sun Shines Here
2. THE PASTELS I Wonder Why
3. PULP Everybody’s Problem
4. GRAB GRAB THE HADDOCK I’m Used Now
5. FRIENDS AGAIN Honey At The Core (Moonboot Version)
6. THE BLUEBELLS Callander Green
7. LLOYD COLE & THE COMMOTIONS Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken (Indie Version)
8. IN EMBRACE This Brilliant Evening
9. MICRODISNEY Dolly
10. THE WOODENTOPS Plenty
11. THE JAZZ BUTCHER Southern Mark Smith
12. THE JASMINE MINKS Where The Traffic Goes
13. THE JUNE BRIDES Every Conversation (Single Version)
14. THE REVOLVING PAINT DREAM In The Afternoon
15. THE SHOP ASSISTANTS All Day Long
16. BIFF BANG POW! The Chocolate Elephant Man
17. JAMES Hymn From A Village
18. THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN Just Like Honey (Demo Oct ‘84)
19. THE LOFT Up The Hill And Down The Slope
20. THAT PETROL EMOTION Keen
21. YEAH YEAH NOH Temple Of Convenience
22. THE WEDDING PRESENT Go Out And Get ‘Em Boy
23. THE BODINES God Bless
24. WE’VE GOT A FUZZBOX AND WE’RE GONNA USE IT XX Sex (Demo)
25. McCARTHY Red Sleeping Beauty
26. THE MIGHTY LEMON DROPS Something Happens

Disc 3:
1. PRIMAL SCREAM Velocity Girl
2. THE PRIMITIVES Thru The Flowers
3. THE BMX BANDITS Sad
4. MIGHTY MIGHTY Is There Anyone Out There?
5. THE SOUP DRAGONS Fair’s Fair
6. THE WOLFHOUNDS Cut The Cake
7. THE CHESTERFIELDS Completely And Utterly
8. THE SERVANTS Transparent
9. THE CLOSE LOBSTERS What Is There To Smile About (Demo)
10. POP WILL EAT ITSELF Sick Little Girl
11. THE RAZORCUTS Big Pink Cake
12. THE WEATHER PROPHETS Almost Prayed
13. JAMIE WEDNESDAY Vote For Love
14. TALULAH GOSH Beatnik Boy
15. THE DENTISTS She Dazzled Me With Basil
16. THE RAILWAY CHILDREN A Gentle Sound
17. THE GROOVE FARM Baby Blue Marine
18. JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES The Rain Fell Down
19. ROSEMARY’S CHILDREN (Whatever Happened To) Alice?
20. THE WONDER STUFF A Wonderful Day
21. THIS POISON! Engine Failure
22. THE BRILLIANT CORNERS Delilah Sands
23. 14 ICED BEARS Balloon Song
24. THE HEART THROBS Toy
25. THE ROSEHIPS Room In Your Heart
26. KING OF LUXEMBOURG A Picture Of Dorian Gray

Disc 4:
1. HOUSE OF LOVE Shine On
2. THE DARLING BUDS Shame On You (Native Single Version)
3. THE POOH STICKS Indiepop Ain’t Noise Pollution
4. THE BACHELOR PAD The Albums Of Jack
5. THE SHAMEN Something About You
6. GOL GAPPAS Albert Parker
7. HANGMAN’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS Love Is Blue
8. WHIRL Heaven Forbid
9. THE BOY HAIRDRESSERS Tidalwave
10. THE FLATMATES Shimmer
11. APPLE BOUTIQUE Love Resistance
12. LAUGH Take Your Time Yeah!
13. GROOVY LITTLE NUMBERS You Make My Head Explode
14. THE WALTONES She Looks Right Through Me
15. YEAH JAZZ Sharon
16. THE CLOUDS Tranquil
17. THE RAW HERBS She’s A Nurse But She’s Alright
18. THE SIDDELEYS My Favourite Wet Wednesday Afternoon
19. RODNEY ALLEN Circle Line
20. THE CORN DOLLIES Be Small Again
21. THE HEPBURNS The World Is
22. BUBBLEGUM SPLASH One Of Those Things
23. THE McTELLS Jesse Man Rae
24. THE CHARLOTTES Are You Happy Now?
25. ANOTHER SUNNY DAY I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist
26. THE LA’s Son Of A Gun (Demo)

Disc 5:
1. THE STONE ROSES The Hardest Thing In The World
2. THE INSPIRAL CARPETS Keep The Circle Around
3. THE SEA URCHINS Solace
4. CUD Only (A Prawn In Whitby)
5. THE POPGUNS Landslide
6. EAST VILLAGE Strawberry Window
7. THE FANATICS Suburban Love Songs
8. THE MILLTOWN BROTHERS Roses
9. THE ORCHIDS I’ve Got A Habit
10. BRADFORD Skin Storm
11. THE CLAIM Picking Up The Bitter Little Pieces
12. THE POPPYHEADS Pictures You Weave
13. THE SUN AND THE MOON Adam’s Song (Pour Fenella)
14. THE DESERT WOLVES Speak To Me Rochelle
15. THE GOLDEN DAWN My Secret World
16. BLOW UP Forever Holiday
17. KOROVA MILK BAR Do It Again
18. AVO-8 Big Car
19. THE RAIN Dry The Rain
20. THE BOO RADLEYS Catweazle
21. THE SEERS Sun Is In The Sky
22. THE TELESCOPES Perfect Needle
23. THE VASELINES Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam



features, Gallery, Style

Style: Patterned Shirts – Uniqlo, Brutus, Paul Smith and more

By Stefano on February 5th, 2013

Patterned shirts are everywhere at the moment from retro mod style polka dot long sleeved classic through to floral patterns in places like Uniqlo.

In fact it seems like pretty much anything goes and the patterns on your shirt can be anything from golfers through to paintbrushes with all manner of floral, willow, dots and paisley in between.

Here then is a selection of ten that have caught our eye.

Uniqlo Patterned shirt £19.90

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Picture 1 of 10

Is it floral or willow? You can make your own mind up. One of Uniqlo's many rather lovely, and very cheap, long sleeved patterned shirts. Uniqlo



features, Gallery, music

Not just My Bloody Valentine – Eight original Shoegazing bands who need reviving

By Stefano on February 5th, 2013

mbvLike most music obsessives from time to time I have wondered what it must have been like to be there at a pivotal moment in music history. You know, like avoiding the sweat dripping off the ceiling while the Fab Four hone their post-Hamburg rock and roll in The Cavern. Or watching the light show and Syd Barrett in psychedelic melt down mode at the UFO. Or even hanging with the art school punks at CBGBs as they watched as Blondie’s pop moves took New York’s indie screen global.

The nearest I ever got to a seismic pop moment was in a small and sweaty basement room bizarrely sited on Oxford Street by Tottenham Court Road tube. For there in 1991, the club, known as the Syndrome, became the meeting place for the main movers of the London wing of British indie, some of whom would go on to create some incredible music.

Energised by both the danceable grooves coming out of Manchester and the visceral punky thrills of grunge jetting in from America’s North West coast, the likes of Blur, Ride, Lush, Moose and many others began to fashion a musical response that kept the energy of punk but , how shall we put this, was a little more cerebral. And the music these middle class punks played (for many of the bands were from the posher parts of London and the South East) became known as shoegazing (after some of the musician’s habits of looking at their feet while messing with effects pedals).

As well as absorbing the primitive, yet arty sounds of bands like Dinosaur Junior and Sonic Youth, the Shoegazers were almost all highly influenced by the feedback drenched howl of My Bloody Valentine. Many bands also kept the melodic obsession of the C86 bands in creating sweet, often catchy tunes that they buried under howls of effects and white noise.

Shoegazing, just like The Syndrome, didn’t last too long, but for a couple of the bands it was a springboard to better things. Sadly though most of them didn’t see the musical tidal wave of Brit Pop coming and the music press quickly lost interest in shy, retiring musicians from Surrey and turned their attention to boisterous Beatles-obsessed northerners. In fact almost all of them were history by the mid -90. Except that is in the US where a couple of bands from a city on the nation’s West coast kept the genre alive.

So with My Bloody Valentine releasing their first album in twenty or so years there is no better time to go back and revisit some of the less well known protagonists of the Shoegazing (a term which not surprisingly almost all the bands associated with it hated) era. There are profiles of eight bands and you can hear them, along with some fellow travellers in the Spotify playlist.

* The most under rated 80s indie bands here

* Under rated British 90s indie bands

The Charlottes

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Picture 1 of 8

One of the earliest shoegazey type bands The Charlottes were massively influenced by both My Bloody Valentine’s creative use of feedback and also the poppy melodies of C86-ers like The Primitives. The debut single Are You Happy Now is a classic of the genre with a female vocalist singing a sweet pop tune that they proceed to bury under an avalanche of guitars, effects and Who style drum fills. They got even better too. Their 1991 album Things Come Apart, which has recently been reissued on vinyl by Optic Nerve Recordings, contains Liar, a glorious thrashy tune which was almost an underground hit in the US and See Me Feel - think The Ramones with effects pedals. Sadly the band split soon after with drummer Simon Scott defecting to Slowdive.




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