Archive for the ‘Gallery’ Category

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



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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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, 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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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 Brian Jonestown Massacre

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By the mid-90s no one was making shoegazing style music anywhere in the world, except for one man - Anton Newcombe. In what was to prove to be one of the most inspired moves of recent times Newcombe took the jangly 60s psych that he had been experimenting with his group Acid on track likes Thoughts of You, layered in guitar effects and added Kraut Rock grooves. The result was the incendiary Methodrone, possibly the best shoegazing record that the US has ever delivered. Evergreen and especially That Girl Suicide, rank among the best moments not just of shoegazing but of 90s indie. It is also worth checking out the compilation Tepid Peppermint Wonderland from that period including Hide And Seek and Anemone. The band of course went on to make a series of classic albums and last year’s Aufheben showed they could still trip with the best of them.



features, Gallery, music

Five sad tales of musicians who went AWOL

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

up-manicOn February 17th 1995 police found Richey Edwards’ Vauxhall Cavalier abandoned at the Severn View service station. They reported that there was evidence that The Manic Street Preachers’ guitarist had been living in the car.

As for the car’s owner, well nothing has been heard from him since. There have been alleged sightings in Goa and Lanzarote, while there are those believe that he took his own life and jumped off the Severn Bridge. I guess we will never know.

Edwards, however, wasn’t the first rock star who decided that they had had enough of their old life and wanted to start anew. Various members of Fleetwood Mac disappeared in the late 60s and early 70s to be discovered in the cradle of slightly iffy religious groups.

There are others too and I have rounded up five stories of musicians who, for one reason or another, completely disappeared. Some, like Richey, are missing presumed dead, others are just keeping an incredibly low profile while working on that magical next album. Then there’s the tale of Rodriguez, a singer whose life was shrouded in mystery before a film was made retelling his amazing tale.

The other thing about all five is that each of them has created some wonderful music, which in four out of the five cases, deserves to be much better known.

Jim Sullivan - whisked away by aliens?

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Perhaps the most dramatic tale of a musician going AWOL ever the Jim Sullivan story still intrigues everyone who hears it. The story has an added poignancy as the album that Sullivan released in 1969, UFO, is a special one that has recently been championed by a new wave of folk stars like Laura Marling. Anyway back to the story. In the late 60s Sullivan was a talented singer songwriter in need of a break. He got one when an actor friend of his, Al Dobbs, decided to fund his album. That record, UFO is minor classic - a perfect mix of dusty folk and Gothic country, yet with some strong pop undertones. Dobbs had ensured that only top notch musicians played on the album including several of Phil Spector's legendary Wrecking Crew band of session hacks. It really is quite an astonishing listen. Take Rosey, a delicate, gently picked ballad taken to new heights by pizzicato and then soaring strings. It sounds like the sort of track Lee Hazlewood would have written on a very good day. Most intriguing of all is the title track UFO, where Sullivan shares his obsession with aliens in an eery way that some believe was a psychic prediction of the fate that was soon to befall him. Sadly the album stiffed - it has been reissued by Light In the Arric Records and these days is hailed as a classic of its genre - and Sullivan went back to playing bars and busking for a living. Then in 1975 he decided to leave his wife in California and head eastwards to start a new life a session musician in Nashville. He never got there. His car was found abandoned in the desert while all his possessions were left in his hotel room. The last time he was seen was on the ranch of a family with mafia connections. The case is still unsolved, but there are some folk who believe that the UFO watcher's dream finally came true and he was whisked away by aliens. Others take the view that he may have been murdered and the body never recovered. Either way Sullivan left behind one superb album and an enduring myth which one day really ought to be turned into a film.



Clothing, Gallery, Style, Style Safari

Style – Farrell’s classy 50s influenced Spring collection

By Stefano on January 28th, 2013

We are big fans of the Farrell brand. In case you haven’t come across them yet they are an quirky English indie with ex-Burberry fella Ben Dickens at the helm and Robbie Williams, yes him, providing some of the inspiration.

They also have a blog that sometime can be laugh out loud funny.

And they have just unveiled their spring summer collection and we really like a lot of it. There’s a lot of navy and white, some very classy lightweight rain coats, striking knitwear and more. There’s a whiff of the 1950s about it, especially that bowling shirt.

Here are five of their items which caught our eye. You can view the whole collection on their website.

Farrell Cotton jacket £250

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This looks really classy. It is a light cotton jacket in Navy which sports one button at the front. There are some neat touches too likes the fully functioning cuff buttons.



Clothing, Gallery, Style Safari

Style Safari – Bobbles and Beanies – Lyle And Scott, Superdry, Paul Smith and more

By Stefano on January 17th, 2013

It is now getting cold- seriously cold. Not just an odd breeze ruffling your hair, but full on Arctic howlers accompanied by temperatures that are dipping well below freezing. And let’s be honest that flat cap that  has served you well through the autumn – even if it does make you look like an extra from Billy Liar – won’t cut it anymore.

Its is time to go beanie – or even bobble.

The bobble has been making a bit of a comeback in the last few years and now are the hat of choice of many a hipster. As for beanies, well every man really ought to own at least one.

You probably don’t need me to tell you but you really need to avoid hats made from cheap scratchy wool. Not only are they massively  itchy they just feel very uncomfortable. It might sound ridiculous but an investment in a Cashmere hat – provided you can keep the moths at bay – is well worth it and you’ll have a hat that will last several years.

Here are five to look at from cheapies through to £50 beanie handmade by artisans in the Himalayas – I kid you not.

ASOS Fairisle Beanie £10

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This is cheap, and very cheerful. Made by the in house team at ASOS it is knitted with a bobble and a rimmed brim ASOS



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.

Porsche Aluminium Sledge £300ish

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If you are feeling flash then this sledge is a Porsche. Yep it is designed by the same people who put the cars together and comes with a logo to prove it. It is made from very sturdy aluminum and has a fake leather seat. There are however two bits of bad news. One, it is priced like a Porsche and two, it is second hand only, they do pop up on ebay from time to time.



Gallery, Shirts

Style Safari: Polka Dot Shirts – Peter Werth, Guide London, ASOS and more

By Stefano on January 12th, 2013

Guide 60s style Polka Dot Shirt £59.99

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This 60s style shirt is in navy with white dots. It has a mod cutaway tailored collar with buttons underneath as well as two tone buttons to the placket and cuffs. Guide London

Polka Dot shirts never really seem to go and in out of style. However at the moment there does appear to be a bit of mini renaissance with a number of High Street stores offering them alongside specialist labels and heritage brands. Maybe it is because, as we have been told, 60s Op Art looks will be big this year.

Anyhow here then are a selection of five of the best. They are all dark with white dots and range from classic 60s Mod styling through short sleeve summer wear.



Gallery, Tablets

Got a new iPad/Nexus 7/Kindle Fire HD? Here are the 30 apps to download first!

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

Live Score Addicts (iPad/Android) Free

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This is ideal for afternoons spent watching football on the box, it basically keeps you totally up to speed with what is happening in games across the globe. The push notifications are lightning quick and there's more than enough data to satisfy your inner Statto.

Got yourself a new tablet this Christmas. Chances are that you, or some in your home has taken delivery of a new iPad, iPad mini, Galaxy Tab, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD or one of those cheapo models that we like so much.

The big question is then what apps should you download first? We have put together a list of 30s apps that we think are absolutely essential. Some are games, some books, some enable you to watch TV, all are very useful and entertaining.

The app falls into several categories. There are genuine tablet apps- eg those created especially for say the iPad. Then there are those which are made for smartphones which will work on tablets in a slightly different way.

The only problem with the Android tablets is that not every app works on every tablet, so for example while Sky Go happily plays with the Google Nexus 7 it won’t work on the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Anyhow most of these apps will work on most of the tablets. And a good percentage are free too – so what are you waiting for?



Clothing, Gallery, News

Primark SS13 Menswear range revealed for the shoestring fashionista

By Gerald Lynch on January 2nd, 2013

After giving your wallet a post-Christmas womping, updating your wardrobe for Spring/Summer 2013 can often take a backseat while waiting for that January pay packet to land.  Thankfully, cheap-as-chips high street chain Primark are on hand to deliver some on-trend staples at pocket-money prices, revealing their SS13 menswear lookbook. Scroll down for a sneak peak at what’s set to hit their stores in the coming weeks.

Plenty of tropical and camo prints feature (that camo bomber jacket will serve the fleeting trend without breaking the bank at £25) while statement caps and acid washed jeans are also on the way.

Primark may not be the most desirable name on the high street, but if you’re considering diving in on a risky on-trend look, you can take a chance without feeling that empty-wallet regret a few months down the line once the look has passed.

Primark SS13

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Footwear, Gallery

Blue Suede Shoes are back; ASOS, Clarks Originals, John Rocha and more

By Stefano on December 31st, 2012

Good news for Elvis, it appears that blue suede shoes (and leather ones too) are enjoying a bit of a mini revival. I saw that Clarks had added navy to its range of classics this year and they are not alone. You can also buy blue suede and leather brogues and loafers too.

Of course you have to be a little careful about what you wear them with – especially if the shoes are more navy than blue. They work well with jeans, chinos and grey suit trousers, but black trousers are obviously a no.

Here is a selection that caught our eye.

Clarks Jinks £69

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One for the summer? Based on the original Clarks Desert Boot, the Jink was first introduced in 1983. It is lightweight, low and has suede uppers with a leather ankle trim. End Clothing



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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Coats & Jackets, Gallery

Farrell’s Night Bus From Hell Survival Kit

By Stefano on December 13th, 2012

There are two very good reasons to love Farrell Menswear. Firstly they have some of the most stylish, classic menswear in the UK – in their own words think ‘the perfectionism of Savile Row tailoring, the practical elegance of Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer, the straight arrow modernism of Paul Weller.’

Secondly they have one of the best websites (and its accompanying blog) in UK style. The brand is currently running a Festive Survival Guide which teams up some clothes to get you through some tricky siuations from Christmas parties to post hangover breakfasts.

Our favourite though is the ‘A Naval Touch for The Night Bus from Hell’ which is featured above. It includes the brand’s classic Pea Coat, a striking, and incredibly warm looking cable knit cardigan and a rather lovely pair of wool grey trousers which oddly enough I can’t find on their website. I’ll pass on the tech though (old school BlackBerry – no ta) and I think I might be a bit big for the knickers.

Farrell do have some really gorgeous things in their current range. Here are a few of them. Oh, and the third reason to love them is the video below of their founder which always makes me smile. Details of all the products (and that blog too) here.

Farrell Pea Coat £300

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This is a fairly traditional Pea Coat in Navy with anchor buttons underlining that maritime theme




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