Ever wondered why the plimsoll is called that? According to Nicholette Jones’ book The Plimsoll Sensation in the 1870s it got the name because the coloured horizontal band joining the upper to the sole resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship’s hull. So just like the Plimsoll line on a ship, if water got above the line of the rubber sole the wearer would get wet.
So now we’re officially in summer, we can safely get out our plimsolls! (and hopefully avoid trench foot following a British summer…)
So much cooler than trainers, here’s our top ten plimsolls to step out in this summer.
We are now just a month away from the first game in The Ashes series as the under achieving Aussies face the mighty England team at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. If all goes to plan it will be business as usual with the England team notching up their third Ashes series win in a row. But then again when has it ever gone to plan?
Oddly enough there’s a bit of trend in cricketing garb at the moment. Maybe it is just our penchant for white canvas style shoes or possibly the revival of Great Gatsby era flannels, but there is plenty of cricket influenced fashion in both indie stores and on the high street as well as specialist cricket emporiums.
Here then is what to wear this fabulous cricketing summer. Howzat!
The cricket jumper isn't just for sporty types. It is a Mod wardrobe staple. This 'Bart' Mens V-Neck cricket jumper by John Smedley comes in a cool Vintage ice cream (beige) colour way. Chunky Retro tipping to the low V-neck in purple and Vintage plum. Sixties Mod style fine cable knit detailing throughout. Made from Sea Island Cotton.
In case you hadn’t noticed The Great Gatsby is back in the cinemas again with Leonardo Di Caprio playing the doomed title role alongside his Daily Buchanan, in this instance Carey Mulligan.
Given that the director is Baz Luhrmann of Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet fame the film is not surprisingly rather stylised with much of the fashions that featured in the original 1974 Robert Redford movie cranked up to the max.
Fortunately the 1920s wasn’t a bad look for men, so with that in mind you if you do fancy pretending that you are the king of Long Island here is a jacket and few accessories to help you achieve that look.
Incidentally The Great Gatsby sold very poorly when it was first released. It wasn’t until after Fitzgerald’s death – at the insanely young age of 44 – that soldiers returning from World War two began to read the novel, and not until the 50s when it was first acclaimed an American classic.
Single-breasted jacket in Italian cotton and linen gabardine blend. Features flap and welt pockets, functioning button cuffs and a double back vent. Complete the look with the co-ordinating Gabardine trousers also available.
Round about now I go on a mad search in my wardrobe for my collection of Fred Perry’s. When that search proves fruitless I normally treat myself to a polo shirt or two, one from here or here and another cheapo from a High Street store.
If that’s you cunning plan too, here is a round up of some of the best High Street polos.
With navy tape style trim and contrasting centre stripes. Metal logo detail to the side.
In case you hadn’t noticed the sun has suddenly decide to grace us with its presence which is great news for everyone, except for those of us who are folically challenged.
It is now the time of year when hat wearing shifts from begin a quirky affectation to a necessity.
Fortunately there’s a pretty good selection in the stores at the moment ranging from classic flat caps to straw boaters and Fedoras for those lounging by the river pretending to be an extra in Brideshead type moments – oh that’s just me then…
Ok, so the Pop Art spotlight is very much on Roy Lichtenstein at the moment what with his retrospective at the Tate Modern in London.
But when it comes to a style/art crossover then there’s only one pop art name that counts, and that’s Andy Warhol.
There are literally hundreds of Warhol’s prints available on t-shirts – check this lot out - but if you want something different how about this Pepe Jeans jacket which I spotted at Atom Retro and is part of the The Andy Warhol Collection from PJ.
It is a very striking looking blue jacket with a zip, 60s style collar and side pockets, But best of all is the lining which is a very cool reworking of the famous Campbell Soup Warhol print.
In his packed 70 years cosmic cowboy Lee Hazlewood recorded a string of wonderful albums many of which were on obscure labels. Thanks to the sterling work of labels like Light In The Attic many have now been reissued. Not Forty though. Clearly the runt of the Hazlewood litter Forty, recorded when the maestro celebrated that milestone birthday, is low on Hazlewood originals and high on sugary covers of standards like September Song and It Was A Very Good Year which don’t really suit the fella’s gruff voice. There are some stellar tunes here though most notably The Bed, which starts as a depressing country-esque lament before strings, brass and a female vocal kick in to turn into a jaunty pop tune, and the rather miserable but nevertheless marvelous The Night Before.
Astral blue 60’s Breton inspired stripe from BEN SHERMAN. Ribbed crew neck and hem, finished with a Indie colour pop cuff trim. Ben Sherman signature tab to left sleeve.
It’s usually around this time of year when we see the high street desperately trying to shift from gloomy winter warmers, to a lighter and brighter spring look. And typically this is usually cue for the humble stripe to make an entrance, often manifesting itself in the form of the classic nautical stripe, and not-forgetting the obligatory Breton stripy jumper – a familiar sight spotted at Saturday farmers market everywhere…
But, good news for lovers of this hooped pattern variety – the stripe is back BIG time this season, and in more elaborate guises from: Humbug to contrasting colour block stripes. Check out our selection of striped jumpers ready for the picking.
Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche
I’ve always loved David Bowie. From Ziggy Stardust via the Thin White Duke to the smartly dressed Hamlet-inspired creations of the Serious Moonlight Tour. Even the movie roles in The Man Who Fell To Earth and (very differently), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. These ‘characters’ shaped the style and attitude of my teenage years, while Bowie’s music of the period touched me like it did all angst-ridden teenagers all over the world with its predominant themes of alienation/otherwordliness/isolation (delete as appropriate). And although my love of Bowie has waxed and waned since the 1990s, I was still like an excited kid in a sweet shop to get a preview invite to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the David Bowie Is retrospective – along with thousands of other mostly 40 and 50 somethings.
What’s striking about the exhibition is that it’s not just about Bowie, but very much about the world that shaped him and consequently us all. So for example we see his early influences such as artists Gilbert and George singing ‘Underneath the Arches’, mime artist Lindsay Kemp who Bowie was a student of during the 1960s and several films of the ’70s, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001: Space Odyssey and his extremely disturbing Clockwork Orange. If this gives the impression of Bowie as a cultural magpie who borrowed from here, there, everywhere that’s probably because he was – and is. That’s not to say there isn’t a focus on his own work too. There are his own child-like sketches of the dystopic ‘Hunger City’ which was the inspiration for the Diamond Dogs tour of 1974, handwritten lyrics from many of his biggest hits as well as iconic photographs of Bowie from the period, taken by celebrity photographers like Terry O’Neill and Brian Duffy (most famous for the iconic Aladdin Sane cover).
There are also interviews with those who have worked with Bowie over the years, perhaps most notably record producer Tony Visconti who talks about the work process with Bowie and basically how easy he is to get along with. There’s even a section on ‘The Verbasiser’, a computer program that Bowie helped develop which randomly chops up words from various stories to make the process of song writing simpler. “It’s like the storylines you get from dreams without the boredom of having to sleep,” explains Bowie.
Then of course there are the stage costumes – around 60 of them in total. While some of these are magnificent, particularly the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie along with Alexander McQueen for the cover of 1997 album Earthling as well as Yamamoto’s Striped Bodysuit from Aladdin Sane (see pic), others – like those from the Serious Moonlight tour and the jumpsuit from the famous Top of the Pops Starman appearance – look disappointingly washed out. Time may not have diminished Bowie as an artist with The Next Day being (nearly) as good as anything since 1983′s Let’s Dance, but it seems to have taken its toll on just about everything else. As Bowie himself once sang: “Time – He’s waiting in the wings, He speaks of senseless things, His script is you and me boys.”
Brandish was a guest of Sennheiser who provide the GuidePort sound system for the Bowie is exhibition which runs at the Victoria and Albert Museum from March 23rd to August 11th. Tickets cost £15.40 (concessions available).
It is incredible to think that almost 35 years after his sad and premature death that Steve McQueen remains one of the most recognisable and iconic Hollywood stars.
Barbour certainly thinks McQueen is a legend. The British brand has been adding to its McQueen inspired range.
In keeping with McQueen’s on (and off) screen persona it is tough clothing that you’d expect to wear as you hare round the Mojave desert on a bike.
How this translate to waiting at a bus stop in Romford remains to be seen, but hey we can all aspire.
It is, as you’d expect from Barbour, high quality clobber made from tough durable materials. Some of the items are distressed to accentuate that tough guy look. You can make your own minds up about these.
There are however a few less expensive items that might appeal to film buffs. Here’s a selection,but you can see whole load more here.
I do find it astonishing that Robyn Hitchcock isn’t celebrating his 60th birthday with his rock royalty chums at Wembley, rather than with a few hundred diehards at a lovely, but small-ish East London venue. After all what is not to like? He has a voice like Lennon, songs that recall both Barrett and Dylan, jangly guitar episodes that summon up The Byrds and The Smiths, harmonies akin to the Wilson Brothers and surreal excursions influenced by the likes of Captain Beefheart and early Steeleye Span. He is a one man Spotify of all that’s great in intelligent pop. And yet he sounds utterly distinctive too. If ever her maj needed to appoint an pop laureate he’d be the perfect person for the gig – though his late 80s track The Veins Of The Queen would probably be enough to ensure he didn’t make the shortlist.
Tonight we are treated to a romp through his back catalogue in reverse chronological order. And even from the off the parallel universe pop hits come thick and fast with the stunning Goodnight Oslo from a couple of years back with its mesmeric guitar (originally supplied by one Peter Buck) and the Johnny Marr co-penned uplifting pop gem of Ordinary Millionaire early highlights.
A few songs in and we are transported to his more introspective period of just over a decade or so ago (which I gather was largely a reaction to major label push of a few years before), where gentle pop tunes are fleshed out by a cello and delicate female harmonies. The stunner here is No I Don’t Remember Guildford, which soars away on gorgeous vocals and subtle strings.
The first half of the two sets take in Hitchcock’s pop years when a cast of minor rock deity – Nick Lowe, Terry Edwards and Green Gartside to name but three of his conspirators, help him run through his very Beatley almost hit So You Think You Are In Love and the psychedelic vaudeville of The Wreck Of The Arthur Lee. Both wonderful songs that should have given the man his big breakthrough.
After a quick break and a poem from John Hegley the man returns with several songs from his mid-80s albums, including the glorious paean to an Isle of Wight beach, Airscpe, and the anti-Thatcher Barrett-esque blast that is Brenda’s Iron Sledge.
Finally the time travelling troubadour arrives back in the late 70s with songs from his first band The Soft Boys. From an embarrassment of riches on the classic Underwater Moonlight album to choose Hitchcock, backed by two of the three original members of of the band, opts for a spirited Kingdom of Love rather than the more obvious new wave racket of I Wanna Destroy You or the perfect jangle pop of Queen of Eyes, but then you can’t have everything…
Finally the whole cast are back on stage including, bizarrely, publishing guru and all round top bloke Mark Ellen and Adam Buxton of Adam and Joe fame, to climax with a track from the singer’s latest album Love from London. That song, The End Of Time might be fresh to most of the people hearing it, but it fits in perfectly as yet another jewel in the career of a singer who hopefully will have many more songs to come.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fair play to Crosley for being the first brand to produce a high quality design-led reproduction of a classic Dansette. This, the Collegiate, is a small-ish record player that has an aluminium grill speaker a leather handle and USB connectivity. It plays singles, albums and 10inch discs. It is available in several colours. It was available the UK from Urban Outfitters, but they seem to have sold out. So the only place that has it for now is this lot who can get you one on import if you are prepared to wait.