Archive for August, 2010


Sunday, August 29th, 2010

It is interesting how quickly something becomes traditional. I have been in Nardo for three nights and I am already very much sucked in to the six o’clock old man club that meet in the Piazza Antonio Salandre  in the centre of Nardo.


On the Piazza is Gambrinus’s bar, restorante and gelateria, which is a semi focal point, but there is also an ‘Ass.Naz. Combattenti a Reduci’, and gaff that appears to do politics too. It’s all about sitting about, or standing in the square in fact.

Old men all over the world in hot climates are doing the same. They converge on different modes of transport. Old cars, old bikes, old scooters are all well represented in the fleet. Many walk too. On arrival various sub groups develop with occasional singular deployments between groups. The debates are serious, earnest, and humorous. They talk so much every night, they must be thoroughly excellent debate merchants. Or are they all just talking rubbish? Who knows.

I wonder when this tradition started. Over a hundred years ago I’m sure. I wonder at what age does one think, ‘I really wanna make a go of this Palazzo thing, and go most nights’. Most men are of pension age, but there are some in their fifties and even late forties. They are few. No women are involved.  The style is excellent.

Old man style in hot countries is excellent, especially in Italy.

The best thing is their old leather sandals. The simple crossed two piece leather arrangements. What is key is that none are new. They are all old, just like the feet that wear them. No Havaianas or Crocs pollute this ancient vista.

The smart men wear loafers and slacks and short sleeve shirts, but many wear vests, jewellery and short shorts. I’m very interested in this particular look. It’s a closed shop, so I don’t get to discuss it with anyone. I wonder if my old man would have been allowed to join in if I’d brought him here before he lost his mind to Alzheimer’s. I don’t know, but I like to think he’d have been involved in some way or other, probably at the bar end of the square. Bless Don. He had the Sandals. Maybe that is the membership token required.

Church bells strike every quarter, not just from one church, but from several. At 8, the old men all start to leave. The gradual dispersal is a sight to see – talk about taking things easy. They probably go home and ignore their wives. Or rump them silly. Who knows, but I can’t wait to join the club.

Stubbs out.

Move to Nardo

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I left the Northern bit of the Italian boot heel and headed to Lecce and onto a little baroque town called Nardo. A good pal of mine happens to have an ‘apartment’ there. Nardo is an un-touristy place, absolutely beautiful, quiet, and the sort of  location you might dream about.

I won’t reveal my friend’s identity, so lets call him Bobby. Bobby’s place is a palace. It’s an eighteenth century priest’s dwelling among a number of  churches right in the middle of the little town. His interior designer Nigel let me in. It’s nothing less than breathtaking. I won’t post a load of shots, no point.

Arched 24ft ceilings, ancient solid wood doors  and cold stone floors form the back drop to a delightful and accomplished collection of mid twentieth century and modern furniture and stuff. Nigel and Bobby have created something spectacular. I wish Walters could see it, he could play ‘name that chair’ all day in here. I’m on my own and it’s the best head-space I can ever remember having. Hustling about the place in B&Bs is all very well, but this is beyond special. Thank the Lord and thank the Bobby.

Stubbs ensconced .

Polignano a Mare style stuff

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Woke up in a funny gaff, a mile from coast, quite smart, but with the detritus of an Italian wedding being cleared up around me. I headed seaward with a list of B&B’s to visit and choose at my leisure, B&B Italia, you might say. No ‘room at the inn’ is another thing you might say. Homeless in his Tod’s in the 3pm heat of Puglia can take it out of a man’s spirit. Working my dongle frantically in a car with the air con on full knowing I hadn’t much time left and the town was shutting for its massive sleep was tense.  A kind lady named Rosa who’s B&B was full, (speaking no English mind), let me follow her to a weird apartment by a factory in the industrial area over the train lines. Not what I imagined, but at least I could call it home. Later that day when I called to tell her I couldn’t even find the place again, she told me she didn’t know what it was called either and it might be best if we met back at her B&B, above a funeral parlour. She now had a room and I was spared a night in a lock up. Maybe a resident died and I witnessed him being loaded into a transit, who knows. I was grateful.

So on to the business of studying the Italians on holiday and their style. I went and sat on the rocks and small beach and watched the Italians on holiday.  The lads are almost more macho than Brits, and most action is spent throwing themselves off the rocks with unlimited bravado .

I felt a little Death In Venice looking at the young birds, so I stopped filming.

At night, the Italians get their glam gear on. Polignano is built on rocks and means something about built on a platform. This tallies with all of the women here who wear rope wedges. All of them. The teenage boys have an interesting style, like futuristic gay cadets. The look contrives elements that include asymmetric body pouches, (preferably Gucci), pedal pushers, Asymetric Travis Bickle Mohawk haircuts that are faded in rather than stepped and lozenge shaped watches on thick wrist cuffs. They’re rather pleased with themselves it seems. I will obtain pictures.

The best look to note though is Italian in black in the day. Sometimes even at a wedding. Italians own that colour. Gonna think about it and post it.

Most useful phrases for today thus far as I get into line with the high fashion stakes down here are:

Voerrei qualcosa in pelle                – I want something in leather

Mi vuol lavare I capelli e fare la messa in piega, per favore                –

I want my hair washed and set

Stubbs out.

Pootling in Puglia

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Have gone to Puglia for a break, a tan, some food and to find oneself. The big worry is already that might turn out to be a bigger twat than already anticipated. It’s a risk I’m taking.

On the subject of risk, driving out of Bari airport at night in a hire car to get to Polignano a Mare 40k down the coast could be described as a another big one. I specifically requested a Fiat 500 for style reasons. ‘Renault-Clio-man’ is not the look I was planning, and was so upset neglected to ask for a map any bigger than a postcard. My trusty dongle failed me, so without guidance I drove south (vaguely south) toward Brindisi listening to pony Italian radio by way of atmosphere. Stopping at deserted industrial estate turnings to read the post card only added to the excitement/angst. Miraculously (more of religion later) I found Polignano a Mare, and my weird, large smart hotel that had hosted a wedding that day. The bride looked quite knackered in the foyer, and her groom’s suit more shiny than my Cleo. Weddings is what they do down here, apparently non stop. English is not what they do down here. I discovered my pitiful Italian I deploy in Milan does not work in the South. I have become a phrase book devotee. On the quest to find myself, I have discovered that am too affected by happenings around me. Score so far: one all. Bad car/lucky navigation. I accept the score draw.

Most useful phrase from book thus far:

Sono qui con la famiglia (I am with my family). Makes me look less like a lone loser.

Or perhaps Debbo partire domain (I have to leave tomorrow)

There is a lot more to come.

Stubbs out.


Monday, August 16th, 2010

The team and I just returned from Vintage Goodwood festival. There is much to show and tell, but right now am thrust willingly back in to modern world and have no time for protracted testimony. For now  find creative inspiration via Christos, who tells vintage  like it is. In his head at least.

OK. Some brief thoughts on Ponywood. The problem with a vintage festival is that it becomes a terrible  mess. Idiots dressed up in all sorts of random stuff, united  vaguely under a directionless retro-umbrella make for pretty pitiful viewing. The genre of vintage style has gone from niche specialist scene, to mass touchstone of naffness. It doesnt even mean anything other than old-ish now. The vintage vista actually disables good style too.

I wore my Edward Sexton bespoke three piece, created by the Prince of Suave himself. It possesses authentic Seventies styling, executed in a modern luxury manner. Its tantamount to couture. I might as well have hired a comedy Saturday Night Fever suit for £40 and donned an afro wig. I looked an idiot against this backdrop of snyde costume. I shouldn’t have got involved.  Inside the Soul Casino awful style reigned supreme. I had to go in as my hands were too cold to text at this point, but the poor dancing and worse styling was quite harrowing to witness. My comrades and I later settled in Torch; the sort of big bang swing, pseudo club. It was satisfactorily  warm, and there was table service courtesy of our generous hosts, IWC.

I’ve just been sent these pictures too. So completely not indicative of the event, I am almost against putting them up. However, there just isn’t enough Edward Sexton out there in the internet, so here they are. The Rover is mine by the way.

After my Sexton mis-fire, for the following day I went for civvies; a dark blue jean with a green bomber jacket and burgundy shoes, only to discover that I was now a tribute skinhead.  One of many. Style gets totally derailed by the removal of modern rhetoric. The thing about old stuff is, its not just good ’cause its old. It has to function on merits that resonate today, (see Christos, who is resonating all over the shop). I was forced into tiny Orlebar Brown shorts by way of a get out clause, as could guarantee wouldn’t link me with this sprawling disaster of style.

There were some  good elements. The Wall of Death was one.

Walters and I were housed in a pod. It’s more of a tiny shallet that a pod, don’t cha think?

To be truthful I had a smashing time, mainly because we couldn’t stop laughing at the parade of vintage parody before us. The sun came out, we saw Kid Creole and his Coconuts and drove back to London with the roof off.

Stubbs out,

and  back in the modern day thank you.