Archive for December, 2010


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Between Christmas and New Year comes that special little gap in time when those with children attempt to amuse them as best they can while trouping between the in-laws. Those without either do what they like. I like to make lists. More comprehensive and vital  lists than ever.

‘Do cellar/kitchen’ was probably the biggest single action on any list I’ve made since I wrote ‘Pack stuff and leave W9 forever’ somewhere back in May. The towering pile of packing cases in the kitchen had taken on not only Stonehenge-like prominence but permanence too it seemed. I am suffering from ‘cardboard boxes as furniture’ syndrome.

Boxing Day clever.

I began slowly and decided I needed to swim to relax sufficiently to scale this cardboard obstacle. The Lido was ‘women only’ this afternoon, so was forced to Hackney Baths, Clapton. Rumour had it on London Fields that only five people were in there, one was a Dad and another a male elite swimmer. Fuming . Indoor confined swimming is properly rubbish compared to the enormous outdoor Lido.  There is a steam room and sauna however: Hot-swings and single-sex-roundabouts.

Eventually I began mining the endless boxed life-detritus in earnest. It took forever. Unpacking and looking at old gear brings back a lot of memories. Distant and not so distant.

I moved my Dad’s beloved Revolver record deck from a cardboard box, and for now wrapped it in packing and planted it in the new bit of uncovered cellar space, almost under the pavement outside. I’m pretty sure he would not have been madly keen on it going there. But such is life: You lose power to govern things that at one time seemed so almightily important.

Don’s Revolver turntable.

Visiting Dad on Christmas Day, he was largely lost compared to who we knew. There was a moment of clarity however. I was making a joke to my sister about ordering  some fish off menu for Christmas dinner at his care home. We were not even eating in reality. “Don’t take the piss.” Don instructed me quietly and firmly. Then added a “Fuck off!” for good measure. That rather told me.

Huge volumes of magazines and newspapers that I had written or styled some old drivel for could be addressed another day. For now, I lodged them underground. Then there was the vinyl: So poignant of one’s life and times and yet now so redundant. ‘Back to the Old House’ , I’d rather not go thanks.  While unpacking boxes, I simultaneously had been clearing a path through the deep corridor-like cellar. Trudging back and forth up the darkened tunnel with mags and papers to deposit evoked a media version of the Great Escape. Sort of.

Lt. Danny Velinski, “Cellar King’.

I broke for sea bass that I had bought locally. Inadvertently I  watched part of I Am Legend. I got sucked in, foolishly, and found it quite gripping. Returning to the midnight cavern,  now every creak of Victorian floor board or dusty crumbling from loose masonry  felt as though something sudden, shocking and violent was about to happen. It was tense as I worked alone and in the ancient cobwebs. I dropped my Leatherman into the gloom, while erecting shelves bent double  in the pinged off into the recess of the coal hole. I felt like I’d fumbled my weapon at a crucial juncture and was about to be extinguished. Radio 3’s peculiar ‘Late Junction’ didnt help…Ensemble ‘Things I forgot’, Mance Lipscomb ‘Jack O’Diamonds’ and Dollboy Meets Sone Institute ‘Stay Lost’, were all quite dramatic there in the ground. (Click and go there yourself). NB. Ensure you’re down a cramped, darkened two hundred year old stone hole  in tiny shorts for maximum effect.

I persevered into the night. By 3 a.m the kitchen was reborn. The cellar is in control and full of old gear. Space reigns in the kitchen and the cocktail bar stands, for now, in the corner, its Eighties bar stools ideal to observe the new expanses from. Ideal for new ambitious list writing too:

-Source brilliant kitchen table

perfect modern Italian kitchen dining chairs

-baroque cabinet

-monolith black Smeg..

..and guest list of dinner parties. Endless dinner parties.. Bring me ‘PLENTY’* by Yotam Ottolenghi, bring me my address book of burning leaf green.

This is the new era. Dinner party Clapton 2011… Stubbs style.


* thanks awfully for that Julie & Mac.

Jegging fillers

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Christmas morning I found self in a ‘Fashion Uncle’ teenage jegging scenario. Gifting young girls body conscious fashion is apparently controversial for a forty year old man, stylist or not. I cannot imagine why.

Legging trousers (jeans look).

It started in Uniqlo, Oxford Street. While sourcing jeans for my older sister (and editor) for Christmas (to team with Russell & Bromley hiking style boots that I got her for her recent birthday), I discovered that the realm of jeans and leggings has expanded somewhat into all manner of sub groups. (It’s as if stretch jeans are the new coffee, in terms of plethora specialised varieties). I explained to a helpful girl in The Uniqlo I wanted skinny, tapered, true-blue jeans with a stretch, and that my sister was tall, had very nice boots and quite a big arse. She directed me to the jean look ‘Leggings Trousers’. Not to be confused with Jeggings or jeans with stretch, but existing between Jeggings and a Jean/Trouser. Marvellous attention to specifics those Japanese.

Glamour jeggings.

Nearby I discovered a cache of pure, undiluted, Jeggings. They’re packaged in neat little bundles, demonstrating their legging-ness, with a bit of pocket and top stitched seaming showing, demonstrating their denim-ness. In all different colours and finishes, they were most exciting, in the manner of fast-denim/fast-food fix. Perfect for the two teenage girls (16 and 19 years old), and their Mother (not sure how old, but still very fit), who live next door to my Mum. We’re all close, and they’re in and out of my Mum’s place throughout Christmas Day. The three are attractive, womanly and in shape, so guessed size M should cover all eventualities and arses alike.  What fun: Jeggings all round on Christmas morning. Swapping various colours options and laughing at the outcomes will be part of the fun, and a size L wild card pair as back-up should suffice.

Legless on Christmas Day again.

While wrapping my haul, an inner circle style advisor (of fine and notable stature herself), counseled that distributing acutely body conscious fayre to the young could be potentially damaging. How so? Well, apparently a ‘stylishly perceived’ older bloke from the metropolis, giving out current fashion items in moderately public arena, risks individuals feeling they’ve not managed to measure up to physical expectations. I put this to the mother of the girls who laughed dismissively as she hauled on her jeggings having  hoisted up witchy-hemmed dress. Her youngest was also now modelling her grey denim versions and shaking her ‘booty’ convincingly to demonstrate an apparent complete lack of anxiety. My brother in law and I looked on approvingly, even as it became apparent the next size  up in the legging/trouser hybrids for my sister. Surely this was  height of wholesome and stylish fun on Christmas day, no? It was a hoot and no one felt bad in the slightest as all manner of real Christmas arses were content in the faux denim skins.

Rhianna: Snow wash jeggings muse.

Caution is, of course, a good thing in cases with sensitive young girls and fashion in the mix. However, many girls just fling themselves into this caper without a thought, booty and all.

Beyonce coping well in jeggings and heels.

My other group offering, The Heals musical crackers were a also roaring success. After a warm up round of The First Noel, I conducted the eight whistle strong version of Happy Birthday to the absent at work oil-rigging father, Chris. In retrospect, a non-dyslexic conductor and a non-asthmatic lead whistle (such as my Mother) might have been better advised. The day was being defined by a devil may care approach to protocol.

And what became of the wild card size L jeggings, you ask? I couldn’t possibly speculate at this juncture, I am far too reserved. I can however reveal I have been looking for something appropriate to team with my Sergio Rossi riding boots for Vogue Fabrics New Year bash. Self  conscious? Lyall, fetch my favourite crop, I’ll demonstrate self conscious.


Later this week, why ‘skinny’ is here until we’re all much older, for men especially.

The Stowaway

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I discovered a style stowaway. Saturday night of the penultimate weekend of the X Factor telly thing, I was ‘working’ as usual with the delectable Miss Exley in the confined, darkened metal-bolted space under the audience seating. It’s like a cross between Upstairs Downstairs* and Das Boot*. (* click for links)

Space is at a premium backstage on The X Factor.

As Captain O’Leary slips through the hatch sporadically, Exley and I tweak, powder, de-fluff and re-mint him. Proper taxing stuff it is. One can sneak around into the space beside the jib camera and watch whatever song is being ‘executed’, then back into gloom of the under-seating hull.

Exley and I at ‘work’.

Here I spied a young girl peering at the show through gaps in the rigging. “Are you a stowaway?” I enquired of the willowy, striking, strawberry blonde, (not my type at all you understand). It seemed she was, (a stowaway that is). One Direction’s turn included a score of excitable girls on stage waving and screaming. They were herded in via the wings like the other supporting roles, then swiftly out again. This whirly one had slipped off and stayed aboard.

Original stowaway, Blackborow.

I plotted her by the jib to watch the show close up, with instructions to stay put. The only person I informed was Captain Dermot himself, who promptly named her Pierce Blackborow, after the arch stowaway.

ITV’s own Shackleton in pinstripe.

The Stowaway was student of tailoring at LCF. She asked about the Captain’s impeccable suits and turn out. Later in his dressing room,  I showed her the rail of Thom Sweeney and Spencer Hart, whom she already knew of. She gasped in awe at the construct of his Edward Sexton and puzzled over the structureless Amies work. It was gratifying to show a young disciple examples of truly excellent tailoring.

Stranded when Wembley froze.

The Stowaway had useless friends left stranded in the canteen bar. This expedition  had no exit plan from Wembley at this late hour, now past midnight, so I gave them a lift in my chauffeured car from West to East. I disembarked at The Hoxton Queen and bid the Stowaway return in my carriage after dispatching her companions. The Queen was no good at all and I called almost straight away. It rang and rang to no avail. Rinsed of my ride by a 21 year old stowaway. Dagnabbit! I had to laugh, and in my Anderson&Sheppard chalk stripe three piece and matching cashmere cap, I picked my way with contempt through drunken weekend Shoreditch; the Blackpool seafront of stylish London.

Unabashed I arrived in Vogue Fabrics, Dalston. After Jennifer had regaled me of my usual Rum and Becks and I had admired Lyall’s interpretation of theatre scrubs meet Dynasty glamour, my phone rang. A slightly panicked Stowaway had been set on vibrate apparently. Hmm. Redemption could only be attained with a conspicuous re-appearance, she should dress accordingly. “How?” she asked. Up, of course.

Amongst the transvestite Doctors and nurses running the night, twisted surgeons and bondage consultants ruled the dance floor. Macho, check-shirted, moustachioed boys and fringe-flicking, neckerchiefed trendies jostled cheek by scowl. Through this fashion melee appeared The Stowaway. A virginal white Fifties prom dress was teamed with white ankle strap courts. Not the only girly dress in the room, but the only one worn by a girl. With neat hair and make-up and unbridled innocence, it was the perfect entrance to Dalston’s club scene. Also the perfect antidote to the Shoreditch contrivances I had endured earlier on route. Congratulations The Stowaway: You’ve passed the first audition.

TS out


Monday, December 13th, 2010

Phantoms and fans

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Dear Reader,

I was under the impression that about five people read this, (mother, sister, bessie pals ) but then I met someone the other night who was actually an independent ‘subscriber’. This worries me, as haven’t posted for a week and a bit. Tres soz. I blame the telly program and Lord O’Leary, (best dressed man on TV in the world bar no-one. Fact) . This has finished, so will attempt to resume normal service. Expect tailoring, night club news (both Vogue Fabrics and Spanish Fly: The club for old men) and the story of The Stowaway: A modern day Pearce Blackborow in a prom dress.

Pierce Blackborow: Cat balancer

More cat balancing from Mr.M himself. Nice Fanny Mozza. Picture credit: Fluffy/JW.

Cat hair.

As soon as can get self out of this TV Studio am gonna be on it like vomit.

Stubbs out