Monday, January 18, 2010


The Secret Order reconvene this Saturday, January 23, 2010.

There's a lot of furtive noise on the matter; you're no doubt aware.

I saw this pair only earlier today, however as you can see take care, walls have ears.

Tweed and capes optional.

Location: Gramaphone, 60 - 62 Commercial Street. E1

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pocket Ballast - Part 1

or Least We Forget....

I’ve been told the pockets of McDonalds uniforms are sewn up to avoid petty theft. Urban myth or not, the rest of us carry all sorts about, borrowed, planted, cherished or long forgotten. As Number One in a series that I can’t guarantee will extend beyond this we explore one piece of pocket ballast that should always be present.

My assistant models one below:

Richard II ((1367 – 1400), 6 January – 14 February to be precise) kicked it off and since its auspicious start has been seen in every walk of life, in numerous guises, assuming endless roles.

For many (read, ill informed) the handkerchief is an unhygienic piece of cotton in someone else’s pocket.


Perhaps there are more hygienic methods of wiping your nose.

Article 1. A Schnoz.

But should this be the sole criteria by which should live our lives?

You can, he and they can, but I’m not.

What are the options?

Put simply there are none.

There is no more unedifying sight than that of man scratching around in his pocket to pull out a scrap of tissue, attempt to mop his nose and continue his day with paper detritus dangling from his upper lip.

A pathetic, ill prepared and now kowtowed figure of a man appears where once stood a friend you respected and some admired.

If you're still wavering think of the sniveller on this mornings tube and yesterdays bus. They were admired only for their exit. A warm welcome may continue from their mother. No one else.

Once you're in, however, proud owners of this humble square will find a new world opens up. A good handkerchief is but a fold from a neckerchief (sometimes referred to as an ascot by our friends west of the Azores).

Any casual visitors to the English South West will have know of their use by sailors to keep draughts from their neck and the sun off it later in the year. This should be reason alone; any excuse for even the smallest of nods to the nautical world is something not to be left folded in a glass cabinet.

They go from cold, to warm to bandage just as effectively.

Further afield the lowly cotton square is the standard western film good guy / bad guy test; point at back = good, front = bad.

Historically, yes the white handkerchief has had low points in it's use in place of a white flag to indicate surrender or a flag of truce, but they were also left with war time squeezes to wave sailors off and keep under pillows.

A white linen number is the perfect accessory to a suit, and the fold thereof can range from the austere to the flamboyant; The Presidential; The TV Fold; The One-point, Two-point, Three-point and, yep you've got the system, the Four-point Folds are all recognised forms. And that's leaving out The Cagney, The Puff (and Reverse Puff), The Cooper, The Astaire, The Straight Shell and The Diagonal Shell.

(TT. Any excuse.)

A handkerchief's use can go on and on; impromptu cloth, padding, container and not least that immortal piece of British seaside head gear.

Yes, there are more exciting items to rattle on about; made on a bench in Northampton, hand sewn in Maine, sourced from mountain beasts, sweated over in an Italian village workshop (well before lunch and an afternoon nap at least) but they mean nothing if you haven't got the fundamentals sorted.

Obviously the case for could continue but really, that should be enough.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Great British Two

The Quoddy's served me well through autumn, the Filson Steptoes too. I can't recommend either of them strongly enough* which is a relief as they'll be with me for quite some time.

(* Naturally the unnecessary Filson branding was immediately unpicked and removed).

Anyway, my first spring item arrived today, perfect timing, just as London got it's third pile of snow this winter.

This, and the admirable job blogs on the other side of the atlantic have served to the time honoured LL Bean Duck Boot prompted me to get my posting pen out.

As two of America's greats stood up so well it seems fitting to fly the flag for two British staples that'll make a stroll in any London weather an unencumbered pleasure.

They both carry Royal Warrants for good reason and although these Hunters (Gates, post '86 of course) were made in Scotland they're now off shored. Down the tubes or off shored - that's a hard one.

Thinking on this surely the classic wellington could have continued to be produced in Scotland and the newer additions (read (on the whole shocking) cash cows ) punted off shore? Many would willingly pay a premium for the real deal surely.

Trickers however aren't going anywhere they seem busier than ever.

These boots were made for walking I believe someone once said, perhaps if we issued the above to some of the current stay-at-homers that could be out of choice.