Sunday, 23 January 2011

Rolling Around with Emily Evans Eerdmans

Just to make you envious, I  can now reveal that I met up with fellow blogette, the gloriously attractive, funny, talented Emily Evans Eerdmans in London recently.  She has been famous for writing 'the book I got for Christmas' a couple ago, the gorgeous, magisterial Regency Redux so I was excited. 

 To celebrate their first 'paper' wedding anniversary, her husband Andrew bought her a plane ticket to accompany him on his visit to conduct a major seminar.  That's enough to recommend anybody but I am still tempted to tell you that he's a charming, gentle and thoughtful man with a dry sense of humour and a mission to persuade companies about sustainable economics, about reassessing the value of commerce beyond the notion of the bottom line.  I probably haven't got that exactly right but I found it all most reassuring.

Emily has written about what we all got up to here and I make no apologies for introducing them to an almost forbidden pleasure..

I know, I know.  It will induce apoplexy in  many,  the cry of Hallelujah! in some.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Bearable Lightness of Being

Mindfulness Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, me?  Well oddly enough, yes.  I signed up for the course only because I like and admire Steve Wasserman who takes it. (Try anything once
except folk dancing and incest, I agree with Woody Allen.)  Steve is the author of the comic strip Prozacville here which is wickedly funny, neurotic, obscene and brilliant.  All the things I love.  Disappointingly, but understandably, he has a much gentler persona as a therapist. Who could fault him for that?  Anyway he's still clever, amusing and articulate.

I'm afraid I told him I could think of nothing more ghastly than achieving serenity in a group but they turned out to be a very agreeable bunch and I'm now majoring on the serenity in my daily homework - or 'practice' as I think it should be called. It involves listening to another gentle chap giving instructions through my computer.  So this is what happened on my first attempt.  I tried to  imagine breathing out through the top of my head amongst other things and when I woke up I felt refreshed and determined to be 'mindful'.

Next day, the bell went ding and my computer launched into 'Sit Down, Sit Down, Sit Down,
Sit down! Sit down you're rocking the boat!'   I suddenly thought 'But I WANT  to rock the boat!'  Clearly it's all doing me a lot of good.

Find out more about London-based Steve Wasserman and MCBT here

Thursday, 6 January 2011

As if anyone cares what I think.

image from Reuters

I have just been made aware of GQ's best-dressed list for 2011 by Toby Worthington who knew I couldn't resist another exercise in the pot calling the kettle black.  I am depressed by any number of images of the internationally best-dressed Javier Bardem in an open-neck shirt and stubbly chin plumbing the depths of originality. I note he's got a big chin so one might forgive the facial hair but I really don't know what they're on about.  Here are some of the supposedly best dressed men in Britain..

Daniel Day Lewis No 50.  We know this one. Naughty subversive chap wears brown shoes with black suit just because he can.  Works well with the brown piping  on the lapels and perhaps signifies something more than a minor act of rebellion now. (Who put the flowers there? Looks like a funeral parlour.) 

Alasdhair Willis No 42 who happens to be married to Stella McCartney. So if you're going to axe the tie, this is a good solution. Great tailoring if you ignore something awry at the neck. He always was a sharp dresser when we were at art school.

Charles Finch No 46   I adore a blue dinner jacket and I bet he's wearing blue suede shoes which always make me wince with a mixture of pleasure and discomfort. What's going on with the lapel? Oddly crafted bow tie's quite sweet and I'm for a good white handkerchief in the breast pocket.  Well done, old thing!

King of the talent show dark empire Simon Cowell No 43. I' ve seen him on his shows looking a saddo in v-neck t-shirts but this is casually authoritative and chic. Fabulously textured suit and a plain knitted tie does it for me. Particularly this shade with the hint of light taupe silk kerchief.

Benedict Cumberbatch No 41.  The scarf looks like a calligraphic stroke on this very agreeable  red carpet  suit.  Really not keen on arranging scarves in this metropolitan way but he gets away with it.

Frankie Francis No39.  Endearingly considered scruffiness. Tres Johnny Halliday.

Stephen Webster No38. No, please! As style fascist Peter York observed, if you're going tieless you've got to have a shirt designed for the purpose.  The collar's too big.  Silly statement buttons and hint of primitivism in the necklace make this attempt to recapture youth just all too predictable.

Christopher Bailey No 33.  I thought I didn't like this minimal mess at first but rather love the Ariel/Vietnam grunt duality.

Plan B  No 32  No idea who this is.  Anyone who has the balls to look like a building society clerk who moonlights as a bouncer has to be congratulated. Cute.

Jude Law No.29  Cockney gigolo - I don't think so, Jude. And there's no growing room in that.

Ray Winstone No 28.  Managing to look like the crook and his barrister in one. Magnificent.

William Gilchrist No 25.   Always hard to keep focused when talking to someone so studiedly attired as this.  But what a glorious colour palette when you include his suit lining.
Raffish hair, beard and hat combo n'est ce pas.

Tom Hardy No 24   A successful  midnight serenade.

David Cameron, Prime Minister No 20.  Quintessential boring English dresser. And I am surprised to see him in the Best Dressed list on account of his collars. Certainly before he entered No.10 Downing St, his laundress used to do that annoying thing of massing the fabric into the seam instead of smoothing it out and away.  How can you vote for that??

Dominic Cooper No 13.  He pulls it off with the hipster/toff look I'd say. 

David Walliams No 11.  Yet another great blue suit with winning combination of white shirt and black tie. The white socks (a no-no in my father's day) are just this side of sensationally spivvy.  I think this is my favourite.

Billy Nighy No 10. Now here's a thing: London Transport operatives used to wear light grey suits and pale blue shirts and to me it was never a good look. 

Jenson Button No 9.  I'm not really the person to ask about this as I'm sick to death of smart jackets and jeans. The ash can effect gives it a touch of originality but he still doesn't deserve his 9th place on the grid.

Aaron Johnson at Numero Uno.  Bad boy in his dad's DJ trying to remember how he was taught to do his bow tie.  What can one usefully say?  Romantic curls of course.

Grateful thanks to here

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Funny where things lead you.

My last post showed me up for someone  who's not au courant with the current music scene or even courant with old films.  Just call me a currant bun why don't you.  The Best Coast video had been concocted on you-tube from an indie pop band who've been going a couple of years with a scene from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, a charming vehicle for Catherine Deneuve and her sister Francois Dorleac who was killed in a motor accident shortly afterwards.

Do do watch another scene with Gene Kelly dancing dans la rue.  I also chose it for the art direction which is more delicious than a box of fondant fancies. 

And if you loved that, watch here the scrumptious sister act in a post I did a long time ago

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Something for Everyone?

I am happy to present this ludicrously wonderful Best Coast video on the recommendation of a friend, rather more au courant than me.  

Monday, 3 January 2011

Why I'm not sure I like satin anymore

When I flicked through Pauline E Metcalfe's  Syrie Maugham (pub. Acanthus Press 2010) there was something about its glamour that reminded me of my mother's bridge friends in the English provinces when I was growing up in the 50s.  I particularly loved Dorothy, Beryl, Gay, Mary and Heather who left their scented fur coats and Jacqmar scarves on the banisters and played cards with manicured hands in deathly silence, save for the the murmur of  the bidding.  Nobody lived in particularly recherché houses but something about their well-groomed silkiness and face-powder, their nail polish, their patent leather or crocodile shoes chimed with the high-gloss effects of some of Syrie's rooms.  I was nostalgic too for my mother's pale blue satin dressing gown on the back of the bathroom door.  On the strength of that, I  bought the book.

Then I looked again.  Oh dear.  The curtains above were made for her daughter Lisa Paravicini but not sure if I could have lived with this hemming that puts one in mind of  pair of lounging pajamas that have come into contact with the bathroom floor.

Who was Syrie Maugham's upholsterer, I  can't help wondering.  It's tricky stuff but they made a pig's ear of this valance n'est ce pas?  

Just because these rooms [above and below] were created for wondrously camp old Stephen Tennant at the fabled Wilsford Manor, there's no excuse to dress the occasional chairs in  bargain rail party frocks.  

 You'd be forgiven for thinking this was a Nevada chicken ranch.. The taste is not even amusingly execrable and one might spend one's spare time twitching the corners of the bed cover to align the corners. I'm not even an obsessive person.

Now what's going on here?  I love the organdie curtains but the pelmet treatment is nothing short of a tragic stab at things.  Sort of thing your teenage daughter might do with a staple gun on a night when her boyfriend was playing football.

Another bout of juvenilia. Sorry Syrie, but that stool just won't do. 

If anyone needed reminding, this is what Syrie Maugham was capable of and rightly celebrated for.  It's all a bit of a puzzle.

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