I bought a rather nice linen jacket in the middle of July but due to some problems that I have recently encountered I have, until now, been unable to review it. When I purchased this specific item of clothing the frozen northerner’s wife the Contessa Di La Proctero thought that her husband was having another major crisis, what is the cause of this month’s meltdown, apparently my new linen jacket. As usual the Contessa was looking at my summer attire with typical distain, happily informing me that I should clear my head and stop seeing myself as the north east’s answer to Pierce Brosnan. She may have a point of course, but whenever I am in Italy, the Italian male will strut his stuff wearing linen with such an effortless ease, it makes you want to be just as stylish so, I simply had to buy linen jacket in a shallow attempt to try and compete (not a chance). So where to buy one and how much was I prepared to pay, high end retailers such as Richard James, Gieves & Hawkes and Hardy Amies make some truly beautiful linen jackets but with their prices hedging around the £600 mark, those prices are just a little bit too rich for my blood. High street stores such as Marks and Spencer offer linen jackets starting at about £100 they offer very good value for money, the same can be said for the John Lewis jackets which are slightly more expensive, but this was no time for indecision so if I was going to do it right it would inevitably lead me to John Simons in Marylebone (British Rail are making a fortune off me). As noted in previous blogs I have a real problem with this shop as, once inside I am like a kid in a sweetshop, Mr Simons had a superb range linen jackets in various colours by the Paris based company J Keydge, predictably I bought one, a natural coloured cotton linen mix ivy slack jacket which cost £249 which was just little bit more than I wanted to pay but after listening to the great man waxing lyrical about the Kedge jacket it was all over. J Kedge and their slack jacket is something that is heavily influenced by Americana clothing, which is something that is worryingly starting to take over my life. The jacket is unbelievably comfortable, three buttoned with a lapel rolled to the middle button this little beauty is something that I am wearing constantly at moment, I don’t want to Pierce Brosnan but I would happily settle for looking razor sharp and slick like Jake Brigance who is always fighting for justice in some sweaty courtroom in Clanton, Mississippi, Jake may always under pressure to uphold the law, it matters of course but, not as much as staying ultra-cool in his linen jacket probably made by J Kedge.
In late 1980’s I bought Nick Logan’s “Arena” magazine religiously, it for me had everything, this was a great magazine and had great pieces of writing by the likes of Tony Parsons, Nick Kent, Julie Burchill to name but three, I was enthralled and soaked up every article in each publication. Somewhere in each issue there was a section labelled “Arena Recommends” highlighting art, books, films and music. Their musical recommendation were practically flawless and albums were bought purely on their advice. So when in the 1988 spring/summer Dylan Jones announced that Mica Paris was an “extraordinary gifted singer” it was fairly obvious that I was going to purchase her debut album “So Good”. Young, black, talented and most of all British Mica Paris drew on her gospel background to sing like an angel, making us believe that here was female soul singer that was going to give her American counterparts a run for their money. The title of the album was perfect because the LP was “So Good” there isn’t a bad track on the whole record which peaked at number 6 in the charts, it spawned four great singles, “Like Dreamers Do” “My One Temptation” “Breathe Life Into Me” and her duet with Will Dowling the cover version of the Flack/Hathaway classic “Where Is The Love”. I find it hard to believe that “Sway” was never released as a single, perhaps I am getting bit carried away, but when I hear her beautiful vocals on “My One Temptation” ably backed up by those gorgeous horns in the background then I know this is an album of the highest quality. I still play this record endlessly especially in the summer when I am lying on some Italian beach. It is hard to believe that Mica Paris never matched the success of her debut album, true her next album Contribution made to the top 30 in the album charts, but none of the singles released from that record had any impact, Mica Paris still tours on a regular basis and still has that superb voice, it is mystery to me why she did not become a star of epic proportions, but then again there is nothing quite as fickle the music business, I hope and pray that Mica has one more great album in her locker that can put her back on top because that is where she belongs.
As a avid reader of blogs, I am always on the lookout for shops that are new and interesting, small independent shops run by people with a genuine interest in their products offering something just that little bit different. These shops are becoming increasingly harder to find but for me, they are well worth the time and effort required because if you make a purchase it makes it all the more satisfying. So returning to bilgy after my third holiday of the year (Sicily again) The Frozen Northerner decided to spend the day exploring the delight of our capital city and in particular a small shop situated in Bloomsbury quite near to the British Museum called Thomas Farthing. I was exposed to this shop a few months whist rummaging through Christian Chesvold’s excellent Ivy Style blog http://www.ivy-style.com/. Finding this shop which is located on Museum Street proved to be a bit more tricky than anticipated nevertheless, The Frozen Northerner along with his intrepid Sherpa for the day, the Contessa di la Proctero, managed to find their way to this rather appealing little shop and it was well worth the 40 minute walk it took us to get there. Thomas Farthing is a shop that I would best describe as “tweedy” the establishment is run by Adam Skyner and is stuffed full of Harris tweed jackets and trousers, fair isle sweaters and cardigans, alongside a good selection of caps, hats, scarves and some excellent leather satchels. As with all shops like this the temptation for me to buy something proved irresistible and yours truly purchased a pair of Harris Tweed trousers featuring the black watch check, which are absolutely superb. I love shops like this, they give you the feel that you have been transported back into another time where you are waiting for Richard Hannay or Bulldog Drummond to come through the door to do a bit of shopping before going off to foil some dastardly crime that some evil foreign nation is perpetrating to bring down the empire. This shop would fit perfectly into a John Buchan novel and you get the feeling that the shop would benefit even more if it were constantly shrouded in London fog, but hey you can’t have everything. Please go and enjoy this shop on your next visit to the metropolis, but be aware there may be some unscrupulous villain like Moriarty lurking the in corner of shop hatching a plot to overthrow the government, whilst trying on one the great outfits this shop has to offer.