In Blog Notes 35 I posed the question, would you vote this man? The answer as the polls have shown, is yes. My esteemed former history teacher the illustrious “Taffy” Williams once informed myself and a room full of my classmates, that to succeed as a politician was not to tell small lies but to tell the biggest whoopers possible. Please step forward one Donald John Trump president elect for the United States of America, Mr Trump has said some pretty outrageous things and whether you like or not you like him, he has hit a nerve with American public, throughout his campaign Trump has taken some huge risks and gambles, so can he now deliver on some of these outrageous promises, it doesn’t matter now because, he is the man holding all of the aces. Most politicians saw Trump as a maverick candidate who sooner or later would beaten by a more viable politician who had a real background of what goes on Capitol Hill, one by one they fell by the wayside leaving only Hilary Rodham Clinton standing between him and the seat in the oval office. Despite the fact that Hilary was despised by the vast majority of Americans, she and her troops believed the views of most analysts who had her ahead in the polls assuring her of victory. It might be nice to cosy up to Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi but that ain’t going to win you elections anymore, people want change, real change and that is why they have voted Trump in. His victory has left both The Republicans and the Democrats at a complete loss as to why the American public would want to see Trump in power but that to me, just like the politicians in Great Britain goes to show just how much they, the politicians are out of touch with man and woman on the street. Will Trump deliver on the promises he built his campaign on, only time will tell. Trump’s victory has been met with widespread horror in many quarters not just in America but worldwide with nobody quite sure what is going to happen. Trump’s triumph along with Brexit has shown that things are going to have to change and that people at the bottom of ladder want a chance, Trump may or not be the answer but then again who is.
I have been on a bit of downer since returning from London, so I thought I’d flip through my collection of DVD’s to see if there was something in there to help lift me out of my malaise, plenty of choice of course, but I was clearly in need of something light-hearted to raise my spirits. Nothing cheers the frozen northerner up more than a good movie and non-more so than the 1965 comedy “How to murder your Wife” featuring Jack Lemmon, Virna Lisi, Terry Thomas, Claire Trevor and Eddie Mayehoff. I have watched this film more often than I care to remember and it always bring a smile to my face. The casting by Kerwin Coughlin is for me one of the main reasons why the picture works so well, with each character, no matter how small their part dovetailing together to produce outstanding performances. Written by George Axelrod the story revolves around the highly successful strip cartoonist Stanley Ford and his alter ego Bash Brannigan (played with consummate ease by Jack Lemmon) Ford a confirmed bachelor has an idyllic lifestyle, living the American Dream in his fabulous Manhattans townhouse where is his every whim is dealt with by his dedicated manservant Charles Firbank (the brilliantly cast Terry Thomas). Firbank dedicates his life to his master with only rule, he only works for unattached single men, whilst attending a friend’s bachelor party Ford unwittingly over indulges himself with alcohol and finds himself marrying the beautiful Italian model who has just stepped of a cake wearing only a bikini and a smile.
Ford wakes up the following morning to find beads of sweat forming on his forehead as he gazes upon the new Mrs Ford ( the gorgeous Virna Lisi) lying naked on his bed. Distraught at his mistake, he tries to reason with Firbank to stay until he can a gain a divorce, which is going to be handled by his hapless lawyer Harold Lampson (Eddie Mayehoff). At the time this movie was made and certainly in today’s climate the film was regarded as being politically incorrect and there’s the rub, it is, but it is also one of best comedy movies you will ever watch. Witness how the new Mrs Ford is unknowingly manipulated by Lampson’s overbearing wife (Claire Trevor at controlling and calculating best) to destroy all of Stanley male interests leaving him with no alternative but to kill her, but only through his comic strip which he has now transformed into the family orientated The Brannigans as opposed to Bash Brannigan secret agent. The plan works a treat until the naïve Mrs Ford wakes up after a party to find the next series of Stanley’s comic strip revealing her demise. Her disappearance without trace, leads to Stanley being charged with her murder with everyone guessing that the beautiful Mrs Ford has ended up in the gloppita, gloppita machine next door. Let down badly in court by the incompetent Lampson, Ford decides to take upon himself to offer his own defence, the ensuing courtroom scene is utterly brilliant, but only if you’re a man, the fairer sex are not, I have to say, portrayed in a very good light with male chauvinism running rampant throughout the courtroom. It would spoilt the film if I gave away the ending so, just spend the five or six quid that it will cost you to buy the DVD on Amazon and sit back and enjoy Jack Lemmon and the rest of this glorious cast give peerless performances in one of the best comedies that was made during the 1960’s. Thanks Bash
The frozen northerner has recently spent the half term in London with his wife the Contessa di la Proctero, where we stayed in a very nice apartment situated in Mayfair. As with any trip to the Metropolis, it will mean a trip to both John Simons and Oi Polloi, both of whom still maintain their status as my favourite shops in London. However, on my last trip to London I visited a shop on Museum Street called Thomas Farthing where I purchased a very nice pair of tweed trousers, now on the advice of The Tweed Pig http://www.thetweedpig.com/ I am venturing to New and Lingwood on Jermyn Street in the heart of Piccadilly or is it St James, I never can tell, in search of another pair of tweed trousers. I have passed this shop on numerous occasions mainly because Jermyn Street has some of the finest shoe shops in the world such John Lobb, Edward Green etc. up until now I have never ventured inside New and Lingwood, this shop has had a long association with Eton and always gives me the impression that it is a bit dandified, so it should come as no surprise that there is statue of Beau Brummell right outside their premises. Once inside the shop I have there is quite a bit of stuff that is just not for me, nevertheless remember I am man on a mission with my ultimate goal being another pair of tweed trousers. The staff within the shop were really welcoming and helpful, leaving me very impressed (which is more than can be said about the staff in Drake’s), they advised me that I may like their Swire trousers made from Irish tweed (see below).
These trousers are very different from what I would normally wear, however once I tried them on it was fairly obvious that were going to be acquired, the Swire trousers had some very nice detailing, like side adjusters, which are becoming ever more important to the frozen northerner with his ever increasing or should say bulging waistline. The tweed pig’s advice has come up trumps, the staff and the service given by New and Lingwood was a delight and will ensure that the frozen northerner pays a return visit to their shop, it may not be to everyone’s taste but believe you me, New and Lingwood it is well worth a look in.
One Sunday morning at approximately 8.30 some eleven years ago, I stood outside Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York and gently pressed my nose up against the window of their shop. Brooks Brothers had become a bit of an obsession for me since the early 1980,s when I started subscribing to the American Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine. This slick journal opened my eyes to a range of clothes and shoes made by people I had never heard of, I was spellbound and frequently lusted after the attire presented in the magazine. But, I was also realistic enough to realise that the chances of a Swan Hunter’s employee purchasing any of this gear was going to be strictly limited whilst living in the frozen wastelands of north-east England. To be fair, at that time you had to really respect Marcus Price in Newcastle who stocked Sebago loafers and Hilton clothing but American clothing as such was a bit of a rarity. So years later when I could actually afford to go visit New York, a trip to Brooks Brothers was all I was really interested in. Brooks Brothers is American institution and while it may not have had the same appeal that it had in say in the fifties and sixties, it held an enduring fascination for yours truly, so at 10 o’clock on that beautiful October morning I returned to the shop and entered this fabled retailer’s store. Once inside, I wandered around this oak panelled paradise gazing lovingly upon everything the store had to offer, it was nirvana, it had everything that I desired and naturally I wanted to buy the whole shop, from their famous oxford cloth button down shirts to their shoes made by Peal and Co. The staff were unbelievably helpful and in particular one little lady of oriental origin, acting as a kind of tour guide, she took all around the shop and gave me sound advice on what she thought might be suitable for me and my wardrobe. Needless to say I exceeded my budget considerably, although in my defence I have to say it was well worth the investment because, all the clothes bought on my first trip to New York have stood the test of time, they are all still in immaculate condition and they are some my most precious possessions. One of the items purchased on that first trip will now come heavily into play with the colder weather now starting to appear. It is a shawl collared cardigan, very much like the one worn by Lee Marvin at the start of the great film The Professionals and by the likes of Steve McQueen Paul Newman and Robert Vaughan in the sixties as well as John Forsythe in his role as Blake Carrington in the eighties.
Now, the shawl collared cardigan may not be to everyone’s taste which is fine, however, the frozen northerner cherishes this piece of knitwear like no other and will wear it endlessly during the cooler months of the year. My shawl collared cardigan is a heavy ribbed navy blue number, made from Scottish lambswool and features brown leather buttons, I may not look as cool in it as the aforementioned gentlemen but that is never going to stop me trying. If like me you enjoy wearing it with button down shirts and loafers then you need to be careful, because you may be heading into Ivy League waters, which can be very dangerous to navigate, if you don’t the rules, which I do not. Although Brooks Brothers still currently stock shawl collared cardigans they not in the same league as the one I bought all those years ago which is pity, however do not despair because their still some really great shawl collared cardigans out there, which one you purchase is as always based on how much can afford to spend, for me the best one around at the moment is produced by J Press, it is a very nice Made in Scotland merino wool number, that is a beautifully crafted piece of work, that is well worth the price they are asking. I love shawl collared cardigans and think every man should have one, once acquired, your shawl collared cardigan may have you dreaming that I if had bought one in the eighties it may have got you a date with Linda Evans but then again we can all dream.