Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pet Shop Boys: Paninaro

They, ahem, rocked Glastonbury last night, so what better time to highlight perhaps the most stylish pop video ever – certainly from my point of view. Not only is the Paninaro promo full of immaculately dressed Milanese teens (all of whom will be about my age now), but Chris Lowe’s Massimo Osti-ish outfit is basically the template for the naval-influenced casual look that still predominates amongst those in the know today. Yet again, it proves the pre-acid house late ’80s was the coolest part of that most derided of decades. As Lowe intones: “I don’t like rock music… I don’t like much, but what I do like, I love with a passion.”. Absolutely spot on.

Tip: Justin Quirk

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why the British are getting summer right…

Chinos with pumps*. Yay!

Men finally working out that a pair of nice shorts, a polo top and some sandals/boat shoes/pumps looks absolutely ace

Less blokes wearing brown. Did see one lad in town today, though, with muddy-grey jeans and a brown ill-fitting T-shirt on. But he was the exception, not the rule. The last people who pulled off brown were The Sweeney

The return of comabt shorts – but this time slimmer, with less sticky-out pockets. The scally take on preppy means a Stone Island/80s Casuals tee, combats and a pair of retro-looking Adidas. The wearing of black socks with white Stan Smiths is thankfully dying out (I’m looking at Liverpool’s youth, here)

Loads and loads of smashing women walking about in what can only be described as ‘pretty’ dresses. This makes me – and lots of other chaps – happy.

* Yeah, I’m aware they’re mine, but you know, still…

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Adidas Samba Casual versus Vans Vulcanized

Even though I’ve always liked trainers, I’ve never been an obsessive, especially as discovering someone with a cupboard full of reissued Forest Hills is about as difficult as finding an overweight midlander in the crowd at an England match. But yesterday… well, I actually needed some new pumps – and I mean simple plimsolls, not trainers. But Size?, that temptress of Carnaby Street, drew me in with her Adidas cleavage and kept me there with an array of beautifully simple Vans Vulcanized. I’m no skater, but nothing looks better with a pair of chinos than some fresh-from-the-box Vans pumps. The Adidas Samba Causals I bought were just an extravagance. And a most satisfactory one at that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Nokia 8210, the most beautiful phone ever

Anyone who says they don’t drool over the iPhone4 is either a liar or er… someone who doesn’t drool over the iPhone4. Anyway, while Apple’s latest communicator pretty much defines what technology is about at the beginning of the 2010s (along with HTC’s Android-running ‘Desire’), we’re still in love with the phone that made mobiles not just functional, but actually objects of desire, Nokia’s 8210.

Weighing in at a tiny 79g with the battery in, and boasting dimensions of 101.5mmx44.5mmx17.4mm, the 8210 truly was the most mobile of mobile phones. Small enough to be slipped in the pocket of a pair of jeans, it would only alert its owner to call with a discreet vibration. Something, in those still mobile-phobic times, that non-attention seekers appreciated.

Today, it seems awfully basic – there’s no camera, internet or mobile film-editing function. And yet… truly, an 8210 is really all you need – especially if you favour form over function. So even though ’s is no longer in use, it sits on the shelf, ready to be used once more should Mr Jobs’ newest device have a terminal breakdown. “Connecting people,” that’s what they said – and that’s still ultimately what it’s all about.

This article will run in Umbrella, the new online magazine for men – out by the end of June 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The evolution of the New York subway map since the 1970s

It may be one of the world’s most striking metropolises, but on the map at least, New York City is ugly. With Manhattan looking like a carpenter’s finger and Brooklyn a dead ringer for a burst colostomy bag, the city’s subway map has always had to work on a dirty canvas. Maybe that’s why the transit of this most iconic of towns doesn’t have anything like the brand identity of the London or Moscow undergrounds.

Despite this, I’m still fan of the system, largely because of its elevated sections – most notably shown in The Warriors, when the gang (leather waistcoats and all) have to find their way home via the subway and its most violent passengers. The reason I’m writing about it – though I don’t ever need an excuse to cover an underground railway – is because the local authority have redesigned the system’s map (above).

The New York Times says

The new subway map makes Manhattan even bigger, reduces Staten Island and continues to buck the trend of the angular maps once used here and still preferred in many other major cities. Detailed information on bus connections that was added in 1998 has been considerably shortened.

Happily, the paper also showcases the different versions of the map that have been directing New Yorkers for the last 40 years. The different version are below:





Sunday, June 06, 2010

‘Tailored by Umbro – The Walls’

I’ve written recently – in Grazia no less – about how much I like the England kit (and I’m not going to into a boring discussion about whether Liverpudlians should support the national team). And the campaign to promote it, ‘England Walls’, which you can see here is excellent. It’s also good to see lots of Merseyside footballers (Rooney, Gerrard, Warnock, Carragher) represented.

Then there’s the actual kit itself (and related tracksuits too). The whole collection harks back to the simpler strips of the 1960s, yet brings in modern engineering and construction techniques. It’s fantastic.

Designed by CP Company’s Aitor Throup, the Tailored by Umbro top – with its dozens of interwoven panels – is a miracle of 21st Century design. See him talking about it here.

The Manchester firm, which has kitted out the England team since 1982, drafted in Throup to work on the new strip, who says: “We started working with rib, the most basic of fabrics that communicate stretch. Rib visually expands and grows, like the skin does on a joint, stretching and contracting with movement.” This approach has made the England kit the most advanced in the world. Happily, it’s also a hit with 20-stone van drivers who can drink their own weight in Stella Artois.

Having said all that, Umbro could always look to the past for its inspiration.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Spirit of Shankly – today more than ever

With the news that Rafa Benitez is on his way – after being offered a pay-off – a pay-off that LFC, coincidentally, can barely afford, this is the time for all Liverpool supporters to join the SOS, which has provided the only credible opposition to the moronic American owners since we first twigged their real intentions in 2008. Today is not about whether you rate Rafa or not, it’ s for sticking your colours to the mast and fightng ’til these – and other – leeches are out of our game. Yanks out!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Whitstable… fishing boats and salty fingers on the Thames Estuary