Products and events.
Caught in the crossﬁre: meet the war correspondent who ﬁshes on the front lines.
170 Bachelor Pad
Foreword BY ANTHONY LOYD
65 Details Rag’n’Bone Man gets the blues; how to proﬁt from catastrophe; why hygge leaves us cold; denim goes electric.
The Style Manual
Jim Chapman’s rules of denim; Tinie Tempah turns designer; plus, Style Shrink.
Architect and designer Daniel Hopwood builds the case for colour, structure and artful arrangements in the home.
Panicking American liberals misjudged the election and the zeitgeist – how can they regroup in the new world order?
Guest Columnist Writer and DJ Anna Conrad turns digital native to trial the new VR clubland.
Get the steer on Associate Features Editor Matthew Jones.
Book a cab, order a takeaway and control your home – all at the sound of your voice.
The Derelict cars transformed from trash to treasure; Jaguar joins the e-revolution.
Soho House opens its doors in Barcelona.
Au naturel with Deliciously Ella; the pleasures of Palé Hall; Jason Atherton’s key to the City; we take a tour of Tenby.
GQ tunes in to musician Thomas Cohen’s wardrobe and wish list.
The Drop Art that plays the post-truth game; why the Oscars are no longer the gold standard; the decline of the Top 40; Paul Auster returns; the long and winding roads to Brexit; our Six Nations rugby stat attack. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 23
220 Why arenâ€™t you following...
Take some screen time to get to know the globetrotting golden girl of Instagram who is always on the move... MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 25
Make stress work for you; run into mindfulness; polygamy goes digital; Bear Grylls deals with bereavement.
First denim now the world The brains behind cult jean brand Frame unveil their new menswear collection. BY NICK CARVELL
207 Tony Parsons
Alastair Campbell vs Piers Morgan
GQ’s inquisitor locks horns with Britain’s most controversial journalist and asks if his next stop will be Donald Trump’s White House.
There’s nothing good about ﬁ ghting – but you can’t run forever.
The business behind the Business Of Fashion How outsider Imran Amed transformed his blog into the digital bible of the industry. BY JONATHAN HEAF
The prince of pop returns with a world-conquering new album and reveals why he won’t stop until he’s king. BY
Features & Fashion
Living in the round Gasholders London opens its new apartment complex in a disused National Grid landmark. BY CHARLIE BURTON
The real Entourage Join Britain’s tightest production company as they take over Hollywood with James Corden. BY STUART McGURK
238 244 280
AA Gill goes to Glastonbury What happened when the late, great writer made a pilgrimage to the festival for GQ.
The new GQ collections New takes on tailoring from Berluti and Boss collide with subcultural tributes by Prada and Philipp Plein to usher in a new season of style. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES WHITE
278 Stockists All the labels in this month’s issue.
Out To Lunch
GQ dines with DJ Nick Grimshaw at Luca.
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 27
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WE BELIEVE IN THE ATHLETE
P L E I N S P O R T. C O M
AA Gill is the reason I’m the Editor of GQ
Photographs Silverhub Magnum;
Wit list (from top): Editor Dylan Jones with AA Gill in 2005; in 1999, the year both men joined GQ; Gill with close friend Jeremy Clarkson on a 2002 trip to Mykonos; he never forgave us for making him report from Glastonbury in 2004
When I was interviewed for my job back in 1999, I was obviously asked to give an indication of what I might commission for the magazine should I be offered the position. Simple, I said: AA Gill directs a porn ﬁlm. That’s the kind of thing I’d commission – the country’s best critic immersing himself in the seedy world of hard-core pornography. I was laughing so much at the thought of it – I was already imagining what Adrian would write – that I wanted to get the job simply in order to see the piece in print. I’d always liked Adrian’s columns (we were both working for the Sunday Times at the time), but I thought he should be writing features and thought he should go out and do some proper reporting. Well, I got the job, hired Adrian to be one of our A-list writers along with Dominic Lawson, Boris Johnson, Tracey Emin, Simon Kelner, Rod Liddle, Michael Bracewell, Will Self, Nick Hornby and Tom Wolfe – and subsequently commissioned the feature. Adrian wrote his script – which, unsurprisingly, largely consisted of people having sex on, in and with various types of food (cake, ice cream, marrows, a veritable smorgasbord of orgiastic delights) – went to LA for two weeks to direct it and then wrote an outrageously funny article about it for GQ. But then everything Adrian wrote for us was funny. And trenchant. And poignant. And discursive. And witheringly, brutally honest. Over time we became friends and he was someone I always looked forward to seeing, not least because he always had an original take on something, whether it was an election, a plate of pasta or a new bespoke suit (“I see you’ve got a new double-breasted,” he would say. “It’s deliciously awful, isn’t it?”). Famously dyslexic, he would dictate his copy, which meant every month one of the features team would be charged with calling him up and typing down Adrian’s invariably late stream of consciousness. And you could always tell who was enjoying the privilege that month as they would be crying their eyes out with laughter. Either that, or saying, “You can’t say that, Adrian. You’ll have us in the courts...”
He wouldn’t tolerate fools, either, let alone suffer them gladly. If you were out with him, at a party, a dinner or one of the many awards ceremonies where Adrian would be collecting yet another gong for his pieces in our magazine – and in the decade and a half he worked for me, he wrote about everything from golf and fatherhood to sex and Glastonbury (a commission for which I’m pretty sure he never forgave me) – he would usually alight on some poor unsuspecting Muggle (or “civilians” as he liked to call people who didn’t share his ridiculously sophisticated worldview) and then tease them mercilessly. One of his favourite pastimes was accusing people of wearing something for a bet. He occasionally did this to me, laughing out loud at a tie I had just bought or questioning the suitability of wearing turn-ups after cocktails (he also had a thing about people wearing the wrong tweed; for him it was as bad as playing with yourself in public). His other favourite pastime was ﬁnding new things to tease his best friend Jeremy Clarkson about. Adrian was one of the very few people who could point out Clarkson’s most obvious weak spots – the billowing jeans, the bubble-perm, the Hitchcockian beergut – and get away with it. Principally because they both loved each other. Adrian had his own weak spot, too: he couldn’t write ﬁction, but then at least he tried, which is more than most of us have. I remember when I hired him to work on GQ. It was May 1999, and I took him for lunch at a restaurant in Albermarle Street in Mayfair owned by a mutual friend, Oliver Peyton. The previous evening, I had had a completely accidental night out, as another friend had unsurprisingly been given a huge job on a newspaper, and so had only got to bed a few hours before meeting Adrian. In fact, this was the only time in my life when I have used eye drops, to try and make mine seem a little
Gill’s script largely consisted of people having sex on, in and with cake
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 45
more human. I remember sitting through lunch, showering him with praise, as he peered at me suspiciously, trying to work out what was wrong with me. Anyway, when I told him how much I was going to pay him – which at the time was an absolute fortune – he stopped peering so intently and the praise started coming in the other direction. He would often pop into the ofﬁce, completely unannounced, usually after lunch, and walk around the newsroom poking his nose in. The staff are used to superstar journalists imperiously strolling the aisles and trying to look important (they enjoy the latent manifestation of insecurity and simply laugh at them behind their backs), but Adrian was never condescending or trite; he was a journalist through and through and his default position was always one of curiosity. What’s this? Why did that happen? Who took these marvellous pictures? Where can I buy these cufﬂinks? He could see through a piece of writing as though it were an X-ray and, often, after I’d been blathering on about how good so-andso’s most recent piece for us was, Adrian would give me an old-fashioned look and then spend ten minutes telling me precisely why it was anything but. And he was always, always right. He would give compliments, but they didn’t arrive on a regular basis, let me tell you; so when one did you tended to treasure it. Yes, he could be a snob, but it was a qualitative snobbery that was largely based on whether or not something deserved to be acknowledged as being any good. He hated arrivistes pretending to be posh, as well as posh people pretending to be poor. He loved celebrities, but not as much as celebrities loved him. I last saw him two weeks before he died, suitably in a restaurant co-owned by his friend Jeremy King, Colbert in Chelsea. Physically, he was seriously challenged – the medication had made him puffy and he looked as though he hadn’t slept for days – but he had lost none of his scathing wit. But then that was Adrian. We chatted, we hugged and although he had told me he thought he had months to live, he looked to me as though that was a wildly optimistic evaluation. A few weeks earlier, when a mutual friend had asked him how he was, he had replied that he had cancer. When AA GILL’S GREATEST EVER our friend asked what kind, Adrian shot back ARTICLE with, “The end of the road kind.” MR SUPER CONNECTOR MEET And so it came to pass. In the end, he only had FASHION’S NEW GURU CARPOOL KARAOKE a few months from diagnosis to death. I can’t The men STYLE behind the monster hit evaluate whether this was a blessing or a curse, Pages although I do know that I, and millions of others, of cool summer garms will miss him. Our thoughts are with his family.
this month on
His compliments didn’t come regularly but when one did you tended to treasure it
Photographs Instagram/@deliciouslyella; Instagram/@hemsleyhemsley
MARCH 2 0 1 7 £3.99
Story by Jonathan Heaf
See more Sheeran Watch an exclusive ﬁlm from behind-the-scenes at our Ed Sheeran cover shoot and hear what he had to say about James Blunt, being a sexy ginger and his new tattoos. Plus, we interview photographer Norman Jean Roy to ﬁnd out how he got the extraordinary photos in the rain.
How to spoil properly this Valentine’s From lingerie to laptops, from sex toys to pyjamas, we’ve got a host of ideas that are both GQ-approved and suitable for every pocket-depth. Your signiﬁcant other will never forgive you if you don’t read this list.
The trends you need to know for spring Because it’s not that far away, really... Read what you should be wearing this spring in our online guide. Also, we’ve just got back from the Fashion Week shows in London, Milan and Paris and we’ve got you covered, with suggestions for all sizes and street styles.
Story by Stuart McGurk
How he became the biggest male pop star on the planet Story by George Chesterton Photographed by Norman Jean Roy
FISHING IN WARZONES + HOW TO RETOX SAFELY + YOUR NEXT HAIRCUT
Special order military jacket by Gieves & Hawkes. gievesandhawkes.com. Shirt by Dolce & Gabbana, £235. dolcegabbana.com. Jeans by Diesel, £160. diesel.com. Watch by Patek Philippe, Ed’s own.
Dylan Jones, Editor 46 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Follow us @britishgq @dylanjonesgq
Hemsley + Hemsley and Deliciously Ella Catch our Facebook Live chats with the healthiest and happiest ladies of Instagram and beyond, and learn how to eat and therefore look better. Ask your cooking questions and get them answered in real-time by liking us on Facebook @BritishGQ
Sterling Ruby: FLAG (4791), 2014 ÂŠ Sterling Ruby Bleached and dyed canvas and elastic (443.23 cm x 871.22 cm) Calvin Klein: Classic Cotton Briefs (Calvin Klein Underwear Est. 1981) Photographed at Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Richard Prince: Nuts, 2000 ÂŠ Richard Prince Acrylic on canvas (284.5 cm x 517 cm) Calvin Klein: Classic Denim Jeans (Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978) Photographed at Rubell Family Collection, Miami
This month, GQ Style Editor Luke Day interprets and presents the most important and eye-catching trends to come off the Spring/ Summer 2017 catwalks: from double denim to graphic tailoring via futuristic hiker. His fashion story also showcases models as diverse as this season’s styles. “I love the striking Korean models Do and Bom,” says Day, “and my favourite look is the Louis Vuitton clash of African-inspired prints with British punk.”
How does a war correspondent disengage from the chaos of combat? Fishing, if you’re Anthony Loyd. “When I cast, I’m suspended in that perfect world in which time and task are one, exclusive of bad memory and concern,” says Loyd. In this month’s Foreword, he recalls his catch in Saddam Hussein’s palace in Tikrit and, more recently, listening to a young Kurd’s stories of combat with Isis over a hook and line in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Can Theresa May make the best of Brexit? This month, GQ’s Political Editor Matthew d’Ancona weighs in on whether our prime minister will make her mark as the one who kept Britain above water. “Triggering Article 50 is the whistle-blow marking kick-off for the ofﬁcial negotiations with the EU,” says d’Ancona. “Whether she likes it or not, history will judge Theresa May by the success or failure of Brexit.”
This month’s cover star Ed Sheeran returns with a new album (and behind-the-scenes video on GQ.co.uk). “He’s revealed as an artist with a business sense as sharp as his songwriting,” says GQ’s George Chesterton of his world exclusive interview with the singer. “His third album – part of a masterplan of ten – is bolder than anything he’s done before.”
Is virtual reality the future of clubbing? This month’s guest columnist, Times writer and DJ Anna Conrad, investigated VR nightlife by attending a Kano gig without leaving a conference room. “My experience was pretty good, but there’s more to come,” says Conrad, who will soon try the world’s ﬁrst VR music venue at Boiler Room, London.
Simon Parkin is a longstanding contributor to the New Yorker. This month, we welcome his second piece as GQ’s new gaming writer, in which he critiques Sony’s newest and most visually arresting title, Horizon Zero Dawn, a post-apocalyptic RPG. “At times of political turmoil our ﬁction returns to old worlds to wrestle with futuristic questions,” says Parkin. “If HBO’s Westworld used the Wild West to question our ethical responsibility to robots, Horizon looks at how we might work with robots to tame the wild.” MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 53
Fishermen’s blues (from left): Photojournalist Sir Don McCullin and war correspondent Anthony Loyd compare catches
HOOKED ON DANGER
Even amid the horror of battle, one of Britain’s most decorated war reporters seeks solace in ﬁshing
Photograph Anthony Loyd
man had drowned on a Friday in a weed-cloaked eddy beneath the pillars of the highway bridge. Mohammed, grasping quickly that it was as important to convey to me the drama of war and death as it was to catch ﬁsh that hot, unsuitable afternoon, pointed out the spot with a nonchalant wave of his hand as we rattled across the pebblecovered banks to the river’s edge, ﬁshing rods in hand, while trafﬁc on the Mosul road thundered overhead. “He died here two days ago!” he said. “Many have drowned at this spot. People in the town say that the river is thirsty for blood on Fridays.” But he said nothing, just smiled, when one of my friends suggested that Friday was a very convenient day for the river to be thirsty for blood, guaranteeing a good turnout at the mosque for the faithful who might otherwise be tempted to miss the most important prayers
Anthony Loyd of the week and go down to the water to escape the stiﬂing summer heat instead. Returning to the theme, Mohammed next pointed out a concrete pillar beneath which lay the bones of a construction worker. The man had supposedly fallen from scaffolding into the bridge’s foundations at the precise moment that a crane lowered the pillar into its shaft 30 years earlier. “It would have been too complicated and expensive to recover his body,” he enthused. “So his bones are still there beneath the bridge he helped to build.” I checked my line, baited the hook with sweetcorn and cast into a slow eddy of water just downstream, where the current curled back around against the shingle in a reverse lick, before looping back into the river’s main ﬂow. Mohammed watched in silence for a while. Then, as if unveiling the tour’s pièce de résistance, he turned and pointed downstream. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 57
“The caliphate is just 17km from here!” he announced. He sounded almost proud. For a second, a bright and brilliant line from Michael Herr’s iconic masterpiece Dispatches sprang to my mind. Used to describe an American colonel who was outlining a plan to drop piranhas into North Vietnamese paddy ﬁelds as a way to shorten the war, Herr wrote of the ofﬁcer: “He was talking ﬁsh but his dreamy eyes were full of megadeath.” I tried hanging the sentence around Mohammed, but it would not ﬁt. A gentle young Kurd in his early twenties, who I had met by chance at a ﬁshmonger’s street stall a few days earlier when I pointed to a row of dead ﬁsh and asked if anyone could guide me to a spot where I could catch something similar, there was no hint of death-charge to his soul, just a youthful desire to communicate the edge and excitement of the Zab river in Kalak, Iraqi Kurdistan. Maybe he thought that without the buzz of his input I might have been distracted by the mud-coloured water, by the bankside detritus of cans and plastic bags, by the ugly highway bridge and by a skyline smeared with exhaust fumes and dust – distracted by all of these grimy details into thinking that I was in just another tedious shithole where nothing ever happened between sun up and dusk but sand and smoke. He need not have worried. For all his talk of death, despite the polluted water and rubbish and shot-heart grafﬁti on the bridge pillars, in that landscape of a thousand sludge greys my dreamy eyes were full of megaﬁsh.
There was something about Basra Palace in 2007 – the sense of being surrounded, the hideous heat. But the ﬁshing was excellent
was born in a big house and ever since Mr Meads the gardener took me ﬁshing for gudgeon in the Thames, using maggots stored in heaving pipe tobacco tins, ﬁsh and ﬁshing enthralled me. In my worst nightmares I am walking through an apocalypse of drained water and rotting ﬁsh carcasses, where leopard seals eat screaming sharks in the tops of dead trees. My best dreams are of catching rainbow-scaled monsters from green, lily-cloaked depths. I am not much good at ﬁshing – which makes my attempts at catching ﬁsh all the more frantic – but I do it when I can, and especially like to ﬁsh in war as it balms the rage of division with a sense of shared craic, allowing men the grout of a common understanding. Beside the water all ﬁshermen are brothers. Some wars are just too hard-core and distracting to ﬁsh in, never allowing the disengagement required to focus on the water. But not many, so I usually carry a rod with me on war assignments. The biggest ﬁsh I ever caught in a war zone was a huge carp in 2005, taken from a lake in Saddam’s presidential palace complex in Tikrit, which nine years later became a mass-murder site during the infamous Camp Speicher massacre, when Isis slaughtered more than 1,000 Iraqi Air Force cadets captured in the city. I was with my old friend Richie Mills at the time, the Times’ big, easy-smiling Irish photographer. American forces had taken over the palace complex and were embroiled in ﬁghting against an increasingly ferocious insurgency in the surrounding area. There was a delay of a couple of days getting a helicopter to whichever ﬁrebase Richie and I were headed to, so we kicked back, were given some bread as bait by the US cooks and started ﬁshing in Saddam’s palace lakes. I hooked the carp in about ten feet of water near the margin. It took 58 GQ.CO.UK
me ages to play the big ﬁsh in and when I ﬁnally landed it a small group of American soldiers stood on the stone steps leading down to the lake, clapped, admired the ﬁsh and said, “Oh man!” and, “F***, yeah!” Richie laughed generously (he was probably as surprised as I was) and said “Mr Loyd!” a few times. The war was suddenly far away and we were all happy, me especially. I put the ﬁsh back. Just this spring I passed over the bridge across the Tigris at Tikritonce more, a bit fatter and older, uglier and wiser but otherwise pretty much the same, and looked across at the palace and lake again. Maybe that old carp is still alive and there today, I wondered. Richie ain’t. The only time I ever ﬁshed wearing a ﬂak jacket and helmet was in another of Saddam’s palaces, this time in Basra in 2007, when a besieged battalion of British troops fought on alone at the fag end of the UK’s occupation of the city. Reveille began each morning with tight salvos of incoming mortar ﬁre from the Iranian-backed Special Groups and the days stretched out in a soup of unbearable humidity, as the boiling temperatures curdled with moisture from the Shatt al-Arab waterway, until at last the sun went down and the British riﬂemen raided out into the city in the heat of the night. I have been in even more violent places than Basra Palace but there was something about it in 2007 – the sense of being surrounded, the futility of dying there in those last few weeks of British involvement, the hideous heat – which made it an especially uneasy position to occupy. But the ﬁshing was excellent. The palace, which abutted the Shatt al-Arab, had a lake within its conﬁnes, running in from the waterway via a short canal. An aggressive kind of silver perch lived there. Sometimes, after Iraqi mortar ﬁre had landed in the lake, the bodies of the ﬁsh which ﬂoated to the surface, killed by concussion, were of double-ﬁgure weight. I never caught anything more than a pound, though they gave great sport when ﬁshed for on light line with a small spinner. The mortar ﬁre was irregular but intense and no one moved outside of the bunkers without body armour and helmets, so I ﬁshed awkwardly in full battle rig. This did not afford a complete “get-out-of-fear-free” card, as one of the Brits’ concerns was that Iranian special forces frogmen might swim into the palace to attack them via the canal, which seemed like a smart idea – smart enough, anyway, for me to keep an eye out for streams of bubbles as I ﬁshed for the perch. I threw some of these ﬁsh back. A small detachment of Gurkhas ate the others. The last time I ﬁshed there was just before one of the ﬁnal night raids. I remember a big soldier sitting on the palace steps playing chess. Private Craig Barber was killed that night during the operation: the last British soldier to die before the withdrawal from Basra Palace. Then there was Sangin. Not much in the badass stakes beats Sangin. The small district in Helmand, and its namesake market town, took more British lives than anywhere else in Afghanistan during the years of British involvement there. Fireﬁghts were so normal a part of patrolling in Sangin that after a while they became almost unremarkable, and complex Taliban ambushes involving suicide attackers, IEDs and assault teams were not uncommon.
Continued on page 262
MAKE LOVE NOT WALLS
Princess Léa: Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson have helped Léa Seydoux jump between genres
RISING S TA R
BEYOND BOND Léa Seydoux is the actress who can do it all WHEN Samuel Taylor Coleridge made his philosophical enquiry into the nature of beauty, two centuries ago, he concluded that it is “the coalescence of the diverse”. Perhaps that explains the allure of Léa Seydoux. The 31-year-old vacillates between two different personas: one moment she’s a blockbuster starlet, the next an art-house experimenter. She was the maid in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel; she was the spunky rebel leader in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster. She performed alongside Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds; she performed alongside Adèle Exarchopoulos in lesbian drama Blue Is The Warmest Colour. In her words: “I always wanted to be able to cross all those worlds.” So, as is her wont, having just played the Bond girl in Spectre, she returns in It’s Only The End Of The World, a French-Canadian drama that won the Grand Prix at Cannes, about a terminally ill writer. In other words, as far away from 007 as one might get. Perhaps this was inevitable. To those that know her, Seydoux does, to quote another literary philosopher, contain multitudes. “She’s Bardot, plus Binoche, plus Kate Moss,” Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux recently quipped. “And sometimes all three at once.” CB It’s Only The End Of The World is out on 24 February.
Photograph Art Partner
E D I T E D BY
increase in google searches for léa seydoux following the cannes premiere of blue is the warmest colour, in which she has a seven-minute lesbian sex scene.
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 65
S TA R
Ever since Girls threw millennial angst into the cultural spotlight ﬁve years ago, its creator, Lena Dunham, has weathered backlash after backlash. Ahead of its sixth and ﬁnal season, out this month on Sky Atlantic, a look back at the controversies…
Dunham says that American footballer Odell Beckham Jr ignored her at the Met Ball because, she imagined, “I was not the shape of a woman by his standards.” He later accepts her apology.
Having taken a hit for the lack of black actors in Girls series one, Dunham casts Donald Glover as Hannah’s love interest for the start of series two. Inevitably, she’s accused of tokenism. It transpires that Dunham isn’t planning to pay artists who perform on the book tour for her autobiography, Not That Kind Of Girl (bought for $3.7m). Dunham apologises and agrees to pay.
1 A Boston shaker should comprise two tin cans. Put the ingredients into the smaller one.
2 Fill the larger part with ice cubes. In one motion, pour the liquid over the ice and close the shaker.
A hack suggests that Dunham’s frequent nudity in Girls is gratuitous. “It’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive,” Dunham replies. “If you are not into me, that’s your problem.” 2013
THE BOSTON SHAKE
Her picture appears on the cover of the Spanish news supplement Tentaciones. She claims its editors used “mad Photoshop”. Turns out they didn’t. Oops!
A pro-Obama YouTube video launches, aimed at young, female voters. The star, Dunham, argues that their “ﬁrst time” has got to count. Conservatives are horriﬁed.
How they do it at the Connaught Bar…
Dunham compares the experience of reading Gawker or Jezebel to domestic abuse. Her response to the outrage: “When I heard my own quote I was like, ‘Jesus, Lena, no.’”
Actor Chris Abbott causes a stir when he abruptly leaves Girls before series three airs because he no longer ﬁnds it “relatable”. Critics suggest that he and Dunham clashed.
LENA INTO IT
bring your ’a’ game
THE INSTA CLASSICS
Dunham says that if Trump wins, she’ll move to Canada. Trump wins, and she doesn't move.
3 Slap the top. Grasp the base from below with your left hand; secure the upper portion with your right.
Happy-snap your Instagram feed by following the ’grammers behind three posts we hit ‘like’ on this month 4 Shake back and forth in a ﬁgure-of-eight motion for ten seconds. To open, strike the point just beside where the two tins meet.
@SEAN_SPEEZY 66 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
@ F * * *J E R RY
5 Employ a Hawthorne strainer to retain the ice as your pour the drink. CB
Photographs Allstar Collection/HBO; Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage; Getty Images; Instagram/@lenadunham; Michael Leckie; LMK Media Thanks to Agostino Perrone
Dunham captions a picture of herself wearing a headscarf “I had a real goth/fundamentalist attitude when I woke up from my nap.” Cue Twitter storm.
The Girls pilot premieres. Despite pitching itself as the voice of a generation, it looks very waspy. Where are all the black actors? Apart from the hobo and the taxi driver, that is...
On her podcast, Dunham says that although she is a pro-abortion campaigner, she's never had one, “but I wish I had”. Her apology: “My words were spoken from a sort of ‘delusional girl’ persona I often inhabit.” That’s OK, then. CB
ARTIST T O WAT C H
KIND OF BLUES
As the critically acclaimed Rag’n’Bone Man, singer-songwriter Rory Graham plays to his own rhythm – and is using it to reset old standards
HE might have won the Brits Critics’ Choice Award and been selected for the BBC’s Sound Of 2017, but to soul singer Rory Graham – better known by his Steptoe And Son-inspired moniker Rag’n’Bone Man – the awards could be any old iron. “The accolades are great, but you’ve got to just take each day as it comes,” says the 32-year-old. “Don’t believe your own hype.” Graham grew up in a musical family in Uckﬁeld, near Brighton, and his earliest musical memories are of his father playing old blues records, such as BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”, Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and Al Green’s “Take Me To The River”. Despite these early encounters with the greats, Graham spent his youth making drum’n’bass for pirate radio stations. “Everyone wants to listen to something different from their parents when they’re young,” he says,
“but my rapping over jungle beats was pretty terrible, to be honest. Hopefully those recordings will never see the light of day.” Wisely, Graham gravitated back to the blues, ﬁrst by singing standards he heard in childhood, then by writing Human, his own modern take on the sound. “I think a lot of people may not realise that the blues is in them,” he says. “Whatever you’re really into, especially if it’s groove-based music like hip hop or even dance music, the root of that music is always going to be the blues.” Graham’s now had the chance to pay his father back for his musical education by inviting him to Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny. “I took my mum and dad along and they were sat there next to Gregory Porter and Chaka Khan,” recalls Graham. “My dad was laughing, like he couldn’t believe it was real.” Kevin Perry Human is out now.
gq intel rag’n’bone man's tattoos include skulls and a guitar. oh, and where robert mitchum once had “love” and “hate” tattooed above his knuckles in the night of the hunter, graham has the less sinister “soul” and “funk”.
Centre stage: Rag’n’Bone Man performs at O2 Apollo Manchester, 9 November 2016 MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 67
A TH I N G YO U
DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT
Sup till you drop: Ralph’s Cofee & Bar at the Polo store on Regent Street
EAT, DRINK, SHOP
As e-commerce booms, real commerce is becoming experiential – hence the wave of fashion giants with their own restaurants and bars. To wit...
Ralph’s Cofee & Bar
Thomas’s at Burberry
If you’re anything like us, you’ve long been a fan of Ralph Lauren’s vibey Polo Bar and Cofee Shop operations in New York. Now he is combining the two for a food-and-drink concept on the ground ﬂoor of the Polo ﬂagship in London. It’s an intimate space, seating 24 plus 12 at the bar, with an equestrian theme: saddleleather banquettes, brass ﬁttings, dark wood panelling on the walls and country sport-themed art.
The food at Burberry’s Regent Street store is built on a premise that’s easy to get along with: British classics made from seasonal ingredients supplied by artisanal producers. The art deco-styled dining space – located in the gifting area – is bright, airy and impeccably furnished. It’s just as good for kicking back during a long day as it is for a power powwow.
What to drink: A classic Old Fashioned.
What to eat: Half lobster and chips (£25).
While you’re there, buy: Shearling-trimmed cotton-blend twill down bomber jacket (£435).
While you’re there, buy: Leather zip-around A5 notebook, which you can have monogrammed while you dine (£350).
169-173 Regent Street, London W1. ralphlauren.co.uk
5 Vigo Street, London W1. uk.burberry.com
68 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market
Beefeater 24 bar at Hackett
Dover Street Market has relocated to Haymarket, but the fashion palace still feels like a permanent pop-up – and as hip as hell. That’s partly down to the crowd at the Rose Bakery. Created by Rose Carrarini and her husband, the focus of its Anglo-French menu is simple, natural food. The look? Industrial, modern and minimal, with an abundance of stainless steel.
Let’s be clear: this bar is aimed at people who are actively shopping inside the huge 8,934 sq ft store, but, yes, the drinks are indeed gratis. This spectacular space, born of two quintessentially English brands, feels more like a beautifully decorated study than a drinking den. It sits with Hackett’s bespoke tailoring services, so you can get measured up while they pour you a measure.
What to eat: The leek and cheddar omelette (£9.50).
What to drink: The winter spice gin and tonic.
While you’re there, buy: Button down poplin shirt by Comme des Garçons (£175).
While you’re there, buy: Brown leather weekend holdall (£495).
18-22 Haymarket, London SW1. london.doverstreetmarket.com
193-197 Regent Street, London W1. hackett.com
FOR every action, there’s a reaction – and the reaction against culture’s cloudiﬁcation is proving to be quite a thing. In May, printed book sales rose for the ﬁrst time in four years; last December, for the ﬁrst time, vinyl buying outstripped digital. The latter presents a generation of would-be audiophiles with a problem: they have the passion and the records, but typically they don’t have the ﬁnance to enjoy them on a truly great sound system. Hence the “listening club”, a class of venue that has migrated from the US to the UK. A nod to the cult listening parties started in Seventies New York by DJ David Mancuso, the format is simple: a bar playing LPs from start to ﬁnish on the best kit going, with guests listening in silent reverence. At Hackney’s new Behind This Wall, for example, albums are played on Joy Division producer Martin Hannett’s original Seventies Tannoy Gold setup. Customers can bring their own music and try their luck with the DJ. Same deal at Brighton’s new bar Dead Wax Social, or Dalston’s Brilliant Corners, which showcases ﬂoor-standing Klipsch speakers. But the newest and most talked-about listening club to date is Spiritland, in London’s Kings Cross. It claims to ofer the best sound system in the world, and with a stereo built by Living Voice costing almost £500,000, we don’t doubt that even Mancuso would be impressed. Eleanor Halls
Photograph Ed Reeve
Hygge with attitude: The ﬁve tell-tale signs of Scandinavian slavishness
A warm cup of self satisfaction Unaware that the rest of the world has achieved hygge, the hygge junkie never misses an opportunity to advertise just how hygge they are. Logo-ed T-shirts, hemp neckerchiefs and artisanal slow cofee makers soon available.
Illustration Jonathan Allardyce
Tight ’n’ easy Think being comfortable is all about bagginess down below? Think again. A hygge junkie needs that svelte silhouette like a grilled mackerel needs mustard sauce. Keep it narrow.
Scarf face When does the man stop wearing the scarf, and the scarf start wearing the man? This is peak hygge. Remember, my hygge jedi: projecting comfort isn’t the same as being comfortable.
THE HYGGE JUNKIE
Brits beware: adopting the Danish fad will make you look like a slob, Jonathan Heaf explains...
AS the late, great art critic and all round eloquent intellect John Berger once uttered, “Perspective makes the single eye the centre of the visible world.” He also wanted us to believe that perspective is “not a science but a hope”. In the case of the Danish art of being comfy – or “hygge” – however, perspective may well be described less like hope and more, well, shame. OK, Berger, so far as I know, never ofﬁcially commented on the ubiquitous Scandi lifestyle blight that British hipsters now Come on seem to be calling their own, but hygge, light my ﬁre I shall precociously attempt to take up the analytical reigns where his If you don’t know how to chop wood, fear not – you can warm honeyed oratory left off. your bandwagon-jumping bones Hygge – pronounced “hue-gah” by burning all those How To Be – for Danish folk at least, means Totally Hygge books currently curling up in seven-ply cashmere cluttering up the best seller lists and your socks in front of a crackling open living room. ﬁre while their trusty Broholmer (it’s a dog) called “Ase” (stop sniggering, it means “God-like”), curls around their warm tootsies. Meanwhile, their incredibly photogenic partner – with campaign-ready, long ﬂowing hair and come-to-sauna-eyes – makes them a steaming cup of “glogg”, a Scandinavian drink that looks like mulled wine but in fact tastes like a packet of melted Tangfastics. So far, so cosy-time, right? Well, yes, but the Danish can do this hygge thing rather well because, they’re Danish. It’s in their DNA. Like murdering people and leaving them in the middle of bridges. Or open rye-bread sandwiches and really cold cheese slices. This aesthetic simply can’t be done by your average Dalston-living, Kinfolk-reading hipster. Trust us, we’ve tried. After careful contemplation, hygge translated should simply mean “slob”. Or better still “smug”. Spending all day on a crumb-sprinkled sofa with a jumbo packet of sour cream Pringles while hoovering up Westworld is not, I am sorry to break it to you, hygge. It’s lazy. Neither is going Slippers out looking like a hungover club kid, all tapered not sliders jogging bottoms twinned with an oversized, Nothing says “comfy” grubby snood. Again, that’s just bone idle. more than a pair of slippers, The worst hygge culprits are those that especially with the Danish want to project their own sense of selfﬂag emblazoned on the outside. Combine with white worth: the men you see with a taper-fade socks for a twist on the haircut reading a book about the starchitect favoured look of a Bjarke Ingels. Yuk. If hygge strictly translates Brit abroad. as “the art of being intimate”, then we’d rather dine alone, thank you very much. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 71
B AT H
N o. 1 S AV I L E R O W
Me and my Paul&Shark.
TOM STRANGWICK producer
WHEN ROBOT DINOSAURS RULE THE EARTH All hail Horizon Zero Dawn, the expansive and exquisitely designed survivalist vision set 1,000 years in the future, where humans are no longer the ones in control
POST-APOCALYPTIC visions dominate science ﬁction, providing a place for writers to explore our species’ gathering anxieties about plundering this ﬁnite world. The award-winning Horizon Zero Dawn winds the clock past the usual setting of a cataclysmic event’s
aftermath (the ﬂaming cities, the weeping children) to a more distant time when humanity has begun to rebuild. You play as Aloy, an archer who stalks robotic dinosaurs through the tall grass, harvesting their parts for the beneﬁt of her tribe. Here’s why it’s smart...
It’s an instruction-free zone
It looks sublime
There’s jaw-jaw as well as war-war
It’s all on you
It’s a game that returns us to our elemental behaviours: lurking upwind of prey, while ﬁguring out the best way to take it down. Aloy can scan her quarry using a gadget that reports weaknesses. Armed with this knowledge, you can choose whether to use arrows, explosives, traps or hacks (these can turn the machine into a makeshift vehicle or assistant) in order to best overcome them. The emphasis is on experimentation and self-learning. There is no tutorial.
In contemporary video game parlance, Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world game, a place that can be freely explored and where stories are happened upon serendipitously, rather than delivered in sequence. The world, which is divided into microclimates – desert, jungle and snowﬁelds – is also divided along social lines. Its various districts are run by rival tribes, which vary in amenability. Diplomacy is an option for those who prefer not to use brute force; you choose how to respond in conversation from a range of options.
Horizon Zero Dawn, the latest ofering from Guerrilla Games, known for the slick, soulless Killzone series, is perhaps the best-looking game of its genre ever made, combining pastoral scenes – the swaying shrubbery, the patchwork ﬁelds, the looming mountains – with tumbledown, forsaken cities, to arresting efect. As the game runs to an internal day and night cycle, the sun wheels into the moon as the minutes pass, transforming the world accordingly. For all its menace, this is an irresistible, inviting place.
As well as having the chance to modify the game’s robotic dinosaurs to work alongside Aloy, rather than against her, you can also scavenge them for parts. These clumps of wire, metal and ﬁzzing electricity can be used to craft new items. Aloy is an athletic hunter in battle too, able to roll out of the way of a lunging tusk for those who prefer a hands-on approach. Only fools, however, rush in. Each encounter should be carefully considered, according to the machine's abilities. Simon Parkin Horizon Zero Dawn is out on 1 March.
A COUNTERINTUITIVE LESSON FROM HIT MAKERS: HOW THINGS BECOME POPULAR The idea that a piece of music or journalism can “go viral” has become a truism. Yet studies show that there’s really no such thing. We assume that the next “Blurred Lines” or anti-Trump diatribe will bubble to the top of culture via a multitude of shares. In fact, researchers at Yahoo studying Twitter discovered that more than 95 per cent of what users see comes from its original source or one degree of separation. In fact, “viral successes” are mostly the product of powerful broadcasters: a single tweet from someone, such as Kim Kardashian, who has millions of followers. Case in point: Fifty Shades Of Grey. Word of mouth had a role to play, but the book only went global when it had coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The takeaway for would-be internet stars? Forget about “going viral”; concentrate on wooing the big beasts. CB Hit Makers: How Things Become Popular (Penguin, £20) by Derek Thompson is out now. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 79
Lamp by Studio Cheha, £99. bulbing-light.com
A TRICK OF THE LIGHT
Step out of the dark with the statement lamp that will challenge your mind
by alex wickham
LOOK again – these sculptural lamps are, in fact, entirely two-dimensional. Devised by Nir Chehanowski of Israeli designers Studio Cheha, the optical illusion is created by drawing a wireframe image on a computer then laser-etching it onto a ﬂat piece of acrylic glass. Once inserted into its LED light source, the acrylic comes to life as rays reﬂect up through the lines. Originally the product of a Kickstarter campaign that raised over £110,000, the Bulbing series is now in its second iteration, incorporating dimmer switches and 50,000-hour lifespans. Bright idea, no? bulbing-light.com
LIAM FOX has a frosty relationship with Theresa May – there are reports that the trade secretary has been left out of key discussions – and now some Leave MPs want him replaced by the never-of-the-TV Iain Duncan Smith. Apparently IDS has been active behind the scenes too.... Tory MPs have been sharing tales of their frosty meetings with Theresa May. One tells me: “When colleagues go to The Proms, everyone comes in groups and says hello to each other. She comes with her husband, sits alone and doesn’t acknowledge anyone.”
di oC he
ha , £
9 9 . b ulbing lig h
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry might be a paid-up Jeremy Corbyn supporter but her son is not. Twenty-four-year-old Felix says Corbyn is “not the answer” and has blasted Corbynites for being “satisﬁed in their outrage”. Tim Farron’s team have shut down the Lib Dem Friends Of Sex Facebook group after a row. Its organisers insisted they were providing “relationship advice” but party HQ found it all too risqué. The group has responded that this amounts to women asserting their sexualities” being “punished”. Poor choice of words?
Populists win continental elections...
WHENEVER there’s a political or economic shock, someone's making money – so why not you? We asked Keith Ashworth-Lord, investment director at Sanford DeLand, where to put your cash in the event of three potential scenarios for the year ahead…
“This could be the beginning of the end for the whole EU project,” says Ashworth-Lord. “If that’s the case, you’ll see sterling strengthening against the euro, without a doubt, as it will suddenly have become a safe haven.”
Buy shares in: Aviation company Dart Group. “European holidays would get cheaper in sterling terms. Dart Group operates Jet2.com airlines, all to European destinations, all from the UK.”
Article 50 is indeed triggered in March...
“We’ve had a substantial devaluation of currency in the wake of the Brexit vote,” says Ashworth-Lord. “Accordingly, I’d expect inﬂation in the UK to start picking up in the current year. The obvious response
will be for the Bank Of England to move interest rates upwards.”
Buy shares in: Investment company Hargreaves Lansdown. “It’s not widely known outside professional circles, but they actually make quite a margin on their customers’ deposits.”
Oil hits $70 a barrel...
“At $70 a barrel, you’ll start to see two things,” says Ashworth-Lord. “Shale will be back on the agenda and reﬁneries might spend more on maintenance and capital. Suppliers of equipment and chemicals will beneﬁt – and some of them have been hammered in the last couple of years.”
Buy shares in: Chemical company Elementis. “It’s been down, but my feeling is it’s turned a corner.” CB
ENTREPRENEUR PAG E
The founder and CEO of Artsy, which allows buyers to choose from over 500,000 works held by galleries and auction houses, reveals what he has learned... Born Washington Age 30
“I joined Princeton’s diSiac dance company and before our ﬁrst big performance, I was vomiting with nerves. Without that experience, it would’ve been harder for me to take the risk of starting my own company.”
St Paul’s School, London While attending Groton School (above) Cleveland worked for Nasa as an assistant researcher
Listen to your quirks
“I knew my idea for Artsy was an uncontainable passion when during job interviews I would start pitching the idea to employers. It was a completely irrational interview technique.”
2001 - 2005
Groton School, Massachusetts 2005 - 2009
BSE Computer Science, Princeton University
CAREER IN BRIEF
Assistant researcher at Nasa Ames Research Center July 2004
Intern at the Institute Of International Education 2009
Won second prize in the Princeton Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition Cleveland (left) received the Yahoo Rookie Award in 2010 for Artsy
Don’t adopt your father’s workweek
“We have as few rules as possible. We don’t have mandated vacation, and we don’t have speciﬁc working hours. It’s impossible to know what the ‘best way’ is to achieve goals. It’s up to the individual.”
Having founded Artsy, he won the Yahoo Rookie Award at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference
Strike while the iron is hot
Story Eleanor Halls Photographs Alamy; Getty Images; New York Times/Redux/Eyevine; Rex
Cleveland studied for a degree in Computer Science at Princeton University (above)
“Timing was the main reason why Artsy succeeded. A year earlier it would have been too hard a sell for galleries; a year later and we would have been followers, not leaders.”
Artsy (above) bills itself as the ‘Amazon of the art world’
Secured investors for Artsy, from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (pictured) to Google’s Eric Schmidt October 2016
Artsy reached over 2m visitors a month, with access to over 50,000 artists and 4,000 galleries
Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey (above left) was an early supporter of Cleveland’s work (right)
Be strict about your bedtime
“Our head of product suggested purple as our brand colour. I hated purple, so drafted an email arguing against it. Then I realised that you don’t hire the best person just to overrule them. I never sent the email.”
“I began Artsy working 120 hours a week and staying in the office until 4am. I worked weekends and felt guilty getting more than four hours sleep. In the end, my body shut down and I was unable to type.” MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 83
Get the right ﬁt for spring layering
go for a denim jacket that sits snugly on your shoulders and trims to your torso for something that can be easily slipped under your topcoat or wool blazer for added insulation.
Jacket by River Island, £45. riverisland.com
Jacket by Tommy Jeans By Hilﬁger Denim, £150. tommy.com
Jacket by Diesel, £220. diesel.com Jacket by Levi’s, £58. At Urban Outﬁtters. urbanoutﬁtters.com
Jacket by Philipp Plein, £715. plein.com
ANYTHING BUT INDIGO
This season’s jean jackets are bold and bright, but never blue 88 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
INDIGO. It’s been the go-to colour for denim since Levi Strauss & Co invented its famous blue jeans back in 1871. However, with colours bursting across the board this coming menswear season, that’s all about to change. This spring, a whole new spectrum of denim is hitting the shops. From lime green to salmon pink,
avocado to cherry red, your new jacket should be as colourful as it is hardy. Not ready to go quite so bold? For monochromers, there are also plenty of iterations available in black and grey. Whatever your downtime style, here are a few of our favourites, just ripe for cold-weather layering... Nick Carvell
Photograph Light Project Photography
Jacket by Calvin Klein Jeans, £110. calvinklein.com
TIGEROFSWEDEN.COM F L A G S H I P S T O R E , 2 1 0 P I C C A D I L LY, LONDON W1J 9HL
THE QR CODE
Alice Rawsthorn analyses the digital key that turned the world black and white
#2 David Ackles
By David Ackles (Elektra Records, 1968)
As the vinyl revival remains in rude health, Dylan Jones selects an overlooked classic to hunt out next time you’re ﬂicking through the crates... HOW could we have forgotten? Born in Rock Island, Illinois, in the very heart of the American Midwest (“Not a bad place for an incipient songwriter to get a start,” he once said) on 20 February 1937, David Ackles died on 2 March 1999 at the age of 62 in Tujunga, California. A singersongwriter, he recorded four albums between 1968 and 1973, but in terms of recognition has been stepped over time and time again. Elton John and Elvis Costello have both tried to champion his cause (after Ackles’ death, Costello said, “It’s a mystery to me why his wonderful songs are not better known”), but it seems as though we’re just not interested. Ackles began his recording career as a staf songwriter for Jac Holzman at Elektra Records.
None of the songs he wrote worked for any of Elektra’s artists, so Holzman suggested Ackles record them himself. His ﬁrst album, David Ackles (1968), didn’t make a mark, even when reissued in 1971 as The Road To Cairo, but it was inﬂuential among many, many singer-songwriters who were blown away by his casual and honest delivery (you can hear his inﬂuence in work by Scott Walker, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks and Nick Cave). The album’s highlight was “Down River”, which is actually Ackles’ best-known song. The song’s narrative sees Ackles taking the role of a man released from prison who runs into an old girlfriend only to ﬁnd that the reason she didn’t write to him was that she had married his best friend.
CONTRARY to expectations, the messy jumble of tiny black and white squares known as a QR code has become ubiquitous. It has found a home on everything from train tickets to food packaging, postage labels to airline boarding passes, even gravestones in some countries and money in others. The QR code (“Q” and “R” standing for “quick” and “response”) has emerged as a 21st-century competitor to the barcode. Both symbols are designed to store information in a pattern that can be quickly and easily decrypted. They look very different, yet each one is visually in sync with its time. The barcode was designed in the late Forties by Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland, two graduate students at the Drexel Institute Of Technology in Philadelphia. Their aim was to speed up the payment process at supermarkets, and the ﬁrst commercial transaction took place nearly 30 years later, when a barcoded pack of chewing gum was sold for 67 cents in an Ohio supermarket in 1974. The barcode’s combination of numbers and vertical lines of subtly different widths exude order, logic and efﬁciency. It is an apposite symbol of the modernist era, when standardised design and mass manufacturing improved millions of people’s lives. There is nothing orderly about QR codes, however – at least not that you
can see. They were invented in the mid-Seventies by the Japanese car company Toyota to track components throughout the manufacturing process. To do this, they had to store more information than barcodes, and were designed accordingly. Chaotic though QR codes look, their design is just as precise as the barcode’s, because their information is communicated by the sizes and positions of the tiny squares and the distances between them. Just as the barcode was to modernism, so the QR code is to digimodernism. Its tiny squares resemble the pixels that construct electronic imagery, hinting at a sense of efﬁciency. Yet, in this age of big data and supercomputing, its franticness also reads as an expression of eccentricity, spontaneity and freedom. Scan the QR code below with a reader app.
AUGMENT YOUR LIFE: Three substitutions you need to make this month Ditch the: Detox
Start the: Retox
Yes, the long winter of our discontent – speciﬁcally dry January – is over. You can start drinking again! But hold up, there’s a right and a wrong approach. Guard against a rebound binge by sticking to an alcohol 5:2 for a fortnight, and veer towards clear spirits: they don’t have the congeners that’ll give you a hangover and with your lowered resistance, you won’t need more than a couple. 90 GQ.CO.UK
Switch of: High-fantasy
We all did it, didn’t we? We bought a 4K “fourtimes-better-than-HD” TV only to realise it’s so sharp and bright it makes everything look like a Mexican telenovela lit by a searchlight. The new TV tech is HDR – high dynamic range – which gives far greater colour depth, and the most lifelike picture to date. Now it’s set to go mainstream, with ﬂagship HDR TVs from the likes of Sony, Philips and Samsung.
Watch: TV sci-ﬁ
Just as Game Of Thrones created a conga line of fantasy copycats, so the success of 2016’s Spielberg/King hybrid Stranger Things has prompted a resurgence in TV sci-ﬁ. What began late last year with Netﬂix’s trippy The OA, will be followed this year by Legion, Dark, a new Star Trek outing, plus The Handmaid’s Tale. Stranger Things is back for a second season this summer. Stuart McGurk
AG ADRIANO GOLDSCHMIED
Willow Robinson THE
PARTY PAG E S
OUR BRILLIANT FRIENDS
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Photographs James Mason; Antonio Salgado
Jim Chapman and Jack Guinness
David Gandy and Patrick Grant
One afternoon last December at London’s recently opened Nordic restaurant Aquavit, venison tartare was plated up with juniper and pickled blueberries and lemony white wine was splashed into well-polished glassware. Later, the room crackled with applause for the singer Willow Robinson, who had just given a special performance. The occasion was GQ’s annual Christmas lunch. As ever, the magazine’s further-ﬂung contributors and friends joined its in-house writers, editors and designers to reﬂect on the year gone, speculate on the next and clink the ﬁrst toasts of the party season...
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 93
Richard E Grant
Sarah Henderson and Emma Philpott
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 95
Nicky Carter and Carrie Hobbs
Fru Tholstrup and Spas Roussev
Richard Campbell-Breeden and Oliver Peyton
Photographs instagram/@dylanjonesgq; instagram/@beckyamylucas
The London Essentials
Nick Rhodes and Alastair Campbell
Gillian Hofman and Michele Russell
RULES Shape up with this month's masterclass in ﬁtness etiquette
Hugo Rifkind and Dorian Lynskey
NOTHING wrong with using the mirror to watch yourself exercise. Everything wrong with smiling at yourself while you do so. Wipe. Down. The. Machine. Never make eye contact with your HIIT class instructor. It’s a trap.
Unless you have recently been released from police custody, “hench”, “wedge” and “wide” are not acceptable descriptions of your body shape goals.
Tracey Emin and The London Essentials
Using a treadmill for more than ten minutes is not a legitimate form of exercise. If you want to run, go outside. If squats don’t make you feel vulnerable, you’re doing them wrong. There is no hell hot enough for the man who leaves unwashed protein shakers in the ofce kitchen sink. Invest – perhaps for the ﬁrst time – in some synthetic ﬁbres. Nothing says newbie like a band T-shirt and shorts.
Don’t argue with your personal trainer’s sports-science psychobabble. His contribution to the world can be summarised as “lifting things up”. Give him this one.
Goodie bags Contrast tartan scarf by HYMN; whisky by Haig Club; Turmeric Tamarind Tonic by Jamu Kitchen; razors by Gillette; Sweet Potato & Cacao bar by Rude Health; organic chocolate by Doisy & Dam; Vitamin E Face Moisturiser by Malin+Goetz; Say Ja To Hygge! by Dr Magnus Olsensen (Hodder & Stoughton, £8.99). Thanks to Papier for printing the invitations.
96 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
GQ goodie bags, worth more than £100, were received by 120 guests
Changing like you’re trapped in a lift with your little sister will only invite the curious glances you’re desperately trying to avoid. Dry with abandon. Matt Jones
Photographs instagram/@keef105; Getty Images
No track ever played in a gym has been worth Shazaming.
FIRST DENIM NOW THE WORLD In 2012, branding gurus-turned-denim visionaries Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede launched a new jean – and lit up womenswear with cult label Frame. The masterplan for 2017? Domination of the men’s market, a seriously cool collection and (maybe) a call from Hollywood STORY BY
t’s tough to get an interview with Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede, the duo behind cult-like jeans brand Frame. This isn’t because either subscribes to the stereotype of the reclusive designer or too-busy-to-talk businessman, but because both epitomise the jet-set life worthy of two of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the world right now. In fact, the only viable way I can talk to the pair at the same time is via a conference call: Torstensson, long-term partner 100 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
of BFC chairman Natalie Massenet, is taking a break while shooting in LA at the stunning minimalist Sheats-Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills, and Grede is looking out over the hipster rooftops of Shoreditch from a desk in the sleek east London ofﬁces of the pair’s branding agency, Saturday Group – a company that has created instantly recognisable campaigns for a whole host of big fashion players, the latest being the famously bulge-tastic Justin Bieber ads for Calvin Klein.
So how do two men who’ve built their reputations creating a branding agency wind up owning one of the world’s fastest-growing jeans labels? And why would they choose to launch a new brand in a section of the fashion market that many in the industry would say is already ﬁt to burst with brands? “We never questioned it, but everyone else around us seemed to – even our wives and girlfriends told us this was probably a terrible idea!” says Torstensson.
FRAME DENIM Jean genius (from opposite page, left): Erik Torstensson, Jens Grede and Lara Stone co-hosted a pub quiz at the Punchbowl, Mayfair, to launch Frameâ€™s Livid Lara capsule collection, November 2016
Frame is the latest chapter in a carefully curated and beautifully branded oeuvre
n short, if you are looking for a case study that shows how important it is to sell a lifestyle when launching a new label, Frame is it – for while Torstensson and Grede are, of course, producing some seriously stylish jeans, what they are also marketing is their personal brand. And time and again it’s a brand men have bought into in droves: from the success of masterminding the launch of mrporter.com, to founding Man About Town magazine, to being artistic directors on the ﬁrst issue of our sibling magazine, GQ Style. Frame is simply the latest – and arguably greatest – chapter in a carefully curated and beautifully branded oeuvre. Launched originally for women in 2012 with the aim of crafting a perfect pair of blue skinny jeans, the brand enjoyed celebrity endorsements from some of the world’s most famous supermodels, such as Karlie Kloss, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Lara Stone (all friends of the duo). Having only launched into the men’s market in 2014, in 2017 they’re gunning to dominate it – just like they did with their women’s
line. And considering Kanye West, Drake, Derek Blasberg and Jamie Dornan have all been spotted in a pair, it looks as though they’ve got a seriously good shot at doing so. “We chose denim for a couple of reasons,” says Grede. “One, we love denim. Two, while we are not necessarily fashion designers, we wanted to create a brand where we had experience. And three, denim is a traditionally very marketing-led category which, again, suited us well because of our experience.” “We didn’t sit down and think, ‘What is a good idea?’” says Torstensson. “We have a voice, a visual thread through [all the] work we have done and if you look at Frame men’s you’ll see that thread, that same attitude to male dressing. We wanted to have the physical manifestation of what we were doing visually.” That thread, simply put, is to craft brands that portray how a modern man wants to dress: effortless style with a little added irreverence. Unlike the women’s offering, which started with a single pair of jeans, Frame L’Homme aims to craft rareﬁed versions of all the everyday basics a man could need: straightforwardyet-luxurious cashmere jumpers, Above: Coat, jackets and T-shirts, as well as the £1,020. Jacket, £349. T-shirt, £79. male counterpart to their perfectly Jeans, £209. Left: ﬁtting indigo skinnies for women Jacket, £475. All by Frame. (but in a more relaxed, tapered ﬁt). frame-store.com While more trend-led items are set to launch with the label’s next collection – being shown at New York Fashion Week: Men’s in February – these basics form the backbone of the brand; they are the items any man will return to season after season. “How many great-ﬁtting T-shirts do you actually own?” Grede asks me over the phone. “I own 500 T-shirts, but I probably only wear two over and over again.” “We want the collection to look effortless. That’s done by dressing to be who you are and by things not looking too new. Men want to look stylish, but not like they’ve tried too hard - that’s why you’ve got 500 T-shirts, right, Jens?” says Torstensson, laughing. However, as with their collaboration with Karlie Kloss for Frame women’s, this season will see Torstensson and Grede work with another
If you could sum up GQ’s brand, what would it be? Jens Grede: “The only relevant editorial men’s brand in the world.” 102 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Who is the best male jeans-wearer in history? Erik Torstensson: “Bruce Springsteen, because he created the most iconic denim visual of all time.”
Gotta have it: Jay Z wears jeans by Frame L’Homme
of their stylish friends on an exclusive men’s capsule collection. That man is Ben Gorham, the founder of Stockholm-based fragrance company Byredo. A former professional basketball player in his native Sweden, he is tall and strikingly handsome, with tattooed forearms and lustrous long brown hair tied in a bun. In short, exactly the sort of effortlessly stylish man guys want to be right now. Grede tells me that the collaboration came about when he was in Capri with Gorham and, in the middle of the night, had an idea for a men’s collection inspired by children in South America who were into bull-riding. Now it’s happening. “That’s the best thing about having your own brand,” says Torstensson. “You can have fun with your friends and work with people you admire and love.” Details of the line were not available at the time of writing, but a quick Google search of Gorham will give you an inkling of just how good it’s going to be – and the kind of cool customer that it will bring to the brand. But, in a perfect world, the collaborations wouldn’t stop there for Frame. “If Erik and I could do a line of robes in collaboration with Jack Nicholson, we’d do it,” says Grede. “Every man wants to have the conﬁdence of Jack Nicholson, including me. This is an open call to Jack to come forward. Give us a call.” Your move, Mr Nicholson.
MORE FROM GQ
For these related stories, visit GQ.co.uk/magazine
Andrew Weitz Will Dress You To Success (Vincent Boucher, February 2017) Stella Wears The Trousers (Alex Israel, December 2016) See It, Click It, Wear It (Robert Johnston, October 2016)
Photographs Frame; Splash News
Certainly, from a business perspective, it was a bold move. According to the latest ﬁgures, almost 1.25 billion pairs of jeans are sold worldwide annually – so competition’s tough. And yet, having only launched in 2012, Frame now boasts a turnover of £60 million, with a forecast increase of 30 to 40 per cent on that for 2017.
E S S E N T I A L W R I ST AT T I R E
R R P Â£85 www.accurist.co.uk
Will clubbing make staying in the new going out? With the world’s ﬁrst virtual-reality venue about to drop, Anna Conrad jacks in to report from Boiler Room HQ
ights out have certainly changed, as I found out a few months ago in a basement in London Fields. At 11pm, as the DJs were warming up, I saw a young lad tire of dancing, turn to his phone and open up Pokémon Go. He then spent most of the night trying, with little success, to catch a Pidgey by the decks. Pokémon Go ruined many activities last year (shopping, walking, going outside generally), but clubbing’s a new one – not that the augmented-reality game is entirely to blame for clubs across the country shutting down. Since 2005, the number of nightclubs in Britain has almost halved, down from 3,144 to 1,733. Personally, I blame hygge. The Danish art of living cosily involves nuzzling in comfort and wellbeing, and I’m guilty of it too, sort of. Just instead of luxe Scandi design and Jo Malone candles, my nights have paid more homage to American entrepreneur and renowned recluse Howard Hughes – they involve seeing as few people as possible, while watching as many Netﬂix series as I can humanly manage. Which seems all well and good, but it does leave clubbing looking a bit neglected. Boiler Room, the platform that livestreams DJ sets and gigs around the world, may have the solution as it launches the world’s ﬁrst virtual-reality music venue in London. The physical club, due to open this year, will be rigged with cameras, which will allow fans to watch gigs and go clubbing in
real time, via virtual-reality headsets. In short, you’ll soon be able to rave from your bedroom in a more immersive way than just turning the speakers up until your neighbour calls time on your homemade Haçienda. Over the ﬁve years I’ve worked as a DJ, I’ve seen a lot of things – from punters at the start of the night awkwardly stomping around as though they’d watched YouTube dance tutorials from C-3PO, then a couple of pints later swaggering away like Liam Gallagher listening to “Supersonic”, to people vehemently refusing to leave until their record request gets a play (it never does) and grown-ups in the early hours having a bit of a moment to Toto’s “Africa” (who hasn’t?). I’ve played at venues about to crumble – one memorable December in Leeds, I spent an entire set with a portable heater next to my decks because the club’s windows were smashed in as I attempted to warm up the frostbitten crowd with some Prince. I’m intrigued to see how any of that can be replicated. At Boiler Room’s headquarters in Hackney, I try out a few of the virtual experiences on offer – it isn’t live and the technology has now been updated, but it’s a rough guide to how it will be. The virtual-reality headset I try on is an older Samsung model that looks like a pair of futuristic ski goggles. It’s heavy and bulky, almost like the VR equivalent of getting your ﬁrst Nokia 3310 (I’m told that a good-quality headset is around £100, which seems quite pricey for the odd
It’s cold and soulless, a bit like being inside a gif
bit of bedroom dancing). When I pair the headset with some noise-cancelling headphones, I resemble a budget Black Mirror episode, or an early draft of The Jetsons. I try out a VR club night with grime MC Kano, which feels a lot like being in the computer game Doom. It’s like a wonky Nineties video game, with Kano towering over me, shouting beats in my face. There’s a DJ hovering over the decks looking incredibly serious; young kids are dancing – others bob their heads stoically – while a few are taking pictures on their phones. So far, so authentically east London. I’m squashed in the middle of the crowd, without the sweat and beer ﬂying around, unable to interact with anyone. It’s quite cold and soulless, a bit like being inside a gif, and it leaves me feeling like a very sober voyeur intruding on a good night out. In reality, I’m swivelling around the conference room of a hip young company in unﬂattering apparel, trying not to knock coffee over expensive tech. Like Glastonbury, the idea of watching the highlights from afar on a couch, with indoor plumbing, can be pretty appealing – smugness- inducing, even – when you miss out on getting resale tickets or you happen upon images that year of humans swallowed whole by mud – although it can never really replace the experience, long drops and all. There’s certainly an appeal to the virtual-reality venue. This could be the solution for when you can’t make it to a night out (if you’re full of cold, skint or just a bit lazy), a way for fans in farﬂung places to watch their favourite DJs without having to spend a fortune. But then clubbing was never meant to be virtual, or even convenient. While virtual-reality clubbing is exciting and looks set to be the next best thing to going out, it’s certainly no substitute for actually going out. Clubbing (in real life) is the antihygge. It’s cumbersome, an effort to get everyone out and, rather than revelling in warming Scandi accents, can feel more like having the ﬂu: sweaty but somehow always freezing. And yet all these things are important, because you’re young and things aren’t meant to feel like a bubble. Everything as a twentysomething feels aspirational and unattainable – except for clubbing, which is real. And that’s why it should probably stay exactly how it is. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 105
HOW WE LIVE PORTRAIT BY
From a vintage Mercedes to Raymond Loewy, GQ’s car connoisseur gives us a ride through his cultural highlights
This month: MATTHEW JONES, Associate Features Editor, GQ GEAR
Car: 1972 MercedesBenz 280SE 3.5 (pictured) Body: Ian Taylor Body Repairs Suspension: Air Lift Performance Engineering: Riiva Design Ignition: 123 Ignition-Conversions Cooling: Kenlowe Radio: Becker Mexico (below) Interior: Norton & Sons; D:Class Phone: iPhone 6s App: AA Breakdown Smoke: Neon TC Box (right) Gun: R Ward side-by-side 28 bore Cadogan (above)
STYLE AND GROOMING
Suit: Gieves & Hawkes (pictured) Shirt: Thomas Pink (pictured) Shoes: Crockett & Jones Boots: Clarks Desert (below) Jeans: Levi’s 511 (above) Glasses: Coppe & Sid (pictured) Sunglasses: Persol Vintage Celebration (below) Watch: 1964 Omega Seamaster De Ville Barber: Joe & Co (below)
106 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Books: Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (left); Travels Into The Interior Of Africa by Mungo Park Event: Goodwood Revival View: Park Hyatt hotel, Tokyo, Japan (above) Shop: Udelnaya Flea Market, St Petersburg, Russia Ski: Portes du Soleil Camp: Jurassic Coast To drive: Cairngorms National Park (above) Train: Embody Fitness; Third Space Walk: Hampstead Heath, London Restaurant: The Jugged Hare, EC1 (left) Pubs: The Southampton Arms, London NW5; The Flask, London N6; Square and Compass, BH19
Grooming Jess Whitbread Photographs Getty Images; Jody Todd
On the nightstand: The David Foster Wallace Reader; Voisin: La Diférence by Philippe Ladure (above) Photography: James Lipman, Rowan Horncastle, Alistair Morrison Art: Egon Schiele (below right), James R Powers Design: Paul Bracq, Giles Taylor, Raymond Loewy (below left) Albums: Ready To Die by The Notorious BIG; Police & Thieves by Junior Murvin; Matt Walsh Presents: The Clouded Vision Experiment, LVL 2 Singles: “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations; “Rim Bim Bam” by The Ethiopians; “The Man” by Superb & Masta Killa DJs: Roman Flügel; Matt Walsh; Daniel Avery; Lance Morgan; “Sir Coxsone” Dodd YouTube channel: Petrolicious Films: The Maltese Falcon; Withnail & I; Boogie Nights
E D I T E D BY
This month: Post-war classics reborn; plus, Jaguar’s all-electric future
Revenge of the rust belt Call it the ultimate breakdown service: we meet the California re-mod studio making new icons of individuality from husks of American mass-production STORY BY 110 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
What lies beneath: A 1949 Mercury Eight being restored with new Tesla innards at Icon’s California workshop
‘One client asked me for a car that reminded them of their grandparents at Christmas time’ Jonathan Ward, Icon MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 111
y mixing unrestored body panels with the very latest technology, Derelict cars have become their own trend that’s still hot from the oven, bubbling with interest from Wall Street, Silicon Valley and some of the most inﬂuential minds in fashion. They’re the antithesis of cars as an investment class and are, hands down, the most contrarily rewarding vehicle you can own in the world right now. They’re made by Icon, a company based in Chatsworth, Los Angeles – a neighbourhood that’s home to a cul-de-sac of mortician-grey low rises and LA’s adult entertainment industry. The brand built its reputation here by recycling and reimagining vintage Toyota Landcruisers with modern mechanicals and upgraded interiors, but its owner and CEO, Jonathan Ward, found that the concept of “restomods” had its limitations: “I dreaded the ﬁrst scratch.” The Derelicts are his response – cars with 21stcentury driveability and a vintage aesthetic that gets better as it gets worse. It sounds simple enough: find a car in a barn and stuff in a new engine. But underestimate their complexity at your peril – Icon’s engineering team goes to extraordinary lengths to make it look like it did nothing. Like every Derelict that passes through Icon, the 1946 Oldsmobile Business Coupe ( pictured right) was sent straight to a laser scanner before a single spanner was turned. That data was used to create a 3-D wireframe, then all of the modern elements – performance mechanicals, digital audio, climate control – were slotted into vacant nooks to optimise everything from connectivity to weight distribution. Clever stuff. The depth of consideration goes well beyond the packaging and into the minutiae, so everything you can touch is high-functioning sculpture. The owner of the ’46, a senior engineer at Apple, had a very speciﬁc vision for the ﬁnal texture of his car that went right down to the knobs of the air-conditioning switch – it had to click when you turned it, a problem that took $6,000 of R&D to solve. “Businesswise, [this work] is the dumbest thing we do, but it’s also why we get noticed,” says Ward. The first ever Derelict, a 1952 Chrysler Town And Country estate Ward built “for a joke”, won a California ArtCenter College Of Design award and the attention of Nike, which routinely seeks out new classics to inform product development. Another car from the Icon stable was requested to appear at the brand’s design show, where exceptional things are presented on the basis that they apply a unique approach to industrial design. “One of the Nike guys now drives a Derelict,” says Ward. “Our client list is wonderfully diverse.” Icon lists one of J Crew’s lead designers, Wall Street’s money management community, foreign
Yard work: A 1946 Oldsmobile Business Coupe, owned by a senior engineer at Apple
Their individuality gives Derelicts value beyond the sum of their parts royalty and “at least two” heads of state among its customers. But whatever they do for a living, they’ll need to do it well because a Derelict isn’t cheap. Prices start at $250,000 (£200,500), but the 1946 car set its owner back $350,000 (£280,000) and Ward says they can “comfortably” hit $1 million (£800,000). “We get celebrities and ball players too, but they’re still buying Ferraris and Lambos for the most part.” Yet, for the tastemakers, these cars don’t so much stimulate an erogenous zone as deﬁne it. They’re exemplars of postmodern luxury, prizing
integrity and individuality above anything else. In the same way that a Rolex Submariner with a faded bezel is worth more than a restored original, each of these cars’ individual patina can’t be replicated, which gives it a value comfortably beyond the sum of its parts. Buy a supercar and it says precisely nothing about you, apart from the size of your wallet. The Derelicts are more reﬂective; more emotionally subtle. Not any old rusting hulk makes the cut, though. “The client almost never supplies the car,” says Ward. Mostly, they come to Icon with a concept, from something relatively straightforward, such as matching a car to an art-deco home, to more abstract briefs. “One client asked me to build a car that reminded them of their grandparents at Christmas time.” Once the idea’s locked in, Ward uses a nationwide network of hunters – who variously include architects, petrol station technicians, farmers and UPS drivers – to ﬁnd the right car. “It could be anything, but I have to get excited by it, and it’s the individual vehicle that mandates the vision of the build.” Despite dealing in old things, Ward is ﬁercely progressive. “We avoid building younger [post 1965], more clichéd cars like Ford Mustangs. We’d much rather create something that’s already visually exciting and then let people pull back the layers to ﬁnd more surprises.” His next project, for example, is a barn-found 1949 Mercury Eight that’s had its oily, mechanical guts replaced with Tesla long-range batteries, regenerative brakes and a pair of electric motors that’ll give it 800bhp – 110bhp more than the Model S it borrows parts from. “It’ll still look like a ’49 Mercury inside and out when it’s parked,” says Ward. Regardless of the tech and practicality, the Derelicts make no objective sense – you could buy a supercar and an interesting classic for the price. But your very own cutting-edge antique that’s impossible to re-create? That’s every expression of luxury stitched into the same thing. No wonder they’re selling faster than Icon can pull cars out of barns. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 113
THE PACE OF CHANGE
Jaguar joins the e-revolution with a sports car that looks sharp and goes the distance STORY BY
DESPITE the best efforts of ultra-disruptor and leading Silicon Valley iconoclast Elon Musk, the fully electric vehicle has always suffered from two major problems. The ﬁrst, and worst, was “range anxiety”. Even the Tesla Model S that I once borrowed – and loved, by the way, despite a lifelong addiction to internal combustion – left me crawling along the inside lane of the M25 in a desperate bid to eke out its batteries’ remaining charge. We made it, with just a solitary mile of range left. Gulp. But the efﬁciency both of batteries and the electric motors that convert their energy into motive force is on a constantly upward trajectory and now you can get 300 miles out of a single charge. That, according to the experts, is the amount that signals the tipping point for mass acceptance, which leaves problem number two: the infrastructure. Home-charging is one thing, ﬁnding somewhere on the M6 at 1am on a winter’s morning is another issue. That’s why the announcement late last year that BMW, Daimler, Ford and the VW Group were joining forces to build a transEuropean network of new charging points for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) was that rare thing, a genuine game-changer. “A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” Ford president and CEO Mark Fields observed. No kidding.
Electric dream: The original I-Pace concept is Jaguar’s vision for the future of motoring 114 GQ.CO.UK
But there’s a third issue: has there ever been an EV that resoundingly rang the bell of desire? Tesla got the jump and proved that the whole “start-up concept” could translate to an old-world business like car manufacturing (even so, £100k is a lot of money, and we’re not talking apps here). Audi, Mercedes and Porsche are all working on new pure EVs, but ﬁrst out of the traps, perhaps unexpectedly, is Jaguar. Its I-Pace sets Britain’s most famous maker of highly desirable, internally combusting sports cars on an entirely different path. “The next 15 years are going to see more transformation in the car industry than there was in the previous 100,” Jaguar design director Ian Callum says. “These are very interesting times.”
‘It’s what it does at 50 or 60mph on our handling track that’s amazing’ On display: The cabin tech will be nothing new but rendered with warmth and wit
NEED TO KNOW
The stats that matter for Jaguar’s I-Pace electric vehicle. CHARGE TIME 90 minutes RANGE 310 miles TORQUE 516 lb ft
Although the I-Pace reimagines Jaguar’s dogged commitment to beauty, Callum and the team aren’t daft. “People tell me they think the car is going to change,” he continues. “Well, as long as we’ve got eyes in our heads and sit the way we do in them, they’re not. What changes with a battery electric vehicle is the absence of mechanical machinery sitting in particular places. That’s the opportunity.” It’s an opportunity these guys have really run with. The I-Pace is a substantial proposition. It’s physically impressive, ostensibly an SUV but occupies no existing market segment. It sits high, successfully fuses visual elements from the F-Type sports car and the F-Pace 4x4, but its “cab forward” stance signals something new. The concept version also rides on whopping great 23in alloy wheels, but we’re assured that this is the real thing very lightly disguised. The hardware underneath is all new and a major departure for a company that has made some of the most charismatic petrol engines in automotive history. There isn’t even a token range-extending little engine here: the I-Pace uses two electric motors, each generating approximately 200bhp, integrated in the front and rear axles and fed by a 90kWh, liquidcooled lithium ion battery pack. A total of 36 separate modules are housed in an aluminium structure and Jaguar claims that the pouch cells it’s using have a higher energy density, which translates into a longer range and improved performance overall. The I-Pace will travel a claimed 310 miles on a full charge and 250 miles of that can be replenished in just 90 minutes using a 50kW DC charging system. It’ll do 60mph in four seconds and, like all electric vehicles, it delivers its impressive 516 torques from a standstill in one giddy, seamless surge. Vehicle line director Ian Hoban claims that, “It’s what it does at 50 or 60mph on our handling track that’s amazing. It will be quick, and it will feel quick. And it turns in beautifully.” It should handle like a proper Jaguar, in other words. Inside, it feels much closer to the real thing than concept cars usually do. The driving position is lower than normal for an SUV, as is the car’s overall centre of gravity, emphasising Jaguar’s sporting character. There are two central touchscreens and a conﬁgurable TFT main instrument display: this is all current tech, but it’s rendered here with appealing artisanal skill. Jaguar sees itself as the automotive equivalent of Paul Smith, so the chilly digitalisation is offset by a warmth and wit: the interior fabrics feature a heritage-inspired monogram, there are print labels tucked away and the GPS co-ordinates of the design studio are laser-etched into the pale wood veneer. The I-Pace arrives early next year, priced from about £50,000. This, we suspect, is going to be a lot of people’s ﬁrst all-electric car.
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E D I T E D BY
Homage to Catalonia (from top): Soho House’s trademark rooftop pool; original red-brick vaulting remains in the lobby and restaurant
Photographs Soho House Barcelona
A new outpost of Soho House has just become the heart of Barcelona Barcelona is one of Europe’s architectural treasuries. As a cradle of modernism, it’s up there with Paris and London, celebrated for structures that manage to convey Catalan’s mythic past while paradoxically trumpeting progress. Yet, as a city, for all its formal innovation it has developed a (very ﬁrst-world) shortcoming. For years, the “It hotel” in Barcelona wasn’t really in Barcelona. The Gran Hotel La Florida was out of town, and above it, too, being situated high on the Tibidabo mountain. The opening of Soho House’s new property on the edge of the up-and-coming Gothic Quarter, then, represents a social rewiring. The eighteenth House in the group’s rapidly expanding empire, which now stretches to Chicago and Istanbul, is a £45 million refurbishment of a former 19th-century apartment block overlooking the Port Vell marina. It’s winning over Spaniards and travelling foreigners
– mostly Brits, on our visit – thanks to the same formula that has made a success of previous outings: tried-and-tested Soho House features mixed with local ﬂourishes. Anyone who has spent time in its other operations will, for instance, be familiar with the earthy colour palette, the industrial ﬁttings, the Cowshed spa, the Cecconi’s restaurant, the no-photos policy and the rooftop pool that’s too intimidating to swim in. Throughout, however, there are grace notes that conjure up the locale, whether it’s the traditional red-brick vaulting in the ceiling of the upstairs restaurant or the Catalan fabrics in the 57 bedrooms. The dinner menu captures the strategy in miniature, listing “House Regulars” alongside an array of site-speciﬁc tapas, salads
British Airways ﬂies from London Heathrow to Barcelona daily from £39. ba.com MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 117
Double rooms from £185 for nonmembers and £155 for members. Soho House Barcelona, Plaça Del Duc De Medinaceli 4, Barcelona, Spain. 0034 932 204 600. sohohousebarcelona.com
and soups. Highlights include the tuna tartare (£12) and the oxtail risotto (£13). Like Chicago and Istanbul, Soho House Barcelona is big – 80,000 sq ft over six ﬂoors – which is necessary because it has to cater for two business models: a hotel with beneﬁts (nonmembers can book a room, which includes full club access for the duration of their stay) as well as a home-from-home for Soho Housers proper. Innocents abroad can easily use it as a launch pad for enjoying the Barça beyond, as the staff are briefed with helpful recommendations for things to do in the city. See right for ﬁve not to miss... Charlie Burton
TRAVEL Font Màgica De Montjuïc
Turn up at the correct time in the evening (check the schedule online) and witness a spectacular water and light show set to music, courtesy of these Twenties fountains. Plaça De Carles Buïgas 1. bcn.es/fontmagica
In 1883, Antoni Gaudí began work on this still-underconstruction modernist temple, remarkable for its natural-history motifs and breathtaking stained glass. Carrer De Mallorca 401. sagradafamilia.org
The best street for pintxos (translation: small Basquestyle bar snacks) is the pedestrianised Carrer De Blai; pop into one, grab a bite and a beer, then move on. Our favourite? Blai 9. Carrer De Blai 9. blai9.com
The waiters wear stif white jackets, but the ambience is anything but stufy. The words “F*** your diet” are printed on the back of the menu; we didn’t need the encouragement. Carrer De La Unió, 17. barcanete.com
New adventures in CARRY-ON
A breed of new luggage-maker has espied a relatively moribund approach to wheelie bags, and decided to do something about it. Chief selling points: ‘smart’ features and a strong focus on design
Yes, that Bugaboo – after 20 years of engineering infant-carrying solutions, the Dutch company has unveiled a modular packing system that piggybacks your carry-on trolley-case, Virgin Galacticstyle, to a larger, stowable piece via a detachable chassis. No “smart” capabilities, as such, unless you count the ingenious – if heavy – cruising platform. Weight: 11.5lbs for cabin case and chassis Good: One-hand-free mobility with three cases. Bad: Its “push” rather than “pull” approach might seem tricky at ﬁrst. From £790. bugaboo.com 118 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Rimowa has launched its own downloadable luggage tag system to ease its cases into stowage, but US start-up Raden goes a step further with two cases (the A22 and A28) that respond to their own app. This allows you to locate, weigh and check the charge of an onboard battery, from which you can charge your electronics via two USB ports. Weight: From 8.4lbs Good: Unbranded design keeps prying eyes at bay. Bad: The (relatively inaccessible) battery makes removal at security a question of unpacking. From £250. raden.com
Billed as the world’s smartest design luggage, Berlin-based Horizn Studios’ trolley case shares Raden’s in-built charger, but helpfully places the battery pack on the outside, expanding the packing area and making for easier access. An optional “travel assistant” links the owner to a 24-7 concierge service for ﬂight bookings, transfers etc. Weight: 8.4lbs Good: German polycarbonate, Japanese wheels, Italian leather. The works, basically. Bad: Leather front pocket is a mite vulnerable. £250. horizn-studios.com
Photographs Getty; Soho House Barcelona
El clásico: The 19th-century former apartment block now houses 57 bedrooms and an indoor pool
A speakeasy within a speakeasy (the ﬁrst secret door is in a fridge, and there’s a second hidden behind a mirror). Turn up at 7pm to avoid queuing. Carrer De Rera Palau, 4. paradiso.cat
Find out more. Search Outlander PHEV | Visit mitsubishi-cars.co.uk to ﬁnd your nearest dealer 1. Ofﬁcial EU MPG test ﬁgure shown as a guide for comparative purposes and is based on the vehicle being charged from mains electricity. This may not reﬂect real driving results. 2. Up to 33 mile EV range achieved with full battery charge. 542 miles achieved with combined full battery and petrol tank. Actual range will vary depending on driving style and road conditions. 3. Domestic plug charge: 5 hours, 16 Amp home charge point: 3.5 hours, 80% rapid charge: 25mins. 4. Congestion Charge application required, subject to administrative fee. 5. 7% BIK compared to the average rate of 25%. 7% BIK rate for the 2016/17 tax year. 6. Prices shown include the Government Plug-in Car Grant and VAT (at 20%), but exclude First Registration Fee. Model shown is an Outlander PHEV 4hs at £38,999 including the Government Plug-in Car Grant. On The Road prices range from £32,304 to £43,554 and include VED, First Registration Fee and the Government Plug-in Car Grant. Metallic/pearlescent paint extra. Prices correct at time of going to print. For more information about the Government Plug-in Car Grant please visit www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants. The Government Plug-in Car Grant is subject to change at any time, without prior notice. 7. All new Outlander PHEV variants come with a 5 year/62,500 mile warranty (whichever occurs ﬁrst) and an 8 year/100,000 mile traction battery warranty. 8. The 0% APR Hire Purchase Finance plan requires no deposit and is over 36 months. Retail sales only. It is only available through Shogun Finance Ltd T/A Finance Mitsubishi, 116 Cockfosters Road, Barnet, EN4 0DY and is subject to status to UK resident customers aged 18 and over. Finance Mitsubishi is part of Lloyds Banking Group. Offer is only applicable in the UK (excludes Channel Islands & I.O.M), subject to availability, whilst stocks last and may be amended or withdrawn at any time. Offer not available in conjunction with any other offer and is available between 29th December 2016 and 29th March 2017.
Outlander PHEV range fuel consumption in mpg (ltrs/100km): Full Battery Charge: no fuel used, Depleted Battery Charge: 51.4mpg (5.5), Weighted Average: 166.1mpg (1.7), CO2 emissions: 41 g/km.
Thanks to Newington Greens N16. Grooming Sara Clark; Styling Carlotta Constant
Tales of the super natural With Deliciously Ella at the helm of the latest food revolution, the healthy option has never looked better E D I T E D BY
BILL PRINCE & PAUL HENDERSON
P H OTO G R A P H BY
TOM COCKRAM MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 121
Deliciously Ella With Friends
The goddess of goodness shines on with a new collection of recipes for very healthy appetites WATCHING her toss courgetti and quinoa on YouTube, Ella Mills’ light-hearted effortlessness could easily have her mistaken for a frivolous foodstagrammer. What her amiability conceals is that Mills, aka Deliciously Ella, is also a businesswoman of considerable mettle. Mills may be a pretty face, but she’s also the face of a rapidly growing business empire. “I’m an all or nothing person – I’m either so committed it’s terrifying or not at all.” Mills’ work ethic is in no doubt – at the age of 25 she owns three delis (with a fourth opening this spring), has written three cookbooks and launched a line of Deliciously Ella food products, which are stocked in 2,500 stores nationwide. In 2011, her Haribo-happy student diet met its match when she discovered she had Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, a rare condition that causes devastating levels of fatigue. “I was suffering from quite bad depression. My godmother at a similar age had had ME, and talking to her about dealing with the mental aspect, she said the thing that saved her was a hobby.” The “hobby” that Mills adopted – cooking healthy, plant-based meals, photographing her recipes and blogging about it all – not only relieved the symptoms of her illness, but also turned into 164,000 Twitter followers, 993,000 Instagram followers and a company with a six-ﬁgure net worth. As well as her culinary skills, Mills has a talent for underestimating herself. On the day of her
app launch, Mills toyed with cracking the iTunes UK Food & Drink Top 200 – the app went to No1 overnight. When contemplating a book deal she says she assumed, “Only 500 people would buy it.” Deliciously Ella became the UK’s fastest-selling debut cookbook. It was a similar story on the opening of her ﬁrst Mae Deli in Marylebone. “We were testing the waters of whether you could convert this online following into something tangible... Suddenly there was just this 50-yard queue out the door.” The new book, Deliciously Ella With Friends, focuses on food as something to celebrate with. Mills’ brand of healthy eating isn’t about deprivation, but pleasure. “I think there’s a massive gap for food that tastes good, that’s not diety,” she explains, a mantra she is carrying through into her supermarket product lines, made with natural ingredients. This, it seems, is where Mills feels she can really make a difference. “I needed to have a real substance behind spending hours on Instagram. It’s quite vapid. There needed to be a reason for it,” Mills explains. “You go into the ‘Free From’ aisle and it’s the most depressing place on earth. Lots of it is stamped with health claims, but the reality is it’s crap. The main gluten-free bread brand has treacle in it, which is just like, ‘come on.’” Ailis Brennan Deliciously Ella With Friends (Yellowkite, £25) is out now. THE RECIPE
Chilli and ginger pho Indulge in clean comfort eating with a reworked classic by Deliciously Ella
has been eating this month...
STREET XO Three-star Michelin chef David Muñoz looks like a Vegas showman and will take you to another taste dimension. standout dish
Pekinese dumpling, pigs’ ear, strawberry hoisin, aioli and gherkins.
15 Old Burlington Street, London W1. 0203 096 7555. streetxo.com
QP LDN Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino ofers a menu brimming with Mediterranean freshness, inspired by his restaurant on the Amalﬁ Coast. standout dish
Pistachio ice cream for two.
34 Dover Street, London W1. 020 3096 1444. qp-ldn.com
OPrepare the noodles, then place in a sieve and rinse with
Ingredients (serves 4) O2 portions of buckwheat noodles, or even courgette O25g dried shiitake mushrooms O2 tsp toasted sesame oil OGenerous thumb of root ginger, ﬁnely grated O2 garlic cloves, ﬁnely grated O2 red chillies, sliced O2 spring onions, each chopped into 4
cold water. Put the dried shiitake in a bowl, pour over 500ml of boiling water and set aside for 20 minutes.
O2 tbsp brown
miso paste O2 tbsp tamari O100g baby corn O250g bok choi, thinly sliced O120g beansprouts O2 carrots, peeled and julienned OHandful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped OJuice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges to serve
122 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
OHeat the sesame oil in a wok or large sauté pan, then
add the ginger, garlic, chillies and spring onions and cook for a minute or so, stirring to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
OSplash in a little water and let it bubble for a couple of
minutes, then add the miso and tamari and 500ml more boiling water. Let this broth bubble away until the mushrooms are ready, then add them too, with their soaking water (except the dregs, as they may contain grit). Return to a nice simmer for 5 minutes.
OAdd the corn and bok choi, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the beansprouts and carrots.
ODivide the noodles between 4 bowls, then spoon the
broth on top. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime juice, then serve with lime wedges.
JIKONI The dreaded “sharing plates” aside, Ravinder Bhogal’s eatery mixes cultures and cuisines with aplomb. standout dish
Mutton Keema Sloppy Joe – Bhogal’s take on a burger and (padron) fries.
19-21 Blandford Street, London W1. 020 7034 1988. jikonilondon.com
TASTE THE HOTEL
Palé Hall Follow in the footsteps of history’s ﬁnest at a charming estate in the Welsh countryside
Country pursuits: Passion fruit mousse at Palé Hall; (above) the hotel grounds; (above, right) seared scallops
EVERYBODY needs a hobby, it seems, and Alan Harper is no exception. The former Vodafone managing director, telecoms entrepreneur and multimillionaire bought Palé Hall with his wife, Angela, a few years ago with the intention of making it their new home. Instead of that, after a few drinks at a dinner party, they decided that rather than live there, they would restore it to its former Victorian glory, to a time when the likes of Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill came to stay. And money, it will be evident to anyone who stays here, would simply be no object. And the results speak for themselves. Set on the edge of the stunning Snowdonia National Park, the Palé Hall estate sits in 16 acres of gardens and is the country house hotel north Wales has been waiting for. Impeccably ﬁnished, with 18 individually
Photographs John Carey; Craig Jacob; Rhowena MacCuish; Claire Winﬁeld/Hodder & Stoughton
The Green Man, Chelmsford
designed elegant rooms, period features and antique furnishings galore, this feels less like a hotel and more like a visit to a wealthy yet wonderfully welcoming old-fashioned family home. But the Harpers didn’t stop at the interior design. To make sure they got the ﬁnedining right they asked Michael Caines to advise on the restaurant menu. And as general manager, they appointed Pim Wolfs, who brings with him a wealth of experience from six years spent with Raymond Blanc at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. He might need it, too, because the only misstep on GQ’s visit was the service at dinner, which was nervy and overly formal. They will also need to add a sommelier to their ranks. But for a new hotel in an area starved of ﬁve-star luxury, Palé Hall is making a strong statement of intent. PH ORooms from £190 per night. Palé Hall, Llandderfel, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7PS. 01678 530285. palehall.co.uk
Pub sector: Galvin’s new outpost in Essex; (below, right) sausages and mash
Back on home soil, the Galvin brothers plant the seed of something special in Essex When it comes to publicans, chefs who hold Michelin stars make very good ones. Tom Kerridge’s The Hand And Flowers, Heston Blumenthal’s The Hinds Head, Brett Graham’s Harwood Arms... If you know how to provide great food and even better service, you can’t go wrong. That theory goes some way to explaining why Chris and Jef Galvin have just opened a pub on the outskirts of Chelmsford. The chef-restaurateur brothers have built their reputations on award-winning and highly acclaimed French cuisine in London and Edinburgh, but for their latest “pub-luxe” venture – they launched their ﬁrst with Galvin Hop in Spitalﬁelds – they are returning to their Essex roots. One of the county’s oldest pubs, The Green Man dates back to 1314, but a £3 million makeover has turned it into a grand design Kevin McCloud would be impressed by. Look closely, especially from outside the front and in the old bar, and you can still spot the ancient inn within, but it’s around the back and into the 90-cover glass-roofed dining room where the money has been spent. It’s a bold, bright and modern space that doesn’t overdo the bling. And the food is good. Not as good as it should be, not yet, but it is on the way. The pub classics are all here (Colchester crab mayo, lamb curry and game pie) and the Sunday roast is a classic in terms of quantity if not quite quality. To be fair, GQ visited a week after opening, so the kitchen was struggling slightly to meet the demand of a full house, but the service was good, the prices more than reasonable (three courses for just £25) and the range of local craft beers on ofer tip-top. The Galvin brothers have done the hard part, they just need to get their Green Man brigade up to speed and they’ll be laughing. Looks like the only way is Essex after all. PH OMain Road, Howe Street, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1BG. 01245 408820. galvinrestaurants.com MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 123
TASTE THE CLUB
Aristocrat, London Want to party like a VIP? Try your luck against the strictest door policy in town Mayfair clubs are widely known for their super-strict door policies, but none rival the severity of Aristocrat. London’s newest hedonistic haven for the city’s art and fashion elite shuns the guest-list protocol and hand-picks its clientele. A lucky few will receive a numbered key fob in the post and everyone else must chance it on the door. Will you make the cut? The door code sounds pretentious... True, but once you’re inside, it’s anything but. Instead of loafers, silk chinos and crisp white shirts, expect vintage jumpers, camel-coloured fedoras, leather biker jackets and in-season kicks. So a hip-hop lover’s wardrobe? Yep, since the top quality Funktion-One sound system shudders with hip-hop and R&B, journeying from Nineties to present day as the night wears on. Similar to Soho’s Cirque Le Soir, then? In terms of attitude, music and crowd, yes, but in terms of decor and space, no. You won’t ﬁnd any bouncy castles or dominatrix dwarves here, but you’ll be charmed by its bespoke copper ceiling and art-splashed walls. It’s a question of Soho vs Mayfair – equally good, but hingeing on personal preference. Last but not least, what’s my order? A table for ten. Sit back and relax as a magnum of Belvedere, Casamigos tequila and Aristocrat’s copper tumblers of botanical shots come to you. Shisha is also on the menu. There’s no minimum spend, but don’t expect to pay anything less than £2,000 on a weekend. Eleanor Halls OFriday, Saturday and Monday, 11pm-3am. 9 Swallow Street, London W1. 020 7287 1919. aristocratldn.com
Plate expectations (clockwise from top left): A Temple And Sons Martini; the Victorian grocery store decor; Isle of Mull scallop; a ‘Mr Fliplings’ cake
Temple And Sons Jason Atherton’s Midas touch continues, with a best-of-British menu in the heart of the City AT some point, you’d imagine that chefrestaurateur Jason Atherton might put a culinary foot wrong. Since opening Pollen Street Social, his ﬁrst solo venture, back in 2011, he has launched six more restaurants in the UK – plus another eight in New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Cebu – and every single one has been a critical and commercial success. It is a winning streak that, simply by the law of averages, you’d expect to come to a halt sooner rather than later. Take his newest venture, Temple And Sons. Now there is a restaurant site as seemingly doomed to failure as a Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett Pie Emporium. Buried in the City, tucked away in the shadow of Tower 42 (the third-tallest building in the capital) and split over two narrow ﬂoors in a converted Wagamama outpost, it sounds like the perfect recipe for wrong. And yet Atherton has got it inexplicably right. Again. Of course he has. Taking inspiration from the traditional Victorian grocery store, the ground-ﬂoor bar is ﬁtted out like an old corner shop – albeit a cool one (designed by the Russell Sage Studio) – complete with canned goods, jars and cartons. It is a theme that extends to the cocktail menu, where you can order a “Canhattan” or a “Martinny” (served from tuna-style tins) and the ridiculously brilliant “Yellow Paint”, which is a mix of Sailor Jerry rum, elderﬂower, lemon and Colman’s mustard, and
arrives in a condiment jar. It might look like a Dulux sample, but it is utterly delicious. You can order bar snacks with your cocktails (pork-belly sandwiches, oxtail broth, cured meats etc), but only if you have never had the pleasure of eating upstairs. With a menu overseen by executive chef Paul Walsh and focusing on the best of British produce, it is a masterclass of meat and ﬁsh that will have the likes of Hawksmoor and Goodman looking nervously over their shoulders. Starters of pig’s head fritters, English feta in ﬁg leaves and a must-order snail bourguignon are all recommended, but the main courses are the star attraction. By all means read the menu, but GQ’s advice is to wait until they bring the daily selection of raw meat and ﬁsh cuts to your table, pretend to consider all the options and then order the Tomahawk. It’s a monster bone-in steak that looks like it may have come from a dinosaur. Presumably a Bloodydeliciousaurus. If you have room for dessert, it deﬁnitely means you didn’t take GQ’s advice. But you won’t go far wrong with the sticky toffee pudding or the cutely clever “Mr Fliplings” sponge cake. Then again, as we have established, if you go to any of Atherton’s restaurants – Temple And Sons now included – you simply can’t go wrong. PH O22 Old Broad Street, London EC2. 020 7877 7710. templeandsons.co.uk
SOCIALISING WITH STYLE DUBAI
GQ BAR DUBAI / NEIL WALTON
TASTE THE ROUNDUP
2017, a spice odyssey: Three new interpretations of classic Indian
Terre De Gneiss, Muscadet, France Cinnamon Bazaar
Tandoor Chop House
Grand Trunk Road
The setup: Vivek Singh (The Cinnamon Club) has just added a fourth venue to his collection of modern Indian restaurants. While his previous casual ofshoot, Cinnamon Soho, has never been as busy as it deserves to be, Covent Garden’s new launch is bigger, braver and buzzier. Eat this: Standouts on a menu full of scene stealers are the tender tandoori lamb ﬁllet with mint chilli korma (£16) and a bold and buttery black dal (£4). Drink that: The cocktails, by mixologist du jour Ryan Chetiyawardana – aka Mr Lyan – play with spices such as safron, masala and cardamom. Look out for the coconut-washed Indian Scotch and burnt cinnamon in his delicious Bazaar Old Fashioned (£10.50).
The setup: Chic hospitality brand Ennismore (The Hoxton, Gleneagles) has expanded into Indian restaurants with Covent Garden’s Tandoor Chop House – part cool British grill, part traditional Indian café. Eat this: English ingredients meet Indian cooking across the menu. GQ loves the masala boti-rubbed ribeye (£16). Pair it with the half-head of blackened tandoor broccoli (£4). Drink that: There’s a very decent beer list featuring lagers, pale ales and a dark and malty Beavertown Holycowbell Indian stout (£6). But don’t miss the wines on tap, including a Sicilian Terre De Chiara Grillo (from £5) – a perfect citrus pour to slice through all that blackened food.
The setup: Michelin-starred restaurateur Rajesh Suri and chef Dayashankar Sharma branch out to bring a modern taste of the Tamarind Group (and outstanding regional Indian dishes) to their neighbourhood. Eat this: Start with Delhi ki chaat (chickpea salad with wheat crisps and sweet yoghurt, £5.95), then go for the incredible Lucknow ki nihari (slow-cooked lamb shank, £16.95), the Amritsari butter chicken (£14.95) and three greens (£9.95). Drink that: There are house cocktails – try the Punjabi Mojito, with rum, strawberries, raspberries and ginger lemonade (£10.50) – and a well-priced wine list. But when on the Grand Trunk Road, make it a Cobra (£4.25).
28 Maiden Lane, London WC2. cinnamon-bazaar.com
8 Adelaide Street, London WC2. tandoorchophouse.com
219 High Road, London E18. gtrrestaurant.co.uk
Photograph Light Project Photography
Sup all night to get lucky: A Thyme Square gin cocktail; (left) Berkeley Street Bar
Berkeley Street Bar A casino venue belies an elegant all-night bar that holds all the aces
A word of warning, before we get to the good stuff. Firstly, don’t be put off by the Palm Beach Casino – it’s an entirely separate entity to the bar. Secondly, don’t be puzzled by the reception staff asking you to “check in”, despite there being no hotel in sight. GQ simply looked blank, ignored them and walked right into the bar. We recommend you do the same. Anyway, the bar. Unlike the casino, it’s intimate and elegant, with long, plush,
IF you’re going to dedicate your time to selling wine online, it’s probably a lot easier if you believe in your product: that’s the founding principle behind The Wine Butler, Kevin Latouf, who will only sell you organic wines. Not because they’re “cool” (although this one is), but because he believes they’re better for you. Take Terre De Gneiss – biodynamic, hand-harvested, fermented in a concrete egg (ﬁve months on the lees) and available in reassuringly tiny amounts, it’s a crisp yet mouth-ﬁlling white that could easily substitute for Chablis, while beneﬁtting from all those good-earth attributes. BP OWine boxes from £30. thewinebutler.co.uk
purple banquettes, a heated outdoor smoking area and a DJ spinning funky house until 5am. Yes, 5am! London is ﬁnally becoming a 24-hour city. There’s no space for dancing, however, so make sure your conversation skills are up to scratch. In terms of cocktails, try the mini Martini selection. And no, it’s not emasculating to drink a mini cocktail... get over it. For £20, you can choose four Martinis from a selection of eight. We suggest you go for the indulgently heavy Coco Dickens (coconut ice cream, Smirnoff Black, Malibu and Crème De Caçao Brown) and the refreshingly light Thyme Square (Bombay Sapphire gin infused with fresh thyme, egg white, Midori, pressed apple juice, fresh mint and lime juice). Get a food order in too, because the perfectly fried chicken and succulent pork bao buns might even beat the drinks. EH OThe Palm Beach Casino, 30 Berkeley Street, London W1. 020 7493 6585. thepalmbeach.co.uk
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Tenby, Pembrokeshire Taxi: No need. The station is two minutes’ walk from the centre
Above, from top: Italian ﬁsh stew at The Mooring; mussels at the Hope & Anchor
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Photographs Owen Howells; Paul Young
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Top Joe’s and (below) the diner’s raspberry and white chocolate mufns
The Cwm Deri shop stocks produce from the vineyard and estate (below)
array of gins, ports, beers and even a sparkling wine. The idea of Welsh champagne may not have pleased beer-loving Dylan Thomas, but the zesty, dry taste is outstanding. Packing in locals since 1935, (5) D Fecci & Sons (Lower Frog Street. 01834 842484) is a strong shout for the best ﬁsh and chips in Wales. The potatoes are grown in Pembrokeshire and groundnut oil makes the haddock, cod and calamari fantastically light. The Italian vibe continues at (6) Top Joe’s (Upper Frog Street. 01834 218089. topjoes.co.uk), a Sixties diner now offering pizzas with locally milled ﬂour and cured meats (including boar, on the “Inferno”) from Trealy Farm Charcuterie in Monmouthshire. Snapping at Plantagenet’s heels for the title of best restaurant in town is (7) The Mooring (15 High Street. 01834 842502. themooring tenby.com), where chef Tom Bolwell and his partner, Sarah, offer a menu rich in local fare, including a ﬁsherman’s pie that’s near-erupting with salmon, hake, prawns and smoked haddock. Tenby’s pubs have yet to catch up, with most being keglager-and-sticky-carpet affairs. The glorious exception is the (8) Hope & Anchor (St Julian’s Street. 01834 842131), which 6 boasts real ales, including IPAs and amber ales from 7 Tenby Harbour Brewery, and a kitchen that serves locally caught seafood. Set yourself up for the 4 journey home with a farewell bowl of “cawl”, a soup of lamb, leeks, root vegetables and parsley, served with granary bread and hunks of cheese. Rob Crossan
TENBY’S cluster of tiny streets and pastel-coloured buildings seems to enjoy hiding its best restaurants down the narrowest alleyways. (1) Plantagenet House (Quay Hill. 01834 842350. plantagenet tenby.co.uk) is a warren of ﬂagstone ﬂoors, exposed beams and a 40ft medieval chimney; dine at the chimney’s base on superior piscine creations such as pan-fried bream ﬁllet on a prawn and spring onion risotto. Bed in at (2) Tudor Lodge (Pembroke Road. 01834 871212. tudorlodgejameston.co.uk), just four miles down the road in the village of Jameston. The clue’s in the name as to the heritage of the building, yet the ﬁve en suite bedrooms are modern creations with vast walk-in showers, funky quilts and a full cooked breakfast that comes in both “small” and “large” portions. Trust us, you’ll really only need the smaller one. Grab a cab (around £18) back into Tenby for lunch amid the stripped-back, superior surf shack-esque environs of the (3) Lighthouse Kitchen (St Julian’s Street. 01834 844555. thelight housetenby.com), which serves up “acqua pazza” ﬁsherman’s stews with Gower mussels, scallops and hake alongside heaving plates of bacon, egg and laverbread – the national brunch staple of seaweed rolled in oats and fried in bacon fat. It’s inﬁnitely nicer than it sounds. If you can drag yourself away from Tenby’s two pristine sandy beaches, then the (4) Cwm Deri Vineyard And Estate shop (Upper Frog Street. 01834 842999. cwm-deri.com) delivers on the unusual gift front with its
As a boy, Roald Dahl took summer holidays in this ancient Welsh harbour town. The dining scene here, until recently, wasn’t much better than the diet of the Twits. But a crop of new arrivals sourcing local produce is beginning to turn the town into a top-notch destination for visiting Big Friendly Gourmets.
Time: Five hours from London
Plantagenet House; (below) the restaurant’s seafood platter
Train: London Paddington to Tenby from £50.50
SHAKE THINGS UP
With its complex ﬂavour and easy mixing qualities, Cognac is back in fashion with bartenders. And the current hot shot in their cocktail armoury is Hennessy V.S
FRENCH CANADIAN (serves two) Ingredients O30ml Hennessy VS O20ml Applejack O5ml maple syrup O2 dash Boston Bitters O2 dash Angostura Bitters Method 1. Stir the ingredients. 2. Serve over ice cubes in a rocks glass. 3. Garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.
IF you wanted a cocktail 200 years ago, you wouldn’t have looked any further than brandy, gin or whisky for your base spirit. And as the 19th-century drinking culture developed, French Cognacs, such as Hennessy V.S, featured heavily in pioneering mixology manuals written by the likes of New York legend Jerry “The Professor” Thomas, including the Brandy Crusta and the Brandy Daisy. The innovation continued into the 20th century with classics such as the Sidecar and the French 75, but somewhere along the line Cognac fell out of favour. Instead of appreciating its fantastic mixing qualities, it became associated with the portly after-dinner drinker. But for the UK’s top bartenders, Cognac in general – and Hennessy V.S in particular – is their new spirit of choice.
One of them is Barney Toy, the award-winning mixologist at Little Bat bar in Islington. He celebrates Cognac cocktails with the incredible French Canadian, using Hennessy V.S,Applejack, maple syrup and bitters, while his delicious Road to Quebec mixes V.S with a cider reduction, winter spice syrup, maple syrup, lemon juice and Angostura bitters (pictured). And it’s not only bartenders name-checking Hennessy. The brand has long been adopted into lyrics by hip hop and grime artists here and across the pond – from Tupac, who dedicated a whole song to this ﬁnest of spirits, to Drake’s “One Dance” chorus (Got a Hennessy in my hand...). But whether you sing it, sip it or use it to make your new favourite cocktail, it is deﬁnitely time you discovered Hennessy V.S.
Sweet victory (clockwise from far left): Neighbourhood in Manchester; Scarfes bar at Rosewood; roe deer at Restaurant Sat Bains; Clipstone in London’s Fitzrovia; (inset) a Ponderosa cocktail at The Gibson
The votes are in for the 2017 GQ Food & Drink Awards, presented by Veuve Clicquot, and we are down to the shortlist: the best restaurants, bars, hotels and chefs in the UK. Our judges must now pick the winners. All will be revealed on Tuesday 25 April. BEST
• Clipstone (LONDON) clipstonerestaurant.co.uk • The Waterside Inn (BRAY) waterside-inn.co.uk • Hoppers (LONDON) hopperslondon.com • Restaurant Sat Bains (NOT TINGHAM)
restaurantsatbains.com • Ellory (LONDON) ellorylondon.com
In partnership with Belvedere • Blue Bar at The Berkeley (LONDON) the-berkeley.co.uk 130 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
FOOD & DRINK
A WA R D S 2017
• Bar Termini (LONDON) bar-termini.com • Original Sin (LONDON) originalsin.bar • Oriole (LONDON) oriolebar.com • Neighbourhood (MANCHESTER)
• Philippe Moranges at Park Chinois (LONDON) parkchinois.com • Laurent Richet at Restaurant Sat Bains (NOT TINGHAM)
• Leah Kirkland at Trinity (LONDON)
trinityrestaurant.co.uk • Fred Brugues at Sketch (LONDON)
sketch.london • Christopher Lecouﬂe at Les 110 De Taillevent (LONDON)
• Phil Howard elystanstreet.com • Jun Tanaka theninthlondon.com
• Mark Jarvis anglorestaurant.com • Alex Craciun sosharulondon.com • Michael O’Hare themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk
• Sam and Eddie Hart quovadissoho.co.uk • Will Lander portlandrestaurant.co.uk • Karam Sethi jksrestaurants.com • Jason Atherton jasonatherton.co.uk • Kavi and Shamil Thakrar dishoom.com
GQ FOOD & DRINK AWARDS
The judges Chill pill: Pharmacy 2’s vibrant interior has won it a nomination
• Rosewood London (LONDON) rosewoodhotels.com • The London Edition (LONDON)
editionhotels.com • Gidleigh Park (DEVON) gidleigh.co.uk • No 131 (CHELTENHAM) theluckyonion.com • Chewton Glen (HAMPSHIRE) chewtonglen.com
• Blixen (LONDON) blixen.co.uk • German Gymnasium (LONDON)
germangymnasium.com • Bronte (LONDON) bronte.co.uk • 45 Jermyn Street (LONDON) 45jermynst.com • Pharmacy 2 (LONDON) pharmacyrestaurant.com
FRONT OF HOUSE
• Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën at Margot margotrestaurant.com • Sara Flyckt at Spring springrestaurant.co.uk • David Durban at Frenchie frenchiecoventgarden.com • Matthew Mawtus at Pollen Street Social pollenstreetsocial.com • Damien Pepin and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester dorchestercollection.com
• Hakkasan Mayfair (LONDON) hakkasan.com • Mr Fogg’s Tavern (LONDON) mr-foggs.com
• Soho Farmhouse (OXFORDSHIRE)
sohofarmhouse.com • The Man Behind The Curtain (LEEDS) themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk • The Fat Duck (BERKSHIRE)
BREAKTHROUGH • Petit Pois (LONDON) petitpoisbistro.com • The Barbary (LONDON) thebarbary.co.uk • Anglo (LONDON) anglorestaurant.com • Frenchie (LONDON) frenchiecoventgarden.com • Som Saa (LONDON) somsaa.com
• The Star Inn in Harome (YORKSHIRE)
thestaratharome.co.uk • The Sands End (LONDON)
thesandsend.co.uk • The Hand And Flowers (MARLOW)
thehandandﬂowers.co.uk • The Pipe And Glass Inn (BEVERLEY)
pipeandglass.co.uk • The Canny Man’s (EDINBURGH)
And the jury. These ten good men and women will decide the true winners in each category... CLARE SMYTH When Clare Smyth ended her hugely successful tenure as chef patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, she did so as the ﬁrst British female chef ever to hold and retain three Michelin stars. The food world is eagerly anticipating the launch of Smyth’s own restaurant later this year. MICHAEL CAINES After 21 years at the helm of Devon’s much-lauded Gidleigh Park, multi-award winning chef and entrepreneur Michael Caines is now turning his culinary and hospitality expertise to the transformation of Lympstone Manor into a luxury hotel and restaurant. FLORENCE KNIGHT Formerly pastry chef at Raymond Blanc’s Diamond Club, Florence Knight went on to become head chef at the wildly popular Venetian restaurant Polpetto in 2010. Knight is also a cookery columnist for the Sunday Times and the author of cookbook One: A Cook And Her Cupboard. RYAN CHETIYAWARDANA Better known in mixology circles as Mr Lyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana has spent three years wowing Londoners with White Lyan and Dandelyan’s innovative cocktail menus. Chetiyawardana was awarded International Bartender Of The Year 2015 at the Spirited Awards. FELICITY BLUNT Literary agent Felicity Blunt has represented a plethora of cookery writers, including student cookbook maestro Sam Stern and Bake Of winner Frances Quinn. In collaboration with her husband, Stanley Tucci, Blunt has co-written The Tucci Table, a cookbook dedicated to their love of food. DYLAN JONES Since he became Editor of GQ, the magazine has won 59 awards. Dylan Jones is also the author of 20 books, chairman of London Fashion Week Men’s, a director of the British Fashion Council and has eaten in nearly as many restaurants as Oliver Peyton. JO THORNTON Jo Thornton has enjoyed an illustrious career in the luxury drinks industry. After 17 years with Moët Hennessy, Thornton became managing director of the company’s UK arm in 2010, which looks after prestigious brands including Belvedere, Glenmorangie and Veuve Clicquot. OLIVER PEYTON In addition to judging the Great British Menu, Oliver Peyton is a restaurateur and chairman of hospitality group Peyton And Byrne, which brings ﬁne dining to the clientele of arts institutions including The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and The ICA.
TARA BERNERD British designer Tara Bernerd is a virtuoso of luxury interior design. Her architectural interiors practice Tara Bernerd & Partners has worked on numerous international luxury hospitality projects – including Sixty Soho in New York and Belgraves in London – as well as a superyacht or two.
In partnership with Veuve Clicquot To be announced on the night.
MATT HOBBS Matt Hobbs’ ﬁrst job was cutting bread in The Ivy in 1994. After spending seven years rising through the ranks at the restaurant, he went on to manage Soho House New York, Scott’s, and Annabel’s, and is now the managing director of another London institution, the famed Groucho Club.
To be announced on the night.
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12144 NYLON METAL OVER SHIRT IN NYLON METAL. THE TRILOBATE STRUCTURE OF THE NYLON YARN, WITH ITS GREY WEFT AND WHITE READY TO DYE WARP COLOURS, IS THE GROUNDS OF THE DISTINCTIVE METALLIC AND TONIC SHEEN OF NYLON METAL AND ONE OF THE MOST VERSATILE FABRICS BORN OF STONE ISLAND TEXTILE RESEARCH. THE FINISHED PIECE UNDERGOES AN ELABORATE DOUBLE DYE PROCEDURE PROVIDING DIFFERENT TONES, INTENSITIES AND COLOURS TO THE FIBRES AND TEXTILE ACCESSORIES OF THE GARMENT. ZIP FASTENING ON NYLON TAPE.
453S6 GARMENT DYED PLATED REFLECTIVE WITH MUSSOLA GOMMATA HOODED JACKET MADE WITH AN INNOVATIVE REFLECTIVE FABRIC ENGINEERED TO BE GARMENT DYED. THE NYLON TELA BASE IS PLATED WITH A WATER AND WIND RESISTANT HIGHLY REFLECTIVE RESIN SUBSTANCE CONTAINING THOUSANDS OF GLASS MICROSPHERES. THE GARMENT IS CONSTRUCTED WITH PARTS IN MUSSOLA GOMMATA. THE FINISHED PIECE IS GARMENT DYED WITH SPECIFIC DOUBLE DYE. TWO LARGE BELLOWS POCKETS WITH FLAP AND VELCRO FASTENING ON FRONT. BELLOWS POCKET ON CHEST IN MUSSOLA GOMMATA WITH VELCRO FASTENING AND NYLON TABS, BESIDE A SECOND VERTICAL POCKET WITH ZIP FASTENING.
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THE MOST WANTED: The blouson is perhaps the most useful piece in any man’s
wardrobe. Layer it under a Harrington for a fexible look that will work whatever the weather. And why should outerwear not be worn indoors, too? Think of it as a technical cardigan... Photograph by Mitch Payne. Jacket, £145. Blouson, £120. Sweatshirt, £90. All by Calvin Klein Jeans. calvinklein.com
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Get the right tie knot
It’s not just about getting the coolest shirt and tie combos, but about knowing the right knot for your collar. Here are four styles trending this spring and the knots you need for each. By Nick Carvell
A collar bar keeps your tie under control. But with an extra accessory at neck level, keep your knot small. Go for a four-in-hand, the classic basic tie knot. Where to wear: ﬁrst date Shirt by Next, £35. next.co.uk. Tie by Boss, £75. hugoboss.com
This Twenties style doesn’t give much space. Go for a slim four-in-hand and pull it tight, with a tie dimple for a Gatsby vibe. Where to wear: that creative pitch Shirt by Brooks Brothers, £105. brooksbrothers.com. Tie by J Crew, £60. jcrew.com
136 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Perhaps the standard design, so chances are most of your collars are semi-cutaway. Keep it sleek with a slimmer tie and a trim half-Windsor knot. Where to wear: big interview Shirt by Dunhill, £190. dunhill.com. Tie by Gucci, £140. gucci.com
Extreme cutaway collar
With a spread collar, amp everything up to ﬁll the space. Go for a Windsor knot on a wide silk tie with a ballsy pattern. Where to wear: best friend’s wedding Shirt by Thomas Pink, £89. thomaspink.com. Tie by Drake’s, £125. drakes.com
Photographs Light Project Photography
H&M STUDIO: According to Andreas
Lowenstam, H&M’s menswear head of design, for spring 2017 the H&M Studio line – the brand’s high-fashion ofer – is all about the balance between tradition and modernity, tailoring and sport. And we love the results, particularly this translucent white anorak – all very Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth, and very cool. Check out the collection in store next month. Jacket, £70. Shorts £35. Both by H&M Studio. hm.com
From skinny jeans to Texas tux or even – gasp! – a full-body romper, get your denim game right and it’ll never go out of fashion.
his isn’t an ofﬁcial statistic, but I’m willing to bet that around 90 per cent of men in the Western world spend the majority of their (dressed) time in denim. Over the past 150 years or so, jeans have earned the bragging rights of being perhaps the most hard-wearing, long-lasting and versatile additions to any man’s (or woman’s) wardrobe, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Despite this, however, it’s still surprisingly easy to get it horribly wrong. So, I have developed something of a guide to keep you on the straight and narrow (or, indeed, the slightly wider if that’s your thing). When it comes to jeans, ﬁrst and foremost it’s important to nail the ﬁt. Of course, personal preference comes into play, but it’s key to pay homage to the strong points of your physique (and make less of the bits you aren’t so proud of). I have long, slim pins, so putting me in anything wide will draw attention to the fact that I have skipped one too many leg days and give the illusion that they are even smaller. Equally, I can’t wear anything super skinny. Men with more athletic builds can opt for something a little wider, such as a straight fit, while those with shorter legs should try something that tapers, to give the illusion of length. For men who are carrying a little extra, a more relaxed look will help to
conceal anything you’re not fond of. Once you ﬁnd a style that works, buy multiples – in my experience, brands have a habit of discontinuing your favourites, leaving you back at square one. Also, knowing exactly what style from which brand you wear removes future guesswork. As for your chosen wash, my mantra is to choose from the basics ﬁrst, from dark blue raw Japanese for a dressier jean through to a light wash – and into extreme distressing if that’s your bag. Having grown up in that decade, I’m a big fan of the Nineties grunge look, so I’ve bought into it. However, if you prefer to keep it simple, you needn’t stray much further than blue and black if you wish. Double denim (otherwise known as the Texas tuxedo) has a bad name, but I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a big fan. I do have a personal rule, though, and that’s not to match top and bottom. If I have blue jeans, I’ll happily wear a denim jacket or shirt in a different shade, but will avoid a corresponding blue. That said, the right person can do double, triple or even full denim (a friend of mine once wore a denim romper to dinner. He looked great, but he was a little warm) and rock the hell out of it.
Left, from top: Jeans, £310 Jeans, £250. Both by Citizens Of Humanity. At Harrods. harrods.com
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Simons says (from left): SS17 was inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe; AW14 used prints by Sterling Ruby
The look: Initially Simons was
obsessed with youth culture, but over the years his style has evolved. He has often been called a minimalist but he is also inspired by grunge. His great love is music and in the past has designed clothing inspired by New Order, Joy Division and Manic Street Preachers. Other heroes include David Bowie and Kraftwerk. He has also taken inspiration from Picasso ceramics and has printed clothes with works by American artist Sterling Ruby.
The reputation: Alexander Fury of the New York Times says, “He has become, arguably, the most important menswear designer in the world. He has fundamentally altered the way men dress and the way men want to dress.” RJ
Raf Simons is available on Style.com from early January, prices start from £215.
From design rebel to rapper’s delight, Calvin Klein’s latest hire has already changed the way you dress. Now it’s time to get to know Style.com’s newest recruit... Beginnings: Born 12 January 1968 in Neerpelt, Belgium, Raf Simons
graduated in industrial design in 1991, then interned at the Antwerp studio of fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck. Van Beirendonck took him to Paris in 1991 to attend Martin Margiela’s seminal all-white show, which inspired Simons to become a fashion designer. “It was such a fascinating period in Belgium. There were so many things going on – the Antwerp Six; Belgian New Beat was taking off and bringing a new sound and dress code with it; and then there was Margiela.” Career: 1995: The self-trained menswear designer launches the Raf Simons
label, inspired by Martin Margiela. 2005-2012: Creative director of Jil Sander. 2008: Starts his long-standing collaboration with Fred Perry. 2012-2015: Creative director of womenswear at Christian Dior. 2013: Starts his collaboration with Adidas. 2016: Appointed chief creative ofﬁcer of Calvin Klein.
138 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Under the inﬂuence: Raf Simons has taken inspiration from Kanye West, David Bowie and Picasso’s ceramics
Photographs Matt Cetti-Roberts/LNP; Getty Images; Instagram/@passaggiocravatte; Rex/Shutterstock; WireImage
Fans: Simons is a ﬁrm favourite with hip hop stars and rappers. Enthusiasts include A$AP Rocky, Young Thug, The Weeknd and Travis Scott, as well as Kanye West and his creative director Virgil Abloh. At the premiere of his ﬁrst Adidas collection, West said, “You guys know my f***ing inﬂuences. You see Raf Simons right there.”
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Fit to be tied: Vintage fabrics in the Passaggio Cravatte workshop; (below) Gianni Cerutti
When your wishes are translated into silk, that is the essence of individuality
True to the belief that style is in the details, Gianni Cerutti bestows the ties of Passaggio Cravatte with superlative skill and a personal touch. BY Nick Foulkes
ver heard of Robbio? Neither had I, at least not until I started using Instagram. But thanks to the miracles of social media I found Robbio on the menswear map, about an hour southwest of Milan. Its fame rests on it being home to bespectacled former journalist Gianni Cerutti, proprietor of Passaggio Cravatte. The internet is frequently accused of putting further distance between the consumer and the creator but, happily, the opposite is true at Passaggio Cravatte. On the brand’s Instagram feed there is pictures of lengths of silk being cut up to make ties and a highly inventive use of the tongue of Milton and Shakespeare. Ties are described as “ancient” and “in lavoration”; rare fabrics are denoted as “endangered”; and close followers are rewarded with such telegraphic, semi-cryptic and verbless sentences such as “My vintage regimental no linen”. In short, there is an abundance of character and charm and it is very endearing. You may come for the ties, but you will stay for the personal touches (and idiosyncratic use of language) as much as the neckwear. The business has its roots in personal frustration. Cerutti is a dandy. His personal style is Thirties matinée idol meets Pitti Uomo 2017 – brisk checks, rounded penny-collared shirts, wing lapels so large they need planning permission, all making use, whenever possible, of vintage fabrics. I very much doubt that Robbio has seen anything like it before. However, there was one winged insect in the otherwise perfect sartorial ointment: he could not ﬁnd anywhere that was making the sort of ties he wanted to wear. His favourites
Shirt by Stone Island, £280. stoneisland.com
are hand-printed silks from the Thirties and his enthusiasm for what he calls “bold, big medallions” and paisleys was not being catered to. Eventually, his wife got so sick of hearing this daily jeremiad, that she said if he found an appropriate fabric she would make him a tie. That was in 2010 and the tie was such a success that he started buying vintage tie fabrics locally. Then he started travelling further aﬁeld and has since become enchanted by Macclesﬁeld. Now, he is so well known (in the vintage silk-selling community) that dealers in ends of lines come to him. What was an attempt to stop her husband whinging has now turned into a business that makes about 4,000 ties a year, employs four craftsmen and has now ventured into bespoke braces, scarves and pocket squares. There are, of course, practical reasons for bespeaking a tie: the wider bladed tie helps slim the fuller physique, the taller man can ﬁnally have a tie that reaches the waistband of his trousers, while the shorter man is relieved from the chore of constructing a larger knot to reduce the apparent length of tie. But the chief reward is the satisfaction that when your wishes are translated into silk (or wool, or cashmere, or linen) that has been out of production for decades, the result is the essence of individuality. Bespoke is a word so overworked as to be in need of a rest, but what commissioning a tie offers is the opportunity to ponder the intricacies of cloth choice, of stitching detail, dimension proportion and colour – and enjoy the sense of pleasurable anticipation – all for a fraction of the cost of bespeaking a suit or a pair of shoes.
G E O X
The waterproof Amphibiox collection by Geox is designed to take the worst the weather can throw at your shoes – which could be any time in the UK – without having to compromise on style. And, of course, all the styles boast the classic Geox breathable sole technology so you won’t have to compromise on comfort, either.
Italian label Stone Island has long been at the forefront of fabric technology and one of its latest innovations is Nylon Metal, but we think the proof is in the wearing of this long-sleeved overshirt, with its unique iridescent sheen thanks to the elaborate dying procedure the ﬁnished garment undergoes.
Trainers by Geox, £105. geox.com
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Cocktails beat cake as the thinking gentleman’s way to ﬁnish a meal, especially if the new Grey Goose Espresso Martini is on the menu
GREY GOOSE, ITS TRADE DRESS, THE GEESE DEVICE, NOILLY PRAT, MARTINI AND ST GERMAIN ARE TRADEMARKS
J UST DE SSERTS
WHEN dining out, the end of a meal is a moment of decision. Depending on whether you choose a rich dessert or a delicious cocktail, it sets the tone for the rest of the night. Grey Goose global brand ambassador Joe McCanta believes that this forkin-the-road moment is partly why he’s seen a growing trend for dessert cocktails. “Ordering a round of Grey Goose Espresso Martinis is a great alternative ‘third course’ at the end of the meal,” he says. “Especially if people have overindulged with a heavy meal.” The Espresso Martini is thought to have been invented as the “Vodka Espresso” by the late, legendary London bartender Dick Bradsell at the Soho Brasserie in the Eighties. Later, it was made famous at Fred’s Club and infamous at Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurant. Now the drink has been given a contemporary makeover by Grey Goose and will be served at select London locations. As McCanta explains, what sets the Grey Goose Espresso Martini apart is simply what goes into it. “The Espresso Martini is one of those drinks, like the Martini itself, that has so few ingredients that the quality of those ingredients is extremely important,” he says. “Firstly, Grey Goose is a vodka made to have a rich texture and a hint of soft sweetness that works really well in this cocktail. That’s down to the fact that Grey Goose is made in France from the same winter wheat that the ﬁnest boulangeries use for their breadmaking – and think how great an espresso and a freshly baked French croissant work together.” It’s not just the Grey Goose: every ﬂavour in the cocktail is carefully chosen. “We only use single-origin espresso, and a coffee liqueur that keeps the drink slightly drier and a touch more punchy,” adds McCanta. “Finally, a pinch of French ﬂeur de sel beautifully rounds off the drink, acts as a ﬂavour enhancer and works to wonderfully bring out all the various tastes of the cocktail – from the subtle sweetness of the coffee liqueur to the rich, slightly bitter notes of the single-origin espresso.” So next time you don’t want the night to be over just yet, ditch the dessert menu, wake up and smell the coffee. greygoose.com
GREY GOOSE CLASSIC ESPRESSO MARTINI Ingredients Grey Goose Original Vodka O30ml single-origin espresso O20ml Kahlua (or premium cofee liqueur) O1 pinch ﬂeur de sel O40ml
Ordering a round of Grey Goose Espresso Martinis is a great alternative ‘third course’ at the end of the meal
Method 1. Shake hard and long. 2. Double strain. 3. Garnish with three cofee beans.
There are a number of fabulous locations scattered around London that ofer the Grey Goose Espresso Martini, some with their own distinctive twists. Rumpus Room, the rooftop bar at the Mondrian hotel, ofers views across the Thames as well as its Roasted Coconut take on the cocktail, while the Grey Goose Fifth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols is ofering a diferent Espresso Martini every week in February, using diferent cofee blends from Climpson & Sons. Meanwhile, Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany in Camden is serving a Gingerbread Espresso Martini in its winter Gingerbread Cabin and Soho House & Co.’s Fox Bar in Brixton has the Grey Goose Espresso Martini on tap. If you ﬁnd yourself in Fitzrovia, head to Foley’s restaurant for a taste of the Grey Goose Original Espresso Martini to share in a Grey Goose percolator. greygoose.com
Clockwise from left: 97A110 Accutron II by Bulova, £241. bulova.com Originals 1970s by Timex, £125. At Watchshop. watchshop.com Ventura by Hamilton, £715. hamiltonwatch.com Lux Weissgold by Nomos Glashütte, £15,800. nomos-store.com Atomic by Paul Smith, £200. paulsmith.co.uk Brompton Chronograph by Links Of London, £395. linksoﬂondon.com Museum Classic by Movado, £425. movado.co.uk
Go back to the future with timepieces inspired by the golden age of science fction. Modern has never looked so retro. Wear one... and prosper. Photograph by Josh Caudwell
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THE NEW MAVERICK OF MENSWEAR:
Written in the stars: Tinie Tempah follows in the footsteps of other rappers with his ﬁrst menswear line
As the OG ambassador for London Fashion Week Men’s, Tinie Tempah has an eye for style. Now he’s launching his first menswear line, What We Wear, and we’ve got the inside track. STORY BY
Photographs Roger Stillman
inie Tempah is undeniably one of our country’s most stylish sons. And unlike many famous men you see on the red carpet, Britain’s biggest rapper hasn’t earned this reputation by always relying on a stylist. This is a man who clearly loves clothes and cares about what he wears. You can see it in his continually evolving style since he burst onto our collective playlists with “Pass Out” in 2009; you can see it in the fact that everything he wears is tailored perfectly for his physique; you can see it in the fact he’s been an ambassador for men’s fashion week in London since it started back in 2011. However, now he’s taking on a new task: translating his personal style into a menswear line. In vogue with the current trend for big brands shaking up the traditional timetables of the international fashion weeks, Tempah’s new line, What We Wear, had its debut with a show on the Saturday of the packed schedule of the newly rechristened London Fashion Week Men’s this January. And while he’s dabbled in apparel before with his Disturbing London brand (a mostly-merch line he’s designed with his manager, Dumi Oburota, for almost a decade), this is his ﬁrst foray into full-blown fashion. Looking through the collection, Tempah has taken the sporty trend that’s currently running through menswear and crafted a collection for athleisure-obsessed men. This interchangeability is born out of a controlled palette of navy, black, grey and white, but it’s also in the types of items he’s chosen to include. While his tracksuit (sleek, slim, straightforward and cut from a sheen-like material with extra-long drawstrings at the waist) is the central item in the collection, there are plenty of pieces in the line with which it can be worn to give a whole new vibe: a pair of his slouchy-tailored track trousers, a soft, mid-grey sweatshirt or one of his boxy T-shirts. So far, so sports luxe. However, as with Tempah’s personal style, what sets these items apart are the details: those black track trousers have a rubbery white motif artfully squiggling down the side instead of go-faster stripes; that grey sweatshirt has layered-effect sleeves; those boxy T-shirts have press studs all down the shoulders and torso, allowing you to attach the front of one colour to the back of another to create a whole new item. His jean jacket is traditional in shape and style – however, it’s cut not from denim, but from semi-transparent white rubberised plastic, allowing you to show off what’s underneath, even during a downpour. It’s these unexpected twists that add a fashionable edge – not to mention serious covetability – to every item, and yet, crucially, does not impact on their wearability or
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You get the sense that if anyone can conquer the menswear market, itâ€™s Tempah
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EXPLORE THE WIDE WORLD OF VIDEOS AT GQ.CO.UK
practicality. In fact, it’s the twists that enhance these qualities. “When you go to the fashion shows, a lot of the models walking down the catwalk are wearing these extravagant pieces,” says Tempah. “But I’ll see the model in Shoreditch two weeks later and they’ll be wearing something more like this. So I decided, ‘Why don’t we actually make something we would actually wear?’” Of course, rappers launching clothing brands is nothing new. Over in the US, home of the personal lifestyle brand, most hip hop artists have given it a go. Pharrell and Kanye West have both won over the current streetwear scene with BBC Ice Cream and Yeezy respectively, and P Diddy saw rich rewards from Sean John for many years. 50 Cent, though,
Photographs Rankin; Roger Stillman
What We Wear debuted with a show at the packed schedule of the newly rechristened London Fashion Week Men’s wasn’t quite so lucky (RIP G-Unit clothing). However, you get the sense that if there’s any man who can conquer the menswear market, it’s Tempah . Having ﬁnished our shoot, for which he’s modelled three of his key looks from the line, we’re now in the living room of his Hackney abode, which has a view of Victoria Park to the front and, behind his grand piano, a view of his own perfectly manicured garden to the rear. He’s reclining on a golden-yellow, Ostrichleather sofa, sporting one of his own black tracksuits, zipped low to expose his toned chest and a neck hung with delicate gold chains. And he wears it all with the kind of wide-smiled, warm conﬁdence that any man would buy if it could be bottled. Incidentally, that sofa we mentioned was installed by the house’s previous owner, Alexander McQueen. While Tempah has made his own suitably ballsy additions to the building (we particularly approve of the hot tub on the roof), traces of the designer are everywhere – especially in the artwork, such as the taxidermy giraffe’s head hanging in the stairwell outside, left by the designer before he moved out shortly before his untimely death. These are things Tempah proudly preserves as a constant source of inspiration; they
Watch our video interview with Tinie Tempah and see every item in his ﬁrst What We Wear collection at GQ.co.uk.
Tinie dancer: The rapper found inspiration for his line from seeing what models wear in their downtime
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Photographs Getty Images; Rankin; Roger Stillman Grooming Louise Dartford at Stella Creative Artists
Unexpected twists add a fashionable edge – not to mention serious covetability – to every item give him faith that, like McQueen, he can become a major player in the British fashion industry. “After seeing numerous shows and meeting numerous designers, men like Paul Smith who have given us crazy mentoring lessons, and living in Alexander McQueen’s house, seeing how inspired by Africa he was, it just made me feel like I could do it,” Tempah says. “I felt like it was the right time to make a clothing line that people would acknowledge and respect.” However, this acknowledgement and respect isn’t only something he desires when it comes to his menswear. Eventually he’d like to expand into directing music videos, animation and even architecture (“I’m always thinking of how to make spaces people want to be in. I always dream of having this big spread of land where I can build something that you’d usually see in LA, but in Kent”). How he does this, we can’t predict just yet (although his passion for his collection tells us he’ll give it everything he’s got). What’s certain is that launching What We Wear won’t be the last time Tempah expands his sphere of influence on his journey to owning a world-dominating personal brand – but it’s one hell of a stylish stop along the way, and one we hope he’ll revisit for many seasons to come. From £65 to £400. Available at whatwewear. com from April.
Piano man: The collection draws on a palette of navy, black, grey and white
Six rappers who also got into the fashion game:
Eminem: Shady Ltd
Kanye West: Yeezy
Jay Z: Rocawear
Pharrell: BBC Ice Cream
50 Cent: G-Unit
Snoop Dogg: Rich & Infamous
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I often wear a favourite pair of chunky brown brogues with a comfortable tweed jacket. I’d welcome your suggestions on completing the ensemble. I don’t want to limit myself to denim. Hugh, via email
STYLE SHRINK: EDITED BY
To be fair, the beneﬁt of matching tweed and brogues with denim is that it does go some way towards stopping you looking like too much of a chinless wonder – so whatever you wear I would advise you to avoid the mustard cords and any form of red trouser. The latter has been the sign of a complete knob since the Earl of Cardigan insisted that the 11th Hussars wore skin-tight versions during the Charge of the Light Brigade – and look how well that went. To make tweed look more athleisure I would be tempted to try cargo pants with the jacket. I would, however, also check out the Hugo Boss Charleston style. They are jeans but not exactly denim and are quite simply some of the best trousers I have tried on in a long while. Top tip – choose the leg size down from your normal length for the best ﬁt.
I have been invited to a lavish wedding at the end of January in California and have no idea as to the dress etiquette. My worry is that my usual wedding outﬁt of pinstripe suit and purple tie may make me look like the hired help. Sam, via email
Dress codes abroad are always a nightmare – leaving you with no idea of what to wear or, worse, having to wear something hideous. In Australia, for example, they tend to have “groomsmen” at a wedding, which are essentially a male version of a bridesmaid. And as such, tone in with their female counterparts. From personal experience I can tell you that this probably means apricot bow ties and matching cummerbunds. Other dress codes are so vague as to be of no use whatsoever. For example, for functions in American embassies overseas, invitations tend to stipulate “business attire”, which does seem to depend on your business. Imagine if you are a pathologist. Sometimes I long for the days when invitations were sent out marked as they were in EF Benson’s Mapp and Lucia series of comic novels, in which the dress code for parties is either “hitum”, “titum” or “scrub”. The ﬁrst (and smartest) is a signal to wear your very best or newest clothes for women and white tie for gentlemen, next black tie, the last, morning clothes – as the lounge suit was once known. These days, of course, unless you’re Sir Elton John, few occasions require more than scrub. A rule of thumb, however, is that it is always better to be overdressed than under, so remember you’re British, dammit. People expect us to be stiff so we shouldn’t disappoint them. And if people dare ask you to serve them a drink just give them a withering stare.
Trousers by Boss, £149. hugoboss.com
Tuxedo by Cornelini, £1,300. At Harvey Nichols. harveynichols.com. Shirt by Boss, £228. At Harrods. harrods.com. Bow tie by Lanvin, £75. At mrporter.com. Pocket square by Boss. hugoboss.com
Photographs Getty Images; Roger Stillman
What would be a good haircut for a guy with a somewhat rounded face and a widow’s peak? And how do you deal with a widow’s peak? Hakiem, via email
Hair force: Actor Chris Hemsworth has managed his widow’s peak to perfection
If you have a round face you are advised to balance it out by making it appear elongated. So, make sure the sides are shorter than the top and avoid short fringes. Hakiem goes on to say he was thinking along very similar lines and I wholeheartedly agree. He should deﬁnitely not consider growing it at the sides as he will risk looking like a cantaloupe melon. A widow’s peak is the v-shaped point in the hairline in the middle of the forehead and is thought to be genetic. I managed to surprise myself – as a lover of trivia and an avid University Challenge viewer – when
I realised that having a widow’s peak myself I had never questioned the derivation of the term. I have now learned that the name comes from a belief that it was an omen of early widowhood thanks to its similarity to the peak of a widow’s hood – worn as indication of mourning since the 16th century. On men, in modern popular culture it has become – unfortunately for me and Hakiem – associated with villainy. Think of The Joker, Count Dracula and, of course, Eddie Munster. Personally, I can see no reason to hide it, as a widow’s peak is a sign of a strong hairline and preferable to receding. However, if it does bother you the quickest way to hide it is to adopt a side parting. If you have a round face do not attempt a side parting unless you want to look like a pair of curtains.
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Marco Coluccio, 25
Occupation: Hairdresser Favourite item of clothing: “Good-quality T-shirts.” Get the look: Custom-made T-shirt by Son Of A Tailor, £47. sonofatailor.com
Tobi Onabolu, 23
Occupation: PR account executive Favourite item of clothing: “I love hats.” Get the look: Mountain hat by Vivienne Westwood, £95. viviennewestwood.com
Daryl Knight, 30
Francesco Adams-Facchini, 36
Occupation: Visual merchandiser manager Favourite item of clothing: “Loud coats.” Get the look: Double-breasted coat by Bottega Veneta, £1,935. At matchesfashion.com
Pablo Sautua, 25
Occupation: Artist Favourite item of clothing: “Trainers.” Get the look: Gazelle trainers by Adidas Originals, £75. At Asos. asos.com
Occupation: Bookings manager Favourite item of clothing: “Accessories, especially jewellery.” Get the look: Rolled gold St Christopher pendant and chain by H Samuel, £60. hsamuel.co.uk
STREET LIFE: EDITED BY
From statement coats to stand-out luggage, plus hats to get you ahead, this is what the real men of GQ are wearing this month. Stuart Mant, 37
Photographs by Dom Fleming
Occupation: Finance manager Favourite item of clothing: “Ties.” Get the look: Patterned tie by Remus Uomo, £18. remusuomo.com
Jason Atherton, 45
Occupation: Chef-restaurateur Favourite item of clothing: “Weekend bags.” Get the look: Keepall 55 by Louis Vuitton, £1,210. louisvuitton.com
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Sam Norsworthy, salon manager, Rufans
GET THE LOOK 1. Keep the back and sides tight and short (0.5 grade – 1.5mm). Taper this up to the top section using 0.5 increments. 2. Clipper the top section at a grade two, so that there’s a slight contrast between the top, back and sides. 3. Identify where your crown is and shave towards it from the periphery of the head. Do this on dry hair. 4. Get a friend to help you with the back of the neck.
Deep sweep comb-over
Alex Glover, master barber, Murdock
TAKE NOTE For curly hair, do the same but don’t use a comb, just wide-open ﬁngers – the less you handle curls, the less frizz. Use a product such as Hair Doh that will set ﬁrm. Allow the paste to dry, then pull ﬁngers through to relax the style.
TAKE NOTE Choose quality electrical clippers so the blades don’t fall out half way through buzzing. PRODUCTS Super Taper Hair Clippers by Wahl, £45.50. At Shavers. shavers.co.uk. Rough Matt Clay by Rufans, £14.95. rufans.co.uk
Soft short curls Indira Schauwecker, global brand ambassador, Toni & Guy
GET THE LOOK 1. Use a lightweight water-based gel that gives soft deﬁnition. 2. Apply the gel to clean, towel-dried hair and then distribute evenly. 3. To activate the curl, scrunch hair with your hands before it’s drying. To accentuate the result, use a difuser which you can attach to a hairdryer.
PRODUCTS Hair Doh, £14. Sea Salt Styling Spray, £20. Both by Murdock. murdocklondon.com
Slicked-back hair Scott Ade, hair stylist, Hershesons
TAKE NOTE For a more natural wave, scrunch hair and allow it to dry. For a grungier look, use sea salt spray to create a messier natural curl. Spray in hair and leave for 5-10 minutes, then go back and scrunch. PRODUCTS Flexi Deﬁnition Gel, £7. Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray, £7.19. Both by Toni & Guy. toniandguy.com
The spring/summer 2017 menswear catwalk shows highlighted sleek new cuts, styles and colours. GQ has spoken to a quartet of experts on how to create the four main trends at home. EDITED BY
GET THE LOOK 1. Avoid frizz by using leave-in conditioner or hair cream. 2. Use a comb ﬁrst to create a clean side parting, then run your ﬁngers through to break up the hair so it doesn’t look too “done”. 3. After parting, scrunch Murdock Sea Salt Styling Spray or a matt ﬂexible texturiser through.
GET THE LOOK 1. Dampen hair and, starting from the crown, take a small vertical section of the hair and apply either a gel or a pomade. 2. Comb the hair back on itself from the root, pulling it towards the base of the head. Repeat this, moving slowly forward towards the front hairline. You should ultimately be layering the product to create both height and a strong, structured look. 3. For those blessed with good hair, you can create a more natural movement that doesn’t look too contrived. Dampen the hair and use a conditioning product mixed in with a small amount of hair oil. The mixture of the two products will create a wet look but keep hair soft and malleable. TAKE NOTE If you are working with rebellious hair or wanting to create a more structured look, time and efort are needed.
PRODUCTS Tecni Art Glue by L’Oréal Professionnel, £10.70. Elixir Ultime Hair Oil by Kérastase, £27.75. Both at Lookfantastic. lookfantastic. com. Superhold Pomade by Layrite, £15. At Slick Styles. slickstyles.co.uk. Crème with Silk Groom by Kiehl’s, £18. kiehls.co.uk
I’ve been taking Wellman since my twenties to support my health and hectic lifestyle.
Made in Britain From Boots, Superdrug, supermarkets, Holland & Barrett, health stores, pharmacies *UK’s No1 men’s supplement brand. Nielsen GB ScanTrack Total Coverage Unit Sales 52 w/e 10th Sept 2016.
The G Preview:March E D I T E D BY
Bringing you the very latest in fashion, grooming, watches, news and exclusive events
Sweatshirt by Penﬁeld, £65. penﬁeld.com 2 Briefcase by Shinola, £770. shinola.co.uk 3 Jacket by Victorinox, £335. victorinox.com Watch by Urban Jürgensen, £37,800. urbanjurgensen.com 5 Jacket by Paul Smith, £2,545. paulsmith.co.uk 4 This Is Him! fragrance by Zadig & Voltaire, 100ml for £58. At House of Fraser. houseofraser.co.uk 6 Polo shirt by Pretty Green x John Smedley, £175. prettygreen.com 8 Trainers by Timberland, £120. timberland.co.uk. 7 Jacket by The Kooples Sport, £285. thekooples.co.uk 9
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Sterling by Ettinger
Ever since the label was founded in 1934, family-owned British ﬁrm Ettinger has always been at the forefront of luxury leather goods, but it is its Sterling collection – inspired by the colours of British banknotes – that really makes it stand out. With classic black calf leather on the outside and bold colours on the interior, these items are for those looking for a timeless investment piece without losing individuality; the best of both worlds.
Photograph Mitch Payne Edited by Holly Roberts Junior Retail Editor Michiel Steur
Zip-around purse, £385. Wallet with red lining, £280. Billfold wallet, £245. Zipped wallet, £245. Hip ﬂask, £115. Credit card case, £110. Keyring, £75 All by Ettinger. ettinger.co.uk
Trousers by River Island Design Forum x Tourne De Transmission, £50. riverisland.com
Watch by H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar, £40,000. williamandson.com Punch Room, 10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1
Edited by Holly Roberts
Dress for a cocktail bar Discover one of the city’s best kept secrets and escape the hustle and bustle by heading over to The London EDITION. Nestled within the luxurious surrounding of Ian Schrager’s famous creation you’ll find the Punch Room. Expect an oakpanelled den inspired by the comfort of English country manor house crossed with the library of a 19th-century private member’s club. Alongside the modern cocktail menu, chef Jason Atherton has devised a simple bar menu to accompany your tipple of choice. Because who doesn’t want their daily punch served with a side of shrimp rolls? Whether you’re heading for a quick after-work drink or treating someone special, make sure you’re served in style. Balance the traditional surroundings by opting for simple but striking pieces that deﬁne the modern gentleman. Opt for a statement bomber, such as this striped option from Tiger Of Sweden, but tone down with soft separates. These navy linen tie-waist trousers from Tourne De Transmission’s latest collaboration with River Island work perfectly when teamed with a simple crew-neck sweater and crisp white trainers. Keep accessories tonal, sit back and relax.
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Jacket by Tiger of Sweden, £399. tigerofsweden.com Rucksack by Michael Kors, £480. michaelkors.co.uk Document case by Bottega Veneta, £1,810. bottegaveneta.com Trainers by Coach, £225. coach.com
Sweatshirt by Barbour, £89.95. barbour.com
WATC H E S
CONTACT: +44 (0) 20 77 20 97 25 UK@THOMASSABO.COM
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WHAT I WEAR P H OTO G R A P H BY
Former S.C.U.M. frontman and singer-songwriter Thomas Cohen puts vintage in his fashion vanguard
“The MHP1000 are beautifully designed with leather, and the sound has endless depth. I’d use them to listen to Serge Gainsbourg.” By McIntosh, £2,195. mcintoshlabs.com
“The Vintage Showroom: An Archive Of Menswear by Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett is a great place to start learning about vintage.” £35. thevintageshowroom.com
“This Forties military police T-shirt is one of my favourite possessions. I pretty much shop vintage for everything and have done since I was 12 and skint.” By Stock Vintage NYC. stockvintagenyc.com
“I love this James Tanner bracelet’s architectural style. It’s like the edge of a Thirties skyscraper. Men's jewellery needs to be more socially acceptable.” £685. james-tanner.com
“I’ve liked the colour brown ever since a well-dressed man came up to me in Soho and, looking at my brown shoes, said, ‘Never wear brown in town, boy.’” £50. At Spitalﬁelds Market. spitalﬁelds.co.uk
Story Eleanor Halls
“My mind and nose are conﬂicted on this one: I hate the name Mister Marvelous, but I love the way it smells. It’s a heavy eau de parfum, so I’d wear it in the evening.” By Byredo, £90. At Liberty. libertylondon.com
“These Gucci loafers are not for everyday wear, but I would wear them with my Adidas tracksuit to go to the shop. I know it’s a little elitist but I love Gucci’s brand story, too.” £590. At matchesfashion.com
“I feel like something’s wrong if I leave the house without a bag. It’s a security blanket for me. Sometimes I’ll buy a bottle of water just for something to put in it.” By Tärnsjö Garveri, £590. At matchesfashion.com
“I bought these in a ﬂea market in San Francisco. I wear formal shoes every day. I don’t own any trainers. They’re so comfortable that if I did wear them, I’d just give up.” By Stacy Adams, £126. stacyadams.com MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 163
After conquering the tabloids, Twitter, GQ and American TV, Britain’s most controversial journalist fnds himself friends with the leader of the free world. Now, his old adversary – and fellow alpha male – confronts him about Donald Trump’s next move, Kim Kardashian’s phoney feminism and what it feels like to be right all the time
It was Piers Morgan’s wife, Celia Walden, the poor woman who has to live with that gargantuan ego, who deﬁned the relationship between her husband and me as love-hate. She hears and reads us tearing lumps off each other – I lied to help bring about an illegal war, says he; he is a self-obsessed, Trump-adoring, Twitter-addicted narcissist who never got over my beating him in the Comic Relief version of The Apprentice, say I – then sees us talking and laughing as though nothing has happened. There was the time, if you believe Morgan, that I engineered his sacking from the Mirror. There have been many times that he has lambasted me in print. And social media has given us both new ways to trade blows.
Yet, whenever I am asked what I think of him, a question alas asked more often as his fame has grown, I tend to come down closer to the love than the hate side of Walden’s ledger. As in lovable rogue. When he, my predecessor in this slot, interviewed me for GQ almost ten years ago, likewise he admitted that despite my role in his various downfalls and my derogatory comments about him, he couldn’t help liking me. But fear not. What you are about to read is no lovefest. After all, we are dealing with a man far too close to two of my current pet hates – the Daily Mail, for whose online operation he is US editor-at-large, and Donald Trump. Morgan’s seeming closeness to the new president – he is vying with Nigel Farage to win the title of Trump’s favourite Brit – is but the latest up in a career full of downs as well. He does have a habit of coming out of any
amount of ordure still smiling. As I wrote here recently in my proﬁle of another of Morgan’s power-crazed pals, Paul Dacre, I do like resilience in people. I like, too, that although I will always deny lying to spin the country into an illegal war, Morgan makes no effort to rebut the notion that he is a self-obsessed, Trumpadoring, Twitter-addicted narcissist. But as we talked in a west London café, another strand to Morgan emerged that I had not noticed before, and one that may answer Walden’s conundrum. Count how many times he says that he and I are similar. He mentions it more than he mentions Kim Kardashian, which is often. Even worse, twice he says I am like Trump. It all begs the question – for all his denials, could spin doctor to the US tweeterin-chief be what Morgan is now angling for? But ﬁrst, a question on his favourite subject: his ego.
Frame and fortune: Donald Trump is interviewed by Piers Morgan for Good Morning Britain, 13 May 2016
He makes no effort to rebut the notion that he is a self-obsessed, Trump-adoring, Twitter-addicted narcissist
AC: So, Piers, on a scale of one to
ten, how big is your ego? PM: Nine. AC: What about Donald Trump? PM: Ten. AC: So Trump has a bigger ego? PM: Marginally. It is probably why we get on. In the ﬁnal of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2008... AC: The one you won, not the Comic Relief one where I successfully got you ﬁred? PM: Yes, the one where the future US president was deciding, not barrow boy Lord Sugar. Trump said, “Piers, you were tactless, ruthless, aggressive, hard, possibly brilliant, you knocked them all out one by one – you win.” I reminded him of that the other day, “Ring any bells?” I played The Celebrity Apprentice having read The Art Of The Deal twice to get inside his head. AC: You really wanted to win? PM: I am like you – even if it is tiddlywinks, I have to win. I got inside his head and I was almost Trump-like, and I won, and I watched the presidential race and he was doing the same things. AC: So he owes the White House to you? PM: No, I owe The Apprentice to him. The thing you bleating Clintonites have to understand is that he is a businessman, he was closing the biggest deal of his life, and he worked out the way to win. He was speaking the way real people speak. You have to get out of New York and LA. I travelled a lot – Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania – it’s a different mindset and language. He worked out that “If I bang on about the economy, jobs, immigration, Islamic terrorism” and pressed these hard-button issues again and again, simple messaging and marketing – the wall, the ban... AC: It was disgusting to say he would ban all Muslims. PM: I didn’t like it. I wrote an open letter, saying, “Donald, you can’t do this”, but it was classic businessman extremity – have an extreme position then dial back. So now he wants tougher immigration rules from war-torn countries. AC: But he is setting himself up for more disillusionment. PM: It will be fuelled by his enemies. He won’t care what the elite says. He will speak to the people on Twitter. 166 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Say, ‘Lock Hillary up’, then don’t. Hate Goldman Sachs, then stick their guy in the treasury. The wall...
You’re hired: Donald Trump and Piers Morgan in New York, 10 November 2010
PM: There will be a wall and I believe he will get the Mexicans to pay for some of it as part of a trade deal. I never got the wall thing. It doesn’t say, “Go,” it says, “Illegals stay out.” Obama kicked out three million in eight years. He is looking to do the same. You are looking at this through the prism of Trump as a monster. AC: Politics and business are different. Do you think he knows how to do the job? PM: He’s refusing to play by the rules. AC: Is that always a good thing? Saying to Theresa May that Farage should be our ambassador. That is just f***ing rude. PM: Is he not allowed opinions? AC: There are certain rules of diplomacy. PM: He can’t stand rules or diplomats. AC: But he is a diplomat now, like it or not. PM: No, that is what you want him to be and he won’t. AC: Vladimir Putin will have him for breakfast. PM: He might not. I suspect they will have a constructive relationship. AC: Until the willies come out. Can you see either backing down? PM: I interviewed Bill Clinton about Putin. He said you could be getting nowhere, throw the ofﬁcials out and sort things out man to man, and [Putin] will stick to what they agree... AC: You don’t worry about all the parallels with the Thirties: ﬁnancial crisis, Europe breaking up, resurgence of populism, rise of the hard-right, resurgent Russia? PM: This is the fundamental ﬂaw in how to hit him. The Hitler analogy. It is not just offensive, it is stupid. Hitler killed 12 million people... AC: It didn’t start that way. Seeds get sown. PM: Donald Trump is not going to commit genocide. AC: Nice to know. But isn’t it alarming how Putin, Marine Le Pen, the far right across Europe, all align with Trump? Or the way he
treats the media. [Turkish president] Erdogan started out saying the kind of things Trump says, then... PM: Hold on a minute, this is coming from you. You treated the media with utter contempt. You effed and blinded, you lied when it suited you, so get off your high horse. AC: One, I didn’t lie. Two, I wasn’t the president. PM: You’d like to be. You are exactly the same as Trump on the media, no different. And the Hitler thing plays into his hands. If you look at his political history, he is a moderate. I’m not even sure he is a Republican. He fought as an independent. AC: I bumped into Celia recently, she wasn’t too happy with your Trump bromance and you chided her, “Why can’t you be more opportunistic about this?” PM: [Laughs.] I can quite believe saying that, but my exact response was, “Do you really want to turn down dinner at the White House, because the way you’re going I’ll get you struck off the list.” Listen, I genuinely like him, I have known him through ten years, and saw from The Apprentice he can be charming, funny, smart and his judgment is spot on. He loved drama and arguments and m aking the right decision and being popular. AC: Is he a narcissist? PM: Yes, he likes it all to be about him. I think all leaders are narcissists to some degree. Tony Blair – I like him, even though he called me a slug in your diaries – he has a degree of narcissism. Obama in his own way has a huge ego. He is popular abroad but go to middle America, they don’t think he has delivered. AC: Was any of that racism? PM: Partly. AC: And was any of the hatred of Hillary misogynist? PM: Not as much. I reckon if Michelle Obama had run, there would have been neither racism or misogyny. Her speeches were dynamic and gripping, like Blair at his peak, Obama in 2008, Trump in his own way – compelling. AC: Because it was so horrible. PM: Because you don’t agree with him. Let’s wait and see what he does. AC: Would you work for him? PM: Secretary of state? AC: I was thinking more spin doctor, or butler maybe.
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL PM: No. I couldn’t work for an administration I don’t believe in politically. I totally disagree with him on guns, on climate change. But I can see Trump in a way that you can’t. I expect to talk to him a fair bit. I consider him a good friend, and loyal to me. I did a book called Shooting Straight, about gun control, something he disagrees with me on. He said he couldn’t come to the launch and then he and Melania walked in and he said, “You didn’t think I’d let you down, Champ.” He calls me his Champ because of The Apprentice. When I left CNN, lots of people were done with me, not him, he kept calling. So give him a chance. He only has to deliver on jobs and the economy. AC: So the Middle East, would he even have a clue? PM: On the Mirror, we once took a children’s map outside a New York subway to ask where Iraq was. Of 100 people, 80 had no idea, ﬁve put it in middle America. The Middle East doesn’t matter to most Americans. AC: As president, he has to take an interest. PM: He’s a good delegator. Look at his business, he employs 30,000 people, he is worth $10 billion, according to him – Forbes say $3.7 million.
Public service broadcasting: Piers Morgan speaks at a ‘To Prevent Gun Violence’ beneﬁt, New York, 8 May 2013
Trump has a problem with the truth, yes? Photographs AP Images; Desiree Navaro/Everett Collection
PM: He has a problem with massive exaggeration. Again, you’d know all about that. He is a spinner, just like you. He takes a kernel of truth – he is wealthy – and he exaggerates. I suspect the reason he won’t publish his tax returns is that they show he is not as wealthy as he claims. AC: Do you think presidents should lie? PM: They should be pragmatic. AC: I don’t know of Obama lying. PM: He said 160 times he would close Guantanamo Bay. AC: That was a policy aim on which he failed. Not a lie. Not like the lies on Boris Johnson’s Brexit bus or Trump claiming he never said climate change was a hoax. PM: I am not saying he is the single
most honest person in the world. He is a massive embellisher, a salesman. AC: What about a president who boasts about grabbing pussies? PM: Awful, but if everything we ever said was broadcast, few would survive. What was amazing was that he did survive. Hillary’s supporters saw her as perfect. His supporters knew he was ﬂawed and quite liked it. AC: Could someone like him win here in Britain? PM: The Brexit campaign was more similar than people want to admit. It was led by characters, Johnson and Farage, not conventional politicians, who resonated with people fed up with the PC environment. You have to remember I am basically on your side politically, but the ﬂaw of the left has been to position Trump and Brexit supporters as thick, racist, sexist scumbags. Hillary calling them “deplorables” – she never recovered from that. It is so arrogant. These are people who think the world is changing too fast, they are losing their country. Down in the rust belt you were hearing this. So, yes, Trump is abrasive, rude, bombastic... AC: Sexist? PM: He has said stuff that is sexist, yes, though I never heard [anything like] it on The Apprentice. AC: Racist? PM: He said things which were inﬂammatory in the area of race, but he himself is not a racist. He said things to push buttons and I agree that can be problematic. AC: And dangerous. PM: And dangerous. I get that. I hated the attacks on Polish centres here. You’ll always get idiots to attach themselves to these things. AC: Trump exploited racism. PM: He disavowed the alt-right when the abuse was going on. AC: What? Then he put Steve Bannon in the White House. PM: Bannon isn’t a white supremacist. AC: He is a proud creator of the alt-right. PM: He is a proud creator of an anti-establishment movement. AC: What about fake news? PM: The real problem is that fake news meets lazy news in the mainstream and the mainstream run the fake news without checking. AC: On Brexit, you wouldn’t say the Mail, Express and Sun peddle fake news.
PM: But you don’t say the same about the Mirror on the other side. My problem with your pathological hatred of the Mail is that it is driven by your political views. AC: What did you think of the “enemies of the people” front page? PM: I didn’t like it. There is a hypocrisy in the Brexit camp thinking they can have their cake and eat it. It is incongruous to position British judges as enemies of the people when the whole point of Brexiting was so we could be judged by our own judges. But I also absolutely support the Mail’s right in a free democracy to challenge the judiciary in any way they see ﬁt. AC: You have never been critical of Rupert Murdoch or Dacre. PM: What do you want me to say? I’m an admirer of both. I admire a lot of ﬂawed people – you, Blair, Dacre, Murdoch, Richard Branson, Trump. I like Dacre. He’s a divisive, polarising character, like we are. A common trait with Dacre, Murdoch and Trump is that they’re loyal people to people who are loyal to them, like you are. AC: Like the Maﬁa then. PM: I am not aware they have killed anyone. You helped to kill hundreds of thousands. AC: I expect once Trump gets his hands on the military... PM: I hope he causes utter mayhem for Isis because Obama’s let them off. AC: Do you think politicians caved in too quickly to the idea that Brexit has to happen if really they think we’re heading over a cliff? PM: We are over the cliff already; we have left. Blair, Branson, John Major, talk of another referendum – it’s cloud cuckoo land. You’d have anarchy. I was on your side, but Remain ran a dreadful campaign, I kept telling them this is about immigration not the economy, but on they went with their apocalyptic warnings and the apocalypse is not happening. AC: We haven’t left yet. PM: It is not happening. Obama said we would go to the back of the queue and now Trump says we can do a deal. Anyone who paints an apocalyptic picture in campaigns these days loses, they’re not credible. AC: Trump did. PM: Seventeen trillion debt, riddled with war, it is not so great in the last 20 years. He was tapping into MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 167
American fears about losing superpower status and what he was saying about outsourcing jobs and immigration really resonated. AC: Which British politicians do you like or respect? PM: I like Theresa May. I ﬁnd her reassuringly sage. I like Johnson, warts and all. I like Michael Gove, but he behaved ludicrously. AC: The Brexit bus boys. You have a soft spot for liars. PM: Alastair, can I let you in on a secret? All politicians lie. AC: No, they don’t. Who do you like in Labour? PM: You have a massive problem. Jeremy Corbyn is in his bunker. He won’t even come on Good Morning Britain, hates the mainstream media. And because Ed Miliband changed the membership rules it is now impossible to get rid of Corbyn and he will never win an election. AC: Who did you vote for in 2015? PM: I voted for the Animal Welfare Party. I couldn’t vote for Miliband or for David Cameron. I did vote for Blair pre-Iraq. My ﬁrst vote was for Margaret Thatcher. I tend to go for strong leaders. AC: Next time? PM: I would vote for May ahead of Corbyn, no question. I quite like Tim Farron. He has a clear line on Europe. I quite like Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson. They are tough cookies, independent-minded women, feminism at its best – not the feminism of the Kim Kardashians of this world trying to exploit sexuality in the name of feminism. It’s dangerous, saying the only way to be rich and famous is to do this. AC: The ﬁrst time we met, 25 years ago, I said I wanted to be a journalist to change the world, you said, “I want to be very rich and very famous.” PM: You’re very rich and famous. AC: Not as rich as you. PM: Your ego and ambition are the same as mine. AC: I’m still more about changing the world. PM: Yeah, you did that, brought the Middle East to its knees in gunﬁre and death and mayhem. AC: Are you primarily motivated by yourself? PM: I am motivated by getting the most out of my life. AC: So yourself? 168 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
PM: Doing the best for myself and my family and doing
PM: Yes, and there is a common
what I can to be a force for good. But journalism is about holding bad things to account. AC: You are more an entertainer than a journalist now. PM: No. I am always a journalist. Most journalists would follow this path if they could. TV is a powerful medium, as is the internet. A global proﬁle has been great for all the things I want to do. AC: Was your gun campaign you in search of an issue? PM: It was more organic. When you live there you realise how much worse the problem is. Then Sandy Hook, I remember watching the parents running to the school, it took me back to Dunblane in 1996. We ran a campaign, Major took it on, Blair delivered it. All hand guns banned from civilian use and we’ve not had a school shooting since. The thing that lit the fuse was a guy coming on CNN saying we need to arm all teachers.
theme. I have won none of them, despite being right. It’s like you. You advised Brown and Miliband. Lost. You advised President Hollande. Failed. You advised Remain. Lost. Hillary. Lost. You truly are the Arsène Wenger of politics. AC: My guy in Albania [Edi Rama] won a landslide. PM: You see. Truly, the Arsène Wenger of politics. [Laughs.] Why did you put Wenger in your Winners book. He was a winner, but no more. AC: What else should I atone for? PM: Where do I start? Your one saving grace is that you always had a sense of humour. AC: Do you not worry you are like a stuck record on your campaigns? PM: No. Of course on guns I am boring to people who don’t want change. I am like you in this. I am a lot more like you than you care to admit. You have Burnley, I have Arsenal. You have your other sporting obsessions, I have cricket. You have your political passions, I have mine. You never stop going on about them. Nor do I. You like arguing on Twitter. So do I, whether with you or Wayne Rooney or Gary Lineker, or waking up and seeing Lord Sugar has called me a wanker and I can whack back. I love all that. AC: OK, a few questions you asked me last time. Are you good in bed? PM: No comment. That is what you said. No you didn’t, you said, “Ask Fiona.” So ask Fiona. [Laughs.] AC: How wealthy are you? PM: I am very comfortably well off. Like you. We have both been lucky. AC: Last time you lied? PM: To my wife this morning. I said I was looking forward to seeing you. AC: Last time you cried? PM: My grandmother’s funeral three years ago. Very little makes me cry. AC: Never get depressed? PM: Kelvin MacKenzie said the most annoying thing about me was that however much he screamed at me, I’d bounce back within an hour. I’ve always been able to take a bigger view. Also, having a brother serving in the army gives me perspective. AC: Can you get me a GQ interview with Trump? PM: No way. AC: Is there anything else you want to say to a grateful nation? PM: Thank you for having me.
Did you ever worry about all the death threats?
PM: Not really. You’ve had loads of that and I’ve never
thought if I was killed it would be by someone who threatened me in public. I felt clearly and strongly that the problem is so out of kilter to the other rich countries of the world that they have to do something. AC: Is Good Morning Britain a comedown from CNN? PM: No. I have done papers, talent shows, The Apprentice, CNN, the Mail, GMB, the other ITV shows I am doing. You can say any one of those is heavyweight or lightweight. AC: Were you disappointed CNN didn’t work out? PM: That is a myth. AC: Ratings from 2.1m to 270,000? PM: I was always the No1 or No2 CNN show. The ratings are dependent on what is happening in the news. AC: So why did it come to an end? PM: My contract was three years with an extra year option, and halfway through I said I wanted to go home. I did 1,300 shows and it was getting boring and repetitive. AC: So you weren’t ﬁred? PM: No. I was offered an interview series but I wanted to come home. AC: You’re on Twitter a lot. PM: So are you; you’re just not as popular. I am a news junkie and for news there is no medium like it. I follow Kim Kardashian next to Lionel Barber. Both can be compelling. All a Twitter: Kim AC: Would you say Iraq, gun Kardashian and Morgan at an event control, Wenger Out and Kevin for The Apprentice Pietersen In are your most in New York, 10 sustained campaigns? November 2010
Photograph Getty Images
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Framed fabric by Timorous Beasties, £150 a metre. timorousbeasties.com 2 Light by Luceplan, £689. At All Square. allsquarelighting. co.uk 3 Lamp, £450. At Versmissen. versmissen.nl 4 Wallpaper by Tektura, £34 a metre. tektura.com 5 Television by Samsung, £1,299. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com 6 Wall ﬁnish by Polyrey, £114 for three metres. At International Decorative Surfaces. idsurfaces.co.uk 7 Plants, £50 each. At Abigail Ahern. abigailahern.com 8 Vases by Riihimaki, from £55 each. At Retro Living. retroliving.co.uk 9 Candle by DL & Co, £80. At Selfridges. selfridges.com 10 Bowls by An & Angel, £55 each. anangel.glass 11 Candles by Diptyque, £55 each. At Liberty. libertylondon.com 12 Hourglass by Pols Potten, £22. At Amara. amara.com 13 Clock by 22 Design Studio, £120. At National Theatre Bookshop. nationaltheatre. org.uk 14 Books by Assouline, from £55 each. assouline.com 15 Cactus, £220. At Abigail Ahern.
16 Sofas by Camerich, from £1,507 each. camerich.co.uk 17 Cushion fabric by Elitis, £76 a metre. At Abbott & Boyd. abbottandboyd.co.uk. By Westbury, £110 a metre. At Altﬁeld. altﬁeld.com 18 Turntable by Rega, £625. At Sonata. sonatahiﬁ.com 19 Soundbar by Sonos, £569. At John Lewis. 20 Throw by Zuzunaga, £167. zuzunaga.com 21 Armchair, £999. Footstool, £499. Both by West Elm. westelm.co.uk 22 Rug by Rama Carpets, £4,065. ramacarpets.com 23 Bowl by An & Angel, £200. 24 Ash tray, £275. At Retro Living. 25 Hurricane lamp by The White Company, £60. thewhitecompany.com. Candle by Lene Bjerre, £17. At Candles Direct. candlesdirect.com 26 Ashtray, £275. At Retro Living. 27 Tray by Architectmade, £115. At Skandium. skandium.com 28 Cofee table, £350. At Retro Living. 29 Decanter, £525. Glasses, £95 each. Both by Linley. davidlinley.com 30 Side table by Minotti, £2,118. minotti.com
GQ TIP! You need art. Make your own afordable piece by stretching striking fabric over a wooden frame.
GQ TIP! You’ve got to have colour in your home. Colour adds warmth and personality, and shows you are open-minded. But keep it classy. This rich caramel hue makes the room inviting and features throughout the whole home. Set it of with a contrasting tone, such as turquoise. 170 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
One of Britain’s leading masters of inner space brings life and soul to this London pied-à-terre. From making room for afordable art to colourful hits and playing with scale, Daniel Hopwood shares his vision for man’s place in the home. danielhopwood.com
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GQ TIP! Plants make you look like you care about where you live. If you’re concerned about putting its life in your trust then buy cacti. They will survive almost anything.
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AARON CALLOW PHOTOGRAPHS BY
MATTHEW BEEDLE MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 171
GQ TIP! Use a low light above a table to create tension. By pulling two objects closer together, you create a more cohesive scheme.
GQ TIP! Luxury can be achieved by generosity. For example, have lots of cushions. Don’t be mean. After all, they are inexpensive.
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GQ TIP! To make separate spaces seem larger, use a device that links them together. Here, a long rug connects the living and dining rooms.
1 Rug, as before. 2 Chairs by BoConcept, £339 each. boconcept.com 3 Bowl by An & Angel , £55. anangel.glass 4 Glass, as before. 5 Throw by Hanlin, £100. At Hide Rugs. hiderugs.co.uk 6 Vase by Habitat, £15. habitat.co.uk 7 Vases by Made, from £25 each. made.com 8 Table by Bonaldo, £3,875. At Chaplins. chaplins.co.uk 9 Art by Sanne Tang, from £4,000. At Katherine Maginnis. katherinemaginnis.com
10 Cushion fabric by Zimmer & Rohde , £57 a metre. zimmer-rohde.com. By Elitis, £76 a metre. At Abbott & Boyd. abbottandboyd.co.uk 11 Mug, £55 for four. At Retro Living. retroliving.co.uk 12 Moka pot by Grunwerg, £34. At Doppio Cofee. doppiocofee.co.uk 13 Soda syphon, £75. At Retro Living. 14 Tray by Architectmade, £145. At Skandium. skandium.com 15 Light by Gubi, £429. At Clippings. clippings.com
BACHELOR PAD 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8
Mirror, £1,450. At Versmissen. versmissen.nl Carafe by Jasper Conran, £36. At Debenhams. debenhams.com Skull by Versmissen, £650. At Mufti. mufti.co.uk Chest, from £954. At Retrouvius. retrouvius.com Floor lamp by John Lewis , £195. johnlewis.com Wallpaper by Tektura, £34 a metre. tektura.com Umbrella by London Undercover, £75. londonundercover.co.uk Coat by Mackintosh, £695. mackintosh.com
9 Jacket by Hardy Amies, £295. hardyamies.com
16 Boots by RM Williams, £350. rmwilliams.com
10 Coat hangers by Gubi, £129 each. At Skandium. skandium.com
17 Armchair, from £900. At The French House . thefrenchhouse.co.uk
11 Cushion fabric by Gastón Y Daniela, £136 a metre. At Abbott & Boyd. abbottandboyd.co.uk
18 Holdall by Dolce & Gabbana, £1,360. dolcegabbana.com
12 Helmet by Ruby, from £610. lesateliersruby.com
GQ TIP! Coats hanging in hallways can look a mess. Instead, make a display of your outerwear by mounting hangers that can be seen even when in use.
19 Throw by Hanlin, £64. At Hide Rugs. hiderugs.co.uk
13 Suitcase by Rimowa, £620. rimowa.com
20 Stool, £119. At Rockett St George. rockettstgeorge.co.uk
14 Holdall by Coach, £895. coach.com 15 Bench fabric by Westbury, £110 per linear metre. At Altﬁeld. altﬁeld.com
21 Rug by Christopher Wynter, £349. At West Elm. westelm.co.uk 22 Shoes by Billionaire, £2,765. billionairecouture.com
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GQ TIP! Experiment with mixing old and new pieces. It creates a home with personality and means you can source furniture from several places. Never buy everything from one shop.
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 173
BACHELOR PAD 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9
10 Throw by Fritz Hansen , £175. At Skandium. 11 Bed cover fabric by Wemyss, £25 a metre. wemyssfabrics.com. By Dedar, £187 a metre. dedar.com 12 Mirror by The White Company, £375. thewhitecompany.com 13 Bed by Lago, £3,073. At Living Space. livingspaceuk.com 14 Holdall by Dolce & Gabbana , £1,100. dolcegabbana.com 15 Cologne by Penhaligon’s , £148. penhaligons.com 16 Blazer, £1,915. Shirt, £725. Trousers, £635. All by Billionaire. billionairecouture.com
Lights by Bert Frank , £475 each. bertfrank.co.uk Washbag by Smythson , £325. smythson.com Prints by Stuart Redler, from £570. stuartredler.com Headboard by The Sofa & Chair Company, £1,966. thesofaandchair.co.uk. Covered by Alma , £99 a sq m. almahome.co.uk Cushion fabric by Gastón Y Daniela , £136 a metre. At Abbott & Boyd. abbottandboyd.co.uk Bedsheets by House Of Fraser, £99. houseofraser.co.uk Clock, as before. Art by Luke M Walker, £3,200. lukemwalker.com Throw by Zuzunaga, £210. At Skandium. skandium.com
Make a narrow bedroom feel wider with a headboard that stretches behind the bedside tables.
17 Ottoman by The White Company, £800. Covered in fabric by Westbury, £110 a metre. At Altﬁeld. altﬁeld.com. 18 Rug by Kottlers Of Cape Town , £1,240. zebraskins.net 19 Floor lamp by Bert Frank , £1,005.
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Stylist Nikita Suyetin
Luxury Italian-made dress shoes from Ted Baker give your look a touch of La Dolce Vita Mottaa iridescent, £250. By Ted Baker . tedbaker.com
SHOES say a lot about a man, especially the pair he wears with a suit. Fortunately for those of us who appreciate the ﬁner things in life, Ted Baker’s new line of luxury footwear is just the thing to complete your look. They are seriously well-made, and in a world of instant gratiﬁcation it’s nice to be reminded that the best things in life take time. The shoes are designed in London before being slowly and painstakingly handcrafted by Ted Baker’s Man in Milan, a collection of highly skilled artisans with years of experience working with the ﬁnest Italian leather. The result is a collection of shoes that are sharply good looking and unquestionably elegant – exactly what you want them to be saying about you. tedbaker.com
1 Persim, £275. 2 Mottaa dark red, £250. 3 Mottaa iridescent, £250. 4 Jyanis, £250. All by Ted Baker . tedbaker.com
The hound and the fury: Trumpâ€™s victory in the US election shattered liberal conviction and sparked mass outrage
History itself seemed to go askew... this was dropping down the rabbit hole 176 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
THE ‘TRUTH’ AND WHY LIBERALS DON’T GET IT Donald Trump’s road to the White House was paved by a liberal elite whose arrogance blinded them to the outlier’s power and potential. Now, faced with the unthinkable, the losing side are paralysed and panicked to find their ‘destiny’ turned on its head. GQ asks, what can the US establishment do in a new world they don’t understand? STORY BY
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produce someone like Trump – but real liberal democracies never had. Until now. That is, democracy had offered up the anti-democratic. Or anyway the extremely, revoltingly vulgar – the crude, lewd, coarse, ostentatious, threatening, boorish and ignorant. Which was close enough to being anti-democratic. Indeed, a large part of the media coverage in the months since the election has been about the underhanded ways in which Trump might have pulled this off. Fake news, a sudden sobriquet meant to indicate a rampant and pernicious social media phenomenon in which outrageous claims beyond credulity – Hillary Clinton running a paedophile ring – the kind of stuff that heretofore no sane person would take any notice of, had undermined the election. Or it was the Russians wot won it. Evidence all of a sudden emerged after the election that it was hackers, routing through locations in eastern Europe, seemingly connected to high reaches in the Russian government, who stole and released – through their partnership with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – a trove of insipid, back-biting, less-than-leader-like, internal, Democratic party emails. (Apparently, the Russian connection was established in
Hold the front page (from top): David Remnick at the New Yorker TechFest, 2 October; covers from 22 August; 14 November; 31 October; 23 May 2016
October and, while this was now being characterised as a 9/11-level invasion, nobody in the Obama administration decided to say anything at the time.) And then there is James Comey, the director of the FBI, who announced in the waning days of the campaign a new trove of rogue-server Clinton emails, making him, rather than Hillary, or her odd email cohorts – socialmedia ﬂasher Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin – the bugbear of emailgate and thus responsible for the lost election. All of this now forms an obsessive, conspiratorial and defensive armour to the Trump electoral college victory, further haunting the liberal faithful because Clinton won almost three million more votes than Trump (that is, she handily won more votes despite fake news, Russian hacking and FBI interference, just not the right votes). Pay no attention at all to the irony that, prior to the election, when Trump suggested he might be less than sanguine about the result if he lost, this provided a moment of high liberal dudgeon at what would be a Trump effort to undermine democratic legitimacy.
ne of the key words, evoked by Remnick and almost every other piece of mainstream media, all of it shaken to its core, is “presidential”. Trump, in this view, is not. He doesn’t resemble any modern American president, or, for that matter, any Western, community-of-man, world leader. This is, on one hand, obviously stylistic. It begins with the hair. It then goes to the speech – garrulous, excessive, unrehearsed, ever the opposite of carefully worded. Then on to the lifestyle, the crass and inveterate playboy – pussy grabbing, indeed. At the heart of liberal comfort and orthodoxy and civic faith there is a belief in the mandarin class, in expertise, in wonkishness. There is an immense educational, philanthropic and bureaucratic establishment devoted to these sort of liberal values. This is the route through which liberals come into government. (There is a conservative, wonkish establishment that has institutions that mirror the liberal ones.) All of that, or at least respect for all of that, is presidential. Now, to have a president who has never been part of that tradition (or conceit), never had a job in government, who seems to have no interest in the culture of it, who is, in fact, dismissive if not contemptuous of it, is unheard of... and dangerous. He just casually breaks diplomatic protocol and speaks to Taiwan. Taiwan. And the tweeting. Since the dawn of mass media, almost every president has looked for ways to circumvent it, to take his message direct to voters. This has been accomplished most effectively and most peculiarly by Donald Trump. His often daily tweets are not just
Photographs Getty Images; Reuters
talwart liberals, angry lefties, earnest establishment types, intense millennials – everybody who is anybody is having a nervous breakdown. Panic, angst, grief, depression, existential pain: Donald Trump is president. And yet this public psychological trauma is hardly the result of new policies, or the radical political measures of the new Trump administration. After all, its tenure has hardly begun. Its kookiness and unpredictability are as likely to lead to gridlock and ineffectuality as they are to dramatic change. No, we have jumped ahead of reality to a world in which we anticipate our own suffering and, perhaps, martyrdom. David Remnick, the long-time editor of the New Yorker, a man of self-conscious reason, restraint and humour, has become a curious example of the nervous breakdown. The New Yorker, in its near 100-year history, has characteristically eschewed “opinion pieces” – editorials, or sermonising, or even most polemical arguments – in favour of reported pieces, empirical undertakings of research and ﬁrsthand witness. Remnick, who, in addition to editing this kind of journalism, has himself written many such accounts across a wide variety of subjects, rather lost it on election night. Without the beneﬁt of any reporting – he appears to have never spoken to anyone in the new Trump administration – Remnick wrote a piece before the next morning called “An American Tragedy”. The Trump election was “a sickening event in the history of liberal democracy,” and, he implied, an end of it. In an interview with Remnick for the BBC with Ian Katz, even Katz, the former Guardian deputy editor and now the editor of Newsnight, as card-carrying a liberal, left, establishment type as one could ever hope to meet, seemed puzzled, if not concerned, about Remnick’s emotionalism. Katz gently prodded Remnick about the media failure to remotely handicap the election outcome, and about it missing that “something signiﬁcant was happening out there in the country”. He prodded about how the media, and Remnick himself, lived as far from the Trump world as it is possible to live, and a host of other disconnects – including Remnick’s prediction of a tumbling stock market in a Trump victory, instead of, in fact, a dramatically rising one. But Remnick was having none of it. The worst had happened. The circumstances be damned. It was an event, rather for the ﬁrst time in the New Yorker’s history, which includes most calamities of the 20th century, that went beyond reporting. The nature of democracy is upset. Why, otherwise, have elections if they just conﬁrmed that relative status quo? At the same time the threat or frisson of democracy is that it could
The New Yorker called the Trump election, ‘a sickening event in the history of democracy’
Bleeding hearts (clockwise from top): Protesters march outside Trump Tower in reaction to Trump’s victory, 12 November 2016; James Comey testiﬁes at an oversight hearing of the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers, 28 September 2016; Trump protests in Minneapolis, 10 November 2016; Democratic presidential candidate Clinton concedes defeat, as her husband Bill (left) and running-mate Tim Kaine look on, 9 November 2016
messages to voters but a little slap in the face to someone, and, almost always, to the media itself. The media, reliably and reﬂexively taking offence, then turns each Trump tweet into a cause célèbre of the unpresidential. This has two effects: it rather makes these tweets seem like decrees, and it reduces the media to a passive player in Trump’s bid for attention. “Presidential” in this context is to partner with the media and to understand its prerogatives. Trump breaks the paradigm here by competing with the media – he commands his own attention. He is, really, competing media. All of this – the turning of political ritual and propriety on its head – is doubly confusing because it is so strikingly obvious that this is what people voted for. Trump is not bait and switch. Trump is not a usurper. What you see in Trump is what you get. In a profession based on digniﬁed or deceitful (or both) opacity, he may be the most transparent politician ever elected to high ofﬁce. Hence, the only response perhaps possible: total disbelief that he was actually elected. And an inarticulate disbelief too. “We’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” declared ﬁrst lady Michelle Obama, seen by swooning liberals in the waning days of the campaign as a model of virtue – though one without any apparent impact on non-liberals. “It’s like seeing an ominous weight swinging toward a limb, sure to break it, while you feel utterly helpless to prevent the fracture,” wrote the New York Times columnist, Charles M Blow, most always in a fury about anything outside of conventional liberal sentiment. It is an end-time view. Trump is a fascist, racist, misogynist, anti-Semite, and American institutions and checks and balances will fall before him. Obviously.
n sum, nobody was prepared for this. There was, at least from the liberal point of view, no analysis of political trends or cultural currents that even offered any portents of this. In hindsight, perhaps, this was myopic – Brexit and all. Obviously, a vast well of electoral opinion wasn’t registering. But in the equally as vast liberal 180 GQ.CO.UK
provinces, the greatest economic and population centres, the course was good. Really good. Civilisation was on a course of effective self-correction. Really. No reason to doubt it. In January 2016, with the primary season in full swing, Peter Beinert, the liberal commentator and former editor of the New Republic, wrote a major story in the Atlantic, another unwavering institution of liberal opinion and hope, outlining all the obvious signs and reasons for a fair-minded conclusion that the US was moving inevitably left. There was the outrage of the shootings of African-Americans by police. There was the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. There was Occupy Wall Street and a powerful consensus against the one per cent. There was the media in the midst of a liberal renaissance. Paul Krugman, after all, that clanging and reassuring one-note liberal, and a Nobelwinning economist to boot, was the nation’s leading columnist. Women. LGBT rights. Caitlyn Jenner. Ta-Nehisi Coates. Health care. And a demographic shift so profound that, ipso facto, the liberal future was assured. “Millennials – Americans roughly 18 to 34 years old – are 21 percentage points less likely than those 65 and older to say that immigrants ‘burden’ the United States and 25 points more likely to say they ‘strengthen’ the country. Millennials are also 17 points more likely to have a favourable view of Muslims,” reported Beinert. “It is largely because of them that the percentage of Americans who want government to ‘promote traditional values’ is now lower than at any other time since [market researcher] Gallup began asking the question in 1993, and that the percentage calling themselves ‘socially liberal’ now equals the percentage calling themselves ’socially conservative’ for the ﬁrst time since Gallup began asking that question in 1999.” We were returning to a new Sixties. But instead of there being a backlash against the left, there was a backlash against the not-leftenough policies of the Obama years. “The next Democratic president will be more liberal than Barack Obama. The next Republican president will be more liberal than George W Bush,” analysed Beinert. Curiously, it wasn’t just that this was rolling-on-the-ﬂoor-laughing wrong – although reading this now is, rather, all you need to understand the high degree of liberal cultural blindness. But, in fact, it was right too. Something like half of the country had come to share righteous liberal assumptions – albeit ever-more untested against the other half. Hillary Clinton’s Democratic convention was a particular display of all those virtues. Indeed, it was this sense of abiding conﬁdence, of a done deal, of self-satisfaction that quite likely helped
Left in the lurch: Anti-Trump demonstrators protest outside New York’s Trump Tower following the election results, 9 November 2016
turn the tide in pivotal districts beset with more immediate problems. Liberal shock and revulsion over Trump’s pussy-grabbingbrags, which liberals could not imagine presaging anything but electoral calamity, turned out not to be a great concern for people who seemed more worried about their jobs. The more conﬁdence the liberals displayed the more determined their opposites seemed to become. In this, it is not just that liberal values came up short – in fact, with a near three million vote advantage, they did pretty well. It is that for liberals now posting teary selﬁes, histor ical inevitability itself seemed to go askew. The absolute opposite of what seemed destined to happen, happened. And this was not just the delay that a conventional Republican might have portended – this was dropping down the rabbit hole. The same force with which liberals had assumed they would be undermining conservative values, was now potentially being directed at liberal values. How could that be? Even if, as might be presumed, American institutions and the ballast of its massive and stubborn bureaucracy and its careful checks and balances, hold their own, still a gross, ill-read, unpredictable, jingoistic know-it-all, was president. The liberal certainty, the absolutely certain future, was derailed – with liberals apparently unable to appreciate that there is no certain future. To say the least, they had poorly hedged their bets. And now they were bereft and broke.
MORE FROM GQ
For these related stories, visit GQ.co.uk/magazine
How Donald Trumped The Media (Michael Wolff, February 2017) Pussy Hound* (Michael Wolff, January 2017) Michael Wolff vs Millennials (December 2016)
Trump is the most transparent president ever elected – hence the total disbelief
FROM GQ! INTERACTIVE EDITIONS Available to download from the App Store and Google Play
Your voice-controlled home Control of your comfort zone is no longer only at your ﬁngertips. With lights, heat and power at your every beck and call, Amazon’s Echo is the omnipresent master of your domain
Amazon Echo The Pringles-tube-shaped speaker with Siri-like voice-recognition technology has been available in America for over a year now. Finally, we in the UK are also able to join the AI party. And we have to say, it’s an impressive piece of kit – and the ﬁrst time we’ve actually felt voice-recognition tech actually improved our life, rather than got in the way. (Be honest: after playing around with Siri on your iPhone asking it questions like “Do you know HAL?”, how often did you actually use it?)
The ﬁrst thing you realise on setting up Amazon’s Echo and its voice-recognition technology (called Alexa) is that it’s much more intuitive to use in your home than Siri on your phone. Along with asking simple questions (“Alexa, will it rain today?” or “Alexa, what was the Tottenham score?”), particularly impressive is the ability, while you’re rushing around in the morning making cofee, to just shout, “Alexa, play BBC Radio 4” and within seconds you’re listening to John Humphrys. Link it with your Spotify account and the same applies for any piece of music. Ask for an album, song, artist (“Alexa, play Leonard Cohen”) or even just genre – it’s wonderfully versatile. Best are the various “Skills” you can enable – think of them as apps. There are currently only a few good ones, which is bound to change, but even now you can ask it to read the Guardian headlines or order you an Uber, all by voice alone.
ECHO TEST #1
Hive heating If you have Hive – the Wi-Fi heating add-on that controls your boiler remotely via an app – the Echo really gets interesting. Your heating becomes a truly hands-free experience. If you want your heating up, simply ask Alexa to do it. The part GQ fumbled with was remembering to ask Alexa for that particular skill to do the job – so “Alexa, turn the heating to 22C” will confuse it; you must instead say, “Alexa, tell Hive to turn the heating to 22C.” But after that it’s plain sailing.
CHARLIE BURTON & STUART McGURK PHOTOGRAPH BY
ECHO TEST #2
Hive lighting The Hive system already has “smart” light bulbs, but what was the point? It meant you were that guy using an app to turn your lights on when a switch was right there. But connected to Echo, you can turn individual lights on and of (“Alexa, turn the table lamp of”) and group them too. We grouped our landing light and lounge lamps as “Lights”, so “Alexa, lights on” lit our ﬂat. One downside: they’re not cheap, costing £19 for the basic Hive bulb.
ECHO TEST #3
Hive smart plugs These adaptors – into which you plug your regular plugs – will either be incredibly useful or pointless. You could put your telly on one, call it “TV” and shout, “Alexa, TV on” to give it power – but it only goes to standby. Better to use them with lamps – we found the smart bulbs a tad bright and while they can be dimmed, they often forgot their dimming setting when they were next turned on. We grouped plugs and bulbs in our overall “Lights” command. £150. amazon.co.uk
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The winner of
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Weight of French prop Uini Atonio, the heaviest player at this year’s Six Nations. GQ tackles the stats. Page 192
‘Lifelong certainties can be demolished in a single second’ Paul Auster. Page 190
Wolfgang Tillmans’ reality check Art has always spoken truth to power – and we need it now more than ever STORY BY Adam
Bi ll Pr in ce Y B ED IT
Up before the beak: Tukan (2010) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Photograph Wolfgang Tillmans
Art, Music, Sport, Politics, Films, Literature + the best opinion for the month ahead
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Fronting up to the ‘backfire’ effect
With politicians cloaked in Trump-era truths and journalists drowned out by fake-news clickbait, Wolfgang Tillmans delivers a dose of authenticity STORY BY Adam
N 2005, Wolfgang Tillmans created a work of art that now looks strangely prophetic. “Truth Study Center” comprised collections of printed material presented under glass on simple wooden tables, each on a different theme. “Evolution versus creationism, for example, or HIV denial,” says Tillmans. “They were like a collage – a clash of different claims to truth.” Today, of course, in a fake-news, post-truth era, anxieties about falsehood feel especially current. “[The work] is about the ‘backﬁre effect’, which is the single most troubling thing in the world – holding an untruth and proof to the contrary making you believe more in the untruth.” A version of this work will appear at his new Tate Modern show, alongside approximately 300 other pieces – from still lifes to music, video to slide projections – created from 2003 onwards. “For me, 2003 describes the beginning of this constant state of war and misunderstanding with different parts of the world: the Islamic fundamentalist situation and the Western misunderstanding of the Arab situation, and the fear and NSA surveillance that comes with it.” Although it draws on the past, the show is called, simply, 2017. Tillmans has recently veered more abstract. Yet he is, at heart, a ﬁne art photographer. He was born in Remscheid, West Germany, in 1968 and as a teenager was exposed to Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Andy Warhol. He came to England and studied at Bournemouth And Poole College Of Art And Design in the
early Nineties, absorbing and appreciating music, fashion and British youth culture. Making the Tate Modern show so explicitly about the here and now is not a departure. He opened his exhibition space in Bethnal Green ten years ago with a show of David Wojnarowicz’s work. Wojnarowicz was one of the ﬁrst New York artists to do Aids-related pieces and he eventually died from the illness, leaving Tillmans with the desire to talk more explicitly about big issues. “I felt what was missing was artists willing to put their money where their mouth is.” A pro-EU campaigner, he made headlines with a series of posters highlighting the risks of Brexit. It was here he really felt the backﬁre effect. “When you’re on that slope, nothing can hold you back. So if you believe the Jews are the downfall of your country and you’re told, ‘No, they are not’ and that makes you hate the Jews more, then you’re in Nazi Germany. When you take that mental state and transfer that to the believers that think foreigners are
‘It was to do with a sense that somebody should record this... The freedoms we enjoy are not permanent’
Shell shock (above): Astro Crusto (2012) by Wolfgang Tillmans (left)
vicious, evil people wanting to steal, then Europe is there too.” That’s not to say his early work lacked a moral dimension. “It was always to do with a sense that somebody should record this for posterity, because I’ve been always aware that the freedoms we enjoy today are not permanent.” There is a photograph in the exhibition called “The Spectrum (Dagger)”, taken in 2014 at a lesbian night in a Brooklyn club. The venue has since closed, along with many others. To Tillmans, this is a telling situation. “Nightlife is being pushed back. People want everybody to function 24/7 in the capitalist world. We don’t need people hungover on Mondays and we don’t want spaces in inner cities to be used for free activities. Everything has to be commercialised.” So far, so pessimistic – or not. The title 2017 is, he argues, a hopeful one. “One and seven make eight – eight is inﬁnity and it’s a lucky number. I hope it’s a good omen,” he says. “I mean, for f***’s sake, let’s hope it’s gonna be.” 2017 is at Tate Modern from 15 February – 11 June. tate.org.uk. Wolfgang Tillmans exhibits with Maureen Paley and David Zwirner galleries.
DON’T MISS Who: Tim Noble and Sue Webster at Blain Southern, London What: Sticks With Dicks And Slits Why: The once-married duo known for their refuse sculptures are as confrontational and “kitchen-sink” as ever with these giant stick-ﬁgure self-portrait scuptures. They engage with the basic bodily functions that are a recurring motif for Noble and Webster but the ﬂuidity and apparent spontaneity of these
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works marks a new sophistication in their punk practice. 3 February 25 March 2017. blainsouthern.com Who: John Baldessari at Marian Goodman Gallery, London What: Miró And Life In General Why: New works by the towering ﬁgure of 20th-century American conceptual art, known for his hybrid compositions of photography, text and painting. This series is about the
way we read the written word. Each work takes a diferent segment from a single Miró painting and pairs it with a seemingly incongruous, classic Hollywood ﬁlm still. A Baldessari pop-up shop will open in the gallery on 18 February. Until 25 February. mariangoodman.com What: America After The Fall: Painting In The 1930s Where: Royal Academy, London
Why: Paintings from the politically hazardous period following the 1929 Wall Street Crash. See how US artists including Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock and Alice Neel reﬂected the Great Depression, rapid urbanisation and the decimation of rural America. This is the ﬁrst showing of Grant Wood’s iconic painting “American Gothic” outside North America. Sophie Hastings 25 February 4 June. royalacademy.org.uk
Bird ma n
14) 20 e( v Sla
The amount that host Jimmy Kimmel – said to earn in the region of $10 million a year for hosting his chat show – has said he will be paid to host the 2017 Oscar ceremony, about the same as every host before, from Chris Rock to Billy Crystal to Ellen DeGeneres.
What price fame?
12 ) 20 t( tis Ar La L
20 17 ) Photographs Allstar; Anders Clausen; Eyevine; Getty Images; LMK; Wolfgang Tillmans
UESTION: can you name last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner? No? It was Spotlight, a quite good but hardly brilliant ﬁlm about a sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church and the newspaper that uncovered it. It followed a trend in recent years that’s seen the Oscars go from cultural touchstone to past-it sideshow. There are now only two types of ﬁlms that win awards: worthy issue ﬁlms and ﬁlms about Hollywood itself. In the past ﬁve years, three (Birdman, The Artist, Argo) have been the latter, the other two the former (Spotlight and 12 Years A
STORY BY Stuart
How did the Oscars become the year’s least relevant awards ceremony?
It’s all Academic now...
Slave). If, as expected, La La Land wins this year – a sepia-tinted throwback to Hollywood’s golden age of musicals starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling – we will have reached peak Oscar, a conﬁrmation that it’s now the least important awards show. One reason is simple. The Academy voters are 91 per cent white, 76 per cent men, and have an average age of 63. It’s like having our culture ranked by everyone who voted for Brexit. Proper good movie was it, Nigel? But to compound this, while the Academy isn’t changing, the ﬁlms Hollywood produces are. Even a decade ago, you could expect to ﬁnd Oscar-quality movies scattered throughout the year; the summer was speciﬁcally for blockbusters. Now, the year – from the conga-line of Marvel superheroes to those never-ending Star Wars – is all blockbuster, with the few remaining Oscar-worthy ﬁlms huddled at the start. The Oscars are essentially now a prize ceremony to determine the best ﬁlms out in January. At least the Golden Globes categorise awards to recognise different genres, while formerly derided awards – like the MTV Movie Awards, they of the famed “Best Kiss” gong – now have their ﬁngers on the movie-going pulse, awarding everything from Best Female Performance (last year, Charlize Theron for Mad Max – correct answer) to Movie Of The Year, which was last won by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Well, it sort of was, wasn’t it?
Out on 17 February Whitewashing, what whitewashing? Boston’s own Matt Damon as a warrior making his last stand against a mythic hoard of Chinese monsters, as told in Chinese legend, atop the Great Wall Of China. Oh, yeah. That whitewashing. No previews as GQ went to press, but the release date doesn’t bode too well: traditionally, February is where big blockbusters are put out to pasture.
Patriots Day Out on 24 February
Think Sully for the Boston Marathon, but don’t expect subtlety. It is, after all, a ﬁlm called Patriots Day, directed by Peter Berg (he of such delicate, sensitive ﬁlms as Battleship, Lone Survivor and last year’s survival-porn Deepwater Horizon), about the 2013 bombing, starring Mark Wahlberg as a police ofcer on the manhunt to ﬁnd the culprits. Spoiler: they succeed.
HO L LY W O
The Great Wall
Out on 3 March We’ll be honest. We’re unreasonably excited about this. No previews, but c’mon: the moody trailer showing Hugh Jackman’s grizzled outsider mutant, Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” playing in the background, a mysterious girl who, says a worse-for-wear Professor X (Patrick Stewart), is “just like you”. This is a pasthis-prime Wolverine taking on one last job in a post-apocalyptic future. We’re in.
Out on 17 February Denzel Washington directs for the ﬁrst time in a decade to adapt August Wilson’s adaptation of his own play, about the struggles of an African-American father with race relations in the United States as he tries to raise a son. Fair to say that this hews closer to the play, but hard-hitting none-the-less. It was nominated for two Golden Globes for the performances of Washington and Viola Davis (who won).
Out on 24 February The original brilliantbut-troubled-sportinggenius, George Best, set the bar for footballing brilliance and putting it away while drinking. Best, however, is uniquely diferent to documentaries of this genre (Amy, Senna etc) by having enough material to have Best virtually narrate his own life from beyond the grave. It makes a familiar story all the more poignant. SM MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 187
From top of the pops to rock bottom
Streaming has turned the once-mighty singles chart into a slow-moving irrelevancy. But at least it’s accurate... STORY BY Dorian
ILLUSTRATION BY Josh
HECKING IN on the Top 40 these days isn’t half as much fun as it used to be. The same names reappear week after week, big hits hang around for months and most songs converge on a wistful blur of R&B and tropical house. The quintessential 2016 hit was Drake’s aptly named “One Dance”, which topped the charts for 15 weeks between April and July, almost equalling the infamous 1991 reign of Bryan Adams. I grew up thinking of the Top 40 as a boisterously diverse house party. Now it feels like
The iTunes Music Store launches in the UK.
Bryan Adams spends 16 weeks at No1.
Charting the decline of the Top 40 1986 – 2016
Spotify launches in the UK.
Drake’s “One Dance” spends 15 weeks at No1, narrowly missing Bryan Adams’ 1991 record.
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Adele is No1 for ﬁve weeks. In 2015 she scores the highest weekly sale for “Hello”, which sells 332,599 copies.
Photographs Ola Bergman/Idols; Getty Images; Gary Miller; Paul Slattery/Retna Pictures Thanks to James Masterton/chart-watch.uk
a single room with one soundtrack. How did the Top 40 get so boring? And does it matter less as a result? Two trends were obvious when I compared the Top 40 during the ﬁrst week of November 2016 with equivalent weeks in 1986, 1996 and 2006. Firstly, it’s much more sluggish. I rang James Masterton from the Chart Watch UK website and he told me that in 1997, the Top 40’s most eventful year, there were 729 different entries. 2006 had 395. By the ﬁrst week of December, 2016 had produced just 85. The second glaring difference is sonic homogeneity. In the earlier charts only Kate Bush (1986) and the Spice Girls (1996) appeared more than once. Last November, there were eleven duplications, including Rihanna, Calvin Harris and The Chainsmokers. And while you probably wouldn’t confuse The Smiths with Mel and Kim (1986) or My Chemical Romance with All Saints (2006), the majority of recent hits are singing from the same hymn sheet. Even Maroon 5 sound like tropical house now. What happened is no mystery. In July 2014, after 62 years as a salesbased chart, the Ofﬁcial Singles Chart began counting streaming data. This one change has revolutionised the UK chart far more dramatically than America’s Billboard Hot 100, which previously combined sales and radio airplay. “Radio slows down the chart so you have a happy medium between the passive listener and the overactive listener,” says Chris Molanphy, a New York-based historian of the Hot 100. “Your chart is now a hybrid chart for the ﬁrst time ever and that’s got to be total whiplash.” 2007 Streaming now constitutes 80 Rihanna per cent of the singles market and spends ten weeks at Masterton predicts a “post-purchase number one era” when it’s the only game in town. with “Umbrella”. This is a seismic shift. Streaming privileges the casual listener over the committed fan, because buying a song is active whereas streaming is passive. Thus, it supercharges big hits, extending their chart lifespans and bed-blocking new entries. I emailed Martin Talbot, managing director of the Ofﬁcial Charts Company, to ask if he saw this coming. “We knew it would slow a little,” he says with considerable understatement. “As music fans stream their favourite songs rather than buy them, we are measuring their ongoing love for music rather than the impulsive moment of purchase. So fewer singles explode into the market.” Boring, yes, but the Top 40 is more accurate now. A Nineties chart in which singles entered high then swiftly disappeared might have been interesting but it gave a distorted picture of what people were enjoying. The current chart might be narrow and sluggish but, says Masterton, so are the public’s listening habits. “For the ﬁrst time, the charts reﬂect how the vast majority of the general public interact with music: they listen to things they like over and over again.” One side effect is to make chart music more conservative. For a stream to qualify as a sale, it has to play for at least 30 seconds. Most listeners will abandon anything too jarringly different before then, so there’s an incentive for artists to draw on a small pool of bankable writers, producers and styles. “I call it the shit-click factor,” says Masterton. “If a record is too challenging, then people will say, ‘What’s this? It’s shit,’ and click onto the next one. There used to be room on the
After 62 years as a sales-based chart, the Ofcial Singles Chart began incorporating streaming data.
charts for something dynamic and exciting such as the Arctic Monkeys. I can’t see the circumstances right now where that could happen.” Most artistically ambitious artists have therefore given up on hit singles, including Beyoncé and Kanye West. If they can leave the fray, then the charts are no longer synonymous with pop music. Studying a Top 40 from 1996 will tell you what was popular, from Oasis to The Prodigy to the Spice Girls, but a 2016 chart represents only the tastes of more passive listeners. “It’s not that records are that much less diverse,” says Molanphy. “What streaming does is make a sound much more dominant.” A stagnant Top 40 doesn’t bother the music industry, which makes more money from a handful of mega-hits than dozens of smaller ones. And the passive listener prefers a few ubiquitous songs they will remember fondly to the mad hubbub of the Nineties. It’s more problematic for Radio 1, whose Ofﬁcial Chart Show has become increasingly repetitive. The station remains honourably committed to new and diverse music but, says Talbot, “It’s much harder for radio to predict and inﬂuence hits.”
‘The majority of recent hits are singing from the same hymn sheet. Even Maroon 5 sound like tropical house now’ Streaming may even threaten the Top 40 itself. Retailers embraced it in 1952 because it pooled valuable data and turned that data into a weekly drama that ﬁred up customers. Now services like Spotify can supply the industry with granular data, while less drama reduces the chart’s usefulness as a marketing tool. “You have to ask what value do the charts have considering the traditional reasons for their existence are melting away?” asks Masterton. But let’s not ring the clanging chimes of doom quite yet. The Top 40 has always had peaks and troughs, driven by new formats, outlets and trends. This isn’t the ﬁrst time it’s been slowmoving (the Seventies), sonically homogenous (disco’s imperial phase) or top-heavy (Bryan Adams). The great meritocratic utopia I thought I remembered came in ﬁts and starts. So just because the Top 40 is astonishingly dull right now doesn’t mean it will remain so forever. Something will change. I don’t know how, but it always does.
Thousands of copies “Wonderwall” sold in its ﬁrst week on sale in 1995. It ﬁnally passed the million mark in 2009.
The Uncle Sold Ed Dowie (Lost Map). Out now Dowie's bewitching solo debut, inspired by Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, is profound and dream-like experimental pop with shades of Robert Wyatt’s avant-garde pastoral.
Little Fictions Elbow (Polydor). Out now On their warmly self-assured seventh album, Britain’s most companionable arena band keep progressing, playing with electronic grooves and exquisite string arrangements.
Process Sampha (Young Turks). Out now After years of working with Drake and FKA Twigs, Londoner Sampha Sisay comes out of the shadows with a debut of aching R&B that explores the gaps between Frank Ocean and Bon Iver.
Let Joe Thomas take you to Brazil with his debut, Paradise City (Arcadia, £14.99). This is the glittering and grimy world of Parasaipolis, the second largest favela in the largest city in South America, Sao Paolo. Great crime ﬁction hinges on a sense of place, and after returning to London after ten years living in the world in which he’s set his sophisticated debut, Thomas proves an adroit guide to a city that has developed at dizzying speed.
With three decades of material to his name, Paul Auster is a master at pushing the boundaries of literature. Here, GQ selects the highlights...
The New York Trilogy (1985-6)
Auster ﬁrst shook up the crime-ﬁction status quo with his collection: City Of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986) and The Locked Room (1986).
Moon Palace (1989)
Themes of identity and loss are a familiar thread in this story of orphan Marco Stanley Fogg and his self-imposed isolation after a bereavement in New York.
Novelist Peter Aaron investigates the unexplained fall from grace and subsequent violent end of his estranged best friend, Benjamin Sachs.
The Book Of Illusions (2002)
After the death of his wife and children, university professor David Zimmer becomes obsessed with the work of Twenties silent-ﬁlm actor, Hector Mann.
Aspiring poet Adam Walker comes of age in this four-part Sixties-set drama laced with sex, violence and Auster’s obligatory pursuit of a mystery ﬁgure. Alﬁe Baldwin
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Repeat after me
Paul Auster mines his life story for this latest tale of time (and time again) STORY BY
T’S 32 years since the publication of the ﬁrst instalment of Paul Auster’s classic The New York Trilogy, in which he introduced readers to his tricksy, postmodern storytelling with enough panache to feature a cameo for himself and his wife, the writer Siri Hustvedt. Auster has said he’s always been “drawn to books that doubled back on themselves, that brought you into the world of the book, even as the book was taking you into the world”. But his willingness to show us the workings of a novel reaches its most extreme expression with his novel 4 3 2 1, in which he recounts four versions of the same life, pausing to “double back” and consider subtly alternative story lines for each. It tells the life story of all-American Jewish boy Archie Ferguson, born on 3 March 1947 (just a month later than Auster himself) and is written in the spirit of Auster’s analysis of what it means to get old (borrowed from his friend George Oppen and quoted in his 1982 memoir The Invention Of Solitude): “What a strange thing to happen to a little boy.” Still, you may come to wonder how a sportsobsessed, suburban childhood fuelled by
hamburgers and chocolate malts in babybooming Montclair, New Jersey – where Auster himself grew up with a talent for baseball – can fruitfully be retold over and over again. In contrast to the spare narratives of his best-known novels, 4 3 2 1 weighs in at almost 900 pages. However, its length delivers the kind of absorbing, emotionally transformative book that the luckiest versions of Ferguson – and, you imagine, Auster, who gave up baseball for Paris and poetry – experiences reading, which include Voltaire’s Candide and The Making Of The President, 1960 by Theodore H White. Yet it’s upstaged by an even greater achievement – an affecting kind of nakedness, drawing on formative incidents from Auster’s own life, matched only by an elaborate consideration of his lifelong fascination with chance. While conventional wisdom is that writers must avoid coincidences, Auster has always put them centre stage: “Our lifelong certainties about the world,” he has said, “can be demolished in a single second. People who don’t like my work say that the connections seem too arbitrary. But that’s how life is.” In ﬁction at least, the possibility of “doubling back” is always there – in 4 3 2 1, a series of minute yet cumulatively significant decisions have such huge impact that Auster is able to construct four separate life stories for Ferguson, making an engrossing argument for the idea that “character is destiny”. Can that be the case when our lives are posited with such fragility on moments of luck or misfortune? We all wish we could remember the past more clearly – as Auster puts it as Ferguson prepares to leave his high school friends behind, “He felt they were already beginning to vanish before his eyes, slowly dissolving like a Polaroid image moving in reverse, undeveloping itself... The bright colours faded into white rectangles of nothingness.” Looking back on a lifetime, Auster’s eye works in the opposite way, bringing to vivid life both public and private moments with startling immediacy. As the novelist who can tell us stories about how stories are told, Auster’s still a master, but 4 3 2 1 is full of heart. What an almighty home run. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber, £18.99) is out now.
Number of years since writer Paul Auster introduced readers to The New York Trilogy
Now we must leave Brexit’s promise land
Liam Fox ‘Mr Tough Guy’
The campaign pledges were long and winding – and so are the routes past Article 50 Matthew d’Ancona
N HIS most recent Netflix special, the comedian Jim Jefferies mocks Donald Trump’s campaigning style thus, “He’s like a kid running for class president, who’s just walking around and going: ‘We’re gonna have two lunches! And there’s going to be a soda machine in every classroom!’” The same charge might be levelled against the Leave campaign, which last year promised the voters £350 million extra per week for the NHS, better trade deals, macho immigration reform, and the return of “control” over their lives. The gist of their argument was that Brexit would make everything better: your salary, your sex life, your air guitar, your golf swing – you name it.
Photographs Getty Images; Rex/Shutterstock
Leaving is more like the world’s most acrimonious house move than opening an escape hatch Theresa May, who was (at least in theory) a Remainer, has inherited all this expectation as the prime minister who must manage Britain’s departure from the European Union. Though she has insisted that there will be no “running commentary” on her plans, she has committed herself to triggering Article 50 before the end of March. This is the clause that launches the official talks with our 27 soonto-be-former EU partners – talks that, according to treaty rules, must last no longer than two years. This deadline appears to be nonnegotiable: once it is reached, deal or no deal, Britain will be asked, politely but ﬁrmly, to leave the party. The trouble is that Brexit was presented during the referendum campaign as a light-switch operation:
on-off, in-out. The bait dangled before the public was one of swift emancipation from the tyranny of Brussels. In practice untangling 44 years of inter-governmental co-operation, regulation, subsidy and legal harmonisation was always going to be a lengthy task. Sir Ivan Rogers, who quit abruptly in January as the UK’s top diplomat in Brussels, warned ministers last year that the process might take a decade. This message was not well received. But it has the ring of truth. Leaving the EU is more like the world’s most acrimonious and protracted house move than opening an escape hatch. For a start, the PM’s main counterparts have other things on their minds. In the next 18 months, there are elections in France, Germany and Italy that will occupy continental politicians much more than the ﬁne print of Brexit. Worse, there is a blithe assumption among some UK ministers that the rest of the EU will approach the talks in a generous spirit. This is a triumph of hope over experience. It also contradicts the assumption that made most Brexiteers support departure in the ﬁrst place – namely, that our EU partners were stitching us up. At home, argument rages over what kind of Brexit we should pursue. Those who advocate the “hard” variety say that Britain must extract itself from all EU institutions – including, crucially, the single market. This has the merit of simplicity. We sever ties with Brussels and then negotiate a new commercial relationship using World Trade Organization rules. The most senior proponent of this strategy is Liam Fox, the secretary of state for international trade. As for “soft” Brexit, this covers a spectrum of options, all of which involve a continued institutional relationship with Brussels. There is the Norwegian model which would preserve Britain’s access to the single market but also the right of EU
Iain Duncan Smith ‘Hates the Luftwafe’
David Davis and Boris Johnson ‘Not as hard as you think’
BAROMETER OF BREXIT
Jeremy Corbyn ‘Reliably confused’
Theresa May and Philip Hammond ‘The compromisers’
Ed Miliband ‘Sensibly soft’
Nick Clegg ‘Mr Softee’
Tony Blair ‘Brexit, what Brexit?’
citizens to live and work here. There is also the precedent set by Canada, which has a trade deal with the EU involving preferential access to the single market with fewer obligations. But even this pact was agonisingly hard to sign off. Soft Brexit is usually associated with disappointed Remainers such as Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband who would naturally prefer half a loaf to none at all. But there are also very senior Tories who favour a nuanced settlement rather than an unambiguous break with the EU. Most prominent of these is the chancellor, Philip Hammond, who has remarked pointedly that, “The British people did not vote on 23 June to become poorer or less secure.” As the custodian of the nation’s ﬁnances, his position is clear: he will not allow the form Brexit takes to imperil national prosperity. Our economy and public sector, especially the service industry and NHS, depend heavily upon migrant labour. Reduced to its essentials, the choice boils down to this: do we want seriously restrictive immigration control or healthy economic growth? Most intriguingly, David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, has become more receptive to this argument. Initially assumed to be a hard Brexiteer, Davis told the Commons in December that Britain might continue to make contributions to the EU in return for access to the single market. Whatever this is, it is not hard Brexit. No less fascinating is the position of Boris Johnson. Like Davis, the foreign secretary is routinely described as a hard Brexiteer. And it is true that he believes that, “It should be up to this parliament and this country – not to [EU president] Jean-Claude Juncker – to decide if too many people are coming here.” At the same time, Johnson is one of the strongest champions of immigration in his party. His ideal outcome would be one in which parliament reclaimed control of the UK’s borders but migration continued at a handy pace – including, one assumes, from EU countries. This, to put it politely, is not what proBrexit voters are expecting. By putting immigration reduction at the heart of its argument, the Leave campaign wrote a cheque that the prime minister and her colleagues cannot possibly cash. If the voters want continued growth, they must accept continued migration. Who, in this government, dares tell them the truth? MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 191
∞ TALLEST AND HEAVIEST PLAYERS
∞ TRIES SCORED 2013 VS 2016
20st 6 lb 15
24stst 11 22 5lblb
Uini Ationio Atonio
The average weight of the current England team is 105.1kg, average height is 187.9cm
This will be the most exciting Six Nations ever 2016 features a change to the points system to encourage attacking play and try scoring. Teams that score four or more tries in a game will now be rewarded a bonus point, while sides that lose a game by less than seven will also get a bonus point. It’s the biggest overhaul of the tournament – which kicks off on 4 February – since Italy joined in 2000. COMPILED BY Mark
Try scoring rate
7:40 PASSES TACKLES
Number of territories it will be broadcast:
∞ HIGHEST PAID
∞ COACH NATIONALITY JOE SCHMIDT Kiwi
GUY NOVES French
∞ AIR MILES TRAVELLED
192 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
∞ 2013 VS 2016 Avg. points per match
TV deal for Six Nations 2017 is worth:
∞ AVERAGE NUMBER OF EVENTS PER GAME
∞ THE BIG NUMBERS
Avg. tries per match
VERN COTTER Kiwi
WARREN GATLAND Kiwi
CONOR O’SHEA Irish
Italy need to travel 910 air miles to play at Twickenham. England’s furthest journey is to Dublin.
£750,000 LEIGH HALFPENNY Wales & Toulon
∞ MOST INJURED BODY PARTS
∞ SIX NATIONS WOODEN SPOONS
Head & neck
ASK THE INTERN
∞ MOST YELLOW CARDS IN A MATCH
WHATS GOING ON?...
Joseph Dossary, 22 WARNER BROS UK INTERN
From: England and Saudi Arabia.
∞ HOW INJURIES OCCUR Collision
Favourite transport: I’m reliant on the Tube. There’s nothing better than travelling around in a sardine can.
Favourite Friday night haunt: Sway Bar in Covent Garden. The interns’ go-to place after a week at work.
Current living situation: I’m living with two other Warner Bros interns in southwest London. The entire intern community at WB is very close and we’re always planning social events. Film premieres are a bonus.
∞ WIN PERCENTAGE RATES
∞ INJURIES PER GAME
Favourite website: uk.ign.com keeps me up to date with games, ﬁlms, TV and comics.
103 35 Photographs Getty Images
Favourite director: Christopher Nolan. Any director that still chooses to use 70mm ﬁlm deserves respect. From Memento to Interstellar, Nolan is untouchable. Film to look forward to: Dunkirk. Everything Christopher Nolan touches turns to gold, and this doesn’t look like an exception. Oscar bet: I’m rooting for Sully. Tom Hanks was outstanding, as usual. Date in the diary:
England Ireland Scotland Wales
France Holland Italy Spain
Nigeria Burkina Faso Ivory Coast Argentina
Favourite band: A Day To Remember. Pop-punk with a heavy slant.
Favourite ﬁlm: Scarface. The ultimate gangster classic from Brian De Palma. I aspire to be Tony Montana one day.
JONNY WILKINSON ENGLAND
∞ PLAYER BIRTH PLACES
Favourite podcast: Kinda Funny Gamescast: the vital weekly lowdown on the video game universe.
Favourite TV series: The Ricky Gervais Show. I idolise Ricky Gervais, and, as he would say, this truly is a collection of “pure drivel’’.
∞ HIGHEST EVER POINTS SCORED
ENGLAND VS ITALY 17/02/01
Top tech: PlayStation 4. While not the most interesting piece of tech on the market, when it comes to gaming, PS4 is still the most powerful home console there is. Well, until Xbox Scorpio arrives…
Zimbabwe DR Congo Australia
Fiji Tonga New Zealand
The start of E3, the Oscars of the gaming industry. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 193
Illustration Francesco Poroli
THE NEW POLYGAMY BETTER BREATHING
ESSENTIAL RUNNING KIT
Weaponise your stress Harness the power of evolution to make bad stress good for health, wealth and happiness E D I T E D BY
Stress is bad, right? For your health. For your relationships. For how you perform at work. But according to Dr Nick Knight that might not be the whole story. By rewiring your mindset to recognise its evolutionary goal – to prime body and mind for action and success – you can turn stress into a secret weapon.
The science of stress Back in 1936, Dr Hans Selye discovered there are three stages in the body’s response to stress: Alarm First, the hypothalamus sends electrical messages to your nervous system and adrenal glands. The collective and immediate result is a boost in glucose for energy and an increase in oxygen supply to the muscles (rapid breathing and faster heart rate). Resistance Next, a set of slower hormonal actions are triggered, all designed to boost, support and maintain the actions of the alarm stage. Exhaustion This is a stage to which we rarely progress, since it’s reserved for those under extreme, prolonged periods of stress, such as combat or survival situations. Essentially, here, the stress response doesn’t switch of and has the potential to kill you.
From an evolutionary perspective, these stages were originally suited to the ﬁght-or-ﬂight response. However, what is evident in 2017, is that the causal triggers of the stress response are growing out of control.
On your marks, get stressed... Today, rather than an attack from a sabretoothed tiger, stress is often caused by overwhelming workloads, relationship issues and ﬁnancial pressures. If unchecked, these can evolve into debilitating and emotionally damaging “stressors”, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Although stress has the ability to ruin your performance in life, work and sport, remember that it also primes you for action.
Make stress work for you The notion of priming was highlighted by two prominent psychologists, Dr Richard M Yerkes and Dr John Dillingham Dodson, who began to unravel the
Learn to recognise when your stress levels are too high Most individuals develop a “tick” that tells people around them they’re stressed, but there are seven categories of how you may be expressing stress: Afective Anxiety; self-pity; anger. Behavioural Poor sleep; lacking concentration; poor performance. Physiological Muscle tension; palpitations; headaches. Cognitive Poor focus; frustration; self-defeating statements. Imaginal Flashbacks to past failure; feelings of embarrassment; helplessness. Interpersonal Withdrawal; manipulation; argumentative. Sensory Cold and sweaty; clammy; lower pain threshold.
The Yerkes-Dodson curve Complete meltdown
Boredom/ depression Low Low
(SEVERITY AND DURATION) 196 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
relationship between stress and performance. Their law, embodied in the “Yerkes-Dodson” curve (see left), asserts that your physical and mental performance can be improved when you undergo physiological (ie, the stress response) or mental arousal, placing you in the zone of optimal function. The caveat to this is that when levels of arousal become too high, your performance decreases. The key is to reach optimal performance without tipping over into anxiety. Here’s how.
Find the cause of your stress progression At times, stress feels like some omnipotent power that permeates every aspect of your
How to de-stress: the magniﬁcent seven tips Although there are many different stress management systems out there, the correct one is likely to depend on your current performance demands and what feels right for you. You can use these immediately before, during and after an overly stressful episode to get yourself back into your “zone of optimal function”. Visualisation Conjure up a positive mental image or performance intention for the outcome you want to achieve. Breathing meditation Take deep, slow breaths in through your nose and slow, long exhalations out through the mouth.
Illustrations Francesco Poroli Photograph Andrew Urwin
life. However, if you can force yourself to step back and refocus for a moment, it’s possible to identify the source of your stress. You’ll likely ﬁnd it belongs to one of three groups of stressors: Competitive Generated from your environment. This can include injury, illness or self-imposed psychological pressure. Organisational Related to your interaction with the organisation in which you are performing. This could mean your particular role, the structure of your organisation, relationships with others or performance development. Personal Accounts for the impact of your lifestyle, relationships and ﬁnancial circumstances. React to your stress with a more positive outlook Your initial reaction to recognising that you’re stressed will sit somewhere along a spectrum from negative to positive. At the negative end you may be ﬁlled with thoughts of worry, despondency and self-doubt. At the opposite end, you may react more positively, having recognised your stress and taking the opportunity to reorganise and re-prioritise. Take control of what you can and accept what you cannot. The goal should always be to move towards positivity.
Talk to yourself Maintain an inner monologue in which you provide persistently positive evaluations of your performance. Progressive muscle relaxation One by one, tense your muscles from feet to head for ten seconds at a time while seated comfortably. Keep a diary A “stress diary” helps identify triggers and how you operate under stress, and efective coping strategies. Goal-setting Reset achievable goals in real-time during periods of stress, which you consciously desire to achieve or obtain. Take a time out Quite literally, walk away from the stress for as little as ﬁve minutes to help refocus your performance.
By keeping your stress at precisely the right level you can move it off your list of problems and into your modern-day performance armoury. Dr Nick Knight is a GP and has a PhD in performance physiology and nutrition. Follow him on Twitter @DrNickKnight
Can’t harness your stress? Here’s how to cut it out Author Carl Vernon has some techniques to take the edge off your anxiety... TAKE ACTION We get stressed when we feel overwhelmed and we get overwhelmed when we put things of. The to-do list gets bigger and makes us feel out of control. Swap your to-do list for an “action plan” and start going through it immediately.
AVOID TOXIC PEOPLE One of the most efective and immediate ways you can deal with stress is to avoid toxic people – the individuals who never have anything good to say. Toxic people will bring you down. Don’t let them. Move on and drive your life forward.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT Whatever you focus on, you’re going to get more of it – fact. Focus on being stressed and there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get in return. Try focusing on what it is you want, and you’ll naturally gravitate in that direction.
BE GRATEFUL Practise being grateful for what you have, rather than worrying about what you don’t have. When you feel grateful, it’s impossible for stress to get at you. Take ﬁve and practise being grateful every day.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF When you’re stressed and unhappy, it’s because you’re not being true to yourself. You’re going against your principles (all the things that make you who you are). Stop compromising and be sure not to settle for second best. The Less Stress Lifestyle by Carl Vernon (Headline, £14.99) is out now.
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KIT Radar Pace sunglasses by Oakley State-of-the-art shades that also ofer a real-time, voice-activated training programme. £400. uk.oakley.com
Triumph ISO 3 by Saucony The third incarnation of Saucony’s ISO features a dynamic ﬁt that adapts to your stride length. £135. saucony.com
Hyoptik Compression Tights by 2XU Ofering muscle support, improved performance and a boost to post-run recovery. £75. 2xu.com
Just run with it Your one-stop shop for the latest sporting gear and gadgets. This month, put a spring back in your step with 2017’s essential running kit Polar M600 This Android Wear smartwatch can track, train and analyse all your activity. £299. polar.com
Natural Range by PhD This naturally sourced nutritional supplement is designed to improve performance without muscle bulk. From £20. phd-supplements.com
CloudFlow by On Running Ultra-lightweight and breathable trainers come with an in-built sock for extra comfort. £120. on-running.com
LIFE PHYSICAL THERAPY
The mindfulness of the long-distance runner
Sports armband by Quadlock The lightest, strongest and most secure armband for holding your phone as you run. From £30. quadlockcase.co.uk 2-in-1 shorts by Ashmei An inner layer of merino wool and an outer layer of laser-cut nylon make these shorts cool and comfortable. £90. ashmei.com
In his new book, Run For Your Life, William Pullen outlines how his Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) takes inspiration from CBT and mindfulness and puts them into practice on the move. Here are ﬁve quick sprints to mindful running...
Trekz Titanium headphones by Aftershokz Wireless headphones with bone-conduction technology (music travels through your cheekbones, leaving your ears open to ambient sounds for safety). £110. aftershokz.co.uk Long-sleeve jersey by Ashmei A combination of Merino wool and carbon makes this the perfect running top. £109. ashmei.com
DON’T RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES Decide what you want to address with DRT by thinking hard about your problems and the issues you may wish to work on. Also, consider how (running, walking, alone, with company?) and where you’d like to practise it. HIT THE GROUND RUNNING Begin by grounding yourself – check into your body and your environment to relax, and get in the mood by scanning your body, surroundings and emotions. Take a moment to reﬂect on what you want from your session. GET ON THE MOVE Mindful movement means acknowledging without judgment what comes up in your mind, allowing your thoughts or questions – negative, positive or otherwise – to wash around you as you run.
Photograph Matthew Beedle
GIVE A RUNNING COMMENTARY Taking notes on paper after the session – about the questions that came up, how you answered them and what it felt like, for example – allows you to gain valuable insight into yourself. These will prove crucial for your progression as you look back over your journey. Run Personal by Technogym The Tesla of treadmills, this professional cardio machine combines cutting-edge tech with steel and glass ergo design. £12,500. technogym.com
DO ANOTHER LAP By re-reading your original notes, you’ll get a sense of the beginning, middle and end of your voyage. Pay attention to how this feels, note what seems important and be aware of your expectations as you make your ﬁnal synopsis. This helps mark the end of your passage. Mark Russell Run For Your Life: Mindful Running For A Happy Life (Penguin, £12.99) by William Pullen is out now. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 199
Desperately seeking those special someones
GINI CHASE is looking for a sisterwife. Since she met her husband, Randy, at a nightclub 17 years ago, the pair have enjoyed a string of “threesomes and moresomes and”, as Gini puts it, “crazy sex”. Recently, however, the pair have been after something more serious: a partner to join them on a permanent basis. “I’m 52,” says Gini, “and at this place of my life, if we can have a child and be a happy little tribe, it would be a beautiful thing.” Randy starts to explain: “Because she cannot...” “...I can’t have children.” The hope is to ﬁnd someone compatible who would live separately and have her own relationship with Randy, ideally producing offspring. The group would spend time together, but the women wouldn’t hook up and there wouldn’t be any threesomes. In pursuit of their “third”, the couple have been attending a polyamory group in their native Ohio. In recent months, Gini has also subscribed to a controversial new website, polygamy.com. Polygamy.com is a matchmaking service set up by Sunderland-based entrepreneur Azad Chaiwala that, according to its home page, exists to promote “Bigger Happier Families”. Polygamy – marrying two or more people – is illegal in the UK and US, so extra spouses would be spiritual rather than legal. Since its launch in January 2016, polygamy.com has attracted 30,000 registrants (10,000 women; 20,000 men) across 161 different countries. It’s free to set up a proﬁle, but members have to pay £20 – and ﬁll out more than 75 per cent of their proﬁle – to send messages. According to Martin Currah, Chaiwala’s right-hand man, the fee is less about revenue than weeding out unsuitables. “Somebody messaged me and said, ‘Can you give us a free subscription as I’m a student.’ So we banned the proﬁle. If you can’t 200 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Go forth and multiply: For Azad Chaiwala (above), of polygamy.com, the desire for a large family needn’t necessarily mean having lots of children
afford £20 for a subscription, then how are you going to afford a second wife?” It’s one of a portfolio of companies operated by Chaiwala. His taste for serial entrepreneurialism emerged in childhood. When he was 12, he started a sweet shop. At 14, he started buying knockdown confectionery and toilet rolls (“I thought, ‘every single person needs toilet rolls’”) and selling them at car-boot sales. Things accelerated at sixth-form college, when he started the website yabal.com for sending free text messages, before turning to gaming, where, he says, at the age of 21, he made his ﬁrst million. The 34-year-old is coy about his current ﬁnancial interests, but public-domain records show that the company to which his website chaiwala.com is registered is associated with a gym, a local letting agency, a network of YouTube accounts (including the viral factory Elite Facts) and online games site i6.com. Chaiwala has agreed to meet GQ at his ofﬁce in the Sunderland suburbs. It’s a ramshackle converted house on a nondescript residential street. Downstairs, there’s a room full of men
sitting at computers. Upstairs, where we are, is a makeshift studio where he records the Azad Chaiwala Show for broadcast on YouTube. He is wearing a pair of his signature colourful, thickrimmed glasses; today he has gone for blue, like Brains out of Thunderbirds. A practising Muslim, he has a long, thick beard. He explains that, for him, polygamy is not merely a business opportunity. In 2015, his 29-year-old brother died unexpectedly of a heart attack. “There was a CCTV camera, so I have footage of it on my phone,” he says. “It just shook me. I thought, ‘I could go like that.’” It made him realise there was more to life than money. “When we die, [in Islam] we’re shrouded in three plain white sheets and just put into the ground. That doesn’t have pockets.” He decided that his next project should champion a good cause. Ever since he was 12 years old, he had believed in polygamy. He remembers travelling from Pakistan to England, changing planes in Saudi Arabia. There, at the airport, he saw a man surrounded by women – just like the sheikhs he had heard about in stories. “I thought: I want that too!” But, he says, polygamy is also socially beneﬁcial. His argument is based on gender essentialism and runs as follows. Men are programmed to mate with as many women as possible; women, on the other hand tend to prioritise nesting – and polygamy recognises this. “People argue with me and go, ‘Are you trying to say women are not sexual?’ Yes I am, put that on record – they’re not as sexual as men,” asserts Chaiwala. Polygamy has the added beneﬁt, he claims, of producing relationships that break down less frequently,
Photographs Getty Images; Trunk Archive
Meet the man behind a new website helping polygamists around the world ﬁnd their second (or even third) wives
LIFE BREATHING as men are able to express their lizard-brain desires without betraying their partner. In a polygamous society, he argues, women are less exploited. Convinced that it was his mission to propagate the idea, he set up secondwife.com (90,000 members), aimed speciﬁcally at Muslims (the Quran, he says, permits multiple wives). When many non-Muslims expressed interest, he set up polygamy.com to cater for everyone else. We leave Chaiwala’s ofﬁces and drive into Newcastle. Over lunch, at a buffet restaurant that serves Indian, Chinese, Italian and American food – one of Chaiwala’s favourite places in town – GQ raises some concerns. Isn’t polygamy dangerous because if the relationship breaks down, the additional women don’t have any financial rights? “Neither do girlfriends,” he says. “Neither do mistresses.” He has admitted in the past that no wife would be entirely comfortable with their husband taking another – isn’t that reason enough not to do it? “The positive outweighs the negative. And there are [now] more women signing up than men, so women do want it.” And what of his overall motivation: is this really about the greater good? After all, Chaiwala is a businessman and polygamy.com does charge a fee. “If we opened it up for everybody it would just become a cesspit. There has to be some standard. And what if it is a business? Bill Gates and Melinda Gates’ foundation gives out $1 billion a year in aid.” Chaiwala, who got married 12 years ago, explains that he himself is searching for a second wife through his websites. Thus far, he has been unsuccessful. He wants someone nearby and there aren’t many willing volunteers in the North East. He admits that his preoccupation causes problems with his existing spouse. “So you assure her that it’s nothing to do with her: ‘I didn’t even know you and I had this urge!’” How soon would he like to ﬁnd another? “Ten years ago.” Back in Ohio, Gini and Randy Chase are still looking for their “third” although, through polygamy.com, they have found someone they think could be promising. “There is a girl that lives in Texas, in the Gulf, that I’ve talked to a couple of times,” says Gini. They’ve spoken about heading down and meeting up. It might come to nothing, these things often do. But she hasn’t lost hope. “You just know that somewhere,” she says, “the third is out there.” Charlie Burton
Is the way you breathe stiﬂing your success? Inhale... Exhale... You might have been doing this since the day you were born, but modern life can bring about bad habits that affect you at work, in the gym and even in bed WE TAKE, on average, 20,000 breaths a day, more than seven million a year. And yet we may be doing it completely wrong. It transpires that the way we live, all hustle and frenzy, may be inimical to deep, belly breathing – the kind of breathing that restores us, ﬂooding our bodies with oxygen. Studies have proved the immense value of even a short amount of daily breathwork; Apple watches are championing it, so is Karlie Kloss. This is what you need to know... BREATHING IS JUST BREATHING, RIGHT? Not so (weary exhale). Breathing will make you run faster, live longer and make it to the corner ofce – you just need to do it better. SO WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? The vast majority of us take shallow breaths, only inﬂating our chest. These are known as “stress breaths” (they tend to be a response to a busy, late night/early morning kind of lifestyle) and send messages to our brain that we are in “ﬁght or ﬂight” mode, spiking levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and leading to complaints such as poor digestion, depression, impaired immunity and heart disease. SOUNDS BAD. WHAT DO I DO? Your goal is deep diaphragmatic breathing. This will switch your body into the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” state. Numerous studies have shown doing as little as a minute each day will improve mental and physical health. I MIGHT NEED HELP WITH THIS... There are plenty of options. Your platinum service will be to visit a breath coach, such as Rebecca Dennis (breathingtree. co.uk) for one-on-one tuition; satisﬁed clients include a champion boxer who regained his title after improving his breathing patterns and a CEO who stopped having panic attacks. The DIY approach is to spend 1-5 minutes a day breathing in for a count of ﬁve, then out for a count of seven. SOUNDS A BIT LIKE YOGA. It should. In fact, the Ujjayi (victorious breath) yoga technique, a slow breath in which you consciously feel the air touching your throat, has been used as a treatment for Iraq combat veterans with PTSD. In a workshop run by Stanford psychologist Emma Seppälä, after six
days soldiers “who said they had felt ‘dead’ since returning from Iraq” said they felt alive again. DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TECH-BASED BREATHING APNEA? This is the habit people often develop of holding their breath while looking at their phone. Happily, the Apple Watch and the Fitbit are using technology to ﬁght back, both featuring apps with guided sessions, using haptic feedback to illustrate the breaths you take and encouraging long, slow exhales. SO WILL I GET FITTER? Absolutely. The stronger your breathing prowess the better your potential sporting performance. You may also wish to strengthen your respiratory muscles (especially the diaphragm): to do this, Team GB runners often train in altitude chambers (less oxygen means the body becomes more efcient) or use inspiratory muscle-training equipment (which makes it harder to breathe). I FIND GROANING HELPS WHEN I DO WEIGHTS. Try instead to harness your breathing. “Exhalation engages the core, which supports the spine and reduces chance of injury,” says Neil Dimmock, head of ﬁtness at Ten Health & Fitness (ten.co.uk). “Resist holding your breath, as the more you get oxygen to the muscles and carbon dioxide away, the more you will resist fatigue” and hence you can train harder. NICE. Furthermore, every gentleman should also understand breath and its relation to BDSM. According to London domme Mistress Absolute, “When the whip bites, you want a sharp inhale as the oxygen rush will help trigger the release of endorphins; then relax into the exhale to manage the long burn afterward.” ANYTHING ELSE? Michael Townsend Williams was a proto-alcoholic ad producer. Breathing transformed his life and he details in his book Do Breathe (The Do Book Co, £8.99) how the clarity that breathwork brings can make you more efective and ruthless at work. (Actually, ruthlessness is optional). He recently launched the BreatheSync app, useful if you don’t have an Apple Watch. Rebecca Newman MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 201
condenastjohansens.com Water Garden Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
LIFE Downward spiral: Four fellow climbers lost their lives during Bear’s Everest ascent in 1998
BEAR GRYLLS: #22 HOW TO COPE WITH LOSS
Don’t let grief swallow you up
Photographs Getty Images; Steve Neaves
THE experience of a deeply personal loss and the pain of grief is very hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been through it. However, we will all face both at some point in our life – be it parents, friends or, God forbid, children. In the ﬁrst six months of our marriage, Shara and I lost my grandfather and both our fathers. It was devastating and rocked us to our very cores. A ﬁrst year of marriage should never be one of pain and tears. Yet ironically – and looking back – it was also this shock so early on in our life together that had the effect of bringing us closer. We needed each other like never before. It is also said that you never really get over true grief. It’s more a question of getting through it. There are ways of helping yourself do that. And there are ways of helping others. In the immediate aftermath of a death there is a kind of adrenaline of loss. A shock of capture, if you will. You are surrounded by family and friends, people are kind and sympathetic and it’s all a bit of a whirlwind. The adrenaline carries you through those early days and weeks. I’ve found, however, that the really difﬁcult time is a few months to a year afterwards. Your friends have all written their letters and almost subconsciously they half expect you to be “over it” – and in their own lives they have moved on. But for the bereaved, this can be the loneliest and the hardest time. When I know someone is grieving, I always try to be sensitive to this. I often hold off writing until three or four months down the track. Then I write to remind the bereaved person that they’re in our prayers and thoughts and that we’re here for them in any way they might need. I often ﬁnd it’s so appreciated, coming some time after the bubble of the initial death. And it’s
a good reminder to us that, when the shoe is on the other foot and we are the ones suffering the bereavement, there’s no quick ﬁx. Rush nothing. Every death leaves a hole. We can sometimes be desperate to ﬁll that hole quickly, or to paper over it. We try to keep busy, we seek out new successes or new relationships. But I think life isn’t about ﬁlling the hole. Sometimes you just need to stop and let your grief express itself. You can’t do it if you’re running or ignoring it. It’s important that you don’t feel too proud to. It’s all part of the process. And it’s equally important to acknowledge that, when you’re grieving, all feelings are OK. Anger, guilt, hate, confusion, sorrow. Just let it all out. Share it, because otherwise it aches forever. In my line of work, death has a habit of calling people before their time. Several come to mind. When I climbed Everest, we lost four climbers. Two died of the cold. Two fell. When you experience death close up, it’s frightening. When I was in 21 SAS I was very close to a sergeant called Chris Carter. He was a rock to me during my time in the military and was later killed in Afghanistan. A close friend of mine, Ginette Harrison, was one of the leading female climbers in the world. She got caught in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain. Ginette always seemed invincible, so strong, as though nothing could beat her. But it doesn’t matter how strong you are if you get hit by an avalanche. All these people died in service or following their dreams. For the bereaved, it can help if a death leaves some kind of legacy. But really, it never cures the ache. Loss is loss and it’s important that we acknowledge how much we miss the depth of the relationship we’ve had with those people who
Proportion of British people who have experienced a bereavement in the last five years
You can’t ﬁll the hole that remains when a loved one passes away. Instead, ﬁnd ways to mark the legacy of their life
we trust and love, whether they’re a soldier, a climber, a parent, a child or a close friend. In doing this, we give ourselves the best chance of coping with loss with the dignity it deserves. One of the very best and bravest examples is my friend Mark Keville. Mark lost both his wife, Kate, and his youngest son, Robbie, to cancer. I don’t think many of us could begin to imagine the pain he and his other two children, Lara and Harry, have endured. But in sharing their loss together as a family, in remaining honest, strong, kind, gentle and outward looking, they have managed to get through their grief. They have even set up a charity called Robbie’s Rally (robbiesrally.com) in Robbie’s memory. I do not doubt that the hole Robbie’s and Kate’s absence makes in their lives is as great as it ever was. But in handling their desperate situation with such grace, they have ensured that the memory of their loved ones lives on. In the end, when our grief has run its course, that is the best thing we can do: remember the ones we love, acknowledge how much they will always mean to us and continue to live our lives in the way that they would want us to. As the Bible tells us: death is not the end. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 203
LIFE PERSONAL TRAINING #2 Probably even more functional than kettlebells, the TRX Suspension Trainer (it stands for total-body resistance exercise) allows a whole-body functional workout that challenges your core and coordination like no other exercise routine. Using just body weight and gravity, TRX routines boost gains in strength, endurance, stability, balance and ﬂexibility. The intensity of an exercise can be altered by changing body position and the instability that you experience while performing exercises means your core is constantly challenged.
For a performance-enhancing metabolic blast, one that works the core, challenges upper- and lower-body strength, stamina and coordination, and maybe throws in a little asymmetric loading just for good measure, this is the exercise for you. No other workout move separates the men from the boys like the TRX single-leg burpee. Jonathan Goodair jonathangoodair.com
Pop-up Preparation Push-up • Securely mount the TRX Suspension Trainer behind you and hook your left foot through the strap. • Get into push-up position with your right foot on the ﬂoor. • For a harder challenge, get into push-up position with your right foot of the ﬂoor.
• With your left foot suspended in the TRX strap, perform one perfect push-up.
• Hop forward and leap up as high as possible, clapping your hands together overhead and lifting your left knee to hip height. TRX Suspension Trainer, from £99.95. trxtraining.co.uk
Try 30 seconds on each leg for as many reps as possible then change legs. Perform 3 sets for each leg, with 90 seconds rest between.
Trainers by Nike, £80. nike.com. Shorts by Nike, £45. At mrporter. com. Socks by Nike, £12. At Urban Outﬁtters. urbanoutﬁtters.com
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LAST MAN STANDING
Losing a punch-up is worse than being dumped or getting sacked – and winning one isn’t much better either. But even paciﬁsts can’t avoid a pasting forever
always the fear of what might happen to you if things go too far. But if it is hard to win a ﬁght, then try losing. You never understand how sickening violence is until you have been on its receiving end. I got up off the ground with what were superﬁcial injuries. A black eye and some scuffed skin. My Ben Sherman shirt had lost a few buttons. I had kept my front teeth. But my pride was annihilated. Beyond any physical injury, losing that ﬁrst ﬁght was humiliating. It was crushing. It was worse than being left by any woman. It was worse than being sacked from any job. It took away my sense of self-worth and left it out for the bin men. When I got home, my mum wept at the state of me. But my father – a man with a PhD in violence, a scarred old soldier, a heavily decorated killer – just stared at me. And before my father turned his attention back to Match Of The Day, he uttered the truth that every man and boy must learn about violence. “There’s always someone tougher than you are,” my dad told me.
Beyond any physical injury, losing that frst fght was humiliating. It was crushing
You would think that men would grow out
of this stuff. You might reasonably hope that there would come a time in our lives when we put all violence behind us. Scrapping over some mousey girl at some dismal party – it sounds as appealing as acne. You might think that the eternal proposition – how is a man to live in this world? – would evolve to a point where violence is the last thing we have to worry about. But violence, you will learn, is always out there. You kid yourself that violence is behind you now – disappearing in your rear-view mirror forever, just like drugs and promiscuity and poverty, one of those youthful phases we eventually shed like dead skin. But violence is always with us. The ﬁght-or-ﬂight response doesn’t go away just because your hair has a smattering of grey. As growing boys and young men, the threat of violence is as all pervading as the weather. The threat is there at the school gates and over the park, and later it is there in parties and clubs and pubs. But you grow up. You stop chasing every passing girl and start loving one woman. You are suddenly deadly serious about your career. You start staying home most nights. And then – the greatest change of all – you become a father. And once you become a father, you have someone in your life that you are ready to die for.
Illustration Sam Kerr
took my ﬁrst real beating when I was 16 years old. Before that fateful Saturday night I had come off worse in a few spats in playground and park but this was something else. This was my ﬁrst close encounter with violence. This was a good hiding. This was one of those undeniable, unmanning defeats where I was ﬂat on my back and being pummelled in the face, and it did not end until someone dragged off the youth kneeling on my chest. The violence was short, ugly and vicious – just like my opponent – and it seemed to explode out of nowhere. There was a woman involved – no, she was a girl, loving all the attention – and some hearsay, and wounded pride, and alcohol. And what more did young men ever need to start throwing punches? It wasn’t much of a ﬁght. They rarely are. When it all kicks off, what usually happens is that someone wins emphatically and immediately. But it is hard to beat someone up. Adrenaline exhausts you much faster than mere physical exertion ever could. Your fragile hands connect with hard bone and sharp teeth. Your spiked blood pressure means your punches are thrown wildly and sometimes completely miss their target. And even if you are winning – even if you are the one kneeling on someone’s chest, even if you are dishing violence out rather than sucking it up – there’s
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 207
LAST MAN STANDING You discover that ﬁghting to protect your child comes more naturally than breathing. I was recently driving with my daughter, who is 14, when one of the global rich who are buying up our neighbourhood nearly ran us off the road in his shiny new black Mercedes. I exploded. And if the driver who nearly hurt my daughter and I had said one word to me then I would have knocked his head into the back seat. And when it was over, my daughter was looking at me as if she was seeing me for the very ﬁrst time. It was not a good moment for either of us. But it reminded me that violence is still out there. It can appear at any time. You do not have to go looking for it. Sometimes violence ﬁnds you. And a man needs to do more than merely fear it.
t is a cliché often repeated that a real fight is nothing like the movies. A real ﬁght is also nothing like the gym. It is nothing like the dojo. Any form of ﬁghting in a controlled environment is nothing remotely like a real ﬁght because there is the assumption of fairness. Any kind of sparring has a code of honour. Violence is not like that. In sparring, you do not gouge your opponent’s eyes or boot him in the testicles. He does not whack you when you are down. In a real ﬁght all of these things happen. You don’t get multiple assailants in a nice karate class. But you do down at the Rat & Trumpet at closing time. Violence isn’t fair. Someone wins almost immediately and the rest of it is nothing but damage. There is great value in doing any kind of combat sport – they keep you ﬁt and remove your terror of getting hit – but they can never replicate real violence. They can’t even prepare you for it. If you spar, then you are almost certainly sparring with people you know and like. But if someone tries to crack your skull in a bar, then he is inevitably some random stranger who hates your guts. You can do martial arts for years without ever becoming a martial artist. I did kung fu but I was never a martial artist. But my teacher was a martial artist in his blood and bones. I once watched him walking down the street towards some little gang. He was neither afraid nor aggressive. He was completely self-contained. And I watched as that little gang parted to let him pass, without, I suspect, even knowing that they were doing
it. But he was a martial artist. And no matter how hard we train, most of us will never carry ourselves with the calm self-possession of my kung fu teacher. There are two types of men who ﬁnd themselves drawn to combat sports. There are the wild boys who want to learn to ﬁght because it harnesses some inner demons and there are those who have been bullied, often all the way to the hospital. My kung fu teacher was the latter – he had taken up martial arts in the ﬁrst place because he had been brutally picked on as a teenager. He was a gentle-natured, quiet man who could kick me from one side of a room to the other. And once, after getting into a ﬁght with a passing creep who had insulted my girlfriend, I sought his advice about what I should have done differently. “You should have walked away,” he told me. But what if you are not man enough to walk away?
Violence can appear at any time. You do not have to go looking for it Hard men – true hard men – always say that
violence is never worth the price you have to pay. Because the consequences of violence are unknowable. This is the best reason to avoid violence. If it kicks off, you could lose your front teeth or your job or your life. You could end up in hospital or prison. This is all serious, life-warping stuff. The chances are you will have no idea about your opponent’s strengths. And, whatever happens, there will be nothing remotely reasonable about it. Every ﬁght risks you killing someone or putting them in a coma – or having the same done to you. Even if you win – even if you emerge without a scratch – nothing good is going to come out of it. And if violence happens in the work environment – as it did with me in my ﬁrst job – then your career risks coming to a stop before it has begun. In my ﬁrst job as a journalist, I had a ﬁght in the ofﬁce, some six years after I took that beating. This time I was at the other end of the violence. In some ways, it was worse. My editor would have been within his rights to kick me out. My opponent could have called the police. And for what? Hurt pride over some woman when there were a million better women waiting just around the corner. That is
the mindlessness of violence. You play Russian roulette with your health, your career, your freedom. You risk everything for so little. Violence lasts for almost no time at all but the messy aftermath – to body, to mind, to career – can echo through the years. Violence is always ugly, brutal and senseless. And yet we can’t deny that it holds a fascination for us. All boys want – long, crave, yearn – to be harder than they really are, and all men know in their heart that they will never be quite hard enough for what the world has waiting. And we are never so evolved that the concept of being hard is alien to us. We understand the power of violence. How its threat protects everything we love. How violence could take it all away. Yes, violence sickens the heart whatever end of the beating you are on. But you can’t grow out of violence because it is central to any man’s life. Anyone who thinks that having a mortgage and a moisturising regime puts him beyond violence is deluding himself. Learning to deal with violence is key to being a man. The experts on violence I have known – the two men who taught me to ﬁght, the father who taught me to be a man – always advise an instinctive paciﬁsm. Make like Jesus and turn the other cheek. Ignore the insult. Walk away. Then keep walking. Wonderful advice but sadly it does not cover every scenario. At some point you will not be able to walk away. And the banality of the moment that violence becomes inevitable will stun you. You might bump into someone in a bar who will simply not accept your apology. You might wake in the night with a burglar standing at the foot of the bed. You might hear some random goon insult someone you love. What are you going to do about it? You are not going to walk away. You are going to take the initiative while always remembering that you should never hit anyone who you are not prepared to keep hitting. But when you must – when all peaceful, placatory, paciﬁst options are exhausted – then hit them ﬁrst and hit them hard. And when you hit them ﬁrst, for God’s sake aim at something – the jaw, ribs or bridge of the nose. All are good – very few men can have their nose broken and not be given pause. And when you hit them hard, hit them with everything you have, with a punch that comes from your feet and not your arm. And when it is over – when those sickening seconds have passed – you don’t walk away. You run. You run for your life.
THE STRONG, SILENT TYPE.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY STYLING BY
Norman Jean Roy
C O N Q U E R
ED SHEERAN Coat by Private White VC, £675. privatewhitevc.com. Rollneck by Sunspel, £140. sunspel.com
WOR LD EXCLUSI V E! Call it the winning streak no one saw coming. How did one weird kid with a guitar change the rules of pop in just two albums? On the launch of his blockbusting third,
ED SHEER AN reveals his 30-year masterplan and explains how he beat the world’s biggest stars by playing the numbers game MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 211
When Ed Sheeran wakes up in the morning he checks his sales ﬁgures on a laptop. Why is he not selling as many albums in France as he does in Germany? Who should he call about it? Does he need to do a TV show or a gig there? “All the biggest people in the world know about this and if they deny it they are lying,” he says. “If they’re massive. At Beyoncé’s level or Jay Z’s or Taylor’s – someone who’s massive – every one of us cares about sales and ﬁgures.” “Us” is the most important word in that statement. Sheeran has been playing the numbers game since the very beginning; it’s just that the numbers keep getting bigger. His last album, x, has been streamed over 3.4 billion times (yes, billion) and sold 14 million copies. His biggest hit, 2014’s “Thinking Out Loud”, has been streamed 764m times and sold 2m here and more than 4m in the US. His videos have been watched 3.5bn times on YouTube. “I still wear skater hoodies, jeans and skater shoes,” he says, referring to his enduringly steadfast lack of styling, for which he was named GQ’s Worst-Dressed Man in 2013. “I haven’t changed.” He’s right. It’s the world that has changed, or rather it has bent to his will. Youth is wasted on the young, but not on the young Ed Sheeran. Twelve years ago, the prototype, this distillation of pure teenage vulnerability and deﬁance, wrote and recorded his ﬁrst ﬁve-track EP. There has never been a wannabe pop superstar who’s planned so far ahead from day one. Sheeran has been plotting since he was 13; he's 25 now and as unjaded and unrelenting as ever. “It’s a 15-record plan,” he tells me. “The ﬁrst ﬁve EPs then the ﬁrst album + [Plus], then x [Multiply] and now ÷ [Divide]. There’ll be two more in this series of ﬁve albums and then ﬁve more after that,” which on current form will take him and us to about 2030. Even Stalin only had ﬁve-year plans.
‘I know music isn’t a COMPETITION but why not want to WIN? Why not want to sell 20 million records?’ 212 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
We meet at Rocket Music – in and out of which the management firm’s tracksuited boss, Sir Elton John, shufﬂes like a mother hen – and sit beside the mixing desk in the bowels of its west London studio. There is an immediate warmth and openness to Sheeran, but it’s encased in unmistakable steel. There is also a scar on his face, the deep ridge cut into his cheek by Princess Beatrice at 4am as part of some faux knighting ceremony after a particularly heavy November drinking session in Windsor. He invites me to touch it and I reach across in the half-light like Doubting Thomas prodding Jesus. “It didn’t hurt and I’ve got a really cool story out of it,” he says, very unlike Jesus. “I like the way it looks in the pictures. Sheeran’s path to this point – with a third album out next month and the full expectation of global domination, plus friendship with Taylor Swift, Hollywood royalty and actual royalty – was cleared by a series of seemingly serendipitous events that suggest either destiny or outrageous luck. Of course, a third explanation is the most plausible. He put the hours in. He never gave up. He put his talent on the line every night, when others faded and failed. Sheeran is a living embodiment of Arnold Palmer’s ironic sporting truism: “The more I practise, the luckier I get.” Keeping a watchful eye on his sales is merely a function of his obsession with winning, a word he uses over and over again. Music is his creative outlet, but once it’s done he turns CEO. It’s as if he has his own Berry Gordy living inside his head. I picture him in the lair of a Bond villain, monitoring a bank of screens as information pours in from territories around the word. He assures me the truth is a little more prosaic. “I have a data sheet emailed to me every week. What’s the problem with doing it? It’s so fun. You’re not going to have success by working just for the love of it. Looking at a sales sheet you can see where you need to do that work. My benchmark for the second album was Coldplay. This album it’s Springsteen. I’m obsessed with how his career spans constantly doing stadiums and putting out work that is centre but left of centre. I bet he cared about stats and ﬁgures as well.” A collaborator of Swift, Pharrell Williams and Harry Styles, a songwriter for Justin Bieber, One Direction, The X Factor and many more to follow, Sheeran is the de facto voice of a generation, with music that reﬂects his personality and the deﬁning characteristics of his audience. However amorphous any era may be, however problematic the deﬁnition of any generation is, the recurring qualities of Sheeran’s music correspond with those that his own generation, the millennials, most value: authenticity, realness, earnestness, sincerity. Millennials also
ED SHEERAN Coat by Private White VC, £675. privatewhitevc.com. Rollneck by Sunspel, £140. sunspel.com
‘I was never the POPULAR kid in school. Now I want to be the biggest male ARTIST in the world’ MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 213
Tuxedo, £1,455. Shirt, £295. Both by DSquared2. dsquared2.com
‘ADELE is the only person I need to sell more records than. If I don’t set her as the BENCHMARK I’m selling myself short’
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‘It was an all-black R&B night. The people looked at me like “GET OUTTA HERE, KID” but they let me play’
Coat by Private White VC, £675. privatewhitevc.com. Rollneck by Sunspel, £140. sunspel.com. Glasses by Tom Davies, £1,200. tdtomdavies.com 216 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
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live in a world of economic insecurity, something that chimes with Sheeran’s compulsion. “I do have numerical targets,” he says. “I did 14 million of x and I want to do 20 million of ÷. I know music isn’t about competition, and you’ll get old rockers saying, ‘Why does he care about numbers and ﬁgures?’ but I’ve made my album. I love my album. It’s the best album I could have made – it’s the best creative thing – so why not want to win? Why not want to sell 20 million?” Sheeran’s trick is to be both an everyman and a man apart. He is, to his fans, just like them, but with the talent of Van Morrison and a determination of a honey badger. Where does this intensity come from? It’s easy to imagine some repressed wrong that keeps the ﬁre raging. He speaks without artiﬁce or pretension about his life, passions and success, only occasionally swerving close to self-congratulation at the mention of his best-known associates. Why has he always felt the need to compete and to justify that competition by “winning”? “It’s because I never won anything ever.
because her last album sold 20 million. But if I don’t set her as the benchmark then I’m selling myself short.” That is something nobody could ever say about him. “I’m not in competition [creatively] because we all sit in our own lanes, but once the creative product is out there is a race to the ﬁnish line.”
t took almost a decade of work before Ed Sheeran would countenance a break. Last year, for the ﬁrst time since he picked up an acoustic guitar, he ﬁnally paused to draw breath, abandoning his phone and social media. He wanted to spend some money at last – to go where he wanted, when he wanted, without a budget. He spent a month and half in Japan travelling from north to south, rented a Mini and drove along the west coast of Australia and did a bungee jump in New Zealand. “Then I went to Ghana, then Iceland – but I put my foot in a boiling geyser and melted the skin off my foot. I had to get choppered out from the side of a volcano. I missed the Northern Lights because I was in
‘In a sprint to get a No1 album I know I’m going to WIN. I’m going to make sure I come FIRST’ As a kid... That shit never leaves you. Look at Taylor; she’s exactly like me,” he says, with the authority of a man who has discussed it with the woman herself. “Taylor is someone who was put down for the whole of her teenage years and now she’s got the opportunity to win and she’s constantly winning.” Whenever he mentions Swift his smile broadens a little. As if to demonstrate their simpatico relationship, last year Swift, who has toured with Sheeran, celebrated her friend’s 25th birthday by recalling the day he played her the Grammy-winning “Thinking Out Loud” for the ﬁrst time. “I lived for the moments he would burst into my dressing room with a new song to play me,” she said. “It happened so often that it became normal, and I don't think he ever knew how much it meant to me that he wanted me to hear his songs ﬁrst. I don’t think he ever knew how inspired I was by his drive and passion to constantly create new art.” Before I could ﬁnish asking him who he felt he was in competition with he blurted out the name “Adele”. I paused but he rolled on without inhibition. “Adele is the one person who’s sold more records than me in the past ten years. She’s the only person I need to sell more records than. That’s a big f***ing feat 218 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
hospital.” He may be a global star, but you suspect there is a little bit of him that will forever be a doofus. Now he is ready to work again, to welcome back the animus that has possessed him since his father convinced him to take music seriously. At 13 and 14 he spent a lot of time out of the family house in Framlingham, Suffolk. John Sheeran – who the singer references often in his lyrics, usually in reverential terms, but also as one of the sources of his ﬁst-clenching determination – was the London-born son of Irish immigrants and a lecturer and art curator, who ran an art consultancy with Ed’s mother, Imogen, during the Nineties. “My dad’s calmed down a lot but when I was not applying myself at school he was strict with me and always having a big go at me for not working hard,” he says. His elder brother, Matthew, was, it seems, everything Ed was not. He knew what he wanted to do, he completed university and is now a classical composer. Primary school had been hard: a preppy, sporty, competitive private school that gave him his ﬁrst taste of life as an outsider. He was already playing the guitar and singing in a choir. “The other kids had a lot of money. I didn’t enjoy it. I was quite a weird-looking kid and a weird kid in general. I was never diagnosed but everyone is convinced I have ADD.
The energy always comes from wanting to move on to the next thing. I wish I’d known that in school because you can say that and get away with shit.” His state secondary school left him cold, too, but at least he had his friends (with whom he still goes on holiday twice a year). He says he just hung around “letting off ﬁreworks and doing what 13-year-olds do”. As with so many sons, it was the father who performed the formative role, with Ed both wanting to impress and wanting to prove him wrong – a hero and rock to push against. Perhaps the most important scene of this drama was Ed and John’s trip to see the singersongwriter Damien Rice in Ireland in 2002. Rice remains, for Sheeran, the force who overcame the inertia. He listened to little else during his mid-teens and Rice was his greatest inspiration. “Every single hero of mine has got in touch with me bar Damien Rice, who I’ve never heard from, even though I’ve name-dropped him in several songs.” Sheeran’s father ﬁnally tired of his rudderless younger son and told him that since the only thing Ed really liked was music, he should take that seriously. “My dad took the initiative.” He was driven to gigs every week, from Bob Dylan to Plan B, in the hope he would ﬁnd his calling. “I was a typical teenager,” he says. “Angry at life but with no reason to be. I had regular angst. But I look back and think it was a good time. As a teenager my ﬁrst dream was to make enough money from music to pay the rent and sell 100 CDs.” By 16, his father’s plan had worked. Sheeran was a young musician who felt like any day in which he did not practise, perform or write a song was a day wasted. So from then until last year he didn’t take a day off. “I had to ﬁll the day with something. It comes from my dad thinking I was lazy and wanting to prove a point.” In 2008, he dropped out of school and moved to London, beginning an odyssey of hustling for gigs, attention and somewhere to spend the night (the great recurring theme of his life). He busked and slept rough – on the Circle Line and under an arch near Buckingham Palace – etching the Sheeran mythology that made his coming success seem so startling and so welldeserved. This self-imposed slumming reached a satisfying conclusion when he performed at the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert in view of the heating duct on The Mall he had once called home for a night. In 2009 he ﬂirted with the Academy Of Contemporary Music in Guildford – he could justiﬁably argue that he had more to teach them than they him – and became a familiar face on London’s gigging circuit, attracting attention from hip hop and Continued on page 264
‘When Ed raps it’s Ed. It’s NOT some carbon copy. It’s his TRUTH. There’s nothing out of his remit’ STORMZY
Jacket by Tom Ford, £1,999. At Harrods. harrods.com. T-shirt, £45. Jeans, £160. Both by Diesel. diesel.com. Watch by Patek Philippe. patek.com Creative Director Paul Solomons Production Ryan Grimley Grooming Liberty Shaw using Clarins Men Style assistant Carlotta Constant Photo assistants Michael Furlonger; Paul Gilmore SFX James Churches; Jow Szukalski Seamstress Josie Crowley-Roth at Karen Avenell MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 219
Alexis Ren Why arenâ€™t you following...
One half of an Instagram power couple is newly single and ready to share her life with, well, everyone! @alexisren: 7.2 million followers
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Screen break: Pay a visit to the social media accounts of swimsuit model and travel blogger Alexis Ren
lexis Ren may have a name that makes her sound like a heroine from Star Wars, but it was a decidedly more down-to-earth issue that recently afﬂicted the 20-year-old swimsuit model/Instagram celebrity/travel blogger/all-round-life-goals-achiever. Namely: boys, and how to break up with them. Age-old problem, you may think. Not so. At least, not when said boy, Jay Alvarrez, along with being your boyfriend, is also a famous Instagram model/ travel blogger (her, 7.2 million followers; him, 4.7m), and when, in the most modern form of love, your two Instagram accounts have slowly become one. Easy: make a clean break by not only unfollowing each other on Instagram and Twitter, but removing every single picture of the two of you together (and, trust us, there were a lot of those). The only shots of them both that stayed? The paid ads. Truly, Instagram love is a many-contracted thing. Not that the newly single Ren should worry. Scouted in an LA mall at just 13 and internet famous by 15 when a picture of her went viral, at 20 she’s modelled for the likes of Calvin Klein and L’Oréal and is set to break onto the catwalk by sheer force of numbers: not just the millions who follow her, but her frankly absurd ﬁgure of 34-22-34, and, yes, that is a 22-inch waist. It’s an enviable body that she is more than happy to show off (“I don’t work this hard on my body to be like, ‘Nah, don’t look at it’”) and has led to a very speciﬁc life goal: “My life goal right now is to have in my wardrobe a bikini and a fur coat and nothing in between.” Well, it certainly saves on laundry. Stuart McGurk
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THE BUSINESS OF FASHION The business behind
From blogging on a sofa in Notting Hill to setting the agendas for CEOs and the world’s leading designers, Imran Amed has built a truly 21st-century media empire that includes the digital bible of a multi-trillion dollar industry STORY BY
t’s Friday 21 December, 9:30am sharp and down on the fashion farm – Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, on the penumbra of the Great Tew estate in the Cotswolds – things are looking distinctly un-hygge. It’s cosy, yes, but with a whiff of a New York boardroom. The atmosphere is a little stiff; a feeling of forced informality. It smells of fresh, strong black coffee and unwrapped Apple packaging – top notes of a perfume
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Diptyque might call L’Ambition. It’s relaxed, but competitive. Away from the hotel’s plush main buildings in a remastered old hay barn, Imran Amed – founder and editor-in-chief of the Business Of Fashion, or BOF for short, the highly regarded global portal for fashion news and analysis – stands assertively before his assembled guests to welcome them to Voices, the website’s “annual gathering for big thinkers”. Amed looks more than relaxed. He looks near beatiﬁc.
Emotional even. This moment, after all, has been near ten years in the making. Over the next three days Amed – acting as he always does as part cross-industry cupid, part business guru – will introduce topics to the ﬂoor such as, “What will the store of the future look like?” and “Why isn’t the fashion industry more diverse?” from a group of speakers as distinct as the rehabilitated fashion icon John Galliano, pop star turned tech head will.i.am, CEO of Gucci Marco Bizzarri, chief
â€˜I want to make an impact. I have a bigger ambition than just moneyâ€™
Start me up: Imran Amed launched the Business Of Fashion in 2007 after spotting a gap in the market for serious industry reporting
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Sphere of inﬂuence (clockwise from top left): Imran Amed with Tommy Hilﬁger at the BOF 500 event in London, September 2016; with Kate Moss and Alexa Chung at the BOF 500 Gala dinner in London, September 2016; Amed with Mario Testino at BOF Voices, December 2016; with Stella McCartney in London, 2015; joining Karlie Kloss at the Fast Company Innovation Festival 2016 in New York; will.i.am, Amed and Natalie Massenet at the BOF 500 gala dinner in London, September 2016; Amed with Karl Lagerfeld in Paris, 2014
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BOF brand ofﬁcer of Tommy Hilﬁger, Avery Baker, and the ﬁrst trans woman model to be signed by IMG Worldwide, Hari Nef. BOF’s Voices conference is, to all intents and purposes, a supercharged TED seminar for style’s global business elite. (Oh, and the supremely better dressed.) At the very nucleus of it all is Amed, smiling and spinning plates. Sitting like diligent school children before their beaming, Puck-like host – some, I learn later, are nursing sore Negroni hangovers from the cocktail reception the evening before – the Voices’ guests look up from their social feeds and listen to what this 42-year-old CanadianBritish entrepreneur, dressed in a Sacai blazer, grey suit trousers and black Saint Laurent boots has to say. Among the fashion illuminati with their ears pricked and their caret bars blinking in anticipation are inﬂuencers such as Dame Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-A-Porter and current chair of the British Fashion Council, José Neves, founder and CEO of Farfetch, supermodel Joan Smalls and chief digital ofﬁcer of LVMH Ian Rogers. It’s a crowd even the Met Gala’s limousine line would gawp at. Make no mistake: although intrigued by the roster of toptier speakers, most of these new titans of industry are here (some ﬂying in from as far as Australia; all, purportedly, paying the palmitchingly steep £6,000 ticket price) for one man – Amed, the savvy style insider’s favourite new insider. At the Peruvian-themed black-tie dinner thrown later that evening in honour of legendary photographer Mario Testino, Bizzarri, over a glass of red, makes it very clear to me why he is here, miles from a fashion capital and being driven around the rainy English countryside in a converted milk ﬂoat. “Imran! Imran! Imran!” This sentiment is echoed time and again throughout my stay. So just who is Imran Amed? And how has his website become just so vital, a “daily must read” as Massenet herself extols, for those leading opinion formers at the forefront of the creative industries? Ten years ago, Amed was an unemployed ex-management consultant from Calgary who decided to start a blog about fashion from the comfort of his own sofa in Notting Hill. “I couldn’t even get a standing ticket to a fashion show,” he admits when I speak to him at his ofﬁces in London a week later, “let alone get a conversation with the CEO of a million-dollar luxury conglomerate. I was a nobody.” Yet come late 2016, on a white stage in a really posh barn, this man of small stature yet dazzlingly tall ambition has many of fashion’s biggest global inﬂuencers right where he
wants them: attentive, hushed and in the palm of his smartphone-empowered hands.
he Business Of Fashion’s operational offices are tucked inside Moray House, a converted block found behind Topshop on Oxford Street. Amed and his growing band of digitally savvy disciples – “People who work here understand we have a mission; it’s not just a job” – currently occupy the sixth ﬂoor, although they are soon to expand to the entirety of the ﬁfth. BOF shares a lift with companies such as PopSugar, which as far as I can work out is a lifestyle website that hosts videos about the power of geode soaps; Wacoal, a bra-making company with several underwear brands under their umbrella; and the Oldie (current cover star is gardener Monty Don and his Labrador, Nigel), a magazine set up by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams as a tonic to more youth-orientated media companies like, well, PopSugar.
analysis on markets and business news written by the BOF editorial team; “Voices” – a section dedicated to BOF’s events; “Careers” – a listings section where brands such as Coach and Loewe pay to advertise speciﬁc jobs available. Then there is the “BOF 500” – a complete online directory of the anointed members of this new index of professionals in the creative industries; “Education” – an online, fee-paying service where users can enroll in courses such as Fashion History For Today taught by Colin McDowell through video seminars; and ﬁnally “Fashion Week” – show reviews, exclusive interviews and catwalk images. What is key here is the site’s aesthetics, its vibe. It mirrors Amed himself: distinctly nongregarious and frill-free. Unlike, some would say, the more popular public opinion of “fashion” (think Ab Fab, think Zoolander – excessive, opulent, superﬁcial) the written copy comes closer in editorial tenor to something like the Financial Times, rather than anything more purple or “lifestyle”. It was just such a professional take on the fashion industry that led to its founder realising back in 2007 there was a yawning gap in the market. Amed is, if not peculiar, then certainly unique. It’s something you would notice, something his primary school teachers back in Calgary certainly noticed, and something he himself openly acknowledges. “From an early age,” he admits, “I was clearly not a normal kid.” Although of Indian ethnicity, neither of Amed’s parents were born in India. “Most of my family were born in East Africa in Tanzania. My mother was born in Moshi in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and my father was born in Kisumu in Kenya. They met at university in Nairobi. About four months before I was born they moved to Canada to build a better life for me, their unborn son. I grew up very academic.” What makes Amed think he wasn’t normal? “I was just weird. In my elementary school, grade two, my teachers wanted my parents to give me an IQ test and to send me to a school for gifted children. My mother refused.” What was your score? “My parents never told me. But they did follow advice from the teachers. They enrolled me in singing lessons. Eventually, I got into the Calgary Boys’ Choir. In the evenings I signed up to Junior Achievement – a programme for teenagers interested in starting businesses. I started three in grade ten. We worked with stock, shares and sweets. That’s why I say I was weird – doing very nerdy things in the day and very creative things at night.” Amed would say “weird” where many would say simply, “exceptionally bright”. Yet despite standing so apart at school, the career path
Photographs Eyevine; Getty Images; Rex/Shutterstock
The industry titans are here to see one man – Amed, the insider’s favourite insider Imran’s office is fairly low-key, nonintimidating and, one could say, typical of someone who works in just such a creative industry. There are framed covers of the print edition of the BOF magazine, a publication that is produced annually to time with BOF 500, a fashion power list – something which itself has helped BOF’s industry authority. There’s a big bunch of ﬂowers, natch, a stack of expensive reference books and a large silver Apple computer on the desk. Imran, bird-like, calm and measured is wearing black APC jeans and a black turtleneck sweater from Lemaire so big it seems to be swallowing his head. Head to the Business Of Fashion’s website and you get a very clear idea of the services and, importantly, the tone of the coverage on offer to browsers. Against a bleached white background at the top is the BOF logo, while directly underneath you have the “tags” or what anyone outside of a tech conference would call the menu bar. There are eight in total: “Latest” – BOF’s livefeed for breaking fashion news; “Daily Digest” – a list of fashion business articles aggregated from other media companies; “News & Analysis” – a mix of articles from a variety of sources, plus fresh original content and
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he ended up taking couldn’t have been more conservative, if nonetheless high achieving. “A very type-A overachiever route, I would say.” He went to undergraduate school at McGill University, studying ﬁnance and international business. In 2000 he enrolled at Harvard Business School. “But even back then I was never interested in money alone. I wanted to build things.” In 2002 he ended up taking a job at the management consultancy McKinsey & Co. “I would go around the world, looking into all sorts of different businesses and working with the teams there on how to make the companies more efﬁcient, more proﬁtable. I stayed for over three years. By 29 I’d had enough. I was solving business problems for the sake of solving business problems. The 18-year-old me would have looked at my CV and gone, ‘Wow. You made it.’ But I was very depressed. I was unhappy. I quit.” Amed knew he needed a change. “Or more speciﬁcally a purpose.” He took some time out. He went to a Vipassana meditation camp in South Africa where he couldn’t talk, read, speak or look anyone in the eye for ten days. He returned if not enlightened then decisive. “I told my parents of my plans,” he explains. “They were worried but thankful I hadn’t turned up in saffron robes. Then I got to work – meeting people. People in television, music, film; I was offered a job at ITV. But I kept coming back to fashion. Unlike the music industry, it was booming. I started meeting designers. I met Erdem Moralioglu back then. I met Natalie [Massenet] too...” Amed started building what he describes as, “a map of how the fashion industry works”. He also began writing a blog, spending $100 to set up a Typepad blogging account in 2007. You can still see those early entries online at uberkid.typepad.com. He started building contacts and, every morning, sending out an email circular – something his website still does – with his daily news stories, analysis of a big merger or a brand announcement. Sometimes there would be an interview with an industry ﬁgurehead. It’s not so much that it was sparklingly entertaining copy, but it was spellbindingly insightful, and precise in its dissection and explanation of trends and events. Looking at what was happening in 2007, Amed’s timing to begin focusing on building a new sort of online news service for a new sort of user was either fortuitous or prophetic. Maybe a little of both. “Look at what happened back then; the ﬁrst iPhone was launched that year in June. Facebook was relatively new – 50 million users rather than three billion as it is now. The world was changing, fast.”
People began to notice. The right sort of people. His community grew. And they remained loyal. They loved the daily email brieﬁngs. (They still do.) Sent at 5.30am, his users would read the BOF fashion business headlines in bed before they checked the Wall Street Journal or read urgent work emails. Week by week, year by year, Amed – together with his online fans – worked his way over the walls of fashion’s high castle. By 2013 he was ready to stop the freelance consultancy gigs and halt the designer incubator scheme he’d taken on, take the plunge and launch BOF 2.0. “It had become clear I needed to do more. It was like a hungry new baby and I needed to feed and nurture it to make it grow. In fact, it was other people’s interest in it that made me realise the full potential.” Rather than sell he decided to stand alone. He procured an investment to the tune of £1.25 million, led by Index Ventures (ASOS, Net-A-Porter and Etsy), LVMH and a Venezuelan VC fairy godmother named Carmen Busquets. The interest was strong; the invites
proﬁles and lifestyle coverage, and those features have their own role to play. “But this is a big business. Why shouldn’t the CEO of a company like Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, get as much credit for the turnaround of the fashion house as the designer Alessandro Michele? They both have been responsible. I think it is natural. When you look at the ﬁlm industry, at the Oscars they don’t only credit the actors. They credit the producers and the directors. The whole ecosystem that makes the business of ﬁlm happen. [BOF] is about acknowledging those that make the Business Of Fashion happen.” There are, of course, other trade-aimed fashion news services, namely Drapers, based in the UK, and Women’s Wear Daily, based in New York. Although both portals are still used by the fashion industry – Drapers is more for retail; while WWD has a far wider remit seemingly – the CEOs I spoke to about BOF seem to have been ready for precision coverage that is more focused to the everﬂuctuating luxury business markets. That, and a website that looks more contemporary and more like the sort of website their own high-earning customers would use. In a sense, more like ﬂuffy yet beautiful style biannuals and less like a trade rag. A number of scoops have also helped win insider conﬁdence in BOF. Not only did they sign up respected journalist Tim Blanks – an industry expert who has become the website’s newly appointed editor-at-large, interviewing top designers and writing catwalk reports with eloquence, authority and signiﬁcant reach – but the most famous model on the planet, Kate Moss, gave BOF the exclusive to announce the next step in her evolving career – the launch of her own talent organisation, Kate Moss Agency. The Moss story went global and shows just how respected a platform BOF has metamorphosed into since its beginnings. Michelle Kessler-Sanders, the newly appointed and formidable president of Calvin Klein Collection couldn’t make it any clearer to me. “Because of Imran’s intelligent approach to news gathering, BOF has quickly become an essential and vital resource for our industry and beyond. The site is unparalleled in providing not only up-to-the minute breaking stories but also relevant, insightful and thought-provoking opinion pieces, almost always in the context of the global economy.” Cedric Charbit, the savvy new CEO of Balenciaga, who joined after growing Saint Laurent to record heights alongside Hedi Slimane, was also fervent in his admiration for BOF and Amed. He told me, “I consult Business Of Fashion every day. It’s an inspiring platform in line with our era. Imran has created
Kate Moss gave BOF the
exclusive to announce the launch of her own talent agency
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to attend fashion shows internationally were already in the post. Suddenly the outsider, through grit, diligence, strategic intelligence and charm, was inside.
ne could argue that BOF is only booming due to fashion simply becoming more about business or money and less about creativity. Creative directors are now moved around like pawns and there is everincreasing pressure on smaller labels as catwalk shows become weaponised by social media – all indicators that stocks and shares take precedence over design and artistry. The moneymen, the board members are now more important than the artisans. “The truth is the business of the fashion industry has always been big; it just wasn’t communicated in that way,” Amed insists. “That is one of the reasons I was shocked when, coming from the background I came from, I looked into how this industry was reported on previously. Fashion is a $2.4 trillion industry. What $2.4tr industry would be happy with sycophantic ﬂuffy reportage? It is not what the industry needed or needs. Of course, there will always be a place for personality-led
BOF a platform capable of relaying news, communicating a live-feed and treating core themes with a modern take. BOF spreads powerful messages; it’s a game-changer. It’s a go-to for inﬂuential global insiders.” High praise indeed. Yet such approbation in an industry that sends more ﬂowers per annum than Elton John in the Seventies, although no doubt genuine, can lead to dilemmas, especially when someone such as Amed, who started out as an outsider, must now count himself as a fully sworn in member of the fashion elite – whether he acknowledges this or not. Journalism and fashion have always had a curious relationship and one muddied still when money is thrown into the mix. Of course, it is not fair to say that all fashion journalism is compromised by the inﬂuence (or lean) of big brands who spend lots of cash with a publication, but to say that the business of such things have no effect whatsoever on editorial output would be naive. It would also be bad business sense. In 2017, the customer, or the savvy reader, is mostly aware of the give and the take. A m o r e d i s i n ge n u o u s observer would say that Amed has grown his company and his business, not only through hard work, but by relying on others within the industry trusting him and giving him a chance. Is he now going to bite those manicured hands that helped him up fashion’s glittery ladder? Although he won’t go on record about speciﬁc business relationships, he is very clear about the commitment he has made to his 850,000 monthly users – a statement of independence from fashion’s darker arts. “I get disgruntled phone calls, of course,” he says diplomatically. “Sometimes people aren’t happy because we have been critical or we have not written the sort of coverage that people are expecting to get elsewhere because [other media organisations] have an advertising relationship. Sometimes brands expect some sort of influence over the coverage. And this is why I have prioritised making our subscription-based service possible.” BOF’s premium service, a paywall for complete site access, launched late last year and was a countermeasure to ensure the site can continue to be objective, even when faced with criticism from powerful industry forces. “It means we are not dependent on any single revenue item or company to succeed in business. But I’m not going to say it isn’t tricky.
I have to manage it every single day. We just say what we think. There is never an agenda. We never want to take anyone down. We stay true to our completive advantage – to use business terminology – which is our independence. An outsider’s point of view with an insider’s access.” Managing this fragile harmony between his sources – the industry – and his journalistic instinct for a great story will be one of BOF’s greatest challenges going into 2017. Can the outsider survive if his oxygen is cut off by controlling fashion brands and organisations unwilling to be asked difﬁcult questions or face public criticism? Hot of the press: The Business Of Fashion’s biannual print magazine has featured industry heavyweights Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld and Kate Moss on its cover
n its current incarnation Amed still considers BOF to be a startup. I tell him this seems modest to the point of absurdity. “We’re certainly not an established company. We’re still adding wheels.” BOF has, at present, four pillars of potential profitability – the paywall, events, education and the careers listing. Surely a media giant, Vice for example, has been asking whether Amed would like to sell? He could make a lot of money. “The company is not for sale. It will happen one day. We’ve gone from me writing ten articles a month, to posting 40 articles a month; from 150,000 unique visitors a month to nearly one million. But I don’t really believe our users want simply
more content. They want breadth. And quality. We could go into different areas, beauty, wellness, technology – all these industries are intertwined within fashion.” Would Amed consider running his own multinational fashion conglomerate? Become a Robert Duffy (the business partner behind Marc Jacobs) or a Bizzarri? “It is something that I wanted for a long time, but I don’t think I am a company man. I don’t think I would be good at it. What I want is really all about people. I spend 30 per cent of my day ﬁnding people to work with. To create. To build. And I think the people who work here know working at BOF means we have a purpose. We have a mission. “I can’t remember who said, ‘We’re here to make a dent in the world...’ and I think my main thing – in my own way and in my own scale, my own path – is to ensure what I do has an impact, to affect. The issues we raised at Voices, like model diversity and their treatment, are still stories that are going global right now, huge all over the media. To me that makes it all worth it. I have a bigger ambition than just money.” I leave Amed to work, to connect, to be fashion’s new diplomat. I walk back to my own office, stopping for a coffee along the way. I’d made a note to look up the quote Amed had mentioned, or halfremembered, the one about denting the world. At the time I wasn’t sure whether he couldn’t remember or if he was simply wearing his intellect purposefully lightly, for my sake, a trait he does to make his audience, whoever it is, more comfortable. To include rather than exclude – a trait which is distinctly anti-fashion. I type the ﬁrst few words in and press search. It was an easy ﬁsh. “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” The author blinks out at me from my backlit iPhone 7. “Steve Jobs.” Maybe Amed’s outsider inﬂuence doesn’t feel so different after all.
MORE FROM GQ
For these related stories, visit GQ.co.uk/magazine
Andrew Weitz Will Dress You To Success (Vincent Boucher, February 2017) Stella Wears The Trousers (Alex Israel, December 2016) Inside The House That Seoul Built (Dylan Jones, July 2016) MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 227
Urban retreat: TheÂ communal rooftop gardens, designed by Dan Pearson Studio, will ofer timber seating and meadow ďŹ‚owers and grasses
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LIVING IN THE ROUND Landmark luxe: Modern interiors by Jonathan Tuckey Design elegantly balance the exterior’s bold metal shutters
Housed in the old gasholders of London’s King’s Cross, an ambitious design will transform icons of the industrial age into stunning accommodation STORY BY
Curve appeal: The interiors play with rounded features and ﬂoor-to-ceiling windows to mirror the building’s structure
ational Grid once described its property portfolio as a “well-kept, embarrassing secret” (there’s a housing crisis, after all). Now, it’s selling off many of its assets and adventurous design is emerging in their place. Take Gasholders London, a collection of King’s Cross apartment blocks situated within the Grade II-listed steel frames of three interconnected gasometers dubbed the “Siamese triplets”, which have now been re-sited closer to the Regent’s Canal. Each building stands at a different height – eight, nine and 12 storeys – to echo the rising and falling containers that once sat in their place. The project, backed by the developer Argent and designed by the architects Wilkinson Eyre, was not without challenges. First, how to build within such constraints? The solution was complex – the 145 apartments jigsaw together with 65 unique ﬂoor plans – but the overarching strategy was about corridors and spaces that unfurl outwards towards the light. The interiors of the three atria, for instance, resemble the Guggenheim in their wall-hugging, winding levels. The second problem was how to turn a structure so industrial into something human and luxurious. The Victorians, who built the gasholders, had already done some of the work in that the metal lattice linking the 123 columns was cast with intricate ﬂoral patterns. Inside, the new living spaces have a sculptural quality, but elements such as brass detailing in the bathrooms and perforated metal shutters in front of the windows recall the heritage. Those who move in will have access to a gym, spa, cinema and communal roof garden. We suspect that unlike National Grid, they won’t be keeping it a secret. From £810,000. gasholderslondon.co.uk MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 229
‘We make films with our best friends. We’re the luckiest people in the world, basically’
FULLWELL 73 From left: JAMES CORDEN wears suit, £2,920. Shirt, £395. Both by Tom Ford. At Selfridges. selfridges. com. Tie by Tom Ford, £190. At Mr Porter. mrporter.com. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, £134. ray-ban.com. BEN TURNER wears suit, £1,395. Shirt, £225. Both by Burberry. burberry.com. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, £125. ray-ban.com. BEN WINSTON wears suit, £1,590. Shirt, £235. Tie, £120. Pocket square, £65. All by Thom Sweeney. thomsweeney.co.uk. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, £125. ray-ban.com. GABE TURNER wears suit, £1,150. Shirt, £225. Both by Burberry. burberry.com. Tie by Burberry, £140. At Mr Porter. mrporter.com. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, £134. ray-ban.com. LEO PEARLMAN wears suit, £1,395. Shirt, £225. Both by Burberry. burberry.com. Tie, £75 by Armani Collezioni. At Harrods. harrods.com. Belt by Hugo, £65. hugoboss.com. Sunglasses by Ray-Ban, £125. ray-ban.com
Who says you should never work with friends? For four young producers, that was just the ﬁrst rule broken as they scratched their way to the hottest slot in television. Now joined by their Late Late Show host, James Corden, Fulwell 73 tell GQ how they built a recordbusting transatlantic entertainment empire
Stuart McGurk Matthias Clamer STYLING BY Zoe Costello STORY BY
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Order, order! Applause, applause! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
en Winston is 35 and the kind of guy who, if he wasn’t running a multi-award-winning latenight TV show, would likely be running the country. He has the mischievous grin of a young Christian Slater, the double-breasted jacket of someone who is romantic about TV’s past and the practical trainers of someone who makes carpet nervous. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! On any given day, the only light he sees comes in the 20 or so seconds when he strides the 90 or so feet between the open-air production ofﬁces on the building’s roof, a trip he’ll do around ten or so times – a total of two minutes of melatonin. The rest of the time, he will top up his energy levels from one of the many bowls of sweets scattered around the various rooms, from the control room (small bowl) to Corden’s ofﬁce (bigger bowl), to his ofﬁce (a container of Twizzlers so big you could be buried in it). When he moves, he either announces his destination so the person will be ready for when he gets there (“Will you call Ben Stout and tell him I’m on my way to his edit?”) or stations lookouts so he can get to a person’s destination before they do (“Chris, will you let me know when James is walking to set? Come and get me as James walks”). He is not a fan of waiting, mainly because he simply has no time to wait. Along with running The Late Late Show – and by extension the viral mega-hit “Carpool Karaoke” – he is also running the two forthcoming spin-off shows, a stand-alone Carpool series for Apple (the new channel’s
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JAMES CORDEN The Late Late Show has been the perfect showcase for James Corden’s particular set of skills – being a Tony-winning stage actor, comedy writer, host and all-round song-and-dance man. As a result, it’s less like a chat show, and more like a variety show done daily. He’s known the Fulwell 73 boys since he met Winston 18 years ago on the set of Teachers. “But the main reason we wanted him to join,” says Winston, “is that he has a world-class mind. He’s actually the sharpest producer I’ve ever met. And now he has a place to explore his ideas, but doesn’t have to write every word of it, like he used to.”
‘James is the Messi and Ronaldo of TV, all rolled into one’ BEN WINSTON
ﬁrst major commission) and Drop The Mic for CBS (that network’s 897th). All this is done by the LA wing of production company Fulwell 73, of which he is part, and which has now taken over much of CBS’s top ﬂoor (and Hollywood in general), and which Corden is now ofﬁcially joining as the de facto frontman (“I feel like we’ve signed the Messi and Ronaldo of TV, all rolled into one,” says Winston, with characteristic understatement). Winston manages all this not so much by multitasking as by parallel-tasking. Currently, as he is sitting in the control room behind The Late Late Show’s stage, watching Corden do his run-through of that night’s monologue, he is noting down which jokes to cut with his right hand (“I mean, I did like ‘ménage à un’ but he does that a lot”) while simultaneously replying to emails with his left hand (current issues: ﬁnding a host for Drop The Mic and ﬁnding talent for Apple’s Carpool) while autopiloting either towards the sweet jar (“It’s terrible, I know”). “That went a bit breakfast news. That was a big shift,” he says about a jarring segue in the monologue. “We suddenly went from saying Bush started two unwinnable wars to ‘Ahhhh, there’s an old man having a bar mitzvah!’” When they nail down the jokes to be cut on the studio ﬂoor, Corden sits at his studio desk with the writers huddled around in front, while Winston stands just behind him, to his right, like the hand of the king. They are the only two who wear clothes that ﬁt them. He makes a call: “Why not end with the bar mitzvah? Hey, the breakfast shows missed it...” If Winston’s job could be described as anything, it is Corden’s conductor of energy, never letting it drop too much or peak at the wrong point. Choosing not just the jokes that work, but the best one to start on, the best one to end. Deciding that Ks are funny and that ending with a swearword is never a bad thing. In his ofﬁce sit two Emmys; the week after GQ meets him he will add a Critics’ Choice Award, too.
ust like that, Winston is off again, bobbing below a low metal beam (“Duck!”) that he has hit his head on so many times they have padded it, striding through the CBS corridors, taking on swing doors like they’ve done him harm, dishing out drive-by greetings (“How are you, gang? Everyone all right?”) and arriving at an edit suite where, currently, a bald man in orange socks sits before three TV screens, all showing a segment recorded earlier called “Spill Your Guts Or Fill Your Guts”, each from a different angle, in which Kendall Jenner downed bird saliva and clam juice (the section involves Corden and the guest consuming something horriﬁc if
Photographs Getty Images; Instagram/@mrbenwinston; Press Association; WireImage
Sitting in the control room, in the bowels of The Late Late Show With James Corden, on the fourth ﬂoor of CBS headquarters in LA, executive producer Ben Winston grabs the audience applause button – a satisfyingly big button: bright red, thick black cord spilling from the black handgrip, the kind you’d set an explosive charge off with – but doesn’t press it. Instead, he spins it around, turns it upside down, the cord now sprouting up like a carrot top, and hammers it down on the desk – Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! – ramming the button in hard each time; he is less an engineer setting off a charge than a judge hammering down a gavel.
The gong show (clockwise from top left): Emmy winners Ben Winston, James Corden and The Late Late Show’s American executive producer Rob Crabbe, 11 September 2016; Ben and Gabe Turner with Leo Pearlman after the premiere of I Am Bolt, 28 November 2016; Winston and Crabbe with The Late Late Show’s Critics’ Choice Award, 11 December 2016; Winston with Usain Bolt, October 2016; Corden and Winston with guests Billy Crystal and One Direction, 3 December 2015; Fulwell 73 documentaries The Class Of ’92 and I Am Bolt; Corden performs with Tom Cruise, 19 October 2016; Carpool Karaoke co-stars Corden and Sir Elton John, 7 February 2016
MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 233
oday’s stress is particularly acute, as they must also record some of tomorrow’s show today – essentially making a show and a half – because tonight both he and Corden are ﬂying to New York to do a Carpool Karaoke the following morning with Madonna. This means they must leave at 7pm sharp, the second Corden ﬁnishes the show, in order to make their 10pm ﬂight. Any delay could be disastrous. And the rehearsal is not going well. Winston shakes his head. It is going to be tight. Winston met Corden some 17 years ago in Bristol, on the set of Brit-com Teachers – Winston was an 18-year-old runner fetching coffee, Corden an unknown 21-year-old actor – and they immediately hit it off via the male bonds of football (Arsenal and West Ham, respectively), TV and comedy – and, according to Winston, “We recognised great ambition in each other”, which is a polite way of saying they spotted the other one was really rather good. They’ve been in close contact ever since. When Corden landed a part in Fat Friends, which ﬁlmed in Leeds, he would regularly visit Winston, who was at university there at the time. When Corden needed someone to direct the now-famous Comic Relief sketch, where, as Gavin & Stacey’s Smithy, he gives Beckham,
234 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Crouch and co a dressing down, he requested that the 28-year-old Winston direct it. When Corden was at a low ebb, later that year, after getting a kicking for Lesbian Vampire Killers and Horne & Corden (“People just went to town on me”) it was Winston who called him up, asked if he was OK and explained that he was only getting this criticism now because he’d done so many things so well before (“And it just made me feel lighter,” says Corden, welling up at the memory, “and he does that every day”). When Corden needed a best man for his wedding, who else but his 31-year-old best friend (“The speech he made...”)? And when Corden needed someone to run his American chat show, who else but the 33-year-old who was by then the executive producer of The X Factor and who would become, on The Late Late Show, the youngest showrunner in the history of American
BEN WINSTON Winston became the youngest showrunner in the history of late-night TV when he took over the reigns of Corden’s Late Late Show two years ago at the age of 33. Winston is the consummate TV showrunner – equal parts charming and demanding, while juggling around six tasks at the same time. Corden said he’d only take the gig if Winston could produce. “And I think they thought they were just meeting my friend,” says Corden. “The president of the network called me [after having dinner with Winston] and was like, ‘You could have warned me I was about to meet the most charismatic producer I’ve ever met.’”
‘We don’t choose projects where we don’t like the people’
late-night TV. “I wouldn’t,” says Corden, “have done it without him.” Ask either what their professional relationship is built on and, after each praises the other’s talent, they both boil it down to something far simpler: the kind of trust that can only come from being lifelong friends. But perhaps just as importantly, every time Winston has worked with Corden, he hasn’t been alone. Fulwell 73 isn’t just any production company – it’s one he set up with three childhood friends. In fact, every time, from that Smithy sketch to The Late Late Show to the new spin-off shows, he’s worked with those same friends – brothers Gabe and Ben Turner and their cousin Leo Pearlman – that he has known from the day he was born, who grew up together, who slept over at each other’s houses, and a group that, after a mere 17 years of knowing them, Corden is now ofﬁcially allowed to join. It was Gabe Turner who made the ﬁrst Carpool Karaoke; Ben Turner who filmed the first few skits; Pearlman who did the deal that saw Fulwell conﬁrmed as CBS’s ofﬁcial producing partner late last year and so instantly become a Hollywood powerhouse. Everything they’ve done, they’ve done together. Winston strides back towards the stage to watch the rehearsal. He’s joined by a logistics guy who is openly fretting about the timing. “What are you worried about?” says Winston with a grin. “Just the talent,” he says, meaning Madonna. Meaning Corden. “Just your ﬂight. Just all of it...”
hat is Fulwell 73? It is, at its most simple, a remarkable success story – a transatlantic production company set up by four childhood friends that was all but unknown a few years ago and is now the envy of the industry. It is, fairly uniquely, a production company that doesn’t mind what it produces, either in form (music videos to documentaries) or length (sketches to feature ﬁlms) or delivery (cinema to YouTube). They do everything from one-off events (they’re producing the upcoming Grammy Awards) to endlessly repeated adverts. It is, in some ways, weirdly cult-like (since Fulwell began in 2005, not a single staff member has asked to leave). It is, in other ways, very much a family affair (nearly every staff member GQ spoke to mentioned the “Fulwell family”, a vibe not unrelated to the fact that the four founding partners met in buggies). And it has been the driving force behind not just one but two pop-culture touchstones of the past decade – the success of both One Direction (Winston met them on The X
Grooming Michelle Harvey at Opus Beauty
they refuse to answer an awkward question: it’s essentially truth or dare with more chance of vomiting). He worries the energy isn’t quite right. Is this the right ending? When she drinks bird saliva? Should it end on Corden? Is the bit where she retches into a bucket too long? He re-watches the segment again and again. But he also has a larger concern: “Can you put the studio feed on the big TV?” On the large screen above the editor’s head, the TV gleams into life, showing Corden and today’s guest, Matthew Broderick, rehearsing a turkey dance routine that’s part Guys And Dolls, part Morecambe & Wise, and pure Corden’s Late Late Show. (Carpool may get the clicks, but the real success of Corden’s chat show is that it rarely feels like one. In fact, it’s more like a variety show, albeit one they have to put on every night. This is also what makes it complicated.) Winston looks up at the screen. By default, he is the kind of man who winks when he catches your eye, and even though you know you’re not the only person he’s winked at that day, or that hour, or possibly that minute, you can’t help but be charmed. But now, he’s not happy. He does not like what he sees. “It’s too low, isn’t it?” He means, as ever, the energy. “All right, turn it off. I’ll watch it later, otherwise I’ll just start stressing.”
‘I’ve just sold a 16-part series!’ said Pearlman. ‘But... it’s eight o’clock in the morning,’ came the reply. ‘I know! I haven’t been to sleep!’
Fashionably Late: Fulwell 73’s four founders were friends from a very young age, while James Corden (far left) has known Ben Winston (centre) for 17 years
Factor and Fulwell 73 have directed nearly every one of their music videos, adverts and concert ﬁlms ever since) and Carpool Karaoke (which boasts, in Adele’s sing-along, the most-viewed clip in the history of late-night television, 140 million clicks and counting). They’re about to make a major move into feature ﬁlms, with the 2015 Hatton Garden jewel heist one of the ﬁrst subjects on the slate. It is also, if you squint, a bucket list that turns a proﬁt. Want to meet the Fergie Fledglings – David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary and Phil Neville – that made up the famed Class Of ’92? Gabe and Ben Turner did for their documentary The Class Of ’92, which truly put them on the map in 2013, and watched it become the fastest-selling UK sports documentary DVD of all time. Fancy tagging along with the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, as he clears up at the Olympics in Brazil? That would be the Turner brothers’ I Am Bolt, released in cinemas late last year. In between there have been documentaries on the world of darts (House Of Flying Arrows), Britain’s
THE HYPE MAN
GABE TURNER Known, to himself at least, as “The Ideas Factory” (“He gave himself that nickname,” notes Winston), the younger Turner brother and co-director is not known for his meticulous prep (“I read everything about Bolt,” says his brother Ben. “He basically read nothing”) but it’s his excitable puppy nature – and his propensity to call bullshit – that opens up interviewees and has seen him become genuine friends with everyone from the One Direction boys to Bolt himself. “I would sort of treat him like I would treat my mates,” he says. “Like, he’s the worst swimmer I’ve ever seen. So I would take the piss.”
You can hear Turner two walls away. His back pats double as a Heimlich manoeuvre 236 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
greatest ever tennis player (Andy Murray: The Movie), England’s best-loved cricketer (Flintoff: From Lord’s To The Ring) and one of our greatest ever Olympians (Mo Farah: Race Of His Life). If Carlsberg did production companies... As Gabe Turner puts it to me at one point: “I literally could not have chosen working with my brother and best mates and making ﬁlms about things that obsessed me when I was a kid. I’m the luckiest person in the world, basically.” Their success with it – like everything else about Fulwell – has been unprecedented. On the day I visit Pearlman at Fulwell’s north London HQ in early December, three of them (I Am Bolt, Mo Farah, House Of Flying Arrows) make up the top-three bestselling sports DVDs on Amazon. Fulwell 73 is named after the last year Sunderland football club won a major trophy (the 1973 FA Cup win over Leeds) and the Fulwell end of their old Roker Park stadium, where brothers Gabe and Ben Turner (who both grew up in north London, but whose parents came from Sunderland) would watch the games along with their cousin Leo (who grew up in Newcastle, but who later moved to north London). Football was the binding force between the friends – they even allowed Arsenal fan Winston into the group; at least, once he picked Arsenal as his team to support (“Gabe hated me at the age of four because I didn’t like football until I was six,” says Winston, “and so relentlessly bullied me until then”). The four slept over at each other’s houses and talked football. They went to Jewish summer camp together and played football. The two Bens would play against Leo and Gabe. They called themselves Bens United. At their London headquarters, three of their edit suites are named after Sunderland greats and, to placate Winston, one after an Arsenal legend. When Fulwell 73 began, almost by accident, it was, inevitably, to do with football.
eo Pearlman never grew up wanting to be in the ﬁlm industry. In fact, he wanted to be a lawyer, mainly due to LA Law (“They had women and nice cars”) and, in 2003, was trying to set up a company that sold “fantasy camp” football experiences where people could spend a weekend with their sporting heroes. But around that time he happened to get chatting to two TV execs in a Portland Street pub late one night. He told them he had an idea for a TV show: “I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, but it’s what you’re supposed to say to people who work in TV, right?” They, in
‘We’ve not yet had an Oscar but we were nominated for an asbo...’
THE DEAL MAKER
LEO PEARLMAN Pearlman never had a particular desire to work in entertainment, but he did have a desire to build a business. From day one he’s been Fulwell’s deal-maker, contract negotiator, budget-stickler and all-round bad cop to Fulwell’s good guys (which isn’t to say he doesn’t know how to have a good time, as GQ learnt to our cost). In the company’s early days he put his poker-face to good use by actually playing poker with everyone’s money to keep the company aﬂoat. “Leo essentially runs the company,” says Winston. “He’s the ball-buster. He’s the boss.”
turn, took him to see their boss right then and there, at 11.30pm, at his ofﬁce around the corner (“Sure, seems reasonable!”). He was shown into a boardroom, they cracked open some wine and the guy explained he owned a certain set of channels that relied on “texting and phone calls and audience participation”, but had nothing to put on at the weekends in the morning. Two weeks previously Pearlman had booked football freestylers to perform at his fantasy-camp launch and so now suggested a zoo-type show presented by them called The Freestyle Show, where people could request tricks. Done! More wine! It was only when a topless woman in a tartan miniskirt wandered into the boardroom that Leo realised he was sitting in the headquarters of Babestation. Still, as he blinked out in the now-light London morning, he had a TV show and so he called cousins Gabe and Ben Turner and good friend Ben Winston. “I’ve just sold a 16-part TV series!” he said. “But... it’s eight o’clock in the morning,” came the reply. “I know. I haven’t been to sleep!”
FULWELL 73 It’s fair to say their early days were not entirely smooth sailing. Or, as Pearlman colourfully puts it: “It was a c***-fest”. When they did competition giveaways, the same two people always won. Once, they put on air a kid who turned up at reception, “and he presented the rest of that week’s shows. Because why not?” One time, they forgot to go to any ad breaks for the entire two hours. Another time, they thought they’d gone to an ad break, only for Leo’s mother to phone him to tell him they were still on the air – and he was in front of the camera (“I was like, ‘What do you mean you’re watching me talk to you on the phone?’”). Still, they were, in their own way, trailblazers. They introduced the ﬁrst televised download chart. They started inviting musical guests and boasted a performance from Sway, who at the time was in the running for the Mercury Prize, along with the likes of Roots Manuva and Skinnyman – most, in fairness, lured by the promise of porn (“They would come down with their entourage and a couple of hours before the show
THE EDIT KING
BEN TURNER The other half of the Turner brothers co-directing duo, Ben Turner could hardly be more diferent from his human-exclamation-mark younger brother: quieter and more diligent where his brother works more on personality and instinct. While Gabe is the brother always obsessed with football, Ben is the brother with the biggest desire to expand into feature ﬁlm making, the part of the company that Pearlman is now working on rapidly expanding, rather than be pigeonholed by sports. “I felt that I want to be a ﬁlmmaker and want to be able to make a range of things.”
‘With Bolt, we weren’t sniffing around for steroids. That’s not the angle’
started have a tour, then come on the show. It was great!”). It also conﬁrmed the very different roles of Fulwell’s four founders – one of the secrets to their ongoing success. Pearlman – gruff, sardonic – was always the one doing the deals, dealing directly with the channel, ﬁnding sponsors. He has dealt with the business side of Fulwell ever since, the arch ball-buster. Ben Turner – the quiet brother, diligent and introspective – was the most creative behind the camera. He has been his brother’s more cerebral co-director on nearly everything since. Gabe Turner – the non-quiet brother, a human Labrador, a man you can hear two walls away and a guy for whom a back pat doubles as a Heimlich manoeuvre – was talent relations, the one who got people on side (all the musical guests adored him). Ever since, from David Beckham to Usain Bolt (“He uses more emojis than you’d think”), he’s the one who ends up friends with almost everyone they work with (“Everyone gravitates towards Gabe,” says Corden). And finally Winston – the charmer, the multi-tasker’s multi-tasker – was already running the show and has done so ever since. “What I love when I think about this company,” Corden says, “is if I’m over here tap dancing and singing and Leo’s there making sure that the lights are turned on, in between it you’ve got Gabe and Ben, the Turner brothers, just incredible directors. And then there’s Ben Winston, who I genuinely believe is as good as anybody in the world at his job right now.” One of the reasons that family and friendship – and, by extension, the kind of unbreakable loyalty in an industry hardly known for it – are so integral to Fulwell 73 is that they got so badly burnt so early on. On the back of their morning show, they pitched another football TV show, this time to MTV – a sort of football freestyle meets Jackass, with people playing head tennis in a supermarket with lettuce or keepyuppy at the cinema with popcorn. Over the course of eight months, they had meeting after meeting about it. Eventually, just as they thought they were about to be commissioned, they were told there was good news and bad news. The good news was MTV was going to make the show – or, rather, they said, a very similar one, one they had also been working on all this time. The bad news was they were going to make it in-house. When the guys threatened legal action, MTV replied that they were within their rights to make the show. Pearlman was enraged. Winston considered quitting the business altogether (“I remember thinking if you can work this hard and
this industry can do this to you, I’m not sure it’s one I want to work in”). But just when it looked like that was it, ﬁve freestyle footballers they’d met doing The Freestyle Show pitched them a documentary. Using their skills, they wanted to busk all the way to Argentina to meet their idol, one Diego Maradona. Tell you what, the Fulwell guys told them, we’ll ﬁlm you for one afternoon busking in London and let’s see where you can afford to eat afterwards. They imagined McDonald’s. Instead, the freestyle kids ate at The Savoy and paid with an American football helmet full with change. A group of plucky young friends trying to fulﬁl their dreams against the odds: how could Fulwell resist? The Turner brothers ﬁlmed, Winston and Pearlman looked after logistics. They sold In The Hands Of The Gods to Lionsgate and it opened at 60 screens across the country, making it the most widely released documentary ever in the UK. Their red carpet at the premiere wasn’t red, but green – like a football pitch. MTV even got in touch – could they do a week-long takeover special about it? It was a different branch, but still: Winston hadn’t forgotten. So, when he turned up to do interviews, which would be broadcast across all of MTV’s channels for a week, he wore a T-shirt that named the woman who’d told them they were taking their idea. It read: “Who’s laughing now”.
n a vegetarian Indian restaurant in north London Leo Pearlman sits down for a buffet lunch with football journalist Tom Watt, the latest in a regular catchup about the game and a chance for Pearlman to pick his brains about the many sports-related projects Fulwell has on the go. “So, who?” asks Pearlman, for around the eighth time in half an hour. Fulwell are working on three ﬁlms, to be shown as part of a larger series, that will follow footballers from around the world in the run-up to the World Cup. One of them will be a sure thing – they’ve secured Tottenham’s Dele Alli – but they’ve been having problems with the long shot. They’ve been rebuffed by Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, Everton’s Mason Holgate and Burnley’s Michael Keane. He considers the question. “Jordan Pickford!” Watt replies, also for around the eighth time. “I know, I know! I’d love him,” replies Pearlman. Pickford is Sunderland’s young goalkeeper: a dream pick for Fulwell’s diehard Sunderland fans. “Who’s his guy?” Getting their guy is another thing that sets Fulwell apart. It’s their greatest strength, Continued on page 263 MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 237
AA Gill goes to Glastonbury 28 June 1954
10 December 2016
To mark the passing of Britain’s sharpest critic, who long lent this magazine his guile and wit, we revisit his 2004 report from behind Glastonbury’s razor-wire fence. Typically shrewd, the story he returned with cocked a snoot not just at the crusties, but the ‘Notting Hippy’ set for which the festival is now just as famous
hat is it with hippies and ﬁre? You only have to spark up a Zippo and four of them will come and stare contentedly into the ﬂame. At Glastonbury they light up everywhere. In the ﬁeld in front of the main stage, while some deathless bit of old pop ﬂotsam is offering his timeless classic in the middle of 300,000 swaying, wigged-out happy campers, you’ll trip over a little family of hippies, cross-legged in front of an improvised bonﬁre, watching the salamanders and phoenixes in the ﬂames with their third eyes. I saw a bloke stroll down one of the festival’s makeshift ley lines and just put a match to a pile of rubbish. It wasn’t so much an act of pyromania as the offering of a small prayer, the elemental, Promethean act of spiritual bollocks. In the age of nuclear ﬁssion and quantum physics, plasma screens and 3G cells, hippies can still look into a ﬁre and see the meaning of life and the answer to everything. So there I am, you see, seven sentences in, and I’ve started already with the hippy baiting. You just can’t help it; to know them is to mock them. What’s amazing is that they’ve lasted so long. At the bottom of the child-line of bullied pop trends, hippies are now in their
third generation. Born in the mid-Sixties into a blizzard of mockery, they’ve suffered, for 40 years, the ridicule of almost everyone. They’ve tried rebranding as yippies, travellers, crusties, hairies, the tribe, the clan, eco-warriors, alternative health practitioners and outreach co-ordinating social workers. But we all know they’re just the same old hippies in a new shapeless jersey. And credit where credit’s due, what other useful fad or fashion has lasted as long? No one says, “Oh, you sad old teddy boy.” Your mods, rockers, suedeheads, soul boys, new romantics, goths, punks and Bay City Rollerettes are now just embarrassing photographs and a ridiculous pair of shoes at the back of the wardrobe. Only hippies have transcended the natural lifespan of their music and knitwear. And if you sit down and think about them without sniggering, there’s a lot of hippy shit you quite like: ﬂower power became the green movement, and you quite like that. The don’t-work-just-feel-the-vibe-and-roll-a-spliff thing has its points, and as a weekend minibreak you’d rather make love than war. And you wouldn’t mind fathering a lot of blonde kids from a number of surprisingly attractive and nonjudgmental free-spirited women PHOTOGRAPHS BY
238 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
who can bake. Actually, when you get right down to it, there’s a bit of you that would like to live in a tepee. Yes, there is. With some mates and Liv Tyler in August. It would be a laugh and you quite fancy having a go on those Celtic drums. (Obviously, you don’t want the Hoover-bag hair, the scabies, the compost sleeping bag, a mate called Bracken and a lurcher called Stephen.) Perhaps we all need to get in touch with our inner hippies. Which is partially why I decided, ﬁnally, that it was time to go to Glastonbury. It’s funny, Glastonbury. It’s a secret password. Whisper it to grey men in ofﬁces, your accountant, your MEP, a hedge-fund analyst, and it’s likely a look of beatiﬁc remembrance will pass like a cloud over the sun and they’ll say, “Yes, I went once, years ago.” Glastonbury is a secret medieval heresy that’s remembered with hidden joy: “I was once a free-love hippy, Mott The Hoople acolyte and handpainted chillum maker” is probably not what you want to hear from the merchant banker handling your corporate takeover. Actually, medieval heresy is the decorative theme of Glastonbury, which, by the way, means “place of woad”, or, more exactly, “place of the woad people”. Inside, the huge curtain wall of the
What made it weird was that I was so chemical-free you could have tattooed the Soil Association logo on my forehead
Tor blimey: AA Gill enters the spirit of Glastonbury – with wizard headwear MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 239
temporary, self-governing state of Glastonbury is a reprise of the 13th century, or at least the “Jabberwocky” version of it, while outside, the Black Death of progress tears up the earth and eats people. Getting into Glastonbury is about as easy as the Black Prince found getting into Calais.
aving made the decision to find my inner hippy at Glastonbury, I had to make a decision as to what sort of hippy I was looking for. Was it Swampy? Or Donovan? Or was it the Marquis of Bath? Over the years there’s been quite a variety of hippies. You could, if you so wished, hold a Eurovision Hippy Contest or a Hippy Olympics. I like to think of Glastonbury as Hippy Crufts, a walled, heretic, medieval Hippy Crufts. That just about gets the ﬂavour. I have an advantage in shopping for an inner hippy because this is my second go. I was there at the start. I’m a child of the Sixties, albeit at school in rural Hertfordshire, which wasn’t exactly Woodstock or the Prague Spring or even Eel Pie Island. But we had the music and the hair and a bit of Red Leb and I know where my nascent, born-again hippy lurks. He’s a cross between Malcolm
McDowell and William Blake with a dash of Jethro Tull. This is really the crux. I’m 50 this year. Glastonbury is the last act of my forties. Glastonbury is unﬁnished business now that I’m closer to an undertaker than I am to boarding school. When I was a hippy ﬁrst time round we used to say never trust anyone over 30 (with shrill, dipped, upper-middle-class accents). Now I’m almost 50 I’d add never sleep in a tent over 30. I’ll do Glastonbury but I’ll do Glastonbury Soft, Glastonbury Lite, which is why I was sitting above the 20-mile trafﬁc jam in a Winnebago. Not for me the stews and refugee camps of windy canvas, the dank sleeping bag; a Winnebago is the way to go. You see, a mobile home is a great luxury, the stars’ accessory, the private box on nature unless – and this is a big unless – it actually is 240 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
Royal festival haul (clockwise, from right): AA Gill stands apart from the hippy harlequlnade; Gill’s partner, Nicola Formby; Gill, still channelling Merlin; an ‘udder-worldly’ Glastonbury food stall; abandon dope all ye who enter the Freak Show; what’s left behind
your home, in which case it’s trailer trash. Our one appears to be the main residence of the man who’s driving it. It has the mildly weird feeling of trying to hold a dinner party in a peculiarly strange man’s bedsit with him in the inglenook saying, “Don’t mind me”. I’m travelling with my girlfriend. This will be the last year I’m able to say girlfriend without sounding utterly Alan Clark. I’m also taking Matthew, my personal photographer, another little luxury you can give yourself after 45 (going to Boots and sticking the things in the albums is such a bore) and Alice BB, who’s a dear and here because when I told her I was going she became so overexcited I thought she just might rip off all her clothes and do ﬂoral ﬁnger-painting on her body. So I said she was welcome to tag along, as it was a sort of hippyish thing to say. She is still improbably
buoyant, staring out of the window, squeaking like a spaniel going shooting. Getting into Glastonbury is like crossing a particularly fraught border: there are thousands of policemen – or pigs as I suppose I must go back to calling them – hundreds of cones and signs and labels; there’s a Kafkaesque amount of paperwork; and when you see the security fence marching across the country it’s a reminder that the price of freedom, to be a bit of an anarchist and a ﬁre-worshipper, is a lot of razor wire and a bulk discount from Group 4. We ﬁnally park in the private, behind-stage, Bands-And-VlPs ﬁeld, which is like a pilot for a Channel 4 sitcom: Celebrity Trailer Trash. Over there is Kate Moss, the pin-up sprite, the Bardot of postmodem Notting Hippydom. I go and ﬁnd the press tent to get more passes and paperwork and bump into Roland White, a man
You see the fence. The price of freedom, to be a fire-worshiping anarchist, is a lot of razor wire breaking in over the wire. But on the other hand we’re jolly pleased when they get caught. There’s a lot of nostalgia about Glastonbury: people who’ve been here every year since they did it without microphones say they miss the gangs of Hells Angels, the drug dealers’ turf wars, the endemic thievery, the adulteration and overdoses, which just shows you can be nostalgic about anything.
whose hidden hippy has probably been sold for medical research. He does my television column when I’m not there. I’m only introducing Roland as a walk-on here because he made one very clever observation and I don’t want him to think I’m stealing it. “Have you seen the tented village yet?” he asked. “Well, when you do, you’ll notice it’s become a tented suburb. Well, a number of suburbs. It’s rather John Betjeman; there are people laying out gardens and putting up carriage lamps.” Inside the press tent the latest news is that no one’s managed to make it over the wall, but security guards with dogs have apprehended ten people and they’re all Liverpudlian (the liggers, not the dogs). It’s like the punch line to a joke, isn’t it? ...And they were all Scousers. The tickets are now £100 each so, naturally, in a right-on, hippyish way, we’re all for people
he truth is this alternative weekend nirvana all comes down to plumbing and waste management. There are armies of kids who’ve been given tickets in exchange for picking up rubbish, of which there is an extraordinary amount. But it’s bogs that are really the central leitmotif of Glastonbury. It’s all about one thing: colonic endurance. Can you go the full three days without going? Because the very thought is so nauseous, so utterly medieval, it makes a colostomy bag sound like a civilised option. There are plenty of loos laid out like backto-back miners’ cottages. You can see the rows of feet in the morning, the whole-earth pasty-shoe next to the Nike Airs, next to Doc Martens. That’s the thing that’s rarely mentioned about hippies – they’ve managed to achieve completely unisexual footwear but, my darling, the smell. By the third morning it’s, well, it’s half a million turds and all the trimmings. There are horror stories of dropped stashes, of tripping and slipping, of horrible,
horrible rectal explosions. But, for me, the most poignant, the most grisly, is the girl who told me she’d been putting off the call of nature for as long as sphincterally possible and until she was so comprehensively stoned and drunk she could face the drop. So at 2am she gingerly made her way to the pitch-black amenities block. Opening the door, she dropped her pants and, with the tense precision of a Romanian gymnast, lowered her posterior over the open sewer. Something cold and clammy squidged between the cheeks of her buttocks and in a sudden dark, repulsive ﬂash of third-eye insight she realised she was squatting on the pointy turtle’s head of the last occupant’s offering, which itself was the high peak of a mountain of shit that had risen like the devil’s soufﬂé from the bowl. She said her scream woke at least 4,000 people. Glastonbury is all about plumbing, 100,000 sloppy bladders. I came across my goddaughter, Florence, a gamine French girl with the most beguiling look and syrupy accent. She’s an art student and therefore penniless, so she was here on a green ticket, her job to stop men peeing in the little river that runs through the site. In years past it has become so urically toxic it’s cleared out all the animal and vegetable life for a couple of miles downstream. It’s also so pharmaceutically complex that frogs have been found copulating with mushrooms, and sheep lying on their backs baaing “Green, Green Grass Of Home” in three-part harmony. MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 241
One boy says, ‘Do you know where my tent is? It’s green, and next to another tent, a blue one’ I asked Florence how it was going. “It’s going a lot. Zer are many, many very drunk boys and zey don’t listen. I say, ‘No, no, put it away, you must not pee-pee, it will damage zee nature.’ But it is too late, and I am ‘aving to jump.” On that ﬁrst night we walked out into the humming darkness and stood at a crossroads in an improvised street along a hedge under a stunted hawthorn. A cold moon gave everything the silvered look of an old photograph. Thousands of people walked past in the dark. As Alice said, it was like those ﬁlms of city streets where all the car lights make long red-and-white streamers. Every single person who passed us was off their face. Not just a little tipsy, not a bit mellow, but utterly slaughtered, mullered, wrecked, legless, shit-faced, arseholed, f***ed – deeply, deeply irretrievably f***ed. They were like sleepwalking commuters. Faces would leer out of the dark, glassy-eyed, beatiﬁc. Occasionally the very undone would stand and rock before being taken up again by the stream of alternative humanity. What made it all the more weird was that I was utterly, utterly straight. I was so chemical-free you could have tattooed the Soil Association logo on my forehead. I have been straight since the Falklands, since before most of these kids could eat with a fork. It was a straightening feeling to know that I was the only person within a city mile who could, as the label says, safely operate heavy machinery. But an even weirder thing happened and I still can’t really explain it. I never take notes. I trust my memory to edit out what’s not needed and in a decade of reporting it’s never let me down until Glastonbury. As if in sympathy, as if by osmosis, it pressed the delete 242 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
button and I have forgotten pretty much everything that happened. I can’t remember coherently, even less chronologically. I’ve looked at Matthew’s photographs and unarguably I’m in them. There I am in a pixie hat and a harlequin velvet coat. Where the f*** did they come from? It jogs only static. My memories of Glastonbury are like putting your head in the sea and staring at the bottom. It’s another medium, another world. “You must remember free hugs,” said Alice. “That big man who was giving away free hugs. He gave you lots; and the banana shaman, the man dressed in a black bin-liner with a banana skin.” No, but I do remember the girl standing in front of her crudded boyfriend, grooming him like an ape, delicately picking coke-bogies out of his nose and eating them. And I remember standing at seven in the morning in the middle of tented suburbia, as the chill and full bladders woke the weekend hippies far too early, and the transcendent look of pain and nausea on their faces as they poked their heads out of their tents to confront a bright, good morning. It was like a slap. I stood and watched it happen over and over again like open auditions for a silent movie. And I remember the lost boy in the middle of the night, f***ed and buggered, stopping one in three to ask: “D’you know where my tent is?” What’s it look like? “It’s green.” Right, and is it near anything? “Yeah, yeah. [Excited.] It’s next to another tent, a blue one.” Sorry, cant help you, mate. And I remember buying Florence a fairy ballgown so she could go to a late-night costume party that looked like an Otto Dix painting. And I remember the T-shirt stalls “Dead Women Doth Say No” and “I Am Spartacus” – I so wanted one of those. I wanted one
that said “I Am The Eggman” and I wanted to give Matthew one that said “I Am The Walrus”. And I remember the Welsh “Te A Tost” stall where the bloke said, “What you want is a feast, see? That’s two rounds with my Auntie Wendy’s marmalade and a cup of tea.” And that’s exactly what I did want. And it was a feast. And I remember the nude wanker. Occasional nudity is respected at Glastonbury. It is the original ﬂavour and spirit of nonviolent alternative protest, where hippies came from. Where would your ﬂower-power happening be without some ﬂaxen-haired, clear-eyed child of the morning getting her tits out and ﬂicking peace signs at the world? This one wasn’t exactly from central casting. In front of the un-amplified folk gazebo where real, head-shaking lonely mandolin pluckers and ﬁnger-in-ear off-key whingers attracted a crowd of two or three delicate souls so hammered and wrung-out that their heads had been turned into iPods, there was a lady who had been so carried away by a folk combo that she’d taken all her clothes off. Nothing wrong with that. She’d been so transported by the musk she was moved to give herself a bit of a wank. Not a gentle, feel-good ﬁngering, but the complete, top-of-the-range, brace-yourself-Doris, blurred-wrist seeing to. No, maybe not too much wrong with that either. There’s an over-21 age limit and it’s Glastonbury. The half-dozen pigs walk round with blinkers on doing community relations, funny-hat-wearing. Lord Lucan jacking up with Osama Bin laden would have difﬁculty getting arrested here, but the trouble was this wasn’t some buff, ﬁt, pert hippy chick with ﬂowers in her hair and plaited pubes. It was an old, fat,
Field of dreamers (clockwise, from left): Gill rubs shoulders with sunburned ﬂower-power types; occasional nudity has long been part of Glastonbury’s spirit of nonviolent protest; Gill’s Winnebago; Nicola Formby (left) and the couple’s other festival companion, Alice BB; ‘living in a tepee makes you traveller mega A-list royalty,’ said Gill
hideous, meat-faced nutter bagwoman and something had to be done on purely aesthetic grounds. She was putting the folk folk off their protest songs, and they were complaining. Two large security guards spent a lot of time animatedly shouting into their walkie talkies before gingerly approaching the frotting troll with rubber gloves and a blanket, the old trout desperately trying to ﬁnish off the full Meg Ryan while at the same time telling Securicor to f*** themselves, like what she was doing. And they danced around her trying to grab her wrists without getting the ﬁnger. I watched with bated breath on tenterhooks. Would they? Will they? And then one of them did. Gave me the punch line. “Oh, please, love. Come quietly.” Yes!
nd I can remember the alternative health ﬁeld, with every variety of absurd astral chakra voodoo hokum known to people under 40 who’ve never been really ill. There were lots of circles for noddy-humming away cancer or drumming for a better back and world peace. But what I remember most was a bloke in the door of one tent doing utterly perfect yoga sun salutes. He must have been about my age and as supple as pollard willow. He drew an admiring crowd; they’d all tried a bit of yoga and they knew how difﬁcult it is to link your ﬁngers on the soles of your outstretched feet from a sitting position. But all I could think of was that in the time he’d learnt to do this, Tony Blair had gone from being in a band called Ugly Rumours to being prime minister, JK Rowling had become a billionaire and most of the blokes he was at school with had got careers, bought houses, had wives and kids, built things, made stuff, taken an interest. And in all that time he’d mastered the sun salute. I looked at him and
I thought there but for the grace of God, if I hadn’t fortuitously lost my inner hippy. And, finally, what I remember is the tepee ﬁeld. In hippy terms this is the dock at St-Tropez. Living in a tepee makes you traveller mega A-list royalty. This is having it all, in that it’s hardly having anything. The rest of us are just here rubbernecking in avaricious awe. The tepee ﬁeld really does look like a glimpse into another world: hippy Jerusalem. And the dwellers go about their blessed daily chores with the sort of casual insouciance that comes from having been stared at a lot. The difference between these and the mega-yachts of the South of France is that these aren’t hideous. These are the essential accessories of the wilfully modest. There are a few ethnic blankets, a log or two, black pots hanging over stateof-the-art ﬁres, a brace of shaggy, blonde children in 13th-century jerkins and jellybean sandals, a couple of lurchers, a Merlin staff and a tom-tom ﬁnishes off the look that makes the rest of us want to burn our central islands with breakfast bar and trash the Range Rover.
We know in our hearts that our Philippe Starck is stupid bollocks, the espresso machine and sorbetiere dust and ashes in our mouths, the weight and vast amount of our stuff is a rock about our necks. It’s vacuous, unnecessary petty snobbery, a terrible indictment of our insecurity, our earthbound, hoarding dullness. We look at these soaring tents and the fragility of devoting our precious existence to things with plugs and keys. What do you give the man who has everything? A tepee and the opportunity to have nothing but his life back and some self-worth and maybe a dose of goodness and bravery. Bravery and goodness and nits. Bravery, goodness, nits and bad breath. Bravery, goodness, nits, bad breath and cold water with bits in, a bird with organic wilderness body hair and a shit in a shrub. The tepee ﬁeld was where I ﬁnally faced my inner hippy and found that he was wanting. He was wanting underﬂoor heating and dinner at the Wolseley. So that was Glastonbury as far as I can remember. I have this feeling it was a lifechanging event. My life has a no-returns policy but I got a credit note. The girlfriend loved it; Matthew the snapper, I think, loved it; Alice BB adored it; and for Florence the goddaughter it was just another weekend in that gilded time of your life. I have a picture of her in her dressing-up frock on my desk. You will have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the music. Well, it was there; it’s the reason for Glastonbury but it’s really not the point. And that’s another good thing about the Winnebago. You can watch it on the telly. I asked Nick Mason of Pink Floyd what he thought of Glastonbury. “Well, it’s like the English hajj. It’s going to Mecca.” And I reckon that’s pretty spot-on. Glastonbury’s a secular pilgrimage. Music and getting off our tits are the only things we all still believe in. Did you ever play there, I asked? “No, I don’t think we did.” Have you ever been? “Good grief, no,” he replied with a look of mild horror. This is a man who really, honestly, doesn’t know how many cars he owns to the nearest ten. Originally published in June 2004.
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DSquared2 Jacket, £1,105. Shirt, £300. Jeans, £600. Boots, £570. Hat, £240. Earrings, £125. Lip ring, £80. Necklace, £120. Ring, £190. All by DSquared2. dsquared2.com
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Hermès Jumper by Hermès, £1,000. hermes.com
Casting Paul Isaac Grooming Ben Jones using Bumble And Bumble and Sisley Paris Fashion assistants Emily Tighe, Georgia Medley, Tashia Suleyman Retouching Lisa Langdon-Banks Models Serge and Jack C at Elite, Mason at AMCK, Do at Select, Bom Lee and Tim D at Models 1, Kesse at Premier, Aubrey at IMG, Fionnan at Next MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 261
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Step outside the main base in Sangin’s district centre and anything could happen. I saw soldiers retching with fear as they waited to pass through the gates on patrol. The Taliban there had perfected the art of building IEDs cheaply and laying them in abundance, so that they killed, maimed and hurt British soldiers far more cost-effectively than the British forces, for all their high-tech weaponry, harmed the insurgents. Casualty rates among British infantry units based in Sangin between 2006 and 2010 were often as bad as those ﬁghting across France in 1944. The ﬁshing was difﬁcult too. Outside the district centre, ﬁshing was undesirable due to the IEDs seeded along the banks and canal paths, but inside the base a small waterway had been diverted off the Helmand River, running through an underground pipe before ﬂowing into a deep pool just inside the perimeter walls. This pool was a favourite place among both the British and Afghan National Army (ANA) troops: a place of cool, clear water to escape the merciless heat and oppressive violence. It was also the haunt of small local barbel, which preferred to lie in the dark shadows a few metres upstream in the mouth of the pipe. I caught several after dusk there in the bloody summer of 2009, using sweetcorn on a rolling ledger, casting as far up the pipe as I could and letting the line roll back towards me. The ANA ate them. It was not just ﬁsh that came out of the pipe. One day while I was there a semi-drowned Afghan farmer, who had fallen into the river, popped out of the tunnel amid bathing Afghan troops. They dragged him to the bank and beat him up. When I asked them why, one replied “because he couldn’t swim”, looking at me with the kind of patient indulgence used for only the most stupid questions of a fool.
“I ﬁshed here a couple of days ago with two British special forces soldiers: we each caught three big ﬁsh,” a Peshmerga said, irritatingly. So I left the Mosul Dam empty-handed. Perhaps I had been too happy to begin with. For reasons I have never really understood, I ﬁsh best if tense, angry, sad or otherwise a bit messed up: which usually makes war a lucky environment to ﬁsh in. Fish like depressives. I went ﬁshing with photographer Sir Don McCullin in September last year and no sooner had he stared at the sea with that miserable mask of his – bleaker than the crypt in November rain – which he uses so effectively to disguise a warm and amused heart, than a shark had jumped on his line. Not long afterwards he caught a big ling too, both ﬁsh lured, I am sure, by his air of misery as the more jovial souls on the boat thrashed the waves with their smiles and caught nothing. Fractious relationships can be conducive to good ﬁshing too: there is nothing like a good pre-session row to bring ﬁsh on the feed. I am not sure how these rules applied to the Mosul Dam that July day, but sufﬁce to say I turned up happy, caught nothing and left pissed off. And so it was that three days later I found myself on the Zab in Kalak, with Mohammed acting as impromptu gillie, itching to catch. A couple of hours passed ﬁshlessly in that dull and loveless spot beside the buried bones of the martyred construction worker as my two companions, Mohammed and I batted conversation idly among each other: stirring a ripe mix of war stories and ﬁshing tales, in which we agreed, among other points, that the most dangerous thing about modern terrorism was that it had become a trend (this was someone else’s line, but I liked it and stole it immediately for myself); we discussed the severed head I had seen outside the base at Wilayat al-Fallujah; we assessed the price of oil and Obama’s foreign policy and... then my ﬂoat dragged slowly to the left and popped under, lost instantly from sight beneath the surface of the sludge-coloured water. It took me about three seconds to reel in the small, ugly, bigmouthed ﬁsh on the end of my line. “We call it the ‘big-mouth ﬁsh’,” Mohammed said, sounding quite bored. “You have just caught a very small one.” I unhooked the little ﬁsh and slipped it back into the murk of the water. On the way back to the car in the gloom of the dusk we worked out the man who Mohammed said had drowned the previous Friday had actually drowned on the Saturday. Mohammed did not look remotely embarrassed by this revelation, understanding that, when it comes to tales of war and ﬁsh in the land of the 1,001 nights, the essence of passion is sometimes better carried in the telling, rather than the facts. In my delight I did not care anyway. War or peace, it matters not: if there is only one ﬁsh caught in the day and it is your ﬁsh then victory is absolute, and I left that water thinking of the small ﬁsh I had just tricked, knowing for sure that I was a king until dawn.
I ﬁsh best if tense, angry, sad, or otherwise a bit messed up: which usually makes war a lucky environment to ﬁsh in. Fish like depressives
had not been lucky on the Mosul Dam a few days before I arrived at the Zab. Maybe I’d been too keen, for I was desperate to catch a ﬁsh there. The mighty dam had been the focus of an impending disaster story early in 2016, when US ofﬁcials warned that due to untended erosion at its base the 371ft-high, two-mile wall was in danger of breaching at any second, unleashing 11,100,000,000 cubic metres of water down the Tigris valley, submerging the city of Mosul, before thundering onwards to ﬂood Baghdad, all of which gave it particular louche appeal as a venue to ﬁsh from. Moreover, as soon as I pitched up and got my ﬁshing rod out, the Kurdish Peshmerga guarding the site told me that the SAS ﬁshed there too. “Great,” I thought, stumbling awkwardly down the dam walls to the water’s edge. “While Mesopotamia ﬂoods I’m going to catch ﬁsh and kick SAS arse while I’m at it.” Neither happened. Early on, a couple of quite large ﬁsh chased my lure but shied off and did not return. It was boiling hot. I got in a series of tangles and a bad mood. Next, for one awful moment, it seemed my interpreter might actually catch a ﬁsh while I did not. At one point, a sun-burnished special forces dude pitched up on the dam wall in a stripped-down, low-axle Mad Max buggy, gazed upon us with a ﬂeeting expression of complete disinterest, then disappeared again in a cloud of dust. 262 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
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Erdogan’s Warriors (Sune Engel Rasmussen, December 2016) The Songbird Of Syria (James Harkin, November 2016) Death Within The Walls (Anthony Loyd, September 2015)
Continued from page 237
but also, quite possibly, one of the company’s biggest limitations. When Corden was ramping up to start The Late Late Show, he personally visited the Los Angeles ofﬁces of celebrity publicists to guarantee his would be a different kind of show. They would have nothing to fear, he said. Their clients would be unashamedly celebrated. It’s how The Late Late Show has punched above its weight in both guests on the sofa and the mega-stars in Carpool’s passenger seat. It’s also something of a Fulwell philosophy and the reason they punch above their weight, too. They secured the guys for The Class Of ’92 after buddying up with Beckham following the Comic Relief Smithy sketch. Bolt – a United fan – came to them after watching it and asked if they could do something similar for him. “Here’s the thing,” says Winston, “we don’t choose projects where we don’t like the people or we’re not interested in them.” “We’re not hard-nosed journalists,” adds Ben Turner. “It’s like with Bolt, we’re not going to sniff around looking for steroids. That’s just not my angle on it.” Both say they don’t show the subjects the ﬁnal cut, but others at Fulwell told GQ that, actually, they do. When I met Pearlman before the lunch in London, he lamented that the main criticism in the Bolt reviews was this lack of probe. Does it mean, for example, that they wouldn’t do a ﬁlm like Amy, the Oscar-winning documentary on Winehouse which so upset her father? You wonder. Though, as Pearlman notes, while they have yet to be nominated for an Oscar, they have been nominated for an asbo, after the last Fulwell 73 summer party got a touch out of hand. It is, after all, a catch-22. If they did dig deep, they wouldn’t have had got access to Bolt in the ﬁrst place. Rather than errant journalists, they’re more like enthusiastic fans. Corden tells me that, as part of The Class Of ’92 documentary, the Turner brothers had arranged a ﬁve-a-side match between the ﬁve legends and ﬁve youth team players from the same era who didn’t quite make it. He and Pearlman weren’t needed, but they drove up from London to Manchester anyway, just to
watch from the sidelines, a box full of cold beers to hand, the only spectators there, the best seats in the house. When I ask Winston why it is that One Direction have chosen to work with them so much, he says he has realised that what he used to think of as Fulwell 73’s major weakness – that they spread themselves so widely, from documentary to music videos, adverts to light entertainment – was actually their greatest strength. Once they had One Direction’s trust, they could be a one-stop shop for them; no matter what the project, they didn’t have to work with anyone else. Harry Styles even lived in Winston’s attic for two years during the height of the band’s fame. “And no one ever knew where he was or where he was living.” When I later speak to Styles on the phone, he mentions another reason – a far simpler one. “I’ve been lucky enough to call them my friends,” he says. “They’re really good, so it’s
‘You don’t work with them because they’re your mates. It’s more like... you trust them’ HARRY STYLES
not like you work with them because they’re your mates. It’s more like... you trust them, it feels like you’re working with your friends, because they are best mates. You know, they grew up together. That’s where it comes from. So, working in that environment, you can’t help but feel like you’re joining a group of friends.” Also: “Ben Winston has got amazing teeth. He’s got some of the best teeth you’ll ever see. They’re exceptional.” After In The Hands Of The Gods, the boys of Fulwell 73 had a dry patch before making The Class Of ’92. Each was doing odd jobs, just getting by. Ben Turner was editing packaged football clips. Gabe Turner was doing a voice-over for a virtual horse-racing channel. Winston was taking various producing gigs. So, every week, each of them would give £300 to Pearlman and each week Pearlman would play poker with it to keep the company aﬂoat – major tournaments in Brighton and less salubrious clubs in London; Monday night was at The Western Club and Friday night the spin-off cash games from a Barry Hearn poker TV show. And each, of course, gave him all the
money they could spare for one reason: trust. Because, after all, Leo was family. He nearly always won.
hwack! Thwack! Thwack! Back at CBS, back in the control room, the recording of the turkeybased song-and-dance number with Matthew Broderick is about to begin. There are still problems. They ran over on rehearsal time and Broderick keeps looking at the wrong camera on the ﬁnal shot. Now, 50 minutes after they did it for the ﬁrst time, there’s simply no more time to practise. They have to record now and do it for real – the show has to start right afterwards. The taping begins and goes well until... Broderick looks at the wrong camera again. “It’s camera two, Matthew!” shouts Winston. “F***!” They need to go again. Winston writes a quick email: “Olivia, I’m putting you on this email now. Read the chain, see if you can organise this meeting...” This time, Broderick looks into the wrong camera at the half-way point of the routine. “Come on, Matthew. Look around! Look around!” shouts Winston. They need to go one ﬁnal time, but Winston isn’t sure if they can spare the minutes. Time is really running out. “I don’t know if we can... I don’t know if we can...” he repeats. But he knows they don’t have the routine yet. He knows Corden hasn’t nailed it. When I asked Winston earlier how their friendship has changed since they’ve worked with each other, he says he did worry about it: “Because they say never work with your friends.” But he realised he had an advantage over every other executive producer in Hollywood: they have to keep the talent happy. He can just be honest: “And he might be upset for a minute. But he knows I have his best interests at heart. I don’t take that for granted”. Finally, in the control room, Winston says: “OK... Right. Let’s do one more.” This time – “And catch the turkey!” shouts Winston – they nail it. He throws his hands in the air. “Yeeeeees! Boom! Lovely shot on six, beautiful! Great stuff. Well done, everyone! Now, let’s turn this around as quickly as we can...”
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Andrew Weitz Will Dress You To Success (Vincent Boucher, February 2017) James Corden Explains The US Presidential Election (August 2016) The Scene Maker (Dylan Jones, April 2016) MARCH 2017 GQ.CO.UK 263
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grime acts who were drawn to a style that lent itself to theirs, cementing this relationship in February 2010 when Jamal Edwards invited him to perform on his grime-based YouTube channel, SB.TV. “Even with his rapping he can execute it well,” Stormzy, Britain’s biggest grime star, who was also discovered by Edwards, tells GQ. “He’s cold with it. When Ed raps it’s Ed. It’s not some carbon copy. It’s his truth. It’s Ed spitting. He’s a music student. There’s nothing out of his remit.” The key to his adventures in lo-ﬁ, Sheeran tells me, was not having a place to live. “I was always out searching for a gig to do or a session to be in or a sofa to sleep on. So I ended up mixing with a lot of people in a short space of time. There’s no drive to go out and do something if you have a home to go to. Last night, I had a home to go to and I ate shepherd’s pie and watched The Blacklist with my girlfriend. Back then, even if I had somewhere to stay, I’d want to go to a gig or a session or do a hook for a rapper. I couldn’t relax.” In April 2010 Sheeran ﬂew to Los Angeles on the strength of a single contact. He did that gig and began searching for more, travelling to any venue or promoter’s house he could to ask for the chance to play. One day he went to the Key Club. In his own words, “I looked f***ing weird. I was boozing and I was very chubby with wild hair. It was an all-black R&B night and all the people looked at me like ‘Get outta here, kid’ but they let me play.” In the audience that night was Jamie Foxx’s manager, who invited him onto the Oscar winner’s radio show, then to play at his club night, after which Foxx asked Sheeran to crash at his house. “I had $50 and the cab fare to his place was $500, so they had to pay it.” This is the kind of thing that always happens to Ed Sheeran. It came at just the right moment. He had been turned away by a string of labels for a second time and he needed a sign. Then he put out his breakthrough single, “The A Team”, and waited for the next deﬁning moment. That arrived at a Bruno Mars gig at the Notting Hill Arts Club. Sheeran got chatting to a man who invited him back to crash at his place and to play songs to his girlfriend, who was also a 264 GQ.CO.UK MARCH 2017
songwriter. She turned out to be Miranda Cooper, who had written a string of hits for Girls Aloud and Sugababes. “The next morning my manager rang me up and said Ed Howard really likes your new songs and I said, ‘Who’s Ed Howard?’ and he said, ‘He’s the head of A&R at Asylum Records’ and I said, ‘Have I met him?” and he said, ‘Yeah, you stayed at his house last night.’” When the labels came crawling back he went with the man who had offered him somewhere to stay. A random act of kindness, part of a divine plan or just more reward for Sheeran, the dog with a bone. Take your pick. But whatever you believe, three years and two albums later, this pop pocket battleship was a superstar. Now it was time to win some more.
heeran’s third album is bolder, brassier and bassier. He began writing it as soon as he had ﬁnished his second but, since he is so proliﬁc, he felt able to discard tens of songs as the project evolved. Ever the collaborator, he returned to tried and trusted favourites for support and sparks: producer Benny Blanco, Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid and singer-songwriter Amy Wadge. Recorded in the house in Suffolk he bought to be closer to his parents (he also bought them a house in London to be closer to him) he ﬁnished a ﬁrst version last summer and played it to Rick Rubin, the legendary producer who had contributed so much to x. “He walked out of the house and said, ‘Write more songs,’” admits Sheeran. “I was like, ‘Oh, ow.’ No one was jumping for joy at the label and I thought there must be a reason. So, I looked at it again and scrapped six songs.” For Sheeran, this mixed reaction had two consequences. Firstly, he needed to make it better. Secondly, if it was better it would be more successful. “It is my vision – but the reason those artists who have a light that shines for ﬁve years then disappear is that they don’t listen to other people. I can’t think I know everything. I know how to write a song and put together an album of good songs, but sometimes it’s difﬁcult to tell which songs should or shouldn’t be on an album. But ultimately the album has improved because of it.” The opener, “Eraser”, is a confrontational declaration of intent, mixing hip hop with a chorus of layered vocals that introduces the album and addresses – in very speciﬁc terms – the trials of his life and career and his newly elevated status in the industry. “Perfect”, which he describes as his favourite, is a classic Sheeran ballad about his current girlfriend and old Suffolk stalwart, Cherry Seaborn. It shows his most underestimated weapon, that glacially clear voice, scaffolded with serious lung
power and an ability to change tone when it’s required. “Happier” is another standout ballad with his cleverest and most mature lyrics yet. He tells me about a song he had to ﬁght to keep on the album, “Galway Girl”, which mixes his new bigger sound with traditional Irish musicians from Dublin. It is the perfect demonstration of how his mind works: he admitted that Irish folk music “isn’t the coolest thing”, as his label feared, but told them it that it was going to be “f***ing massive” because there are 400 million people in the world who will say they are Irish even if they aren’t. For Sheeran, there is no conﬂict between the demands of creativity and commerce. They are, in every way, in perfect harmony. “Castle On The Hill” is his grand statement, a foot-stomping stadium anthem about his childhood that has the palatial scope of Coldplay with the memory-jogging details of a Springsteen epic. “I love reminiscing,” he says. “I love the idea of looking back at childhood, like The Goonies and Stand By Me. The area in Suffolk where I’m from is so beautiful and my friends are so amazing that I wanted to write a song about it. No one is ever going to sing a song about Suffolk again. It’s another thing that’s so speciﬁc. I had Stormzy at my house and we played our new albums to each other and he said, ‘I can really relate to that’ – and he’s from Croydon.” Stormzy, who like so many of Sheeran’s inﬂuential friends is unabashedly affectionate about him, explains why he has such a huge musical reach. “First of all, there is the human side of Ed,” he told me. “He has such an energy and aura. We [grime acts] appreciate that and he appreciates the mentality of grime. He gets it. He’s been inﬂuenced by it and done sick collaborations with grime artists from early on. He’s a musical madman: he’s got grime in him, he’s got country, he’s got R&B – and it’s not fake. It’s not like when people latch on to genres to look good. It’s natural for him. It’s not forced.” By blending the universality of pop, the confessions of a singer-songwriting and the obsessive listing of hip hop, Sheeran has created something perfectly suited to his audience. The subjects are not novel – sex, drinking, youthful indiscretions, awkwardness and falling in and out of love – but he bristles a little at the suggestion that the level of detail is new, that the speciﬁcity of his lyrics is so of its time. “I do have a song that mentions Doritos,” he admits. “But that’s the key to the broad appeal. The closer you can get to the truth and being really speciﬁc the better. So ‘Don’t’ [a song on x about a complicated situation involving Ellie Goulding and One Direction’s Niall Horan] is a f***ing speciﬁc song and people in Taiwan listen to it and say, ‘I can relate to that.’ They can’t relate to
ED SHEERAN what actually happened [look it up], but they can relate to the emotion. The key to being massive is to write exactly what you feel. Do not tamper with the truth. Just stick it out and people will hear the emotion in a song. “I need something in my songs that no one has ever heard before. So, when people hear it they say, ‘That’s an Ed song.’ A line like ‘Everybody’s talking about exponential growth’, the label said they didn’t like. But then they asked, ‘How’s the exponential growth song?’ and I said, ‘Exactly!’ That’s how you remember it.” In an industry notorious for bandwagon jumping, it’s unsurprising that Sheeran’s success has caused some head-scratching among rival labels. Was he aware of any Sheeran-lite copycats on the scene? “I can’t comment on that, but what I would say is that every single Brits Critics’ Choice was a female until I was successful and since me they’ve been all male. There are a lot of singersongwriters around now. I’m not the ﬁrst but there are more than before. I’m very happy for everyone to be in the same race as me, even if they copy every single thing I’ve done. In a 100m sprint to get a No1 album I just know I’m going to win. I don’t care who’s doing what. I just know I’m going to win. I’m going to make sure I come ﬁrst.”
ast July, Ed Sheeran played unaccompanied to 90,000 people for three nights at Wembley Stadium, a high-wire act captured in the documentary Jumpers For Goalposts. Sir Elton John told him on stage, “You’re the only person in the world who could do this on your own.” Sheeran said he picked the ﬁlm’s title because his goalposts are always moving, always getting wider and more ambitious. The next target is to play every country’s equivalent of Wembley. But despite his unnerving business sense and the insatiable need to work – to compete and win – he retains the honest charm of an over-sensitive, wide-eyed adolescent, now a maturing artist driven to express what he thinks and feels. “I get out the darkness in my life through a song,” he says. “There’s loads of songs that never get recorded that are just me being in a mood. Instead of sending a long email or having an angry phone call, I write a song and then bin it. It happened on this album. It’s a very good outlet for emotion. “I’m very happy in a relationship, coming up for 18 months. I’m incredibly settled. The only point I’ve not been in a relationship was February to July 2015. I was touring places like Manila, Shanghai, then did all Australia and went to South America. That was my fun time. Crazy time. Lots of partying. I deﬁnitely got 98
per cent of my partying in my life done and out of my system in those months.” In between asking for a pizza to be delivered (“the one with rocket”) and his plans to watch the David Brent ﬁlm, he mentions being asked out for dinner by Sir Paul McCartney. Then by Sir Mick Jagger. And by Sir Van Morrison. Then by Eric Clapton CBE. If you include the support of his mentor Sir Elton John, he’s become friends with British music’s Round Table. No wonder he wanted to be knighted. He says they all told him, “I like your shit”, which is no doubt the essence of what they said, if not the exact words. Talk of pizza brings him back to the time Russell Crowe made him one for breakfast. Then on to dinner with Robert De Niro. And the cast of Game Of Thrones popping over to his house in Ladbroke Grove for a party last week. Like Sheeran’s music, there is no artiﬁce or pretence to these stories. There’s barely even any glamour. They are just what happened. “Every once in a while people like Ed pop up who are a special blend of hardworking, business-minded musical genius,” says Stormzy. “Ed’s that different pedigree of artist, who does things bigger and better than his peers. He’s gonna do crazy things, sell out stadiums, have albums in the charts for years. It’s not a ﬂuke for Ed.” Sheeran delineates between Ed the global brand and Ed who’s one of the boys in Suffolk. “As the brand guy, I am a musician,” he says. “But it doesn’t deﬁne me as a person. I want to be remembered for being a good dad and raising my children well.” Fatherhood is likely to be approached with the same assiduity and ferocious commitment as his music. “I never stopped,” he says. “It’s the same thing as Taylor. There’s an underdog element to it. Taylor was never the popular kid in school. I was never the popular kid in school. Then you get to the point when you become the most popular kid in school – and we both take it a bit too far. She wants to be the biggest female artist in the world and I want to be the biggest male artist in the world. It also comes from always being told that you can’t do something and being like, ‘F*** you. I can.’” When he talks about writing the song for last year’s X Factor, his ﬁrst thought is of the poor contestants, baring their souls as he has done for the past decade. His sympathy is really empathy, in that he carries with him the pangs of rejection and doubt, from family to school to London’s post-gig early morning loneliness. “I would be uncomfortable sitting in a judge’s seat and saying to someone, ‘This isn’t for you’, because they might go on in ten years’ time and smash it as well,” he says. “It’s really dangerous to say
that to a kid. When I was 17 so many people said a song wasn’t good or a gig wasn’t good and it really knocks your conﬁdence.” Adele may be Sheeran’s commercial touchstone, but Swift is his spiritual sibling, a kinship founded on shared experiences, past sorrows and present euphoria – before success and after. “We have spent so much of our lives alone and feeling misunderstood,” said Swift. “You write a song about an emotion that confuses you, or about something you’re scared of or excited about, and you release it, and all of a sudden you’re making a conversation with millions of people. Then the ﬁnal phase is when you look out into a crowd of thousands of people and they know every word. That’s an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie – which we’ve never felt before in our lives.” Sheeran’s epic stage performances mirror his music and his life. He is a man alone, in control and viviﬁed by the connections his songs make with his people. When we discuss the prospect of playing with a band, especially as his records become increasingly upscaled, orchestrated, multi-styled panoramas, he remains reluctant to consider sharing his limelight with anyone other than his guitar and effects pedals. It’s as if he shares so much of himself with his audience and so much of the spoils of his success with those he loves, that the stage must remain his and his alone. As usual, this is not merely a psychological or existential preference. He knows it’s good business, too. “There are so many singer-songwriters who do what I do that play with a band,” he says. “Everyone walks away from me and thinks, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ As soon as you lose that element of ‘wow’ you’re just like everyone else. But what sets me apart now is being solo and it would be a drastic mistake to join the gang and be like everyone else.” He’s only half right about that. In so many ways he is like everyone else. He’s the awkward bedroom poet who writes songs his fans feel could have been written about or for them. He’s the unstyled, unchanged millennial straight out of a skate park or shopping mall food hall, piloting pop’s ﬂight from fantasy and escapism. But there are a couple of things that mean he isn’t just like the rest of us. There’s abundant talent, of course, both God-given and practice-honed, but more than anything there is the will to win. Eight records down, seven to go and Ed Sheeran is still winning. ÷ is out on 3 March.
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5-6 APRIL 2017, MUSCAT, OMAN SHANGRI-LA BARR AL JISSAH RESORT & SPA
Navigating the New Silk Routes THE PREMIER EVENT FOR THE FASHION AND LUXURY INDUSTRY Join Suzy Menkes and 500 of the international luxury and fashion industry’s top creative and business names for two days of learning, networking, inspiration and discussion about the topics that are reshaping business.
CEO, Jimmy Choo
TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED INCLUDE: HOW CAN LUXURY GOODS COMPANIES REIGNITE CONSUMER DESIRE?
ARE FRAGRANCES AND ACCESSORIES STILL THE ENGINE OF GROWTH?
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Caterina Occhio Founder, See Me
Amal Al Raisi
WWW.CNILUXURY.COM / +44 20 7152 3472 @CNILUXURY
Chairman and Founder, Italia Independent Group and Garage Italia Customs
CEO, Pitti Immagine, Chairman, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP
PHOTOGRAPHY OF GALLERY INTERIOR
A MARYLEBONE GALLERY SO PRIVATE, ONLY A FEW WILL EVER SEE IT
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JONATHAN HEAF IS...
...with NICK GRIMSHAW The star-wrangling DJ takes Kanye’s meltdown and Bieber’s moods in his stylish stride at Luca
s Nick Grimshaw still cool? This is, after all, precisely the reason why he was hired by the BBC in 2012 to host The Radio 1 Breakfast Show, taking over from the old, unfathomably uncool Chris Moyles. He certainly looks pretty cool as he hops from the back of a cab outside our lunch destination, all teeth and sports luxe. Navy suede bomber, blue tailored trousers, black Vans and dark shades. He’s trendy yet clean, sort of Shoreditch via a bath, if you will; a hipster who’s made some decent wedge. The idea that authenticity (what young people think of as cool nowadays) can be upgraded for Joe Public via a little luxury beﬁts our location, Luca, on St John Street in Clerkenwell. It’s run by the same team who run The Clove Club, a restaurant that brought sophisticated food – rather than just triple-cooked chips with aioli – to Shoreditch several years ago. This is their attempt at a posh Italian. We begin by talking about Justin Bieber. Grimshaw and I – only school kids call him “Grimmy” – have something in common in that we both adore gossiping about famous people we’ve interviewed. Bieber, Beyoncé, Beckham, he’s done the lot. I tell him my worst interviewee by far was Christina Aguilera during her Stripped period. She was wearing so much fake tan that she left a trail of brown radioactive sludge wherever she perched. At the time, I remember thinking she resembled an enormous melted orange crayon. “I’ve done Bieber every year since he was 14, so I’ve probably had deeper conversations with him than I’ve had with my own family,” he chuckles. Is he a terrible brat? “He used to be. But then every teenager is a dickhead, aren’t they? This year he came into the studio for a prerecord and he was monosyllabic and disinterested. I stopped the interview and asked him what the problem was. He told me he was hungover. So I got him a pint and a Nando’s. Celebrities are just dogs who need petting. Show them some love and they’ll be humping your leg before lunch.” Speaking of which, we’ve ordered already: shaved fennel with pear salad and carpaccio of Hereford beef with oyster emulsion to start; for mains we choose pasta entrées: garganelli with pork sausage, tomato and anchovy (for him) and tiny pheasant milanese swimming in a peppery,
sepia-coloured broth (for me). We drink lager and pale ale and agree the food is, although reﬁned, broadly unexceptional. Getting back to the gossip, I want his take on Kanye West – meltdown or precision press strategy? “Kanye might be having a nervous breakdown or he might just be really bored.” He’s bleached his hair, I say. Like with Britney Spears, extreme grooming is always a cultural cipher that indicates a celeb is one sad-face emoji short of selfimmolation. “I like Kanye, or I like his music. I asked him once if he got lots of free stuff sent to him and he took it as an insult. ‘Do you think I’m cheap?’ he shouted. ‘I drink champagne all day. Do you?’ No thanks, Kanye. It gives me dog breath.” You can see why stars like Grimshaw. He’s brilliant fun, smart and utterly selfdeprecating. “What I do isn’t work – it’s talking to myself in a room really early in the morning.” He doesn’t take talent, or himself, too seriously, thus he’s able to sweetly pop celebrities’ ego bubbles and talk to them like a normal person, something the swarming teams around megastars all too often are unable to do. “I hate a kiss-ass,” he agrees. “Any celebrity that comes into the studio at 7am in the morning to be grilled by me and tells me how happy they are to be here is lying.” His realness has meant he’s been able to make friends with some of those he’s encountered along the way, Harry Styles, for one. Has he heard from Harry recently? “Sure, we texted this morning. He’s worried I won’t like his new solo record. He recorded it in Jamaica so I am praying it’s some awful white-man reggae.” Cool? Yes, Nick Grimshaw will always be cooler than his employers – always has been, always will be. That’s why he didn’t ﬁt in with Simon Cowell on The X Factor: “Everyone told me not to do it as it was so naff. Simon had weird energy: very Machiavellian.” So what happens when he eventually leaves The Radio 1 Breakfast Show? Where do DJs go to die? The pub? “I’m doing an internship,” he confesses proudly. “With Es Devlin, who designs huge stage sets for Adele and Beyoncé. I’ve been using a glue gun! I’ve always liked three things: music, nice shoes and good lighting. I’ve ticked two of those boxes, so why not the last? “I’ve reached a point in my life where I know all that celebrity stuff is, ultimately, nonsense. What I need to think about is this: am I happy, am I healthy and am I being nice to my family? I guess it’s about being present.” Which is the least cool, but most honest thing Nick Grimshaw says all afternoon. Luca, 88 St John Street, London, EC1. 020 3859 3000. luca.restaurant
VERDICT Style +++++
Quif ++,,, Table manners ++++, Gossip +++++ Shoe game ++++, Overall ++++,
Illustrations Anton Emdin; Zohar Lazar
‘Celebrities are just dogs who need petting’
Conduit Street j o h nv a r v a t o s . c o m
Vintage Trouble, 2017 K ings Theatre, Brooklyn, N Y
TAG HEUER CARRERA CALIBRE HEUER 01 His art is Avant-Garde and his mindset is disruptive, two reasons among many why Alec Monopoly is TAG Heuer’s Art Provocateur. #DontCrackUnderPressure is the way he lives and the way he creates. www.tagheuer.com