February/March 2020 Volume 16/01 FREE
Celebrating 10 years in Marylebone with a move around the corner to
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01. Contents Cover: The Vitsœ 621 Table 66. Life Q&A
04. 28. FORWARD THINKING YOUR GUIDE TO FEBRUARY AND MARCH IN MARYLEBONE
COMPANY MEN WILLIAM DALRYMPLE ON INDIA’S FORGOTTEN MASTERS
20-47. Features 20. What’s brewing? 28. Company men 36. Sketchy company 40. Poetry in motion
POETRY IN MOTION A VISIT TO POETRY’S DESIGN STUDIO: THE FASHION BRAND WITH A PENCHANT FOR SLOWNESS
20. 36. 66. WHAT’S BREWING? MARYLEBONE’S COFFEE EXPERTS ON WHAT MAKES OUR CITY’S APPROACH TO THE DRINK SO DISTINCTIVE
SKETCHY COMPANY HOW THE LONDON SKETCH CLUB DREW AND DRANK THEIR WAY ROUND MARYLEBONE
04-19. Up front 04. Forward thinking 12. Local lives 16. My perfect day
ROBIN MAUDE HEAD PLANNER OF VITSŒ ON SYSTEM THINKING, DOING MORE WITH LESS, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD DESIGN
46-49. Culture 46. Q&A: Max Porter, author and guest at the Daunt Books Festival 48. Book reviews 50-56. Food 50. Q&A: Paul and Stephen Rothe of Paul Rothe and Son 56. Food philosophy 58-65. Style 58. Q&A: Mickey Ashmore of Sabah 64. The look 65. Inside knowledge 66-74. Life 66. Q&A: Robin Maude of Vitsœ 72. Inside knowledge 74-80. Health 74. Q&A: Prof Tony Kochhar of The London Clinic 78. Floating away 80-83. Space 80. Inside knowledge 82. Q&A: Tim Fairweather of Sandfords
02. Editor’s letter
COFFEE BUZZ MARK RIDDAWAY
Marylebone Journal Web: marylebonejournal.com Twitter: @MaryleboneJrnl Instagram: marylebonejrnl Facebook: Marylebone Journal
I’ve always had a fractious relationship with coffee. Like the classic soap opera spouse, I love it, but it’s really bad for me. Drink the right coffee at the right time and it’s like rocket fuel. But too strong a cup and I’m a jolting, wild-eyed, tachycardiac mess, incapable of sitting down, let alone sleeping. Once, on a trip to Ethiopia, coffee’s country of origin, I was made to drink three strong shots in quick succession as part of a welcoming ceremony, then spent several unpleasant hours crouching on the floor in a darkened hotel room, stripped to my pants, rocking on my heels and sweating like a marathon runner as I tried to bring my heartrate and body temperature under control. I got to sleep about a day or so later, and I still get flashbacks.
Editor Mark Riddaway email@example.com Deputy editors Viel Richardson firstname.lastname@example.org Clare Finney email@example.com Managing editor Ellie Costigan firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial desk 020 7401 7297
This extreme reaction wasn’t too much of an issue in the days when most coffee was properly minging. At home it came freeze-dried in a jar; drunk out, it was mainly the chain stores’ vaguely coffee-flavoured vats of tax avoidance and hot milk. I could take it or leave it. Now, though, as this issue’s feature explores, London’s coffee culture has become as vibrant and distinctive as it has ever been, and the availability of excellent coffee, roasted and prepared with genuine craft, is so completely tantalising that I constantly find myself treading the line between being wonderfully energised and completely off my trolley. I could, I suppose, go for decaf, but where’s the fun in that?
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The Ultimate Party Space
04. Up front
FORWARD THINKING YOUR GUIDE TO FEBRUARY AND MARCH IN MARYLEBONE
MUSIC 14th—15th FEBRUARY KALEIDOSCOPE CHAMBER COLLECTIVE By bringing together wonderful musicians, each of them established performers in their own right, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective is first and foremost a celebration of musical talent, but this collaborative outfit is also committed to celebrating diversity in all its forms: nationality, skin colour, gender, orientation, age and social background. In this, the group’s debut stint at Wigmore Hall, the Friday night explores music from the Romantic era, while the Saturday presents works by Mozart, Dohnányi and Beethoven. Wigmore Hall 36 Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP wigmore-hall.org.uk
TALK 19th FEBRUARY WHERE OEDIPUS MEETS AGAMEMNON: DISCOVERY OF THE CITY OF ANCIENT TENEA Archaeologist Dr Elena Korka has been leading a project to systematically excavate the site of ancient Tenea since 2013. This fabled city, lost for millennia, is thought to have been built by prisoners captured during the legendary Trojan wars. In this free talk, Dr Korka will discuss the series of elaborate domestic complexes discovered in 2018. Hellenic Centre 6-18 Paddington Street, W1U 5AS helleniccentre.org
THEATRE 20th FEBRUARY NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: CYRANO DE BERGERAC Regent Street Cinema offers comfortable, convenient and highly affordable access to one of the West End’s hottest properties, streamed live from the Playhouse theatre. Starring James McEvoy, Edmond Rostand’s 1897 masterpiece about a Frenchman with a big nose and an even bigger capacity for language has been adapted by Martin Crimp and directed by Jamie Lloyd, breathing fresh life into a classic play with all the inventiveness and linguistic ingenuity of Cyrano’s attempts at seduction. Regent Street Cinema 307 Regent Street, W1B 2HW regentstreetcinema.com
05. Up front
EXHIBITION 10th—23rd FEBRUARY ART IN A BOX II Creative social enterprise Eazl joins forces with Graham Hunter Gallery to present Art in a Box II—a fundraising initiative that raises money for two charities, Together For Short Lives and CALM. Twenty-five famous figures from the worlds of music, comedy and TV, including Suggs, Pete Doherty, KT Tunstall, Vic Reeves and Boy George, have each produced an eight-inch square painting inspired by ‘songs that light the way out of the dark’. The exhibition coincides with an online auction to buy the paintings (charitystars.com/ artinaboxii), which closes on 28th February.
EXHIBITION 17th—23rd FEBRUARY NATURE / NATURALLY
Drawing inspiration from nature and employing some of the traditional skills of Chinese art—the use of white space in particular—Evan Wu, Carroll Tsang, Lo Shao Chi and Winnie Hui, four artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan, transform their love of life into paintings, ceramics and other forms of artistic creation. 67 York Street Gallery 67A York Street, W1H 1QB naturenaturallyinfo.tumblr.com
Graham Hunter Gallery 81 Baker Street, W1U 6RQ grahamhuntergallery.co.uk
06. Up front
EXHIBITION UNTIL 29th FEBRUARY RICHARD DEACON: DEEP STATE Memory, touch, sight, a sense of movement. These are all things explored by abstract artist Richard Deacon in Deep State, the latest in a series of the sculptor’s exhibitions at the Lisson stretching back to 2002. Materials such as steel, ceramics, clay, bent wood and ink on paper explore the relationship between depth and surface, what we see and what lies beneath. Exhibits twist, swell, recede and exist in different planes creating a multi-media experience that pulls the viewer inside the mind of this most skilled of contemporary artist. Lisson Gallery 67 Lisson Street, NW1 5DA lissongallery.com
FOOD 18th—29th FEBRUARY OMER SHADMI & DANIEL ZUR
THEATRE 19th—29th FEBRUARY THE WINTER’S TALE
Lifelong friends Omer and Daniel grew up together in Israel’s Jezreel Valley before learning their craft in kitchens in London, Berlin and Tel Aviv. For their Carousel residency the pair have created a menu that blends Israeli and Middle Eastern traditions and showcases their love of fresh, colourful ingredients and bold flavours. Dishes such as cured mackerel salad with horseradish aioli, shallots and sumac, and Cornish brill in tomato and green chilli marduma sauce, are designed to be shared between friends, the vibrant sauces mopped up with warm, light, fluffy flatbreads.
The Bridge Theatre Training Company, featuring some of the future stars of the London stage, marks the final weeks of winter with a seasonal classic. In Shakespeare’s late romance, King Leontes of Sicily becomes convinced that his pregnant wife Queen Hermione is carrying the child of his close friend King Polixenes of Bohemia. Driven wild by his delusions of betrayal, Leontes abandons his newborn daughter on a remote mountainside, kicking off a typically Shakespearean tale of coincidence, disguise, madness, obsession and love, featuring a remarkable shift in tone from tragedy to comedy and the greatest stage direction in the history of theatre: “Exit, pursued by a bear.”
Carousel 71 Blandford Street, W1U 8AB carousel-london.com
EXHIBITION 26th FEBRUARY —14th MARCH THE FAMILY UNIT This group exhibition of paintings and sculpture explores the concept of familial connections, both of lineage and of choice. A diverse array of artists reacted to the prompt “What does family mean to you?” by depicting loved ones, intimate moments bonding, and relationships of all types. Thompson’s Gallery 3 Seymour Place, W1H 5AZ thompsonsgallery.co.uk
The Cockpit Gateforth Street, NW8 8EH thecockpit.org.uk
The Winter’s Tale
07. Up front
08. Up front
EXHIBITION UNTIL 15th MARCH CARLO ZINELLI AND VALERIE POTTER: AUTOBIOGRAPHIC
Carlo Zinelli and Valerie Potter lived very different lives—Zinelli an Italian whose trauma from the horrors of the Spanish civil war led to a long confinement in a psychiatric hospital, and who took up painting as a form of therapy; Potter a British illustrator and textile artist who continues to alternate between cross-stitch works, line embroideries
and elaborate colour weaves. What they have in common is an outsider status in the art world, an idiosyncratic eye and a way of weaving autobiography (in Potter’s case, quite literally) into their work. The Gallery of Everything 4 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PS gallevery.com
TALKS 19th—20th MARCH DAUNT BOOKS FESTIVAL Marylebone’s own smallscale answer to the Hay Festival returns in March, with a celebrated cast assembling to share their literary wisdom and wit. Among the events will be Welsh short story writer Carys Davies in conversation with Irish fiction laureate Sebastian Barry, and actor and writer Eleanor Bron performing a short piece called Stuff. On the 19th, The Langham, London will host a children’s afternoon tea at which Sophie Dahl talks about her first children’s book, Madame Badobedah. Look out too for appearances by Max Porter, Caroline Criado Perez, Andrea Marcolongo, Simon Loftus, Colum McCann and Patrick Radden Keefe. Daunt Books 83 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW dauntbooks.co.uk
09. Up front
EXHIBITION 14th FEBRUARY —25th MARCH HOCHOUL LEE: FRAGMENTS OF INFORMATION Hochoul Lee, who last year completed an MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art after moving to London from his native Japan, presents an exhibition of work inspired by the fraught politics of our current era, the resurgence of nationalism and the spread of racism— developments he ties to a decline in the acceptance of individuality and the power of imagination in a world dominated by data. Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation 13-14 Cornwall Terrace, NW1 4QP dajf.org.uk Hochoul Lee
WALK 26th March POP, ROCK AND ROLL Liven up your lunch break by learning more about the stars of popular music who once walked the streets of Marylebone on their way to global fame. Stories of the lives of luminaries such as John Lennon, Dusty Springfield, Gerry Rafferty, Ringo Starr and Jimi Hendrix. Expect tales of creativity, tragedy and a very famous drug bust. The tour, which is free to attend, kicks off at 1pm outside 55 Baker Street. Baker Street Quarter Partnership bakerstreetq.co.uk
EXHIBITION 27th FEBRUARY —18th APRIL LILLIAN BASSMAN: REDEFINING FASHION As a woman working in a field dominated by men, Lillian Bassman brought to her fashion photography a perspective completely distinct from that of her peers, encouraging her subjects to be relaxed and open, focusing on artistry and form rather than sex and conventional glamour. She developed a signature style as a photographer and art editor at Harper’s Bazaar between the 1950s and the 1970s: high contrast, carefully over-exposed, abstract, luminous, dramatic. This exhibition brings together some of her finest images from that era, as well as a later series of ‘reinterpretations’ of old negatives that took the expressionistic quality of her work to a new level. Atlas Gallery 49 Dorset Street, W1U 7NF atlasgallery.com
EXHIBITION UNTIL 19th APRIL FORGOTTEN MASTERS: INDIAN PAINTING FOR THE EAST INDIA COMPANY Guest curated by writer and historian William Dalrymple, this exhibition brings together works by Indian master painters, such as Bhawani Das and Ghulam Ali Khan. The work was commissioned in the late 18th and 19th centuries by officials of the East India Company whose pursuit of profits became an engine of British colonialism. “Forgotten Masters showcases the work of a series of extraordinary Indian artists, each with their own style and tastes and agency, whose brilliance has been frequently overlooked until now,” promises Dalrymple. The Wallace Collection Manchester Square, W1U 3BN wallacecollection.org
10. Up front
FOOD 21st—26th APRIL MARYLEBONE FOOD FESTIVAL The Marylebone Food Festival returns for its third year, kicking off with a special eight-course dinner on 21st April, hosted by Jay Rayner and collectively cooked by some of Marylebone’s best restaurants, including Roganic, Delamina, Taka, Orrery, Jikoni, Lurra, Ooty, Caffe Caldesi, La Fromagerie and A.O.K Kitchen. Visit the website for updates on the dozens of culinary events taking place across the neighbourhood throughout the festival, which is organised and funded by The Howard de Walden Estate and The Portman Estate. Tickets for the dinner go on sale on 10th March. Marylebone Food Festival marylebonefoodfestival.com
EXHIBITION 10th FEBRUARY —30th APRIL AT THIS MOMENT OF TIME With this, his first solo exhibition in London, Korean ceramicist Bae Sejin presents a series of works responding to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and invites us to slow down and re-examine our relationship with time. Painstakingly assembled from individually made and numbered bricks, with the cumulative time invested in each piece precisely recorded, these intricate pieces become a measure of time as well as forms of artistic expression. Circus 58 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5HT circuslondon.com
EXHIBITION 26th FEBRUARY —16th MAY ALASTAIR PHILIP WIPER AND ERIC DE MARÉ: FORMS OF INDUSTRY This exhibition pairs contemporary photographs by Alastair Philip Wiper with archival images from the 1950s and 1960s by Eric de Maré. Separated by more than 50 years, the two photographers share a common appreciation of industrial buildings and landscapes, but the obvious contrasts in their respective approaches cast light on our changing attitudes towards industrialisation and sustainability. RIBA First Floor Gallery 66 Portland Place, W1B 1AD architecture.com
Lo Shao Chi
Drawing inspiration from Nature, employing the skills of Chinese art, the use of white space in particular, to convey a quiet, poetic artistic conception.
Four artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan transform their love of life and enjoyment of living into paintings, ceramics and other forms of artistic creation.
Hui Kin Sang, Winnie
Hui Kin Sang, Winnie Lo Shao Chi Tsang Choi Wan, Carroll Wu Siu Ping, Evan
67 York Street Gallery
Tsang Choi Wan, Carroll Wu Siu Ping, Evan
Email: email@example.com https://naturenaturallyinfo.tumblr.com/
67A York Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 1QB
17-23 February 2020 Monday - Saturday 10:00am-7:00pm Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm Special Taiwanese Tea Ceremony demonstration by Lo Shao Chi
19 February 2020 Wednesday 6:00 â€“ 8:30pm
12. Up front
13. Up front
TONY HASSAN Tony has worked at the traditional hardware store David Penton & Son on Marylebone Lane for some 26 years. A former semi-professional footballer, he lives in Hoxton with his family INTERVIEW: JEAN-PAUL AUBIN-PARVU PORTRAIT: ORLANDO GILI
The shop is actually called David Penton & Son, but most people know us as Penton’s. We stock everything from plumbing goods to sewing kits to sweeping brushes to paint to timber. Our customers include builders and local tradespeople, as well as residents who might pop in for light bulbs or a handful of screws. The many regulars include the local maintenance teams, who come in up to 10 times a day. They go from job to job and aren’t always able to carry all their materials around with them, so they come in and get whatever they need. Penton’s is often referred to as an Aladdin’s cave. We try to have a bit of everything because you never know who’s going to walk through the door or what they’ll be after— they might need a tube of Polyfilla, they might need a laptop brush—so we have to cover everything. And if we don’t have the item
on our shelves then we’ll do our very best to source it for them, or even point them in the direction of another shop. My average day consists of anything from serving customers to cutting keys to ordering stock to writing invoices. At Penton’s, we pride ourselves on giving traditional customer service. The problem with many shops now is it’s all self-service and there’s nobody around to help you. Giving old-school service means listening to our customers and advising them, rather than just pointing and going: “It’s over there.” When a customer comes in and asks for glue, for example, then we’ll ask them what they’re sticking to ensure we sell them the right glue for the job. Helping customers and solving their problems is what I love most about my job. You develop a relationship with your
regulars over the years and get to know them by name. They trust your advice and that what you’re selling them is the correct product, otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming back. If you sell them the most expensive item rather than the best one for the job, you’ll make that sale but they won’t come back again. Sometimes locals just come in for advice, so this job isn’t always about selling—it’s about giving a service. David Penton & Son was established in 1841 and is the oldest shop on Marylebone Lane. Customers often mention it when they come in. We also get so many people asking for “fork handles” in reference to the famous Two Ronnies sketch. We actually sell fork candles—four metal forks with holders for birthday candles – so we are able to say: “Yes, there they are.” We decided to get them made for the shop and they’ve become a very popular seller. When I started working here 26 years ago, Marylebone wasn’t exactly run down but it certainly wasn’t desirable, so what’s happened in the area over the last 15 years or so has been amazing. It’s brought lovely restaurants and shops to the area and really made it a go-to destination. Everybody talks about Marylebone these days, but before I started here I’d barely heard of the place. I’d seen Marylebone station on a Monopoly board, but that was about it. I think everybody knows it now. I grew up in Stoke Newington and have always lived in Hackney.
Back then, Stoke Newington was very different to how it is now and the area where I lived as a teenager was known as the Bronx. It was quite tough and run down, but now it is highly desirable. House prices have gone up, the shops are lovely and Clissold Park is one of the most beautiful parks in London. These days everybody wants to be in Stoke Newington. It was the opposite when I was a kid—people couldn’t wait to get out. As a young boy I was into football—and that was it. My mum used to say: “All he does is live and breathe football, nothing else.” I’d get up in the morning, grab a ball and be out all day playing with my friends. I became a Tottenham Hotspur supporter when they were relegated in 1977. I liked the way that Glenn Hoddle played. I didn’t support the team at first— it was the player I liked. I’ve had years of abuse for supporting Spurs, because being from Stoke Newington all my friends are Arsenal fans, but I’ve learnt to live with it. I played football for my school, several Sunday league teams and then for Enfield Town as a semiprofessional, but I suffered an injury and couldn’t continue at that level. I still carried on playing Sunday league football but my playing days as a semi-pro were over. I decided to get into coaching children. I coached a team up in Islington called Hawks Athletic. We were actually sponsored by the Caldesi restaurant, which back then was opposite our
14. Up front
shop on Marylebone Lane. Out of that team we produced two professional footballers who are still playing— Anthony Wordsworth at AFC Wimbledon and Alfie Potter, who plays for Billericay Town. Alfie once famously scored a goal for Havant & Waterlooville in their FA Cup fourth round match against Liverpool. He was man of the match and got Steven Gerrard’s top. Hawks Athletic were such a successful team that the scouts used to come and watch us. I ended up being approached by ex-Arsenal player Jimmy Carter to come and work for Millwall. I did a bit of coaching and scouting for them, and then became a scout for Charlton while they were in the Premiership.
One of the things I taught my children from a young age is to look up at everything around you. Too many people walk around with their heads down
I always had the desire to set up my own soccer school, to slightly change how children were being coached, to make it more fun and base it more on game play than tactics. And so 12 years ago I started Soccaroonies. Soccaroonies is based in Clissold Park, on the same blades of grass where I first learnt to play football. We are there every Saturday
morning and I try to make the kids the best versions of themselves by letting them express themselves through football. As Soccaroonies, we do a charity event every year. In the past we’ve done events for Mind and Narcolepsy UK and this year we did one for The Crib youth project. I get all my old players from Hawks Athletic to come and play a charity match against a mix of loads of different people. The Soccaroonies play a match beforehand, so they are aware of what the charity is about. We try to instil in them that it’s important to give to the community and help those less privileged than themselves. I tend to spend the rest of my free time with my children. As a family we like to get out and
do things. We go out exploring, walk around and take in everything. One of the things I taught my children from a young age is to look up at everything around you. Every time you go out you should look around, look at the buildings, look at the graffiti, look at what’s going on and look at the new shops that have opened. Too many people walk around with their heads down. But when you look up you see what beautiful things there are around you. One of the things I teach the children at Soccaroonies is that there’s tunnel vision, where you just look straight ahead, and there’s funnel vision, where you look at what’s around you. Do that, and you’ll see something different every time.
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16. Up front
MY PERFECT DAY JULIA BOSTOCK
I have to go, to because I’m completely addicted, is Le Labo on Devonshire Street. I’m on my third (refillable) bottle of their perfume Another 13—so it’s officially my fragrance now.
The creative director of Atlas Gallery on Dorset Street describes her perfect Marylebone day
Culture I always pop into Jaggedart when I’m picking up perfume from Le Labo. Andrea is an amazing curator, who always presents such a lovely mix of things.
INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY
Breakfast For years, Hardy’s on Dorset Street was like a second home to us. Now the space has been taken over by Gary Landesberg—owner of The Arts Club—and his daughter Kelly, with their restaurant A.O.K Kitchen, and they’ve turned out to be really nice. Their manager Emiliano looks after us very well, and we go there almost as often. They do great cocktails, but we also like going there for breakfast. It’s a bit fancy, but very good. Coffee I like to sit outside and watch the world go by, so Monocle is ideal—or Arro Coffee, as you can sit outside on the corner there. I just have a normal cappuccino, and it is very delicious.
Fresh air To be honest, just walking around Marylebone High Street, then over Baker Street and toward Crawford Street—that is a lovely wander. Outfit Mouki Mou is my absolute favourite for buying beautiful jewellery I can’t really afford. And bags— the sort of bags that if you buy one it will last you your entire lifetime. KJ’s Laundry is where I dash to knowing I could get something last minute. At the moment, I am waiting for a commission that will allow me to buy a suit I have seen in Ssone, this amazing new shop on Chiltern Street. It’s a relatively young brand, and all very conscientious— upcycled, recycled materials and so on.
Pre-dinner drinks The pub on the end of Chiltern Street is really jolly and friendly—so if it’s a bit too busy at Chiltern Firehouse we tend to go there. I’ll get a gin and tonic in a big glass, or a negroni if I’m feeling needy. Another great spot for drinks is The Wigmore, next to the Langham hotel. A.O.K Kitchen’s manager Emiliano looks after us very well. They do great cocktails, but we also like going there for breakfast. It’s a bit fancy, but very good
Shopping A go-to place if I want to browse is the magazine shop at the end of Chiltern Street, Shreeji. I love it there; I’m a professional photographer myself, and I find it so inspiring. Shreeji will always ask if I’ve seen the latest copy of such-and-such, or point me in the direction of something new that I might like. The other place
Eating out Clarette is nice in the summer: you can sit outside, and that spot gets the evening sun, which you can’t resist really. As well as good French wine, they do excellent small plates of mozzarella, and these lovely cheese straws. Eating in The Natural Kitchen for lovely takeaway salads; Daylesford for very good and surprisingly reasonable fish pies; and La Fromagerie for all sorts of tasty bits really—and, of course cheese. Anything else I’d go to Aesop to try a few lovely handwashes, and pick up some flowers from Titania’s Garden, the florist on Crawford Street.
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20. What’s brewing?
WHAT’S BREWING? We are, so we’re told, in the ‘third wave’ of London’s coffee culture. The Journal speaks to some of Marylebone’s coffee experts to find out what this means and what it is that makes our city’s approach to the drink so distinctive WORDS: CLARE FINNEY
21. Whatâ€™s brewing? Ole & Steen
22. What’s brewing? A year or so ago the man pouring my cappuccino informed me that London had, in earnest, entered its ‘third wave’ coffee culture. Smiling, I mumbled in agreement, took my coffee and thanked him—the queue being too long (and myself too much of a Londoner) to ask just what he meant. I looked it up when I got home and, after half an hour’s worth of trawling through various blogs and articles, devised my own working definition. The days when “let’s grab a coffee” meant a cup of instant in the office kitchen, or a cafetière if you were fancy? That’s first wave coffee. The days when it meant a skinny-soycinnamon-syrup-latte-with-sprinkles from Starbucks, Costa et al? That’s second wave coffee. And the days like today, where your coffee shop and style is as much a part of your personal brand as your sunglasses and tote bag is, of course, third wave coffee: as intrinsic a part of the fabric of Marylebone as—sunglasses and canvas totes. “I found it a real shock when I arrived in London in 2010,” recalls Prue Freeman, the Australian founder of Daisy Green coffee shop on Seymour Street. Coming from a land where mornings are considered the highlight of the day rather than a hardship to be endured, she found it depressing that Londoners viewed coffee as “more of a necessity than a chance for engagement”. Then she tasted it. Dark, bitter, designed to be
mixed with a pint of milk and served to go, our coffee had none of the nuance of the drink she was used to at home—nor much of the service. “In Australia, the barista is a really respected position,” she continues. “The service is fast, but it’s friendly and high quality, and customers are loyal to their place and their barista.” Though London’s—and now urban Britain’s—third wave has roots in Italy and in Scandinavia, it is the antipodeans we have to thank for improving the quality of service and, almost as important, reducing the quantity of our milk. In short, they brought us the flat white: a smooth, silky, diminutive cross between a cappuccino and a macchiato, the drink de jour of urban dwellers. With an average of 140ml of milk in a flat white compared to 230ml milk in a latte, the flat white nudged Brits toward better quality coffee, without pushing them out of their milk-loving comfort zone. “It’s still creamy, but with slightly more coffee flavours coming through than you would in a bucket of milk,” observes Prue. This was a drink we could drink more than once a day without feeling sickly; a drink in which we could appreciate coffee as a taste in its own right rather than a necessity; and a drink whose more streamlined nature left poor quality beans with nowhere to hide. Anyone looking to serve flat whites needed to source quality coffee and—because
of the technical demands of the drink—a quality barista too. Daisy Green is an Australian-inspired coffee shop. There are lamingtons, avo-heavy brunches and mediumbodied coffee roasted and blended in Sydney. Yet Marylebone’s thriving, diverse coffee scene owes as much to northern Europe and Scandinavia as it does to Down Under: something Francesca Pasquino of The Monocle Café is anxious to hit home. “We serve Allpress coffee, which is a New Zealand company, but we chose it because it was one of the best in London when we first opened.” That it was antipodean was irrelevant; as with everything else about Monocle, it was the quality that mattered. “Our founder Tyler Brûlé is Canadian, and the company started with his personal taste.” There are Swedish pastries and Swiss wine, Japanese katsu sandwiches and Aperol spritzes. “We’re very focused on design, and have strong Japanese and Scandi influences—but the culture is more north European,” Francesca continues. “You come in to relax, read, socialise.” You do not come in to work—well, you can, but its mildly discouraged by the absence of wifi, the communal seating arrangements and the abundance of magazines, crying out to be read. You can takeaway, but they’d rather you have an espresso at the counter and exchange a few words with the barista
In Australia, the barista is a really respected position. The service is fast, but it’s friendly and high quality, and customers are loyal to their place and their barista Prue Freeman, Daisy Green
23. Whatâ€™s brewing?
24. Whatâ€™s brewing? Ole & Steen
25. What’s brewing? if you’ve not got time to sit down. “The founder is quite obsessed with north Italy, where that is the thing.” Being Allpress brewed and for the most part Allpress trained, their coffee is Kiwi in style: you’ll get a good flat white, complete with latte art: the ‘drawing’ baristas create with the combination of espresso and fine foam on top of your coffee. But it’s at Monocle, that I first get the sense that the different coffee cultures in Marylebone are not as distinct as you’d think. Of course, Monocle is at the extreme end of the scale, representing as it does a self-consciously international brand whose interests far transcend coffee. Yet even Arro, the Chiltern Street coffee shop whose staff, food and coffee blends are all proudly Italian, carries echoes of the antipodes and the UK. Order an espresso and you’ll be met with the Italian idea of the perfect espresso: a pitch-black shot topped with a light, creamy layer of crema that’s strong enough to bear a stick of sugar. Order a hot chocolate, and it’ll be melted Modica chocolate, served in the Italian style—so thick you can stand a spoon upright; yet cappuccino, lattes and flat white all come with latte art, because “presentation is important in London,” says manager Silvia Gerbino. “People take photos and post on social media and latte art is what they’ve come to expect.”
This is worth noting, not because latte art detracts from the quality of a coffee (if anything it adds to it, says Prue: “It only works if the milk has been steamed right and the espresso blended right and everything is done properly”.) It’s notable because it’s such a clear departure from the Italian cappuccino, which traditionally boasts a top of purest, whitest foam. In Souli, just down the road along Blandford Street, such a cappuccino lives on: Hella Souli and her business partner Amarildo Caka are insistent theirs be served “completely white—if it isn’t a white, it may as well be a latte, my Italian customers tell me. But I think in Italy a cappuccino is a coffee you play with: you have a pastry or a biscuit, you stir it, add chocolate, and it’s entertainment,” laughs Amarildo, noting that cappuccinos were initially designed to be enjoyed ‘in’ with a biscuit or cannoli for breakfast, rather than all day round, and on the go. Still, this is London 2020. Italians can—do—balk at the fact, but cappuccinos and lattes are not just a morning thing here, nor do Londoners confine themselves to biscuits and pastry. “People come with a salad or sandwich and they get a latte! As a side for their sandwich!” Silvia exclaims. “In Italy, a big cup of coffee with milk is already a meal.” Over my white-capped cappuccino at Souli, Amarildo jokes that at this time—4pm—Italians would be
enjoying a glass of wine or amaretto, not a milky coffee. “You’d never get Italians drinking coffee this late in the afternoon,” he tells me. For better or worse, the legacy of the chains is that coffee is consumed in all forms, at all hours, with all manner of foods to accompany it, so that my best friend thinks nothing of having a bag of crisps with a mocha at 5pm. The other, less benign legacy, of course, is coffee to go: the paper cups, lids and aura of efficiency that follow a businessperson on the coffee round. “Too busy to stop, too busy to drink without also working,” says the aroma that wafts delectably in their purposeful wake. Monocle is not the only coffee shop trying to counter this; Souli and Ole & Steen both place a subtle emphasis on drinking and eating in, with the latter—a Danish company—encouraging the Scandinavian practice of taking time out in the afternoon for ‘fika’: socialising over cake and coffee. “We bake and serve cakes all day, but we make them more prominent in the afternoon,” says Ruta Martinsone, Ole & Steen’s UK operations manager. Indeed, one of the things she likes about Ole & Steen in London as opposed to Sweden or Denmark is that customers here tend to come in for their cake, rather than buying a selection to take back to work or home. It’s why the coffee is so important. Though Ole & Steen was born as a bakery (a lagkagehuset) its coffee
Presentation is important in London. People take photos and post on social media and latte art is what they’ve come to expect Silvia Gerbino, Arro Coffee
28. Company men
The Wallace Collectionâ€™s current exhibition brings together the remarkable paintings of several generations of Indian artists whose work was commissioned by the East India Company. Its curator, William Dalrymple, talks to the Journal about these painters, and what their work tells us about the British presence in India WORDS: VIEL RICHARDSON PORTRAIT: BIKRAMJIT BOSE
29. Company men Arum tortuosum, by Vishnupersaud
30. Company men The Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies is not a name that trips easily off the tongue. Yet, founded by Royal Charter on 31st December 1600, it gained an influence scarcely imaginable of a private company today. By 1800 it was responsible for an estimated 50 per cent of all global trade. It controlled a standing army twice the size of that of its home nation and had such political power that, at a time when the admiralty was so desperate for sailors that the dreaded press gangs were literally snatching men off the street, the British navy was forbidden from conscripting experienced sailors from the company’s huge trading fleet. Along the way, it acquired its shorter and more familiar name: the East India Company. Today, the East India Company is synonymous with British colonial rule. It is a name that conjures up images of the British Raj in India—the jewel in the British imperial crown, from which wealth flowed into the British treasury in unimaginable levels. But there was a time when the East India Company dealt in products, not politics; a time when the British men making vast fortunes in Asia saw those they traded with as partners; a time when British merchants were finding ways to make sense of this vast and alien land, while the Indians were trying to understand their new trading partners; a time when a real sense of cultural exploration coexisted with the commerce. “You get a sensation of two worlds discovering each other—of people from two very different cultures seeking common grounds and mutual interests,” says author and art historian William Dalrymple, curator of The Wallace Collection’s current exhibition, Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company. “As in other places at other times, art was one of the areas where this exploration took place. In a world where fortunes were being made, those making them sought ways to express their new-found wealth.” In late-18th and early 19th century India, East India Company merchants
and officials commissioned local artists to create work depicting the people, flora and fauna of the world around them. This led to the development of a genre known as the Company school—one that William believes to be hugely undervalued. “This exhibition is called Forgotten Masters because it showcases the work of Indian artists whose brilliance has been frequently overlooked but who, through their individual styles, tastes and talents, created a series of extraordinary works,” he explains. “Artists like Bhawani Das, Shaikh Mohammad Amir of Karriah, Sita Ram and Ghulam Ali Khan, who created masterpieces of natural history and portraiture. Their work combines Indian and European influences to create rich, culturally complex art which reflects the cultural fluidity of the period. They deserve to be part of the conversation when the great art of India is discussed.” This is the first time that some of these pieces have appeared in public. “Some of these artists were completely unknown before this show,” William continues. “For example, Yellapah of Vellore was a name we did not know until last year. There is a self-portrait near the beginning of the exhibition in which he sits staring out at you, flanked by two servants. It turned up in around 2014 with the attribution ‘unknown artist’. One of the real joys of curating this exhibition has been the opportunity to genuinely push back the frontiers of knowledge.” The exhibition shines a light on the work of Indian painters who have to date been largely ignored in discussions about the art of this period, with the focus instead having been on their British paymasters. “It is almost as if the patrons produced the paintings themselves, as opposed to these wonderful artists,” says William with a wry smile. Artists like Ghulam Ali Khan and Bhawani Das trained to work in the courts of the great Mughal emperors, who ruled much of the Indian subcontinent until the mid-19th century. Here, the painters spent their lives producing court scenes and portraits of the nawhabs (emperors)
FORGOTTEN MASTERS: INDIAN PAINTING FOR THE EAST INDIA COMPANY UNTIL 19th APRIL The Wallace Collection Manchester Square, W1U 3BN wallacecollection.org
Fruit Bat by Bhawani Das is one of the standout pieces. There it is with wings outstretched like some Venetian commendatore, ushering a woman into an opera with his cloak, as opposed to simply being a bat sitting on a tree and generals of the Mughal courts. While this may on the surface seem to mirror the lives of the European court painters, this was not the case. “There was no cult of the superstar artist, no Van Dycks or Rembrandts,” William explains. “They were regarded as craftsmen, as opposed to artists.” Shaikh Zain ud-Din, Bhawani Das and Ram Das created a significant number of works for what became known as the Impey album—commissioned in the 1770s by the amateur natural historian Mary Impey and her husband Elijah, the chief justice of Bengal. This collection of images of the Impeys’ household and menagerie of animals is considered one of the great works of the genre. Another is the Fraser album, commissioned a few decades later by the civil servant William Fraser, which gives the viewer an insight into daily life, with portraits of villagers, soldiers, holy men, dancing women, Afghan horsedealers, ascetics and nobles, as well as flora and fauna. Ghulam Ali Khan and his brother Faiz Ali Khan were
31. Company men A Great Indian Fruit Bat, by Bhawani Das Below: English Gig, by Sheikh Mohammah Amir
32. Company men
You get a sensation of two worlds discovering each otherâ€”of people from two very different cultures seeking common grounds and mutual interests. As in other places at other times, art was one of the areas where this exploration took place William Dalrymple
33. Company men
34. Company men hugely important in the production of the Fraser album, which also serves as an important record of life in the Mughal empire towards its end. The works were commissioned by a wide cross-section of East India Company officials. Patrons included botanists, surgeons, civil servants, diplomats, governors, and their wives, as well as British artists and intellectuals travelling through India. A great deal of work featured natural history subjects, which showed the influence of a new European trend for science-based botanical painting. At the time, Joseph Banks was causing a sensation with his natural history lithographs from his South Seas voyage with Captain Cook, while Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, was creating precise botanical drawings in Sweden. People were making detailed drawings of the world’s flora and fauna and displaying them in expensively produced books for the first time. Indian natural history painting had very little contemporary presence, but there was a historic tradition on which to build. The works of court artist Ustad Mansur, who produced extraordinary animal paintings for Emperor Jahangir 150 years earlier, have a landscape background, filled with flowers and butterflies, very different to the enlarged figure of a subject placed against a white backdrop that was typical of the European template. Company school paintings often blended these two traditions, placing figures in dreamlike imagined landscapes. While they incorporate some of the British approach, you can clearly see that they emerge from the same artistic tradition as Mansur. What has struck many observers, William notes, is just how good the work of these Indian artists was from the beginning, despite their lack of grounding in natural history painting. “There is very little sense of these artists making mistakes and improving over time, their works are spectacular from the beginning. In fact, the Impey album was painted at the very beginning of this period and includes some of the very best paintings of the genre,” he exclaims.
Indian Roller on Sandalwood Branch, by Shaikh Zain al-Din Opposite: Six Recruits, attributed to the family of Ghulam Ali Khan
“Fruit Bat by Bhawani Das is one of the standout pieces. There it is with wings outstretched like some Venetian commendatore, ushering a woman into an opera with his cloak, as opposed to simply being a bat sitting on a tree,” William tells me. “You get the sensation that it is a portrait; that in some way Bhawani Das is trying to capture not just the physical likeness, but the personality and essence of the creature. That he is trying to capture the ‘batness’ of his subject. That is something you see throughout this school of art—they are producing more than an objective study, be it animals or plants. There is a sense of communication going on between the artist and the subject, which they are trying to convey to the viewer in their work.” There is evidence that the artists were wrestling with the tension between Indian and European artistic traditions. One fascinating area of example is the use of perspective. While by this time three-dimensional perspective was taken for granted in Europe, that was not the case in India. Mughal artists’ images tended to be wonderfully detailed, but flat. While it is clear they had the technique to create perspective, you can feel the effort employed in understanding and mastering its use. “The golden oriole image is a very good example of this: the grasshopper on the branch is
almost invisible and completely flat, as opposed to the three-dimensional feel of the bird,” William points out. “My thoughts are that the artist is trying to show how well camouflaged the grasshopper is. That is, in a sense, part of the real fascination of these paintings. We just don’t know. There’s still a lot we need to discover about these artists and their work. What is clear is that in this liminal space between the two traditions, while there is often a sense of complete mastery, you sometimes get the feeling of experimentation— of groping towards something new.” It is questionable whether the work was always seen as art by the East India Company patrons. “It is clear that when commissioning the Fraser album, William Fraser saw the works in the same way a modern artist would consider the taking of a polaroid before a big painting,” William explains. “They commissioned it for information about dress and buildings. They knew they were commissioning excellent painters, but clearly didn’t consider it high art.” It was an opinion they were not alone in having and may go some way to explain the undervalued status of the work. In the 1770s, when the Impey album was commissioned, the Mughal Empire was still semi-intact. The nawab of Lucknow and the Mughal emperors were still in their palaces ruling over vast expanses
35. Company men
The exhibition features several studies of Indians in local dress and you can see that sense of pride coming through. There is no feeling of anger or defeat: the subjects radiate a sense of equality and agency
of land. “These are a proud people with their own imperial heritage,” William explains. “The exhibition features several studies of Indians in local dress and you can see that sense of pride coming through. There is no feeling of anger or defeat: the subjects radiate a sense of equality and agency. However, this erodes by the time of the paintings at the end of the exhibition. By then, when Sita Ram is painting, the British pretty much have control everywhere. They were heading towards the time of the rigidly enforced racial hierarchies of the British Raj.” An interesting insight into early Anglo-Indian relations comes from the rules of the East India Company. India could be a very dangerous place and many company men died on the subcontinent. Company rules stipulated that anyone working on their behalf had to have a will lodged in London. These reveal that during this period, more than 30 per cent of wills left everything to Indian spouses and the dependants of these relationships. This shows a level of interaction between people in these early years, that was unthinkable later, at the height of the Raj. “In the early works there is no sense that this is art by and of a defeated people being bossed around by a bunch of sahibs,” William continues. “There is a sense of equality, pride and agency.” As the Anglo-Indian relationship changed, the art produced to
express that relationship also evolved. Three paintings hint at this change in the balance of power. One shows the Nawab Jaja riding a tiger and staring at the viewer, every part the proud patriot who led an uprising against British rule. Whether the picture intends to show an actual tiger being ridden or a metaphorical beast is up for debate. If it’s the latter, the question is, what does the tiger symbolise? William believes it is legitimate to read a sense of resistance in the picture. Another painting shows a white sahib being carried in his palanquin—you do not have to look too closely to see an element of caricature. “Most intriguingly there is an image of a little girl on horseback being escorted by four servants, painted by Shaikh Muhammad Amir of Karraya. The girl’s face is entirely obscured by her bonnet. What is going on there?” William asks. “The servants have faces, character and a life force, whereas the girl is faceless, no trace of her humanity can be seen. Is this the respect of a Muslim artist for a young girl? Or is he in some way implying that she, like her kin, are not entirely human?” During his research, William found a reference in the court diaries of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in which he reprimands the artist Mazer Ali Khan for being rude about Sir Thomas Metcalf, the British representative at the Mughal court and one of Mazer’s own
patrons. Mazer was the nephew of Ghulam Ali Khan, who was heavily involved in producing the Fraser album, so would have had frequent contact with the British. In public, he likely treated them with respect; in private, things were clearly different. The Company school era was brought to an end by forces of political and cultural change. Many of the commissions were made simply for the purposes of documentation, so moved to photography when it arrived. There were artistic changes as well. “As you move through the exhibition, you will see an increasing westernisation of style, as the patrons’ taste for the Mughal artistic style wanes and the artists themselves adopted more European styles and methods,” William explains. “Towards the end of the exhibition there are works by artists like Sita Ram, which demonstrate strong influences from European impressionist painting. This makes the work we are showing even more poignant, as well as important: not only are we highlighting the work of some of the sub-continent’s greatest artists, but with their work we are also witnessing the last flowering of the great Mughal tradition of painting.” FORGOTTEN MASTERS Until 19th April The Wallace Collection Manchester Square, W1U 3BN wallacecollection.org
36. Sketchy company
SKETCHY COMPANY The creative and slightly ignoble history of the London Sketch Club, whose members drew and drank their way around several Marylebone premises WORDS: GLYN BROWN ILLUSTRATIONS: MATTHEW HANCOCK
In the 1880s, London was overrun with artists. It was almost an infestation. And this is not simply your illustrious portrait painters; in an era before cameras, illustrators of one sort or another were needed for almost every book or piece of information. Central London’s Great Titchfield Street was a stronghold of engravers and home to John Pye, champion of their fight to be recognised by the arts establishment. Clipstone Street, a few streets north, was the site of one of the earliest artists’ clubs, the Clipstone Street Artists’ Society, which had begun in Gray’s Inn Lane in 1830 as the Rustic Society. This is the beginning of the club we’re interested in, which still exists in a different—though not that different—
form: a liberal, eccentric, bohemian stronghold in a world desperately trying to find its way back to a liberal, eccentric, bohemian sensibility. The point of the Rustic Society, later renamed the Artists’ Society for the Study of Historical, Poetical and Rustic Figures, was to bring together fellow artists and tradesmen who often worked alone, allowing them to keep in touch and not go mad from the isolation, hone their skills, and just relax. In 1838, an evening sketching club was launched. The meeting place was “a shed or series of sheds” in a former stonemason’s yard behind the Fitzroy Arms. It sounds a bit basic and quite chilly—not good on the fingers if you’re doing art—
and so, in late 1854, the society moved into purpose-built rooms at number 1 Langham Chambers, Langham Street, Marylebone. The artists’ block was alternative enough, ranged in a series of live-work studios and offering life classes that were considerably more interesting than the training on offer at the stuffy Royal Academy schools. But it was the newly-named Langham Sketching Club on the top floor—whose meetings started to get a reputation for virtuosity mixed with a bantering raffish-ness; a conviviality bordering on truly bonkers—that was soon much better known. It pulled together the most inspired of a rare and celebrated breed: the black and white illustrator.
37. Sketchy company
38. Sketchy company Unlike most fine artists, these weren’t all privileged people. Many had blue collar backgrounds, but illustration was a glamourous job—these graphic artists were as loved and respected as actors, musicians or music hall stars— and if you were good at it, you could be part of a very fun world in which your talent really mattered. Illustrated books, papers and magazines were in virtually every home and the artists were household names. According to one contemporary critic, the building itself was “bald and ponderous-looking… we are at a loss to know why artists should be lodged in so jail-like a structure”. Another account describes it as “a doubtful, white-faced erection, which might be considered as baths and washhouse, a mechanics’ institution, or a private theatre”. Inside it was lovely, though, some of the rooms quite gorgeous. The main downstairs room had a long table, plaster casts, blackboards for resting pictures, and a library. There were tiers of seats and rails with gas lights to paint by. In the 1850s, membership of the Langham alone was 200-plus. So here we have the cream of London’s artists. Every Friday night, at 7pm sharp from October to May (because when the weather’s good everyone’s working outside), the members get together in their studio-clubhouse-dining room and draw for two hours on any given subject. Everyone took part in this, including such luminaries as Lewisham-born Arthur Rackham, the man who’s big on infinitely detailed fairy story illustrations; Sir John Tenniel (cartoonist for Punch, among others, and illustrator of Alice in Wonderland); and Charles Keene. The results would be pinned up and there’d be lively discussion on every one. After that, there was a hearty supper of “the best bread and cheese and beer that man could desire”, and the rest of the evening would be spent in good-hearted chat or singing or monologues or playing instruments or even doing a few magic tricks. In 1898, a huge row broke out about whether the suppers should be hot or cold. It seems preposterous, but actually after a day’s work in the cold
and a couple of hours sketching, hot grub might well be important. Every penny had to be earned and even the best illustrators weren’t well paid. But it was about more than that. The older members of the Langham (who all wanted a refined cold dinner) thought the young pups (who all wanted hot, and more of it) had got too big for their boots and found their irreverence and high spirits tiresome and wearing. A break had to come. A band of renegades launched the London Sketch Club. The inaugural meeting was held at the Florence restaurant at 7pm on 1st April. The members were all artists but every Friday night, when the two-hour sketch (they kept that tradition) was done, various lay members—writers, actors, singers and well-known men about town—were admitted, everyone had their say about the work, and the infamous hot supper appeared. Then there might be a professional entertainer, or the members would come up with wacky japes. The only fly in the ointment would be the appearance, presumably as guests, of any “self-opinionated bumptious snobs infatuated with their own selfimportance”. These people would be very roughly handled. One of the noisiest founder members was Phil May. Born in Leeds and a good silhouettist, May was a dandy and a generous man. His break came on London’s political magazine the St Stephen’s Review. Editor William Allison needed a double page illustration pronto when the artist he’d commissioned failed him, and found some impressive sketches by the 19-year-old boy. “I asked someone to ascertain if this boy could do a cartoon very quickly of all the principal characters of the moment. The answer was affirmative. May was a lean, cadaverous-looking youth with close cropped, very dark hair and eyes that looked through you like gimlets. There was a fire of genius in them. I knew right off I’d found something quite abnormally excellent.” May kept his own horse and rode to meetings in central London on it, often forgetting where he’d parked the
thing. A notorious clubber, it seemed impossible that he could combine his raucous, alcohol-dependent lifestyle with so much top-quality work, but he did. He died of tuberculosis at just 39. Tom Browne was another founder member. Born in Nottingham, he started work at 11 as a milliner’s errand boy, but was then apprenticed to a printer and started to send off freelance cartoons. Moving to London, he became insanely successful. He was asked to produce the front page of a comic and invented a comic strip featuring two creations, Weary Willie and Tired Tim. The comic began to rack up weekly sales of 600,000, due to these two characters. You’d think other artists would start doing the same thing, but they didn’t; Browne had the market at his mercy. He developed via Punch and later had work accepted at the Royal Academy. This is the very early Mad Man who came up with the strutting, top-hatted logo for Johnnie Walker whisky which made it the biggest selling whisky in the world. Very sadly, Browne died after cancer surgery, also at 39. The third major founder was Dudley Hardy, who took inspiration from Toulouse Lautrec and put serious attention into poster work. His drawing was bright, with an almost French, art nouveau feel, and it started a craze for illustrative posters. He was good value after the two-hour sketch on Fridays, too. “With most convincing earnestness,” remembers one commentator, “he would extemporise an Italian opera, taking on all parts himself because the rest of the company were too convulsed with laughter to help him.” Another time he helped stage an elaborate mock bullfight. Harry Rountree, the children’s illustrator, led the matadors, while the bull was “anonymous and persistent”. All this time, the group regularly showed its work publicly, offering the two-hour sketches cheap (many would later be worth a bomb) to buy staples— like booze. The club had briefly been ensconced on Wells Street, off Oxford Street, but in 1913 it moved to 246a Marylebone Road, later the
39. Sketchy company
The group regularly showed its work publicly, offering the twohour sketches cheap (many would later be worth a bomb) to buy staples—like booze
site of Woolworths’ head office. The entrance was at the end of a long passage and you knocked on an Old Bailey prison door, apparently from the condemned cell. A few steps further you passed through a door from Newgate Prison, above which was the stage entrance sign from the old Empire Theatre. The previous owners had used the site as a chapel. Club member John Hassall, a tall, handsome man from Walmer in Kent, whose son was elected to membership on the day he was born—his profile picture featured a dummy and was entitled ‘Baby Dingwall Hassall’—complained the walls were as clean as ‘disinfectant’, so he did what any sensible person would
do and lit a bonfire from a hay bale in the middle of the floor to give the walls the authentic look of a smoky old club. What a card. A tavern bar was recreated in one corner under the sign ‘The Sketchers’ Arms’. In an adjoining room marked ‘Private’, the Club’s beloved cook Mabel turned out steak puddings, roasts and a series of caustic comments. The building’s glass roof leaked, but no one minded. Occasionally a mouse would tear round the sketching room and then vanish. All those who could joined up at the start of the first world war. Children’s artist Harold Earnshaw lost his right arm but learned to draw
again with his left. John Hassall had his nerves shattered. He came back and published two propaganda books. During the second world war, Hassall drew the Belgian Canal Boat Fund poster, free, for the charity providing food, clothes and medical aid to civilians behind Allied lines; his numerous other war posters earned him a civil pension from George VI. After the war ranks were depleted, but at least the building, virtually alone in a row of blitzed houses, still stood. Numerous entertainers, including a young Charlie Chaplin, had come and gone. But when Woolworths made an offer for the site that couldn’t be refused, the club bought the warmer, airy property in Dilke Street, Chelsea, where it remains, and had money left for little necessities. But the members were getting older, no one new was joining, and things got into a rut. Photography had had its way with the popularity of drawing and, quite shockingly, although women are admitted to the club and all its social events, the only females allowed on drawing nights were and are the life models. It’s a gentleman’s club, it still has a boysy attitude and you can only hope they get with the plot eventually. But. The club’s eccentric, with a good heart. Illustration is in demand again now and membership is growing (it’s included Gerald Scarfe, Peter Blake, Fleet Street cartoonists Jak and Mac, and for some reason, Reginald Bosanquet). If you can get in as the guest of a member it’s a cool, evocative place to find yourself (and The Sketchers’ Arms, and at least one prison door). It still seems to have the ethos that made it what it is. There’s a story, set before the first world war, of sozzled actor and member EJ Odell leaving a bar at midnight. He saw a body lying in the gutter and realised it was another member, who gasped, “Get me up, I’m drunk.” “My dear chap,” said Odell, “I’m not capable, but I can join you.” Soon after, John Hassall rolled up and, paralytic, joined the throng. It’s just a shame no one was there to draw it.
40. Poetry in motion
POETRY IN MOTION
The Journal pays a visit to the London design studio of Poetry, a fashion brand with a penchant for slowness in an era obsessed with speed WORDS: LAUREN BRAVO
41. Poetry in motion
42. Poetry in motion It all starts with the fabric. Never before have I looked this intently at a linen shirt, or possibly any shirt. I’ve stroked many a velvet trouser in my time, don’t get me wrong, but not cooed over the superior warp and weft of a hemp-jersey blend, or admired an extra-wide placket. You see, I’m under the influence of Poetry—not freeform verse but its textile equivalent, Marylebone High Street’s new kid on the block. In fact, Poetry isn’t ‘new’ at all: the womenswear brand has more than two decades under its belt as a catalogue and e-commerce line, winning loyal fans across the UK, USA and Germany with its elegantly understated aesthetic. Still, it’s taken years to foray into bricks and mortar. Poetry’s first stores, on Chelsea’s Symons Street, opened in 2016— and now, a little over three years later, they’ve come to Marylebone. “Our process has always been slow,” laughs founder Luke Dashper, at the brand’s Putney studio. “We’re in a different world to fast fashion.” Unlike the big high street chains, which can take clothes from the drawing board to the shop floor in a matter of days, patience is a virtue here. “Good things take time,” he says, showing me around the lightfilled space covered in swatches and sketches. “You can’t believe how much time it takes, when you consider every detail. We sit around for hours, analysing fabrics and discussing shades of blue.” That willingness to work at a different pace from most of the industry gives Poetry a very timely selling point: sustainability. There’s nothing like a bout of eco-anxiety to take the shine off that brand new outfit—but at this point, the facts are hard to ignore. The global textile industry produces 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 a year, a carbon footprint larger than civil aviation and maritime shipping combined. Every year in the UK alone, 300,000 tonnes of clothing end up in landfill—often barely used, as these days the average garment is worn just seven times. At the end of many complex and unwieldy supply chains you’ll find poverty wages, inhumane working
conditions, even modern slavery. And while it’s the cheapest brands that tend to come under the most scrutiny, a higher price tag is far from a get-out-of-guilt-free card. Premium fashion is often no more ethical than its budget counterparts. The annual Fashion Transparency Index by industry pressure group Fashion Revolution lists high-end labels like Chanel and Max Mara as some of its worst offenders, alongside Matalan and River Island. In fact, it’s a confusing time for fashion fans all round, with many brands falling over themselves to announce ‘conscious’ collections, and grandiose pledges to do better, without necessarily making good on those promises. “I get a bit irritated because I see fashion businesses that are not sustainable, but they’ll do one fabric that’s organic and say they are,” says Luke. “Lots of people are just bandying terms around.” Still, making clothes with minimal impact to the planet is no easy feat, especially when you want them to have sartorial impact too. Poetry’s clothes are all made from natural fibres, mostly linen, hemp, organic cotton and eco-friendly favourite Tencel. The brand is now in the process of switching all its viscose to EcoVero, a more sustainable, traceable fabric made with wood pulp sourced from responsiblymanaged forests. Orders are sent out in cardboard boxes, not bags, and thanks to small manufacturing runs, no clothes are ever sent to landfill. But Luke is keen to point out that there’s always more to be done—next up, eliminating plastic bags and hangers from their warehouse— and that growing interest among customers in traceability and ethics is keeping the brand on its toes. “I think all of a sudden, everyone is really conscious. Certainly in my world anyway. I can’t buy a vegetable wrapped in plastic anymore,” he says. Yet, he admits, in some ways Poetry’s clothes are sustainable by chance. “We started using hemp not because it was good for the planet, if I’m honest, but because it’s a lovely fabric and it makes nice clothes. That’s always been my starting point: what makes beautiful clothes?” Focus on designing the best
I get a bit irritated because I see fashion businesses that are not sustainable, but they’ll do one fabric that’s organic and say they are. Lots of people are just bandying terms around
possible garment, he believes, “and the rest will take care of itself”. Luke has been obsessed with beautiful clothes since he was a teenager. “I used to spend all my money on one jumper,” he says. Under the influence of an eco-conscious mother (“her philosophy was ‘buy once, buy well’”) and an entrepreneurial father who ran a textile business in Loughborough, he left a corporate job in finance and logistics to launch Poetry—without any fashion or design training. “I’ve never drawn a dress,” he admits. “But I learned through hiring good people and then through experience.” Two decades later, the Poetry team is still small and focused. There are just 14 in the brand’s studio, with a warehouse and operations team based in Leicester, run by Luke’s wife Hannah. Then there are the factories; mostly small, owner-managed businesses in China, Hong Kong and Romania, which Luke regularly visits. But we might ask, can a ‘Made in China’ label truly be considered sustainable? Shouldn’t they be made
43. Poetry in motion
44. Poetry in motion here? “There’s just no way on earth this range of clothes could be made in Britain,” he says. “There aren’t the factories, they just don’t exist.” Once upon a time, they did. In the 1970s, the UK textile industry was booming. British-made brands like Viyella, Daks Simpson and John Smedley comfortably outfitted the nation and specialist factories employed around a million skilled workers across the country. But the turn of the millennium saw a mass exodus as the majority of western garment production was offshored, mostly to south and east Asia, a process known as “chasing the cheapest needle around the world”. Slowly the tide is turning again, with a small resurgence in UK manufacturing—Jaeger, John Lewis and Clarks have all opened new factories here. But for now, Poetry is proud of its international suppliers, a list which includes Italian wool, Chinese silk and Peruvian alpaca yarn. “The best suppliers for a particular material tend to be those located where the material has a long history and is part of the culture,” reads the brand manifesto. It’s a multicultural blend that reflects the brand’s birthplace, after all. “I’d say we’re more a London brand than a British brand. Our look isn’t traditional, it isn’t tweedy jackets or Guernsey sweaters. It’s much more contemporary,” says Luke. In a landscape where the word ‘luxury’ can mean anything from flash labels to whipped cream on hot chocolate, he’s clear on his personal definition. “Not ‘dressing-up’ luxury; it’s luxury in comfort. Clothes that feel lovely to wear.” Poetry’s silhouettes are roomy, but not in a way that only Scandinavian architects can pull off. Colours are equally understated—in fashion speak, “greyed-off, subtle, muted”— with a harmonious palette that evolves from season to season but rarely ventures into the realm of the bright, the stark or the splashy. And what about (whisper it) trends? “Some brands dictate trends to their customers, whereas our customers have a point of view, an established
aesthetic,” says Luke. “They know what they like. Understanding what they want is more important to us than whatever’s coming down the catwalk this season. They’re clothes that our customers build their wardrobes around and they wear them for a long time.” He pauses. “Unfortunately.” Fickle fads might be the antithesis of Poetry’s long-wear philosophy, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s anti-fashion, either. “We plough our own furrow, but we don’t exist in a bubble,” he adds. “We don’t do ‘classic’. Nothing we do is classic. If we do a cashmere v-neck, for example, it’ll be a bit oversized with a dropped shoulder.” Nor does the brand go after celeb endorsements (“Meryl Streep maybe?”) or chase certain demographics. “It’s interesting, we don’t ever talk about the age of the customer,” says Luke. “Last week in the Marylebone store we had a 20-something woman and a 60-something woman both trying on clothes at the same time.” Luke maintains that attitude and lifestyle have a much greater bearing. “If we started designing clothes ‘for older people’ then they’d definitely stop shopping with us. Nobody wants that.” What they do want is a pleasant experience. In an age of mindless scrolling and one-click purchases, the tactile reality of an ‘IRL’ store serves two purposes: to introduce new customers to Poetry, and to provide a kind of pilgrimage for the brand’s existing mail order fans. “It makes complete sense to have retail,” says Luke. “I believe in realworld experience, socialising and interacting with other human beings. We make clothes out of beautiful fabrics, and there’s nothing like touching and feeling the real thing.” How does he want people to feel when they step into a Poetry store? “Very calm, very comfortable and relaxed,” he says. There’s the warm, tonal colour palette. The artfully soft lighting. The fresh displays by florist Rob Van Helden. Not here the pushy sales tactics or sneeze-andyou’re-dead tension of some high-end boutiques; Poetry wants you to get up close and personal with the clothes. “The shops are not about maximising
sales per day per square foot. It’s part of the whole relationship.” To complete the in-store experience, the brand has introduced a ‘Poetry by appointment’ service, where customers can book a shopping slot online and request the clothes they’d like to try on in advance, so they’re guaranteed the right items and the right size will be waiting for them (unlike the majority of sustainably-focused brands, Poetry’s clothes go up to a size 22). There’s no obligation to buy anything you try. Earning customer loyalty, just like making good clothes, is a long game. And it pays off. “If I ever need my day brightened, I just go onto our website and read the reviews,” says Luke. “Often I read reviews where people say, ‘thank you Poetry, I’m so glad I found you’. It’s an emotional thing. It isn’t just about keeping people warm and decent. If you like your clothes, you feel better about yourself. You feel good.” POETRY 35 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QA poetryfashion.co.uk
It makes complete sense to have retail. I believe in real-world experience, socialising and interacting with other human beings. We make clothes out of beautiful fabrics, and there’s nothing like touching and feeling the real thing
45. Poetry in motion
QA MAX PORTER The author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers on struggling with adulthood, working too hard and needing to escape the self-absorbed life of the novelist INTERVIEW: EMILY JUPP PORTRAIT: LUCY DICKENS
Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter’s award-winning debut about a crow that moves in with a bereaved family, was a startlingly innovative mediation on the funny and awful things grief does. His new novel, Lanny, is a story entwining folklore and poetry with the story of a couple whose son disappears. He is speaking at the Daunt Books Festival in Marylebone in March. What are your fondest corners of Marylebone? I’m 38, and about 20 years I worked in Marylebone at Daunt Books. I remember when I first moved to London as a student and went to Marylebone, the difference between that and five years later was just incredible. It went from being a kind of slightly scruffy spot to almost how it
is now: a very chic place. Daunt is an amazing place to just chat with people. When I worked there, Miriam Margoyles used to come in and be incredibly good fun. And then there was a very, very, very old concert pianist and she invited me to come round. I just went and had a drink with her in her huge soundproof Georgian flat. So those sorts of things are quite fun. I live in Bath now but I always come and say hello at Daunt every six months or so. I also go to that very good Oxfam book store, and I when I lived in London I used to buy my wife a pair of Tracey Neuls shoes, and there was that ribbon shop... You’ll be at the Daunt Books Festival in March to present Lanny, your new novel, alongside Mark Waters and Kate Gathercole of folk music duo Alula Down. Mark is a double bassist and Kate plays the harmonium and sings and they create this incredible electronic drone and it sort of loops with bits of English folk songs to make the village voice [in Lanny, the village is a gestalt entity of whispers and gossip]. What they have achieved as an interpretation of Lanny is beautiful and awesome and we sort of slightly improvise it. I’m just standing up and telling the story, doing the voices. It’s somewhere in between going to a folk gig and a bedtime story. Lanny is being made into a movie with Rachel Weisz as producer and star. Are you buddies now? I think we will be buddies, but no, nothing’s happened
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yet. All they’ve done is assign people to it. I think it will be in production later this year. But no, she’s been off having a baby, so I thought I’d leave her alone for now. What will the film be like? Your book is quite strange and dreamy and straddles folklore and childhood and the adult world. It’s going to be much more about the mum, Jolie. It’s going to be about her psychological distress and the loss of Lanny. It’s not really so much about the fact that he goes missing. It’s about the loss of childhood, really. What is the future now for children? What do you tell them? So it’s going to be about the world we live in. The early signs suggest it will be a really interesting and unusual film, so I’m really chuffed. What about the next book? It will probably be a book of small pieces. Yeah. I want to not fixate on a big thing because I’ve taken on all this extra stuff. Grief is the Thing with Feathers was an unexpected success. It was winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize and adapted for the stage in a play starring Cillian Murphy and directed by Enda Walsh. Were you surprised, or did you know you were on to something? I saw the whole spectrum. I went from thinking only I would read it, then the slightly nervous thing of thinking I would let my wife
and my mate read it, and then going, fuck, it’s going to be published, isn’t that odd? Then it went from Faber thinking about 600 people would buy it, to it being a huge thing. Now I think it will probably be the book of mine that people will still read in the future. It’s been translated into hundreds of languages and that’s an odd thing because it was very private. I guess that’s what makes it valuable to people: there is some truth in it. I wanted to work out how one could tell the truth by moving further away from a realist truth, how an imaginary crow or the apparent investigation of another poet’s work could in fact come to be quite useful devices for telling the truth or for trying to look as accurately as possible at childhood, misremembrance, memory, all that kind of stuff. If I had actually written a candid account of my experience of losing a parent as a child [Max’s father died when he was six], I think it would have been very, very difficult to generate any energy. That was a private reckoning I was doing in the evenings. It was escapism, getting away from other people’s books and back into my own head. I was also trying to figure out whether poetry, prose, children’s books or play scripts were the thing for me. I was wandering around in the bookshop, if you like, wondering what section I wanted to be in and realising that actually I could borrow a bit from all the sections. Children, and the way they think, are written
47. Culture really well in both the books. Are you in touch with your inner child? Well, I just recently had a fight with my wife where she said that I am very childish and I found myself obliged to be defensive and say, “No, I’m not.” And then I realised that it’s a very good explanation of my whole life. I struggle slightly with adulting. I find the modern world very strange and baffling and therefore I want to be back in my childhood. You can’t really say you have a Peter Pan complex anymore, because that reveals some deepseated weird psychosexual stuff, but I miss childhood and I miss the kind of darkness of it. One of my sons was saying to me the other day about this dream he’d had and how he couldn’t shed the dream from his waking day. I remember how vivid that was and how as an adult you’re sort of obliged to get past that and focus on the earning of money and the gradual sort of plodding towards death. And I remember thinking like, yeah, I want to be that scared again. How has being a parent changed your thoughts about childhood? I don’t want to overromanticise my relationship with my children. It’s a pain in the arse most of the time. Most of the time what they do is distract and annoy me. But I’m engaging with them. My oldest is only 10, but he is asking about Trump and populism and Boris Johnson and stuff. He’s interested. He reads the paper. Do I censor what I tell him or do I tell him the truth? Do you feed their
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DAUNT BOOKS FESTIVAL 19th—20th MARCH
Food philosophy Simon Conyers, head chef at Vinoteca, on his relationship with food
Daunt Books 83 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW dauntbooks.co.uk
curiosity or do you protect them from the world? And I think these questions have never been more important, really. We’re supposedly living in the ecological end-times. What does that mean for the cheerful raising of kids? What’s it like being a fulltime writer? My whole life is work now. And that’s not healthy, I don’t think. I’ve taken on so many collaborations—at the last count, 27 different collaborative projects in a year. That’s good for the culture but it does mean that I’m just incredibly busy the whole time and don’t do much sitting and thinking. I don’t mind sharing this with you, but it’s extremely shameful: as we left the house just before Christmas, my four-yearold said, “Do you have your phone on you?” And I said, “Yeah, why?” And he said, “Oh, no reason. I just guess that means you won’t talk so much.” It’s true: our phones have turned us into zombies in ways that we would just have found hilarious even 10 or 20 years ago. What can you do about that? I’m turning off my phone, making sure that I am
giving them my attention, and what I’ve decided to do is actually have time in my week where I sit and think about what I’m up to and what have I achieved. I had a crippling sense of moral panic last year. Like, what is a person supposed to do now? Should I be on the street protesting? Should I be with the children? Should I feel so much burning rage at the state of the nation that I should be standing in the square screaming? Then I found that actually getting myself out of the house down the road into the space of a homeless charity or a school or just doing something that isn’t about me is the perfect antidote to the self-absorbed life of a novelist. And I’m also taking swimming lessons because I’m a big fan of swimming, but I’m not actually technically very good at it. So someone is teaching me to do front crawl. And I’m learning to whistle. DAUNT BOOKS FESTIVAL 19th—20th March Daunt Books 83 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QW dauntbooks.co.uk
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BOOK REVIEWS WORDS: SASHA GARWOOD
SO LUCKY DAWN O’PORTER HarperCollins, £14.99
Many people try to write books like So Lucky—contemporary, comic, ultimately heartwarming stories about how (usually) three (usually) women’s lives intersect, and in which, over the course of the story, everybody learns something about how lucky they are and what they need to be happy. The really remarkable thing about So Lucky is that it pulls this off, offering some original, plausible characters and also making some insightful comments about human behaviour and the importance of honesty, communication and compassion. It’s also downright hilarious. Lauren is an Instagram influencer, living the dream in an absurdly expensive Highgate house with her glamourous mother and famously rich fiancé. (Most of Lauren’s share of the narrative is told in Instagram posts—make of that what you will.) Her wedding planner Beth has just had baby Tommy, and her husband Michael has taken three months’ paternity leave to look after him so Beth can focus on work. Alas, this ostensibly ideal position is somewhat undermined because they haven’t had sex since conceiving, Michael has an uncomfortably intimate relationship with his mother, and he’s increasingly contemptuous about Beth’s body or needs. At work, Beth’s perky assistant Risky instructs Beth on vibrator usage, while cheerfully hooking up with clients. Lastly, Ruby has polycystic ovary syndrome and a thick layer of hair all over her body. She’s living alone with her daughter Bonnie, working as a high-end photo re-toucher and avoiding the ex-husband who’s still in love with her in favour of maintaining a neurotic distance from the world. When their lives coincide around Lauren’s celebrity wedding, all of them are forced
49. Culture to confront their assumptions about others’ lives and about themselves. Dawn O’Porter—a resident of these parts—is a sharp and compassionate writer with an acute sense of human absurdity, and she uses these to construct a densely interwoven, onlyborderline-believable-but-who-cares plot with some genuine emotional depth. The story is fun, its dialogue pacy, its internal monologues recognisable, its situations awful and amusing in equal measure, its coincidences and catastrophes just about plausible enough for the emotional development to work. There are some details which could do with ironing out—one character is inexplicably given a 28cm waist, because the publishers clearly haven’t corrected measurements for the UK market—but it makes no difference to the story, which roars along and sweeps the reader in its wake. The relationships between the characters, particularly towards the end of the book, are warm and familiar. The way the narrative is embedded in contemporary social media might have been jarring, but actually works really well, enabling a whole new level of social comedy. Ultimately, So Lucky is absolutely a testament to female friendship, and to the power of honesty and solidarity to make the world better. It’s a timely reminder, with some anal jokes. What’s not to like?
THE VANISHED BRIDE BELLA ELLIS Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99
The Vanished Bride is a mystery novel in which the Bronte sisters are the detectives—an idea of such genius that I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before. Bella Ellis, a Bronte-esque pseudonym for Rowan Coleman, bestselling author of We Are All Made of Stars and The Memory Book, makes a fine job of it also, from exciting plot to Bronte Easter eggs. It’s 1845 at the Haworth parsonage in Yorkshire. All three Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell are living at home for the first time in years, albeit with the latter spending far more time in local hostelries or dead
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FACE IT DEBBIE HARRY HarperCollins, £20
drunk on the moors than might be ideal. A young bride, Elizabeth Chester, has disappeared from Chester Grange, where Charlotte’s friend Mattie French is governess, leaving only an enormous pool of blood behind her. The missing woman’s husband is acting suspiciously, there’s a distinctly sinister housekeeper, and nobody seems inclined to properly investigate Elizabeth’s disappearance. So the enterprising Bronte sisters take up the mantle of becoming ‘lady detectorists’ and tracing Elizabeth— even when it becomes apparent that their lives might also be at stake. The Vanished Bride offers some lovely character sketches of the four siblings, and the intimacy and combative dynamic between them is one of the book’s strong points. The plot twists and turns with exemplary rapidity, and Ellis puts a lot of work into atmosphere—the dark, wild moors, which the sisters (especially Emily) nevertheless adore and wander at will; the cosy, crowded parsonage; large, gloomy, sinister mansions; ramshackle and tumbledown houses in the woods. While I’m no Bronte expert, I certainly picked up some references to books or Bronte lore, and the whole plot functions as a discussion of gender, power, autonomy and marriage—the subjects the Brontes themselves wrote about. For anyone who loves historical fiction or a nice whodunnit, The Vanished Bride ticks both boxes.
In the lavishly illustrated Face It, Debbie Harry of Blondie gives us a splendidly gossipy, evocative memoir that somehow nevertheless manages to give almost nothing personal away. She knows it, too—“I still have so much more to tell but being such a private person, I might not tell everything,” says the afterword, in a kind of non-apology—and it’s noticeable that even when discussing traumatic or profoundly emotional events, Face It retains the same detached, even tone. This doesn’t make it uninteresting in the least, and it certainly chimes with Harry’s icy New York cool, but it is somehow profoundly odd to know exactly which street intersection a particular club was on while the establishment of the 13-year relationship that drove Blondie’s huge success is summed up with: “At this time, Chris [Stein] and I hadn’t made it, but right after that, we did.” It’s a wild ride, nevertheless. Harry takes us from a restricted suburban childhood to homelessness to world tours to Hollywood movies to Debbie keeping Chris on heroin during a three-month hospital stay for a disease that nearly killed him. It’s also shamelessly name-droppy— Patti Smith drops into an audition and is rude about everything, David Bowie does a lot of cocaine and flashes his sizable penis at Harry “as if I were the official cock-checker, or something”. Face It seems to have been written at least partly from interviews, with all the rhetorical questions and conversational flourishes left in, and the effect varies from conversational and engaging to a bit odd—there are some strange juxtapositions towards the end that make sense in a conversational context but less so in a narrative. Harry is also relentlessly image-conscious. Her discussion of the semiotics of stardom, especially around gender, is interesting, and the profusion of images add (literal) weight to what might otherwise have been a slight (if tempestuous) tale.
50. Food Stephen and Paul Rothe
People like watching their sandwich being made in front of them. They can ask for a bit more of this, a bit less of that. We stop filling the sandwich when it hits the ceiling
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QA PAUL & STEPHEN ROTHE The father and son at Paul Rothe and Son on the secret of longevity, the decline of the egg and anchovy sandwich, and mistaking Madonna for a salesperson INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY IMAGES: ORLANDO GILI
Paul Rothe and Son was born on 2nd August 1900 as a German deli, run by your grandparents. Now, it is the quintessential English cafe and pantry. How did this change come about? Paul: We never consciously change, but we evolve. The sign ‘Deutsche Delicatessen’, which was written above the shop front when it first opened, was taken down at some point just before the First World War, for obvious reasons. That said, people always ask if my grandfather had any hassle during the wars, but he didn’t really—perhaps because he served a stint in the British army when he first came over here. There was one incident, where a customer called him an insulting name and my grandfather had to chase him down the road. I think Germans assimilate very well into Britain. When I first started working under dad, we still had a few German words on the menu and he was still doing a meat platter with several types of wursts and salamis and a tongue sausage. Over time we have phased them out, so we just have Italian salami and liver sausage, though that is about the rise in healthy eating, really. We’re definitely anglicised now though. We always get American and Japanese tourists coming in and asking for the most English thing they can take back to their family. What do you suggest? Paul: One of the English things I recommend is Patum Peperium— gentleman’s relish—which is an anchovy spread with
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butter and herbs. Not many people know what it is any more. I remember it being the £36,000 question on Chris Tarrant’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The other is Tiptree’s Little Scarlet strawberry jam. Little scarlets are a variety of strawberry native to Britain and grow on the Tiptree estate, where they still pick them by hand. Health consciousness is just one of the many changes in our eating habits that have come about since you opened. To what extent have you resisted such changes and when have you given way? Paul: In the sixties, seventies and eighties we buttered all the bread first, without even asking. Now people can get cholesterol tests at the doctors, so we always ask if people want butter. People don’t eat as much bread as they used to either, so we do offer breadless sandwiches— that is, salad and the filling. I have a breadless sandwich for lunch every day myself. One thing we don’t cater for is allergies, which have become much more of a thing than they used to be. When I first started no one asked me if there was gluten or dairy in the soup; now I don’t think we get through a day without someone wanting to know. You have to ask yourself, do I cater for the lowest common denominator or for what is still, in reality, a minority? I like to make a nice soup. I spend an hour in the morning making it and I like to thicken it with a bit of flour or add a bit of cream to it. I did by chance make a dairy-free soup
this morning—lentils and vegetable broth—but as a rule, we don’t. What changes have you and Stephen overseen in your time here? Paul: Over time, dad started doing less retail and more catering, because people couldn’t park outside the shop anymore and buy a week’s groceries. That was the change he always talked about. He used to drive in from home in Harrow, park outside and drive home again. Can you imagine? So, he decided to make the shift toward catering and put in some of the tables and chairs. Then, just before Stephen started in the shop, we decided not to be a general store any more at all, so we did away with the cornflakes, the flour, the bags of sugar and what have you and decided to specialise in preserves and lunches. Today 90 per cent of our business is catered, whether it’s takeaway or eating in. Stephen: I think we deal with more small independents now than we used to—as well as Tiptree we have a range of small producers represented in our honey and chutneys and so on. Being a small business ourselves, it’s nice to support others. How has the proliferation of sandwich and salad chains affected your business? Paul: Not at all. If anything, it has been an advantage because it’s given us a niche: they do prepacked sandwiches, whereas here people can create their own combinations. Dad used
to be all about speed—if it wasn’t fast he wouldn’t do it, so lettuce and toasted bread were out—but these days we like to take a bit more time over it, because we’re giving people something they can’t get anywhere else. People like watching their sandwich being made in front of them; that they can ask for a bit more of that, a bit less of that. We stop filling when the sandwich hits the ceiling, that’s what I say— and I really do think we offer not the cheapest, but the best value for money in Marylebone.
I remember once making someone two peanut butter and banana sandwiches when they only wanted one, so I had to eat the other for my lunch. That was a bad day
What’s your bestselling sandwich filling and how has that changed over time? Paul: When I first came to the shop, one of our biggest sellers was egg and anchovy. We still have it,
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and it’s delicious, but it doesn’t sell so well these days. Another was cream cheese and dates, which we don’t do any more. Smoked salmon, though, has been popular from the year dot. Our most popular at the moment is coronation chicken, which is funny because it’s the only filling we don’t actually make ourselves. I bake the salmon every day with dill, lemon and black pepper, I make all the soups, but coronation chicken we just buy in. If people ask me which sandwich I suggest, I always say pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickled cucumber and mayonnaise. They never regret having that. What’s the strangest combination a customer has ordered?
Paul: We do get people asking us for some funny concoctions. We always make a homemade pork sausage meat at Christmas for turkey sandwiches and this year a young lady came in and asked for sardine, sausage meat and Branston pickle. I thought she was ordering for her boss and that she’d be back any minute saying she’d got it wrong—but she came in the next day and every day during December and asked for the same thing. I remember once making someone two peanut butter and banana sandwiches when they only wanted one, so I had to eat the other for my lunch. That was a bad day. And what was the other strange peanut butter sandwich, Stephen? Stephen: Peanut butter and tuna.
53. Food Growing up was there ever a time you didn’t want to work in the shop? Paul: When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a meteorologist. Dad was very wise: although he wanted me to come into the business, he took me to the London weather centre on one of their open days where I was told I needed A levels in physics and maths. and that they would then send me off to this boat in the middle of the North Sea for two years. I said to dad afterwards, “I think I’ll stay with you in the shop.” Stephen: He probably paid them to say that. You’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go in Marylebone. What’s the secret to your endurance? Paul: Being prepared to stand here all day long. That’s the secret. You have to dedicate yourself to a family business, you can’t divorce yourself from it and let someone run it for you. If it’s your family, you need to be here and be involved. We’ve also had very loyal members of staff of course, who have been with us for decades. We look after our staff and they look after us. You’ve survived without Instagram, Twitter or even much of an internet presence. Was that a conscious decision? Stephen: Well, it sort of contradicts our old school feeling and what we’re about. Paul: I suppose we do trade on our historic element. The white coats, for example—they are part of our history. My sister says, “Why don’t you
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wear a t-shirt with a pinny?” But people appreciate the white coats, I think. Stephen: I think in everchanging Marylebone people like to see some consistency. Being next to recording and rehearsal studios, you must have seen a fair few famous faces in your time. Paul: Oh yes. We had Alistair McGowan in a while ago. Victoria Wood was in just a few months before she died—she didn’t look unwell at all. Mick Jagger I’ve seen peering through the window, too. Then there was the time Madonna waved at me through the window. I was doing my bookwork at the back and I looked up to see this woman waving at me. I thought I recognised her, so I called to Stephen, thinking she was an old salesperson. Stephen: You said, “Didn’t she used to sell us such and such?” And I said, “No, that’s Madonna.” Who would you say is your longest standing customer? Paul: There used to be a opticians next door called Keeler’s and Mr Keeler still comes. He’s been coming since 1955. It used to be once a day, but it’s once a fortnight now he’s stopped working. He always used to have a liver sausage sandwich, though that’s changed. What’s his usual now Stephen? Stephen: He’s coronation chicken too. Paul: Honestly, they must be putting something in it. PAUL ROTHE AND SON 35 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NN
A RUM DEAL Musa Ozgul, bar manager at 108 Bar, on why rum is having a moment in the spotlight INTERVIEW: VIEL RICHARDSON
All rum starts with sugar cane or its by-products, distilled and aged to some degree, but there are three main types. White rum, which has been aged for less than two years, is just the sugar cane distillate, with nothing else added. For dark rum, the liquor is aged for over two years, perhaps four or five—it is this extra ageing that gives the rum most of its dark colour—sometimes with the addition of mollasses. The third type, aged rum, has been aged for eight years or more, making it smoother and more complex in flavour. These numbers are just a guide, though. For example, we have a white rum called Cana Brava which has been aged for three years. The thing is not to pay too much attention to the numbers and try the drink itself.
Rum is a really popular drink at the moment. It has such variety—we have rums from Venezuela, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, Martinique and many others countries— and distillers are really starting to explore its possibilities. Ageing traditionally took place in oak barrels that had been used to make whisky, but this is not always the case
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anymore. People are ageing rum in brandy or sherry barrels, for example, to create different flavours. Some producers are using more than one barrel to age their rum—they might use a whisky barrel for the majority of the ageing, then move the rum to a finishing barrel which has held a different spirit, thereby adding more layers of flavour.
If you are new to rum, the differences you will taste will be directly linked to the ageing process. White rum will have a bit more punch to it—this is why it is often used in cocktails where it can stand up to other flavours. You can taste more of the sugar cane, the profile of which will change a bit depending on where it was grown. Once
This is the thing about rum—it is a really interesting drink with a depth of possibilities that our guests are now really starting to explore, far more so than a few years ago
it has been aged for two years or more, it becomes smoother, the flavour more complex and you get those darker colours. With dark rum, there is a bit more sweetness because of the molasses being added. With the aged rum, the flavours have really developed. You will get sweeter notes and hints of honey and vanilla. These are really complex drinks
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perfect for sipping on their own. White rum and dark rum are great in cocktails. Something we are seeing quite often is people asking for an old fashioned in which the whisky is replaced with rum. This makes a very interesting drink, very different from the original. To make it, it’s not just a case of switching the spirits— the drink has to be balanced to take account of rum’s increased sweetness and different flavour profile. After a request from one customer, I created a rum cocktail called a Pick Me Up, based on the style of an old fashioned. I added come citrus notes with Italicus (a bergamot liqueur), Suze (a bitter French apéritif made from the gentian root), a dash of bitters and a dark rum called Diplomatico. It went down so well it is now on the menu. This is the thing about rum—it is a really interesting drink with a depth of possibilities that our guests are now really starting to explore, far more so than a few years ago. Of course, it can often be a wonderful drink just on its own. For the aged rum, I would suggest drinking it neat at room temperature, while for dark rums that are not aged, drink them with a big chunk of ice—the slight dilution of the ice melting will really open up the flavours. Or you can always ask your mixologist to surprise you. You could end up with a new favourite drink. 108 BAR 108 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2QE 108brasserie.com
58 Mickey Ashmore The founder of Sabah on falling in love with Turkey and reinventing a traditional style of shoe
PIZZAS 1. Sampieru Corsu, Sandy’s Corsica’s blend of Italian and French heritage is reflected in this pizza. Named after a Corsican military hero, it comes topped with crème fraiche, gruyere, sausage, porcini mushrooms, oregano and truffle oil. Bellissima. Or tres bien. 2. Lamb, savoy cabbage and sumac yoghurt, Homeslice There are two beautiful things about Homeslice: one, the pizzas are massive (20 inches) and two, they do prosecco on tap. The respectable thing would be to share one, but we’ll have one to ourselves. 3. Tartufo, Crazy Pizza It’s the mad pizza tossing skills and tableside tiramisumaking that puts the ‘crazy’ into Crazy Pizza: the pizzas are sensibly delicious. This comes with shavings of black truffle atop homemade mozzarella, Sicilian tomato sauce and a drizzle of white truffle olive oil. 4. Margherita, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele Put simple, the best traditional Neapolitan pizza you’ll find, short of flying to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele’s other restaurant, in Naples.
FOOD PHILOSOPHY SIMON CONYERS The head chef at Vinoteca Marylebone on his relationship with food INTERVIEW: ELLIE COSTIGAN
One of my earliest memories is getting an illustrated cookbook when I was about four. I badgered my mum to help me make things all the time. I think mostly it was a way to get biscuits. I did a whole bunch of City jobs for about 12 years and had this food hobby in the background— borderline obsession. My mates would laugh at me because if they popped round, I’d be watching a cooking programme, while reading a cookbook, while cooking something. About three years ago, I’d had quite a heavy year in my personal life. I quit my job, went travelling in New Zealand, came back and went, “Right, I’m going to be a chef.” It was terrifying. I didn’t even know the names for things. It was incredibly humbling. But I was hooked. I thought the hardest thing about being a chef would be learning to cook restaurant quality food—that was the easy bit. It’s coordination, it’s time management. It’s mental capacity. You’re working to deadlines of a couple of minutes and you have to be consistent.
When I put my menu together, I always start from the point of, what’s in season right now? Where’s it coming from? You will never see anything on my menu that’s been grown in a polytunnel in Peru. Our planet is on fire, we’re living on a dying rock, and the only way that’s going to change is if we start being much more careful about the choices we make about food. There are lots of jobbing chefs who started cooking because they didn’t know what else to do. But you really shouldn’t be doing this job unless you love it: the hours are too long, the money is too crap. There are better ways to earn a living unless you genuinely care about what you’re doing. I’m a big believer in not doing too much to things. I don’t want to have a mushroom that’s been freeze dried and powdered and turned into a gel, I want a mushroom that looks and tastes like a mushroom. Understanding the connection between land, produce, cuisine and culture, that’s the most important part of
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cooking. If you ever want to understand a person or a place, go and eat their food. Sadly, we’re losing that connection. Seasonality is the thing that excites me most as a chef—when spring comes in and you start getting proper crisp green vegetables, peas, asparagus, radishes. Three months later I will never want to see another pea, but that’s the nice thing about the UK, there’s always another season just around the corner. We buy in the whole animal and we waste nothing: the bones go into the stock pot, the trim and the bellies get minced and turned into ragus, soups or stews. If an animal is going to die so you can eat, it had better have had a damn good life and you’d better respect it—use it. My pig farmer is a bloke called Guy Tudge, up in Herefordshire. He raises Berkshire pigs; he’s got about 200. When I phone up to give him an order, he will frequently spend 20 minutes telling me about them—he loves his pigs. He loves what he does for a living. And you can absolutely taste the quality
of their life in the meat. And I know my customers can taste that difference. Vegetarian cooking challenges your creativity. You’ve got to think carefully about flavours, textures, colours, seasoning. You can’t just put up something that would be a garnish to a meat dish and call it a vegetarian dish. It’s lazy and it’s insulting and it’s not going to be satisfying. The thing I love most about this restaurant is that it’s an open kitchen. I can see almost everybody who’s eating my food. I love that instant feedback. About once every service, someone will come up to the pass and say, “Thank you, that was an amazing meal.” I buzz off that for rest of the night. I’ve worked with chefs who have ruled with intimidation and fear, some really abusive characters. There are some real problems in this industry. If your team are only working well because they fear you, you’ve failed—as a human, as a leader, as a chef. VINOTECA 15 Seymour Place, W1H 5BE vinoteca.co.uk
BO TTO ML CH ES AM PAG S BRU NE NC H
Sunday Garden Brunch inspired by Chartwell Gardens From Kent Eggs Benedict to Whitstable Oysters, enjoy British classics at The Montagu Kitchen Sunday brunch, choosing from buffet starters, main courses and Sunday roast. Sunday brunch is served from 12:30 - 3:00pm, overlooking Portman Square Gardens. Brunch is £58 per person with non-alcoholic drinks and £78 for bottomless Champagne and house wines. Located in the heart of Marylebone, The Montagu Kitchen takes inspiration from the National Trust’s Chartwell House and Garden in Kent - Sir Winston Churchill’s illustrious former residence.
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The Montagu Kitchen 30 Portman Square London, W1H 7BH +44 (0) 20 7299 2037 firstname.lastname@example.org #themontagukitchen www.themontagurestaurant.co.uk
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These shoes are made from quality leather, so they really take on the shape of your foot and sink into it. Because they are all handmade with leathers from different parts of the cow, no two are exactly alike
QA MICKEY ASHMORE The founder of Sabah on falling in love with Turkey, reinventing a traditional style of shoe, and trying to play a positive role in the Syrian refugee crisis INTERVIEW: CLARE FINNEY
While at college, you visited Istanbul and fell in love with the city, and through that Turkey. What was it that captivated you? I think I was really moved by the nostalgia of the city: it’s an amazing blend of old and new; of modernity and tradition. My native America is such a young country, and while we do have a culture and a set of traditions, a lot of that stems from the immigrants who came to the USA 200 years ago. Turkey is such an old country, and Istanbul such an old city, it feels so rooted in itself, which was unique to me. And yet because it is also so hospitable, warm and fun, it was not that hard to relate. How did the first Sabah shoe make its way to New York?
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After college, I lived in Istanbul. There, I made a friend whose grandmother gifted me a pair of traditional Turkish slippers. I wore them all over the place, even when I got back to New York— weddings, the office, holidays and so on—and I eventually decided I wanted another pair. The ones I had were worn out; they were well made, but with cheap leather, and by that point my friends at home were also asking for some too. So I got in touch with the grandmother, and through her I found the best maker of these shoes in Turkey: Orhan, who lived in Gaziantep in the south of Turkey. His family had been making this style of shoe since the late 1800s, and he was one of the last traditional shoemakers of his kind. I contacted him over WhatsApp and asked for a few changes to be made, which would make the shoes better suited to city life: more versatile, more durable and so on. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was making the very first pair of Sabahs. They arrived at my office a few weeks later, and I loved them. I got a few pairs for my friends, then ordered another 100 pairs in a variety of colours and sizes. Three hundred arrived. It wasn’t a hatched business plan, it was kind of a passion project that became something. How do Sabahs differ from the original slippers you were given? That original shoe was locally made, from quite cheap leather—and it wasn’t really worn that much anymore. It was
worn in that region of Turkey, but otherwise it really was a relic of the past. The Sabah is a stronger and much more durable shoe, with rubber soles and the highest grade of cow and water buffalo leather. The traditional shoes have more curly toes, and the pattern is quite ornamental, but the Sabah is simpler, with no pattern and no curly toes. It is a simple, classic design that is quite timeless and very versatile. While it is kind of a new creation, the history of it is a long one, and it’s made with good materials, which gives it a classic feel. The word Sabah is stamped on the inner sole. Why ‘Sabah’? I wanted a Turkish word, but I wanted something easy to say and identify. Sabah means morning in Turkish. It felt right because the morning is my favourite time of the day. What makes Sabahs unique? The beauty of these shoes is that they are made only from quality leather, so they really take on the shape of your foot and sink into it. Because they are all handmade with leathers from different parts of the cow, no two are exactly alike. The only synthetic material is the rubber on the sole, and this can be replaced by just about any cobbler, which is also nice from a sustainability perspective. They are really well constructed, with one continuous wax-cotton string hand-threaded through the shoe’s leather from the inside out: I’ve travelled around many of the most famous places for
handmaking and stitching shoes, and I’ve never seen anything like this. It is unique to this region. The initials of the craftsman who made the shoe are handwritten on the inside of the shoe, and their handiwork is visible from the outside. Where is your leather sourced from? The inner sole of a Sabah is made of water buffalo leather, which is a really old world, traditionally produced leather of a type you rarely see in modern shoes. It’s quite hard to produce, but it results in a really great piece of leather which moulds to your feet over time and never results in odour. The Turkish family that specialises in tanning this leather have been doing it for 200 years and have
been working with our shoemakers for almost as long, honing their craft and their understanding of each other. The cow leather is from Grade A hides, a by-product of the meat industry—as well as leather, Gaziantep is also famous for its beef kebabs. We work with the most well-regarded tanneries in Turkey to produce leather that meets quality standards and characteristics we have determined are best for Sabahs; leather that is naturally beautiful, breathes and feels wonderful on the foot and ages gracefully over time to develop a nice patina. Gaziantep is on the border with Syria. How has the conflict and subsequent refugee crisis affected your business?
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Gazientep is on the border with Syria, so is home to one of the largest populations of Syrian refugees. I’ve chosen to stick around, and be part of that in a positive way. The conflict hasn’t affected us beyond making our time there more meaningful
Gazientep is one of the larger towns on the border with Syria, so many of the journalists and the NGOs are based there. It is also home to one of the largest populations of Syrian refugees. I’ve chosen to stick around, and be part of this in a positive way— so every February we support a different nonprofit that is dealing with the Syrian crisis, and we’ve given jobs to refugees who used to work in shoemaking back in their home country. That’s been good for us too: it’s not been easy to find people who want to work in shoe manufacturing anymore as it’s such an old world craft, and the Syrians who have joined our workshops have great skills and a real interest in working. The conflict hasn’t affected us beyond
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making our time there more meaningful. How have you managed to grow Sabah in a way that is sustainable for a small family workshop? The slow, organic growth of the business has allowed us to build up capacity in a way that hasn’t compromised our craft or attention to detail. When we started, we just had five or six craftsmen; now we’re on 30 or 40, but we’ve grown in such a way as to be able to train and pay everyone really well. Our shoes aren’t cheap, but that’s because we source our materials from reputable suppliers and pay them and our workers properly: all of our craftsmen have healthcare, receive bonuses based on their work and have long-term job security
with the potential for career progression. Our new training programme trains and places craftsmen in new roles within the workshop, and we’ve made such a point of celebrating our workers and their craft that for the first time in years, their children are interested in joining the business. Every time a new employee joins, I take time to get to know them over lunch or dinner: it’s important to me that I know their names and those of their families, and that they feel part of our story—that the customer knows they are part of our story. We are connected: this small town on the Syrian border, New York and Marylebone. SABAH 50 Chiltern Street, W1U 7QT sabah.am
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THE OUTFIT THE BEST
OF THE SEASON FROM MARYLEBONE
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Decking stripe open collar shirt Hamilton and Hare, £90 The Diligent sunglasses VIU, £145 Acne studios Cassiar logo-print checked wool scarf MatchesFashion, £180 Cotton Milano knit harrington jacket Sunspel, £265
London undercover folded umbrella Trunk, £65 ‘Star’ jacquard socks Paul Smith, £18 Harcourt pullover John Smedley, £170 Fine stripes jamming trousers Agnès b, £195
KJ’S LAUNDRY Kate Allden of KJ’s Laundry on an elegant everyday combination We’ve been open nearly 15 years, so we have a pretty good idea of what we like to wear and what other people want. Sometimes we can’t find exactly what we’re looking for in the collections we buy in, so we started developing pieces of our own: the kind of pieces you can wear day-in, day-out and will work hard for you. This is one of our tops, made with mid-weight cotton, paired with some lovely khaki chinos from Xirena. The fit of this shirt means you probably need something fairly high waisted to go with it—jeans, or a simple high-waisted skirt would work, or cream cords, which this season are very in. The print was designed exclusively for us by a print design agency called Clara Francis. We like it because, while it’s not a Liberty print, it’s still got that ditsy feel to it: I’d say that our signatures include femininity and pretty detailing, like the smocking you see here. Jewellery-wise, I’d pair it with something from Marissa Irwin, one of our jewellery suppliers. She lives just above us, and makes the most beautiful necklaces and earrings with pretty little stones. KJ’S LAUNDRY 74 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PW kjslaundry.com
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Robin Maude The manager of Vitsœ’s Marylebone shop on system thinking, doing more with less and the 10 principles of good design
SPORTS BRAS Chantelle Murnaghan, director of Lululemon’s Whitespace Labs, on making the perfect sports bra We are seeing women demand and expect more from their bras—and their clothing in general—as a result of their busier lives, and the increasing shift towards an active lifestyle. A great sports bra, created with function at the core, needs to work hard, supporting a woman’s performance and seamlessly carrying her through her day, from the commute to the office to sweaty pursuits. Our research shows that how a bra feels on your body—specifically how it feels in motion, be it for running, doing yoga or even walking to work—is what matters when it comes to comfort and performance. Every woman’s breasts move in a unique way. It’s like a signature, and completely individual to them. By considering this breast movement profile, in combination with personal feel preference and, of course, physical shape, we create bras that meet a woman’s functional needs, but also deliver a completely new sensory experience that feels as perfect in your chosen activity as it does in the changing room.
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Like all of our products, we design bras through the lens of ‘the science of feel’—our human-first approach to unlocking performance potential. We first introduced this concept in 2015 within the pant category, creating a carefully considered spectrum of sensations that allow our guests to find the right products based on how they want to feel, physically and emotionally. We engineer our products to take into consideration the complex interaction between mind and body, to minimise distraction, enable focus and support everyday goals. We design our bras to manage breast motion without restricting it, enabling us to break paradigms that exist in the category: the notion that you can’t have a high performing bra that feels great when you’re moving. Of course, it’s also really important that you have a wellfitting bra, so that it can deliver on comfort, performance and aesthetic. Our designs have been assisted by the development of highly technical fabrics by our raw materials team, such as Luxtreme and Ultralu, which offer functionality and performance, feel amazing against the skin, and mould to the human body. LULULEMON 74-75 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5JR lululemon.co.uk
QA ROBIN MAUDE The head planner of Vitsœ’s Marylebone shop on system thinking, doing more with less and the 10 principles of good design INTERVIEW: MARK RIDDAWAY
What are Vitsœ’s roots? This is quite an interesting time for us, because we’re into our 60th year, and we are in this new shop in time to mark it—it’s a coincidence, but one that worked out very well. The company was started by Niels Vitsœ, a Danish furniture dealer, in conjunction with Dieter Rams, the famous German designer best known for being the head of design at Braun, responsible for all those famous consumer products: razors, record players, food mixers. The inception of Vitsœ was based on the challenges of post-war buildings— all those new flats. It was about creating a system of thought-out design for small buildings that require efficient storage. That’s where the shelving system came from. Vitsœ uses the word ‘system’ a lot. What does it mean to you? It’s a very modular approach. The 606 Universal Shelving System has various components that can sit inside its structure, meaning you can add to it and manipulate it over time. The 620 Chair Programme allows you to buy single armchairs and with the addition of a simple joining plate turn them into a sofa. System thinking is very adaptable. When done well, it responds to your life demands—if you move house, or if that second bedroom that was an office becomes a nursery, for example. And you can build it up over time. Some of the best relationships we have are ones where the customer doesn’t have the budget to do everything
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68. Life Robin Maude
in one hit, but they’ll do a certain section, get the structure right, then order a new shelf every other month, every other paycheque, and gradually and organically get that system they always wanted. We have customers who date from the 1960s— they’re always adding to and adapting the system. We talk about ‘less is more’, about buying sustainably, about buying things that will last a lifetime. The frequency with which our furniture ends up in people’s wills is testament to its durability and to the fondness people have for the system. Is the shelving simple to install? It has its nuances. We have a planning team here to help develop that knowledge and educate customers
to the possibilities of the system. But it is very simple. Most of our customers install it themselves. As long as you’re handy with a drill and have a little DIY knowledge, we have most of the tricky bits covered for you. We send what we call a spacer level—it’s basically a jig for you to mark out the system. It takes all of the head-scratching out of the equation, all the worry about getting it perfect. One of the most important things for many of our customers is that experience of taking it through their front door and being able to open the first box and get on and install it. The business is based around three products— the shelving, the chairs and the 621 Table—all of which were designed in
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One of the most difficult things about trying to grab people’s attention to the system is that it is so discrete. It’s all about what you put on the shelves, rather than the shelves themselves
the early 1960s. How has it resisted the temptation to extend the range? If anything, we’ve stripped things away from our suite of products. Rather than designing more products, we’ve refined the ones we have, we’ve opened them up. It’s very much a mantra here: less, but better. They stand the test of time, even as technologies come and go. We get questioned quite a lot about our ‘CD shelf’—our 16cm shelf. But it’s not a CD shelf, it’s always been 16cm deep; it just so happens that the CD came along and fitted it perfectly. The CD is now a bit of bygone technology, but that shelf lives on. It’s perfect for small books. The crossover with the audio side of Braun did dictate some of the original sizings, so the 36cm deep shelf holds audio equipment and
69. Life Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design 1. Good design is innovative 2. Good design makes a product useful 3. Good design is aesthetic 4. Good design makes a product understandable 5. Good design is unobtrusive 6. Good design is honest 7. Good design is long-lasting 8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail 9. Good design is environmentallyfriendly 10. Good design is as little design as possible
vinyl records quite neatly. That might have seemed obsolete a few years ago, but they’re some of our biggest customers now, the audiophiles. Have your products changed much since they were first designed 60 years ago? Not at all, really. There are some tweaks that have happened over the years to keep up with advances in manufacturing techniques, or from our knowledge of the system and its capabilities going over that 60 year period, but we’ve always developed things that can be backwardcompatible with pieces from the sixties. A lot of the tweaks over the past 60 years have been based on customer feedback. Sometimes the best ideas come from customers. It’s
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more than just a financial transaction, it’s a knowledge transaction, and that’s quite a two-way thing. Does Vitsœ furniture fit best with a particular style of architecture? Absolutely not. You really shouldn’t be too wedded to the idea of period. Before we moved here, we were in an old Arts and Crafts building on Duke Street. That may have seemed a bit incongruous for a modern design company, but actually it helped to highlight that our furniture fits absolutely anywhere. That shop did us a great service: it opened up the idea that it can complement all sorts of environments. My introduction to Vitsœ was partly through my father, who was renovating a 16th century cottage in Bradford-upon-
Avon and was struggling to find anything that didn’t disrupt the aesthetic. In 2009, Dieter Rams had an exhibition at the Design Museum, and there was an episode of the Culture Show about him, which we both watched. We realised that this system wouldn’t jar with the architecture, and that it would also satisfy the vast book collection that my dad has carried around with him since he was a kid. Is the muted palette part of that? It is. The reason we have this very limited palette is that it extends the lifetime of that purchase and means that it works almost anywhere. Black will never go out of fashion; the white isn’t a harsh white, it’s a very neutral white. In fact, one of the most difficult things about trying to grab people’s attention to the system is that it is so discrete. It’s all about what you put on the shelves, rather than the shelves themselves. That muted, quiet aesthetic overrides anything. It flies in the face of fashion. You manufacture your furniture in Leamington Spa. A company with German roots that makes its products in Britain seems like a reversal of the usual pattern! How did that come about? It was our managing director, Mark Adams, who brought the company to the UK. Mark had become very friendly with Niels and Dieter, and had set up a branch of Vitsœ over here. When Niels retired, Mark became managing director and took the opportunity to bring pretty much all the manufacturing over to Britain. The factory
The frequency with which our furniture ends up in people’s wills is testament to its durability and to the fondness people have for the system in Leamington Spa is an amazing place. It’s very much a systembuilt building. It’s very adaptable. There are these channels that run throughout the building and divide it into bays, which is an echo of the shelving system—we refer to each column of shelves as a bay. You can retrofit cables and services at any point, when the production needs to be reorganised in some way, or if we have a new team that needs space created for it. The building has been designed to constantly evolve to the needs of the business. Has your customer base changed during your time at Vitsœ? I do sense that we’re getting a younger crowd. We’re not a cheap product, although we are good value because
pass over to us really is an investment. We encourage that thoughtful, considered approach. We don’t want people to buy things impulsively; that’s why we have a team of planners to help our customers give some real thought to what they’re purchasing.
of the longevity. In the past that has put off young people, who don’t have a lot of money, but I do think that we’re reaching more generations now—younger people who are prepared to save up for things that are good, and good for the planet. You don’t have to go crazy with it—it’s about working out what you really need, about making sure that the money you
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Dieter Rams famously came up with 10 key principles of design. Do you still follow them? We use them as our checklist for everything we do. The world would be a better place if they were applied more widely. It’s a manifesto for any young designer, engineer or architect. There’s an awful lot of ill-considered things brought to market just to make a quick buck, and people are fed up with buying stuff that just fails. Most of the principles go
beyond product, as well. Even things like financial services could benefit from following them. You’ve been in Marylebone a long time… We’ve been in the area for 16 years of our 60 year history. We started a few doors down, where Sourced Market is now. Our production facility and HQ in Leamington Spa is just over an hour by train from Marylebone station—that was part of the thinking in locating it there. We whizz up and down all the time. Marylebone has a strong design history, it’s a retail hub, and we have some great neighbours and friends out there. That’s another reason we’re so fond of being in this area: Tracey Neuls a few doors up, David Mellor just up the road. At a time when traditional retail is a bit shaky, there are people doing fantastic things, trying to work out how to retain that spirit of the British high street—we’re proud to count ourselves among them. Is Dieter Rams still involved? He’s 87 years old now, but he is still a big part of the company. He was here for the opening of the shop. He is in constant contact with Mark. We still put lots of things under his nose, just for that nod. He’s very encouraging of Vitsœ, but he thinks his legacy is in safe hands with us, which it is. We hold ourselves to account. I like to think we’re honouring his 10 principles every single day. VITSŒ 21 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2NG vitsoe.com
CHRISTIAN LOCK-NECREWS Partner at Knight Frank on his life in Marylebone I start my day with coffee and peanut butter on toast from Doorsteps, an independently run cafe on Blandford Street. I love places like that: you find a whole mix of people there at the same time every day. I am the local estate agent, there are taxi drivers, builders, businessmen, and the toast and coffee costs £3.30 altogether. It’s great value, great service and great quality. Why everyone isn’t already going there, I don’t understand: I tell everyone at Knight Frank to go, and now I am telling you, too. My role involves running the team—sales and lettings—as well as managing clients, winning new business, and making sure that we’re marketing ourselves in the right way. I’m more desk-based than I used to be, but I still have a few high end or longstanding clients myself, who I go and see onsite. That remains without question the most fun part of this job: going to cool places, being a bit nosy and meeting fascinating people—and then, hopefully, putting them together and making everyone happy. Personally, I’ve always had an affinity for historic architecture, and in Marylebone you have a
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stunning blend of Georgian, Victorian and Art Deco buildings. In recent years, however, I’ve been heavily involved with the area’s new residential developments, and they are really exciting. You can be working on these projects from start to finish—sometimes five or six years. With our head office on Baker Street, we are well located between The Portman Estate and Marylebone Village. One of my favourite areas is Mansfield Street: great architecture, right in the middle of it all but with very little traffic. In the summer, I love going to Regent’s Park and walking around there. With these new airpods from Apple, I can walk and make calls at the same time. I can be having a conversation with a client while walking and enjoying this amazing place. When it comes to eating and drinking, I think it’s all Casa Becci
about finding those hidden gems. It’s easy to go to The Ivy Café—and you’ll have a lovely time and great service—but finding places that aren’t so well known, which serve equally good food but are independent, that‘s a bit harder. Casa Becci is a classic example. It’s family run, the owner is there when you go in, there are breadsticks and olives on the table—just little touches that make a meal. I love Zayna for Pakistani cuisine—I’ve travelled a bit around that part of the world, and think it’s one of the best examples in London, with incredible flavours and service— although for Indian food, Trishna is of course very good. For a drink, I like the Barley Mow, with its little wooden booths—why aren’t all pubs like that? The common theme here is places that are locally operated, and pay real care and attention to what they serve: they do what they do well, and with passion. When I find somewhere I love, I’ll take my friends, my family, my clients: over 15 years of working here—and being someone who loves food and cooking—I’ve had a lot of time to go back to the places I love, and get to know the people there. That’s a big part of the experience, too. KNIGHT FRANK 55 Baker Street, W1U 8EW knightfrank.co.uk
72. Life with a paper recycler. He told me that if you put plastic parcel tape around the bundles of paper or cardboard you send to recycling, they have to take it off by hand, which is hugely time consuming, or the bundles are not recyclable. That got me thinking about our overall plastic use, as I have always been environmentally minded. The great thing is that everyone here has been fully engaged with the policy from the beginning.
INSIDE KNOWLEDGE SUSTAINABLE PRINT Adam Branaghan, centre manager at Prontaprint, on reducing the environmental impact of print
We have cut back on plastic use wherever we can. Any bubble wrap and laminates we use are biodegradable. We also use tape that is made from paper and not plastic which makes things easier when the packages we send off arrive at the recycling facility.
INTERVIEW: VIEL RICHARDSON
The core of what we do is document printing, such as booklets, presentation reports, posters and business cards. We also offer larger scale printing for events, like roller banners, window vinyls and directional signs. We recently purchased a machine that allows us to cut printed material into almost any shape the customer wants. One of the things that I believe sets us apart is the level of our commitment to trading sustainably. This site had always been mindful of its trading practices, but there wasn’t a specific environmental strategy in place when I arrived, so I took some time to look at the way we were operating and developed a proper policy.
There is a wonderful website called twosides.info, which really promotes sustainability in the graphic communications supply chain. It’s a great place to find out the facts—and fiction—about waste and sustainability in this industry and discover some suggested solutions. It has been very helpful in formulating and refining our environmental policy. Our biggest customer is Marks & Spencer. I know that the seriousness with which we take sustainability is very important to them. Every piece of paper we use is from an FSC accredited supplier. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council and their accreditation means that the supplier is getting
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One of the things that I believe sets us apart is the level of our commitment to trading sustainably
their paper, or any other wood-based products, from forests that are well managed in a sustainable manner. It can also mean that the company’s paperbased products come from reputable recycling companies. I first had the idea of creating an environmental strategy after a conversation I had
We have introduced a shredding system where customers can return paper and cardboard once they have finished with it. We shred it and send it to a recycling company, so it can be reused. That has proved very popular with customers. One of the things we can do here is digital gold foiling. This allows us to print gold lettering and shapes. The fact that it is a digital laminate as opposed to machine pressed gold leaf means it is much quicker and therefore more affordable. It is an interesting technology and something not a lot of people have. PRONTAPRINT 95 Wimpole Street, W1G 0EJ wimpole.prontaprint.com
FIVE HAND CARE PRODUCTS
Clockwise from top left: 34 Blvd St Germain soap Diptyque, £22 Resurrection Aromatique hand balm Aesop, £21 Bee Lovely hand wash Neal’s Yard Remedies, £12.50 Napiers the Herbalist hand recovery cream John Bell & Croyden, £29 Seaberry nourishing hand cream Fresh, £20
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The word ‘awake’ is a bit of a misnomer, because most patients are actually asleep during the procedure. This is done through sedation, though, rather than general anaesthetic
QA PROF TONY KOCHHAR Consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The London Clinic specialising in shoulder and upper limb surgery on ‘awake surgery’, an approach to anaesthesia he hopes will become more widely used INTERVIEW: VIEL RICHARDSON PORTRAIT: CHRISTOPHER L PROCTOR
In short, what is awake surgery? It’s the process of performing surgery while the patient is not under a general anaesthetic. Instead, we use local anaesthetic to create what is called a nerve block to anaesthetise the shoulder. The word ‘awake’ is a bit of a misnomer, because most patients are actually asleep during the procedure. This is done through sedation, though, rather than general anaesthetic, and this means that they are sleeping under their own steam. We are not controlling their breathing or heart rate as we would under a general anaesthetic. However, patients can be fully awake if they choose to be. What is a nerve block? Nerves are like electrical cables. Signals travel from the brain along the nerve to the muscle, telling it to move in some way. Signals also go from the skin up the nerves to the brain, relaying sensory information like heat, cold and touch. It’s a two-way exchange of information. If you flood an area around a nerve with local anaesthetic, that communication route is blocked, as no signals
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can get through. This means that you cannot feel or move anything in the affected area. A regional nerve block works by identifying the nerves that send and receive information from specific muscles and then numbing them with local anaesthetic.
nerves that specifically control the shoulder, causing it to go numb and immobile. I have done this procedure hundreds of times and patients have been in every state, from peacefully snoring away to watching the procedure on the screen while asking questions.
How did this procedure develop? It’s essentially a refined form of anaesthesia. The ability to do something like this has been around since we developed the ability to anaesthetise specific areas of the body. There is no need for months of extra training, or extra equipment. It’s about the anaesthetic team and the surgeon becoming more comfortable with the awake surgery clinical pathway. In most cases they already have the skillsets.
When do you make the decision to do an awake procedure? The process really starts in the clinic when we talk to the patient about the choice of anaesthesia available. Some people have real and justifiable concerns about general anaesthetic. They just don’t like the concept of it, they feel out of control, they are worried that they are not going to wake up or they have heard from family members who have had a bad experience at some point. Some people are medically unfit, so it’s riskier for them to have a general anaesthetic. That said, some patients are uncomfortable when I mention awake surgery— that’s particularly true if they are over 60. But I tell them they can be asleep and also that there is some evidence that for older patients it’s safer. So this often allays their fears.
How does the process work? Before the surgery, my anaesthetist will do the checks necessary before any anaesthetic is given. The patient will be given a small amount of sedative so that they feel calmer or go to sleep. The anaesthetist will then inject the local anaesthetic to numb the
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The clinical and particularly postoperative benefits of awake surgery are so compelling, I believe it should become the first choice where possible Can fear of general anaesthetic impact on a patient’s willingness to have surgery? It can. There are many reasons why people are reluctant to have surgery but one of the main reasons is the possibility of feeling terribly sick afterwards. They may have had the experience themselves or seen a relative go through a torrid time after a procedure. Often this is a function of the general anaesthetic not the procedure. This leaves them feeling very unsure and out of control when faced with having a procedure themselves. If you can offer an alternative option, some patients are happier to proceed. What does this feel like from a patient’s perspective?
All the patient wants is for their faith in the operating team to be repaid; to have a procedure with the minimum of fuss, and then recover fully as quickly as possible with minimum pain. What they want to hear after the procedure is that there were no issues and they’re going to be fine. With this technique, you are able to say this to them when they are awake and alert, not groggy, feeling ill and in pain, so not really taking in what you are saying. It puts them in a better psychological place at the start of their recovery. How does awake surgery impact on recovery time? The length of time that patients stay both in the recovery ward and then the hospital is halved. This is not about discharging
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patients as soon as possible, but they do get to a position where they can go home more quickly. Are there any medical advantages to awake procedures? One of the real advantages is that the patient can start physiotherapy very quickly after the procedure, often on the same day. After some procedures, you get better outcomes if you can start physiotherapy on the day of surgery—for example, an operation to release the scar tissue that can build up around a frozen shoulder. The aim of the procedure is to get the shoulder moving and keep it moving so that scar tissue does not reform, so the quicker physiotherapy can start the better. Another huge benefit is that post-op requirements
for pain medication are hugely reduced. After general anaesthetic, patients can need morphine and other pain meds to counteract the pain and nausea. It can lead to a situation where they need an increasing amount of painkilling medications. If a patient starts their recovery uncomfortable and in pain, it can slow down the time it takes for them to recover fully. Why the need for increasing amounts of painkillers? Managing pain with opioid based medication has to be very carefully managed because of a condition called opioid-induced hyperalgesia. When coming off a course of these drugs, patients can find that their sensitivity
77. Health to pain has doubled. This means everything feels much more painful, leading to the patient needing more painkillers. Getting hooked on these medications can happen very quickly, so anything that can reduce the need for painkillers is desirable. Are there clinical reasons for suggesting that someone has awake surgery? I would suggest there is merit in doing it for anyone over the age of 60 to 65. After this age, the risk of covert stroke under general anaesthetic increases. I would also suggest it for patients already on pain medication for existing conditions, such as fibromyalgia. We want to keep the need for any extra pain medication as low as possible to reduce the risk of compromising their existing pain management regime. Also, anyone who has had problems with previous anaesthetic such as severe sickness, a lot of pain or a prolonged period of confusion. Are there patients you would not recommend it for? Some people can be allergic to some local anaesthetics, but these are very few and far between. Also, in terms of shoulder procedures, if a patient has a very thick muscular neck, accessing the necessary area for the injection of the local anaesthetic can be difficult. Are there any risks? The main risk comes from the process of injecting the anaesthetic. If you make a mistake you can inject
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the anaesthetic into the nerve itself as opposed to flooding the area around it. If that happens, the numbness and paralysis can last for weeks or even months. The risk is small, but it is there. Also, just on the other side of the nerves we numb for upper limb operations is the lung, so you have to take care not to puncture a lung. You mentioned covert stroke earlier. What is it? A large study has recently been published which looked at the stroke risk of patients over 60 undergoing general anaesthetic for noncardiac procedures. The patients underwent an MRI scan before and after the procedure and some showed signs of a small brain bleed or blood blockage. There
The length of time that patients stay both in the recovery ward and then the hospital is halved. This is not about discharging patients as soon as possible, but they do get to a position where they can go home more quickly
were no obvious stroke symptoms, but patients did report feelings of confusion and lethargy upon recovery. These symptoms were passed off as the temporary effects of having a big operation. They were also passed off as signs of ageing. The stroke is called covert because without the MRI it usually goes undiagnosed due to the subtly of the symptoms. With such subtle symptoms why it is a problem? Two reasons. The first is that you never want to cause harm to a patient. If they come in for a procedure, you don’t want to cause any adverse effects. Secondly, once a person has had a stroke of any kind they are at an increased risk of having another one, and the next one may be big. So covert strokes are something we must really strive to avoid, as they are extremely difficult and time consuming to diagnose without a brain scan. If someone is concerned about covert stroke, what should they do? If you are concerned, talk to your doctor and the hospital where you had the procedure. What I’m talking about is a change in cognitive performance after the operation that has not improved after several months. How long will depend on the procedure, as major operations can take a long time to fully recover from. But if you are concerned you should ask questions. I must stress, this applies to those over 60—I haven’t seen any studies about
covert stroke in younger patients. Should people be concerned about general anaesthetic? General anaesthetics are an indispensable tool that saves countless lives every year, but we have always known that they carry some risk. What that covert stroke study tells me is that the level of risk is probably a bit higher than we thought for some people. Therefore, if a procedure can reduce the need for general anaesthetic then we should be considering it. Can this be applied to other procedures? Lower limb surgeons have actually been doing it for some time, as you can give a spinal anaesthesia which numbs both legs. They can also numb just the hip. What we have now is an environment of expanding our development of regional anaesthesia and an increased awareness of the possibilities. Since we started offering this option, it has grown from one per cent of my procedures to about 30 per cent. I think its use will continue to widen through patients asking for it. Do you think it should be more common in five years? Yes, I do. I think clinical and particularly postoperative benefits are so compelling that it should become the first choice where possible. This would allow us to save the use of general anaesthetic for those times when it is really needed. THE LONDON CLINIC 22 Devonshire Place, W1G 6JA thelondonclinic.co.uk
job effectively, there are treatments available.
Miss Louisa Wickham, chief surgeon at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital, on the treatment of floaters
What are these treatments? The one that I would strongly discourage patients from pursuing is the YAG Floater Lysis laser treatment, which targets and disperses floaters. Very often, the floaters are dispersed into smaller ones, making those patients more symptomatic than they were beforehand. Also, you’re introducing a lot of energy into the eye in a fairly unregulated fashion, and this can cause retinal injuries. To my mind, this treatment is neither regulated nor controlled enough to deal with the issue. The second treatment is called a vitrectomy. This keyhole surgery is a very effective and controlled way of removing the floaters, but it is not entirely riskfree. There’s around a 3-5 per cent risk of complications that could cause permanent visual reduction not correctible with glasses.
INTERVIEW: JEAN-PAUL AUBIN-PARVU
What are floaters? Floaters occur when collagen condenses in the vitreous jelly that sits at the back of your eye. When you’re born, this jelly is very firm, but as you get older it becomes more liquid. The collagen begins to change in nature, becoming thicker and forming into clumps, which then begin to move around. It’s a bit like when you shake a snow globe and the little snowflakes move around—as your eye moves, these clumps of collagen are agitated, and as they move around they catch the light and disturb your vision.
The same is true if you live in a very sunny country. There is also evidence to suggest that people who are either very short-sighted or long-sighted tend to notice floaters more than those who aren’t. The symptoms are usually transient, so floaters are not always experienced in the same way or in the same place. And if you went to an optician for an eye test, it would often come back as normal, because although the quality of vision is affected, your ability to see letters on a chart is likely to be entirely normal.
What does someone with floaters actually see? You might see little black dots moving across your eye—I’ve heard floaters described as being like little flies. Other people might see them as a big clump. They might notice, for example, that when they’re reading, a large floater will gradually drift into their central vision, causing them problems. They can seem worse in certain lighting conditions, so if your job requires you to look at lots of white screens, for example, you might notice floaters more commonly.
How common are floaters? Very common. Around 75 per cent of patients will say that they’ve had them at some point. Certainly, floaters become much more prevalent with age. They can also get much worse quite suddenly. For example, vitreous detachment—where the vitreous jelly changes its position in the eye—is a common condition among patients in their fifties and sixties, and this can suddenly cause the appearance of floaters to increase considerably in a short period of time before
settling back down again. Can they become a serious problem? Floaters can be very annoying and can significantly affect your quality of life, but in the vast majority of cases they don’t indicate any disease of the eye. But if there’s a sudden increase in the number of floaters—as happens with vitreous detachment—then that could be indicative of a wider issue that needs to be checked out by an optician or ophthalmologist. Are there treatments available? In the vast majority of cases, floaters will only be visible for a while before settling down. That’s not because the floaters have gone away—they don’t get broken down or absorbed in some way—but because your perception of them changes. After a while, the brain understands that the floaters are insignificant and will begin to fade them from your vision, except in particular lighting conditions where they might become visible again. Where floaters are causing a significant issue with a patient’s quality of life or preventing them from doing their
What should we do if floaters become a problem? In the first instance, you should see your optician, so they can check whether there’s anything untoward going on. Once you know your eyes are healthy, the floaters will often settle down. But if they don’t, then your next course of action would be going to see your GP and asking them to refer you to a consultant for an expert opinion. MOORFIELDS PRIVATE EYE HOSPITAL 8 Upper Wimpole Street, W1G 6LH moorfields-private.co.uk
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are very conscious of the way the buildings are laid out and very careful about it. You have to liaise with the council and the freeholders to make sure that everything is the way it should be. I would like to think that’s where our expertise comes in, advising on that.
MEDICAL PROPERTY Jeremy and Michael Cohen of Jeremy James & Company on the ins and outs of letting medical properties
Whereas offices and residential property rates tend to fluctuate, medical stays very steady and firm. At the moment, demand outweighs supply and it can be a challenge finding the space. I can’t see that changing.
INTERVIEW: ELLIE COSTIGAN
We’ve been involved with the medical district for the past 35 years. We know it very well indeed; we have dealt with most buildings, and a lot of the doctors and physicians. Invariably you can ask a question and we will know the answer without going there, which helps. Dealing with medical property is very different to the residential side of things. The medical side is quite a specialised area. Leases in this area can be a little bit quirky. It takes a degree of knowledge of the area for a lawyer to understand how they work, as they can be quite complex. Those we deal with are very familiar and know from experience how to put them together.
There are certain criteria that one ordinarily has to meet in order to take a medical suite. The landlord, The Howard de Walden Estate, likes to see that the doctor or physician is GMC registered—and rightly so. We make sure that anyone who takes the suite is medically qualified. Harley Street is known worldwide. People come in from out of town specifically to go to the hospitals in the area, because of their expertise. You’ve got every type of medical process in the area and they provide excellent service. Buildings here tend to be listed, which can pose difficulties from a physician’s point of view. You can’t just knock down a wall and hope for the best; the council
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Harley Street is known worldwide. People come in from out of town specifically to go to the hospitals in the area, because of their expertise
There are lots of dentists in the area. The downpayment for converting a suite for dental use is expensive, because you’ve got the machinery, the chairs, the plumbing that has to be put in and so on, whereas with some other medical specialists all you need is a room and a wash basin. Dentists therefore often want a longer lease—at least 10, 15 years, because the amount of money that they’re going to have to invest is much greater. They need to make sure they have a good return on it.
There are a number of buildings where the freehold has been bought by either the doctor or the occupant. People are now able to qualify to buy the building, which has only been the case for the last 15 to 20 years or so— the laws have changed somewhat in favour of the occupant, as opposed to the landlord. JEREMY JAMES & COMPANY 33 New Cavendish Street, W1G 9TS jeremy-james.co.uk
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QA TIM FAIRWEATHER The director of Sandfords Marylebone on small teams, fair pricing and why now is a good time to buy INTERVIEW: ELLIE COSTIGAN PORTRAIT: ORLANDO GILI
What was it that brought you to Sandfords? When I was 25, I got bored of living out in Hertfordshire and moved to London—I wanted to enjoy myself. I’ve been in the Marylebone area since 1995; I joined Sandfords in 2006. This was and remains very much a boutique company and we’re targeted in this area—specifically Marylebone, which is what I mainly deal with, and Regent’s Park. We’re quite a small team, there are only 12 of us, and we have a very friendly company culture. Everyone is left to their own devices, because we only employ people who are experienced. We are trusted to deliver, be it management, lettings or sales. The team and I have been around a very long time, so we all know our stuff. What advantages come with being such a small, settled team? It gives sellers and buyers real confidence. What I’ve seen in the last three or four years, with the market changing the way it has, is that buyers certainly don’t want to deal with someone they don’t feel is trustworthy. They want to feel confident. Sellers want to deal with someone who knows their stuff. It’s not easy to get a strong price— it takes a lot of experience. There are also all sorts of pitfalls with selling property in this location—you could be dealing with properties with short leases, for example, which can be complicated. Many factors come into it: knowing how the building is run and by whom, knowing what else
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is going on in the area, who the neighbours are—these are all things we are able to advise on.
but there’s definitely a more positive spin. I can see it stabilising nicely as the year progresses.
Does the area attract a particular type of person? It’s quite a multicultural area, both in W1 and NW1, so it is quite diverse. It mainly depends on the type of property: I’m not going to sell a fourth floor walk-up to an elderly person, but I will sell it to a young person because they’ll happily use the stairs. Whereas you might find mews houses suit somebody a bit older. Because of the way that the economy has changed, most buyers I’ve seen in the last couple of years are buying out of necessity rather than for rental return: it might be for a home in London because they’re working here, it might be because they’re moving up or down in the marketplace, depending on where their existing home is. It could be that they’re buying for a son or daughter who’s studying in the area. There will always be people who buy to let, but that has massively reduced.
Does that mean now is a good time to buy? I do genuinely think now is the time to buy— I think we’ve seen the reductions we’re going to and that prices will change and possibly go up, though that will take a little bit of time. There are opportunities and buying in Marylebone is as safe as it can be: there are always going to be ups and downs within the property market, an ebb and flow, but if you look back it’s usually over a decade-long period. Taking short term decisions for a year or two will always be risky. The last five years have been a tricky time, but I do think we’re turning a corner.
How does the Marylebone market compare to other areas of central London? Marylebone is a really established residential location—it has been for centuries—so it’s always going to be robust in any market. What we are seeing now, due to decisions being made on Brexit, is a little bit more confidence returning to the market. I’m not saying it’s gone up by 50 per cent and everything is great,
What advice would you give somebody looking to sell? I think the best advice is to pitch to the market at the right asking price, based on evidence of what other properties in the area have sold for, rather than at an inflated level. If you do that, you’ll get that price or something close to it. One of the things we’re good at doing is giving very honest advice. We’re not going to give you an inflated price to get your business. We will give you a calculated opinion and we will achieve levels we think are right. That comes with experience. When buyers see things have repeatedly dropped in price they wonder, why has it not sold? They tend to get disheartened by it. That’s why it’s important to get
I do genuinely think now is the time to buy— I think we’ve seen the reductions we’re going to and that prices will change and possibly go up, though that will take a little bit of time
the price right at the start, be it sales or rentals. What other services do you offer? We offer a complete service: if we acquire a property for someone, we can rent it out for them, manage it for them, look after it—absolutely everything. We’ve got a very good management team here now as well as the rental team, and it’s all under one roof not across multiple offices, so I can deal with everything very quickly. The teams interact with each other all the time. That’s something we’ve always been strong at—working very closely together. There’s a lot of spin-off business, both ways: people who have been renting out a property wanting to sell it and people we’ve sold to wanting to rent theirs out. What do you enjoy most about your job? The diversity of it: I never just do the same thing all day. If you look at my appointments today, for example, I spent the morning with a client who owns a lot of property and I’ve been to see a mews house for a valuation. That’s what keeps me going: I’d get bored if I was doing the same monotonous thing every day. It might suit some people, but not me. I’ve always enjoyed Marylebone as well, because you can get everywhere very easily. You can walk everywhere relatively quickly. That makes my job a lot more pleasant. SANDFORDS 213-215 Gloucester Place, NW1 6BU sandfords.com
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Michelle Sharma Head of Lettings firstname.lastname@example.org
213-215 Gloucester Place Regent’s Park London NW1 6BU T: 020 7223 9988 E: email@example.com
NOTTINGHAM PLACE MARYLEBONE, W1
£1,495 PW FURNISHED/UNFURNISHED
A wonderfully bright and spacious, three bedroom, split level penthouse apartment situated on this much sought after residential street in the heart of Marylebone. The accommodation, which provides light and contemporary living space, comprises of an incredible double reception room covering the entire top floor and featuring large windows and skylights, semi-open plan kitchen, large master bedroom with en suite bathroom, two further double bedrooms, family bathroom, and guest cloakroom. Nottingham Place is located moments from Marylebone High Street and walking distance to the open spaces of Regent’s Park. A choice of numerous transport links, including Baker Street station (Jubilee Line), are also within easy reach. EPC Rating C.
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Mark Nash Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org
213-215 Gloucester Place Regent’s Park London NW1 6BU T: 020 7723 9988 E: email@example.com
CHESTER TERRACE REGENT’S PARK, NW1
A rare opportunity to purchase an outstanding Grade I Listed Nash house (427 sqm/4,596 sqft) located in one of the finest terraces in the Crown Estate with fantastic views onto Regent’s Park. The property has been recently refurbished and redesigned to the highest standard and provides elegant and well-planned accommodation which is arranged over five floors and benefits from a lift, air-conditioning throughout, high ceilings, a purpose-built roof terrace, three storage vaults, communal gardens and off-street parking. The accommodation comprises a reception hall, a magnificent drawing room on the first floor with floor to ceiling windows with wonderful views onto Regent’s Park, a dining room, a master bedroom suite with a dressing room and en suite bathroom, four further bedrooms, two bathrooms, a wellequipped kitchen, utility and a media room. The property also benefits from staff accommodation on the lower ground floor which includes two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Chester Terrace is located on the eastern side of Regent’s Park’s outer circle, between Cumberland Terrace and Cambridge Terrace. The nearest Underground station is Great Portland Street (Circle and Metropolitan Lines), which is approximately 600 metres walk.
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THE PORTMAN ESTATE HAS MORE THAN 500 PROPERTIES, FROM COMPACT STUDIO FLATS TO ELEGANT GEORGIAN TOWNHOUSES For enquires please call 020 7563 1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www. portmanestate.co.uk
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Executive Property Specialists 020 7486 6711
email@example.com / lettings @mcglashans.co.uk
Harrowby Street, Marylebone W1 £2,500pw / £10,833pm A stylish, completely refurbished south facing period house. Double reception room, dining room, eat in kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, utility room, patio, EPC rating - C
Wimpole Street, Marylebone W1 £775pw / £3,358pm An attractive 2 bedroom flat in this beautiful period building. Living room with dining area, eat-in kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lift, EPC rating - F
Clarges Street, Mayfair W1 £1,250pw / £5,417pm An elegant first floor apartment in a portered block. Living/dining room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, excellent storage, guest cloakroom, porter, underground parking, EPC rating – C
Bryanston Square, Marylebone W1 £1,325pw / £5,742pm An extremely spacious first floor flat in a Georgian building. Reception room, kitchen, dining area, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lift, access to private square gardens (Fees Apply), EPC rating – D
Marylebone Lane, Marylebone W1 £625 pw / £2,708pm A bright modern and contemporary second floor loft-style apartment with wood flooring. Living room with dining area, open kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, EPC rating - D
Devonshire Mews West, Marylebone W1 £1,250pw / £5,417pm A beautifully refurbished mews house. Living room open to dining room open to kitchen, 3 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, guest cloakroom, EPC rating – E
107 Crawford Street, London W1H 2JA
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For Tenancy Info please refer to the website
www.jaffray-estates.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 020 3091 9311
19 0 D L 2 SO ber em c De
Portman Square, Marylebone W1H ASKING PRICE £4,950,000 Jaffray Estates are proud to have completed on the sale of this 7 bedroom apartment, which boasted 11 windows overlooking Portman Square . A complicated transaction that involved the sale of a Channel Island company rather than an actual residential property. If you are looking to sell, and would like advice on the current market or a free market appraisal, please call Nicholas Jaffray directly on 020 3475 1745 or email at nicholas@ jaffray-estates.co.uk.
D 020 L SO ry 2 ua n Ja
Portman Square, Marylebone W1H ASKING PRICE £1,500,000 Another sale in this popular block; this apartment was a probate sale held on a mid term lease, requiring complete modernisation. An excellent result for our client, and a very happy buyer to secure a great property. We were delighted to sell both of these properties ahead of our multi agent competitors.
“Nick worked incredibly hard in order to achieve our sale in an extremely challenging market, to which we are very thankful” Mr N Al J, Portman Square, January 2020
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Marylebone Square, Marylebone W1U Prices from £2,590,000 to £17,000,000 Full details and prices available upon request Marylebone Square is unquestionably one of central London’s most exciting new developments currently available for sale; consisting of 54 apartments located in the heart of Marylebone. Meticulously designed, the building includes a state of the art glass roof, over a central stone courtyard and indoor garden, creating one of Marylebone’s finest new living spaces. The apartments have been thoughtfully designed with generous proportions, including floor to ceiling windows and a private balcony, or terrace for penthouses, offering best in class living. Secure residents’ underground parking, 24 hour concierge as well as retail, restaurant, health club and community facilities on ground and lower ground floors. Call today to arrange an appointment at the marketing suite 020 3091 9311 email@example.com www.jaffray-estates.co.uk
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A CHARMING, LATERAL PENTHOUSE APARTMENT WITH INCREDIBLE VIEWS OVER LONDON’S SKYLINE
T E N BY M A N S I O N S M A RY L E B O N E V I L L A G E W 1
This charming, lateral penthouse apartment boasts incredible views over London’s skyline as well as direct lift access. Spanning approximately 2,433 sq ft of superb accommodation, there are eight skylights featured throughout the apartment providing fantastic natural light.
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Tenby Mansions is superbly situated in the heart of Marylebone Village, just moments from the world class shops and restaurants of Marylebone High Street together with the greenery and open expanses of Regent’s Park.
Accommodation & Amenities ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Superb 32ft Triple Reception Room Kitchen/Breakfast Room Master Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom Two Further Bedrooms (One Ensuite) Further Shower Room Balcony
Leasehold Plus Share of Freehold PRICE: £3,950,000 STC
PRIME RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
020 7935 6535
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3 B E AU M O N T ST R E E T, M A RY L E B O N E
n exceptional opportunity to acquire a spacious, home with plenty of potential. Perfectly positioned, only one street from the renowned boutiques, cafe's and restaurants on Marylebone High Street. The serene, open spaces of Regent's Park are also just a short walk away. 4 B E D R O O M S | 3 B AT H R O O M S | R E C E P T I O N R O O M | D O U B L E A S P E C T R O O F T E R R A C E D O U B L E G A R A G E | O F F S T R E E T P A R K I N G | A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 2 1 4 0 S Q F T | E P C D A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 0 . 4 M I L E S F R O M B A K E R S T R E E T U N D E R G R O U N D S T AT I O N
Guide price ÂŁ3,950,000 Freehold Knight Frank Marylebone firstname.lastname@example.org 020 3544 0655
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1 W I M P O L E ST R E E T, M A RY L E B O N E
his period property is situated in the heart of Marylebone Village and currently arranged as a mixed-use medical/office/residential building. The property does require full modernisation; however, Westminster has granted planning permission to convert the property back to the former glory of a grand residential townhouse. 5 B E D R O O M S | 8 B AT H R O O M S | G A R D E N | I N T E R N A L L I F T G R A D E I I L I S T E D | A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 8 2 6 9 S Q F T A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 0 . 2 M I L E S F R O M B O N D S T R E E T S T AT I O N
Guide price ÂŁ12,950,000 Freehold Knight Frank Marylebone email@example.com 020 3544 0655
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M O N TAGU M A N S I O N S, M A RY L E B O N E
stylishly refurbished apartment sitting on the second floor of a sought-after red brick mansion block. The property benefits from an excellent design with a generous open plan reception, kitchen and dining area, plenty of storage and large windows providing exceptional natural light throughout. 2 B E D R O O M S | 2 B AT H R O O M S | R E C E P T I O N R O O M | H I G H C E I L I N G S W I N E C E L L A R | L I F T | A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 1 1 2 0 S Q F T | E P C E A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 0 . 2 M I L E S T O B A K E R S T R E E T U N D E R G R O U N D S T AT I O N
Guide price ÂŁ2,500,000 Share of Freehold Knight Frank Marylebone firstname.lastname@example.org 020 3544 0655
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D U D L EY H O U S E , M A RY L E B O N E
ituated in an elegant period mansion block, this stylish apartment has been remodelled to impeccable standards. Traditional sash windows provide plenty of natural light, while bespoke joinery and exceptional craftsmanship provide luxury living right in the heart of Marylebone. 2 B E D R O O M S | 1 B AT H R O O M | R E C E P T I O N R O O M | U N D E R F L O O R H E AT I N G L I F T | H O M E A U T O M AT I O N S Y S T E M | A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 8 3 0 S Q F T | E P C D A P P R O X I M AT E L Y 0 . 5 M I L E S F R O M B O N D S T R E E T S T AT I O N
Guide price ÂŁ1,895,000 Leasehold: approximately 97 years remaining Knight Frank Marylebone email@example.com 020 3544 0655
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30 Years’ Experience in Marylebone Village
JJ&Co Jeremy James andJames Company Jeremy and Company QUEEN ANNE STREET, MARYLEBONE VILLAGE, LONDON W1
The apartment comprises entrance hall, reception room, kitchen, three bedrooms one with an en suite bathroom and a further shower room. The apartment is approximately 1,142 sq ft (106.1 sq m) located on the fifth floor served by a passenger lift. There is also a resident porter and the apartment is being sold with an underground parking space. The building is located on the north side of Queen Anne Street at the junction with Harley Street. Queen Anne Street is located moments away from the shopping facilities of Marylebone High Street. The open spaces of Regents Park are also nearby. Please see website for full details Leasehold: £1,600,000
UPPER WIMPOLE STREET, MARYLEBONE VILLAGE, LONDON W1 Recently refurbished flat in this period house, located in the heart of Marylebone Village with it`s fabulous shopping and busy restaurants and bars. Bond Street Underground Station is a short walk away, as are the open spaces of Regents Park. The flat provides generous accommodation comprising of entrance hallway (with wood floors and storage), master double bedroom (with generous storage) second double bedroom, utility room housing washer and dryer, bathroom (fully tiled, with separate bath and shower) shower room (fully tiled), lounge (to front with wood floors) and separate newly fitted kitchen. £945 PER WEEK
+44 (0) 20 7486 4111 MJ Feb 20 p96 Jeremy James.indd 1
firstname.lastname@example.org 28/01/2020 16:06:41
BRYANSTON SQUARE Marylebone W1H Recently refurbished throughout to an excellent standard, this top floor duplex apartment of approximately 2046 sq ft (190 sq m) is located on the 4th and 5th floors (with lift), offering great views of the beautiful gardens of Bryanston Square. Reception room • 3 bedrooms • 4 bathrooms • Upper floor with lift • Unfurnished • EPC rating C
£1,850 pw/£8,016.67 pcm Marylebone & Regent’s Park 020 7299 2447 email@example.com
FITZROVIA APARTMENTS, BOLSOVER STREET Fitzrovia W1W Brand new, refurbished apartment on the top two floors of this period building in the heart of Marylebone. Reception room • 3 bedrooms • 3 bathrooms • Upper floor with lift • Porter • Unfurnished • EPC rating B
£1,500 pw/£6,500 pcm Marylebone & Regent’s Park
020 7299 2447 firstname.lastname@example.org