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Editor’s Letter


119 Taste

Your talent is just a knock on the door. Someone still has to open it.


London trattoria Circolo Popolare thinks big – really, really big; the golf is one thing, but Gleneagles has all the rest too; The Ufford Crown is Suffolk’s rock’n’roll watering hole; Anthony Bourdain in the words of those who knew and loved him.


For all today’s shifting threats, the spectre of nuclear annihilation still keeps us safe. By George Chesterton


99 House Rules


Shock or awe? Paris’ e-scooter surge; Kanye’s “God merch” ascends; kaftans to go commando for; fades out, mullets in.

49 Details

What on earth is Succession? Not even its stars know; the Olympics are coming to Tokyo and so should you; once upon a time in the cult of Charles Manson; London’s DJ-and-dining scene; plus, all the scents and styles of summer 2019.

113 Cars


GQ Preview

This month’s events, products and garms.


The Evija ushers in a new age of Lotus elite; Ducati’s slipand-slide hyper beast; the oneof-a-kind Ferrari.



125 The Drop AJ’s loss and Liverpool’s win proves the value of true competition; a Springsteen biopic born in Luton; streaming TV gets niche; the race to claim the moon; disgraced musicians and you; the politics of old age is all good news.





The New Tambour Horizon Our journey, connected.






Suit by Gucci. gucci.com. Shirt by Smyth & Gibson, £120. smythandgibson.com. Tie by Boss, £69. hugoboss.com. Shoes by Church’s, £460. church-footwear.com. Sunglasses by Stella McCartney, £210. stellamccartney.com


Actor, writer, professional conversationalist: how James Corden became America’s latest talk-show superstar (see what we did there?) and what he’s got planned when he finally comes home. Hint: more Gavin & Stacey... Story by Tom Lamont Photographs by Simon Webb SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO .UK 25




Features & fashion




My menswear mentor

No one makes it to the top on their own. From Grace Wales Bonner to Samuel Ross, we reunite five leading designers with the men who guided and inspired them.

London Fashion Week Men’s

They came, they walked, they conquered. With all the definitive shows and can’t-miss afterparties, this is our roundup of SS20. By Teo van den Broeke



Weapons of peace: Macron vs les gilets jaunes The high-vis jackets are the most notable feature of France’s current protest movement. Less well known are the extreme tactics used to put them down. GQ joined the marchers and met the mutilŽs who lost eyes and limbs in police assaults.

The business of sleep

As Netflix, Facebook and tech’s other heavy hitters continue to profit from keeping us awake, a new wave of start-ups is on hand to help us nod off – and it’s already worth £100 billion. By Stuart McGurk


By Robert Chalmers

The collections AW19

Whether you’re layering up or buttoning down this season, these are the designer suits, trenches and rollnecks that should be in your wardrobe. Photographs by Louie Banks




Out to lunch


The Daily’s Michael Barbaro comes to Scott’s to talk podcasts, Trump and his trademark “hmms”. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO .UK 27








MANAGING EDITOR George Chesterton


ASSOCIATE EDITORS Paul Henderson, Stuart McGurk GQ.CO.UK EDITOR Anna Conrad ART DIRECTOR Kevin Fay





JUNIOR DESIGNER Oliver Hazelwood









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Contributing Photographers Miles Aldridge, Guy Aroch, David Bailey, Coppi Barbieri, Matthew Beedle, Gavin Bond, Richard Burbridge, Richard Cannon, Kenneth Cappello, Matthias Clamer, Dylan Don, Jill Greenberg, Marc Hom, Benny Horne, Norman Jean Roy, Steven Klein, David LaChapelle, Brigitte Lacombe, Joshua Lawrence, Sun Lee, Peter Lindbergh, Steve Neaves, Zed Nelson, Mitch Payne, Vincent Peters, Rankin, Mick Rock, Mark Seliger, Søren Solkær, Mario Sorrenti, Ellen von Unwerth, Mariano Vivanco, Matthias Vriens-McGrath, Nick Wilson, Richard Young DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATION AND RIGHTS Harriet Wilson CONDÉ NAST BRITAIN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Emily Hallie


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Photographs Nikolai von Bismarck; Vincent Flouret; Lucy Alex Mac

In conversation, mentors and protégés (from left) Samuel Ross, Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Edward Crutchley, Andreas Kronthaler and Matty Bovan


was one of the lucky ones. Having left Saint Martin’s School Of Art in 1981, having spent three years studying design and photography (and, if I’m honest, studying rather a lot of clubbing too), a year after I left, I was not exactly punching above my weight. I was living in a housing association apartment in South East London (Peckham, actually, which bears almost no relation to the gentrified postcode it is now), getting up as late in the day as possible (the trick was to only eat one meal a day) and then watching Channel 4 for a few hours before getting dressed and going out to a club. I wasn’t proud of my existence, but I was gradually slipping into a dissolute lifestyle that revolved around The Night. Of course, the night was exciting, especially in London at that point. London nightlife had really moved up a gear in 1978, when Steve Strange and Rusty Egan started a “Bowie” night at a grotty subterranean club called Billy’s in Soho. Every Tuesday, a bunch of extravagantly dressed teenagers who had become disillusioned with punk would pitch

up at Billy’s (which was sandwiched between a dodgy restaurant and a brothel) and dance to a mixture of David Bowie, Roxy Music and electronica. Strange and Egan opened the Blitz a few months later and the New Romantics were born (not that anyone involved in the scene ever liked that description). Suddenly, London clubland was alive. The Blitz scene was one big playpen, where a waitress from Catford could dress up as Carmen Miranda or an art student from Saint Martin’s could pretend to be a pirate or a dandy highwayman. It was a very small world, rather a feminine world, and one that immediately alienated anyone outside it because it was so difficult to break into. The doormen and women at the New Romantic clubs acted in

No one climbs the ladder alone. That is why mentoring is so important

exactly the same way as Steve Rubell at Studio 54 in New York (which had opened in April 1977): they would nod people through or point or tap them on the shoulder, barring entry to anyone they didn’t like the look of. If you were wearing the wrong clothes, had obviously drunk too much or simply looked like you were there just to gawp, you wouldn’t be let in. These clipboard guardians weren’t necessarily trying to patronise those on the outside, more often they were trying to protect those on the inside. But while it was an intoxicating environment, there were still a lot of hours to fill between 2am and 9pm each day. After leaving Saint Martin’s I threw myself into photography, although in my heart of hearts I’m not sure I thought I was any good. I’d photographed a lot of my friends on the club scene and I’d photographed a few pop groups and had started to work a little in television, but I was reluctant to pursue anything that I wasn’t completely in love with. Frankly, this was a strange combination of arrogance and inertia. The only jobs I pursued were ones >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 37


EDITOR’S LETTER >> that were deliberately temporary. I was a cocktail barman at a nightclub called The Fridge, I was the doorman of an African dance night on the old site of Billy’s, I went to Japan to model for a fashion designer (stop laughing at the back) and I even appeared in a few films as an extra (I pushed by David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve in a nightclub scene – naturally – in an appalling vampire film called The Hunger and I shot down Roger Moore’s plane in the James Bond film Octopussy). But the rest of the time I was leading an itinerant and not completely rewarding life as a professional layabout. Until my mentor called. One day I was called by a photographer friend of mine who needed someone to interview a bunch of people he was shooting for i-D magazine. I can’t remember what the questions were, although I doubt, given the time, they were any more sophisticated than 1) “Where do you buy your clothes?” and 2) “How much do you hate Margaret Thatcher?” But the editor obviously saw something that I didn’t as he promptly called me up – well, as I didn’t have a phone, he actually called one of my friends – and offered me a job. Would I like to be an editor on the magazine? Would I like to use my writing (and presumably editing) skills to improve the editorial quality of his magazine? Even though my degree show at Saint Martin’s had been a magazine, I certainly didn’t consider myself a writer, as I had had absolutely no formal training. So not only did he save me, but he invented me, gave me a purpose and gave me a sniff of a life I had previously only dreamed about. Terry Jones was that man, a former art director of British Vogue, who had left the magazine when the punk explosion had suddenly made the street more interesting than the catwalk.

He had started i-D in 1980, the year that also saw the launch of The Face and Blitz, two other magazines that would go on to define the Eighties. I ended up working with Terry for four years, four years in which he became a close friend as well as becoming my mentor. He taught me what to do and then let me get on with it. Like many of the other people Terry plucked from obscurity – Nick Knight, Ray Petri, Edward Enninful, Caryn Franklin, Kate Moss, the list would fill a book – I was given the keys to the kingdom and then told to hurry up. I wouldn’t have got my foot on the first rung of the ladder if it hadn’t been for Terry, something I always go out of my way to say whenever I’m asked how I got into the industry. No one does it by themselves and someone always gives you that first piece of encouragement, which is why mentoring is so important. In this issue, our very brilliant Style And Grooming Director, Teo van den Broeke (whose own mentor is Jeremy Langmead, from Mr Porter), has overseen a feature about mentoring in the fashion industry, featuring Kim Jones and Edward Crutchley, Andreas Kronthaler and Matty Bovan, Pierre Hardy and Alexandre Mattiussi, Manolo Blahnik and Grace Wales Bonner, and Virgil Abloh (whose own mentor was, intriguingly, Kanye West) and Samuel Ross (the recent winner of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund). In Ross’ case, Abloh sent him an email, having scrolled through just six images on Ross’ Instagram feed. In Abloh’s own words, he had stumbled upon Ross’ “genius”. I’m fairly sure the word “genius” wasn’t uppermost in Terry Jones’ mind when he tried to call me that day, but his motivation was one and the same. Thank you, Terry. G

Go behind the scenes with James Corden

Spend more time with The Late Late Show host on the set of his GQ cover shoot in London.

Get away in style

Soak up the the last of the summer sun with our travel guides on island resorts and beyond. Fomo no more

Never lose another hour browsing through Netflix titles again: presenting GQ’s definitive list of what to watch and what to avoid.

On the cover and subscribers’ cover: Suit by Gucci. gucci.com. Shirt by Smyth & Gibson, £120. smythandgibson.com. Tie by Dolce & Gabbana, £145. dolcegabbana.com Covers photographed by Simon Webb

Follow us @britishgq @dylanjonesgq 38 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Eat your way across the UK

Dylan Jones, Editor

Whatever your cuisine of choice, we’ve got it covered in our little black book of restaurants.








Photograph Jason Alden

For GQ’s biannual roundup of the most important looks from every major designer and fashion house, photographer Louie Banks headed to the home of all things haute: Paris. “Shooting the AW19 collections story was heavenly,” says Banks. “I brought my favourite models and spent the day with one of my favourite humans, GQ Fashion Director Luke Day!”

Jonathan HEAF

PPA Writer Of The Year

GQ Chief Content Officer Jonathan Heaf has won the 2019 PPA Award for Writer Of The Year, the most prestigious award in magazine journalism, for articles on male suicide and the pioneering reconstructive surgery helping soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. “Winning gongs is ultimately a silly thing,” says Heaf. “I was particularly proud of these pieces, however.”

Flora GILL The modern dating scene is a minefield – one that GQ sent writer Flora Gill (daughter of AA Gill) to negotiate. In her weekly column for GQ.co.uk, “Date Night Feelings”, Gill will immerse herself in idiosyncratic dating trends, beginning with a trip to a pornographic mouse taxidermy class. “Weeks later,” says Gill, “the mice are still on my mantelpiece, frozen in their sexual pose.”


Stuart McGURK


GQ Social Content Editor Kathleen Johnston sat down for a meal at Mayfair’s Bagatelle to cover a new trend: the restaurant-club, AKA the “clubstaurant”. Three hours later, with music pounding, she had a good grasp of the concept. “Bagatelle is completely, brilliantly bonkers,” says Johnston. “If you’re keen to see just what a restaurantmeets-club looks like, this is the place to go.”

Sleep is no longer a solitary activity. An entire £100 billion industry now exists to chart your slumber and tell you how you can do it better. GQ Associate Editor Stuart McGurk investigated this highly lucrative business. “It’s actually an existential battle,” says McGurk. “There’s the companies who profit from you staying awake and the ones hoping to profit by putting you to sleep.”

Writer Tom Lamont shadowed James Corden for this month’s cover story, following him during the filming of his wildly successful Late Late Show as it came to London. “It was fun,” says Lamont, “watching him rehearse, from scratch, a three-minute Whitney Houston duet with Jake Gyllenhaal one afternoon. Four takes and they were hanging off each other like boy banders – nailed it.” G






It’s still a mad, MAD world We get it: it’s a scary place out there, with risk, conflict and mendacious global leaders on the rise. And yet the one thing keeping us safe might just be the biggest threat of all... Story by


know that everyone who grew up during the Cold War claims to have been haunted by the prospect of nuclear Armageddon, but it really was true. I used to have a recurring dream in which I was sitting on a beach and – as they used to say – the balloon went up on the horizon and people just sat and stared, waiting for white hot annihilation to reach the shore. It was grim but at least it was by the sea and the sun was shining. Every mushroom cloud, eh? Those of us exposed to the 1984 BBC drama Threads had to consider the inevitability of

George Chesterton

Illustration by

Tom Haugomat

horrible death coming to a post-industrial Britain already ravaged by unemployment and heavy rain. And then there were the baby boomers recalling how they cowered under their desks in school as the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis drifted over their impressionable minds like radioactive miasma. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older or because I have children, but 2019 is the first time I’ve been frightened of the world since the Eighties. It feels like the game of real-time Risk has entered a new phase, pushing us the closest we’ve been to a global

crisis since the days of Ronald Reagan and whichever semiconscious Soviet leader he happened to be facing that week. As a new Cold War begins, the chances of the next one being hot bring all that 20th-century anxiety rushing back. It’s now been 74 years since the last Great Power war. That seems quite a long time... There are always reasons for a parent to be worried, though the heightened empathy that comes with a family is usually accompanied by a mixture of smug browbeating and selfcongratulation. The question “What kind >>


GQ FOREWORD >> of world will I leave for my children?” comes up a lot around dinner party tables and mum-heavy Facebook threads. Newspapers often talk of one thing or another being “a parent’s worst nightmare”, but I’ve been a parent for ages and for most of that time my worst nightmare has been being served fish mousse. Now I’m sensing a different fear, or rather the return of a familiar one. Climate change is a catastrophe we can predict with some assurance, whereas war is something you fear in the pit of your stomach, knowing that it’s waiting somewhere around the corner – a top-hatted Jack The Ripper emerging from the fog. The human race has a compulsive personality disorder. It just can’t help itself.


used to watch repeats of The World At War as a history enthusiast. Now it’s as a weepy father who glimpses footage of soldiers separating children from their parents through embarrassed tears. But the same horrors are taking place around the world right now in Syria, in Yemen and the civil wars of central Africa. When I look at my children and think, “You don’t know how lucky you are,” I am stating two empirical facts: firstly they are bloody lucky and, secondly, of course they don’t know it. They’re children. I’m as spoilt as they are. After all, civilians in the West have enjoyed four generations without conflict. Call it the impossibility of war in the mind of the peaceful. With no sense of jeopardy, without even the tiniest inkling of what the human consequences of war are, it is easier to get behind leaders who promise security through aggression or easy solutions to intractable problems. The sight of self-styled men of destiny and their macho regimes (the US included) riding the tiger of ethnic nationalism and facing off in the South China Sea, the Strait Of Hormuz or the Crimea is depressing as well as frightening. The historian AJP Taylor said, “Great men can be splendid in wartime, even essential, but they can be dangerous in peacetime.” So while citizens of liberal democracies argue about whether Greta Thunberg is the new Joan Of Arc or just a child who’s missing too much school, the illiberal regimes of the world pursue their aims regardless. Of course, climate change is itself a threat to world peace and always has been, as explained in Geoffrey Parker’s epic book, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change And Catastrophe In The Seventeenth Century, in which the links between conflicts around the world and climatic disasters are explored with alarming clarity. In the 17th century they blamed comets and witches for everything that went wrong. What’s our excuse? 46 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

When even the West won’t uphold Western values, the world seems a much scarier place. If there must be a war it would be nice if there was something to fight for, to make it a little less darkly absurd. Cold War One was so beautifully delineated you always knew who was on whose side. Cold War Two resembles more the fragmented international struggles of the 19th century: all “spheres of influence” and the precarious balance of power. Bad Vlad Putin presaged the latest G20 summit by saying liberalism was “obsolete” and had “outlived its purpose” as an ideology. It shows his confidence. It has been so easy for China, Russia, Iran and others to push back against the “triumph of the West”, which has been unravelling since its Nineties honeymoon, blindsided by Francis Fukuyama’s “End Of History” thesis that liberal democracy was the end point of human development. This isn’t hindsight. Anyone who knew history knew history wouldn’t succumb easily to the idea that it no longer matters. You can’t say history is over and then invade Iraq.

It’s an odd, cold comfort that mutually assured destruction may be our saving grace The assumption that a grateful world would lap up freedom of speech, a free press, pluralism and tolerance now looks as foolish as investing in Blockbuster. In fact, the reverse is happening, as the West reacts to posturing tyrants with strong men and conspiracy peddling of its own. The ne plus ultra of this is how the rise of the new right and the new left in the US and Europe has combined – with gleeful opportunism on one side and wilful forgetfulness on the other – to revive anti-Semitism. It’s not only obscene in itself, but is a sign of laziness, of how easily we become lotus eaters. It is the kind of thought process that leads, when extrapolated on a national scale, to conflict. A Great Power war is always the triumph of forgetting over memory. A cold war with China is not an obvious battle of ideologies, as with the Soviets, but a battle of interests or, God forbid, a clash of civilisations. China considers itself a homogenous ethnic, territorial and cultural bloc and is of a mind to insist on its power being acknowledged, which appears dangerous only when its interests rub up against those of others (Japan, South Korea,

the US). But a scruple-free China’s great advantage is its ability to plan 40 or 50 years into the future, a luxury not afforded by the short-termism of a true democracy. The race for technological supremacy is still on, but the problem for the US is not simply China’s carefully managed aggression but that it always seems one step ahead. Powers in decline are just as, if not more, dangerous than powers in ascent.


here once I lived in fear of nuclear weapons, now I pin my hopes on them. No Great Power would allow itself to lose a war without resorting to the nuclear option. So although a tech-cyber conflict seems sexier these days than actual bombs and guns, if a nation ever felt its survival was at stake then actual bombs it must be. All you need is a couple of angry soldiers and a mobile missile launcher. When I was 12 – about the same time Threads was on television and Frankie Goes To Hollywood were at No1 with “Two Tribes” – I saw a repeat of AJP Taylor’s televised lecture How Wars Begin. His parting words have spooked me ever since. “People ask me will there be another world war and I am inclined to answer, ‘If men behave in the future as they have done in the past, there will be another world war.’ It’s always possible that men may behave differently. As a personal hunch I think it’s unlikely and there will be a third world war. One day, the deterrent will fail to deter.” They don’t call me happy-go-lucky in the office for nothing. If there is one thing we can be sure of it’s that the great nations of today are no less myopic, selfish and greedy than those of 150 years ago. A Great Power war feels inevitable. Overdue, even. It is an odd, cold comfort that mutually assured destruction may be our only saving grace. That’s what some people believed in 1984 (the year, not the book). Nuclear weapons should make victory and defeat impossible. The trouble is, human beings love a challenge. And I must spend more time at the beach. That will take my mind off it. G

More from G For these related

stories visit GQ.co.uk /magazine Theresa May’s China Visit Signals Britain’s Weaker Place In A Post-Brexit World (Matt Kelly, January 2018) Trump And Kim Jong-Un’s Battle Of The Buttons Is The Reality Show We’re All Watching (Tanya Gold, January 2018) Garry Kasparov On Putin, Trump And Their Deal To Carve Up Europe (Alastair Campbell, December 2017)




Illustration MDI Digital/Jonny Maxfield/ Photograph Xxxxxxxxxxx Cultura Exclusive/Getty Images

Get up to speed on what matters in the GQ WORLD this month. From EMERGING TRENDS at the cultural frontiers to the BIG MOMENTS that everyone will be talking about, weÕve got you covered... Edited by Charlie Burton










most UNDEFINABLE show on TV right now. We can't really explain it! But nor can its stars!


n a suite at the Gleneagles hotel, extremely foul language is being deployed – and then some. I’m on location with Succession, the HBO series about Rupert Murdoch-esque media tycoon Logan Roy, and before me a meeting of the Roy children is veering into absurdity. Kieran Culkin glugs an entire bottle of mineral water, unscripted; in the next take, he has impromptu sex with a window, prompting approving laughter from the crew. This is now the established shooting method of almost every partly improvised sitcom. Popularised by the likes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it involves giving actors a few takes to ad-lib freely after the scripted version of a scene is in the bag. Yet watching Culkin mime explosive farts seems at odds with the fact that Succession is routinely compared to King Lear. The dissonance of its parts and ambition is fascinating. I love the show, but struggle to describe it. It’s incredibly funny, but I’m not sure it counts as a comedy, extraordinarily involving, with almost no likeable characters. Why and how does Succession work? And what... is it exactly? Showrunner Jesse Armstrong, the person most qualified to answer, is coy. “I don’t put a word on it. Talking it out feels like throwing away my creative being.” While I accept that art has mystery at its heart, I prefer things to be definitive, so keep asking around. “I don’t think of it as a comedy. It’s deeply sad with farcical bits, at points almost a thriller. Hard to classify,” struggles Matthew Macfadyen. He plays excellently named Tom Wamsgans, fiancé to Roy daughter Siobhan and somehow the second-lowest status character in the show. “The intent is not to make you laugh, but to make what the characters are going through feel so true you can’t not laugh,” tries Nicholas Braun. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. He admits he couldn’t place the tone of the show either when he landed a part in the pilot as Greg – the first-lowest status character, a hapless Laurel to Tom’s Hardy. Braun is right, gags are not king here. While the most risible behaviour of the wealthy is lampooned, fierce attention is paid to preserving their reality. Unlike scattergun workplace burlesques such as 30 Rock or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the show is a pointed critique of its environment and characters, with every action having real consequence. While most TV comedy uses emotional warmth as its engine, Succession is the oppo-

Story by Rhik Samadder

site. Everyone uses everyone. The constant power play is dynamic, if viscerally chilling. “We chase winter,” Braun notes wryly. The locations have been moving north the past few months as the seasons have turned. The icy feel is manifest in the palette of the show: transparencies of boardroom glass and frosted exteriors; the score, too, is glacial and lonesome, piano notes descending amid silence, like snow on snow. It’s frequently subzero for the Roys. The first series followed the unfeeling patriarch’s children as they jockeyed for position after he un-decided to retire as CEO. When he is hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage, the man’s only defence from his carnivorous offspring is

Jeremy Strong, Succession’s No1 son Kendall Roy

his Lady Macbeth wife, Marcia, who he knows has her own mysterious agenda. Spurned heir and sometime crack addict Kendall attempts to throw his father out of his own company, before committing an act so morally heinous it weirdly draws the two of them closer. Even somewhat-moral losers Tom and Greg, wheedling their way into the family business, orchestrate a cover-up of serious crimes on cruise ships. And then there’s Logan Roy himself: a fountain of dark energy who, like an Ibsen character, manages to be powerful even when offstage. By the second series he has got his mojo back and is making his full return. As the day wears on, I see material being generated right down to the wire. There are always two writers on the floor who offer up pages of alternative jokes for the cast to fling at each other. Today, when he’s not overseeing episode

eight’s filming, Armstrong will disappear to the writers’ room to pen episodes nine and ten – of a series due to air in two months’ time. The show’s live-wire energy is also a product of the free way in which it’s shot. After securing necessary angles, today’s director, Mark Mylod, will offer the camera operators “a freebie”. It’s a take in which they too can improvise, picking up whatever interests them. It provides unexpected options for the edit, but also has a more immediate effect: it cuts out the deadness that can creep into shoots, which are by nature long and repetitive. Scottish actor Brian Cox, who plays Logan, has another idea about what makes the show special. I run into the formidable man in a corridor while I’m asking everyone where the toilets are. I apologise for my bad first impression. (He says nothing, by which I understand I have made no impression at all: a very Logan Roy meeting.) By Cox’s reckoning, the show gets its energy from the bin fire of our current politics. It is a satire of our leaders – those who manipulate the media yet are exposed by it too. “Look at Trump, who talks about taking on the NHS but has no idea what the NHS is. You can be fearful of these people, but the whole thing is also ludicrous.” The show operates in a similarly prismatic way. It can be funny or deadly, depending on which angle you look at it. The Overton window of comedy, the sense of what we’ll accept as funny, is always shifting. Ambitious long-form writing has helped us identify with unlikeable characters over time and find the lols in the diabolical. Have shows such as Breaking Bad, Transparent, even BoJack Horseman ushered in an age in which genre classifications are meaningless? Armstrong suggests as much. “I wouldn’t have a problem with you describing The Sopranos as a sitcom. The pitch is ‘a mob boss in therapy’.” As for Succession, it’s a show about inequality – though not how you might expect. It’s about how one privileged family’s trauma affects us all, at a global level. It’s also a collection of great fart jokes. Shakespearean tragedy, soap opera, Swiftian morality tale or steroidal sitcom, take your pick. They all go into making the most singular series on television. SUCCESSION SERIES TWO IS ON SKY ATLANTIC AND NOW TV FROM 12 AUGUST. I NEVER SAID I LOVED YOU BY RHIK SAMADDER (HEADLINE, £15) IS OUT ON 8 AUGUST. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 51

Are you ready FOR JAPAN’S second coming Asia’s next superpower is no longer LOST

IN TRANSLATION Edited by Bill Prince Story by Stuart McGurk

Weird to think it now, but the last time the Olympics came to Tokyo, in 1964, there wasn’t much of a Tokyo to speak of. Skyscrapers had yet to start scraping skies (precisely one existed and it was just 72 metres tall) and only 25 per cent of homes had flush toilets. Yet the Games heralded a transformation that was barely believable: within five years Tokyo had 10,000 new buildings, subway lines, an airport monorail, five-star hotels and, in the Shinkansen bullet trains, the fastest mass-transport system on earth. Japan as we know it was born. Over a half-century later, the Olympics are once again set to transform Japan. However, while this land of singing toilets and robot restaurants no longer needs to be brought up to date, it does need to open up. Wander around Tokyo and you will realise how un-cosmopolitan it is. Westerners stand out. You can wave at each other. But that’s now changing – and Japan is trying to change. Last year, prime minister Shinzo Abe relaxed Japan’s strict immigration laws to permit entry to 345,000 foreign workers over the next five years. Almost four per cent of Tokyo’s residents are now foreign, compared to just twoand-a-half per cent a decade ago. Previously, even simple navigation was tricky – station signs were only in Japanese script, so it wasn’t unheard of for tourists to take a bullet train to the wrong end of the country – but now the Roman alphabet is dominant. Last year, tourism rose to record

Photograph Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei Co Ltd and Kengo Kuma and Associates





Artist’s rendering of Kengo Kuma’s New National Stadium, the centrepiece for Tokyo 2020

levels. And with the 2020 Games – along with the new direct flight that launched last year from London to Osaka – it finally looks set to spike. It’s easy to focus on Tokyo’s tourist highlights – the sushi, the skyline – but the best reason to go is simply the Japanese people. Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world and yet the locals are also easily the most polite. Stand at a level crossing and, even if there are no cars all the way to the horizon, the Japanese will still refuse to cross until told. I heard a car horn on my fourth day in Tokyo and it genuinely shocked me. I realised it was the first one I’d heard all trip. Crime is virtually nonexistent. Even for the things that require local knowledge – to book at Jiro, the three Michelin-star restaurant considered to serve the best sushi in the world, you must be a Japanese speaker or no dice – every high-end hotel is now full of English-speaking staff who’ll do it for you. I stayed at the glorious Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and the concierge there came this close (though it did save me from blowing hundreds for a meal that is apparently over in half an hour; Jiro tells you when to eat each bite). It also can’t be emphasised enough how clean Japan is. No one drops rubbish and the only litter-pickers I saw carried handbag-size refuse totes for the occasional receipt that had been taken by the wind. Every inch feels steam cleaned – even the subway and subway carriages. It’s probably because of this that Tokyo is so subterranean. Tube stations

aren’t merely stations, they are vast, gleaming, labyrinthine malls. It is a metropolis where you can get away from the city by going underneath it. Then there are the national quirks. The way every public information sound seems ripped from a Nintendo game (the crossing lights tweet at you). The obsession with perfectly formed fruit (it’s sold for fortunes in high-end department stores). The brilliant tiny bars that consist of only that: a bar, eight seats and a bartender that simply closes the door when they’re full (you make friends quickly). The obsession with Manga and the deeply weird Manga pornography featuring tentacles that... you don’t want to know. And travelling around Japan could not be easier. The bullet train network now spreads across the entire island. What’s more, the trains are so reliable it’s common for Japanese businessmen to waltz up to the platform with seconds to spare, safe in the knowledge the train will be there to meet their stride. A few months before my visit, a train left a Tokyo platform 25 seconds early. The rail operator was forced to issue a public apology. They called it “truly inexcusable”. They launched an internal investigation. Heads rolled. It was the most Japanese thing imaginable. MANDARIN ORIENTAL, 2 CHOME-1-1 NIHONBASHIMUROMACHI, CHUO CITY, TOKYO. 0081 3 3270 8800. FROM £460 PER ROOM PER NIGHT. MANDARINORIENTAL.COM/TOKYO SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 53





Secrets of the

HYPER PRODUCTIVE You can’t control how much time you have on this earth, but you can choose how you use the 24 HOURS we all are dealt every day Story by Thomas Barrie

Nolan Browne (right) is the 39-year-old gallery director at Taschen in London’s Mayfair, where the luxury art publisher sells limited editions and prints to prestige clients. Here’s how he structures his routine to get things done.



“I quit drinking for two months in January this year, which completely changed my body clock, so I often wake at 4am and read. I recently read Sapiens, but often it’ll be the spillover from the Sunday papers.”

“Golden rule: always photograph business cards. It has saved me many times, particularly at art fairs. It’s simple but very effective.”

Wake up (ridiculously) early

Back up new contacts



Swot up

Pick up a fountain pen

“Whenever I go on Instagram, I have to remind myself that I’m surrounded by books. I read a lot: GQ, Vanity Fair, the FT, the Times, the Mayfair Times as well, when it’s out. I’m also all over Artnet and the Art Newspaper.” Browne minimises lunching to maximise networking

12:00 09:00 Walk to work to get your head straight “It’s time for thinking about what’s going to happen in the day ahead, the week ahead or last week. I’ve also been listening to Guy Raz’s entrepreneur podcast, How I Built This. It’s super inspiring.”

Lunch quick, lunch light “I only take 15 minutes for lunch. My job is really all about being present: the obvious advantage of being in Mayfair is that you can close eye-popping walk-ins. The reason I love luxury retail is that anything can happen at any time.”

“We talk about ‘HPs’ – high potentials. I’ll be reading the FT, I’ll read about a big collector and write handwritten letters to them.”


Hold meetings at the right places “After the gallery closes at 7pm, I often have a work engagement that takes me to 9pm. I’m a member of Soho House – a lot of my finance clients like to go to those because they can’t get in otherwise.”


Chase anything you’re waiting on “I’m always astonished at how little sales staff follow up. In my iPhone Notes I have all my live deals and interest, including the dates when I first contacted them. I’ll then follow up and close.”


Go to bed (without your phone) “I leave my phone out of my bedroom at night. I have a TV that purposefully isn’t that easy to use – it’s just too simple to get into box sets and then your life gets governed by that.”





This is the RETRO watch with the biggest STYLE CREDS It’s not hard to see what drew Steve McQueen to the TAG Heuer Monaco... Edited by Bill Prince Photograph by Omer Knaz

The design Launched in 1969 with the advertising line “Heuer doesn’t make standard watches”, the Monaco swiftly became a design icon, today celebrated in a limited series of five “decade-correct” anniversary models.

The dial The grained, rhodiumplated silver-gray dial captures the contemporary style of Nineties watch design, highlighted by red index markers and central seconds hand.

The strap The punched “automotive” strap in blue leather with red stitching recalls the Monaco’s origins as the timepiece of choice of motorsport aficionados.

The case

The movement

Then-company CEO Jack Heuer wisely signed an exclusive deal with case maker ESPA for its revolutionary waterresistant square case – a world first.


he self-winding chronograph movement it contained might not have been a “first”, but the case that launched Heuer’s successor to its fabled Autavia and Carrera in 1969 most certainly was. Unlike the flat-sided dress watches that preceded it, the Monaco featured the world’s first water-resistant square case, an innovation that would become an enduring emblem of the brand long after it became the chosen wristwear of Swiss racing driver and early Heuer ambassador Jo Siffert. Early marketing materials might

Heralding the arrival of the self-winding chronograph, the Monaco 1989-1999 Limited Edition is fitted with the brand’s emblematic Calibre 11, with 40 hours’ power reserve.

have boasted that Heuer’s “avantgarde” timepiece feels “equally at home behind the wheel of a formula 1 [sic] and a glass of champagne at an ambassadorial reception”, but there’s little doubt where the wider world felt it rested most comfortably: on the wrist of American actor turned avid motor racer Steve McQueen. Having picked up on Siffert’s choice, he opted to gift the emergent Monaco a central role in his 1971 film Le Mans. According to property master Don Nunley, it had been a contractual Heuer patch on Siffert’s

racing overalls that first appealed to the actor, so he took the precaution of calling in a selection of Heuer’s latest wrist chronographs, from which McQueen picked the Monaco, known as Reference 1133B, instantly recognisable by its deep-blue dial, white square registers and horizontal hour markers. Six identical watches were used for filming, one of which fetched almost $800,000 at auction in 2012. Fortunately, those wishing to obtain their own slice of horological – and Hollywood – history can do so at a more reasonable


rate: a limited edition honouring the 1133B was launched at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix to mark the watch’s half-century and TAG Heuer is presently rolling out four more anniversary collectors’ pieces, each one alluding to a decade in the life of the model. Le Mans might have foundered on release, and its star not live to see the success of this true timekeeping original, but 50 years on, the Monaco continues to stand proud: a unique if unlikely exemplar of watchmaking endeavour, forever linked to a sporting feat with similarly few – if any – real rivals. BP


The Breitling Surfer Squad Sally Fitzgibbons Kelly Slater Stephanie Gilmore











Skateboarding was born in California, a product of Seventies surfer culture, and the region is thus peppered with skateparks. A new book of photography by Amir Zaki, featuring an essay by Tony Hawk, treats them as landscapes and finds the poetry in the concrete. PICTURED: THE LINDA VISTA SKATEPARK, SAN DIEGO. CALIFORNIA CONCRETE: A LANDSCAPE OF SKATEPARKS BY AMIR ZAKI (MERRELL, £35) IS OUT ON 5 SEPTEMBER. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 59


Inside the weird world of the CHARLES MANSON truthers As a new film set in Manson-era Hollywood releases, an investigation... Story by Kevin Perry

ynette Fromme was 18, depressed and living homeless on Venice Beach, Los Angeles, when she first met Charles Manson. She fell for him immediately, particularly when he talked charismatically about protecting the environment. Fifty-two years later she still feels the same way. “There’s just life in some people that attracts,” she says, “his being, his animation, his personality. You know, Al Gore is saying the right things, but he’s not as attractive as Charlie. People say [Manson] was evil, but I never saw evil in him. He said he was both – good and bad – and was free to do as he wanted because of it.” In 1969, two years after Manson met Fromme, his followers broke into two homes in Los Angeles and murdered seven people, including the actor Sharon Tate. The bloody deaths marked the end of the utopian promise of the Summer Of Love and are back in the public consciousness this month thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, in which Margot Robbie plays Tate. Meanwhile, Manson himself continues to attract a grim fascination. His interviews have racked up millions of views on YouTube and each year 2,500 people take the “Helter Skelter” tour of the Los Angeles murder sites. For some, however, Manson is more than a perverse curiosity – even in death, he remains a leader. Those who follow him don’t call themselves the Manson Family, as the media once did. Instead, they call themselves “Atwa”, an acronym that stands for both “Air Trees Water Animals” and “All The Way Alive”. They stay in touch through a website, mansondirect.com, and a number of Facebook groups.



The largest, Atwa (Official), has more than 10,000 followers. These followers see Manson as a victim of injustice and wish to keep his environmental campaign alive. “I love Charlie. He has been done wrong,” writes Dreama, a mother from Kentucky, on the group’s Facebook page. “Charles is a loving, spiritual god and I will forever love and support him,” adds Melinda from Brooklyn. The most extreme example of Manson fandom came in 2014 when a 26-year-old woman named Afton Burton went so far as to become engaged to him. She had been writing to him in prison since she was a teenager. The courts were unequivocal about Manson’s wrongdoing: he was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. However, his supporters continue to claim, as he did, that he never ordered the Tate murders. Sandra Good, a former girlfriend who was part of the original commune, says murderers Tex Watson, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel came up with the plan on their own. “There was a brother, Bobby Beausoleil, who was in jail for killing a man,” she says. “Charlie had favours owed to him by Tex and Susan. He said: ‘You guys owe me. Get the brother out. I don’t care what you

‘There was life in [Manson] that attracted, his being, his animation...’

do.’ They thought a way to get Bobby out would be to do copycat killings.” Fromme adds, chillingly, that in an era when young men were being sent to kill and die in Vietnam, violence could be justified – she perversely viewed it as a strike against consumer society. “The way I looked at it was as a war,” she says. “Michael Atwa”, as he has asked to be named, helps run the Atwa (Official) page and didn’t know Manson personally, but has also come to believe he was innocent. So what’s the group’s larger ambition: is it to clear Manson’s name? “I’ll say this: ‘Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.’” ichael first became fascinated with Manson after seeing him interviewed by CBS News anchor Charlie Rose in 1986. “I was immediately drawn to him,” he says. “Manson was a pioneer in the field of ecological thought.” He has no interest in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, however. “Hollywood is intentionally poisoning the mass mind in the same way big pharma has intentionally poisoned the citizenry for years,” he says. “The whole world is interested in Manson and I think Tarantino is banking on that, quite literally.” In an age when the evidence of climate change is all around us, it’s hard to dispute some of what Atwa says about the need to protect the environment. What’s much harder to understand is why they continue to idolise Manson the convicted murderer. Michael is not shy about this, saying that Manson’s words and music make him “an oracle of sorts, an endless source of wisdom and inspiration”. Dr Bryanna Fox is a criminal psychologist and former FBI


special agent who believes she has gained some insight into the mentality of those who still find themselves drawn to Manson. “It’s the same reason we like going on roller-coasters,” she says. “We like feeling we’re close to danger without actually being in danger. Another part of it is that Manson was a celebrity. In the early days he did have some celebrity connections, such as Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, but, of course, after the murders he garnered his own celebrity status and that’s attractive to some people. Even though he was horrific, he’s still the Charles Manson.” As for Manson’s professed environmental beliefs, Fox argues that these are simply manipulation tactics. “With every good lie there’s an element of truth,” she says. “He wasn’t selling total hogwash. Having a community of like-minded people celebrating the land is comforting, but when it gets to inciting murder I’m not sure how many people would still want to go along with it.” Manson continued to receive fan mail right up until his death, while still incarcerated, in November 2017 at the age of 83. At one point, it was claimed he was receiving a staggering 60,000 letters a year. The current online Atwa community is in some ways merely the latest example of how his dark mythology attracts people so alienated by society that even murder seems justifiable. Manson understood his appeal as well as anyone. In 1989, interviewer Penny Daniels asked him why he thought so many disaffected kids wrote to him. He answered, “Because I am those kids.” ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD IS OUT ON 15 AUGUST.




Ô[Manson fans] like feeling close to danger without actually being in dangerÕ SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 61




Inside the raucous, ridiculous rise of the CLUBSTAURANT It’s either your idea of hell – or the best night out in town Story by Kathleen Johnson

t’s 11:30pm on a Friday night and the white-clad waiters at Bagatelle – a glitzy French restaurant in London’s Mayfair – have just mounted the velvet banquettes. The 1986 deep house hit “Can You Feel It” thunders through the speakers, while over in the far corner Usain Bolt tucks into artfully presented mains next to a waitress wildly smashing two silver plates together as makeshift cymbals. To my right, a big group of enthusiastic 24-year-old men, here to celebrate a birthday, jump onto their seats to join in with the staff’s whooping and whistling as an unperturbed sommelier refills their glasses with Dom Pérignon at an impressive pace. To my left, a woman clutching a Lumiere cocktail (Belvedere Vodka, coconut, pineapple) has a go at banging the giant drum attached to yet another waiter who, inexplicably, has donned a mullet wig since he served me my sea bass. It’s been dark, save for the flashes of coloured light from the chandeliers, since the maître d’, like an absurdly handsome, Deluminatorwielding Dumbledore, systematically tapped each table light off 15 minutes earlier. Only three hours before, I had arrived at what looked like a standard blingy Central London restaurant. Sure, the music was much louder than usual and the host insisted we do a welcome “Kamikaze” shot with him as soon as we sat down. But still, nothing gave me a portent of the anything-goes unravelling that would come with this late dinner sitting. Post 11pm, the vibe is a cross between a ridiculously raucous wedding and a Centurion Card-addled afterparty. I should have known, really. Bagatelle is a New York import, famed for excessive party brunches, with outposts in Ibiza, St Barths, Dubai and Miami. It wasn’t the first to marry the traditional restaurant experience with a club or party atmosphere (let’s call it a “clubstaurant”), but the concept has certainly refined what steak joint STK started over ten years ago, also in Manhattan (essentially sticking a DJ into a slick restaurantmeets-lounge). Fast-forward to 2019 and a

a late-night lounge based on cofounder Flavio Briatore’s Billionaire Clubs. Hovarda, on Rupert Street, is an Aegean-inspired bar and restaurant where civilised small plates make way for debauchery and dancing before you’ve even had time to order a third Meraki Mule. Then there’s Opium London, the just-opened outlet (also on Rupert Street) of a successful Spanish brand that sees a dining room and nightclub housed side by side in the same venue.


lubstaurants are simply the loudest, brashest realisation of a wider movement towards what the industry is calling “performative dining”. At its quieter end, this can simply mean staff creating a celebratory mood by participating in the “fun” with guests. At the red-hot Shoreditch trattoria Gloria, guests stay firmly in their seats as the music blares and the waiters flit ebulliently from table to table like “Soho House staff on speed”, as one GQ editor describes it. The “warm and high-spirited” vibe is down to “the Italian blood in our veins”, according to cofounder Victor Lugger. “We’re strong believers that the moments you spend in a restaurant should be the very best part of your day,” he says. So, is the next big thing in hospitality here for the long haul? As a 27-year-old who’s long outgrown regular club nights but still wants a night out with friends to feel substantial, I’d certainly like to think so. As Belvedere brand ambassador Mark Tracey puts it, performative dining “offers London’s night owls the opportunity for an evening to naturally evolve without having to change location. The scene has been slowly bubbling away for a number of years globally but all eyes are on London now to see how the UK will develop it further.” The mood back at Bagatelle is quite a vindication. Stephen, a 33-year-old financial analyst dining there that night, sums up the appeal neatly: “My friends and I do a late dinner in a place like this every month,” he says. “We millennials put a premium on eating out, but we love partying as well. This way, we get the best of both worlds.”

C Bagatelle

Mnky Hse


new wave of restaurants providing all-out extravaganzas has hit the capital. Latin American hot spot Mnky Hse, only a couple of doors down from Bagatelle on Dover Street, promises pyrotechnics and DJ sets until 4am, four days a week. Sumosan Twiga in Knightsbridge – a Japanese restaurant that also offers a separate Italian menu – is home to

London’s private dining room boom Performative dining might be in vogue, but for certain special occasions only a private room will do. Scott’s has just launched the most expensive private dining room in the world, The Platinum Arowana Room (valued at £6 million thanks to its artwork), but across the city you can find spaces to suit every taste, from Balthazar’s intimate Le Petit Salon Privé to Annabel’s opulent Silver Room. 62 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019


For us, innovation must always serve function. For example, raising our bezel by 2mm has improved the grip. Just a little. When you care about watches, just a little matters a lot.

Aquis Date Relief

ORIS BOUTIQUE LONDON 41 South Molton Street London W1K 5RP


Oxford 3 Tailored Shirt by Barbour £59.95.barbour.com

BARBOUR’S got your back From Tartan to Tattersall, Barbour’s Shirt Department AW19 collection combines British heritage with a contemporary twist – a welcome addition to any style-conscious wardrobe


Story by Sophie Clark

he humble shirt: an everyday staple for men across the globe. It’s one of the easiest garments to use to switch up your look whether you want to give your personal style a refresh or need to transition your seasonal wardrobe. And with the golden hues of autumn fast approaching, Barbour has got you covered. With its AW19 collection from The Shirt Department, Barbour offers the fabrics and comfort for the cooler months combined with an embedded heritage and timeless style that will elevate any outfit. From layering washed cotton tartan shirts to dressing up Plain Oxfords, you can consider you winter wardrobe sorted with the help of The Shirt Department. This year is a significant milestone in Barbour’s history – celebrating 125 years of a family owned, global success story. Founded in 1894 by John Barbour in South Shields in the North East of England, Barbour has become synonymous with the British countryside. The brand’s collections span from carrying functional, practical clothing to reinterpreting archive pieces through a contemporary lens. With a solid foundation in creating fit-for-purpose pieces of quality and durability, Barbour remains a stand out, go-to brand for shirting.

You aren’t just buying a shirt for your weekend away in the countryside, you’re investing in a timeless piece that conveys British heritage as well as a sophisticated, modern style. With this in mind, the AW19 Shirt Department collection features a new Shield logo – a link back to Barbour’s rich Scottish heritage and inspired by the family’s original coat of arms from Galloway. The Saltire shield is featured on the Shirt Department’s tab to proudly highlight the family roots. Featuring a warm colour palette and multiple fabric options, the AW19 collection has shirts you can tailor to your personal style when the temperature drops. Designed with a number of tartans and checks exclusive to the Barbour heritage, The Shirt Department collection will have you feeling like a modern, country gentleman whether you’re at home or away. This season, wear the Barbour Shirt Department heritage on your chest with pieces you will be going back to again and again, come rain or shine. Whether you need to refresh your casual looks or find a new way to style-up your tailoring, look to Barbour to up your shirt game. THE SHIRT DEPARTMENT A/W COLLECTION IS AVAILABLE FROM AUGUST 2019 ON HOUSEOFFRASER.COM. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE GO TO BARBOUR.COM


G Partnership

From top: Country Check 2 Tailored Shirt, £64.95. Gingham 11 Tailored Shirt, £64.95. Stripe 6 Tailored Shirt, £59.95. All by Barbour. barbour.com

With a warm colour palette and multiple fabric options, Barbour’s collection has shirts to suit your personal style




Revealed: 132-year-old hack to minimise


Get yourself a chic diary, as designed by Smythson’s new creative director Edited by Teo van den Broeke

Smythson’s new boutique in London’s Mayfair

Notebook by Smythson, £195. smythson.com

Luc Goidadin

here are some accessories that instantly denote both a man’s taste and his standing. An immaculately crafted Hermès briefcase, for instance (the edge-coatings on the seams of the French heritage brand’s leather goods are enough to send shivers of pleasure down this writer’s spine), or a pair of hand-carved horn EB Meyrowitz spectacles. Another such item is a leather-bound diary from Smythson, synonymous with old-school Britishness and understated style. Managing one’s schedule with a Smythson diary as opposed to a smartphone calendar is to keep one’s time with a vintage Rolex instead of an Apple Watch – a slice of analogue elegance in an increasingly digital world. It’s not only us who think so, either. Founded in 1887, Smythson has provided stationery to the likes of the Queen, Sigmund Freud, Sir Winston Churchill and Grace Kelly, to name a few. To write in the pages of a Smythson diary, therefore, is to scrawl on the pages of history. Earlier this year it started a new chapter in that history with the appointment of creative director Luc Goidadin, the former chief design officer of that other British stalwart Burberry. In his new role, Goidadin has been tasked with turning around the fortunes of the 132-year-old company (in the fiscal year ending 2017 Smythson had losses of nearly £3 million), in addition to injecting it with a youthful, desirable vigour. Unveiled earlier this year, Goidadin's first collection for the brand, AW19, was a strong message of intent.



Inspired by “the playful spirit of Frank Smythson”, the collection, which is in stores now, consists of a host of new and innovative offerings, such as a chic, limited-edition Smythson & S’well water bottle holder in tan leather, a series of new directional bag shapes, including the capacious Ciappa tote and the slouchy Nomad holdall (right) and a range of on-trend multi-zip cross-body bags. Oh, and there are diaries aplenty too, of course. “I spent my first few weeks at Smythson trawling our amazing archives to imbibe the spirit of the brand and inspire our next chapter,” Goidadin tells GQ. “I really want to honour the legacy of Frank Smythson to make sure everything we do stays true to our identity. Frank stood for that delightfully British blend of refinement and elegance offset by eccentric humour and witty irreverence,” he continues. “A key aspect of this was to use our print archive to create graphics and artworks that would tie together all our pieces in a playful way, from a cashmere throw to a briefcase, via notebooks and travel bags. “We were founded in 1887 to cater to a discerning global customer who sought faultless quality, clever functionality and a distinctive style,” says Goidadin. “Fast-forward to 2019 and this still rings true.” TvdB

The bag of the moment This large, Prussian blue travel bag from Luc Goidadin’s first collection epitomises the designer’s heritage-cumcontemporary approach for this most British of brands. Bag by Smythson, £1,395. smythson.com





THE BOYS OF SUMMER: Swimwear designers, sandal

creators and luggage makers, the men who build the SUNSHINE SEASON share the warm-weather SCENTS that make theirs Edited by Teo van den Broeke



ummer in the UK is less of a given, as it is in the Mediterranean (where infallible warm weather and long, white sandy beaches are thrust upon you whether you like it or not), and more of a construct. Thanks to our predictably unpredictable climes, it takes the serendipitous alignment of countless tiny factors in order for us to actually experience the sunshine season as Mother Nature intended. From an excellently positioned restaurant terrace that gets the best of the sun (even if it’s actually quite cold) to a stylish pair of sunglasses with lenses so sepia they make grey skies look golden, it’s a point from which many of this country’s cleverest men have made a living. Here, to understand what it is that brings sunshine into their lives, the UK’s summer-makers-in-chief reveal the warm-weather fragrances that get them in the holiday mood. TvdB


1. The swimwear god Comme Des Garçons Eau De Parfum, as chosen by Adam Brown, founder of the world’s pre-eminent swimwear brand, Orlebar Brown.

2. The sunglasses man India Ink by Heretic, as chosen by Giampiero Tagliaferri, creative director of the best men’s sunglasses brand, Oliver Peoples.


3. The summer restaurant tsar Sauvage by Dior, as chosen by Don Scott-Horne, doorman at Scott’s, Mayfair, and chief overseer of the Scott’s Summer Terrace.

4. The suitcase king Colonia by Acqua Di Parma, as chosen by Toshiyasu Takubo, president of the world’s most beautiful luggage brand, Globe-Trotter.

5. The sandals star Leather by Perfumer H, as chosen by Álvaro González, the leather sandal maker extraordinaire and creator of his eponymous brand.


Photographs Getty Images; Instagram/@mrtagliaferri; Pixeleyes




FUTURISM by dumping tonnes of iron filings, to spur the growth of phytoplankton, or sprinkling billions of silica beads over a Belgium-sized section of the Arctic, to make the ice more reflective. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum falls solar radiation management (SRM, or cloud brightening), the Scopex approach, which might just be the most feasible.

B To STOP this, scientists want to DIM THE SUN It sounds like science fiction – and it’s certainly risky – but it may be our best bet...

Story by Thomas Barrie


n paper, there’s not much to suggest that the experiment should be the first step towards humanity’s destruction. High over the New Mexico desert, a repurposed balloon similar to those used by Nasa will float to an altitude of about 20km and release a payload. Scientific balloons can lift up to 3,600kg – the weight of three small cars – but in this instance, the cargo will be minuscule by comparison: first, a small volume of water, then, on a later trip, sulphates. The goal? To increase the density of particles in the clouds below, making them more reflective and bouncing solar radiation back into space. In other words, to dim the sun. Proponents of the experiment suggest it might be the first step in developing technology that could save the lives of tens of millions. Its detractors, however, predict it could kill or displace just as many. The experiment, known as Scopex (Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment) is being designed by scientists at Harvard and is awaiting review from an external advisory committee before it launches its first-phase $3 million (£2.3m) test. With financial backing from Bill Gates, it will be one of the first real-life experiments to emerge from the untested field of geoengineering – the sketchy science of deliberately interfering with the earth’s climate. Ever since it became apparent that perilously little action was being taken to reduce global carbon emissions, a growing number of scientists around the world have advocated opening the Pandora’s Box that is man-made climate intervention. And Harvard’s not the only institution getting involved; in March, Cambridge University announced a proposed Centre For Climate Repair, headed by the chief scientific advisor to three British governments, Professor Sir David King, to look into radical ways to blunt the now-inevitable climate catastrophe. These solutions typically range from the noncontroversial (technically, reforestation counts as man-made climate intervention) to the radical – “greening the ocean”

Dry run During the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese government used a similar technique to cloud brightening to “seed” clouds with silver iodide, causing them to burst before they could rain on the Olympic Village.

y no means is there consensus on how brightening should, or could, be done. King opposes the release of stratospheric sulphates as anything but a last resort, because they might damage the tentative recovery of the ozone layer, but he is keener on a similar alternative: marine cloud brightening (MCB). First conceived by the physicist John Latham in the early noughties, MCB proposes spraying a super-fine mist of seawater into the air over the ocean to increase cloud density – a natural, cheaper and mobile alternative. Professor Stephen Salter of the University Of Edinburgh, who worked with Latham, estimates that for around £90m per annum, a fleet of autonomous “spray vessels” built to his design could sail across the oceans where needed, sucking saltwater out of the sea and spraying it skywards to increase cloud density. Kelly Wanser, whose NGO Silver Lining advocates for cloud brightening, claims that a total increase of one per cent brightness could offset 2C of warming. King, Salter and Wanser believe that the technology could buy the world the 30-odd years needed to go fully carbon neutral. “[It] could protect the coral reefs that are dying,” says Wanser. “It could protect forests and ecosystems and species that will otherwise be devastated by the heat.” Despite the enthusiasm in the scientific community, Al Gore has called geoengineering “delusional in the extreme”. In 2010, the UN Convention On Biological Diversity announced a moratorium on all large-scale geoengineering experiments that could impact the environment. Spearheading opposition to SRM is the ETC Group, a watchdog and pressure group that has released statements in the past denouncing geoengineering as “a techno-fix” for climate change. Its co-executive director, Jim Thomas, believes that talk of man-made intervention “is a political strategy to try to change the way in which the debates on climate change happen”. The point, he says, is not whether SRM might work – he thinks it would – but that it distracts from real efforts to reduce carbon emissions and the knock-on effects would harm the globe’s poorest, whether through chance or design. What’s more, Thomas says, geoengineering has a history of military application dating back to the Vietnam War. He points to a massive project on the Tibetan Plateau named Sky River, which is being carried out by a Chinese aerospace contractor on behalf of the military and involves lighting thousands of industrial burners on contested territory to manipulate precipitation. At the moment, the geoengineering arms race is a metaphorical one between scientists, start-ups and philanthropists, but it’s not hard to see the military advantage of a technology that could cause a massive spike in rainfall, or indeed a targeted drought. Proponents of cloud brightening plead realpolitik, arguing that humanity has no alternative but to test them. “We don’t know yet whether or not these things are possibilities,” Wanser says. “If we don’t look at them fairly soon, then we won’t have these options available.” King agrees: “We have already destroyed our environment. We need these new technologies or, frankly, we are cooked.” SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 69





Multifunction button

Along with pairing them to your phone, this neat nobule on the sunglasses’ right arm is multifunction, allowing you to play and pause your music (the built-in battery allows up to 3.5 hours of playback), call up Siri and Google Assistant voice control and even take a call.

Noise suppression You may think of noisecancelling as keeping ambient noise out, but these strategically placed speakers on the arms stop your own music from leaking and suppress 99 per cent of the sound not directed at the ear. We still wouldn’t recommend these in a waiting room, but for the street or beach your Taylor Swift secret will stay safe.

Audible AR

Augmented reality sounds good, but often the actual reality is somewhat different. Bose has created an open ecosystem for app developers to create sound-only AR tools, using the sunglasses’ head motion sensor and GPS from your phone in all manner of useful ways – for example, the golf app that beeps to let you know the exact direction of the hole. FROM £199.95. BOSE.COM

Story by Stuart McGurk

YOUR NEW EARPHONES? SHADES Keep forgetting your

AirPods? Despair not. Bose’s first sunglasses will ensure that as long as you’re looking good, your music’s sounding good. The frames connect via Bluetooth, with directional speakers broadcasting directly to your ears (and making you look strange taking calls). SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 71



computer-generated imagery, the sophistication of the product and the use of humour in stitching together a story.” For brands it makes sense, too: you’re unlikely to get negative headlines from a virtual influencer, because they don’t exist outside the tightly controlled world of ad campaigns.

are taking over T your feeds. But does it matter that they are

NOT REAL? hink “modelling” and you might think of Paris, perhaps, or London or New York. To a number of brands, another place has recently appeared on that list: the British seaside town Weymouth. The Diigitals is located near Chesil Beach, at the home of Cameron-James Wilson. The company has worked with the likes of Balmain and Ellesse on worldwide campaigns and its point of difference is simple: it’s the world’s first modelling agency for virtual celebrities. It’s the latest evolutionary step in a trend that gained teeth last year when Brud – the Los Angeles company behind a computer-generated Instagrammer called Lil Miquela, an avatar with 1.6 million followers – attracted $6m (£4.7m) of investment. She wears digital versions of real-life clothes and shows off pixel-perfect re-creations of physical products. In May, she “kissed” Bella Hadid in an ad for Calvin Klein. The company is currently worth £98m and a multitude of other start-ups are emerging – Fable (“the virtual beings company”), for instance, and 1sec (a “virtual human planning and production” service). What once looked like a gimmick is now big business – and virtual personae are invading other forms of media, stepping out of the constraints of still photos and into video. The Diigitals finds itself front and centre of this movement, but the company’s origin is grounded more in luck than judgement. It all started with Wilson, a 30-year-old fashion



Story by Chris Stokel-Walker

photographer, deciding to test his abilities as a CGI artist. “I was just practising my 3-D modelling skills,” he explains, pushing a curtain of bleached blond hair away from his face. “I wanted to see how realistic I could make this person look.” He based his first character, called Shudu, on a Barbie doll. Wilson posted the completed render on Instagram in April 2017 and was surprised by the reception. As one viewer commented: “Wait, so the model in these photos isn’t real but a 3-D creation?” Waif-like, with an elongated neck enclosed in 17 glittering gold band necklaces, unblemished skin and a strikingly dark complexion, Shudu looked like the sort of fashion models Wilson photographed in his daily life – and soon became one, with an early collaboration advertising the niche fashion label Soulsky. One of Shudu’s images made its way to Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty account, which amplified her to a bigger audience. In August 2018, Shudu stood alongside two other new digital influencers – Margot and Zhi – to model for Balmain. “That was the first time I thought, ‘Wow, I can actually make money doing this,’” says Wilson. Today, The Diigitals has a roster of seven virtual models, including one man, Koffi, who was created in January 2019. So why have audiences warmed so readily to this new breed of entertainer? Rob Cover, an assistant professor at The University Of Western Australia, who writes about digital cultures, puts it down to three things: “The novelty of

he day before we speak, Wilson started working with a digital content creator who will provide Shudu with a voice, allowing her to do interviews and, eventually, videos. This would thrust Koffi, Shudu and the rest of The Diigital’s models into the small but competitive arena of the “VTuber”. Virtual YouTubers have dedicated followings in Japan and increasingly so in the West. Videos starring VTubers – of which YouTube says there are more than 5,000 – were watched more than a billion times between January 2018 and last May and 50 per cent more than a year before. Like their real-life counterparts, VTubers tend to post traditional vlogs explaining what they have been up to and wander around cities (while superimposed on real video). One of the most popular English-speaking VTubers is Ami Yamato, a computer-generated character who “lives in London” and has nearly 150,000 subscribers. “I would argue you can establish the same connection with a VTuber that you would with a ‘normal’ YouTuber,” says João Lopes, an 18-year-old fan. “Even the most authentic influencers craft their personality to be more likeable.” Indeed, the unblinking artificiality of this new wave of virtual celebrities is, it might be argued, more honest than fleshand-blood celebrities who take care only to present part of their personality on camera. Brud’s website answers the question “Is [Lil] Miquela real?” thus: “As real as Rihanna.” The man behind The Diigitals agrees: “A lot of it has to do with social media and the highly edited world that it is,” says Wilson. “We’ve become much more open to digital imagery in general. I don’t think people are averse to virtual models, because they’re so used to seeing heavily Photoshopped images on social media. It’s a cultural thing.” It’s a bracing thought, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. We are able to feel emotional connections to fictional characters in films, television, books – even video games (just ask anyone who has played the latest Red Dead Redemption). This is just another form of storytelling. The difference is that these new characters may take on a life of their own. The VC company Betaworks has reportedly allocated $200,000 to finance start-ups that will combine CGI celebrities with artificial intelligence. All hail your new social media overlords.




‘I don’t think people are averse to virtual models, because they’re used to seeing Photoshopped images on social media’ From left: The Diigitals’ virtual models Dagny (@dagny.gram, 3,000 followers) and Shudu (@shudu.gram, 177,000 followers) SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 73


Fix up! LOOK SHARP John Bell & Croyden has edited the Ultimate Beauty Trunk with the finest grooming products to give your routine an instant upgrade Story by Sophie Clark

The Ultimate Beauty Trunk by John Bell & Croyden, £4,500.

leansers, face serums, masks, exfoliators, moisturisers and eye creams – the list of possible steps to add to your daily routine is endless and somewhat confusing. Luckily the experts at John Bell & Croyden, London’s luxury pharmacy, have carefully curated the ultimate skincare edit in celebration of sponsoring the British GQ Grooming Awards 2020. Showcasing 20 products in a beautiful leather trunk made in partnership with Rapport London, John Bell & Croyden’s exclusive, specialist skincare routine will take you from day to night, one step at a time. John Bell & Croyden, Pharmacists to Her Majesty The Queen, has been a health and wellness institution in the heart of London’s Marylebone since 1798. Centred around being a luxury pharmacy first, combined with the incredibly knowledgeable team and myriad services on offer, John Bell & Croyden is looking after London’s health and wellbeing. Stepping into the bright, beautifully curated store with polished marble floors and huge space to explore freely you feel in a world of your own. It’s a wellness emporium that will happily guide you into the world of vitamins and supplements, skincare and cosmetics as well having an in-house GP and specialist treatment rooms on site. The decades of


experience and expertise all under one roof mean John Bell & Croyden is continuously evolving and looking to the future to maintain their range of the very best products. Stocking familiar established brands, but also products from innovative independent manufacturers sourced from across the world, it is the destination for discovering new selfcare opportunities. Leave any worries at the door and trust in the friendly healthcare professionals of the official pharmacists to HM The Queen to guide you on solutions that will rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. The expert health and wellness team have tried, tested and edited their best of the best premium skincare and beauty products to make up the ultimate grooming routine. Working hard to ensure all bases are covered from dental care to sun protection, this Ultimate Beauty Trunk is men’s maintenance made easy. Encased in a beautiful, leather coated, suede lined, wooden trunk, custom made by Rapport London, think of this as decadent skincare cabinet for the modern man. Unlatch the heavy-duty silver clasps to reveal cleverly thought-out compartments, home to your revised AM to PM daily routine. On the top level, there is a removable leather tray for your opticals and watch, complete with a separate smaller case for storing jewellery and cuff links – perfect for placing on your

Treat yourself Head in to John Bell & Croyden to discover a host of on-site treatments such as specialist facials at the InResidence Beauty room

3-D Body Scan Book the NutriRejuvenate body scan. This non-invasive Electro Interstitial Scanner service identifies when organs aren’t functioning correctly.


G Partnership

What’s in the TRUNK? Here are our top nine picks




bedside table. Underneath you’ll find two deep drawers, the first filled with your morning routine. Discover products such as the Renaissance Cleansing Gel by Oskia and NYDG’s Luminizing Skin Essence for a hydration boost, learn lessons on how to layer eye treatments for maximum results (the collection includes both an eye serum and eye cream), even out your skin tone with the Phloretin CF Gel from SkinCeuticals and give yourself those finishing touches with an elegant traditional razor and brush set, and luxury fragrance from Penhaligon’s. Neatly stored in the second drawer you’ll find further products such as the golden youth drops of Dr Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Aging serum, SkinDesign London’s Retinol treatment that will brighten and retexturise your complexion with active soothing botanicals as well as the H.A. Intensifier to plump and hydrate your skin overnight. Your products can be neatly organised into step-by-step categories to take any confusion out of your daily routine while also making it the perfect travel companion. Simply slide

The health and wellness team have tried, tested and edited their best of the best 4






1. The INTENSIFER H.A Intensifier by SkinCeuticals, £89.

2 . The HYDRATOR Ultra Light Hydra Gel by NYDG, £60.

3 . The EYE SERUM EGF Eye Serum by BioEffect, £68.

4 . The RAZOR Razor and brush by Muhle, £170.

5 . The AGE DEFENDER Anti Aging Serum by Dr Barbara Sturm, £265.


in the drawers, lock up the doors and by one lift of the sturdy leather coated handle at the top of the trunk it’s ready to travel the world with you. Visit John Bell & Croyden to discover the full routine and see the Ultimate Beauty Trunk for yourself. It can be custom-made in a myriad of fabrics and colours with endless detailing options to suit your style – you could open up the lid to a vanity mirror or monogram your initials into the leather case. And why stop there? The wellness experts at John Bell & Croyden are also on standby to build you a bespoke skincare routine for your trunk, curating products working to your personal needs and lifestyle. Looking after yourself never looked so good. The Ultimate Beauty Trunk will be available to buy exclusively at John Bell & Croyden from September. VISIT JOHN BELL & CROYDEN AT 50-54 WIGMORE STREET, LONDON W1U 2AU. JOHNBELLCROYDEN.CO.UK

Phloretin CF Gel by SkinCeuticals, £95.

7 . The RESTORER Z Recovery by Zelens, £95.

8 . The CULT CRÈME Retinol by SkinDesign London, £95.

9 . The MULTITASKER Dynamic Skin Recovery by Dermalogica, £73. All available at johnbellcroyden.co.uk



HANDMADE IN ENGLAND E T T I N G E R .CO.U K +44 (0)20 8877 1616




NEWSFLASH: The future of art is already here Story by Thomas Barrie

You can lose yourself, quite literally, in the work of Claudia Hart. She creates art in virtual reality – such as “Alice Unchained” (below), in which animated figures dance through a labyrinthine virtual world of emojis and QR codes – and is one of four artists featured in Enter Through The Headset 4, an exhibition at London’s Gazelli Art House, showcasing art that incorporates VR and augmented reality (AR integrates “real-life” elements too).

Hart has become a standard bearer for VR. It is, she says, “a hybrid between sculpture, architecture and photography”. When Hart first began teaching herself animation, inspired by a viewing of Toy Story at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival, the only other people who knew how to use the technology were former “military people”, who spent their time building virtual “sex dolls and porny things”. Artists didn’t figure in the picture. Now, she says, curators don’t bat an eyelid at the idea of interrogating thorny political issues through a pair of goggles. So is VR the future of art? “It’s not the future,” says Hart. “It’s [already] happening.” Enter Through The Headset 4 is at Gazelli Art House from 5 September. gazelliarthouse.com

Men, stop dressing so BASIC this summer Story by Charlie Burton

Photograph Getty Images Illustrations Anthony Calvert

If you looked out over the crowds at Glastonbury this year, you would surely have to agree: Love Island has a lot to answer for. The male of the species – at least at the millennial end of the spectrum – has reimagined his summer festival wardrobe as a cross between a man-cleavaged reality television star and a Mennace advertising campaign. It’s a very simple formula, and one that’s designed to satisfy the preening ego of those who adopt it. First, take a tourniquet-tight, muscle-fit Hawaiian shirt – or simply a bomber jacket worn with nothing underneath (because #chestday). Next, add a pair of thigh-throttling shorts that rise so high they’re in risk of an asbo. Finally, finish with a tight fade, the haircut of choice for anyone with the styling imagination of a peanut. Oh, and you can get the whole look for just £1.99. Need we say more?


Proving it’s not just where you stay but how you stay that matters, hotels are amping up their accommodation. Here is our pick of rooms to check out (and in) this summer

Story by Bill Prince

Rooftop Penthouse at Grand Hotel Tremezzo Lake Como, Italy

The Muraka at Conrad Rangali, Maldives

Nobu Villa at Nobu Hotel Miami, US

Killer feature: Two private Jacuzzis Total size: 158 square metres grandhoteltremezzo.com

Killer feature: Underwater bedroom Total size: 652 square metres conradmaldives.com

Killer feature: Wraparound terrace Total size: 232 square metres nobuhotelmiamibeach.com

Green 10 at Finca Cortesin Marbella, Spain Killer feature: Unsurpassed views of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range Total size: 781 square metres fincacortesin.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 77




Stimulate your MIND, challenge your BODY and feed your SOUL Endless golden beaches, bustling market towns and towering ancient ruins to explore – there are so many reasons why Western Turkey should be your next destination 1.




G Partnership


2. Body

oday, time is precious and we are rightly selective about how we spend it, especially when it comes to booking the all important summer holiday. We want relaxation and experiences – to switch off and board the flight home feeling rejuvenated as well as being inspired from re-engaging with the world. With its Mediterranean beaches, tranquil azure sea and non-stop sunshine combined with historical landmarks to explore, a growing foodie scene, music festivals, and windsurfing schools, Western Turkey really has it all. Only a three-hour flight from the UK, both Izmir and Alacati are two of Turkey’s most culturally vibrant destinations that will leave you wanting to come back again and again.

1. Mind

Explore Izmir’s ancient history and lose yourself among the monuments


t’s not news that travelling is in itself good for our physical wellbeing – however, it’s also been said that experiential travel is one of the best ways to promote both our mental and emotional health. Seeing the world and stepping away from the daily routine has the power to expand the mind, so, with its steep history and rich culture, Izmir is the perfect place for just that. Located on Turkey’s Aegean coast, Izmir is a destination that demands your attention, that encourages you take a breath and soak up its beautiful surroundings and stories that stretch back 8,500 years. While exploring the towering, ancient monuments your mind will travel back to a time when this city was home to a rich variety of some of the great civilizations of history, including the Hittites, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. It’s these experiences in addition to the 300 days of sunshine a year that makes Izmir the ultimate destination to lose yourself in this home of Mediterranean legends. In the city centre, you will find the perfect starting point for exploring. Izmir Agora is a beautiful ancient monument surrounded by hillside neighbourhoods and market streets where the energy of modern-day life exists side-by-side with this incredible archaeological backdrop. Within the Agora grounds are the ruins of a Roman-Greek marketplace from the period when Izmir was an important stopping point on the Silk Road. The soaring archways are still intact and the same fresh water channels that supplied this ancient market over 2,000 years ago still trickle along the floor to this very day. Next up is Ephesus, once home to the wondrous Temple of Artemis and an ancient Roman city where people from all over the world sailed to load up with exotic fruits and spices and visit the Turkish cloth-makers. Discover the restored Celsus Library with a soaring two-storey façade adorned by statues of the Four Virtues; Wisdom, Bravery, Knowledge and Thought. This building was created to preserve over 12,000 scrolls and its remains a striking picture of how this architectural masterpiece would have looked all those years ago. It’s ancient ruins such as these that makes Izmir a worthy destination to free your mind and exercise your imagination.

Put the wind in your sails in Alacati and learn to Windsurf like a pro


Windsurf in Alacati across a bay 500m long and 400m wide of shallow sailing waters perfect for training

Markets Enjoy the bazaar in Izmir where you can feast on street food to your heart’s content.

Ancient Ruins Visit Hierapolis, the Ancient Roman Spa town to bath in hot mineral pools just like the Romans did.

Sweet Traditions Roam the cobbled streets enjoying traditional Dondurma ice cream.

Windsurfing Join Windsurfing School to take full advantage of the non-sop winds and expertise of Alacati.

ature has created a Windsurfers paradise in Alacati. Benefiting from constant winds of 15-25 knots throughout summer, combined with golden sunshine and turquoise waters it’s no wonder Alacati is perfect for the sport. Located on the Cesme Peninsula to the West of Izmir, Alacati is a small, charming town with a laidback atmosphere as well as also being the host of the annual PWA Windsurfing World Cup. For those who like to keep active on holiday, Alacati’s calm waters and steady winds, offer a great environment for a keen student as well as a challenge to the seasoned professional. Alacati has bays with different zones that include shallow depths and almost enclosed waters to allow you to safely put your skills to practice and hone your craft. When the sails come down at the end of the day – or for those of us who would prefer a more relaxed approach to experiencing the area – head to the port where you can sit and enjoy the local food such as lemon-soaked mussels while watching your fellow enthusiasts zip across the water. Or enrol in one of Alacati’s yoga retreats where you can master your poses, stretch out your everyday stresses and recentre your body all while basking in the comforting Mediterranean sun and Alacati’s sweet breeze. Expect to leave with your shoulders no longer up to your ears, your jaw feeling less tight and a new found energy ready for discovering more of what Western Turkey has to offer.

3. Soul

The beauty of nature and charming cobbled streets... both Izmir and Alacati showcase a Turkey that nourishes your soul


ith over 600 kilometres of coastline, thermal waters and unmatched natural beauty, Izmir’s naturescapes will soothe your soul – in particular the Bird Paradise. This huge landscape of salt marshes, reeds, islands and peninsulas (home to 289 species of birds) rewards a well-timed trip during sunset and will have you feeling like you have entered another world. The sanctuary attracts more than 50,000 birds each year, where you can see Flamingos and Dalmatian Pelicans in their natural habitat. The ideal place to let your spirit soar. Back along the Izmir-Cesme highway and welcomed in by the windmill, the old town of Alacati has long drawn in city folk from Izmir. Lose yourself in the beautiful cobbled streets where the scent of Jasmine lingers as you indulge in the street vendors and dine among residents whose roots go back centuries. This unspoilt Aegean town has the character and charm to reinvigorate the weariest soul.






These boots were made for stomping

From top: By Dior, £860. dior.com. By Church’s, £440. church-footwear.com. By Bottega Veneta, £1,050. bottegaveneta.com

Originally favoured by infantrymen and fictional monsters, it’s all about big black boots for AW19. And the clompier they are, the better There are certain items of which no self-respecting man’s wardrobe should be bereft: a navy blue suit being one, a perfectly cut taupe trench coat being another. One more item that every man should own is a pair of heavy-duty black boots – and it’s a point that the world’s menswear designers agree on for AW19. From the commando boots with built-in spats shown at Dior to the hardcore paratrooper styles at British label Church’s, this season it’s all about getting your feet ready for the trenches (even if you only plan on jumping in puddles). Edited by Teo van den Broeke Photographs by Colin Ross




The ‘One Fine Day’ mac is back


Steal your style moves from cheesy Nineties cinema this Autumn Remember that scene in 1996’s One Fine Day, in which George Clooney and Michelle Pfieffer’s soon-to-be star-crossed characters are forced into the back of a cab in search of respective child care? Remember what they were wearing? Allow us to refresh your memory. Clooney’s character was sporting an oversized, single-breasted mackintosh in stone gabardine. Although the look was designed to look quotidian, now it feels on point and edgy.


From left: By Hermès, £3,300. hermes.com. By Boss, £3,400. boss.com

Hydrosphe re Retrograde Minute

Jumping Hour

Power Reserve

RESERVOIR Watch SAS - RCS Paris 821 693 520 - 2019 - ArtFeelsGood Creation




TRENDS By Prada, from £300 each. prada.com

It’s time to start rebuilding your belt wardrobe* *and if you don’t believe us, just ask Mrs Prada


It’s time to buckle back up. This season designers have given us new reason to invest – no matter how fitted your trousers There’s a firm belief in the tailoring community that if your trousers are properly cut, then they shouldn’t need a belt to hold them up. It’s a snobbery that saw the belt all but go extinct. Although Alessandro Michele had a firm stab at bringing belts back from the brink when he reintroduced the retro GG styles at Gucci a few seasons ago, it’s really Miuccia Prada that’s working the hardest to bring the humble belt back into favour. Stands to reason, then, that you too should be paying closer attention to your own personal belt wardrobe this season. An extra-long Nato belt, for instance, can look great with a pair of slim-cut cargo pants, while a chic black belt with an oversized buckle will look great with a slim black suit. The first belt you should buy, however... something from Prada, naturalmente.




#MyVictorinox @Victorinox


DE T A I L S From top: By Dunhill, £405. dunhill.com. By Versace, £620. versace.com. By Fendi, £650. At matchesfashion.com

Why you need a micro manbag

(no, seriously)

Ditch your cross-body and throw away your murse. Right now the bag you carry should be no bigger than your phone Although for the past few seasons personal luggage for men has been all about cross-body, bum and belt bags,  now – for AW19 – there’s a new pack in town. Introducing the micro manbag. Big enough for your phone, your keys and your Juul, yet small enough not to get in the way, just think of it as a wallet on a strap. And if anyone calls it a handbag? Well, they wouldn’t be far off the mark TBH... TvdB






Baumatic In-house self-winding Steel 40mm


Attack the week

With a new cover interview on GQ.co.uk every Monday at 7am, GQ Hype is your weekly rolling feast of fashion, video, politics, sport, entertainment, food, travel, grooming and wellbeing. Get Hype and get hyped.

Investigative long reads, covering politics, music and tech, every Thursday at 6am.

Flora Gill (and her boyfriend) on the weird world of sex, fortnightly on Saturday at 5pm.

The topical issues that need debating, each Tuesday at 8am.

Musicians share their personal “firsts” – from tours to love to tattoos – each Friday at 6am.

Photographs Getty Images

Yep! Specifically: new luxury columnist Zachary Weiss, fortnightly on Saturday at 5pm.


G Partnership

The TEN objects that * define SUMMER right now *And they’re not what you would expect, as new research from Zopa shows Story by Charlie Burton Illustration by Aistė Stancikaitė

ummer is a time of tropes – and recently those tropes have shifted. Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” captures this neatly. Reflecting on his idyllic summer of 1989, the singer recalls a carefree time of campfires, singing and open water. It’s the kind of American pastoral that taps into the traditions that gave us the Beach Boys and the Drifters. As Kid Rock muses nostalgically: “We didn’t have no internet”. And what a difference the internet has made. Now, with social media’s tendency to celebrate the #luxurylifestyle, summer’s connotations are skewing a


great deal more aspirational: it is becoming defined as the domain of yacht parties, “it” sunglasses and statement rosé. Or at least that’s what the influencers would have you believe. New research by Zopa, the FeelGood Money™ company and soon to be bank, tells a different story. To help people make the most of their money over the summer months Zopa has created the Ice Cream index, revealing the items that bring people the greatest joy per pound. Britons were asked to consider 100 summertime spends and give them a happiness rating out of 1,000. The scores were then weighted alongside the cost of the items

to reveal summer’s top list of feel good items. Turns out, the items making Britain feel good this summer are reassuringly affordable. While “a high-tech drone” and a “holiday in New York” generate a lower score on the Ice Cream Index, “a book” and “a home-cooked family meal” score much higher. Plenty of the items on the list also feel very now. There’s “vegan ice cream”, for instance and “tickets to a Pride event”. Interestingly, “a bed”, “a paintbrush” and “giving £1 to a charity” score well too. In other words, wellness, philanthropy and mindfulness are where it’s at. Welcome to FeelGood summer 2019.

The ‘Ice Cream Index’ top five These are the items bringing Britons the most joy per pound this summer. 1. Chocolate bar 2. Giving £1 to a charity 3. Paint brush 4. Cook book 5. Bunch of flowers

Zopa offers customers the chance to feel good about their financial lives with great value financial products and award-winning customer services. zopa.com




AUTUMNAL ACCENTS The metallic rucksack, the scent of the season and the ultimate hiking boots – learn how to master accessories Edited by Sophie Clark











1. Aventus Cologne by Creed, £155. creedfragrances.co.uk 2. Puffer jacket by Colmar, £709. colmar.it 3. Leather biker gloves by Brunello Cucinelli, £720. brunellocucinelli.com 4. Document holder by Dolce & Gabbana, £355. dolcegabbana.it 5. Striped heavy rugby shirt by Gant, £100. gant.co.uk 6. Leather bag by Salvatore Ferragamo, £1085. ferragamo.com 7. Ocean Edition watch by Boss, £449. hourtime.co.uk 8. Parachute Backpack by Vivienne Westwood, £645. viviennewestwood.com 9. Suede boots by Russell & Bromley, £195. russellandbromley.co.uk



Tools for


The CyberTool Pocket Knife by Victorinox

Photograph Charlie Surbey

Wire-crimping tool, multipurpose hook, mini screwdriver, wire cutter: having a (stylish) toolbox in your back pocket is a reassuring experience. For years Victorinox has been the go-to for the multi-purpose pocket knife and now its compact and sturdy classic has been updated for the modern everyday. As well as the traditional officer’s knife functions, the CyberTool pocket knife now includes an LED light that can beam for up to ten metres, x8 magnifying glass and a bit wrench. Encased in polished, red translucent, cellidor plastic and braced by an aluminum handle for enhanced strength - it’s a functional piece with attitude. You’ll never put off a DIY conundrum again.

CyberTool Lite by Victorinox, £105. victorinox.com




*We’re talking treehouses for grown-ups at the Cotswold adventureland The Fish Story by Sophie Clark

The treetop hideaways include underfloor heating and ensuite bathrooms


estled on the hillsides of the Cotswolds and spread over 400 acres of sublime scenery, you’ll discover a countryside estate like no other. Part boutique hotel, part adventure hideout, The Fish Hotel is a collection of village-style houses, huts and hideaways offering a back-tonature sanctuary with a touch of luxury. For those seeking escape from the daily grind of city living you’ll be spoilt for choice with this countryside playground. The vast range of accommodation at The Fish means you can always find the

right balance of cosy hidden corners mixed with contemporary Scandinavian design to suit your personal relaxation requirements. If you’re looking for something with rustic charm, the Hillside Huts offer a truly private experience. Complete with bedroom, lounge area and ensuite bathroom, these quaint dwellings offer a unique, secluded stay where you can bathe in outdoor hot tubs, watch the sunset in complete seclusions and in one of them (Boaty McBoatface) you can even row across your own lake to a

What to pack and what to wear 1



private island and soak up the stillness of this rural idyll. Perhaps the true embodiment of The Fish’s youthful and adventurous ethos is a stay at one of its Treehouses, a 50 sq m space that presents an alternative to the traditional hotel getaway. Each Treehouse is set on stilts in its own private woodland setting - and inside the Treehouse you’ll feel at home with an open-plan design, where modern interiors meets natural materials while outside you can dine with a view under a towering oak tree - discovering your inner child has never been so stylish. But take note, The Fish is also home to Hook, a vision of two-Michelin starred chef Martin Burge. It’s menu includes signature dishes such as Porthilly rock oysters, poached blue chip salmon, whole baked seabass and lobster thermidor, which can happily be enjoyed on the terrace for alfresco dining in the summer months. From cosy traditional rooms or grownup treehouses to woodland walks, intimate film screenings and fine dining there is plenty to explore at The Fish. This is a rural retreat that is easy on the eye and soothing for the soul.

Fancy a day trip? Take a tour of the nearby Cotswolds Distillery and enjoy a Cloudy Cotswolds G&T on arrival and create bottles of your own bespoke gin


Think autumnal shades and statement accessories 4


1. Majestic Cashmere fragrance by Bentley Fragrances, £165. bentley-fragrances.com 2. Slim leg jeans by Remus Uomo, £85. remusuomo.com 3. Checked coat by Daks, £650. daks.com 4. Aerantis Trainers by Geox, £120. geox.com 5. Jacquard fabric rucksack by Etro, £985. etro.com


BARON russellandbromley.co.uk


The maestro Moon Phase: a celestial timepiece that synchronises the rhythms of time with the lunar cycle. The maestro, meaning “master”, echoes the mastery of handcrafted Swiss horology. www.raymond-weil.co.uk • 0161 672 0700


Edited by

Jonathan Heaf

Photograph Dame Natalie Massenet

This man is not wearing any underwear This is Erik Torstensson, cofounder and creative director of Frame. You’d like him. Why? Well, much like the clothes he designs, he’s achingly smart, frustratingly attractive and undeniably cool in all the right places. Hence: no pants. Think you can rock such wafting, refined drapery as well as he does? Then jump to page 107 immediately to swot up on this full-body trend.

+ How’s your golf game? (We don’t care...) – p.101 And on the third day, Kanye made God merch – p.103 Want Extinction Rebellion street-riot cred? Grow a mullet – p.109



‘C’est degueulasse!’

‘C’est incroyable!’

Let’s be clear about something: no human, since we left the trees, has looked anything but ridiculous by moving horizontally while standing stationary. Here’s the complete list of them: Segway riders, Airwheel riders, “hoverboard” (ie, two-wheel) riders and Hannibal Lecter when they wheeled him from high security to meet the senator. (Although, let’s be honest, the latter does make a killer Halloween costume if you have too much time on your hands.) To that we can now add the riders of electric scooters or, specifically, the ones the fashion mafia zoom around on during Paris Fashion Week. Leaving aside that they’re illegal to use on UK roads – they may as well be smoking a crack pipe – what’s worse is how, for scooter riders, whatever their location, any surface is their surface. The electric scooter rider sees the city much as a toddler does when pushing a toy car over a surface in which t h e r o a d s a r e p a i n te d o n . Nwwwwwwrrrr! Over a crossing, down a pavement, through a main road, across the back of a pensioner that another scooter has just knocked over – wheeeee! I swear, I once saw someone on an electric scooter veer diagonally from a pavement, across a road, onto the other pavement, into a shop and stay on his scooter the whole time. “Mate!” I wanted to shout, “ T h ey ’r e n o t hovershoes! At least when cycling you have the small hope it’s the bike that’ll take the brunt if a car decides to career into your path, leaving you deposited on the bonnet. With a scooter? Good luck: the traffic is essentially playing a game of meat-bag whack-a-mole with the suckers. Still, silver lining and all that.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: there’s a big difference between micro-scooters and electric scooters. Everything about micro-scooters – from their foldability and the fact that they’re foot-powered to those stupidly tiny wheels – makes them ridiculous. And that’s before you get to the fact that micro-scooters, once the preserve of Nineties toddlers and noughties tweens, have more recently been adopted by a certain facet of the adult population. I mean, no crowded Tube carriage can be that bad... The nippy little electric scooters that have recently taken over the streets of Paris, on the other hand, are, in my opinion, the diametric opposites to their micro cousins. Nippy, economical and surprisingly chic, Paris’ new scooters are to the French capital’s transport infrastructure what micro-scooters are not to anyone’s social standing. On a recent work trip to the French capital I decided to give up on my car and driver in favour of short, whizzy trips on these rent-by-theminute scooters, which can be found on any street corner from the Marais to the Trocadéro and picked up and dropped down at leisure. Weaving through traffic at a cool 12mph (speeds have been capped following a number of accidents), I felt like Marty McFly on his hoverboard, only cooler (and perhaps slightly less protected from angry French drivers), free from societal constraints and open to anything – Serge Gainsbourg on a scooter, if you will. There are currently 20,000 scooters in Paris and though there are issues – inconsiderate parking, pavement mounting, reckless scooting – the overriding benefits for not only individuals but for the city as a whole are manifold. From the positive impact on the environment (fewer fossil fuel-guzzling vehicles on le roads will never be a bad thing) to the fact that less cars means fewer traffic accidents, in my opinion the fact that we don’t have more of them in London is ridicule indeed.



Two very small, electrically powered wheels are dividing opinion on both sides of the Channel...

Photographs Terry O’Neill/Getty Images; Getty Images; Jamil GS

Teo van den Broeke is FOR le scooter

Stuart McGurk is AGAINST le scooter


House Rules Rules G House

UP Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff

Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls, indeed.


The new joint from Corbin & King. Go. And then go again.

Trapstar The only leisure logo worth reppin’.

Ella Balinska

Daughter of television chef Lorraine Pascale, soon to be seen in the Charlie’s Angels reboot and the lit-est new face in town.


Leave Supreme to the kidults. This is streetwear for the jet set.


Bastard child of Avril Lavigne and Busted? Whatever. We dig you, bro.

BAROMETER Afterparties

For assistants only.

Facetune 2

Selfie-editing app that irons the life out of your face. Resist.

Celery juice

If this is life, we don’t want any part of it.


When will brands STOP TRYING to make

And why going hypebeast is a must if you do plan on hitting the greens

Story by Jonathan Heaf

I remember, years ago, meeting Justin Timberlake in what Chuck Klosterman would describe as an “unnecessarily expensive” London hotel. (The bath robes were as soft as freshly beaten egg whites – I checked – and their turn-down service, I was told, involved a lightly seared wagyu beef patty held gently between a perfectly toasted brioche bun.) I was a smartarse young gunslinger back then – no giggling at the back – and after our chat I enquired what JT was up to post-UK media commitments. Timberlake smiled, tapped the heel of his high-tops against the teal carpet, made the universal mime for thwacking a ball and said, “I’m off to play golf. You swing?” I what? I’ve always felt bad about how loudly I guffawed after hearing he was off for an afternoon of putting, although I could have sworn he was pulling my leg. Apparently not. The next thing Trousersnake said was “We’re done here,” to his publicist, before promptly moonwalking out of the door. Golf? Golf? WTF? And WTAF? Cool pop stars who have made the leap from the centre of the kiddie Disney sing-song universe to being bona fide sex symbols via an edgy fashion shoot or two and an album of Pharrell Williams bangers should not be playing golf. Golf should be kryptonite to anyone whose career rests on appealing to the young and the near-trendy, partly as it’s a game for the over-

Sean Connery + Justin Timberlake ÷ golf garms = still no

sixties only and partly because of the attire one is required to wear. The usual garbs include polo shirts, slacks (that’s an Americanism for horrible, ill-fitting chinos made of stiff cotton), white socks and a baseball cap. Of course, brands such as J Lindeberg have been trying to up golf’s street cred for years – remember post-Loaded lad mag Golf Punk? – although even when decked out in the sport’s latest high-tech athleisurewear the player still resembles a cocktail waiter on a cruise ship. Today, however, companies such as Malbon Golf are taking a different route: don’t design clothing for golfers to golf in, design clothing for skaters to golf in. Trainers with leopard-print details, baggy hypebeast-friendly sweaters that come in dusty pinks and pastel yellows; even their caps come with a “Player” logo designed to look like “Slayer”, the American thrash metal band. If a bricks-andmortar location still means something you can find the Malbon store on Fairfax Avenue, LA, just up the road from... Supreme. So, is the old white dude’s favourite pastime finally getting its flex on? Probably not. But we applaud the persistence. Nice style birdie, Malbon. malbongolf.com

Malbon don’t design clothing for golfers, but for skaters to golf in

Getting your friends to pay for your birthday dinner

They showed up. They sang. You pay. Capisce?

Putting ice in your rosé at lunch

Shoes by Nike, £105. At malbongolf.com

There’s basic... and then there’s this.

Nick Kyrgios

The Australian tennis bad boy is just too bratty to root for.

DOWN Sweatshirt by Malbon Golf, £78. malbongolf.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 101



*Because WHERE ELSE will you keep that BIC LIGHTER? What do people call all the bits that end up in your pockets after a night out? Or the loose ends that you find in your Barbour jacket pocket two months after Glastonbury? Festival junk? Soiree paraphernalia? It’s that sticky, icky odd collection of invaluables you’d also find at the bottom of your manbag (yes, we still use the term manbag here at House Rules; it’s perfectly acceptable because we invented the damn term) if only you’d bother to empty it. You know what we mean: two or three £1.99 Bic lighters, a bottle-opener or two (if you use one as a key fob, divorce yourself), endless coins in a variety of currencies, half a broken cigarette you ponced off the bouncer as you were leaving and a single piece of Extra (Ice White) chewing gum with hairs and biscuit crumbs stuck all over it. Wouldn’t it be great if someone started making accessories for all your night-out clutter? Well, now the supremely talented Charlotte Stockdale and her Chaos label have gone and done it, turning the humdrum – lighter cases and bottle-openers, chains and key rings – into the utterly desirable. A cigarette lighter never looked so fancy; it’s almost worth taking up the habit for... 102 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Lanyard, £135. Bottle top charm, £65. Lighter holder, £150. All by Chaos. shop.chaos.club

Photographs Allstar Pictures; Rozette Rago/ New York Times/Redux/Eyevine

Story by Jonathan Heaf Photograph by David Lineton


G House Rules

From left: Kanye West’s Coachella merch tent, 2019; Hillsong service, 2018

GOD MERCH! Peak 2019 is...

The great American social commentator Fran Lebowitz once wrote, “Love of clothing is what I have instead of spirituality. It is personal, transcendent and deeply fulfilling.” Her preferred denomination? Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard. For today’s hypebeast, the relationship between fashion and religion is not metaphoric but literal. Fear Of God, the name of the LA streetwear label that created Kendrick Lamar’s Bruce Lee-style tracksuit for his Damn tour, is no play on words. The designer and founder, Jerry Lorenzo, regularly posts Bible scriptures on Instagram and counts Jay-Z, Justin Bieber and Kanye West as both friends and fans of his clothes. Speaking of the West connection, Carl Lentz, the pastor who baptised Justin Bieber in NBA basketballer Tyson Chandler’s bathtub, appeared in Nike Air x

Story by Alfred Tong

Fear Of God collab sneakers. Lentz, whose sermons attract 8,000 worshippers per week is one of the lead pastors of Hillsong NYC, the mega-church that counts Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, the Kardashians and basketball player Kevin Durant as members of the congregation. Lentz can be seen in one postsermon interview next to Bieber wearing a red Louis Vuitton x Supreme hoodie.

In fact, hypebeast pastors are a thing now. In order to appeal to the millennial flock, pastors at American mega-churches have ditched the suit and tie in favour of streetwear. The Instagram account @preachersnsneakers shows them dripped in the latest Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Louboutin, Supreme and Gucci. The hype outfits, which often cost thousands of dollars, caused one commenter to write, “Pass the col-

Sweatshirt by Kanye West x Cactus Plant Flea Market, £195. At grailed.com

lection plate. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.” Which brings us finally to Kanye West and his Sunday Service show at Coachella. A rapper so openly celebrating his religion may have seemed odd to us here in Europe, but when seen in the context of the hypebeast pastor scene of the US, it makes perfect sense. What’s the deal with that peculiar shade of purple of the oversized T-shirts and sweatpants he and the gospel choir were wearing? Purple is the colour of Lent. As hypebeast pastors have shown, religion is big business in America. In April, Pharrell performed at the Something In The Water festival alongside Jay-Z and Diddy in a Sunday Service sweatshirt with “Holy Spirit” emblazoned across the front. The religious merch was also available to buy at Coachella. It’s official: hype is now God’s work.

GOOD NAILS are the business cards of the body (you filthy animal)

The claws are out for men of mani talents

Mark Powell, diamond geezer par excellence and Soho-based tailor to all manner of famous and infamous men, including Ronnie Kray, Bryan Ferry and Bradley Wiggins, once told me during an interview, “I’m the type of geezer to knock someone out and get a manicure.” I’ve always known that men who get manicures are dangerous. At school in North East London, it was the “top boys”, those with close connections to football firms and drug dealers who got their hair cut and nails manicured every Friday in preparation for a weekend of sex, shopping, clubbing and fighting. Men don’t yet have many gender-specific nail bars, but spas offer great unisex options: the 60-minute Prescription Manicure at the Jessica Nail Studio at Corinthia Hotel London is pretty much bulletproof, even for budding Wolverines. A product to try at home is the Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum from Margaret Dabbs (right, £12). It’s been said that hands are the business cards of the body. Who in their right mind will award a contract or promotion to someone with skanky fingernails? After all, claws are for animals – animals and drug addicts. AT SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 103



G House Rules


Nick Foulkes

manssentials With

(Because who doesn’t need, well, everything?)

This month: Patek Philippe Ref 2499 Last year, GQ’s resident Ernest Hemingway in skinny jeans and editor of House Rules, Jonathan Heaf, went to interview Johnny Depp. He was attended by a pair of PR executives/crisis managers from a firm called Hawthorn. These were not the bubbly fashionistas or epicene androgynes with whom I sometimes interact at the coalface of the luxury industry. No, this duo of spin doctors was described as if they had just stepped out of a streamed TV drama about, well, crisis management. Heaf’s prose analysed their look as “route-one Mayfair hedgie on an off-site: crisp, pale-blue shirts (tucked in), narrow but not-too-skinny indigo jeans, a woven belt at the hips and a vintage Rolex on the wrist”. I may have started my working life in the wine trade rather than finance, but the lure of the vintage Rolex was strong even back in 1986: as soon as I had ripped open my first pay packet, I headed to Christie’s South Kensington (RIP) and bought a Sixties Datejust. If only I had demonstrated less impetuosity and waited until I had saved more money I could have picked up a Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona for a fourfigure sum. Things have moved on since then: among the many things we did not have in the Eighties was the hedge fund community. Now, the vintage Rolex Daytona has become the hedge funder timepiece par excellence and when, in 2017, Paul Newman’s 1968 Rolex Daytona sold for £14 million they must have been fistbumping all across Mayfair as

A watch for all time: the second series Patek Philippe 2499

they congratulated themselves on their horological savvy. I love vintage Rolexes as much as the next man – and when it comes to such masterpieces as the GMT and the King Midas, rather more than the next man. But if I could own any Rolex chronograph – money/value playing no part in my choice – it would not be vintage, but a current production model, the “Seddiqi Special”. It is a platinum Daytona with Arabic indices made for the celebrated Dubai-based retailer Ahmed Seddiqi, proprietor of the largest Rolex shop in the world. The Seddiqi Special is one of the most chic of contemporary Rolexes, a

cult just waiting to happen and not (yet) on hedgie radar. Alternatively you can go hypervintage. According to John Reardon, Christie’s international head of watches, the big business today in vintage is private treaty sales of the Patek Philippe Ref 2499, an elite club with a joining fee that can run to millions: at any one time there are only 349 members worldwide. Last time I bumped into Reardon it was in the cigar lounge of t h e L a R é s e r ve i n Geneva, where he was ce l e b ra t i n g h av i n g put together a 2499 deal in the region of £1.5m: as horological regions go, this is Belgravia. The 2499 is quintessential Patek: a classic example of the hand-wound perpetual calendar moonphase chronograph. It is important for several reasons. First you have to know what you are looking at: the 2499 is not a watch easily identified at 25 metres. Second, it is a good size, neither cuff shredder nor aspirin tablet, it is a highly wearable 37-38mm depending on the series (see below). Third, Patek ”owns” the perpetual moonphase chrono combo, as it was the first brand to make it as a series production watch in the Forties (the 1518), and in the years since the 2499 took retirement, the combination has remained at the heart of the

As far as horological regions go, this is Belgravia

brand: viz, the long-running 3970, the cult 5970 and today’s 5270. The 2499 remained in production for an epic length of time, from 1950 until 1985. Such a long run that, rather like supergroups whose members leave/die and are replaced, there were four separate series of 2499. There is, of course, so much to the 2499 that it would take a book to do it justice, but the Manssentials crib sheet is as follows: Fifties First series: square chronograph pushers, applied numeral hour markers, tachymeter scale. Second series: round chronograph pushers, applied numerals or batons, tachymeter scale. Sixties and Seventies Third series: round pushers, applied baton hour markers, simplified dial design (the tachymeter scale was removed). Late Seventies to 1985 Fourth series: similar to the third series but with sapphire crystal glass (distinguished by reference number 2499/100). And yet, in all that time only 349 were made. That means it is rare enough to be sought after, but just sufficiently numerous for there to be a market and at the moment that market is going gangbusters. A 2499 is the sort of thing that every serious (and seriously rich) watch collector should own at some time or another. They come to market relatively rarely and when they do, exceptional examples can fetch north of £3m. Last year Sotheby’s sold a double-signed 2499 (originally sold by Asprey) for £3m, while at Christie’s a 2499, again double signed, this time by Serpico Y Laino, fetched £2.6m. In other words, Heaf’s minders are going to need to manage some pretty lucrative crises. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 105


Three ways to wear... white jeans à la Jeff Goldblum Story by Jonathan Heaf Illustrations by Kasiq Jungwoo

Elvis has left the building. Enter, wedding singer to the Med’s neo-aristocrats Alessandro Ristori

1. Master of surprise

Say ‘Amore!’ to high fashion’s CROONER-IN-CHIEF Story by Nick Foulkes

Italy is undergoing a cultural renaissance right now. OK, maybe not exactly along the Michelangelo/Leonardo lines of Renaissance 1.0, more a lightly ironic surge of popular culture spearheaded by men such as Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and king of the wedding singers Alessandro Ristori. If you are a regular on the Monte Carlo/Costa Smeralda/Forte Dei Marmi circuit, then you will know Ristori very well. But on the off-chance you were unable to make Charlotte Casiraghi’s wedding in the sprawling palace of the Grimaldis in Monaco, where Ristori supplied what Shakespeare called the food of love, he is the crooner-in-chief of the Italian and French Rivieras. The story of Ristori, who’s 40 years old and a native of Faenza, follows a narrative arc with which aficionados of The X Factor will be familiar. He was marked for greatness by a teacher who appreciated the infant Ristori’s thespian gifts. By the age of 16 he was a rockabilly musician, but after a decade he realised that the life of an Italian performance artist with a 90 per cent rockabilly repertoire was never going to be a lucrative one and in 2005 he made the decision to change: “We became more popular, more mainstream, more… Las Vegas.” It has allowed him to make the most of gifts as an entertainer and, backed by his band, The Portofinos, he has captured the imaginations of Italy’s industrialists (the Berettas are big fans); fashion moguls (Kering’s 106 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Marco Bizzarri is a devotee and dresses Ristori in Gucci); impresarios (he plays Flavio Briatore’s clubs all summer); and of course the Med’s reigning dynasties (he is proud to count Prince “Alberto” of Monaco as a friend and fan). Shirt open to the navel, Cuban heels fully stacked, flared trousers slung seductively low on his hips, microphone cable wielded like a lasso, he cavorts, spins, perspires, gyrates and hip-thrusts his way through a set that bridges the world of easy listening – but energetic dancing – between “Nel Blu, Dipinto Di Blu” (Italy’s 1958 Eurovision entry, also known as “Volare”) and late-Vegas Elvis. His particular area of interest is “early Italian rock and roll, which was first heard at the Sanremo Music Festival 1961”. Ristori evokes an Italy that is part Dolce Vita, part Dean Martin, reinterpreting the great Italian songbook with fun-loving panache that unites all generations on the dance floor. And he is in demand. I recently chased him on the phone from Italy to Switzerland to Monaco over a 20-hour period. He now teeters on the brink of international stardom: he played the closing of the Sochi Film Festival, just one of what he reckons is 200 engagements this year. But if you have a hotel to open in Gstaad or a jewellery line to promote in London, he will try to fit you in and he is very discreet: “Politician, actors… sometimes we do parties for important people.” He just doesn’t always know who they are. “I don’t want to ask too much,” he says, adding by way of explanation, “I am an artist.”

2. The outer limits

Jeff has one of the best jacket collections outside Italy. See how he combines skinny white jeans with a black leather car coat? Only two people can do such a thing: Jeff and Jeff’s reflection.

3. Strokes of genius

Those atomically bright Prada shirts are beautiful. Like an artist with a fresh canvas, Jeff sets them off with ice-white jeans. [That’s enough Jeff – Ed.]

Photographs Getty Images; Horst P Horst/Getty Images; Instagram/@alessandroristori.official

Alessandro ristori

Jeff likes to tip convention on its head. See how he’s wearing autumn clothing here, but in a summer palette? He took the red pill years ago: your move, Neo.



G House Rules

(Or how to make people hate your holiday Insta posts even more) Story by Tom Stubbs

“Colored cottons hang in air, charming cobras in the square, striped Djellebas we can wear at home,” sang Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969’s “Marrakesh Express”. Spot on about the alternative garms as well as the lifestyle choice, fellas. I am totally channelling this CS&N mood while packing for August high-summer holidays, fed up with basic resort gear, feeling a tangible disconnect between pristine, overtly Western vacation garb. Instead, rustic, crafty and ethnically diverse garments seem correct. Neatly pressed shorts, bright block colours and mannered polos seem desperately at odds with elemental environments, their peoples and, indeed, spiritual enlightenment – right, man? Witness Marrakshi Life, a significant part of what I’m calling “alternative artisan resort”, which takes traditional Moroccan dress combined with contemporary nuance in wickedly chic local fabrics. Gorgeous handloomed cotton and linen blends makes this stuff a real style coup. Roomy shorts and loose

Yves Saint Laurent keeps kaftan cool in his Marrakesh ‘sahn’

Kaftan by Arjé, £225. matchesfashion.com

Kaftan by Marrakshi Life, £292. marrakshilife.com

singlet combos I packed for Sardinia come in textured terracotta and deep blue stripes, or stone vibrantly striped w i t h h a n d - dye d r e d , yellow and sky blue. Such achingly authentic cloths are cut and sewn in the brand’s own atelier, including wide-pleated Palazzo pants, long dishdasha-style shirts (with “handkerchief” hems) and even – wait for it – a jumpsuit. The whole fusion concept was dreamt up by NYC photographer Randall Bachner, himself now

‘I took to wearing my kaftan post swim and pre PJs’

a resident in the country that has so inspired him. Marrakshi Life’s pièce de résistance is, quite naturally, a kaftan – something I took to wearing post swim and pre PJs. If you’re doing it right – and in that kind of company – a kaftan should be worn without any undergarments. The breeze should waft about you, much like that time you tried throwing logs in Scotland and wore a friend’s kilt. Nothing gets the heart pumping harder than realising you’ve been manspreading in an open kaftan in front of locals for the past hour. How louche. One feels that kaftan-wearing antihero Yves Saint Laurent would approve. If in doubt, channel your inner Lawrence Of Arabia as the club secretary teased him over his behaviour: “I say, Lawrence. You are a clown!” His retort sits perfectly with this trend: “We can’t all be lion tamers.” SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 107



G House Rules

MULLET CAPER (Because your nice, trim little fade is about as fashionable as Love Island...) Story by Tom Stubbs

Alex White

Woody Harrelson David Bowie New/old hair klaxon: I’ve got a mullet (again). And I’m not scared of using it. “How?” or “Why?” you ask. Well, I grew long feathery bits down my neck, then fancied short sides with no sideburns. I left what covered the crown and the fringe. The result was instant: my barnet was delivered directly to high mullet status. It has given me a fresh lease of style, a certain dangerous attitude and an edge so wrong it’s (almost) right. For clarity, a mullet is a layered haircut with a longer back than mid-section, yet with myriad variations. One thing it will never be, however, is route one cool. Yet I’m thrilled with the outcome and also the reaction. Mullets always were provocative, abrasive haircuts – and taking little skill to execute they were inherently DIY, thus channelling Swampy-style ecowarrior sensibilities. The mullet has always been seen as an icon of bad style, of course, but perhaps that’s what all these pumped Love Island gym bunnies need to catch an edge Pat Sharp

Photographs Allstar Collection/Warner Bros; Eyevine; Getty Images; Terry O’Neill/Getty Images

The great

nowadays. A little bit of Extinction Rebellion street riot cred? Rather than a fade combined with some big quiff energy – what every man under 25 seems to be sporting – the rabble-rousing mullet could give the very basic a style epiphany. Still, mullets have had their time at the top: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust mullet is something to savour. Despite the mullet’s amateurish failed pop star feel, however, I had difficulty on first grow: I clippered off my sidies to ear level and it became clear I wasn’t so much Aladdin Sane as Chuckle Brother. Without the youthful side panels young men boast, my mullet was prereceded, almost back to the ears. With current long double-breasted jacket flex I now resemble one of Duran Duran. Of course, the real trick here is this: never take a mullet too seriously. Nothing is as disarming as laughing at yourself before the crowd do.

Kill all hippies! (Again) Designer brands of all persuasions have taken a hit of the tie-dye mega bong and their trippily patterned garments are a swirly status signal for today’s discerning haute bohemian Excuse me while I take a hit of my Beboe sativa vaporiser. [Inhales] Duuuuuuuude, it’s, like, so true [exhales]: tie-dye has gone all designer and hype. What was once the preserve of dodgy stalls in Camden Market is now the height of designer fashion. And, no, that’s not the THC talking. Balenciaga, Prada, Valentino, Berluti and Ralph Lauren now offer all manner of tie-dye garments. And where there’s hype, hip hop cannot be far away (viz A$AP Rocky, left). The trend for hypebeast designer tie-dye is just the latest example of counterculture commodification. It’s all around us. No one buys a ten-bag of weed any more – they want to smoke exotic, expensively cultivated strains from their Ignite vaporiser. So it is that designer tie-dye is just the thing for haute bohemian management consultants and dotcom entrepreneurs to wear in a helicopter as it hovers over the summer festival glamping facilities they’ll be enjoying later. Just don’t call it selling out, man. Now, who’s for blowbacks in the pub car park? AT SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 109


Explore the wide world of videos at GQ.co.uk

New rules of fatherhood

Dustin Lance Black and Tom Daley reveal what they wish they’d known about being a parent.

James Corden’s AMA (ask me anything) We focus our quick-fire questions on this month’s all-singing, some-dancing cover star.

Mark Ronson x Miley Cyrus

The GQ Hype cover star on crashing the internet with the video for “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart”.

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GQ personal trainer Bradley Simmonds hosts our step-by-step videos to re-up your workout.

Jake Gyllenhaal vs the web Rewatch: Gwendoline Christie

The actor on how Game Of Thrones made her question what it means to be a woman.

The Spider-Man: Far From Home star on his love for Tom Holland (and London).


G House Rules Texan designer’s Sea Island cotton styles with a natty thick waistband. At the less expensive end of the fashion pool, you’d be wise to head to Milanese brand Altea or British tailoring house Thom Sweeney. At both you’ll find serviceable yet elegant polos that will see you through from beach bar to, well, beach bar.

Note: a ‘casual’ wedding does not mean trainers – use your loafers

Style Shrink

Illustration Joe McKendry


Teo van den Broeke

A simple one for you this month: polo shirts. I usually just buy whatever’s hanging on the rail in my local supermarket – as I rarely have an opportunity to wear one in this country – but this summer, particularly following the heatwave we had last year, I want to invest in something that I’ll actually take pleasure in putting on. Do you have any advice with regards to the best styles or brands to go for? Tim, Great Tew Dear Tim, Personally speaking, I’m not really a polo shirt fan. I tend to find most variations on the shape restrictive in the sleeve area, too short in the body and the collar never seems able to maintain its shape. Also, being a tall, slightly “hippy” man, I tend to feel like a telegraph pole topped with a barrel when

I wear one. There are, however, a number of brands that present highly wearable exceptions to the aforementioned rules. For daytime, I would opt for either Ralph Lauren or Sunspel. There’s a reason the former is world-renowned as the pre-eminent polo shirt manufacturer. The pique fabric is great for warmer climes and the slightly longer back panel is flattering on, well, “hippier” frames. That said, the colours tend to fade quite fast in the sun, meaning they’re better for informal scenarios. Sunspel’s polo shirts are devoid of branding and ultralightweight, meaning they’re incredibly easy-wearing in the heat and they look extra elegant. For the evening, I would opt for something knitted, preferably in a merino wool-silk mix with a slightly larger, floppier collar. If you’ve got money to burn, head to Tom Ford and choose one of the

I’m in the market for some smart yet low-key loafers to wear with my suit to all the bloody weddings I’m going to this summer. Most of them have a casual(ish) dress code but I absolutely don’t want to wear trainers. Any suggestions? Dominic, Cambridge Dear Dominic, I hear you loud and clear on the trainer front – these are life-defining nuptials you’re attending, not a game of crazy golf. Personally speaking, I would opt for either a pair of driving shoes in suede (Tod’s or Car Shoe, ideally) or, if you want to try something different, a pair of classic Belgian loafers by Baudoin & Lange could do the trick. Entirely unlined and hand-cut from either suede or nappa leather, they’re not only stupidly comfortable, they also have a low-slung profile with an unusually shallow vamp, meaning they work better worn with a fine-gauge sock than without. The latter point is not a negative one, in my opinion, as a sock of any kind looks smarter than a big old slab of mankle peeking out from under the hem of your trouser cuff. I’m looking to minimise my clothing expenditure and to buy into brands with more of a sustainable footprint than most. Can you tell me where to start? Shaun, Bruton Dear Shaun, Sustainability is a hot topic in fashion circles, so I’m sure the more astute designers reading this will be relieved they’re on the right track. If, like our friend Tim, you’re in the market for a polo shirt, you could do worse than invest in one of Ralph Lauren’s Earth polos, each of which is made from up to 12 plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. Likewise, anything you buy from American outerwear brand Patagonia (which is super-hot right now, among the streetwear crowd in particular) will be made from recycled materials, while British designer Christopher Raeburn is leading the homegrown pack with his Ræmade collection of recycled clothes, many of which are reconstructed from old, disused garments. G SEND YOUR MENSWEAR-RELATED STYLE QUESTIONS TO STYLESHRINK@CONDENAST.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 111



Cars Edited by

Paul Henderson

In with a (silver) bullet Story by

Jason Barlow

Uncommonly beautiful, all-electric and packing four-figure horsepower, the Lotus Evija repositions the resurgent marque in the lineage of world-leading British craftsmanship




here is a new Lotus position. There have been many since the visionary, mercurial Colin Chapman built his first car in a garage in 1948. “Simplify, then add lightness” was his most celebrated maxim, a policy espoused on 1962’s epochal Lotus 25, whose “fully stressed” monocoque chassis made it the template for all Formula One racing cars thereafter. Chapman was one of the English garagistes derided by Enzo Ferrari, but he could play the Old Man at his own game and his name and engineering retain a powerful brand equity in 2019. The company’s new majority shareholder, Chinese behemoth Geely, will be hoping to leverage that immutability and the company’s emotional pull as it sinks billions into Lotus’ latest turnaround plan. The new boss is Phil Popham, a former Jaguar Land Rover board director and recent CEO of Sunseeker, lured back into the automotive firestorm armed with a ten-year product master plan for a British sports car company that should be selling rather more than 1,600 cars per year. “There is a real passion and desire for the brand,” he tells GQ. “Awareness is high, whether it’s via Bond movies, Colin Chapman’s legacy or F1. Lotus means different things to different people, but familiarity with what we do today is fairly low. People who have visited us here before ask if this is another false dawn, but the new hypercar is a huge statement of intent. It’s low volume, yes, but it’s extremely hightech. It showcases what Lotus can do and it isn’t a cheap programme.” It’s called Evija, which loosely translated means “the first in existence”. It’s a cool name and follows the company’s established nomenclature (Elite, Esprit, Elise et al), but as a mega-horsepower, pure electric car it’s also the latest entry in the new performance car paradigm. Like Pininfarina’s lovely Battista or the Rimac Automobili C Two, the Evija’s power output is almost

The Evija achieves a form that’s akin to a Barbara Hepworth sculpture Need to know Lotus Evija Powertrain Around 1,960bhp pure electric all-wheel drive Performance 0-62mph, less than 3 secs; top speed, more than 200mph Production run No more than 130 Price Around £2 million Contact lotuscars.com

but not quite 2,000bhp, an absurd figure that’s made possible by the torque vectoring possibilities of a motor on each wheel and the energy generated by an enormous bank of batteries. The powertrain is being codeveloped by Williams Advanced Engineering, so it’s blue chip. It’s also uncommonly beautiful. Lotus is rarely given the credit it deserves for its visual daring, but in the Evija the team has pushed the boundaries to create something that balances showbiz spectacle with classical proportion. It’s made entirely of carbon fibre, which helps promote chassis integrity while minimising weight, but also gives the designers room to manoeuvre. With a cabin set well within its bodywork, there are references to classic endurance racers, there’s a race-bred inboard suspension and an intriguingly sculptural surface language. Given its performance potential, its aerodynamics have been finessed using F1-standard CFD (computational fluid dynamics, since you ask), the air flowing not just over and around it, but also through it. The Evija’s rear is especially striking, achieving a form that’s akin to a Barbara Hepworth sculpture. Not an analogy you make every day. Lotus chief designer Russell Carr is also having fun with the interior. “We machine into the carbon fibre fractions of a millimetre, inlay metal and lacquer over the top. It’s 21st-century marquetry and positions us in the lineage of British craftsmanship. The Evija sits at that junction where motorsport and aerospace meets Savile Row.”

The Evija is made of carbon fibre and references classic endurance racers




Lean on me (if you dare) The Hypermotard 950 SP pitches another wild, adrenaline-fuelled ride from Ducati

s it a dirt bike? Is it a sport bike? Is it an adventure bike? Er, no, because it is too big, too heavy and too tarmac-centric to fit any of those descriptions. Forget about long motorway runs, daily stop-start commutes or off-road trail riding: this is not the bike for you. And if you are looking for comfort, you best look elsewhere. So, what exactly is the Ducati Hypermotard for? The answer is simple: it’s for having the most fun on two wheels... ever. Superfast, ultra-responsive, slippy, slidey and scary, this is the bike the person who taught you to ride warned you about. But in a very good way. For a start, it looks great. Then there’s its

I This is the bike the person who taught you to ride warned you about

stance, which is high and upright but perfect for shifting your weight around. The power is delivered in a ferocious flash and the brakes will stop you almost as quickly. And it is as agile as a Russian gymnast. It also comes with all kinds of electronica, including three ride settings – “sport”, “touring” and “urban” – plus “wheelie control” if you want it (which you will... sometimes). In summary then, the Hypermotard is hypersensitive, hyperactive and hyperaggressive. It will also leave you hyperventilating and possibly fire you into hyperspace. For once, you really should believe the hyper. PH

Ducati’s Hypermotard 950 SP offers a choice of three ride settings plus ‘wheelie control’

£14,295. ducati.com

+ What to wear... Ducati Downtown C1 jacket and City C2 gloves Because every road-owning Hypermotard needs the apparel to match

This classic full-grain buffalo leather biker jacket, with shoulder and elbow protectors as standard (plus a pocket for a back protector), was produced by motorcycle specialists Alpinestars exclusively for Ducati. Which means it delivers fashion, form and function in equal measure. The City C2 gloves were designed for urban summer riding and are cool, comfortable and reinforced with lightweight Clarino leather. PH Jacket, £399. Gloves, £75. shop.ducati.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 115



Your own Ferrari... literally Got more money than God? Put Maranello’s design and engineering nous to work on a one-of-a-kind car of your dreams Story by Jason


ny Ferrari signals an ascension to a higher form of automotive ownership. But the company’s Special Projects division is as elevated as Maranello gets: you don’t get to buy your own Ferrari, you get invited to create it. This is a 21st-century reboot of Italy’s carrozzeria coachbuilding tradition, in which artisanal car firms reworked bodies into flamboyantly personal expressions of gentlemanly taste. Owning something no one else has is a signature of 2019’s luxury world and Ferrari is happy to oblige, with mixed results. But the P80/C is spectacular, not least because it’s believed to be the first of the 30-odd SP cars to use a racing car as its basis. Its owner is Hong Kongbased entrepreneur TK Mak, whose interests include Blackbird Automotive, Ferrari’s official dealer in the territory, and the car is a love letter to Ferrari’s best-loved endurance racers. In particular the 330 P3/4 that saw the Italians avenge defeat at the hands of Ford’s upstart GT40 at Le Mans in 1966 by winning the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours. As Mak explains, “To survive, you had to win and the result was some of the most beautiful racing cars ever made. For P80/C, the goal was to re-create the feeling of that era – of aesthetics meeting engineering, of equal parts beauty and performance. This was a way to project my vision of a design language for Ferrari, a brand that lies very close to my heart.”

He’s also crazy enough to let me drive the result, becoming only the third person in the world to do so and the first not employed by Ferrari, and around the Italian GP venue, Monza, no less. The engine is the 3.9litre, twin turbo V8, with modified, lightweight internals and an Inconel exhaust, almost identical to the car that took class honours in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance earlier this year. The racing regs limit power to around 600bhp, but the P80/C is running a more aggressive engine map so it’s closer to 700bhp. Like all serious competition cars, getting into it means negotiating a roll cage and making peace with a purpose-built race seat. Then you’re effectively hard-wired into the machine. The digital display monitors the engine’s vital signs hyperactively. The central console is a vertical carbon fibre stack based on the 488 GT3’s, though the air con issues a civilised blast of chilled air through a huge vent. The steering wheel is lozenge-shaped, with dials for fuel mode and engine map and switches to adjust traction control. It’s all business. The transmission is the ubiquitous sixspeed unit from Xtrac. Engage first, release the weighty clutch pedal and the car instantly strains, all muscle and sinew, but it’s much less truculent than I’d expected. It’s also not as manically fast as the latest breed of hypercar, but then it has a different job: to be utterly fit for purpose and dissect a circuit with scalpelwielding precision. I’ve had close calls with racing cars in the past, so I stay well away from Monza’s sadistic sausage kerbs and rumble strips and consequently ask little of the aerodynamic or mechanical grip. Nevertheless, it’s an extraordinarily vivid experience. Although the innermost workings of the client/Ferrari Centro Stile relationship remain confidential, Mak casts some light on it: “We sat down with Flavio [Manzoni, senior vice president of design] and the team and carefully described the car’s raison d’être. It was very important to me they understood why we wanted to build this car,” he explains. “It wasn’t for vanity nor was it a chance for us to dictate to them what to do. This was an opportunity for us to make something truly special that we can all be proud of for years to come.” G

It’s a love letter to Ferrari’s best-loved endurance racers



Need to know Ferrari P80/C Engine 710bhp 3.9-litre, twin turbo V8 Performance 0-60mph 2.7 secs; top speed, 211mph Price Undisclosed but likely around £5 million Contact ferrari.com

Entrepreneur TK Mak commissioned Ferrari to design and build him the one-off P80/C




“I’ve been taking Wellman since my twenties to support my health and hectic lifestyle.”

David Gandy

VITAMINS 29 nutrients

Made in Britain From Boots, Superdrug, supermarkets, Holland & Barrett, health stores, pharmacies *UK’s No1 men’s supplement brand. Nielsen GB ScanTrack Total Coverage Unit Sales 52 w/e 18 May 2019. To verify please contact no1support@vitabiotics.com.



Edited by

Bill Prince & Paul Henderson

GQ Taste Celebrating the art of comestible luxury one mouthful at a time

+ The Laughing Heart, where the wine list is textbook and the menu an education p.121 Anthony Bourdain Remembered by friends, fans and family p.123 Above: At new London trattoria Circolo Popolare, ‘If it’s too big, it’s not big enough’ – p.120


The Recipe

Crab pasta by Salvatore Moscato from Circolo Popolare (Serves four)

Step one: The bisque Ingredients 80ml oil 300g crab meat 40g tomato paste concentrate 600g ice

The Restaurant

Circolo Popolare, London Shoreditch ‘It’ trat Gloria too small fry? Meet its Fitzrovia follow-up


are serious about food, but not serious about ourselves.”) Big Mamma Group’s new restaurant, Circolo Popolare, is certainly well-endowed. With 280 covers, plus space for another 60 on the outdoor terrace, it measures 835 square metres and is every bit as flamboyant as Gloria. The interior features more than 20,000 bottles on the shelves, beautiful lighting and forests of foliage. Almost all of the staff are Italian, the food is affordable, filling and delicious and the vibe is something like a Summer wedding in Sicily. “We want people to fall in love with us and have a great time,” Lugger explains. “At the moment, things are going great and we feel we can do anything, but it’s because we think carefully about every detail, work hard and have fun with everything. If we aren’t having fun, how can we expect our guests to?” And if you don’t have fun at Circolo Popolare, you won’t have fun anywhere. PH

Step two: The crab meat Ingredients 80ml olive oil 320g white crab meat 60ml Cognac Method Heat the olive oil in a separate pan

and add the white crab meat. When it’s piping hot, add the Cognac. Flambé for 2-3 seconds, take off the hob and set aside.

Step three: Finish the sauce Ingredients 150ml olive oil 25g garlic 15g fresh chilli pepper 320ml bisque (from step one) 160ml hot water

olive oil with the garlic and fresh chilli pepper. When this is hot, add 320ml of the bisque. Add the hot water. Keep on the hob for 1 minute.

Method In a pan, heat up the

Step four: Assemble the dish Ingredients 400g fresh pasta Up to 10g bottarga di muggine

● 40-41 Rathbone Place, London W1. bigmammagroup.com

Method Boil the pasta until al dente. When the pasta is

ready, drain and place in a serving dish. Grate bottarga di muggine to taste. Add the bisque and toss with the pasta. Then take the white crab meat, spread on the pasta and serve.

Illustration Joe McKendry Photograph Pixeleyes

Back in February, a funloving French company opened an outrageously over-the-top Italian trattoria in East London’s trendy Shoreditch. An explosion of Capri-inspired colour, chaos and charm, Gloria was the ultimate antidote to the doom and gloom of Brexit Britain, where every day felt like la dolce vita. It was Instafabulous with bells on. So how do you top the most exciting and extravagant restaurant opening of the year? According to one of the cofounders of the Big Mamma Group, Victor Lugger, it’s easy: you’ve got to go large, be bigger, brasher and even more OTT. “Let me tell you something,” the 34-year-old says mischievously. “One of our mottos is: if it’s too big, it’s not big enough. And we think that anyone who tells you that size doesn’t matter probably has a small dick.” (You won’t be surprised to hear that another of his group’s mottos is: “We

Method Pour the oil into a pan and once hot take the brown meat and legs off a whole crab (it should end up weighing around

300g) and fry until it changes colour. Add the tomato paste concentrate and stir. Then add three batches of ice, 200g at a time, waiting until each batch melts before adding the next portion. When the bisque (sauce) thickens up, take it off the hob, strain and set aside.


TASTE The Roundup

+ Club class Upgrade to these new-wave members-only venues The Court

24 Mayfair

Home Grown

9 Kingly Street, London W1. thecourt.co.uk

24 Hertford Street, London W1. 24mayfair.co.uk

44 Great Cumberland Place, London W1. homegrownclub.co.uk

The setup: Entrepreneur Harry Mead has united two hospitality heavyweights – bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana and chef Tom Sellers – in this slick, speakeasystyle club, where live music and cabaret take centre stage.

The setup: From the plush elegance of the violet and gold interiors to the luxe glamour of the Maria Grachvogel-designed staff uniforms, this is vintage Hollywood on Park Lane – and it’s open 24 hours a day.

Eat this: The elegant British fare changes often, but look out for the 45-day-aged Lake District sirloin, served with a buttery potato terrine (£25).

Eat this: Head up to the firstfloor restaurant and choose between a modern Japanese menu or a “world cuisine” list. It explores southern Asia, the Middle East, Malaysia and Thailand, with dishes including a yellow stone bass curry (£24).

The setup: Created by Home House specifically for high-flying entrepreneurs/investors, Home Grown straddles four Georgian townhouses. Interiors by Russell Sage pop with jewel colours and a business-led events programme includes networking suppers.

The Bar

The Laughing Heart, London A bistronomic Hoxton hotspot with fare as fine as the wine

Once in a blue moon, you come across a neighbourhood joint so lovely that for a moment you actually consider moving, if only to indulge the dream of making it your local. An evening at The Laughing Heart, a wine bar tucked between a blind suppliers and a luggage shop on an unassuming street in Hoxton, East London, is this exact fantasy fuel. The brainchild of Charlie Mellor, with former Great British Menu star Tom Anglesea in the kitchen, this little spot is sophisticated but homely, elevated but easy. The two-floor space is all exposed brick, wooden furniture and dim lighting, with an L-shaped bar up front (downstairs, you’ll find a private dining room and cellar). Candles flicker from every surface, illuminating the contented faces of trendy groups of friends, welldressed couples and even families (albeit, we should say, with grown-up children). Sure, it’s very “East London”, but everyone will feel right at home. The vibe is reminiscent of a chic French bistro, with an open kitchen and giant, altar-like winecooling island – complete with suspended glasses above – that takes centre stage. And it’s a good job the bottles are treated with such reverence, too, because the wine list is 15 (A4!) pages long. Split into colours, then regions, with a section for “outlying friends” (think natural wines from Greece or a California riesling), it reads like a litany to Bacchus himself. Even the bar’s go-to white, a biodynamic Pierre Frick pinot gris from Alsace, is outstanding. The food, of course, is just as special. Succulent Norfolk black chicken that comes surrounded by sourdough sauce and under sheets of crisp, salty skin is a particular highlight; Anglesea’s GBM finals calling card, a picture-perfect scallops dish, also makes an appearance. Most notable of all, however, is the service. On point and yet unobtrusive, the team here have nailed that elusive sweet spot, of which the French would be most impressed. Kathleen Johnston

● 277 Hackney Road, London E2. 020 7686 9535. thelaughingheartlondon.com

Drink that: There’s a secret menu for those in the know. Ask for the Handshake (£20) and you’ll be delivered a delicious take on an Old Fashioned: Caol Ila 15year-old Unpeated, maple syrup and a trio of bitters. A spray of Ardbeg and pine-needle tincture lends a smoky finish.

Drink that: The light-filled ground-floor bar was created to linger in; do it over a Golden Martini (£18), made with 24-carat gold leaf, Grey Goose vodka, elderflower and Sauternes.

Eat this: Executive chef Dan Loftin revamped the menu this summer, giving it a strong focus on British ingredients. It evolves with the seasons, but highlights include Dexter beef tartare with Lindisfarne oysters, shallots and sea herbs (£15). Drink that: Meet in the Unicorn Bar for the signature A Sardinian First (£14): Tanqueray, Campari, honey grapefruit and passion fruit. Jennifer Bradly

The Bottle

Sekforde Tequila & Mezcal Mixer How do you get the most from your favourite bottle of spirits? Drink it neat, attempt some cocktail wizardry or rely on the same standard mixers that risk drowning the flavours that made you buy the whisky, rum or gin in the first place? Enter Sekforde, the brainchild of Talula White, who realised there was an unexplored world of mixing potential beyond tonic and soda. “I wanted to create mixers crafted around specific spirits,” says White. “They’re a simple way to do unique, refreshing serves with interesting and unusual flavours.” Featuring in cocktails at the likes of The Berkeley’s Blue Bar and Trailer Happiness, you can now raise your mixed drinks game at home too. We’ve fallen for the Tequila & Mezcal Mixer, which uses prickly pear, fig and cardamom and takes your favourite joven or smoky añejo from “meh” to Mexico with one pour. Amy Matthews ● From £1.45 for 200ml. At 31dover.com and Waitrose. waitrose.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 121


The Pub

The Ufford Crown, Suffolk

Clink glasses with pop and rock royalty at Decoy Studios’ local

The Hotel

The glorious playground is much more than its greens

Fun fact: Gleneagles has its very own mainline station, less than two miles from its imposing drive. But then it was once a British Rail hotel, so you win some, you lose some. Fortunately, since 2015 it’s been in the portfolio of Ennismore (hospitality entrepreneurs behind The Hoxton series), which means this legendary stop on the global golf tour is far more than mock-baronial bedrooms and wall-to-wall tartan. Instead, it’s the perfect expression of the modern, full-service destination resort: still focused on its greens, naturally, but busy amplifying myriad other attractions that should appeal to anyone who wants a few activities sprinkled throughout their stay. Beyond golf there’s – deep breath – shooting, canoeing, riding, climbing, falconry, cycling, tennis, off-roading, archery and fishing. And for the merely indolent there’s an Espa spa and health club that, judging by the continuing investment, will doubtless shortly become the best wellness centre in the country. Until then, gaze and graze at one of the great dining rooms in the land (the recently restored Strathearn offers fine Franco-Scottish dining in seriously opulent surroundings) or choose between the three other restaurants, including the late Andrew Fairlie’s two-Michelin-starred kitchen, and four bars. But on no account miss out on the breakfast buffet – a term that signally fails to do justice to the most enticing array of locally sourced and superbly presented dishes GQ has ever encountered. BP

● Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland PH3 1NF. 01764 662231. gleneagles.com Small Bites

+ Where we’ve been eating this month...

No 5 Social The Jason Atherton restaurant formerly known as Little Social has reopened after a stunning refurb, serving seasonal British produce by head chef Kostas Papathanasiou. Standout dish Josper-grilled Iberico pork chop and braised hispi cabbage. 5 Pollen Street, London W1. 020 7870 3730. no5social.com 122 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Les 110 De Taillevent London This classic French bistro remains a stand-out Manhattanstyle dining room. The food’s good; the wine’s unbeatable. Standout dish Curry Dorset monkfish, peas, smoked ham and potato velouté. 16 Cavendish Square, London W1. 020 3141 6016. les-110-taillevent-london.com

Singburi Tucked on a street in Leytonstone, BYOB, cash only, run by a fierce and charming band of women, Singburi has developed a reputation for some of the best Thai food in London. Standout dish Pad talay: a spicy stir-fry of fish, squid, prawns and mussels. 593 High Road Leytonstone, London E11. 020 8281 4801.

You would expect The Specials, Ed Sheeran and The Zutons to drink behind the toughest doors in town, but they’ve all come around to this tucked-away 16th-century Suffolk pub, hidden a stone’s throw from the world-renowned recording studio Decoy. But their draw to The Ufford Crown isn’t just convenience. The elegant interior demonstrates contemporary nuance with a refreshing sensitivity to the building’s beautifully ramshackle aesthetic – this is not the theme park gentrification you find at most gastropubs a train ride from London. And then there’s the food. The work of head chef Alex Dunham, who was trained by executive chef and cofounder Will Hardiman (formerly of Coq d’Argent), is written into local legend. GQ kicked things off with a runny-yolk, caramelised onion scotch egg, washed down with a pint of local staple, Adnams. A deliciously unctuous pork belly followed and was served with silky mash and an artfully balanced homemade Bramley apple sauce. The menu is regularly revitalised, with dishes making seasonal appearances. The same can be said of the wine list: the “Unusual Choices” selection is a revelation, with guest bottles as interesting as the pub’s patrons. The riesling and Picpoul De Pinet were particular standouts during our visit. Working for the rat race? This is your antidote. Just watch whose shoes you’re spilling your Château Paloumey on to. Matthew Jones

● High Street, Ufford, IP13 6EL.

01394 461030. theuffordcrown.com

Illustration Joe McKendry

Gleneagles, Scotland



The Book

Anthony Bourdain Remembered

The chef, author and presenter memorialised on page by the people he inspired After fans were left heartbroken by his tragic death in June 2018, CNN – who sent 61-year-old Anthony Bourdain (above) around the world for his superb series Parts Unknown – set up a digital book of remembrance. What ensued was almost overwhelming: thousands of posts flooded in from around the world for the man whose force of personality (so ideally suited to the kind of first-person TV he produced) made everyone feel they knew him. The desire for a more permanent memorial led to this collection of photos and tributes, originally put in a book format for his daughter, Ariane. Bourdain’s gift was to make programmes full of solace (a kind of comfort food) whatever the mood of the viewer, sharing his joy in what he discovered, but also the sense that anyone could, like him, just jump on a plane and be there. His despatches never made anyone feel left out of the party for being an armchair traveller. In fact, switch on any

● Anthony Bourdain

Remembered (HarperCollins, £25) is out now.

of his shows for just a minute and you’re no longer a mere sofa surfer: they make you feel like you’re at the party. “If I’m an advocate of anything,” he said, “it’s to move, as far as you can, as much as you can, across the ocean or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.” Sober and clean for many years, but still the life and soul, it’s impossible to imagine what was going on in his mind when he took his own life, but this is a book to have in your kitchen or by your armchair and, like his prolific output, to treasure. Olivia Cole

The Gadget

Artisan stand mixer by KitchenAid You might not yet be ready for the GBBO tent, but this kit is half the battle

Celebrate the return of The Great British Bake Off and 100 years of KitchenAid with this anniversary edition of its 4.8-litre stand mixer. Part of the Queen Of Hearts collection (don’t let that put you off – kings can bake cakes too), this Ferrari-red direct-drive machine comes with a custom chrome “Power Hub” that will take you from 0 to 60 cupcakes in no time at all. And the icing on the cake? This is a limited-edition model, so everyone who owns it will be a guaranteed star baker. On your marks, get set... you know the rest. PH G ● £699. kitchenaid.co.uk SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 123






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Photograph Shutterstock

Tony Parsons says sport’s greatest storylines are born of pure competition p.126 Sarfraz Manzoor recalls a life lived in Luton according to Springsteen p.128 Stuart McGurk watches the niche-interest streaming channels so you don’t have to p.129 Dorian Lynskey weighs music against morality in a post-Me Too world p.132 Matthew d’Ancona reminds us life is better (and longer) than ever p.133

With Chinese and European space agencies making major new investments in lunar exploration, the race for resources has left our home planet. Charlie Burton unpicks the space age laws that are already out of date and asks what the international community must do to keep earth’s geopolitics on terra firma – p.130 SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO .UK 125



How boxing lost it and football got it back Real competition led to an all-English Champions League final on the night AJ got beaten by a ‘bum’ Story by

Tony Parsons


oxing stupidly decided to swap judgement days for paydays. Boxing – or rather, elite heavyweight boxing, the glittering showcase of the sport – attempted to keep the pay-per-view cash registers ringing even as the best scrupulously avoided fighting the best. Just when it seemed boxing was on the cusp of a new golden age, it tried to do what no sport can ever do: avoid true competition. And it all ended in tears. Andy Ruiz Jr tore up the script when he dramatically flattened Anthony Joshua in Madison Square Garden. And now we must forget the fantasy – though it seemed so real! – that three great, undefeated heavyweight champions were going to square off against each other in a series of mouthwatering fights to rival the mythic age when Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman beat each other to the edge of human endurance and beyond. Anthony Joshua got battered by a little fat bloke with man boobs who could employ Homer Simpson as a body double. In truth, there was always more to Ruiz Jr than the Snickers-scoffing chubby chops he resembles. The Mexican only has one defeat on a 34-fight record. But if Ruiz Jr is more than a roly-poly journeyman he is less than an 126 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

elite heavyweight. Whatever way you spin it, Joshua should have found a way to beat him. And because he so spectacularly didn’t, the big fights that fans crave will not happen any time soon and perhaps never will. Boxing bottled it. “Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, failed or refused to agree terms with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury for showdown fights,” wrote Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph. “Instead they chose the easier path of puffing him in America, with Madison Square Garden as the first stop, so Joshua could attach himself to that venue’s great tradition. All you can say now is: that went well.” Full credit to Ruiz Jr. How we chortled when the Mexican said he was prepared to die in the ring. Prepared to diet, more like! Ho ho! We were told Ruiz Jr had quick hands. Yes, especially at the hotel buffet! Yuk yuk! But Ruiz Jr didn’t just beat Joshua in Madison Square Garden, he beat him up. He shattered AJ. It wasn’t a one-punch knockout, it was a systematic destruction. But lest we forget, it wasn’t just Anthony Joshua who was taking fights that were expected to be an easy day at the office. Until Ruiz Jr waddled onto the world stage, heavyweight boxing had three genuine

world champions: Anthony Joshua (IBO, IBF, WBA and WBO), Tyson Fury (the lineal champ) and Deontay Wilder (holder of the WBC belt). Three true warriors, all exciting in a different way – truly as diverse as Ali, Frazier and Foreman. Joshua was the new David Beckham, a natural athlete who had transcended his sport to become an icon for the modern male, a gold medal Olympian, the former bad boy turned national treasure, the nice guy with the pitiless vicious streak when he sensed an opponent weakening. And Deontay Wilder – who turned to boxing late in life (at 20 years of age, ridiculously late to start) for quick money when his daughter, Naieya, was born with spina bifida – the most unorthodox of the three but the one who hits the hardest, the fighter who possibly smacks flesh and bone harder than any man on the planet. And Tyson Fury: mercurial, controversial, oddly charming, totally fearless, ready to take on anyone in their back garden. Fury, who dances like no man that big should be able to dance. In the space of just four issues, GQ featured two heavyweight boxers on the front cover. Joshua and his son, JJ, graced

Photograph Getty Images

Anthony Joshua’s unexpected loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in New York in June foiled boxing’s plan to keep milking its three big hitters


the cover of December 2018, our 30th anniversary issue, and Fury did so in April, after the “Gypsy King” electrified boxing with an epic draw against Wilder in December 2018. So here, for the first time in the long history of boxing, was a trinity of undefeated heavyweight champions and if one thing seemed certain it was that someone’s “O” had to go. Err... not necessarily. Boxing took the money and ran. Boxing Monthly’s June cover story was devoted to why the big fights were not happening. “The three marquee heavyweights are splintered not only by the titles they carry (in Fury’s case the lineal one) but by separate broadcasting deals – Joshua with the streaming service DAZN (and Sky in the UK), Fury with ESPN (and BT at home) and Wilder with Showtime,” said the publication. To which the fight fan can only ask: so what? Who cares if they are on different media platforms? Does Showtime really tell Wilder who he is allowed to fight? Do Sky, DAZN and Eddie Hearn really boss Joshua’s career? Does ESPN really call the shots with Fury? If the fighters truly wanted to face each other, surely the deals could be made and the fights would happen? But it is academic now. The expected rematch between Wilder and Fury did not come to pass. Wilder had an embarrassingly easy firstround KO against Dominic Breazeale in May. Joshua was scheduled to fight Jarrell Miller until Miller failed three drug tests and a fat little Mexican came in as a late substitute. Fury beat German nonentity Tom Schwarz within two rounds in Las Vegas in June. This wasn’t heavyweight boxing. This was the bum of the month club. And then one of the bums hit back. Whoops. Full credit to Joshua for being commendably gracious in defeat. No whining, no excuses. His social media soundbites were pitch perfect. “This is Andy’s night... Congratulations, champ... He [Ruiz Jr] is a champion for now. I shall return.” There were comparisons with Buster Douglas giving Mike Tyson a good hiding in Tokyo in 1990. But Iron Mike, despite being unbeaten in 37 fights, was showing signs of decline and Buster, emboldened by the memory of his recently deceased mother, was in the shape of his life. But the brutal truth is that Joshua lost to an opponent whose name wasn’t even on the tickets, a boxer who proudly displayed a Snickers bar on his Twitter page, a fighter so absurdly out of shape that at the prefight press conference journalists mockingly likened the Ruiz Jr midriff to a New York bagel. It transpires that it wasn’t heavyweight boxing that is on the edge of a new golden age. It is English football.


nglish football went rampant just as heavyweight boxing slipped into a selfinduced coma. English football had something that heavyweight boxing painfully lacked: true competition. And the level of competition made the Premier League the most compelling sporting event on the planet. English football produced all four clubs in the two European finals – Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku. The Premier League was won by one of the greatest English club sides of all time – Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The two best games of the season were the semifinals in the Champions League – impossibly blood-pumping, Roy Of The Rovers stuff, with Liverpool thrashing Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to overturn a threegoal deficit and Spurs’ second-choice striker, Lucas Moura, scoring a hat-trick in the final 35 minutes to knock out Ajax. It is not too fanciful to suggest that the weekly firefight of the Premier League gave Liverpool and Spurs the grit required for the greatest comebacks since Frank Sinatra won an Oscar for From Here To Eternity. English football was so good, so compelling and so dominant because rivalry was relentless. On the last day of the season, Cardiff City – already relegated – stuffed Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford. A week before, I watched Arsenal struggle to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates against Brighton, who were just one place above the relegation zone, condemning the Gunners to another year of Thursdaynight football. But such was the level of competition in the Premier League. It is unlike any other league in Europe. The best players are scattered across the continent – Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Kylian Mbappé at Paris Saint-Germain, Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus – but the excitement is all in England. Club football in Europe is a snooze-fest. In Spain, Barcelona strolled away with La Liga, eleven points ahead of Atlético Madrid in second place. In Italy, Juventus cruised to the Serie A title, eleven points ahead of Napoli. In France, Paris Saint-Germain were 16 points clear of Lille. In Germany, Bayern Munich were only two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund but have still won seven Bundesliga titles in a row. The true measure of English football was that Manchester City won the Premier League by just one single point. If Guardiola’s Manchester City were possibly the greatest English champions of all time, then Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool – crowned kings of Europe for the sixth time – were without question the greatest runners-up in the history of English football.

The world loves the English Premier League because the level of competition is insane. When four English clubs contested the finals of the Champions League and Europa League, only eight of the starting players were English. As in Germany, Spain or Italy, football in England is a global game. What is unique is the ferocity of competition. That is what gives English club football its meaning, its passion and unique place in world sport. Because sport is only ever meaningless when it lacks competition.


ave Kidd wrote in the Sun, “Taking on a ‘nobody’ on his American debut – after more than eight months out of the ring – has proved disastrous [for Joshua]. It did not help Joshua’s strong British profile that, instead of fighting in front of 80,000 at prime time, he was appearing at 4am on a weekend dominated – on this side of the pond – by an all-English Champions League final. It felt as if Joshua’s camp had taken their eye off the ball, that they were chasing easy money rather than glory and had become complacent.” But football is not boxing. The same June night that Joshua had his heart broken in Manhattan, Spurs were coming up short against Liverpool in Madrid. But Harry Kane can come again. Spurs can dry their eyes and try again next year. When you take a beating in boxing – especially if you take the kind of beating that Joshua took from Ruiz Jr – it puts your entire career in harm’s way. Joshua will be back, but he can never be quite the same again. Anyone who fights AJ will fancy their chances if they can hit him hard on the chin. Nothing can be as it was at the start of 2019, with Joshua the smiling poster boy of British boxing and the clash of three undefeated heavyweight champions apparently inevitable. Ruiz Jr vs Joshua feels like the end of something. Perhaps what died was the sentimental, nostalgic dream that heavyweight boxing could once again be the world’s favourite sport. Boxing is murderously dangerous – the only sport that can’t be called a game – and nobody begrudges the professional boxer who makes himself and his family financially secure for life. But without true competition, without the level of rivalry you see every week in English football, then sport is just light entertainment, hyped fluff, essentially meaningless. Here was the hard lesson that heavyweight boxing learned in 2019. There can be no safe spaces in sport. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 127



I set my Springsteen biopic in Luton... obviously From New Jersey to Bedfordshire, The Boss’ cultural reach is vast. Now, a story about growing up in Eighties England brings it to life Story by

Sarfraz Manzoor

Semiautobiographical coming-of-age comedy Blinded By The Light stars Viveik Kalra (right)


was 16 years old the first time I heard Bruce Springsteen. It was the autumn of 1987 and I had just started sixth-form college. Growing up in Luton as the son of a working-class Pakistani family I had never previously assumed that Springsteen’s music was for the likes of me. It was only when a college friend handed me a couple of cassettes and instructed me to listen that I came to realise how wrong my initial dismissal of Springsteen had been. It was not long before I was a confirmed fan, repeatedly listening to his songs and studying his lyrics. In my twenties and thirties my Springsteen devotion deepened. I travelled across the country, and later the world, to see him in concert. When I was at the front by the stage he would begin to recognise me and point and smile when he saw me in the crowd. By now I had, thanks in part to the hope I had heard in his music, left Luton and was working as a journalist. When a literary agent contacted me to ask if I had a book I wanted to write I knew it would be something that explored how Springsteen had affected my life. My memoir, Greetings From Bury Park, was published in 2007. It was intended as a thank you to Springsteen, but also to demonstrate the power of his music and words and the importance of choosing the right hero. It’s hard not to feel sorry for those whose Eighties hero was Michael Jackson or Morrissey. 128 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

At the time, I barely considered the possibility that it would ever reach Springsteen. But three years later I learnt that he was coming to London for a screening of The Promise, a documentary about the making of his fourth album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town. It was at a drinks reception ahead of the screening that Springsteen saw me, walked over and told me that he had read and loved my book. It was one of those “Is this really happening?” moments – the man whose work had meant so much to me was telling me he appreciated something I had created. I’d attended the event with the film director Gurinder Chadha and it was hearing Springsteen say that he loved my book that made us think about the possibility of a film adaption. Chadha and I worked as a team: she brought years of filmmaking experience and I began brainstorming ideas for plots and scenes and started working on the screenplay. The film would be a rites-of-passage story that would have at its heart my relationship with my father. He had died when I was 22, but when he was alive we had had a sometimes difficult relationship. He was an emotionally distant man: I don’t remember him ever hugging me, he was prone to losing his temper and I defined myself in opposition to him. In writing the script I sought inspiration from the way Springsteen had written about his father in songs such as “Independence

Day” – with generosity and empathy. I began working in 2012 and after five years Chadha and I had a script about which we felt confident. Filming started the following year and Blinded By The Light had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.


ater, at an afterparty in New York following a special screening, I ran into Jon Landau, Springsteen’s longtime manager, who told me how moved he was by the film and in particular the way it reveals the parallels between my father and Springsteen’s. I was aware of the parallels between Springsteen’s relationship with his father and my relationship with mine, but it was not until I read his memoir and saw his Broadway show in New York that I started to notice the parallels between our fathers themselves. Springsteen was nearing 70 years of age and still obsessing and processing that troubled relationship. “All we know about manhood,” he said during the show, “is what we have seen and learned from our fathers.” In a later interview, Springsteen revealed his father had never told him he loved him. I learnt these insights into Springsteen’s father at the same time as I was writing the screenplay – an extraordinary synchronicity that could never have been anticipated. What is also extraordinary is the way my relationship with Springsteen has changed over the decades. It began as a simple fan relationship, but I am now in the deeply weird situation of knowing that not only does he know I exist, but he also respects my work. Watching him on stage on Broadway and listening to his latest record, Western Stars, I was also reminded why Springsteen remains a role model for me and why listening to his music is not a simple act of indulging in nostalgia. I don’t listen to him just to remind myself of the glory days of my youth – he continues to inspire me now that I am a middle-aged, married father of two. Unlike his fellow Eighties icons, he is still producing work that feels fresh and vital. He has been married to the same woman for almost three decades and when he steps on stage with The E Street Band he is playing with musicians he has known since they were all in their twenties. To be creating great work with friends of old, to have sustained a long marriage and to have remained, despite great fame and fortune, a fundamentally grounded and decent person is remarkable. I feel privileged that of all his millions of fans, it is me who has had the opportunity to share their story with the world. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT IS OUT ON 9 AUGUST. GREETINGS FROM BURY PARK (BLOOMSBURY, £15) IS OUT NOW.



Islands in the streams: the niche Netflix rivals you never knew you never needed The early players you know already, and the next big wave is about to break. But for habitués of knockoff horror, Korean drama and Martin Clunes, the online bargain bin is open for business Story by

Stuart McGurk

Illustration by

Rob Dobi


mindbending neo-noir set in the obsessive e all know that TV as we know it is rights to a UK broadcaster. And so London Kills world of vinyl collecting”; also four skulls). on the way out. No longer is it a – a UK show made by a US streaming service specialising in UK shows – also airs in the UK Many of these niche services, in fairness, are choice between giving your money simply bad, repackaging old content no one to Netflix or Amazon Prime (answer: always on BBC iPlayer with viewers none of the wiser. Netflix). This autumn will see the big beasts else wants to (Shout Factory TV, for instance, Sometimes, a show that’s popular on Acorn is where bad Eighties films go to die, including will be cancelled in the UK, only to be revived coming lumbering into view in ultra-HD, all Munchie, a Gremlins knockoff, and Cyberzone: by Acorn, which refuses to let the patient die. set to end the idea of “broadcast TV” for Droid Gunner, a Bladerunner knockoff). Ever heard of Agatha Raisin, the Sky One good. There’s Disney, who will launch Disney+, which promises to bring every But others are thriving by occupying niches comedy crime drama starring Ashley Jensen you didn’t suspect existed. Acorn TV specialas a PR from the big city turned crime solver Disney title under one roof, from the Marvel in a small village? Sky cancelled it, but Acorn ises in middle-brow, Daily Mail-friendly UK and Star Wars films to Pixar and the rest, was so appalled that last year it commissioned along with a whole host of original commisprogramming for a US audience. Shows such a new series, this time with feature-length episioning (of which a new Star Wars and Marvel as Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders and Line Of sodes (evidently the secret to making Agatha series – starring Tom Hiddleston’s Loki – are Duty are brought across the pond for Raisin better was making it longer). but two). And then of course there’s Apple, Americans who like actors with accents and, And yet from Acorn TV who will launch Apple TV+ mighty oaks can grow: in and with it a host of new 2015 it became the only niche shows from the likes of JJ streaming service to be nomiAbrams, Steven Spielberg nated for an Emmy when and even Oprah Winfrey. But what if your tastes are Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case was more, well, particular? What up for Best Television Movie. There are also streaming serif you really want to bingevices that are niche in size, watch some quality South even if the companies behind Korean drama? Or wallthem are anything but . to-wall anime? It turns out, Facebook Watch has seen there’s a streaming service Mark Zuckerberg dip the edge for that too (specifically: Viki of exactly one toe in the and Crunchyroll). But they streaming market. What is are far from the only ones. there to watch on Facebook As streaming services aim Watch, you ask? Not a lot. The more and more for the middle biggest success has been the of the middle ground, so Elizabeth Olsen-starring drama niche streaming services have Streaming’s myriad tributaries take viewers wherever they want popped up to fill the streamSorry For Your Loss. The rest ing margins. There’s Le Cinéma Club, a Netflix if possible, called Martin Clunes (along with are reality shows that, in fairness, perfectly fit for film snobs that keeps its audience away every series of Doc Martin you can also watch the Facebook brand: cynical mass-market from the idiot box by presenting exactly one Clunes as a detective in Manhunt and as flotsam such as prank show You Kiddin’ Me new release a week. There’s Fandor, the indie himself in Martin Clunes’ Islands Of America). (the title of which helpfully doubles as your film streamer for those who think Le Cinéma Manhunt and Islands Of America are both reaction to any Facebook news story). Club isn’t niche and snobby enough. And Acorn TV Originals, providing more Clunes for Into this world of on-demand ubiquity there’s the likes of Revry and Dekkoo, which your buck than any other streaming service, there is even a niche in streaming services provides only LGBTQ content (in fact, the and it’s not the only one. Take your pick from that bring back, well, broadcast television. Queens Of Mystery (imagine The Golden Girls, latter consists of TV and movies solely about Pluto TV, which is free, includes a whole host gay men). but set in Middle England, where they solve of actual online-only channels, from Glory But while those merely curate, others – just crimes) or London Kills (featuring a detective Kickboxing (“all-striking, all the time”) and whose wife is missing: “a case he has been The Pet Collective (“the funniest animal like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney and Apple unable to solve”). The latter shows how strange videos”) to channels that show “retro” – are creators too. Shudder, for fans of horror, the niche streaming ecosystem has become. As everything (Retro Drama, Retro Movies, has originals such as Satan’s Slaves (tagline, Acorn TV Originals are created to be American Retro Toons). It “brings back”, boasts the “She comes back for the last child”; shudder exclusives, nothing stops them from selling the Pluto TV website, “the linear TV you love”. rating, four skulls) and Deadwax (“a SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 129



Who owns the moon? With global superpowers and – potentially – private interests laying claim to lunar resources, outdated Cold War treaties will be eclipsed by 21st-century geopolitics Charlie Burton

Illustration by

Fergs Illustrations


ince 1980, Dennis Hope has sold more than 611 million acres of the moon. For $24.99 per acre, his company, Lunar Embassy, will provide buyers with the deeds to their property, a map of where it is and a guide to the covenants, codes and restrictions that govern it. According to his website, Hope counts three US presidents – Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush – plus more than 675 “wellknown celebrities” among his clientele. As the numbers above suggest, it has been a lucrative venture. Part of the appeal of what he’s selling is the potential value of a lunar lot. “Your moon property comes with mineral rights,” the website states. “In fact, did you know that the moon is covered in helium-3? A possible clean-burning energy source with no wasteful by-product. Also, did you know its projected value is $40,000 an ounce?” All well and good, but a more pressing question might be: what exactly gives Hope the right to sell the moon? His argument is counterintuitive but straightforward. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty – the most important of five international space treaties – forbids governments from owning extraterrestrial land, but it says nothing about private individuals. Hope believed that this meant he was permitted to claim ownership of the entire lunar surface since nobody had done so already. He duly registered his claim with the San Francisco County Seat – and it was accepted. He then wrote to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Russian government, informing them of his claim and nobody objected. “So, with his claim and copyright registration certificate from the US government in hand,” reads Lunar Embassy’s site, “Mr Hope became what is probably the largest landowner on the planet today.” Or at least that’s what he’s telling his customers. “Any argument that the treaty does not apply to anyone other than governments is tenuous at best,” says Nick Hughes, a partner at the international law firm HFW, which has practices in space, aerospace and mining. “It is questionable whether deeds 130 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

space race. Indeed, in January the European Space Agency announced a contract with rocket maker ArianeGroup to explore the moon’s natural resources with a view to establishing a lunar base. The agency told the press at the time, “As ESA and other agencies prepare to send humans back to the moon – this time to stay – technologies that make use of materials available in space (in-situ resource utilisation) are seen as key to sustainability.” And, it added, “In the longer term, resources in space may even be used on Earth.”



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ft side o




sold would hold up in court.” What is in no doubt, however, is that lunar law is demonstrably underdeveloped. That may have to change. China’s space programme is coming on leaps and bounds, spending more on extraterrestrial ventures than any other country bar the US. Earlier this year, China’s Chang’e-4 lander successfully touched down on the dark side of the moon – a first for humanity. The Yutu-2 rover, which it was carrying, has now explored more than 200 metres and sent back the first photographs of this hitherto hidden region. China’s plans don’t stop there. The China National Space Administration announced this year that it hopes to build a permanent research base at the moon’s south pole within the next decade. This isn’t discovery for discovery’s sake. The Chinese State Council Information Office released a space programme white paper in 2016 that described its goal as “economic and social development”. As Hope rightly points out, the moon is indeed rich in minerals. Tellingly, the Chang’e-4 mission holds chemical analysis of lunar samples as a key objective. Fifty years on from the Apollo 11 moon landing, this could be the start of a new


s lunar colonisation moves from science fiction to science fact, problems are sure to arise. The 1967 treaty, which has been ratified by 109 countries, states that the moon cannot be owned by any nation. It also makes clear that the moon must be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. “Although unlikely, it might also be the case that some ‘rogue’ state that is not a party to the treaty could find some way through to space activities that other states would find in contravention of the treaty provisions,” says Hughes. “But the main issue is finding a way to ensure that activities can be fostered for the benefit of mankind and with all risks duly managed, including liability aspects and, of course, with due regard to space debris – the ‘plastic’ of outer space.” There could also be disputes, he notes, if one or more states were to target the same assets in space. Space law will clearly need to develop to account for these new activities. But given the current state of the world, is a new Outer Space Treaty remotely likely? “Those treaties were themselves done at a time of great political tension,” says Hughes. “Also, in practice, there has been great cooperation between states, who otherwise have great political differences, in the safety and security of space missions.” What that will mean for Dennis Hope and his legions of lunar landowners, however, remains to be seen.

Photograph Getty Images

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Cancel culture vs the untouchables Quincy Jones’ publicists airbrushed Michael Jackson from their posters, but whether disgraced stars are airbrushed from history is up to all of us Story by

Dorian Lynskey

Illustration by

Matt Kenyon


nybody who bought their ticket early for Quincy Jones’ show at London’s O2 in June will have noticed that the event that took place was not exactly what they signed up for. When it was announced in February, it was billed as an orchestral tribute to Jones’ three blockbuster collaborations with Michael Jackson: Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. In May, however, a new wave of posters appeared around London, rebranding the night a “Soundtrack Of The 80s”. The poster still listed several Jackson numbers (interspersed, in some printings, with considerably fewer famous songs from Jones’ 1981 solo album, The Dude), but the singer’s name was absent. This awkward compromise sums up the inconclusiveness of the general response to the upsettingly credible allegations of child abuse in the documentary Leaving Neverland. When the documentary aired in the UK in March, I must have read a book’s worth of think piece columns about whether or not Jackson was “cancelled”. The idea of zero-tolerance “cancel culture” took off in a big way last year, but its hyperbole is meaningless in the world beyond Twitter. While the cultural commissars in a totalitarian regime might have had the power to strike artists from the record and render their work inaccessible, in a democracy the process is never so ruthlessly emphatic. The cultural verdict on the legacy of an artist who has done something atrocious emerges from a complicated matrix of countless individual judgements. En masse, these judgements amount to a kind of moral arithmetic: subtract the gravity of the offence from the greatness of the music and look at the remainder. When, in February, the New York Times published claims that Ryan Adams had manipulated and harassed several younger women, Adams quickly discovered that his place in the pantheon of Americana singer-songwriters was not as secure as he might previously have hoped. But in Jackson’s case the numbers on both sides of the equation are immense. What do you do when the biggest pop star of all time appears to have committed one of the worst possible crimes? The question was asked when such claims first surfaced 132 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

in the Nineties but was magically erased by his death in 2009. According to Margo Jefferson, author of the terrific book On Michael Jackson, “Death restored his reputation as an artist.” But now that conundrum is back with a vengeance. If Jackson was still alive it would be a more practical matter: just ask R Kelly, whose musical reputation has been finally and irreparably damaged by allegations of sexual abuse, or Adams, who effectively cancelled himself by pulling his tour dates and disappearing from view. But Jackson is beyond punishment or repentance, so it’s left to his fans to decide what to do with his music. Having read enough about how people should react, I’m more interested in how people actually have reacted. Five months after Leaving Neverland, it’s possible to get a clearer picture of how people have responded – and it’s a mess.


everal Jackson tributes have been abandoned, yet Thriller Live has extended its West End run until April 2020 and the new jukebox musical Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough is still bound for Broadway next summer. Some DJs have vowed never to play his songs again,

while others still use them to pack dance floors without receiving a word of complaint. When I asked my Twitter followers whether they had experienced Jackson’s music in the wild since March, one said he’d heard “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” at a wedding: “People seemed unsure if it was OK to dance to this version of Michael, if it came before all the unpleasantness.” Another said that his spin instructor in California had a 100 per cent Jacko playlist and when he complained about it, his fellow spinners booed him. A third had heard “Billie Jean” in a grocery store: “[I] turned to my roommate and said, ‘Is this allowed?’ And then we both sang along.” The language is revealing. Is it OK? Is it allowed? Is “I Want You Back” permissible because Jackson was only eleven at the time but “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” isn’t? If we dance (or spin) to his music, will we be judged as amoral? If we don’t, will we be deemed killjoys? We need rules, damn it, but there are none, so we end up in the weird yesand-no man’s land of the Quincy Jones poster. When the writer Chuck Klosterman called Jackson “too massive to cancel”, it wasn’t a moral argument, merely a statement of fact. The relationship between art and artist is such a hot topic these days that it’s easy to think it’s a distinctly modern concern, that earlier generations weren’t enlightened enough to care what creators got up to in their private lives. But this moral dilemma isn’t a recent invention. In 1944 George Orwell offered one solution: “One ought to be able to hold in one’s head simultaneously the two facts that Dalí is a good draughtsman and a disgusting human being. The one does not invalidate or, in a sense, affect the other.” Following the Me Too movement and similar grim revelations, critics and commentators are now far more likely to take a hard line and say that, actually, reprehensible behaviour should discredit the art. That is the simplest and safest position to take in public. In their lives, however, most people are instinctively closer to Orwell’s position. “Billie Jean” is a timeless jam. The man who recorded it was most likely a predatory paedophile. The one does not invalidate or, in a sense, affect the other. They hesitate. They sing along.


opportunity to try new things, invest our financial and social capital, do good and live well. In this account, Sir Mick Jagger – still dancing like a rock god Nijinsky at 76 – is no longer the outlier but the avatar of a new way of growing old that was literally inconceivable when The Rolling Stones were formed. Honoré tracks down extraordinary people all over the world – from Bangkok to Toronto to Lebanon – who are defying the dreary path of “senior life” paved by previous generations. What’s the catch? The catch is that, as The Streets warned us, “a grand don’t come for free” – and neither does a transformation in demography and living habits. More people living longer means just about every aspect of our social fabric will change.


Relax... we’re in great shape Westminster might be on life support, but the good news is it has never been easier to live long and prosperously Story by


Matthew d’Ancona

o, as Brexit continues to obsess the Westminster class and the markets scrutinise the UK economy with brutal scepticism, it is important not to lose sight of the main question of the summer. Namely: how old is too old to subscribe to GQ? At what age are you obliged to hang up your Gucci suit, box away your limited edition Bowie Vans and accept that your Baume Small Second is a watch for millennials, not old codgers? And the excellent news is: never. Wear what you like, do what you like, cut a dash. As bumpy a ride as the first quarter of the 21st century is undoubtedly proving, one of its under-reported revolutions has been the near-abolition of old age. Look, I’m not saying that your body won’t continue to age, that you’ll produce the same amount of testosterone as you did when you were 25, that you won’t need laser eye treatment or hemiarthroplasty for the hips you’ve worn out on the piste or the tennis courts. But the old three-act drama – youth, work and pensioned leisure – is emphatically over. It’s not just that life expectancy is increasing (as a global average, by five-and-a-half years between 2000 and 2016). The transformation of diet, exercise and medicine in the developed world means we are not only living longer, but

living well as we age. The old stereotype of the stooped sixtysomething in slippers and a cardigan is no longer a reflection of reality. Central to this is the rolling abolition or constraint of previously catastrophic illness. Visit the state-of-the-art labs of professor Molly Stevens at Imperial College London and you’ll realise how close we really are to a range of astonishing breakthroughs that will – for instance – transform even the worst cancers into a chronic, treatable condition (like diabetes) rather than a death sentence. I recently met a senior oncologist whose work is now so dependent upon computer power that he describes himself as an “algorithmist”. Even Alzheimer’s, the most defiant of age-related illnesses, is starting to yield to the assault of entrepreneurial researchers. If you need persuading, pack Carl Honoré’s recent book, Bolder: Making The Most Of Our Longer Lives (Simon & Schuster, £16.99), in your holiday holdall. A sensation when he spoke about “slow living” for TED in 2007, Honoré has now turned his attention to the gap between an obsolete ageist culture – one that assumes “older” means “worse”, “weaker” and “out-of-touch” – with the reality he encountered in his research. His point is that ageing is no longer a matter of damage limitation but a glorious


ome of the adjustment will be a matter of civilised negotiation. How to make use of the 75-year-old employee who wants to make way for someone younger but would like to stay involved in the enterprise? How to give older people a real opportunity to keep studying? But some of the consequences will be straightforwardly fiscal. More people, needing more housing, more health care and (crucially) more social care. The cost will be huge and dancing round this core social fact is deeply irresponsible. No political party has even begun to address this problem: when Theresa May dipped her toe in the water of social care reform in the 2017 election campaign, she was forced into retreat in days. During the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, George Osborne suggested a mansion tax: the idea was slapped down by David Cameron. But Osborne was right. There is no question that to meet the future needs of public provision we are going to have to start taxing wealth more heavily, through higher inheritance tax, stamp duty, a mansion tax or all three. Needless to say, this will not be popular. For decades, we have been told that we inhabit a “property-owning democracy” in which wealth “cascades down the generations”. But – just as we must reduce carbon emissions, and fast – so we will have to grow used to a new relationship with our assets if the basic social fabric is to survive. This is not Corbynite socialism. It is the necessary evolution of any society that wants to function and survive. But keep your eyes on the prize. You’re going to live longer, and better, and be able to grow old as disgracefully as you wish. The old rules are being torn up. Anything is possible. And you can read GQ with pride and swagger for the rest of your life. What’s not to like? G SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 133


and the

, n fu fun

, n u f machine

Four years, 650 shows and six billion YouTube views later, The Late Late Show is still the driving force of nighttime TV in America. Of course, holding court from behind a desk was Phase III of a storming career that first earned high accolades on stage and then as cocreator of a BBC comedy landmark. This summer, Corden returned to record TLLS on home soil, where GQ joined him on set and in the writers’ room to ask what Phase IV will look like. And yes, it does mean more Gavin & Stacey...

Story by

Tom Lamont

Photographs by

Simon Webb

Styled by Angelo




‘I was giving Sir Paul McCartney a pep talk in a cupboard, wondering what happened to my life’ Suit by Gucci. gucci.com. Shirt by Smyth & Gibson, £120. smythandgibson.com. Tie by Dolce & Gabbana, £145. dolcegabbana.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 135


Suited and lightly oranged, James Corden sits at a desk in a London studio. He frowns and licks his teeth, listening to a hidden earpiece – ready to be cued from across the sea. Middlesex-born, Bucks-raised, a Londoner throughout his twenties and early thirties, Corden has spent the last few years in Los Angeles from where he hosts The Late Late Show for CBS. This week, a special occasion, he’s brought the talk show to the UK for a run of four episodes.


hey’re to be recorded in this cavernous studio in Westminster and later beamed back for delayed broadcast in the US. Corden is poised, just now, to take part in a live link with a CBS morning show. Any moment, the hosts there will bring him in for some brisk transatlantic banter about the coming shows. Corden hosts around 160 episodes of The Late Late Show a year. This is routine to him. Live links and other shill work to promote a coming episode’s attractions, then the audience potter in and the band play and it’s go time. He’ll interlink his fingers and deliver a charming monologue. He’ll make newsy jokes at his desk. Guests will appear, to laugh and muse, then go. Maybe there’s a musical skit. Maybe Corden interacts with his audience or tees up one of The Late Late Show’s popular pretaped bits. Outro. Applause. Tomorrow they go again. Corden and his core team of producers, predominantly British, first got this gig about 650 episodes ago and they never imagined it would run this long. Corden is 40 now, comfortable in his skin, his beard and quiff neatly manicured. He tends to dress in dark-and-serious blue or black with a splash of something silly. Today’s navy blazer is spotted with white polka dots the size of five pence pieces. He fiddles with his buttons, waiting to be introduced. The CBS morning hosts are picking their way through the nightmare that is the daily American news cycle: “Mom’s kidnapped daughter”, “Firefighters’ health scare”, “Prince Harry’s first Father’s Day”. Corden has to stay alert in case they throw to him suddenly, expecting apt comment. Honestly, you wouldn’t bet against him. Corden has a flair for uprooting the right conversational nugget – for establishing, in a hot hurry after the first handshake or cheek peck, an easy intimacy. Over the coming week in his company, shadowing Corden on his return to London, I’ll watch it happen repeatedly: a little parcel of intense, geeky sports-stadium chat with the musician Marcus Mumford; a 136 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

brisk five on the West End theatre scene with Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark; European politics with Tom Watson; European holiday destinations with Tom Hanks. Finally Corden is asked, on air, who he has on the show this week. Deep breath. Tom Hanks, Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Chastain (flogging an X-Men film) and Melissa McCarthy (not flogging anything, joining in on The Late Late Show for a giggle), a SherlockGandalf-Thor trifecta of Cumberbatch, McKellen and Hemsworth. Anyone else? “It’s the strangest thing,” Corden says. “The former first lady Michelle Obama got in touch...” When he’s done at the desk he removes his earpiece and wanders over to a crowd of milling studio crew. He trades relationship advice with one (“Did you decide to go on holiday with him?”) and food tips with another (“Have you tried vegan carbonara?”). Phone out, he swipes me through some pics of a recent hang with Tom Cruise. Film star and talk show host went two-up in a fighter plane, Cruise in the Maverick seat and Corden, quite naturally, riding Goose. They had a decent chinwag up there, Corden says, whenever loop-the-loops allowed. He’s hungry for chat, or anyway has terrific stamina for it. The expression on the face of his make-up man is a picture any time Corden gets in the chair and then waves someone over to shoot the breeze while he’s meant to be sitting still. Corden never seems to empty his conversational stocks nor turn to the next waiting face only to draw a blank. At least, he doesn’t till tonight’s show. They’re ready to shoot. The audience are brought in and seated; the band vamps. A flown-over stylist (Hanks’) munches import Cheetos in the corridor. Runners pelt around with lint rollers. Corden stands by his desk, tapping a beat on the polished maple. “OK,” mumbles a producer, radioing to explain the delay, “we’re just waiting for Mr Hanks to change his trousers.” Corden looks at the audience, which has another few minutes to wait. “Any questions?” he asks. “Go on.”

Somebody squeals, “Gavin & Stacey!”, a topical call because Corden has recently confirmed that the sitcom he cocreated with Ruth Jones will return for a Christmas reunion episode. “You can’t just shout Gavin & Stacey at me,” Corden tells the crowd. “That’s not a question. That’s a statement. That’s something people used to yell at me out of the window of cars. C’mon, what else?” High in one of the balcony seats a woman stands up and shouts, “Can you remember my name?” She’s about the same age as Corden, same Bucks flavour to her voice. They went to school together. Primary and secondary. They kissed once. “So what’s my name?” she shouts. Oh, God. Corden steps back on his heel, frozen. You can almost see him scrolling backwards through all the faces, all the chats; past the Toms, Hanks and Cruise, then every other A-calibre guests they’ve had on the show; the Bs, the Cs; back through dozens of musicians who’ve agreed to climb in a car with Corden and belt out a song for The Late Late Show’s brilliant “Carpool Karaoke” segments; back through his five-star run on Broadway with One Man, Two Guvnors; stints as a gunfor-hire presenter on award shows; the hit years on Gavin & Stacey; miss years on a string of British TV calamities; all the way to his childhood with Malcolm and Margaret Corden in High Wycombe. Corden, playing for time, says, “It’s hard to see you at this distance.” The production crew hear this and right away her face is shown on the studio big screen. Thanks guys. “OK. OK. I’m gonna go with...” He closes his eyes. “Laura?” She raises her arms. The audience cheer. Corden’s band strike up in celebration: the boss hasn’t lost his touch after all. On stage he wipes his forehead. “How’s your life?” Corden asks her, a bit breathless. “It’s all right,” she shouts back. “How’s yours?” He looks around. He has a monologue to do in a minute. A sit-down with Tom Hanks. He has to introduce a pretaped segment in which Michelle Obama plays a furious game of dodgeball against Harry Styles. He needs to get through tonight and do it all again tomorrow.


ow’s your life, James Corden? It’s Tuesday, the morning after the first London show, and we’re driving through city traffic. Corden has some time to answer properly. “Now? I’m a father. Married. I live in Los Angeles. I feel I have some really great and true friends... You look around and think, ‘I’ve managed to con people into thinking I know how to do this.’ Life, give or take, is panning out the way I hoped it would.” >>


JAMES CORDEN Tom Hanks, James Corden and Gillian Anderson kick off The Late Late Show’s first of four London recordings in June; (below) preshow chats with Hanks and TLLS writers

‘Nobody was about to pull a seat out at the table and say, “Come and sit down.” I was going to have get to this table and budge people up’


The #LateLateLondon run featured a pretaped dodgeball game between the UK and the US starring (clockwise, from top left) Melissa McCarthy, John Bradley, Harry Styles, Reggie Watts, James Corden, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michelle Obama


JAMES CORDEN >> Ever since he was a boy, seeing his

‘It’s easy for people to criticise. It’s almost the easiest thing in the world. But it’s hard to have an idea’

first play, Corden can remember thinking, “Well, this is incredibly boring by comparison, sitting down here when you could be up there.” So began the pursuit of up there. Before Gavin & Stacey caught on, Corden was a supporting player in a low-flying teatime soap (Hollyoaks), a decent comedy-drama (Teachers) and a hit London play (The History Boys). He hoped to be a lead, “But I was learning that if you looked like me, people reckoned you were about right for playing a newsagent in a Hugh Grant movie... Nobody was about to pull a seat out at the table and say, ‘Come and sit down.’ I was going to have get to this table and budge people up.” Corden knew Ruth Jones from an acting job and they’d become friends. They scripted episode one of Gavin & Stacey in a Shepherd’s Bush hotel room, in 2005. The show broadcast on the BBC in 2007 and went boom. Corden, who played the best mate of the lead character, became famous, “single, sort of dating, going out quite a lot, drinking quite a lot and embarking on a few years of, uh, just... I don’t want to say... cos it wasn’t as bad as anyone [else]’s...” Back at school, a heavy kid, he had settled on overconfidence as a sure way to confound any bullies. “They can’t stand confidence. They don’t know what to do with it. And I think there was an element of that after Gavin & Stacey, when I became more well known. I was conscious of the fact I looked bigger. I thought I would just make myself a bigger target.” He was nearing the end of his twenties. “Suddenly, you’re being offered the lead in a few films and you can’t believe it. This table! The metaphorical table that you wanted to get a seat at – you’re there! ‘You want me to be a lead? OK!’ Cos who knows how long till it’s figured out, around this table, that they’ve made a mistake.” He sighs. “It’s the kind of thinking that can lead you, as it certainly did in my case, to making choices that aren’t professionally great.” After Gavin & Stacey, the low: Corden was in a run of really bad stuff, on TV and in the cinema. He was 30, “still going out all the time, still drinking quite a lot”. Did anyone intervene? Friends? “Well, what happens is, in moments like that, you tend to not seek out your true friends. Because you’ve got some new friends! And they’re full of shit! But you don’t realise that. Not till later.” A play changed Corden’s fortunes. He was the lead in One Man, Two Guvnors, a London smash that made triumphant progress to Broadway. It was in New York that CBS executives noted Corden’s frisky energy and, eventually, tapped him up for the vacant >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 139


>> Late Late Show chair. A gang of British

dominated by Tory leadership struggles and telly makers led by Ben Winston, an old still more Brexit. Corden wrings his hands: friend of Corden, relocated to Hollywood what’s our way out of this? For someone of his with him to help him rejig and relaunch political persuasion (NeverBoris, NeverJeremy, the show. (GQ profiled this gang and their a centre-grounder pining for that missed offEntourage-like ascent in Los Angeles in ramp with one or other Miliband brother) March 2017.) these are infuriating times. When Tom Watson He had married his long-term girlvisits The Late Late Show set, Corden will come friend, Julia Carey, in 2012. By the time of close to pleading with the Labour MP to break the America move they’d had two of their from Corbyn and take a stand for the centreleft. In his dressing room, somebody talks up three children. They waved goodbye to the Eton-educated Rory Stewart as “the best Malcolm and Margaret Corden, Julia’s family too, and went west. Before they departed, a of the bunch” among possible Tory leaders. childhood friend of Julia’s, Adele Laurie Blue Corden doesn’t hesitate: “Best of a bunch,” he Adkins – only bloody Adele – had promgrowls, “of c***s.” ised she would come out to help Corden’s Back when GQ last caught up with Corden show if she could. About eight months into it was the middle of 2016 – those last rational his run, Adele made good on that promise days before the coming of Trump. The Late and flew out to film a “Carpool Karaoke” Late Show had been under Corden’s stewsegment with Corden that has since been ardship for about a year, broadcasting in a viewed 200 million times online. Elton, slot right after Stephen Colbert. Colbert’s talk Madonna, McCartney: they’ve show was criticised, back then, for all followed her into the front its tonal uncertainty. What was seat of Corden’s camera-rigged its aim? What was its mission? car. “Carpool Karaoke”, conceived Corden’s show in contrast was as an amusing stunt when his seen as confident and sure footed run on the show began, superand fun, fun, fun. Then Trump got charged The Late Late Show’s elected. This was the spur Colbert popularity. Its YouTube channel had been missing. Three years into recently became the quickest ever the ugly, Colbert’s show is full of to reach 20m subscribers. purpose and anger. People adore it. Where has that left Corden he car pulls up outside and the fun, fun, fun machine? t h e We s t m i n s te r “I don’t think anybody who studio and, climb watched our show would quesing out, Corden says, tion where we stand politically,” “You know what I’ve Corden says. But he concedes it realised? That table, the metaisn’t easy following Colbert, who, James Corden in Sir Ian McKellen’s dressing room ahead of the phorical table I always wanted in his nightly pillorying of Trump, actor’s appearance on The Late Late Show, 19 June to budge my way onto, it never has few equals. Corden has always existed. Life only feels like a race. been hesitant, as a man from High I’ve realised you can’t waste it looking left projection, how much of his obvious fury he Wycombe, about hectoring a pan-American lets inflect the words. Corden is among those and right, asking, ‘Am I ahead?’ Because audience on their politics. “Only, it doesn’t you’re in a race with nobody.” Another interpublic figures, Adele and Stormzy included, really feel like a battle of left and right any pretation of this, I humbly suggest, may who’ve stood up for Grenfell survivors. When more. It doesn’t feel like Democrats versus be that Corden is so far out ahead right it comes time to film the speech in front of Republicans. Right now, it feels like good now that it only looks like an empty field. an audience he gives it an angry-incredulous versus bad. Something like the Muslim ban? He snorts. “But it’s almost proven, isn’t quality that’s extremely powerful. The sillier It’s wrong. It’s inciting hatred. So it’s fair it? That wealth, fame, these things do not lines no longer register as jokes, rather as the game. I feel quite comfortable in saying I make people happy. And happiness has to plausible way an innately irreverent man might don’t agree.” be the pursuit.” try to comprehend the incomprehensible. Corden takes his phone from his pocket and We wander up the studio steps and into “Was it all right, the Grenfell stuff?” he asks, calls up a YouTube video of a Late Late Show skit they wrote, rehearsed and recorded right Corden’s dressing room, where there’s a bright a couple of days later, when we meet again. pink waffle blanket on the sofa. Children’s I’ve noticed this about Corden: stuff that after Trump’s sudden ban on trans soldiers snacks. An open Calpol. Corden’s eldest son, seems to bounce off him will seep in, percoserving in the military. I watch: a threeMax, has been hanging out backstage this late, reappear later. He says of his friend Harry minute song-and-dance number that riffs on week. The four London shows are a season Styles that what makes him unusual among Nat King Cole and ends with Corden, in top hat finale of sorts, a goodbye run of Late Late famous people is that he’s both interesting and and tails, trilling a message of support while shows before everyone breaks for a summer interested. There’s some truth to this about twirling a rainbow umbrella. “A ban on trans hiatus. Corden recently told his son that as Corden too. The loudest voice in most circles, soldiers? It was abhorrent,” Corden says, “and a the punchliner. But he’s paying attention. soon as this London work was through the mass of talk show hosts stood up at their desks family were going on a fortnight’s holiday This morning he’s in a stew about British polito give a take on it.” The song and dance, the together: the first time they’d managed tics, the helpless circularity of a British summer top hat, the umbrella? “That was our take.” >>



anything so uninterrupted in years. “Max’s face,” Corden says, “it was beautiful.” Out in the empty studio, Corden’s script for the coming show scrolls forwards and backwards on a strategically placed monitor. Probably a teleprompter, somewhere, is practising their flow after some stern words about the sluggish rate of scroll during yesterday’s rehearsal. I catch glimpses of what’s written: a speech that Corden will deliver from his desk about the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, the disaster itself, the lacklustre political response to it. There are some properly rousing lines; also, scattered through, one or two jokes. We talk about this backstage. Corden says, “No, no, they’re not jokes. But you’ve got to have something” – lurches, surprises, emotional shifts, he means – “otherwise you’re just reading the news. Otherwise it’s just a lecture.” Afterwards, out in the studio, he runs through the Grenfell speech, varying pace,


JAMES CORDEN The Late Late Show team reading through scripts backstage, 17 June; (below, from left) guests Louis Tomlinson, Simon Pegg and Sir Ian McKellen waiting in the wings, 19 June

‘It doesn’t feel like a battle of left and right any more, Democrats versus Republicans. Right now, it feels like good versus bad’



hursday, two days later. We’re the hour, Evans seems to forget that anyyears after the restaurant approach, Cranston killing time in the low-lit wings one’s listening and he addresses Corden in came to watch Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway. The pair became of the studio, talking idly about earnest, personal terms. Be in the moment, anything – children, the charity James. Breathe. “James Corden is a force for chummy. When Corden missed some Late sector, the funny angle at which good,” Evans tells him, as if to contradict the Late shows for the birth of his third child, the Eighties pop star Matt Goss wears his hat. doubters. “I think you’ve realised that now.” Cranston kept his chair warm, appearing as In the car afterwards, I ask Corden what he One of tonight’s guests, Marcus Mumford, a guest host. Recently, when Corden was wanders over to take a selfie with Corden. thinks Evans meant. Corden shrugs. They’re booked to present the Tony Awards in New Mumford wants to send the photo to his friends. They try to support each other. If York, he emailed Cranston to sound him out about a cameo appearance... Before you say wife, the actor Carey Mulligan. “Carey’s just anybody knows about the fickle nature of a more, Cranston emailed back: “My answer’s woken up,” he explains. And, boy, the tempnation’s affections, it’s Evans. When he got tation must be great, very great, for Corden a kicking over his reinvention of Top Gear, yes.” Still a dude, still a gentleman, still a to make his excuses here. Peel away. Talk to Corden recalls, “I reached out to Chris. He got model to strive after. the rock star about his movie star wife. Even an unfair bashing there.” What did you say? I would ditch me for Mumford right now. “That it’s really, really easy for people to critihe pretaped dodgeball segment, Corden, gamely, hangs on in. What was it I’d cise. It’s almost the easiest thing in the world. the one with Michelle Obama been saying about the charity sector? But it’s fucking hard to have an idea.” and Harry Styles, is the viral hit About eight years ago Corden was on holiday Coming down in the lift from Evans’ studio, the team expect it to be, the talk in LA with his wife. He learned a valuable which is at the top of the News Building near of the morning after, 7m views lesson on this trip. These were the hinterLondon Bridge, I note that the headquaronline. When it’s first broadcast in the studio, land days of his early thirties, post-Gavin, ters of the Sun are directly below. Corden Corden chuckles as he watches, then winces. pre-Guvnor, and Corden, with time At one point, as the former first on his hands, had been bingelady of the United States overarms watching Breaking Bad. When he a bouncy ball in the direction of and Julia arrived in LA there was a pop star’s testicles at Corden’s Walter White himself, the actor behest, he wipes a finger under Bryan Cranston, walking into their each eye. Were you moved to restaurant. After some tense distears, I ask him afterwards? cussion (“Will I regret this, Jules?”) No, Corden says: itchy irises. Corden, who would’ve kicked “I think we made a nice bit of himself otherwise, shuffled over. telly there. Nothing more.” It “Excuse me, Bryan, you don’t know has happened to him, though, a me but...” Corden recalls. “He was bit of pretaping that felt in the amazing with me, adorable, everymoment like a stop-and-shiver thing I wanted him to be. I would event. Last year the Late Late have been the 20th or 30th person Show team convinced Sir Paul who approached him that day.” McCartney to record a special version of “Carpool Karaoke”, Corden’s relationship with the Corden backstage with guest Lily James, where the actor also recorded a in which Corden would drive public – as with that nebulous, segment reacting to posts from the British Problems Reddit page, 18 June the ex-Beatle around his old harder-to-clarify thing, public opinion – has not always been haunts in Liverpool. The result simple. Affection for him has lurched in wilder had been texting, humming Coldplay as the of that outing has become the stuff of lift went down, and when the doors pinged and more whimsical ways than with Cranston, TV legend. Macca sang “Penny Lane” on say, or any number of performers who tend open on the Sun offices he stiffened, waiting Penny Lane, Corden blubbed, 43m people to fix in the public mind as impressive or to see who would step in. Nobody. He carried clicked play. otherwise and then stay fixed. Corden has on humming. “You’ve got to try to take the When Corden looks back on it, the thing been garlanded, battered, garlanded, battered. criticism with a pinch, no, a bag of salt,” that sticks happened earlier, off-camera, It cannot always have been hilarious to have Corden says in the car. “And that’s easier or when they were getting dressed. McCartney, people shout “Gavin & Stacey!” out of car hard depending on factors that are outside Corden recalls, had had a small wobble. He windows. He could be short with strangers. of your control, particularly the thinness of wasn’t sure he wanted to visit his childyour skin, your frailties, at any one time.” That brief LA encounter with Cranston, hood home, too many memories. Corden Apply the same to his public interactions. Corden says, gave him a jolt. The senior actor had to insist if there was any problem they’d seemed so present during their interaction. The “Cranston Model”, which impressed just drive on. “I remember we were in this For Corden this would become the model to Corden profoundly, has taken time to become sort of walk-in wardrobe at the time. That’s strive after. Not to look to next week or last a habit. “I’ve only just become comfortable the moment I think back to. Stood in a cupweek; not to look over anyone’s shoulder. Treat with the notion – I would say in the last 12 board, wondering what’s happened to my months – that, OK, I understand the version what’s in front of you as “the thing”. life, if I’m here giving Sir Paul McCartney of me that people want to meet and I’ll give We’re in a radio studio when Corden gets a pep talk.” an uncanny echo of this lesson. He’s done them that and that’s all right. Cos it’s actually The Macca segment aired in June 2018. an hour on Virgin Radio, as a guest on Chris harder, it’s more work to be rude and abrupt. Corden thinks it’s the best “Carpool Karaoke” Evans’ show. The pair have messed about on And I don’t want to be that ‘Do you mind?’ they’ve done. It may well be that they won’t air, teased each other, traded stories from the person. I don’t want that at all.” top it, that their best work on The Late Late front lines of broadcasting. As he winds up A postscript to the Cranston story: a few Show is a year in the rearview. It’ll happen >>





‘We didn’t tell anyone we were doing Gavin & Stacey... We’ve seen too many people ruin what they’ve done’ Suit by Gucci. gucci.com. Shirt by Smyth & Gibson, £120. smythandgibson.com. Tie by Boss, £69. hugoboss.com. Shoes by ChurchÕs, £460. church-footwear.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 143


>> surprisingly often, following Corden

and we’ll know if it’s right.’ We’ve seen too many people ruin what they’ve done – for no reason.” A first full-cast rehearsal of Gavin & Stacey is scheduled for the coming Monday. Corden shivers. “I’m as scared about Monday as I’ve felt in ages,” he says. I remind him that, about ten days ago, he was doing loop-the-loops in an aeroplane piloted by Tom Cruise. “That was apprehension,” Corden says. “This is fear.”

As is often the way with Corden, an initial about, that he’ll strike a valedictory note burst of sledgey, firecracker banter yields, when talking about the show. Live on the through a conversation’s course, to someradio with Chris Evans he mused about his thing gentler and more reflective. He spent children getting older. Did they want to the weekend with the larger Corden clan. grow up in America? He recently signed on Malcolm and Margaret, siblings and cousins, to act in a Netflix musical opposite Meryl everyone round for Sunday lunches and Streep, because he “misses the camaraderie sleepovers. It’s been both lovely and hard, of being among actors”. He has a script for he says, re-embedding. It’s made him realise an HBO-ish drama in a drawer. The end of his all over again how far away here is from chat show run is likely closer than its beginthere. “My wife and I talk about it all the ning. “There is a feeling we won’t be there time. Every day we live in America and we forever,” Corden says. “What I can’t do is get oose, visibly relieved – even don’t get the 4pm phone call from home – used to the money.” his back looks happy – Corden ‘Something’s happened’ – that feels like a I tell him: you sometimes sound like you’re climbs a staircase to the top good day.” trying to talk yourself out of the job. Corden floor of a London restaurant and In the wings at one of The Late Late is tired, almost vertical on a sofa in his sits down. A week has passed. Show tapings I’d spoken to Malcolm Corden, dressing room. He answers obliquely, menIt’s 30C weather outside and he removes who told me that even when your son is tioning the playwright Jez Butterworth, a a smart, if rashly chosen, cardigan. He’s 40 you don’t stop worrying about them. It firework-like figure in the British theatre twinkly and quippy about the cardigan, may be that the son needs to be 40 before scene, who has given Corden advice in the about the architecture of the restaurant (“So they start to worry back. “Something’s been past. “Jez sometimes tells me, playing on my mind,” Corden ‘Don’t forget you’re a punk. You says, at lunch, “You told me the don’t look like a punk. But it was other day: it sounds like you’re a punk move to take on this show. trying to talk yourself out of doing the show. And it must Let your next move be a punk move too.’” sound like that. My reason for Corden wonders what that talking that way – it’s not just punk move might be. Something career ambitions, it’s that there on a smaller scale, perhaps. are people here, in England, and “Something that makes people they’re getting older. I want to go ‘Whaaaat?’” He can’t bear have time with them, once this the idea of hanging on too long, adventure in America is over. becoming the Arsène Wenger of That’s on my mind, a lot. Because late-night broadcasting. “But then it’s a long way away. And those the day might come and I might phone calls – ‘Something’s hapnot be brave enough. I’ve got to pened’ – they’re coming. None try to make peace with this idea of us thought, when we started, Corden with Michael Sheen before the actor takes to the couch alongside that if I walk away from this we’d be gone so long.” Paul Giamatti for the last Late Late Show recorded in London, 20 June show, there’s a chance I become a A stranger comes over to the question on Jeopardy. One people table, to interrupt. “Excuse me, struggle to answer.” baroque!”), about my dereliction as a jourJames, you don’t know me but...” Corden There’s significance in the timing of his nalist in being slow to follow him on Twitter. spins, Cranston-eager, to engage the man. decision, with Ruth Jones, to revive Gavin “I had to follow you first. I really made all They chat. They take a photo. Another stranger is encouraged by the sight and & Stacey. Jones has a bestselling novel out. the running there.” Corden’s got the show. “We would’ve hated The Gavin & Stacey rehearsal went well approaches too. Then another. And another. for Gavin & Stacey to be seen as something then, I say. “Sorry, James, I’d kick myself if I didn’t.” we’re reviving in a panic, over no longer “It was lovely. It was great. You’re revisOnly by the seventh interruption does the being relevant.” By bringing back the show iting a thing in you that’s been dormant strain start to show. Corden widens his eyes at me. He’s trying. G now, when they have other going concerns, for a long time. But it felt... right.” He can’t “We’re hoping it won’t be seen as this careersay more: wait till Christmas. So we eat, emergency, break-the-glass decision.” go for a couple of cocktails, talk about They first started pondering the idea of his coming holiday, the two weeks spent More from For these related a revival years ago, Corden says, initially abroad with the family before Corden stories visit GQ.co.uk /magazine holding off out of fear of spoiling something comes back to shoot the new Gavin & Stacey that had turned golden in the collective proper. That shoot will end in mid-summer, Stormzy: ‘If It Doesn’t Add Up I Give It To God’ cultural memory. Then they thought: life’s then he’ll climb on a weekend flight, back (Tom Lamont, July 2017) too short not to. “We wrote the new script to The Late Late Show studio in Los Angeles James Corden’s Crew: The Real-Life Entourage over Facetime,” Corden recalls. “I would and the first of next season’s 160 episodes. Behind ‘Carpool Karaoke’ get up at 4am and work with Ruth till it But the holiday is all he’s willing to think (Stuart McGurk, March 2017) was time to take Max to school... We didn’t about right now. “You need to carve out James Corden On His Late Late Show Success tell anyone we were doing it, certainly not moments of silence so that you’re still open (Jonathan Heaf, July 2016) to the noise.” the BBC. We thought, ‘We’ll do it for us



Grooming Donald McInnes using Maria Nila, Patchology, Bareminerals and Urban Veda Photography assistants Andrew Howe; Jake Newell




‘I understand the version of me people want to meet and I’ll give them that. I don’t want to be that “Do you mind?” person’

Corden with Little Mix’s Jesy, Perrie, Leigh-Anne and Jade after their performance on the second #LateLateLondon show, 18 June; (above) in hair and make-up, 20 June


From left: Kim Jones and Edward Crutchley, shot for British GQ in London, 21 March

M Y M E N S W E A R M E N T O R & M E Everyone needs a teacher. Even the brightest sparks benefit from the guiding hand of someone older and wiser now and then – and nowhere more so than in the fickle world of fashion, where newness is fetishised and competition celebrated. Now, a generation of clued-up collaborationists are changing things... together. Here, to celebrate this new era of interdisciplinary vision, we commissioned conversations between five of the industry’s brightest young stars and the establishment figures whose support and inspiration is being repaid in kind Edited by

Teo van den Broeke



Kim Jones & Edward Crutchley

From Central Saint Martins to Louis Vuitton and now Dior, their entwined careers have fostered a reciprocal relationship in which support and inspiration flows in both directions Story by

think from the very beginning I hadn’t really seen what I could actually achieve,” says young British textile maestro Edward Crutchley, 38, of his relationship with Dior creative director of menswear Kim Jones, “but then when we started working together it became quite clear. We both realised we could do really good stuff together.” Having first met in 2011, when Jones joined Louis Vuitton as style director (where Crutchley was already working in the textiles department), the pair, says Jones, “naturally gelled”. Both Central Saint Martins alumni and both standout talents of the British fashion industry, Jones, 39, and Crutchley are less master and student these days and more learned equals. They regularly share views and design aesthetics, and support one another in their respective practices. Now, working together at Dior – Crutchley is director of fabrics and graphics – the partnership continues in earnest.


Grooming Dan Gregory

Kim Jones: When I joined Louis Vuitton

we had three months to do a collection and we just worked. You’re always looking for new things and new ways of designing. You’re forever looking around the world to learn different techniques. No one else does that. Just look at the mother-of-pearl yarns and the dyed Japanese leathers in your collections... Edward Crutchley: Being able to see what you have achieved at Louis Vuitton and Dior and to feel like I’ve played some part in that is important to me. We work together at Dior now, so I see your success every day. KJ: You started your label a few years after we met and I always encourage you to express your point of view. You’re a technical designer and you actually know your product. EC: Yes. I don’t know if it was really understood by everyone else to begin with, but you always saw something in me. KJ: I know what I like. You would come up with ideas using different fabrics and I would just say, “No, I don’t like that.” And you didn’t take it personally, which

Zak Maoui

Photograph by

Nikolai von Bismarck

I respect. I like your slow and steady approach because, for me, that means that you’re going to have longevity in this industry. Things blow up in fashion and then get boring all too often and all too quickly. EC: That ability to edit and save things for future collections is something I learned from you. When I started I was more personally invested in what I was doing, so I found it harder to discard ideas. You helped me to create my own identity within my own brand. I understand when I should and shouldn’t do something. KJ: You look at everything globally, reference things and turn them into something different. There is no rehashing. You appreciate the craft and look at it in your own way. I am constantly learning new techniques from you. Things don’t

‘Our style is very different. If it wasn’t, there’d be no point doing a collection’ move on if you don’t look at previous ideas. Today, people call designers out about [cultural appropriation], which I think is important, but appreciating a cross-pollination of ideas and cultures [from] across the world is important too. Patterns from South Korea resemble those from Ancient Greece and that’s because the Silk Road connected everything. You’re aware of this and you bring it into your own collections. You think on a global scale. You have seen how I work, but you have your own style, which involves observing the world and taking it all in. Even your book collection is global – you even have books on rug making! EC: You are my biggest influence, though our style is very different. If it wasn’t, there really would be no point in me doing a collection. I always listen to what [you] say but if I know what I want then I’ll do it.

KJ: I don’t ever think of myself as a

“master” to you. We talk about ideas. I ask questions as much as you ask me them. We discuss business. There’s not much information about other people’s businesses out there – people are secretive, everyone thinks you want to one-up them. But, for me, that doesn’t matter. I’ll share my experiences with you and introduce you to people when I can. EC: I now believe that what I do is worthwhile and that has come from your support. Something I’ve really learned is that you don’t need to do everything and you don’t need everyone to like it. You just need to find out who you want to like it and then when they like it you know you’re doing the right thing. You’ve really taught me to be patient. KJ: You teach me new things all the time. You have to have the best around you. I had Lee McQueen and Louise Wilson as support. I was very fortunate. The people that make you believe are key. Lee was like a big brother to me. I met him shortly after college and he liked what I did and he gave me a great deal of self-belief. It’s not about financial support. It’s about being made to feel good. I wanted to make sure you had that. [When] you get criticism you have to contextualise it. I don’t expect everyone to like me. Yours is one of the few opinions I completely trust. I trust you with everything. You know about my life and vice versa. I’m fortunate that I had people to talk to, so why should it be different for anyone else? Grace Wales Bonner, Martine Rose, Charles Jeffrey and Craig Green: I support them all. You’re the same... EC: You’re extremely approachable and that’s something I’ve taken [on] for myself. I used to lecture at the Royal College Of Art and I’m still in touch with the students. If they want my advice, I will always help. KJ: You do things the correct way. And to top it off, you won the Woolmark Prize! I wanted to cry. I was super proud. We will continue to support one another. If I see something that I know you’ll love, I get it for you. SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 147



The young inheritor of British fashion’s politico-punk tradition speaks to Vivienne Westwood’s husband and creative director about being helped to find the line between base and beauty Zak Maoui Lucy Alex Mac

Story by Photograph by

atty Bovan is 2019’s answer to Vivienne Westwood. A Central Saint Martins graduate, York-based Bovan, 29, is making waves across the fashion industry thanks to both his eclectic aesthetic and his punky, politically charged collections. His ascent has not only caught the attention of international brands such as Coach – with whom he is currently producing a collaborative collection – but Westwood herself and her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, 53. The latter, the Tyrolean-born creative director of Westwood’s eponymous label, is among Bovan’s biggest fans and, in turn, his mentor-in-chief. “Emotional support is key,” Kronthaler says of his relationship with the designer. And although age might set them apart, any sense of seniority is soon forgotten, as Bovan’s influence on Kronthaler is equally impactful.


Andreas Kronthaler: We met at a dinner that

celebrated Edward Enninful’s arrival at British Vogue around two years ago. I thought you just looked great. We started to talk, you gave me your card and from there it is – as they say – written in the history books! Matty Bovan: That sounds much more professional than it was. I’ve not had a business card since! I did have some nice make-up on that night I remember, blue around the eyes. AK: I loved your card. I’ve got it on my mood board with some other lucky stuff. MB: We’ve done a lot of fun things since. I walked in your show in March, we made a campaign together. 148 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

[you were]. I checked you out afterwards and you were extremely inspiring. Looking at your work now that I know you, it all makes sense. MB: The biggest compliment is when people say they “get it”. It’s sincere. People are reacting in a genuine way. You get me. I’m often aware that I approach my shows in quite a different way and if people hate it they hate it. People say to me, “That had great reviews,” and that’s nice, but my job is to make something that I find personally interesting. AK: It’s a challenge. Not understanding something, but continuing anyway is a measurement of quality and skill. You do that. Embracing the mysterious is something I try to achieve. MB: Yours and Vivienne’s legacy is so big. What you are doing is spearheading the industry. In your last show the silhouettes were something that people had never seen. The way you put things together is exciting and it takes people a while to catch up. You and Vivienne have championed British manufacturing. That’s quite normal now, but 20 years ago it was amazing. A lot of designers just use the most basic fabrics, but I think you always do something super interesting and I can’t even work out how you’ve done it. And that, to me, as a designer, is inspiring. AK: There’s a lot of things that you do that inspire me. I react to the colours you use. I always look at colours. Colours mean something. Your colour palette, combined with the way your products are cut, is very stimulating. I’ve not seen anything like it before. You are very brave in this sense. It’s a very free-spirited experiment. Sure, it is very shocking to some. It’s extravagant and eccentric, but it isn’t forced. It has come from somewhere very deep. MB: It’s hard not to be gimmicky. I could do something super crazy, but that’s not desirable. My process starts with me making quite normal items, which each season get built up more and more to invoke a certain emotion. You see people come out of art school and they go crazy. There’s a fine line between disgusting and gorgeous. AK: We are inspired by each other’s work. We both work in a profession that is very visual. As you say, you look at horrible, shocking things, as they’re more stimulating than the beautiful. MB: Maybe it’s a British thing, but what you might think is horrible is still quite gorgeous. I think you and Vivienne have played with that and succeeded. AK: I always add humour to my work. It is something that has been overlooked,

but the natural thing to do is to make somebody smile. MB: You have to have fun with design. In fashion, people are very quick to say, “Next, next, next.” But you and Vivienne care so much about the process and I do too. When you both came to my show I was so happy. I needed that support. As fashion is a huge industry it can get overwhelming and I find it validating to talk to someone [about it]. People are obsessed with the next big thing. Talking to someone who is also passionate about the process is important for me. People forget how much work goes into a collection. AK: Everyone needs support, not only in fashion but in life. Vivienne was and still is a big mentor of mine. She invited me to England to help her work on a collection. She was my teacher and she liked what I did. I think mentors are very important as they are the people that mentally support you. We naturally always question ourselves. MB: I teach in Manchester and Leeds. I support the students, but they support me. It’s massively fulfilling and puts it all into perspective for me. They say things

‘My students present things in a different way. You never stop learning’ and present things in a different way to me. You never stop learning. I find it really rewarding. Working for myself, [teaching] gives me somewhat of a break and when I come back I’m filled with ideas. AK: Something great about you is that you work in York. You didn’t get tied up in London. I didn’t know about your teaching, but this is another aspect of you that is so enriching and inspiring. MB: The kids I teach ask if they can make it in London and I say, “Yes, you can, but it’s hard.” People think fashion is all about the money and, yes, we need that, but people have let it go to their head. It’s not everything. AK: This relationship is important. We meet up every now and again and we look at each other’s work. We give each other a great feeling of support and mentorship. MB: The older I get, the more I want to preserve everything I have. I remember you once telling me that what I am doing is super different. At big houses they can control so much of the design. AK: You’re self-employed. You’re not working for a group. You’re your own master. That is amazing.

Grooming Marie Bruce With thanks to The Wallace Collection

Andreas Kronthaler Matty Bovan

AK: I wasn’t really aware when we met who


FASHION MENTORS From left: Andreas Kronthaler and Matty Bovan, shot for British GQ at The Wallace Collection in London, 28 May



From left: Alexandre Mattiussi and Pierre Hardy, shot for British GQ in Paris, 10 May



Pierre Hardy & Alexandre Mattiussi First as teacher and student at Paris’ École Duperré and now as peers at the top of French fashion, the shoe designer and Ami artistic director recall a friendship that’s a class apart Story by

e’s kind of a father figure” explains Ami artistic director Alexandre Mattiussi, 38, of his two-decade-long friendship with eminent shoe designer Pierre Hardy. The pair met when Mattiussi began his studies at the École Duperré art college in Paris, where Hardy, now 63, taught in tandem with his design and draftsmanship commitments for fashion houses such as Hermès and publications including Vogue. Today, it’s as two of the French fashion industry’s biggest stars that they reunite at Ami’s elegantly industrial headquarters in the Marais district of Paris, studio rails full to bursting with the brand’s poppy new menswear pieces. The fashion school imprint is still there – ever the star pupil, Mattiussi breaks off halfway through their conversation to sketch from memory a line-perfect image of a Nineties Hardy silhouette. These days, though, speaking in class is very much encouraged and there’s much less talking shop. “We don’t really share references or work together, we just have a good time!” says Hardy. Bravo, monsieur le professeur.


Grooming Frédéric Kebbabi

Pierre Hardy: Our memories of first meeting

are probably very different, because there were a lot of students at the time and we were very few staff. At the beginning of a course you simply see the students as a big group, but you stood out. You were quite daring, a little bit cheeky. Alexandre Mattiussi: I was 18 years old and I’d just arrived from the countryside. In my first few weeks at the school you were my teacher for a course we had for three or four hours per week. I was obsessed with you because you were super elegant. I remember you had this red leather Prada jacket that we all loved. We were all so happy to have you as a teacher and I tried to make you laugh in the classroom. I managed once and I was so proud! PH: I didn’t see you for a few years after that because you went to Dior, then Givenchy, and you were working with other designers. It was really when you started your own company that we began

Jethro Turner

Photograph by

Arthur Delloye

to talk again and saw more of each other. As a teacher you never know if someone is going to succeed like you have. Sometimes you have an excellent student that doesn’t develop into anything special and other times you have someone who surprises you. You just can’t guess. AM: Twenty years ago there was no fashion on the internet. My class at Duperré was one of the final years without computers and I didn’t have one at home. We worked with photocopiers at the copy shop! It was the Tom Ford era at Gucci, it was a strong time for Miuccia Prada and the end of the Thierry Mugler era. And the question we were asking ourselves was “What does it mean to be a designer?” and we didn’t have the answer. We knew we wanted to invent

‘I tried to make you laugh in class. I managed once and I was so proud’ something new, but I was mainly just happy to have someone like you who gave me the strength and the energy to believe in myself. PH: It’s not at all like a classic “mentor” relationship. Firstly, because it’s always been hard for me to believe that I can “teach” someone something. You remember things I said that I don’t remember at all! We do probably share some references in terms of taste and fabric and colour and classic masculine elegance. Both of us are quite “French”. AM: I remember when you started teaching me I was already, well, not a fan, but I knew you had achieved certain things that I wanted for myself in the future. You had a very precise taste. You’re very good at drawing. And before going to school I used to copy your sketches. PH: People didn’t know that I used to illustrate for Vogue, but you did. So sometimes I was looking through student

portfolios and I spotted things I’d done! There wasn’t so much fashion imagery out there back then. AM: When I first started to sketch I was inspired by your sketches. At that time you couldn’t research things on websites. I had to buy magazines, which really inspired my line. I was always really inspired by the way you did shoes and by the way you wore your clothes. Then when I thought about the kind of clothes I wanted to make, I thought about the kind of man I wanted to dress and that’s you. PH: It’s weird to hear because you’re never conscious of it. I think I’ve been most proud of your shows, especially for the menswear, and some of your more iconic pieces that I then started to notice in the street. The show is a moment when a designer is projecting a vision and yours is always telling a story. It’s always interesting to follow the narration, like one novel after another. But I don’t feel responsible for it. I maybe put 0.01 per cent into what you create. AM: If there’s one thing I would love to see you do, it’s clothing. You’ve been such a specialist in shoes and accessories and at Hermès with the jewellery. And when I think about certain jackets I design, I know they’re going to fit you. So I would love to see how you would design a jacket. When I think of French male style it’s yours. You’re an iconic Parisian. PH: You are sometimes so daring it scares me. I know how well you’re managing because I have my own company. It impresses me because you’re so young, but there’s a real audaciousness about you. I’m much shyer! AM: These days I feel very happy where I am. I try to enjoy each moment because I was able to achieve a lot in a short time. But I also feel that it takes time to build something and find your way. You still inspire me, you’re on my mood boards, but when I was a student on your course I wanted to make you proud. When I showed you work and you said, “Mmmm, it’s good,” I was like, “Thank God!” SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO .UK 151


Vision and validation underpins a new collaboration between the most recognisable name in footwear and the award-winning young British designer who continues to shake up menswear Bill Prince Charlie Gray

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anaries-born citizen of the world Manolo Blahnik, 76, is the whimsically minded genius behind some of the most beautiful shoes ever created. Having collaborated with the likes of David Hockney, John Galliano and Rihanna, it stands to reason he’s now working with 28-year-old Grace Wales Bonner, breakout star of British fashion and 2016 recipient of the Louis Vuitton Fashion Prize, who, earlier this year, staged her own multidisciplinary show at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, featuring the work of artists, authors and poets she admires. Over three collections, Blahnik’s creations and Bonner’s spare, supremely focused silhouettes have restruck the balance between apparel and accessories, combining to assure their “May to September” collaboration works like no other. Manolo Blahnik: We met not that long

ago. But before that, I saw your first collection and I went mad because it was so strong. It was just your vision: completely different to what I had seen anywhere else in London, or anywhere. Grace Wales Bonner: I have always been a fan, but I did a photograph with Lord Snowdon... MB: Ah, poor Tony. GWB: His daughter Frances wanted him to photograph my collection and you had just started designing your amazing men’s collection. I also 152 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

to find people to collaborate with and that expands from writers to musicians to visual artists. So it’s quite cool and it helps me to understand. MB: I have learnt from your work because I learn from everybody. And lately I have been learning that what you do is beautiful. You have to revolt, you have to do something to break the mould, even if sometimes it doesn’t work, it’s not commercial or it’s an absolute disaster. You have to do that and you have done that with your own vision. GWB: I’ve learnt [from you] to be uncompromising about vision, but also to create a world that really reflects your values and who you are. I think it’s amazing to create something that really reflects who you are. I really aspire to be able to create something like that. MB: I don’t see myself as a mentor. I see myself as young! I’m fortunate I have got this kind of mind. To me, it’s a collaboration of joy. That’s all. Absolute joy. GWB: That’s nice. The moments that I am really proud of, that I get validation

‘I don’t see myself as a mentor. To me, it’s a collaboration of absolute joy’ from, are through relationships, whether through my peers or people that I really respect in my work. For example, for the Serpentine show I worked with certain writers I have always admired and being able to collaborate with them, work with them, and for them to understand something about me through that, that means more to me. MB: I think I [see our collaboration continuing], otherwise I would not even be here. Maybe we stay good friends in the years to come or maybe we don’t. I don’t know. This is life. But friendship for me is the most important thing. It takes me a long time to develop. I have 40-year-old friendships and some of them are dying. But I love loyalty and this feeling that someone respects what you do. This is important. In any culture, in any religion, in any movement: respect. GWB: Yes, I think respect is really important. To find people that you can understand and have common ground with, that for me can be quite broad. It can be someone from anywhere around the world, any age. No matter how young or old... it’s not important.

Hair Miguel Perez Make-up Amanda Grossman

Manolo Blahnik & Grace Wales Bonner

loved how feminine your shoes were, because my menswear is about beauty really and we hadn’t met at that point, so Frances kindly introduced us and I brought my portfolio and I showed you the photographs. MB: And I loved it to death. I said at the time I think I felt drunk for two or three days. GWB: It was really fun. We just laughed and we had a good time and it was really exciting. It is always such a pleasure to be with you. You’re always very fun and very passionate about making “colour storytelling”. It’s an approach we share, I guess: how provocative it can be. And also the boundary between fantasy and reality, these are things that really interest me. But, yes, the sensuality in the expression is super interesting. It’s kind of its own world. There are infinite possibilities that excite me. MB: You like extraordinary materials. You love glamorous materials and so do I. You like crocodile, beads, feathers, things that usually people do not think about it. You have this incredible sense of colour and sense of design. That’s what I loved about you first. I don’t have fashions. I don’t follow anything. But when I know somebody is going to be OK, I just know it’s going to be forever. And when I see this person it just really excites me. GWB: It’s been really encouraging to have someone who I admire believe in my work and encourage me and see something in it. To have that recognition so early in my career was really amazing for me. After my first collection I was starting to meet more people in the industry, but a few really important moments – such as the shoot with Lord Snowdon and meeting you – have been really pivotal. At different points in your life you just find your community among different generations and I think what I am doing has a different kind of spirit that doesn’t feel contemporary in some ways... MB: But it is contemporary! In your really short life you have captured something extrasensorial that not many people have now, or at least not many of the designers have. I mean, I could be wrong, but this is my perception of you. GWB: To me, collaboration is a really important part of my development and practice and I think that I always find new ways of thinking about things through finding like-minded people who help me to understand things from a broader perspective. It’s really important for me



‘It’s been really encouraging to have someone who I admire believe in my work’

From left: Grace Wales Bonner and Manolo Blahnik, shot for British GQ in London, 21 May



Virgil Abloh & Samuel Ross Following his recent BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund win, we spoke to Ross and the creative he once interned for about the transformative power of mentorship


Teo van den Broeke

irgil Abloh, the 38-year-old artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, first met Samuel Ross, 28, the Londonborn founder of award-winning fashion brand A-Cold-Wall*, in 2012, when Abloh hired Ross as an intern. Seven years later, both men have gone on to achieve extraordinary things, not least paving the way for a diverse new generation of superstar designers. But neither would have reached his current position without the encouragement, guidance and wisdom of their respective mentors: in the case of Virgil Abloh, Kanye West; in the case of Ross, Abloh himself... Virgil Abloh: I came across your account on

Instagram – I use Instagram like a phone book or LinkedIn – and I recognised your genius just by scrolling through six images. I must have direct messaged you. I do that to this day too. If someone has the right personality, I direct message them and ask them to work on projects for me. Samuel Ross: We met before you started Off-White in 2012. I remember you finding me on Instagram, but then contacting me by email. I also remember thinking that it was hyper formal. [Laughs.] We both come from a design background and somehow, with you contacting me via email, we both defaulted to “industry”. At the beginning I was helping you out as an intern. VA: I had to go through such a deep learning with Kanye West, my greatest mentor. I started with passion and you did too. That’s why your work has vigour now. I usually say to people who work for me, “Work on this project for three months.” I can tell if they’re just doing it to try to get somewhere fast because there’s no real reward at the beginning. When I started, I didn’t have the resources to make clothing, but I could DJ and I could do graphic design. The way I was working was with one brain and one laptop, but if I find someone – like you – who has a similar kind of brain then all of a sudden we’re producing double the amount of work, if not triple. I don’t use the word “assistant”, because I feel like that’s an old term for, like, carrying stuff, but I needed a “collaborator”. I consider what we do collaborating. One of the first projects we worked on before Off-White was bringing Hood By Air back... 154 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Photograph by

Vincent Flouret

SR: Do you remember how many we were

VA: You have to take a leap of faith. I feel

doing? Hundreds of graphics a day. We got into that state that creatives call “flow”. Ideas just kept going and going and concepts were continuously evolving. It was truly amazing, that period of ideation. VA: You were the first intern to work with me. You came to work with me when I was finalising my production deal for Off-White in Milan. At that point, Off-White only had one employee, the production manager. SR: I gave up everything to come and work with you. I understood I was witnessing the beginning of a zeitgeist. I read a lot about you and realised that your main motive was about contributing to this generation, so I was willing to take the risk. VA: I take responsibility for the creatives who work with me. After all, I was that. Even when it comes to paying people, I want to be the best. I know you need to be able to pay your rent. Whenever I take

like we’re reaping the fruits of our labour now. No two people were more surprised than you and I about my appointment at Louis Vuitton and about your runway show in London, but we saw the potential and the capacity in each other from the beginning. It was like the confirmation came from outside, but we already knew. It gives me belief that people can see the intellectual layer of A-Cold-Wall*, rather than you just being seen as the “hot new” designer. I don’t think our generation carries the same baggage as previous generations. I don’t see you as a black designer. I don’t see Grace [Wales Bonner] as a female designer. I see talent. I see shows. I see silhouettes. I see a narrative. I see storytelling. That makes a community. SR: I have a team of kids who hang around with me. They’re not interns, but they contribute ideas. Through the internet, the generation coming through has had more time to teach and train themselves. There’s a kid called Eastwood who I mentor. He had his first showroom in Paris, he’s just launched his first Converse and he’s at Central Saint Martins. He wouldn’t have been able to do any of that a decade ago aged 18. Passing on a positive mindset is important. The “each one teach one” mentality is key. It’s not about selfpreservation, it’s about growth and sharing. VA: Yeah, when I look at people I want to shape my career around – Dieter Rams, Le Corbusier – they’ve helped me move differently. They have confidence in their work and lack of confidence causes paranoia. I suss people out. I only work closely with people I believe are individuals. I don’t keep territorial people in my ecosystem. What we’re talking about is the emergence of a new period of creation. In 30 years we’ll look back at how us and the industry exist. We’re trying to make an earthquake, to make something new. Criticism is valid, but I’m more concerned with expression. For me, I’m not concerned with outside perception. I’m in dialogue with my own archive and body of work. SR: For me, a show and a collection is one facet of expression, but the bigger idea is to frame the next movement and the next idea. We’re framing a new age of communication and art – not just fashion. G

‘I don’t use the word “assistant”. I consider what we did collaborating’ on a project, whether it’s Hood By Air or anything else, if it doesn’t pay financially it has to add weight to your résumé. SR: Money is important, but it isn’t the end point. Even six or seven years ago, we knew we were part of a bigger painting. We were aware. We were just getting our brushes wet. VA: Part of my career so far has been about breaking down industry tropes that say what a designer should be: the designer who shuts the door, smokes a cigarette and has a reputation for being an asshole. In the beginning, I believed that’s who you had to be to make good work. I don’t look like a designer in the traditional sense. I don’t speak like that guy. Mentorship is about showing that collaboration is not a taboo and that you need a team to make it work. SR: I worked with you because it was a just cause. The main objective was to redefine the archetype of what it means to be a modern designer who works across a multitude of fields. That was the assignment.

Grooming Monica Bibalou

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Photograph Xxxxxxxxxxx

From left: Samuel Ross and Virgil Abloh, shot for British GQ in Paris, 19 January

‘Mentorship is about showing that you need a team to make it work’



Photograph Xxxxxxxxxxx

Classified ‘sublethal’, the rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades used by French police have nevertheless maimed, blinded and killed almost as many in the last six months as in the 20 years before the ‘yellow jacket’ protests began taking to the streets of La République. To investigate how and why our cousins across the water have stood firm in the face of authorised force that would shock and outrage anywhere else in Europe, GQ’s Robert Chalmers joined les gilets jaunes


Photograph Getty Xxxxxxxxxxx Images


I was there when police kettled thousands in the Place de la République. For two hours they lobbed in teargas grenades and launched baton charges ‘Acte II’ of France’s Gilets Jaunes protests took place one week after the first and resulted in clashes on the Champs-Elysées with armed police, 24 November 2018 SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 157


Most of us who’ve lost an eye were hit near the cheekbone or temple,” says Jérôme Rodrigues, “at which point, that section of your skull shatters. Your cranium is then reconstructed using screws and titanium plates. I was fortunate in that I had no skeletal injury. The officer responsible aimed directly at my eyeball, which burst.” He pauses. “Coffee?” We’re talking in the kitchen of his studio flat in a quiet village 25 miles north of Paris. Rodrigues, 40, the most engaging and articulate of the prominent gilets jaunes – he doesn’t appreciate being called a “leader” – hands me a grey object roughly as large as a roll-on deodorant: a 40mm calibre projectile from a weapon known as an LBD 40, popularly referred to as a Flash-Ball. Its rigid outer casing, weight (60g) and speed of trajectory (360kph) makes it absurdly euphemistic to refer to it as a “rubber bullet”. Rodrigues was filming on his mobile phone when he was blinded by an LBD in the Place de la Bastille on 26 January, during the eleventh “Acte”, as the gilets jaunes call their Saturday demonstrations. Acte I took place on 17 November 2018. The first thing you hear on Rodrigues’ recording is the launching of a stun grenade – the widely feared GLI-F4, which is packed with TNT and has blown off the limbs of several protestors. A second later comes the sound of the LBD discharging, a noise similar to the popping of a Champagne cork. After several weeks of accompanying the gilets jaunes both sounds are familiar to me. It’s come to the point these days that when I hear the word “Paris”, the sensual associations the French capital is supposed to evoke – the scent of Guerlain, Gitanes and the sound of the street accordion – have long since been supplanted by the astringent taste of teargas, fumes from burning car tyres and the scream of police sirens. “As you can hear,” says Rodrigues, replaying the footage, “just before I am hit I’m telling my friends to keep moving, so they’re not sitting ducks.” When Rodrigues falls to the ground, his mobile hits the pavement but continues to record. People call for the street medics – the 158 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

volunteers, mainly off-duty nurses, who tend to the wounded gilets jaunes. A woman screams. “They’ve taken his eye out,” somebody shouts. “His eyeball has gone.” Some who are unfamiliar with the robust methods of the Compagnies Républicaines De Securité (CRS), the French riot police, might accuse Rodrigues of paranoia when he talks about being cynically targeted. “They shot directly at my eye,” says Rodrigues, who, before he was mutilé (a word formerly associated with soldiers “mutilated” on the battlefield, it’s one you hear a lot when conversation turns to the gilets jaunes) had been working as a plumber. Even before he was shot, he had been interviewed regularly on television and with his then full beard, now trimmed, was already a unmistakable figure. “One shot,” he says, “one victim. At first the authorities denied they had even fired an LBD. Every discharge has to be logged within an hour.” By chance the veteran French war reporter Florent Marcie, famous for his documentary work in Iraq and Afghanistan, was close to Rodrigues when he was hit. “Florent was using professional recording equipment. He visited me in hospital. He said, ‘I don’t have images of the precise moment they fired at you, but I do have the sound.” The television channel TF1 broadcast his report. Twenty-four hours later, a police spokesman conceded that they had fired an LBD, but had “mistaken the time of the shooting”. Marcie, who has also worked in Syria, Bosnia and Chechnya, emerged from those conflicts unscathed, but while filming in Paris – three weeks before Rodrigues was blinded – he had himself been struck by a Flash-Ball, which blew a hole in his face an inch below his right eye. “Florent,” Rodrigues continues, “talked to me about working in theatres of war before he began filming us in Paris. It occurred to me that I’d never put those words together. War and Paris: two nouns I had never imagined I’d hear spoken in the same breath. I looked at him and I thought, what are you doing here? A war reporter? In Paris? What have we come to?” Rodrigues became the 20th gilet jaune to have been “borgne” (the French, unlike the English, have a special adjective to describe being blinded in one eye).

Macron ignored demands from the UN to stop using ‘rubber bullets’ and stun grenades

“Twenty-four people,” he tells me, “have lost an eye. Five have had a limb blown off. Thousands have been injured: their jaws broken, all their teeth knocked out. An unknown number have been shot in the back. What greater threat is there to a riot squad than an unarmed man or woman who is running away? Five people have been shot in or around the groin. One has had a testicle amputated.” The LBD (lanceur de balle de défense) is a high-precision, Swiss-manufactured weapon equipped with laser-pointer sights. Though categorised as “sublethal”, its potential to maim and kill, especially if pointed (as it should never be) at the upper body, is such that it is used in almost no other European country. The GLI-F4 stun grenades, which contain 25g of TNT and explode, before delivering CS gas, at a deafening 165 decibels, are also used only in France. President Emmanuel Macron and his minister of the interior, Christophe Castaner, have ignored repeated demands for the abandonment of the use of both weapons, from organisations including the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council Of Europe, Amnesty International, Greenpeace and Reporters Sans Frontières. At the time of writing, both weapons continue to be used by the CRS. The French government’s sole concession has been to say that they will stop using stun grenades when stocks run out. There are major misconceptions concerning the gilets jaunes on the north side of The Channel, I tell Rodrigues. Many in Britain believe that the movement has stopped entirely. “Absolutely untrue,” Rodrigues replies. “If anything, the anger is mounting.” (The day after we speak, there were 30 serious incidents of wounding in the southern city of Montpellier alone, one so severe that the victim was initially reported to have died.) In Paris, numbers of demonstrators are down since the government took the decision to close off the Champs-Elysées to the gilets jaunes every Saturday, but the outrage at the injuries inflicted by the riot police (who may be CRS or another force, termed gendarmes mobiles; both wear a uniform that wouldn’t look out of place in Star Wars) is finally beginning to be addressed in the mainstream news. The widely mistrusted CRS (which formed in late 1944, partly recruited from the ranks of the detested GMR, the force used by the Vichy regime to counter the French Resistance) are complemented by a group of plain-clothes enforcers, the Brigade Anti-Criminalité (BAC), who you see mingling with the gilets jaunes. The BAC, in their conduct and appearance, resemble nothing so much as the less conciliatory type of Millwall supporter. I tell Rodrigues that many observers in >>

Photograph Alfred Photos/Shutterstock




Rodriguez became the 20th gilet jaune to have been blinded: ‘They shot directly at my eye’ Former plumber Jérôme Rodrigues was shot in the eye by police armed with ‘sublethal’ LBDs. Before and since, he has been a prominent spokesperson of the gilets jaunes, 27 January


‘If you resort to using teargas, that is already an admission of defeat’ Anti-riot police armed with LBDs in Paris, 12 January; (below) war reporter Florent Marcie was injured by an LBD while filming a protest, 5 January



GILETS JAUNES >> Britain are perplexed about how a whole movement can have been mobilised by what is widely understood here to be irritation at the rising price of diesel. “What the gilets jaunes represent,” he says, “is universal. What are we asking for? For people to earn a salary that allows them to eat properly and put a roof over their kids’ heads; basic provision for the unemployed; an end to this obscene situation where people are left on hospital trolleys through a lack of medical staff; the abolition of extortionate prices for privatised gas and electricity. We have a word for this vision. It’s called humanity.” In the several demonstrations I attended, beginning in late March of this year, the common message from the gilets jaunes was not so much a questioning of their own disillusion with the French state, as bewilderment that the British – who they understand to be suffering similar privations in the form of food banks, deteriorating healthcare and charges for basic utilities – are not just as furious as they are.

Photograph Getty Images


aris’ Montparnasse Station, on the morning of 1 May, was the assembly point for a workers’ day march dominated by the gilets jaunes, where numbers were well in excess of 40,000. In a gesture that was unsporting even by their own standards, the CRS surrounded the gathering demonstrators, who were in festive mood, blocked off all exits, then teargassed us before we had even set off. (In the words of one retired CRS officer, speaking off the record: “If you resort to using teargas, that is already an admission of defeat.”) One of the people choking from the fumes that day was Françoise, a woman in her late sixties from the eastern town of Belfort. She told me that half her meals consisted of bread, water and coffee and that she was “frightened and ashamed” at the thought that her children might discover how she lived. In England, she asked, were there people struggling? I told her about the food banks. “Are they out protesting?” she asked. “Why not?” Some might be surprised to see someone of her age attending what promised to be a fairly intimidating event. “You don’t have to be young to be in the street,” she said. “And you don’t have to be in the street to get hurt. Look at that lady from Marseille.” (Zineb Redouane, 80, was killed in Marseille in December 2018; she was trying to close her shutters when she was struck in the face by a teargas grenade.) By coincidence, an hour after that conversation, I saw a group of middle-aged women who had chosen to while away the public holiday by taking drinks on their fourth-floor balcony and watching the gilets jaunes proceed

down the Boulevard du Montparnasse. They were interrupted when a teargas grenade – fired, you can only assume, by a CRS marksman blessed with a mischievous sense of humour – exploded on the side of their building, a few metres away from them. The massive deployment of riot police does seem to have put an end to the serious damage to property, such as the torching of Fouquet’s brasserie on the Champs-Elysées on 16 March. Such actions are usually precipitated by “black bloc” activists – young anticapitalists who have borrowed the tactics and sombre dress code from groups that have led protests in Berlin and London since the Eighties. At the gilets jaunes Actes in Paris, the black bloc represent a small minority. The gilets jaunes themselves are, with the very occasional exception, not confrontational, predominantly white but ethnically mixed, of all ages and comprising a fair balance of men and women. Their attitudes towards the sprinkling of black bloc activists vary, but most are sympathetic. “We see them as protection,” Rodrigues told me, “against the police.”

‘Twenty-four people have lost an eye. Five have had a limb blown off. Thousands have been injured’ In the weeks I was out with the protestors, the most threatening experience I encountered was to find myself in a group of gilets jaunes close to the Place de la Bastille and having to flee down a side street to escape around 20 CRS who were charging at us for reasons that were unclear. Street medics are singled out by the CRS: I’ve seen them robbed of their protective eye masks, verbally abused and, in one instance, struck on the head. In most cities, when things get intense, an international press card will get you to the calmer side of a police line. Here, it’s a matter of the mood of the officers in the cordon. I was present at Acte XXIII on 24 April, when the CRS kettled (the French use the phrase la nasse, literally “keepnet”) thousands of us in the Place de la République. For two hours they lobbed in teargas grenades, occasionally launching baton charges. Gaspard Glanz, a freelance cameraman sympathetic to the gilets jaunes, gesticulated at a CRS officer and was dragged away in handcuffs. It’s common for riot police to remove the unique identifying number they are required to display on the breast of their uniform. “Things

can get lost,” one said, explaining what had happened to his ID patch. I soon stopped taking along an eye mask: they are routinely confiscated by the police and there’s a general perception that wearing protective equipment makes you a more interesting target. I never wore a yellow vest at a demonstration (aside from anything else, even having one at a demonstration now enables the police to fine you ¤135 should they so wish) and, like most of the print media, I soon discarded my press armband. “There are two groups singled out for special treatment, the street medics and the media,” said David Dufresne, one of France’s most distinguished journalists. Dufresne is a leading authority on French policing and cofounded the highly respected French news site Mediapart. “People have had recording equipment smashed, memory cards snapped and have been beaten and shot at with LBDs. Reporters Sans Frontières has documented well over 100 cases of journalists who have had serious problems. The prevailing climate in the police,” he added, “is particularly hostile to the press.” The gilets jaunes are no angels: one afternoon in late May I sat in a café opposite the main police headquarters with the movement’s most prominent feminist activist, Sophie Tissier. Tissier, who has criticised some gilets jaunes for excessive machismo, showed me film of herself being slapped by a male comrade she had somehow irritated. Footage of the violence on the Champs-Elysées in the early spring speaks for itself. But in the time I spent on the streets of Paris, the only physical aggression I witnessed was dispensed by the forces of law.


he gilet jaune movement began on 24 October 2018, when Ghislain Coutard, a truck driver from Narbonne, south of Montpellier, stuck in traffic and angered by his conditions of work and, specifically, increased tax on diesel, posted a rant live on Facebook. As a choice of symbol the high-vis jacket was inspired. They are everywhere: since 2008 every French motorist has been required to have one in their vehicle. They’re cheap and – unlike black, brown or red shirts – are associated with safety and wellbeing rather than insurrection. Coutard was not a born activist and these days his Facebook page contains posts offering sports cars for sale and that clip of a dog playing Jenga. If there’s one thing that unites the current gilets jaunes, it’s a detestation of Macron and Castaner. The notion that Macron may deem it legitimate to teargas, beat and maim civilians is confirmed, in the minds of most protestors, by the notorious YouTube clip that shows the president’s then deputy >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 161


>> chief of staff, Alexandre Benalla, wearing a borrowed police helmet, assaulting a woman and beating a man on 1 May 2018 outside a café on the Left Bank. (Benalla was dismissed but was discovered, seven months later, still to be in possession of two official diplomatic passports and has faced no criminal charges.) “You watch Alexandre Benalla in that video,” Jérôme Rodrigues told me, “beating someone’s head in. He’s not even a policeman. What’s he doing there in uniform? And what’s he doing today? Strolling around, enjoying his life. Who is Emmanuel Macron to lecture me on morality? If you’re a good person, with leadership skills, your conduct and the conduct of those close to you should be exemplary. France has a president who does what the hell he feels like. This sense of arrogance and entitlement has seeped into national institutions, such as the police. There is no opposition other than us. And the media are on his side.” Macron and Castaner have remained stubbornly unapologetic on the subject of alleged police misconduct. On 2 June, Castaner’s deputy, Laurent Nuñez, was despatched to defend the government on the RTL television show Le Grand Jury. “We have no regrets about the policing of these demonstrations,” he said. “Just because someone’s hand has been torn off or a person has been blinded in one eye doesn’t mean that the police did anything wrong.” Before I ever met a gilet jaune, I’d developed an unflattering view of the movement, having read deeply unsympathetic assessments by French reporters such as Jean Quatremer. Brussels correspondent of the liberal-left newspaper Libération, Quatremer has described them as “a bunch of dumb rednecks... looters, thugs, anti-republicans, anti-Semites, racists and homophobes”. (“Me, an anti-Semite?” Rodrigues replies, when I mention this. “Here,” he adds, handing me a photograph of a prisoner wearing concentration-camp stripes, “is my greatgrandfather at Mauthausen-Gusen.”) It seemed odd that, give or take a spot of looting, having followed the movement on the ground over a period of months I never encountered any behaviour to support Quatremer’s view. I mention this to French television journalist Paul Moreira, head of the film production company Premières Lignes. Moreira, who has shot significant footage of the gilets jaunes, had just returned from filming an interview with Steve Bannon in Rome. In Moreira’s documentary, which demonstrates the American’s close links with Marine Le Pen, Bannon is effusive in his praise of the gilets jaunes, presumably in the hope that they could help him destabilise the European Union. The gilets jaunes are, said Bannon, “the most decent >> 162 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019



Photograph Eyevine

Gilet jaune marchers carry a banner depicting injuries they claim have been caused during police crackdowns of the protests, 19 January


>> and honourable people in the world”. His preoccupation with immigration, I suggest to Moreira, does not appear to be one the movement shares. I never heard the issue mentioned once. “In Paris,” Moreira tells me, “the far right was swiftly expelled from the ranks. From the start certain people were calling the yellow vests fascists. You get no hint of that if you actually go out on the street and start talking to them. Pretty much every time a journalist really engages with them, they develop a feeling of empathy.” That said, not every encounter between the gilets jaunes and press reporters has been so congenial. In Toulouse, in November 2018, Jean-Wilfrid Forquès was working for BFM TV. The channel is strongly supportive of Macron and Forquès had, accordingly, joined the march protected by bodyguards. He was obliged to take cover in a store. “Twenty people chased me. They were frothing at the mouth,” Forquès recalls, “and shouting, ‘Look: it’s another tosser from Macron’s channel.’”


n France, the most assiduous chronicler of the fortunes of the gilets jaunes has been David Dufresne. Addressing the views of Jean Quatremer, Dufresne tells me, “This attitude that the great unwashed are somehow not worthy of people like us: are they insane? I worked for Libération. That made me furious.” Dufresne has become the gold standard on the movement in general and on police violence in particular. It’s a peculiar development in that at the end of last year this writer (whose books include an insightful social history based on the Belgian singer Jacques Brel and a definitive history of French policing) found himself putting his literary career on hold, overtaken by outrage. “It happened late in 2018,” says Dufresne. “I’d been looking at these images of wounded gilets jaunes on the internet and... I was just staggered. They were so shocking – unspeakably gruesome – and yet absolutely ignored by the media.” “It’s funny,” I say, “because, as soon as you hear someone say, ‘You won’t see this in the mainstream media,’ you tend to dismiss them as a crank.” “You do, but on occasions I’m afraid it’s just true. So on 3 December I sent out the first tweet addressed to @Place_Beauvau [the official Twitter account of the Ministry Of The Interior].” (Place Beauvau is the address of Christophe Castaner’s headquarters, across the road from the Elysée Palace.) Dufresne scrutinised, documented and verified each instance of police violence. Each “notification” was assigned a number and, 164 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

where possible, accompanied by film or photographs, then tweeted to the Ministry. At time of writing, his notifications are approaching 900. Many of the pictures and video clips are, as Dufresne says, horrific. His refusal to embellish his messages with comment or opinion only magnifies their impact; “allo @Place_Beauvau”, the phrase with which he starts each tweet, has become a national institution. “My statistics,” Dufresne tells me, “have never been disputed. You know the figures: 24 eyes lost, five limbs blown off. Before the gilets jaunes, there had been 31 such instances since 1998. So Macron’s France, in six months, has mutilated almost as many people as in the last 20 years. Say that publicly and, trust me, you find yourself immediately attacked. You are ‘against the police’. You are ‘an enemy of the republic’. Untrue in my case. I want the police to represent the ideals of the republic. A duty in which it is failing conspicuously.” To meet the wounded mentioned in Dufresne’s numbered Twitter announcements

Zineb Redouane, 80, was killed when a teargas grenade struck her as she closed her shutters is an experience not easily forgotten. People such as Lola Villabriga (notification #159), now 19, who was shot in the face by a FlashBall in Biarritz at an anti-G7 demonstration on 18 December, resulting in a triple fracture of the jaw, which has required surgeons to reconstruct her face. “I was standing on a bench, filming the people,” the shy and softly spoken student explains, “when I was hit. I didn’t think that sort of thing could happen, not to me, not in Biarritz.” Vanessa Langard (#154), aged 34, tells me how she was employed as a carer for her grandmother before she attended a gilet jaune demonstration with three friends on the Champs-Elysées on 15 December 2018. Like most seriously wounded LBD victims she is now unable to work. “We saw the CRS,” Langard says, “and we thought we’d better keep away from them. So we walked away for about two minutes. Then I was hit in the face by a Flash-Ball.” She suffered a brain haemorrhage and, after multiple operations, still suffers from lapses of memory and poor co-ordination. She is blind in her left eye. “My friend thought I was dead,” she says. “She’s traumatised for life.” When Langard

first looked in a mirror, she says, she “burst into tears. I thought, ‘How are you going to live?’ It was horrendous. My dad was a fireman. My grandfather was a police officer. I didn’t attack anyone. I didn’t insult anyone. I just walked.” As she puts it, what she experienced, “goes against everything I was ever brought up to believe, that you should help people”. Langard, who lives on the southern outskirts of Paris, speaks to me wearing a baseball cap and dark glasses. Before her injury, she says, she “used to love jewellery and make-up. I don’t wear the make-up I used to and I don’t wear the kind of clothes I used to. If I’d done something wrong, it would be easier to understand. But I didn’t deserve this.” Neutral observers, as she remarks, “have said again and again that police shouldn’t use LBDs. Nobody takes the slightest bit of notice. We are like specks of dust. We don’t exist for them.” One to one, the CRS can be quite approachable. An officer told me, off the record, that the majority of his friends in the service had little appetite for the duties they are being asked to perform, “especially struggling with over 30kg of uniform and equipment in this heat”. Castaner’s Interior Ministry, at the last count, gave the numbers of injured as 2,448 gilets jaunes and 1,797 police. While it’s unquestionable that officers have been hurt, the notion that grotesque injuries have been inflicted more or less equally on both sides – one armed to the teeth and heavily protected, the other defenceless – seems improbable to say the least. The police, as any gilet jaune will tell you, are urged to report every scratch, bruise and even the temporary deafness brought on by the sound of their own munitions. “We are never offered a detailed breakdown of the seriousness of police injuries,” Dufresne tells me. “What is certain is that no officer has lost an eye or a limb. If they had, Castaner would have paraded them in front of the media as a matter of urgency.” Suicide rates among French riot police are now at a level that threatens to make 2019 the worst year on record. A report issued in April by one national police body, the DGPN, indicates that officers are killing themselves at a rate of one every four days. Thomas Toussaint of the UNSA Police union says that the suicide figures represent a “massacre” of officers who are working out of dilapidated police stations and who are inadequately supported, financially and psychologically. It’s common for CRS to get leave on only one weekend in five, a situation not helped by the gilets jaunes’ weekly protests. Demonstrators carry placards with slogans such as “Don’t Kill Yourselves: Join Us.”




nglish riot squads may be far from perfect, but the CRS looked, to me, like amateurs by comparison. Kettling thousands of people in a vast square such as the Place de la République, for instance, is a tactic that seems simply bewildering. The predictable result was panic and yet more violence. I was present, I tell Dufresne, at the closing stages of Acte XXV, on May Day, when the official march, heading for the Place d’Italie, was heavily attacked by teargas. A group of gilets jaunes, half blind from the fumes and suffering from acute breathing difficulties, fled into the grounds of a hospital, La PitiéSalpêtrière. As they approached the building they were chased and beaten with batons. Some entered the premises. Anyone unfortunate enough to have any experience of teargas will understand the impulse to enter a building that contains not only clean air but, very probably, medical staff and equipment. That incident happened at four in the afternoon. By eight o’clock, Didier Lallement, Paris’ chief of police, was being filmed at the hospital asserting that gilets jaunes had attacked gravely ill patients in a resuscitation room. “Actually,” says Dufresene, “three of them were there: Lallement, Castaner and Nuñez, his deputy. At 10.30 that evening I posted the first videos (one filmed by a nurse) demonstrating that nothing of the kind had occurred. These people were simply trying to escape the teargas. The next morning, television channels were still repeating Castaner’s version, which was pure fiction. It took them 24 hours to start asking questions and that is simply incredible.” Underpinning the riots of May 1968, which were considerably larger and more violent than the gilets jaunes’ demonstrations, there was at least a semblance of strategic ambition – if not a coherent plan – in the form of a fragile alliance between students and trade unions. That movement did appear, albeit briefly, to have the potential to overthrow the government, when Charles De Gaulle boarded a helicopter and fled to West Germany for a couple of days at the end of that month. The gilets jaunes, by contrast, are a disparate force unified by no more than a visceral dislike of the president and his regime. What they also seem to lack, by contrast with the rebels of 1968, is an intellectual dimension and, in particular, a writer, or writers, who believe the protests could mutate into a force capable of delivering real change and who have the wit and the necessary influence to deliver this message to a mass readership. Step forward, Juan Branco. His new book, Crépuscule (“Twilight”), a savage critique of the Macron government and a salute to the gilet jaune movement, is likely to be the work that defines this period. Crépuscule spent weeks at No1 in Amazon France’s bestseller

list. It has been downloaded, in various forms, around a million times and has had sales approaching 100,000 hard copies. Crépuscule will be republished as a Livre De Poche paperback this autumn. Branco is an improbable advocate for a populist movement given his age – 29 – and the fact that he was raised at the epicentre of French privilege. His CV is one that would be difficult to render credible in fiction. As a lawyer, Branco has served as a close advisor to Julian Assange and was formerly employed by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. At 23, he was an advisor to Laurent Fabius (then France’s minister of foreign affairs and previously a socialist prime minister), before completing a PhD at Yale. He represented his father, Portuguese film producer Paulo Branco, in the latter’s acrimonious dispute with Terry Gilliam following their doomed collaboration in the attempted 2016 incarnation of the film finally released last year as The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Juan Branco has also found time to report on conflict in the Central African Republic and has

Lilian, a 15-year-old schooboy, has not eaten solid food since his jaw was destroyed by an LBD achieved a top 20 world ranking in the professional sport of equestrian endurance. He is a regular at such dazzlingly unaffordable Parisian establishments as the Café De Flore in the Latin Quarter. As he shakes hands when we meet in one of that neighbourhood’s slightly more modest cafés, I get the vague sense that I am not dealing with a man plagued by self doubt. “I like Juan,” one French journalist told me. “Even if I do suspect that he sees himself as a cross between Che Guevara and Jesus Christ.” “I’m a traitor to my class,” says Branco, who attended prestigious institutions such as the Ecole Normale Supérieure and grew up in a house where the actress Catherine Deneuve was a regular dinner guest. With people like her around, “It’s as well, if you open your mouth, to have something of interest to say.” The lawyer, who, as well as Crépuscule, recently published another book, called Against Macron, has become the president’s Moriarty. “The gilets jaunes,” he argues, “are not so much about money as they are about Macron.” The president’s defining role, he believes, is as an enabler of oligarchs. “Emmanuel Macron is an arriviste. He was fascinated by the [privileged] world he

was trying to get into. Now that he’s there, he’s trapped. There is no way out for him. Even if his presidency ended today, it would be impossible for him to get a normal life back.” The gilets jaunes, Branco argues, “are about rebuilding democracy by allowing equal weight to all opinions and ignoring the power of vested interests”. Given that numbers attending the demonstrations are unquestionably down, I ask if he seriously believes France is at a moment of potential revolution. . “I believe so, yes. This is a lull in the battle. The important confrontation is yet to come.” I ask what form that revolution would take. (It’s hard to detect any hint of the usual signs of impending regime change, such as mass defections from the army and the police.) “I don’t know how it will happen, but I’m sure that it will. Someone needs to offer something to the people, something concrete. We need to avoid the mistakes of the Seventies: nihilism and violence that lead us nowhere.” Macron’s government, Branco believes, “didn’t want to give a political response to a social movement. Instead, they moved to repress it by any means possible. It’s a miracle,” he adds, “that there have not been more deaths.” On this last point, at least, few disagree.


n the first Sunday in June, in the Place de la Bastille, I join Jérôme Rodrigues, who’s taking part in a small march in tribute to the gilets jaunes who have been maimed. There are a few French journalists here: David Dufresne and his friend Christophe Dettinger. (If you really want to give yourself sleepless nights, you might visit Dettinger’s site lemurjaune.fr, which is composed solely of graphic images of wounded protestors.) Rodrigues, at the time of writing, is beginning a hunger strike, seeking to force Castaner to release an official police report – completed but withheld – into the shooting that blinded him. Some victims are still too traumatised to come out. Lilian, a 15-year-old mixed-race schoolboy, has not eaten solid food since his jaw was destroyed by an LBD in Strasbourg in December, as he was leaving a sports store where he’d been looking at football shirts that he’d heard might be on sale. It required a six-hour operation to rebuild his jaw, which at the time of writing is still wired together. His difficulty in readapting to a regular existence has been such that he has asked his family if they can move to another part of the country. The identity of the officer who fired the shot that ruined his young life remains, predictably, unknown. Jean-Marc Michaud, 42, has made the long journey from the Ile D’Oléron, off the Atlantic coast, by La Rochelle. He lost the use of his right eye at a demonstration in Bordeaux >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 165


vate flowers; now, like many here, he doesn’t think he will be able to work again. “Could the person who shot you have thought you were causing trouble?” I ask. “Trouble?” Michaud manages a smile. “I’m an ex-paratrooper. If I’d wanted trouble,” he adds, “I’d have gone with my mates – and lots of them. I was there with my wife. I could see the atmosphere was deteriorating and I told her, ‘Look, we have to get out of here now.’ We couldn’t, so we tried to hide behind a bus shelter.” “What does it feel like when you’re hit by an LBD?” I ask. “I can’t help you there. I don’t remember. I was in a coma for two days. What I can say is that it’s not a great feeling to have served as a parachutiste then get blinded by some cop.” A passing car runs over a Coca-Cola bottle, which bursts. Most of the survivors jump: Michaud a little higher than most. “Do you ever think about the person who did this to you?” “I do. I’d like to lay him out. I mean... I would like to see him brought to justice. And then,” Michaud adds, “I would like to lay him out.” Martin, 51, a Dutch citizen who prefers not to give his full name, was hit by a Flash-Ball in Nîmes on 12 January. “It was a planned massacre,” he says. He touches a faint scar in the shape of a cross on his forehead. “There is no skin or original flesh there,” he says, “for six square inches. It blew off. I was guilty of nothing. You may have noticed that the people who’ve been hurt are not militant or aggressive. We were targeted to discourage the others. What you see here today is proof of a war crime. It’s psychological warfare, to attack peaceful protestors. That,” he adds, “keeps the decent people, who represent the majority of the population, at home.” In Nîmes, Martin says, “Demonstrations are generally calm. But that day, when we passed police headquarters, we noticed snipers on the roofs. They rained teargas down on our heads. People made a barricade to protect themselves. Nobody threw anything back. When I was hit, the street medics tried to take me away, but when they did they were immediately teargassed again. When I got to the hospital, they had a whole room of empty beds laid out on the floor waiting for ‘injured gilets jaunes’. They were prepared. But how? And why?” I ask how this has affected his life. “The Flash-Ball is a terrible and insidious weapon. A real bullet can kill you, but if it doesn’t it leaves a clean wound. I have problems with memory, balance and concentration. I have chronic neuralgia in my face. The pain is appalling. I can’t work. I can’t sleep. Apart from that,” Martin adds, “I can’t complain.” 166 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019


n the Place de la Bastille march, Philippe, a middle-aged gilet jaune and electrician from the working-class area of Aubervilliers, in the northeast of Paris, who has seen me holding a voice recorder, comes over to ask me who I work for and why I haven’t got any questions for him. “Have you been wounded?” “Not yet.” He pauses. “Where are your mates from the British press?” he asks. “Where are the Americans? Pouring tea for Macron? If all this had happened in Caracas or Moscow,” he adds, gesturing towards the group of mutilés, “you wouldn’t be able to move for the English.” The only person here whose actions could be said to have contributed to his injury, albeit by recklessness, is Antoine Boudinet, a student aged 26, whose right arm was blown off in Bordeaux on 8 December. “My friends and I threw a few eggs at the police,” he says, “as a symbolic gesture. Then we went to have a drink. We came back to watch what was happening. This grey object landed at my feet. I thought, ‘Well, it’s a regular teargas

‘If this happened in Caracas or Moscow you wouldn’t be able to move for British journalists’ canister. It hasn’t gone off. I’m about to get this right in the face.’ I noticed it had a red band around it, but I didn’t realise that meant it was a GLI-F4 grenade. I didn’t know what a GLI-F4 grenade was. I picked it up and it exploded. (Film of the incident, which is not easy to watch, is on YouTube.) I could have kicked it,” Antoine says, “but if I’d done that I’d have lost my foot.” David Dufresne is warmly greeted by the gathering in Bastille, which includes Lola Villabriga and Vanessa Langard. The demonstration around the Catacombs at Denfert-Rochereau the previous day had been tense, as always, but relatively peaceful. There’s a general sense that, faced with the belated attention given by the mainstream French press to the mutilés, the Ministry Of The Interior and the police have shown signs of tempering their aggression. It’s taken six months, but the procureur de la république (closest equivalent: attorney general) has now announced that certain police officers may face prosecution for their actions. “If you’d told me even two weeks ago that would happen,” Dufresne tells me, “I would never have believed you. My feeling is that we have possibly staunched the haemorrhage, but

the blood is still flowing. This period is historically very significant,” he adds, “because this is the first time in 50 years that the French state has reverted to violent repression, rather than upholding law and order.” “Does the state’s treatment of the gilets jaunes,” I ask, “have any relevance beyond the internal debate concerning the ethics of French policing?” “A few days ago,” he replies, “I had a meeting with special rapporteurs from the United Nations. Pretty much every serious global institution, including the UN, has been telling France that they are screwing this up horribly. The French have always had a tendency to believe they are the centre of the earth. And so France has told these bodies, ‘We hear what you’re saying. And we don’t care.’ What the rapporteurs told me is that certain countries in the grip of ruthless dictatorships have begun to say to the UN, ‘You may not like the way we govern, but what we’re doing is no different from what they do in France.’ And that, I think, is very significant and very worrying.” Will the gilets jaunes be looked back on as a quirk of history or a radical force, capable, as Juan Branco believes, of altering the trajectory of French democracy? Certainly they have done nothing to boost the ratings of a doomed president who, when he sets out to attend a public event, finds that the police have, for his own safety, emptied the streets beforehand, so that Macron, touring in the presidential car, gazes out on what resemble ghost towns. The centre right could hardly be more broken than it already is. At the same time, it’s hard to see the gilets jaunes mutating into a coherent force that could appeal to a populist vote who are weary of the existing power structures: an achievement that Marine Le Pen, Steve Bannon and friends can deliver in spades. “Macron,” Philippe of Aubervilliers tells me, “said during the election campaign that we had to choose. He said, ‘It’s me or oblivion.’ Unfortunately, he gave us both.” “How can the gilets jaunes evolve?” I ask. “That’s not easy to answer,” he says. “It’s difficult to predict how this movement will develop or even to define what it is. I can tell you,” he adds, “three things that it is not.” A pause. “It is not nothing. It is not worthless. And it is not over.” G

More from G For these related

stories visit GQ.co.uk /magazine Emmanuel Macron Says France Needs A King (Eleanor Halls, May 2017) Marine Le Pen’s Ideas Won’t Just Disappear (Matthew d’Ancona, May 2017) The Story Of Brazil’s Killer Cops (Bruce Douglas, July 2015)

Photographs Getty Images; Reuters

>> (Acte IV) on 8 December. He used to culti-



If one thing unites the gilets jaunes, it’s detestation of Macron The gilet jaune movement spread to Brussels, where Belgian police used teargas on protesters, 8 December 2018; (below) a May Day rally in Paris, a year before the gilet jaune protests began, resulted in violent clashes with police, 1 May 2017



The Qasimi show 168 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019



Photograph Getty Images


For four days in June, London opened its doors, its arms and its runways to the world’s most exciting established houses (Oliver Spencer, Belstaff, Alexander McQueen) and a collection of new, fiercely talented young designers (Edward Crutchley, Charles Jeffrey, Samuel Ross). As ever, GQ was front row and centre, drawing a close to the myriad shows with a show-stopping dinner at Berners Tavern cohosted by Liam Payne. Here, we look at every step in the latest sartorial celebration in the capital. Notebooks at the ready... Teo van den Broeke Photographs by Simon Lesley, James Mason, Thomas Serre and Matthew Sperzel

Story by

It was Paddington Bear – the marmaladeguzzling, duffle coat-wearing fictional ursus – who famously said (by way of author Michael Bond), “In London everyone is different and that means everyone can fit in.” It’s a sentiment that applies as much to the fabric of our capital city’s social and political life as it does to that of our collective cultural life. In no other metropolis in the world is unbridled creativity so universally celebrated and, most importantly, so readily open to all. And nowhere is this sense of inclusivity more obvious than in London’s fashion industry. ondon, after all, has long been celebrated for being the European incubator for the world’s most searing fashion talents. Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Kim Jones and Sir Paul Smith all started their careers in this hallowed spot-on-Thames and they’ve all since gone on to implant sizeable footprints on the equally expansive landscape of international fashion. At the Spring/Summer 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s weekend in June, the aforementioned rumble of creative energy was palpable at the BFC’s new men’s Show Space at The Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane. A veritable feast of high-octane shows, presentations and parties, it was an all-out celebration of the best that London has to offer – an all-singing, all-dancing, all-pouting paean to the bold, brash eclecticism that the world first fell in love with when The Beatles and Mr Fish ruled Carnaby Street and Brixtonborn David Bowie made gender fluidity a thing. From the wistful workwear of Craig Green to the cross-dressing cosplay of Art School and from the haute sportswear of Samuel Ross at A-Cold-Wall* to the impossibly elegant tailoring of Alexander McQueen, there was something for everyone and, as a consequence, this 14th edition of LFWM felt more energised than ever before. “What London has over the other fashion capitals is a genuine sense of eccentricity,” says Dylan Jones, Editor-In-Chief of GQ and BFC Menswear chair. “What sustains it?



There must be something in the water, as the creative industries in London keep regenerating themselves week in, week out, season in, season out. London Fashion Week Men’s always benefits from a seemingly constant supply of new, young talent. All fashion capitals have their pros and cons, but people visit London because that’s where the talent is, it’s where the energy is, it’s where you expect to find transgression.” He continues: “Traditionally, men’s clothes have been accused of being less ambitious than women’s, but if you look at the talent on display in London you’ll see an extraordinary amount of creativity. There is probably more invention now in London than at any time in the past, as a generation of young designers starts to build real businesses and create strong, meaningful brands, with a keen eye on commercial success.” But what makes London’s creative output so unique? So special? For one thing, our fashion schools are among the best in the world. From Central Saint Martins – where the fashion MA course was once presided over by the late, great Louise Wilson – to the Royal Academy Of Arts and the London College Of Fashion, our globally renowned colleges and universities continue

Much of London’s creative brilliance must be attributed to its diversity

to produce extraordinary new talents year after year. “I think what makes London fashion special is a unique combination of the incredible access to British arts education, which has sadly been seriously eroded over the past decade, and London’s position as a melting pot of cultures and cultural experiences, which is again under threat, through Brexit and the related reactionary political morass,” says menswear critic at the Financial Times Alexander Fury. “I’m hoping neither of those will stunt the continued growth of London talents. The designer I was most excited by showing in London was CSM alumnus Craig Green – he’s an exceptional talent on the global stage whose work really is like no other. And he’s a product of exactly what I described above, a continuation of a grand tradition including Westwood, Galliano and McQueen. I hope he won’t be the last.” It’s a point mirrored by Sarah Mower: Vogue’s fashion critic, the BFC’s ambassador for emerging talent and chair of the NewGen committee. “The London fashion scene has thrived on openness, inclusivity and community since long before any of those terms became buzz phrases. That’s because Britain’s secret asset is its art schools – where all forms of expression are encouraged but to be seen copying what’s already in the market is regarded as social death,” says Mower. “I stepped in to raise awareness that these doors to education should continue to be kept open wide to all classes and incomes when university fees came in... I can tell you that some of the most exciting creative thinkers and activists are now in education. I predict they’re going to help the industry reshape itself – provided the industry is wise enough to learn from them.” Much of London’s creative brilliance, however, must also be attributed to its extraordinary diversity. In the 2011 census it was shown that only 45 per cent of the capital’s population defined itself as “white British”, with 37 per cent of residents born outside of the UK. It’s this unique plurality that makes London so special – and it’s a plurality we must fight to protect. London has long been a city within which people of all races, colours, creeds, genders and sexualities have been both welcome to live and safe to express themselves and the British fashion industry is a microcosm of that multifaceted diaspora – living proof that it can succeed and thrive. From the pan-African influences in Grace Wales Bonner’s work to the bonkersly brilliant gender fluidity of Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, if London is the world’s melting pot, then our great capital’s fashion industry is surely the seasoning.

Photographs Getty Images




The Charles Jeffrey Loverboy show

The E Tautz show

Tinie Tempah and Jovanna Renee

One of the greatest things about LFWM is the fact that the schedule allows this country’s more established brands, such as Belstaff and E Tautz, to rub (perfectly tailored) shoulders with more youthful fashion forces, such as Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Art School.

The Belstaff presentation

The HLA x AEX show Richard Biedul and Robert Konjic

The A-Cold-Wall* show

The Art School show

Heritage meets modernity


Eric Rutherford, Joe Ottaway, Jim Chapman, David Gandy, Eric Underwood and Jack Guinness

The Iceberg show

Dylan Jones and Liam Payne

Hot ticket

Season after season, year in, year out, London Fashion Week Men’s welcomes the greatest design talents the world has to offer and with them some of the most celebrated names both in and out of the industry. From Martine Rose and Craig Green to David Gandy and Liam Payne, never has the term “melting pot” been more appropriate.

The Martine Rose show The Liam Hodges show

The Craig Green show Oliver Cheshire The Jordan Luca show Jim Chapman



Alexander McQueen

British house Alexander McQueen made a welcome return to the LFWM schedule for SS20 – not least because creative director Sarah Burton’s collection for the brand was so ridiculously beautiful: think surgically tailored dress suits with in-built sashes and heavily embroidered jackets that would have made Liberace blush.

The Craig Green show


James Long and Charlie Casely-Hayford

Carlo Sestini

Party town

From the GQ closing dinner – this year cohosted by EditorIn-Chief Dylan Jones and Liam Payne at Berners Tavern – which always draws the capital’s brightest stars, to other events peppered across the schedule, evenings at London Fashion Week Men’s are all but sedate.

Street art at LFWM

Marcus Butler

Nick Grimshaw, Meshach Henry, Jonathan Heaf and Kelly Osbourne Maya Jama

The Münn show

Eric Rutherford

The Martine Rose show

The Nicholas Daley show



Craig Green

Young British superstar designer Craig Green was back to his usual haute workwear tricks for his Spring/Summer 2020 collection, shown on the Monday of LFWM. Delicately quilted jackets, papery layers and embroidered co-ords made for a wistful, elegiac show.




Samuel Ross, the 28-year-old creative director behind arch-streetwear brand A-Cold-Wall*, was awarded the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund in association with JD.com during LFWM. The judging panel chose him for his clear vision and hyperspecific aesthetic, as demonstrated in his SS20 show.



LFWM The Bianca Saunders show

Oliver Spencer, Debbie Hull and Bill Prince

Adwoa and Charles Aboah

The Iceberg show

The Iceberg show

The St James’s show

The University Of Westminster show

Creative energy

There is no other fashion capital in the world that both celebrates and produces unbridled creativity with the same vigour as London. Not least because so many figures from all industries come out season after season to support it.

Dermot O’Leary

Jimmy Q

Luke Day


Men for men

According to market researcher Mintel, the menswear industry in the UK is worth an extraordinary £15.9 billion. Men are shopping more than ever before and, as such, LFWM has never been so important.

The Oliver Spencer show The Fashion East show

Russell Tovey, Teo van den Broeke and Ben Cobb The Michiko Koshino show

The Lou Dalton show

The Jordan Luca show

Caroline Rush and Harold Tillman Hu Bing

Rafferty Law



Photograph Xxxxxxxxxxx Photographs Getty Images

Oliver Spencer Oliver Spencer is always among the more reliable stalwarts of the LFWM schedule and his SS20 collection was a greatest hits of all the wardrobe staples he does so consistently well. Inspired by the Wong Kar-wai film In The Mood For Love, elegant wraparound suits and slick judo pants afforded the offering an Asiatic flavour. G



Sleepbuds by Bose Small in-ear buds that play relaxing sounds – from “warm static” to “campfire” to “shower” – in your ears to block out unwanted noise through the night.

Somneo Sleep And Wake-Up Light by Philips “Light therapy” bedside lamp that mimics the rise and fall of the sun to send you to sleep and gently wake you.

HR Sport watch by Withings Tracks your sleep cycles, heart rate, snoring and breathing disturbances.

Sleep tracker by Oura Ring Tracks your pulse to provide a detailed breakdown of your light, deep and REM sleep throughout the night.


Model James Wilson at Milk Management Grooming Jess Summer using Maria Nila and Too Faced

Sleep Robot by Somnox Simulates breathing at a healthy rate and syncs with yours. An upcoming update will use its CO2 sensor and accelerometer to sense users’ breathing rate.


SLEEP Get your head down and boost your wellbeing with the latest nighttime tech solutions

Weighted blanket by Mela Comfort Uses quartz-glass micro-pellets to re-create the feeling of being swaddled as a baby.


The Western world is currently undergoing an epidemic of poor slumber – fuelled by everything from auto-play streaming services to the rise in millennial anxiety. And yet, new and alarming research is telling us more than ever about its dangers, from higher rates of heart disease to doubling our risk of cancer. But now, coming to the rescue of generation woke is a £100 billion sleeping giant, as tech titans and start-ups repackage rest as the ultimate wellness treatment. After centuries spent laying claim to our waking hours, capitalism is coming for our sleep Story by

Stuart McGurk

Photograph by

Ben Riggott



n a Wednesday afternoon, in a darkened room on the ground floor of the vast PricewaterhouseCoopers building on the bank of the Thames, sleep expert Dr Guy Meadows took to the stage and set about giving the crowd nightmares. He started, in fairness, with a joke. “If you are feeling tired today,” said Meadows to the hundred or so PwC employees, “this is probably the one talk where it’s perfectly OK to have a good nap.” The crowd chortled. Sleep experts don’t have too many jokes in their locker, but this was a hardy perennial and Meadows – a slight man with excitable eyebrows and the forced bonhomie of a stage hypnotist – explained he was the cofounder of The Sleep School. It had programmes for schools and parents, he said, but today was its increasingly popular “professional” programme – for businesses. The past decade, he said, had seen a “tidal wave” of new research all showing the multifaceted importance of sleep to human performance and so he set about explaining how they could use it to – quite literally – sleep their way to the top. Sleep research is often only defined in the negative – there’s no benefit to sleeping more than you need (actually, it’s often bad for you) – so Meadows began to explain the mental and physical catastrophes in store if you slept less. First, weight. In the past six years, he said, researchers had found that cravings for junk food increases 45 per cent for the underslept. Lack of sleep swells the hormone for appetite and, worse, limits the hormone for satisfaction, so we don’t feel full even after eating. The result: “We don’t know when to stop eating.” He moved on. In the past seven years, he said, researchers discovered that cerebrospinal fluids were pushed up during the night in order to wash out all the toxins the brain created by thinking during the day. The degradation of this process – naturally with age, unnaturally by simply sleeping less – dramatically increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Two women next to me shared a glance. Finally, stress management. “Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘getting out of the bed on the wrong side’?” he asked the crowd. They had. Research found that your stresses through the day are replayed during REM sleep at night (as dreams), but with the stress hormones switched off. “So it allows us to take perspective and reset ourselves emotionally.” Far from simply being something you did in order not to feel tired, sleep was the ultimate wellness cure. As Meadows put it on stage, “It’s the most powerful performance enhancer known to humankind!” The assembled PwC staff had completed a survey: they wanted to know how sleep could 182 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

help them get ahead at work. Most said they wanted to increase their attention to detail (sleep, naturally, was good for that). Many wanted to increase their problem-solving (“Have you heard the expression ‘sleep on it’?” Meadows asked. They had). Meadows mentioned cutting-edge advances currently taking place and how they could help at work too. In the US, he said, researchers were looking to develop technology within the next decade that would let us interact with our dreams (“Assisting things like problem-solving”). With other advances, “You could merge into someone else’s dream,” like video-conferencing. For now, the solutions were more prosaic. Caffeine (none after midday), alcohol (not too much) and any form of screen (the blue light makes our brains think it’s daytime; try to have at least a half-hour break before bed) were bad. A regular sleep routine: good. “But I don’t want to scare you!” he insisted. This was true. Of that tidal wave of recent

‘Sleep is the most powerful performance enhancer known to man’ research, some results were far worse. He didn’t tell them, for instance, that routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours so demolishes your immune system that it doubles your risk of cancer; or that regular short sleeping also increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming brittle and blocked, leading to cardiovascular disease, strokes and congestive heart failure; in the spring, when most people lose an hour’s sleep due to daylight savings, the rate of heart attacks increases by a quarter. The less you know about the effect on your sex drive the better. Put simply: the less you sleep, the less you live. Devotees of the mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” will likely get their wish. Diet and exercise are commonly thought to have the biggest impact on health, but the reality is it’s not even close. If you’re missing sleep to get up for the gym, you’d be better off staying in bed. And yet, as Meadows put it on stage, “Tiredness is now the new norm.” Of his

audience alone, 35 per cent said they weren’t satisfied with their sleep (the national average is much higher: 63 per cent). They got, on average, six-and-a-half hours’ sleep a night (the national average is six hours and 19 minutes). More than half of the employees said they don’t wake up refreshed. As our attention economy reaches its nadir, we live in a world that demands our gaze and keeps it as long as it can. Take your pick from the dopamine rush of social media, the endless scroll of the internet, the auto-play of streaming services, an always-on work culture or the steep rise in anxiety: the end result is the same. We’ve never known more about the impact of sleep and yet we’ve never slept less. We are permanently entertained. On stage, Meadows said the UK was undergoing a nationwide “sleep deprivation experiment”. But it’s not just us. In developed nations, two-thirds of adults don’t get the recommended eight hours. The problem is so acute that in 2017 the World Health Organization declared it a global “sleep-loss epidemic”. And so, recently, something else has happened too, of which Dr Meadows’ Sleep School was part. Into this world of late-capitalism sleeplessness, business has seen the money to be made in helping us sleep. We now have all manner of sleep gurus and sleep clinics, corporate classes and sleep retreats. Whole holidays exist for you to be unconscious as much as possible. We can track our sleep via apps and mats and rings that rank and rate our sleep. We can enhance it by white noise and pink noise and possibly some other colours too. Mattress companies were suddenly tech start-ups. Tech start-ups were suddenly mattress companies. There are high-tech pillows and mood-altering blankets and “smart” pyjamas endorsed by NFL stars. One mattress scolds you for not lying on it enough. There are bestselling sleep books, dedicated sleep magazines and a sleep podcast – Sleep With Me, now downloaded around two million times a month – that hopes you’ll miss how it ends. It is an industry now estimated to be worth more than £100 billion, around the same value as the entire creative industry to the UK. Finally, and perhaps inevitably, after centuries of simply concentrating on our waking hours, capitalism is coming for our sleep.


efore he became a secret weapon of Manchester City and Liverpool – and specifically the most recent season that saw them both come close to 100 points in the Premier League along with bagging every cup between them – Nick Littlehales was in the mattress game.


SLEEP He considered it “complete nonsense” and so was pondering a midlife crisis until he fell into football. The Slumberland factory where he worked was in Oldham. The company ended up sponsoring Oldham Athletic and before he knew it, “Suddenly I’m standing in rooms with Alex Ferguson.” Littlehales had always been fascinated by the sleep researchers he worked with, but he felt frustrated too: they only focused on the clinical side. Littlehales, knowing the importance of marginal gains in elite sport, wondered why that knowledge couldn’t be used in football. In 1998, he sent Ferguson a letter and, to his surprise, Ferguson replied. “Nobody else would have,” he says. “But it happens to be Alex Ferguson. He had a mind-set for it. They were pushing the boundaries.” His first task was centre-back Gary Pallister, who was struggling with chronic back injures. The club were pondering spinal surgery, but Littlehales diagnosed the problem: his mattress was too soft. The new mattress didn’t cure it, “but it helped enormously”. Impressed, the club set him up in the players’ lounge one day so that any of the squad could ask for his advice. The only one who did: winger Ryan Giggs, then 25. “And he was fascinated. He was one of the very early adopters of what we now class as recovery.” Littlehales went to Giggs’ home. He changed the ambient light in his bedroom (too much), the size of his mattress (too small: Littlehales contests that, evolutionarily speaking, humans aren’t meant to sleep together, but allows a super king if we must) and got rid of the bedroom TV. Most crucially, Littlehales had come to realise that simply prescribing the usual eight hours to footballers was pointless: with their changing schedules and kick-off times they hardly ever got it. Instead, he spoke to Giggs about 90-minute “recovery periods” he could take after training sessions. Or, as we know them, naps. “Did he take it on board?” Littlehales asks rhetorically. “Well, he could still play for a Premier League team now.” (Giggs finally retired in 2014, aged 40, as Manchester United’s record appearance holder.) After consulting with Giggs it wasn’t long before Ferguson was ordering Littlehales to clear out a room at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground so the players could nap between sessions. The coaches noticed the improvement instantly. Littlehales eventually left Manchester United in 2013, when Ferguson retired. He consulted for Real Madrid, with mixed results. Cristiano Ronaldo was an enthusiast. “He’s on Instagram all the time, talking about his 90-minute naps,” says Littlehales.

He also turns off every screen in his house 90 minutes before bed. Gareth Bale, who had just joined the club, less so: “We had a chat, but nothing came of it. And where is he now?” The only Premier League clubs Littlehales currently consults with are Liverpool, who this year finished second in the Premier League and won the Champions League, and Manchester City, who won the Premier League plus both domestic cups. When Manchester City were planning their new £200 million training complex in 2014, they worked with Littlehales on it and the result was a state-of-the-art “recovery performance centre, not just a performance centre”. For the first time in Premier League history players would sleep overnight at their base before a home game. It halved Manchester City’s use of hotels. And as Littlehales would tell them, “Any time a human stays in a hotel their recovery is reduced by 40 per cent.” (This is also down to evolution: researchers

Devotees of the mantra ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ will likely get their wish think the new environment causes part of our brains to be on guard against potential threats, hence a worse night’s sleep.) He goes back every year, he says, to “snag” – to see what can be improved further still. Tottenham Hotspur have since joined them, adding a “Lodge” with 40 sleep rooms last year, but Littlehales is dismissive of their efforts: “Tottenham have made some changes, some investment, here, there and everywhere. But I also know they’re not doing it with any great thought.” When Jürgen Klopp joined Liverpool in 2015, meanwhile, Littlehales was one of his first calls. Littlehales was horrified by where the team stayed for away games in London – “The St Pancras [Renaissance] Hotel! It’s a bloody train station!” – and so moved them three miles away to a Travelodge. It was less glamorous, but he could kit it out to their exact specifications. “So we spend the same amount of money – but not on the facility, on our impact on it.”

His most recent innovation has seen him recommend to Klopp that training sessions should take place at the same time as the kick-off of their next match, in order to sync the players’ body clocks. He worries constantly about chronotype: the hard-wired sleep cycle of each person that either defines you as a lark (a morning person), an owl (an evening person) or somewhere in the middle (no one has come up with an animal for this yet). He’ll suddenly realise, for instance, the entire back four for an upcoming game are all owls, but the kickoff is at 12.30pm. Nightmare! “The defence is still asleep!” As for next season, there is even more work to be done. Last year he also started advising unfashionable Norwich City in the EFL Championship (“Another German coach,” he points out). They duly won the league, gaining promotion, and Littlehales is delighted to note their first Premier League fixture is away to Liverpool – the battle of the incredibly well slept.


n his time, Littlehales has consulted for all manner of sporting organisations, including the England national team and British Cycling, and yet it was only with the publication of his book about sleep in 2016 (titled, simply, Sleep) that people outside sport have started taking notice. “For virtually 22 years,” he says, “nobody has cared. It’s been lonely out there, way out in front of something.” Littlehales now works with the police, the NHS, airline pilots, the fire service and several universities. Just don’t get him started on his rival experts: “There’s so much crap out there now! There’s people who do hypnotherapy who’ve become sleep coaches. There’s people who used to sit in sleep clinics in universities who’ve come out and started writing books. All this stuff going on trying to get into this trillion-dollar black hole of sleep.” When he talks to footballers now, he says, he realises the work has changed. At the start it was simply marginal gains – better recovery, performance, mood, motivation, stamina – from people who mostly slept well. But now the problem is to get them to sleep in the first place. “The latter years it’d been about protecting people. It’s not the blue light from screens. It’s the information overload. That’s what messes with your brain.” And so Littlehales, who often camps in his own garden if he has trouble sleeping, has come up with a remarkably low-tech solution: the players should start camping too. “People say, ‘What do you call that, Nick? Mindfulness? Mind resilience? Joe Wicks’ new body coaching [or] whatever?’ No, it’s >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ. CO.UK 183


>> just human beings are designed to sleep outside with the sun going around our planet. I’m just connecting the two things up. So let’s just pitch our tents, because you’re going to get better recovery, mate. ‘Really?’ they say. Yeah. Champions League final coming up? Get the tents in the car park.”


f you want to isolate a time when the idea of wellness began to dominate our culture, you could do worse than point to the 2008 financial crisis. In a few short months an entire generation felt their grip on the future slip. Jobs became scarce, before scarcely becoming jobs. Zero hours became the new nine to five. Suddenly, nearly everyone needed a side hustle and nearly everyone else needed to be told what one was. Property became a pipe dream. Social media showed them what they didn’t have. Generation Anxious was born. Headspace, the digital health and meditation platform launched by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, arrived in 2010 to calm worried minds and make a buck while doing so. It’s currently worth £255m. Relaxation app Calm joined the party in 2012 and launched a “Sleep Stories” section in 2016, many of which are read by celebrities. You can currently listen to Matthew McConaughey say things such as, “How often do we ponder the depth of the present moment?” It is currently valued at £787m. If millennials couldn’t control the world around them, then maybe they could at least manage how they felt about it. On a recent spring afternoon I took a short Tube ride to Highbury & Islington, London, and to the attic room of a top-floor Victorian flat that overlooks the train station and acts as the headquarters of Mela Comfort, the weighted-blanket start-up founded in late 2017 by university friends Samuel Hochland, 30, and Matthew King, 29. The room (Hochland and his girlfriend live below) consists of a sofa, a desk and a whiteboard with things like “Offer value!!!” and “Final Amazon launch” and “Podcasts!!!” written on it. A well-thumbed copy of the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson sat in the corner. Hochland, who brings to mind a young Steve Buscemi, explained that he and King had been looking to start a business in the booming area of sleep when they came across the 2017 Kickstarter campaign of a US startup called Gravity. The company seemed to be offering something magical: a weighted blanket that would “treat sleep, stress and anxiety”. Its goal was £17,000; it raised more than £3.5m. The only problem was it couldn’t deliver. A Facebook group sprang up (Anti Gravity Blanket: “The ‘waited’ blanket that creates stress and anxiety because it doesn’t ship”) and threats of legal action followed. 184 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

The idea of a weighted blanket wasn’t technically new: over a decade earlier, parents had discovered autistic children would finally settle if they had extra weight on them and so started sewing pennies into duvets. It’s the same science, everyone in the weightedblanket business will tell you, behind why you swaddle a baby. It’s like being held tightly. Only now the target market had changed: it was anxious millennials who required swaddling to sleep. Hochland was sceptical at first: “How can something so low-tech have such a profound effect on people?” But he soon came around when his girlfriend, who suffers from panic attacks, used one for the first time and found it was the only thing that had ever helped her (“She said, ‘This is a game-changer for me’”). They knew how much Gravity’s blanket cost to make (not much) and felt they could make a better one, cheaper (Steve Jobs’ mantra: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is

‘Ronaldo is on Instagram all the time, talking about his naps’ expected”). They used quartz micro-pellets for the weight, so it wouldn’t rustle (as some did) or leak (as the ones with sand tended to: “People were waking up with patches of sand in their bed,” said King). They sold theirs from £125 each, less than half the price of Gravity’s. They launched their products last spring and sold £180,000 worth in four days alone in December. In the final quarter of this year they project to sell £10m worth, despite a plethora of weighted-blanket rivals having joined them, all promising to pin you to your bed. The one bottleneck? Well, postage: weighted blankets are heavy. “And we get people from Texas saying it’s 45C outside,” said Hochland. They’re sweating for their swaddling. Hochland and King, though, plan to create a version using hightech cooling fabrics. King put the problem in a global context: “People are looking for natural solutions to sleep. Look what’s happening in America with the whole prescription opioid crisis.”

Hochland, meanwhile, cited the key pressures – “There’s a lot of social pressures, work pressures, economic pressures, personal pressures” – that now require duvet pressure. But he also mentioned something else: many don’t buy the blankets to sleep. They buy them, he said, to swaddle themselves on their sofas.


alk to any sleep expert for long enough and eventually they will mention their nemesis. It is always the same person. In 2017 Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was asked what he considered to be his biggest rival. Amazon Prime perhaps? HBO Go? Neither, he said. “When you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep.” This did not go down well. “He said they’re going to war!” says Matthew Walker, author of the 2017 worldwide bestseller Why We Sleep. “It felt very Game Of Thrones. Everybody was armouring themselves up to go to battle against sleep. I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s a terrible disservice. And I’ll give you one good reason, because I believe that CEO has children.” Three months ago, Walker says, he received an email from a father who lost his wife and youngest child in a drowsy-driving traffic accident. He wrote to Walker to praise his book and specifically the chapter that pointed out that a lack of sleep causes more fatalities on our roads than drugs and alcohol combined. “So, you know, he can go out there and make these catchy clickbait public statements about going to war with sleep. But I suspect that if he returned home one evening and someone who’d been awake for 22 hours straight – at which point you are legally drunk in terms of your performance – had taken away some of his family members, I think he’d probably be less forthright about his battle against sleep.” And don’t get them started on Netflix’s “auto-play” time of five seconds, which ensures, they will tell you, we don’t even have enough time to locate the remote before the next episode starts. “It used to be 15 seconds,” says Meadows. “It was too easy for people to turn off.” An independent GQ study – I logged into Netflix – reveals this is not entirely accurate. Netflix Original shows now auto-play after five seconds, but the rest remain at a leisurely 15. I asked Netflix about the discrepancy. The new five-second countdown, it said, was “an innovation with our original content – we haven’t got there yet with licensed content”. The spokesperson added, “Fun fact: if your line of thought is people get caught up watching great shows instead of sleeping, this is no



Counting sleep...

45% The increase in your cravings for junk food when you’ve underslept

6 hours 19 minutes Britons’ average night’s sleep

Double Risk of cancer if you routinely sleep less than six or seven hours a night

different to the publishing industry and how for centuries people have chosen to pick up a new book, reading just one page, a few, or even the whole thing in one sitting!” I point out that no one automatically turns the pages of a book for me. I do not hear back. Still, Netflix is not the worst culprit. While BBC’s iPlayer remains at 15 seconds, Amazon Prime’s auto-play is a nerve-shredding two seconds: catching it in time is akin to returning a serve from Federer. (I asked Amazon to confirm it was two seconds. It refused to do so.) And yet, as much as those in the sleep game see streaming services as the enemy, they do acknowledge the role other tech giants have played in fighting back. Apple, in particular, has realised the value in selling sleep, mostly via a range of functions that stop users using its devices – iOS 12, released last year, included features that limit (Screen Time), cajole (Bedtime) and outright ban (Downtime). Two years ago, Apple purchased Finnish sleep-tracking company Beddit for use in Apple Watches. The message seemed clear: Apple was Team Sleep. And so, when you are sitting there wondering if you should keep watching or scrolling or simply go to bed, chances are you’re making a choice between the largest companies on earth: Netflix (£127bn value), Amazon (£789bn), YouTube (owned by Google: £583bn), Facebook (£375bn) and Twitter (£21bn) on the one hand and Apple (£789bn) on the other. At the same time, also remember this: Apple will be the first to ask for your eyes tomorrow, with its TV+ service.

24% E £10m The increase in heart attack rates in the spring, when most people lose an hour’s sleep due to daylight saving time

Expected revenue from sales of weighted blankets by UK start-up Mela Comfort in the final quarter of this year (they have only been available since last winter)

19 hours Amount of time that brown bats spend sleeping every day


Valuation of relaxation app Calm, which features ‘sleep stories’ read by Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry

very creature sleeps – or at least something like it. Even worms, scientists have found, get shuteye, despite having no eyes to shut. Prod a sleeping worm and it will not wriggle. Elephants need half as much sleep as humans: just three to four hours. Tigers and lions, on the other hand, require 15. The brown bat is the real lazy loller of the animal kingdom, being awake for just five hours and snoozing through the other 19. Nothing helpfully guides it. You can be large or small, predator or prey, nocturnal or not – it doesn’t seem to matter. But while every species sleeps, not every species dreams. In fact, only birds and mammals – the latecomers of the evolutionary timeline – have perchance to. The outliers are aquatic mammals – dolphins and killer whales – who don’t. The reasons are obvious: during REM sleep the brain paralyses the body. This isn’t ideal if you have to come to the surface to breathe. Even non-REM sleep is tricky: they achieve it by being unihemispheric, meaning only half of

their brain sleeps at any one time. The other side will then take over, like shift work. Some animals, however, do have it both ways. The fur seal, which splits its time between land and sea, dreams only on land. And some species, scientists suspect, may be starting to dream. Researchers think a particular Australian lizard may have begun to catch some REM, but, as reptiles are unable to fill in dream diaries no one can be entirely sure. Once, in 1969, scientists thought they caught a whale dreaming for exactly six minutes. We may never know what about. Perhaps most remarkable is the case of the white-crowned sparrow. Most migrating birds have evolved the ability to sleep mid-flight using micro naps that last just a few seconds. Yet the white-crowned sparrow manages to stay awake all trip and suffer no ill effects – but only during the migratory period. The American military has spent millions studying it with the hope of creating sleepless super soldiers. They are yet to succeed. Our current idea of sleep – eight hours and done – is a relatively new one. Ask any sleep researcher and they will tell you we actually have two sleep periods built into our circadian rhythms, or natural sleep cycles: a large one at night, then a smaller one just after lunch. This is why our energy dips in the early afternoon. All hunter-gatherer tribes we’ve come across sleep this way: after all, early afternoon is often too hot to hunt. The Romans were big fans – it’s from them we get the word “siesta” – as are most Spanish-speaking countries today. In Japan, some companies are currently attempting to revive the idea by introducing sleep pods at work, though this is likely not unrelated to the fact that Japanese employees are so overworked and exhausted they’ve taken to falling asleep everywhere: on the train, at work, during dinner, just as they’re about to start a sentence. The practice is so widespread that the Japanese even have a name for it: “inemuri”, which means “sleeping while present”. It is considered a badge of honour. And yet, barring the odd aberration – in the late 17th and early 18th centuries Western Europeans slept in two nighttime spells separated by several hours of wakefulness in the middle, during which they would read, write, pray or have sex and literally no one has any idea why – a single wodge of sleep is what we’ve settled on. Even here, though, not all sleepers are the same. In 2009 scientists located a rare genetic mutation – carried by around one to three per cent of the population – that saw some people sleep less than six hours a night with no adverse affects whatsoever. Less lucky >> SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 185


>> were those for whom the same mutation saw them require 12 hours each night and so have to hit the hay as soon as they’re home from work. Most startling, though, researchers later found that of every 100 people who claimed to get by just fine on less than six hours, only five carried the mutation and actually did. Margaret Thatcher famously boasted of getting just four hours a night. But mention this to a sleep expert and many will point out how regularly getting too little sleep dramatically increases your risk of dementia, a condition Thatcher would die with. Ken Clarke has even said he noticed signs of it when Thatcher was still in office. We should perhaps all worry about Donald Trump’s similar boast. And we don’t all sleep at the same time. Ever wondered why 40 per cent of the population are larks, 30 per cent owls, with the remaining 30 per cent somewhere in the middle? Evolutionarily speaking, this makes sense: all the better to have a group sleeping slightly different shifts to minimise vulnerability to predators. Yet our current office work hours foist early starts upon everyone. This creates problems. It “punishes owls and favours larks”, writes Walker in Why We Sleep, as by the time owls reach their mental peak – in the late afternoon – they’re told the work day is over. Owls must “wake up with the larks but [are] not able to fall asleep until far later in the evening” and are often underslept as a result. If you’re in this third of the population, unlucky: you have a higher risk of depression, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks and strokes. It’s a lark’s world: owls just sleep in it.


ere is a list of the various devices, gadgets, lamps, apps, earplugs, blankets, trackers and, in one instance at least, creepy sleep robots that I will invite into my bedroom while writing this story. I read using a SomniLight Amber Book Lamp (“specifically designed to mimic the amber wavelength of candlelight without sacrificing the safety and convenience of modern lighting”, £30). By my bed sits a Philips Somneo Wake-Up Light, which mimics the rise and fall of the sun (“with light-guided breathing and personalised sun settings”, £190). Splaying me to my mattress is a Mela Comfort weighted blanket (swaddle, baby, etc, from £125), while below me is a Withings Sleep Tracking Mat (“offers sleep cycle analysis, heart-rate tracking and snore detection”, £100). I use a pillow from Nanu that’s been created just for me based on an algorithm (“designed by you, made by 186 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019

Nanu”, £30). I wear Tom Brady TB12 Under Armour Athlete Recovery pyjamas (“the key is the ‘far infrared’ print inside... Far infrared is a type of energy that benefits the human body”, from £42). In my ears are Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds (“sleep better. Cover unwanted noise with soothing sounds”, £230). On my finger sits an Oura Ring sleep tracker, sampling my pulse 250 times per second (“you learn your optimal times to move, eat and take a break to get that restorative sleep”, £280). Every night an app called Sleepzy attempts to nag me to bed at 10.45pm. I use the Somnox Sleep Robot exactly twice (“by using breathing regulation, sounds and affection, the Sleep Robot offers...”, £549). As a rule of thumb, the more high-tech something was, the less useful I found it. Did I like the way the weighted blanket pinned me down and actually, weirdly, calmed me while doing so? I did. Do I slightly suspect it’s because my brain thought I was trapped

‘[Netflix] armoured up to go to battle with sleep. It’s a disgrace’ somewhere – under a collapsed building, say – and it was actually the calm serenity you get just before death? I do. I woke better when the Somneo light woke me. I slept quicker when using the amber book lamp to read. The pillow was comfy. I can offer no opinion on the pyjamas other than the fact they are pyjamas. I didn’t entirely understand the Bose Sleepbuds (have you always wanted to go to sleep to spa music only you can hear? These are the £230 buds for you!), but I suspect that’s because I live on a quiet road. I was willing to learn, however, so I asked Brian Mulcahey, category director of sleep at Bose, why the audio firm felt the need to get into the business of sleep. Most simply, he says, it realised it was becoming a “mega trend” – something investment company BlackRock helpfully defines as “powerful, transformative forces that could change the global economy, business and society. Think electricity, automobiles, the internet.” But also, he says, it

was personal: “I run marathons. I’ve run the Boston Marathon five times. My BMI is 20. I’m a pretty healthy guy. And I was in the category of getting five hours’ sleep for most of my adult life.” The research shocked him. “I run marathons and I eat salad and I’m going to die of cardiovascular disease!” I do not dare, however, speak to the creators of the Somnox Sleep Robot – coming soon to all good stores and likely an episode of Black Mirror. The Sleep Robot is the shape of a kidney bean, the size of a baby, is covered in fabric and makes a motion like it’s breathing. It comes with a blank birth certificate in the box. They want you to name it (“It took us nine months to create your new sleep companion, just like...”). You’re supposed to spoon it: the idea is your breathing syncs and therefore slows. On the second night I dreamt it was trying to smother me, like a facehugger from Alien. It wasn’t for me. As for the trackers – notably the ultraadvanced Oura Ring, favourite trinket of tech bros everywhere – they were equal parts fascinating and pointless. With the Oura Ring I could see everything on the accompanying app: how much REM I got the night before, how much light and deep sleep, how my sleep undulated between each state. I could see what my resting heart rate was, my body temperature, my respiratory rate. Everything, that is, except how to make use of it all. I meet the Oura Ring’s cofounder, Petteri Lahtela, in a Central London coffee shop while he is over from Finland for business. A few months earlier, the ring had received an unexpected PR boost when Prince Harry was snapped wearing one. Cue an avalanche of press – “Prince Harry’s Ring Sparks Interest In New Sleep Tracker” (NBC News), “Prince Harry Is Leading The Way In Tech’s Hot New Trend” (Evening Standard), “Why Harry’s New Ring Has An Oura Of Desperation About It” (the Guardian) – and a tenfold increase in sales. Lahtela is reluctant to talk about any royal wearers, but a source tells me it was no passing fad: the prince had previously used the older, larger version of the Oura Ring, but only at night, so no one knew. Focusing just on sleep, says Lahtela, misses the point. “The big driver was working on recovery. Sleep is the main thing for that. But you can do some things during the day as well that contribute.” Plus, worn enough, he says, the Oura Ring not only tells you your ideal bedtime, but can also predict diseases and disorders coming your way. Wouldn’t you rather know? And yet, knowing has now become its own problem. Nearly every sleep expert I spoke to told me one of the biggest issues


SLEEP they currently face is the overuse of sleep trackers. The Oura Ring gives you a score every morning. People try to beat that score then get obsessed by it. Eventually, they worry about it so much they stop sleeping. Last year, sleep scientists even gave it a name: orthosomnia. “My view of sleep trackers is slightly cynical,” says Dr Guy Leschziner, clinical lead for the Sleep Disorders Centre at Guy’s Hospital and author of The Nocturnal Brain. “If you’re not sleeping enough, you know that already. You don’t need a tracker to tell you.” When patients see Meadows at The Sleep School, meanwhile, the first thing he does is tell them to stand their trackers down. To get an alternative perspective, I meet Tim Gray, CEO of Health Optimisation Ltd and a self-described “biohacker”. Gray, 39, dresses like an off-duty Premier League footballer and reacts to my ordering a Coke as though I’d asked for a plutonium smoothie: “Ha! Did you just say Coke?” I can’t have a Coke? “No judgement, mate, have what you like. But you can put Coke on an engine and it cleans it. Imagine what it’s doing to your gut bacteria and your...” I order an orange juice. There are up to 18 specific things, Gray tells me, he does every day to optimise his sleep at night, a routine honed by endless experimentation and checked by his Oura Ring data the next day. He runs me through a typical day: wake up, glass of water with hypertonic (“which has 78 minerals, twice the concentration of blood”), no breakfast, “ bulletproof” coffee (“with coconut oil, some collagen peptides in there to repair the gut lining”), lunch at 2pm (“I only eat in a sixto-eight-hour window”), dinner no later than three-and-a-half hours before bed (“otherwise I’m using energy to digest, [as] opposed to healing”), blue-blocking glasses for the last three hours (“You need to get away from blue light for the last four hours really”), 50-100 milligrams of supplement niacin in the last half hour (“It helps calm the brain”), bed at 11.30pm-11.45pm (when his Oura Ring recommends), Himalayan rock salt lamp next to the bed (“It keeps the air with the right ions”), a chilly pad under the bedsheet (“for body-temperature regulation”), an essential oil diffuser on the side (“which I put lavender in, depending on my goal”), natural latex pillow (“very supportive, based on my posture”), natural foam mattress (“so it’s not full of petrochemicals”), a hypoallergenic duvet, a red-light stack (“I have that on remote control”), a blackout blind (“so it’s completely black), a grounding bedsheet (“so you’re connecting with the earth”), silicon

earplugs (“They work very well”) and then, finally, to sleep. Does he get a perfect score? “Yeah, pretty much.” What doesn’t work? “Having a partner next to me.” And yet, he says he purposefully doesn’t check his Oura Ring score first thing. “I don’t want to be told by my ring how I’ll feel that day. I don’t want to be primed by it.” And so, instead, he’ll meditate for seven minutes, make a bulletproof coffee, put his ring on charge “and then I’ll look at the score”.


arlier this year I took a short walk to London’s Tottenham Court Road, where I was due to meet David Wolfe, the enjoyably gruff cofounder of Leesa Sleep mattresses, where we were due to go mattress shopping together. Have you ever wondered why all mattresses now have women’s names (Leesa, Emma, Eve, etc), are promoted on podcasts and arrive in

On the second night I dreamt the Sleep Robot was trying to smother me an impossibly small, upright box around an eighth of its size? Well, Wolfe is one of the mattress innovators you can thank. If you want to see where our current sleep gold rush began, you could do worse than start here. Wolfe cofounded Leesa, which is currently worth £80m, four years ago. He describes an industry that was stagnant and complacent. One ripe for mattress disruption. “It was a very, very antiquated industry,” he says. “Very little technology. Very little retail. It was an industry that had been sleeping... for want of a better word.” Talk to any of the mattress upstarts and they will tell you something similar: that everything a shop used to sell you a mattress was nonsense. Side, front or back sleeper? Their research showed that during the night we all do all three. Hard, soft or medium? Just nonsense to get you through the door to lie on them. The new upstarts realised from their research that they could create a universal mattress. But the key innovation was

the industrial origami of folding them into small boxes – done by a machine that costs £1m and only when you click “buy” (leave it folded any longer than a few weeks, I’m told, and it’ll start to take on the shape of the box). Suddenly, they didn’t need shops: mattresses could be posted! The sleep revolution was born. In the States, when a company called Casper launched around the same time, in 2014, the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher, Nas and 50 Cent all invested, all realising they were lying on a gold mine. Casper is now valued at almost £800m. I later speak to one of Casper’s founders, Neil Parikh, over the phone, who mentions something key. One upshot of the 2008 financial crisis, he says, was that, in the following years, “It wasn’t cool to sleep four hours a night any more, you know? There used to be this whole banker culture, crushing it at work, 100hour weeks, let’s brag about how little sleep we get. And we started to turn the curve on that. When we started in 2014, our goal was to think about people sleeping better. People resting more. We got people to start thinking about sleep.” In May this year, not long after we spoke, The Pokémon Company announced a new game would be released in 2020. The company had already been widely praised for 2016’s Pokémon Go, the record-breaking app game that turned the act of walking into entertainment. Its next game would be Pokémon Sleep. It would reward your hours in bed. On a recent night, as I was trying to nod off, I considered trying out one of the new “sleep sounds” that come built in to Alexa. As I decided between the likes of “rain on a tent”, “fireplace”, “space deck” and “wind”, I remembered what its developer, Nick Schwab, had told me was one of the most requested new sounds, one you might not suspect, a sound that, for as long as anyone can remember, has been the one that has kept us awake. “Snoring,” he told me. “People say their partners are away on a business trip and they miss hearing them. It’s kind of sweet.” G

More from G For these related

stories visit GQ.co.uk /magazine

Sleep Apnea Explained: The Causes And The Treatment (Dr Nick Knight, October 2018) How To Get More Sleep (Dr Nick Knight, November 2017) Insomnia Cures For The Restless Gent (Stuart Stone, May 2017)



GUCCI Jacket, £1,500. Brown shirt, £490. White shirt, £450. Tie, £260. Trousers, £500. Boots, £2,130. All by Gucci. gucci.com Opposite, from left:

BILLIONAIRE Coat, £18,535. Dressing gown and pyjama shirt (part of a set), £1,605. Trousers, £580. Shoes, £660. All by Billionaire. billionaire.com Jacket, £8,255. Rollneck, £675. Trousers, £585. All by Billionaire. billionaire.com. Shoes by Paul Smith, £474. paulsmith. com. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com

BERLUTI Coat, £6,650. Shirt, £3,150. Trousers, £1,580. Shoes, £2,000. All by Berluti. berluti.com. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com 188 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019



The collections AW19

From foreverwear coats to suiting for all sensibilities, Autumn/Winter 2019 makes the leap to earth tones, power prints and tactile textures for a masterclass in layering up Photographs by

Louie Banks

Styling by

Luke Day


DOLCE & GABBANA Suit, £2,650. Shirt, £575. Tie, £150. All by Dolce & Gabbana. dolcegabbana.com




VERSACE Jacket, £1,065. Shirt, £1,065. Shorts, £710. Trainers, £650. All by Versace. versace.com. Vest, stylist’s own. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com

DSQUARED2 Shirt, £3,580. Top, £400. Jeans, £560. Shorts, £240. All by Dsquared2. dsquared2.com



BOTTEGA VENETA Coat, £2,685. Jumper, £865. Trousers, £865. Boots, £1,050. All by Bottega Veneta. bottegaveneta.com




From left:

CORNELIANI Coat, £1,250. Jacket, £1,030. Trousers, £360. All by Corneliani. corneliani.com

COACH 1941 Jacket, £1,900. Shirt, £170. . Trousers, £175. A ll by Coach 1941. uk.coach.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 193


GIORGIO ARMANI Coat, £2,350. Jacket, £3,550. Trousers, £1,900. All by Giorgio Armani. armani.com




PRADA Jacket, £2,320. Shirt, £640. Trousers, £1,205. Shoes, £685. Necklace, £405. All by Prada. prada.com. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO .UK 195


LOUIS VUITTON Coat, £4,400. Shirt, £980. Trousers, £790. Shoes, £680. All by Louis Vuitton. louisvuitton.com 196 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019



PAUL SMITH Jacket, £960. Rollneck, £255. Trousers, £455. Shoes, £474. All by Paul Smith. paulsmith.com. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com

LANVIN Coat, £3,785. Jacket, £1,755. Sweater, £650. Trousers, £750. Shoes, £595. All by Lanvin. lanvin.com



CELINE BY HEDI SLIMANE Coat, £6,300. Sweater, £820. Shirt, £460. Tie, £140. Trousers, £650. Shoes, £770. All by Celine By Hedi Slimane. celine.com. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com




From left:


Jacket, £2,150. Rollneck, £890. Both by Ralph Lauren Purple Label. ralphlauren.co.uk

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO Jacket by Salvatore Ferragamo, £3,840. ferragamo.com. Rollneck by Ralph Lauren Purple Label, £890. ralphlauren.co.uk SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.C O.UK 199


BOSS Suit, £945. Rollneck, £1,300. Shoes, £319. All by Boss. hugoboss.com Opposite:

CANALI Coat, £1,990. Jacket (part of a suit), £1,300. Shirt, £170. All by Canali. canali.com






DIOR Coat, £3,300. Shirt, £930. Trousers, £750. Boots, £930. All by Dior. dior.com 202 GQ.CO.UK SEPTEMBER 2019



HERMÈS Coat, £15,900. Rollneck, £295. Trousers, £770. All by Herm•s. hermes.com



PHILIPP PLEIN Jacket, £1,334. T-shirt, £579. Both by Philipp Plein. plein.com




MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION Jacket, £1,995. Shirt, £470. Jeans, £195. Shoes, £330. Belt, £98. All by Michael Kors Collection. michaelkors.co.uk. Socks by Pantherella, £13.50. pantherella.com

Models Connor at Wilhelmina; David at Brooks Modeling Agency; Dominik at Success Models; Jeremiah at Supa Model Management; Julian at Select Model Management; Louis at Kate Moss Agency; Rishi at Rebel Management Producer Lara Abdessalem at Newcomers Casting director Lyly Bui Hair Yann Turchi Hair assistants Salomé Poloudenny; Jorge Morandeira Make-up Lloyd Simmonds Photography assistant Pierre Yves Styling assistant Angelo Mitakos G SEPTEMBER 2019 GQ.CO. UK 205


















Each summer, the fashionable set flocks o this sun-drenched Spanish archipelago; Rosemary Brooke uncovers the hottest properties on the Balearic market



here are many reasons to love the Balearic Islands. The sea is never far away, beyond beaches of powdery, sun-bleached sand. This Spanish archipelago has long welcomed tourists, but if you venture beyond the popular resorts, there is an extraordinary diversity of landscapes and experiences to explore, be it Mallorca’s rugged mountains or Ibiza’s famous nightlife. One of Mallorca’s smartest spots is Port Andratx, a small fishin village which is now home to some of the island’s most desirable properties, as well as a host of excellent restaurants and upmarket boutiques. Casa Dali, on the market with Engel & Völkers, is a new villa with one of the best addresses in the area, situated at the top of Monport Hill. At over 14,000 square feet, it makes the most of its south-facing

orientation and far-reaching vistas. A large terrace wraps around the house – partly covered to provide shady spots for alfresco dining – while inside, floo -toceiling windows and an open-plan layout emphasise the magnificen location. There’s a sauna and a well-equipped gym, and outside, the large swimming pool is an excellent place from which to admire the view across the hills towards the sea. For those who prefer splendid isolation, Engel & Völkers has another Mallorcan property on its books, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sierra de Tramuntana on the west coast. Set on 130 acres, the Ses Costes estate dates from the 13th century and was formerly a winery. The estate is surrounded by gardens, terraces and undulating hills, and has enough olive trees to produce its own olive oil.

This brand-new seven-bedroom villa occupies a prime spot in the sought-after area of Puerto de Andratx. Built to the highest speci cations, and incorporating everything from the latest soundsystem to top-end gym equipment, the interiors of this property are as spectacular as the view from the terrace. €16.5 million. Engel & Völkers: 00 34 971 67 47 80

Over in Ibiza lies Villa Paradiso in Cala Conta. It boasts one of the island’s best views, looking towards the rocky island of Es Vedrà, which is the subject of many local myths – these range from it being the tip of the lost city of Atlantis, to the birthplace of the local goddess Tanit. The villa has been tastefully decorated, using natural materials and a neutral colour palette, with rustic furniture imported from India and Bali. The tranquil atmosphere continues with a spa, a sauna and an outdoor shower. Palms, bougainvilleas and fruit trees grow outside the house, and fl nk the property’s two swimming pools. In the gated community of Vista Alegre, close to the village of Es Cubells on Ibiza’s



A brand-new villa with a footprint inspired by geometric angles. With its eye-catching architecture and high-quality nishes, the seven-bedroom property could be a location for a James Bond lm – it has everything from slick underground parking to ngerprintrecognition entry. €6 million. Charles Marlow Ibiza: 00 34 634 31 68 00 or 020 3695 0801


Located near Cala Conta, this fourbedroom villa has been stylishly renovated, and includes a spa and a sauna. The interiors are light- lled and contemporary, with an open-plan rst oor that’s perfect for relaxing or entertaining. €3.4 million. Christie’s International Real Estate: 00 34 676 33 23 86


This historic estate is located on Mallorca’s west coast, occupying a stunning spot between the mountains and the sea. The centuries-old property is steeped in atmosphere, yet it has been fully modernised – improvements include a guest wing and a swimming pool. €16.5 million. Engel & Völkers: 00 34 971 63 30 63


south coast, is Villa Triángulo, a contemporary home named for its geometric design. From the air, the footprint is intriguing – all bold angles and sharp lines – and the unconventional shape makes the most of the views, as well as being a talking point. Another modern villa is a short drive away, between Ibiza Town and San Jose. Built in 2013 by the Spanish architect Jaime Serra, it’s designed for hosting guests – in addition to the main house, there’s a separate two-bedroom annexe and a one-bedroom studio. The verdant grounds include a covered area for outdoor dining and a large pool, so even if the house is lled with people, there are plenty of tranquil spots to bask in the summer sun.

On the south side of Ibiza is this four-bedroom contemporary villa with views over the valley and the sea, which comes with a separate twobedroom guest house and one-bedroom studio. The grounds have been elegantly landscaped, giving the property a tranquil atmosphere, and include a large swimming pool and terraces. €6.5 million. Knight Frank: 020 7629 8171






5 minutes to the city,* 10 ft to the ceiling. Discover beautifully-designed modern living spaces, local boutiques, a Third Space gym and a luxury cinema. Discover the new way to live, work and unwind in the heart of London. TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT CALL 020 3409 2287 VISIT US AT WWW.ISLINGTONSQUARE.COM



GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY These sleek interiors are enriched by warm metallic accents – from a side light to seagulls to sculptural eggs – adding a touch of pizzazz. Below: Lauren Atkins



With a successful background in property development, The Malins Design Studio brings a panoramic vision to interior design, as businesswoman of the year Lauren Atkins explains Talking about interiors in her home county of Surrey, Lauren Atkins is forthright. Even in that most exclusive of private estates, St George’s Hill, ‘you look at five different houses and they can all be styled in the same way. And when a design is over-replicated, it quickly ends up looking dated.’ She speaks with an authority that comes from being a successful boutique residential developer for over a decade. Managing director of The Malins Group, she specialises in creating highly individual schemes from buildings with a storied past. In Covent Garden, she transformed offices in the Edwardian Tavistock building into stunning flats, and turned the Beatles’ Grade II-listed headquarters in Baker Street into the Apple Apartments. Whether it was a former metalworks in Clapham Old Town, or Wandsworth’s period-rich Book House, these meticulously restored and imaginatively converted schemes had just one thing in common: they all sold out quickly at record prices. Several purchasers were so struck by the show homes’ high quality they commissioned Malins to tackle their interior design. Jamie Gunning, a partner at Sq. One Real Estate, knows why: ‘Lauren and her team have an

instinctive talent for reconfiguring space while creating beautiful interiors – understated, clever, yet with real impact.’ The design studio has now launched, offering its broad skill set to private clients. Unlike many companies that are focused simply on furnishings and furniture, Malins, with all its experience as a

developer, offers a ‘much broader spectrum of services’, from navigating the planning process and architectural remodelling to design consultancy and supply of all hard and soft finishes. As well as technical drawings and plans, Lauren supplies high-quality CGI visuals of the end result – ‘the best in the business’, she reckons. With her new business partner, Sarah Gibbon, a former Olswang and Heron International prime property and interiors expert, she believes that the ‘really diverse end-to-end proposition’ her team offers will appeal to high net worth individuals in Surrey and beyond. With Brexit looming and punitive stamp-duty rates affecting property sales, they are looking to transform their homes, adding tangible value, rather than face an uncertain market. The design studio’s intrinsic understanding of its clients’ lifestyle, bespoke solutions and little black book of the best craftsmen mean that a home of real distinction is created – polished and immaculately stylish. For further information, please visit malinsgroup.co.uk, call +44 (0) 1932 356043 or email info@malinsgroup.co.uk




From modern masterpieces to traditional country piles, Rosemary Brooke is captivated by the wealth of properties to be found in the Cotswolds



he Cotswolds is rightly prized as one of England’s prettiest regions, thanks to its rolling pastures, chocolate-box villages and spellbinding country houses. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it stretches south of Stratford-upon-Avon to just below the city of Bath, and has long been a popular choice for those seeking to move out of London or purchase a weekend retreat. ‘The Cotswolds attracts lots of tourists and socialmedia infl encers because it is unbelievably beautiful, arguably more so than any other part of the country,’ says Charlie Wells, managing director of the buying agency Prime Purchase, whose family have lived and farmed in the area for more than 300 years. ‘But it is also fraught with hidden pitfalls, problems and blights that can easily be overlooked if you are looking through a fi ter on your phone.’

Situated at the edge of the pretty village of Chedworth, Hills Farm is a perfect hybrid of traditional and contemporary – the period stone farmhouse conceals contemporary, light- lled interiors, created by Yiangou Architects. The main house has ve bedrooms, and there’s a separate two-bedroom cottage. £3.5 million. Knight Frank: 020 7861 1707

While Wells is right to advise caution, it’s hard not to be captivated by some of the bucolic properties that are currently on the market. Pictured above is Hills Farm in Gloucestershire, eight miles from the market town of Cirencester and eleven miles from Cheltenham. Surrounded by its own land and with a long, private drive, it’s located in a conservation area on the edge of the village of Chedworth. Built from honey-coloured local stone and substantially remodelled, it still retains the feel of a traditional Cotswold house, but the interior is wonderfully airy and light-fi led. Bifolding doors make the most of the spectacular views along the valley, while the 41.33 acres include a two-

bedroom guest house and a swimming pool. Another Gloucestershire property is Todenham Hall, a Grade II-listed former rectory close to the small town of Moretonin-Marsh, which has a direct train service to Paddington. There are plenty of local attractions too – Daylesford, Soho Farmhouse and Hidcote are all within a short drive. The six-bedroom, Georgian property was extensively refurbished in 2006 – along with the coach house, which was extended and converted into ancillary accommodation. There are formal gardens, with clipped yew hedges and specimen trees; a Japanese ornamental water garden; fruit cages brimming with strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries; and even a vine house. Beyond the gardens are two large fie ds – perfect for keeping a pony. A short drive west lies Green Close, a quintessentially charming Cotswold



On the edge of Todenham village, this former rectory comes with plenty of land and extensive formal gardens, as well as numerous outbuildings and additional accommodation in the form of a converted coach house. Nearby Moreton-in-Marsh has a direct train service to London. Offers over £3.65 million. Savills: 020 7016 3780


Dating back to the Tudor period, this Grade II*-listed manor is steeped in history, from the carved-stone chimneypieces to the ancient doors. There are six outbuildings on the 13.93 acres, including a 17th-century barn. At the edge of West Kington village, it’s a short drive from Chippenham and Bath. £2.995 million Strutt & Parker: 01285 897614

property with a fascinating backstory. Although you’d never guess from fi st glance, it’s been formed from four 17thcentury cottages, which were cleverly joined in 1919 by the architect C E Bateman. Old oak beams, mullion windows, fl gstone oors and huge open replaces are relics of the original cottages, imbuing the house with an immense sense of history, and there are also a few Arts and Crafts touches added by Bateman. Outside, the 21 acres of grounds include a cottage-style garden, woodland and a lake. There’s a separate cottage for guests, that looks rather like a miniature version of the main house, while a timber barn provides further accommodation and ample storage, as well as serving as a gym. The property is in the picturesque village of Snowshill, one of the most idyllic spots in the North Cotswolds. There’s a National Trust property – Snowshill Manor – along with a tea room and a village pub. For anyone who’s dreaming of the good life, there’s no better place to be.


Set on two acres, this charming former farmhouse would be perfect for a commuter. It’s located in Ashton Keynes, between Kemble and Swindon – both of which have a regular train service to London. It has ve bedrooms, a tennis court and landscaped gardens. £1.375 million. Butler Sherborn: 01285 883740


In the village of Snowshill, near Broadway, this ve-bedroom house is Grade-II listed, with parts dating from the 17th century. There’s a detached cottage and annexe, both with far-reaching views across the escarpment. The 21 acres include stables and a lake. £3.25 million. Savills: 01451 832832



NOTEBOOK A monthly round-up of property news, at home and abroad BY ROSEMARY BROOKE RIVERSIDE COOL

Occupying a 12-acre plot between Canary Wharf and Canning Town, City Island is one of London’s most vibrant new developments. Residential units are mixed in with artisan shops and cultural institutions – the English National Ballet and the London Film School are both relocating there. New to the market are seven riverside townhouses, set over four or fi e storeys, with architecture inspired by the area’s industrial past. From £1.45 million. For more information, visit www.londoncityisland.com


When Dominic Richards founded the sustainable development company Our Place, his aim was to create residential areas that would become thriving communities. It’s rather tting that his own home is on Arlington Avenue, a leafy corner of Islington known for its friendly atmosphere. Now up for sale, the end-of-terrace Victorian townhouse has been meticulously restored, and there’s even a summer fete in the garden square – perfect for meeting the neighbours. For more information, visit www.cluttons.com



Why buy a holiday home when you can have the keys to 250 professionally managed getaways around the world? The Hideaways Club is based around a sharedownership model – members invest in a global property portfolio and can make practical use of the assets. There are luxurious ski chalets, beach houses and city apartments, giving you an endless variety of desirable destinations to choose from. For more information, visit www.thehideawaysclub.com

With the Ned, the Royal Exchange and the Barbican close by, the future residents of the Denizen will have plenty to keep them entertained. This new development in the heart of the City will comprise 99 apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, with an array of shared amenities, from a private cinema and games room to a 24-hour concierge. Prices from £765,000. For more information, visit www.taylorwimpeycentrallondon.com



#OTL Jonathan Heaf Is...

This month with The Daily


long with Jin Kichi in Hampstead, Scott’s on Mount Street has long been in my top three London restaurants. (The third, since we’re here, is any branch of Pizza Express.) I’ve had more than several remarkable meals at Scott’s, both for the company and for the exquisite, if extortionate, seafood. I dined here with Ser Brienne Of Tarth herself, the actress Gwendoline Christie, who, over griddled prawns, chilli jam and a honking laugh that could stun a handsy Charles Saatchi on the terrace, revealed to me the impact that seminal role had on her personally, spiritually, follically... I broke bread with war photographer Don McCullin here also, one (or other) of the Gallagher brothers and more members of the chatterati than Michael Gove has likely ponced a rolled-up five-pound note from. If I am to die from overindulgence – and, let’s face it, this is very possible – then I choose to die here on the golden cobblestones of Mayfair, my pulse fading as my crimson face slams into a plate swimming in Scott’s rich razor clams. Today, however, a treat. My lunching partner, Michael Barbaro, host of mindbogglingly popular New York Times podcast The Daily, and I will be the very first to try out the restaurant’s secret(ish) new back room, a space humbly called The Platinum Arowana Room. Sunk round the back of Scott’s ever-fizzy yet demure main space, first impressions are of an oligarch’s panic room, his wife’s oversize jewellery box or his gigolo’s cod piece: an oval table room enough for eight, with more Mirós and Chagalls on the wall than one’s senses can quite take in. It’s a mini Louvre in Mayfair all to oneself. The floor glows green like Roald Dahl’s “magic crocodile tongues” – a parquet of luminous, semiprecious kryptonite whose effect is part Stanley Kubrick sci-fi set, part Tardis. Overall, the room is a touch too intimate for eight, one suspects. It is also windowless and, yes, fabulously ostentatious. It is also without doubt the most beautiful private dining space in London. This doesn’t stop Barbaro having a pop, though not so much at the room as my choice VERDICT

Chat ★★★★★

Beard ★★★★✩

‘Could we have had The Daily without Trump as president? No’ of it to record our lunch for this column’s accompanying podcast. “It couldn’t be less suitable for a podcast,” he chuckles. “Are they real Renoirs?” he whispers, squinting at the walls. (They are, Michael, yes.) What’s wrong with the room? “Lots of hard, flat surfaces, so sound is just going to ricochet. There’s nothing to catch the echo. I have to improvise all the time, turning hotel rooms into studios when interviewing on the road. I’ve learnt to build a wall of pillows or put a sheet over an offending surface. In some cases, I’ve simply put a blanket over my head and the microphone.” We both look down at the tablecloth but ultimately choose to take our chances. If you’re not listening to The Daily then you’re not one of more than two million listeners who tune in to the 20- to 30-minute single-topic news podcast every weekday. Although the podcast was only launched in February 2017, it has seen success and uptake the likes of which most media companies can only beg for, the show now a bright, shiny player in the New York Times’ arsenal of modern-day media products. Rather than go niche, as many podcasters have done, The Daily’s secret isn’t so much what news it covers, as the way it covers it. “We wanted a short show that people could Number of ‘hmms’ ★★★★✩

fit into their commute,” explains Barbaro, who was a campaign reporter for the main print paper before being lured to audio, firstly on an NYT show called The Run-Up, a biweekly podcast that covered Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. “We then imagined a different way of telling the news. We wanted to tell stories in narrative form and to speak to real journalists as they pursue real stories. We needed plot, suspense and addictive engagement. We didn’t want dry facts – we wanted objectivity that unfolded, almost dramatically.” It’s perhaps surprising to hear a staffer from the New York Times, an institution the incumbent president has labelled “the enemy of the people”, credit said president for their own success. “Could we have had The Daily without Donald Trump as our president?” asks Barbaro, himself a bookish-looking 39year-old man with a superbly kept grey beard. “No. Trump is a news machine. You needed that election and you needed that winner for a daily news show.” Quite brilliantly, Barbaro and his team fought Trump’s “fake news” accusations with something arguably more powerful – an engaging truth. As The Daily’s audience blooms so too does the breadth of news it covers. In June The Daily had a week’s worth of casts dedicated to the state of the European Union and the host insists they want to widen their scope away from Washington. Barbaro himself is also catching heat. Vanity Fair recently named him “the Ira Glass of the New York Times”, a reference to the US public radio personality and producer of influential show This American Life, which in the States is something akin to the New Yorker of audio nonfiction. It’s Barbaro’s verbal tics, however – the inquisitive “Hmm?” or brusque “Mmm!” that pepper his interviews – that some listeners seem to have become infatuated with. Does the host catch himself trying to stop doing them quite so much? “It’s my least intrusive way of saying to the interviewee, ‘I hear you.’ I also understand that if you come to the show cold, my ‘hmms’ might sound like the air conditioner in the background: ‘Will someone shut that up!’” G SCOTT’S, 20 MOUNT STREET, LONDON W1. 020 7495 7309. SCOTTS-RESTAURANT.COM

Oysters eaten: four (JH), two (MB) ★★★★✩

Overall ★★★★✩

Illustrations Anton Emdin; Zohar Lazar

The host of the NYT podcast, Michael Barbaro, dines in at Scott’s secret Mayfair lair










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