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EDITOR’S WORD K
EVIN BACON IS part of an increasingly rare breed –
a Hollywood star who is down to earth, who tells it like it is, who doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not. Apart from, you know, every day at work. There’s a profound moment while posing for our cover when Kevin explains why he struggles with photoshoots: because he’s trained to pretend the camera isn’t there. Kevin Bacon may not be a poser, but he does love fame. Indeed, he’s refreshingly open about this motivation. While many actors will say acting is a calling, Kevin admits: “I wanted the fame, I wanted the billboard, I wanted the money, I wanted the girls. It was very clear to me that I wanted to be a star.” And a star he’s become. The one on the Hollywood Walk of Fame the physical proof, if it were needed. “Being recognisable is 99.9% good,” Kevin explained to Graham Norton in an interview a couple of years ago. “People are nice to you all day long for absolutely no reason. People stop you on the streets and say, ‘Kevin, I love you.’ I mean, who doesn’t want to be loved?” As an experiment, he hired a professional makeup artist to construct him a mask so he could see what it was like to walk around incognito. After four decades in the spotlight, would he prefer it? “Nobody recognised me – it was awful. This sucks, man. I’m going back to being Kevin Bacon.” And that’s exactly who square mile’s features editor Max Williams met on a warm spring evening in Manhattan. No nannying publicists, no time restraints, just a dirty martini in a downtown bar. Enjoy the interview on p64. This month, it’s also our annual Adventure Issue, where we meet two ex-Marines attempting a world first in exploration: to become the first adventurers in history to traverse the five largest islands on the planet, unsupported, using only human power. From the Borneo jungle to the Arctic tundra, from tribal conflict to the bubonic plague, it’s an adventure like no other [p80]. It certainly puts the City commute into perspective. ■
Mark Hedley, Editor, @mghedley
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ANY IDIOT CAN GET LAID WHEN THEY’RE FAMOUS. THAT’S EASY. IT’S GETTING LAID WHEN YOU’RE NOT FAMOUS THAT TAKES SOME TALENT. – Kevin Bacon
square mile ISSUE 144
@SQUAREMILE_COM @SQUAREMILEUK @SQUAREMILE_COM LAST MONTH, ON OUR INSTAGRAM…
Bronze on bronze: we’re loving the new 2019 @tudorwatch Black Bay Bronze 79250BA, paired here with a light brown field jacket. The new graduated slate grey dial is a great addition to this retro instant classic. #tudor
Channelling the spirit of legendary photographer Slim Aarons, Paul Fuentas has captured the spirit of the summer with this classic Palm Springs shot, where a trio of pigs bathe in the southern Californian sunshine. #summerloving
Introducing the brand new @mclarenauto GT. Gran Tourer sentiment combined with a 620PS four-litre twin turbo-charged V8. 0-62mph is 3.2 seconds; 0-124mph is 9 seconds; top speed is 203mph. Oof! Yours for £163,000.
tNeed a summer wardrobe upgrade? @khaki.surfer sells historical one-offs and strictly limited runs from labels including the likes of @boss, @paulsmith, @armani, @etro, @gant, and @ralphlauren. This is style with exclusivity.
FEATURES 050 . RED HOT Having endured a childhood of bullying due to his hair colour, Thomas Knights turned being ginger into a worldwide photographic phenomenon. The proud redhead shares his story and reveals why becoming a global success story wasn’t the answer to everything.
058 . BRET EASTON ELLIS
064 . KEVIN BACON
There are great moments in life, and then there’s sitting in a New York bar having a martini with Kevin Bacon. Find out why our charismatic cover star is the last word in cool.
088 . WATCHES 094 . ALDO KANE 096 . GEAR 100 . MOTORS
016 . THE EXCHANGE 021 . ART WORK 022 . INTRODUCING… 024 . POLITICS
EXPOSURE 028 . SUMMER TRENDS 032 . HENLEY STYLE 034 . WEDDING OUTFITS 036 . FRAGRANCES 038 . RISING STAR 040 . THE COLLECTION 044 . FATHER’S DAY 046 . #WATCHWEWANT
080 . HELP FOR HEROES
112 . AL FRESCO 116 . SUMMER EVENTS 120 . FOOD & DRINK 122 . LAS VEGAS 129 . GOLF
HOLDINGS 136 . PROPERTY 138 . INTERIORS
END PLAY 143 . DIARY
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PHOTOGRAPH (Bacon) by Dustin Snipes
Trump; giving away too much on social media; the public vs the media’s reaction to his new book; Patrick Bateman for President… A chat with one of the world’s most controversial authors was never going to be dull, was it?
THE EXCHANGE ART WORK INTRODUCING… POLITICS
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WRITING ON THE WALL . 021
IMAGE: ‘I’m Right Upon You’ by Neale Howells (2018; Acrylic, oil, pastel and pencil on wood. Courtesy of John Martin Gallery. mayfairartweekend.com
T H E EX CH A N G E 0-60MPH
SQUARE MILE 101 WORDS Saul Wordsworth
#18 HOW TO LEAVE WORK EARLY
THE BEST ADVENTURES IN BRITAIN
the roof when your boss is in the bathroom.
11. Be honest. 12. “End-of-day meeting, boss.” 13. Set off the sprinklers by smoking a spliff in the toilets. 14. Arrange for a friend to call your boss saying their house is on fire. 16. Take your boss to one side, tell a story that begins with a seemingly irrelevant aside about spreadsheets and veers off into so many aimless tangents that in the end they will throw their hands up and say ‘just leave when you want’. 17. “Don’t come too close, it’s contagious.” 18. If your boss is an animal lover say your cat is sick. If he’s a family man say your child is sick. If he’s a car nut say the petrol cap on your 911 is faulty. 19. If all else fails, roll out the four magic words: “It’s A Personal Matter.” Job done. ■
DRIVING TOUR OF SCOTLAND
IN 40 MINS
▷ Fire up your engines, folks, it’s time to hit the road for a grand tour of Scotland in the world’s finest supercars. Ultimate Drives’ Scottish tour takes you past Lochs, into the Highlands, along coastal drives and through the heartland of whisky country for a journey that eats up the nation’s culture as well as the miles on the gauge. This five-night trip starts and ends in Edinburgh – and in between sees you behind the wheel of a Ferrari, Aston Martin or Lamborghini. What could be better than taking in Scotland’s epic landscape through the windshield of one of the world’s finest supercars? £2,400pp. ultimatedrives.net
▽ 1. EXPLAIN that you’re bored stiff but would like to give it one last try tomorrow. 2. Warn you’ve picked up a mucky STD that’s starting to seep. 3. Point left, scream ‘FIRE!’, dart right – and run. Run like only Tom Cruise can run. 4. Point right, scream ‘GHOST!’, dart left. 5. Say you only have an hour to live and would rather spend it with your family. 6. Ladies: tell male bosses it’s a ‘woman’ thing. 7. Gents: tell female bosses it’s a ‘man’ thing. 8. Order invisibility serum from eBay, spread over your body and saunter out unseen (note: only works when nude).
9. “Tightness in the chest; sure it’s nothing.” 10. Charter a helicopter to collect you from
BONUS BUS TER
HARLEY-DAVIDSON LIVEWIRE, £24,000 ▷ The idea of a near silent Harley-Davidson is surely a paradox – like a slow Bugatti or a small Rolls-Royce. Yet the all-American brand has for the first time swapped gasoline for electrons – and created this, the Livewire.
COASTEERING IN CORNWALL
▷ Why sit on a beach when you can throw yourself off a rocky outcrop and into the Celtic Sea instead? Cornish Rock Tors’ sessions will see you spend two hours in the waters of the Celtic Sea, clambering over rocks and swimming into coves at the beautiful National Trust locations of Port Quin and Port Gaverne. Don’t worry – full wet suits are provided. For an extra twist, book into an Ecoasteering session and you’ll get to learn about local marine life, too. Worth it for the boost to your eco-credentials – that and the sexy helmet photos. Introduction to coasteering sessions. £45pp. cornishrocktors.com
First up, kudus on the name – that is going to be difficult to beat. (Compare it, if you will, to the Kia e-Niro or the Nissan Leaf. Yawn.) Then there’s the acceleration: zero60mph in just 3 seconds. No clutch to release. No gears to run through. All you do is
gives the rider more confidence and control in dodgy conditions. As you’d expect from Harley’s most forwardthinking product, it’s also joined the new guard of mobilefriendly vehicles. You can connect remotely through your smart phone using the app
flick your wrist and go. The range is fairly good, too: the battery provides 140 miles of city riding or 88 miles at faster speeds on a more open drive. The LiveWire is also equipped with an Electronic Chassis Control (ECC) system, which essentially
to check ther bike’s vitals like battery charge status; see its location on a map; and get security alerts if it’s been bumped or tampered with. The most exciting thing about it? Harley has promised it’s the first of many. ■ harley-davidson.com
DEER STALKING IN OXFORDSHIRE
▷ Shhh, keep quiet. Creep forward slowly, steady your breathing, lock eyes on the target… *CRUNCH* – and a twig gives away your position and the deer bolts into the trees. Close, but no cigar. Every crack shot should experience the thrill of deer stalking – and there’s nowhere better to start than at West London Shooting School’s deer stalking course. The course gives novices an understanding of the fundamentals of stalking. You’ll learn about all six UK deer species as well as discussing rifles, ammunition and equipment, before getting your eye on a simulated stalk. £180pp. shootingschool.co.uk
DUKE + DEXTER
▽ SNOOP DOGG is associated with many things:
classic tunes, mad parties, and more than the occasional joint. But bespoke footwear? Duke + Dexter will bring together this unlikely pairing after the British footwear brand announced a collaboration with the iconic rapper. The limited-edition range will be available at Selfridges from 10 June. The inspiration is the ‘pool to party lifestyle’ – one the Long Beach rapper is familiar with. The collection is made up of 18 styles, including Duke loafers, Reed mules and Dexter slides, all adorned with Snoop Dogg motifs. “Duke + Dexter is a brand I have known about for a while,” Snoop told square mile over email. “They done some dope bespoke pairs for me in the past and every time they designed me something different and fun. My original idea was to create loafers with the dice embroider on – a smooth casino feel. Duke + Dexter built the collection around the ‘pool to party’ concept – taking you from your casual poolside vibes, all the way to your suave evening loafer feel.” There will only be 1,000 pairs produced in the collection, with prices ranging from £160-£240. Get them while they’re hot. ■
BR AND WATCH
For more info, see dukeanddexter.com
WIN A FILSON 48-HOUR DUFFLE BAG WORTH £495 ▷ Established in 1897, Filson is the leading outfitter and manufacturer of unfailing goods for outdoor enthusiasts. Built on a reputation for reliability, it’s a brand favourite among anglers and hunters, engineers and explorers, mariners and miners – basically, anyone who refuses to stay indoors for long. Filson has teamed up with square mile to offer you the chance to win one of its 48-hour duffle bags. This is the ultimate long-weekender: part
briefcase, part duffle. The bag holds a tonne load and has pockets in all the right places. The oil-finish tin cloth repels rain and snow, and it’s fully lined with dry-finish cover cloth to keep your contents protected. When it comes to carrying, flexibility is the name of the game: there’s an adjustable,
removable strap which allows shoulder or cross-body messenger carry. It’s fitted with bridle leather straps for hand carry, and a trolley strap for use with rolling check-in luggage. Solid brass zippers add a stylish finish to this rugged duffle. ■ For your chance to win, enter on squaremile.com/
Go to squaremile.com/ competitions and answer a simple question. T&Cs can be found online.
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NEW WAVE ART BY ANN-MARIE JAMES
INTO THE BLUE
CREATIVE TYPES Mayfair is one of London’s oldest creative hubs – from tailoring to jewellery making, antiques to art. In celebration of the latter, Mayfair Art Weekend returns for its sixth edition from 28-30 June. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage that forms the beating heart of this special part of town. Kicking off with Gallery HOP! on the Friday night – an evening of private views, receptions and in-store exclusives – the weekend continues with free events, exhibitions and art experiences hosted by a selection of galleries both old and new.
This dreamy, abstract piece, ‘After Hokusai 4’ by Ann-Marie James, is presented by Lynsey Ingram, one of the galleries participating in Mayfair Art Weekend. The line-up also includes the likes of David Swirner, Victoria Miro and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, as well as institutions as lofty as the Royal Academy of Arts. If you have an eye for style and interest in creativity, it’s a weekend for you.
I N T R O D U CI N G…
CHRIS JAMMER “It could have gone really badly wrong…” Model and festival founder Chris Jammer tells MAX WILLIAMS why a fearless streak can be crucial in the pursuit of success
MODELLING WITH FKA Twigs on his debut photo shoot; co-founding a music festival while at Cambridge University; and appearing on Shipwrecked. Chris Jammer has fitted a lot into his 25 years… On founding Strawberries & Creem My friend Will Young ran this club night called Creem that I helped promote. We were trying to bring something different to the ‘boring university city’ that was Cambridge, push the music boundaries a bit. After our first year, we decided to do a garden party to fit in with Cambridge May Week. Our spin was to call it a ‘music festival’, even though there were only 800 people. We had a big stage, burgers, hot dogs, bars, all that sort of thing. That was our first little baby. I was probably the drunkest person in the field! On the early years For the first couple of festivals our only income was ticket sales – almost Fyre Festival-esque. I watched the documentary
olds. That’s our USP in a way: we’re our own target market. It’s all about fun. We have a cool and credible line-up but we also bring nostalgia. We’ve booked acts over the years – Nelly, Shaggy – who people grew up listening to. You come there with no agenda except to party. With some of the bigger, corporate festivals, it’s basically a stage in a field. On managing the growth We are still growing at quite a quick rate. First year we had 800 people, 2,000 in our second year, 5,000 in the third, 8,500 the year after, 10,000 last year and this year we’re looking at 12-14,000. When it gets to a stage where we’re happy with the number of people then we have to reinvent and see what else we can do. Next year, we’re going to try and do two days but keep it to 15,000. In my experience, once it gets over 20,000, you become quite a lost mass: you lose your friend and you’re never gonna find them again. That’s one of my pet hates at festivals.
❱❱ WE DECIDED TO HOLD A GARDEN PARTY AND OUR SPIN WAS TO CALL IT A ‘MUSIC FESTIVAL’, EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE ONLY 800 PEOPLE and saw many similarities! The first festival we were ballsy: ‘we’re putting on a party at the end of the year; pay £20 and you’ll have a good time.’ Once we had money in the bank, we did everything off the back of that. It could have gone badly wrong. Luckily we didn’t really have any overheads – certainly not compared to Fyre! On running the festival At the end of the day, we’re a group of 25-year-olds putting on parties for 25-year-
On brand relationships Stages, ticket partners, drinks deals – there are so many different areas of the festival that brands want to sponsor. It’s a case of deciding who you want to work with, who elevates your brand and doesn’t tarnish it. We might want to work with Adidas, for example, but they won’t pay any money; whereas a less established brand is willing to splash out for the association. Which do you pick? That’s a big revenue stream for us, so it’s a case of choosing carefully.
On studying at Cambridge I studied land economy at Cambridge. It’s kind of niche: it’s economics, law, real estate, finance. It used to be what the rich landowners sent their kids to study so they could work out what to do with their estate. There’s a big stereotype behind it, but it’s really applicable to going to the City and working in real estate finance or wealth management, something like that. Working in the City was my intention. On modelling Modelling started when I was 17. Someone messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to do a shoot for ID magazine with FKA Twigs. At this time I had no idea what ID was or who FKA Twigs was either, but that shoot kind of put me on the map. I got picked up by an agency and started working off the back of that. I think it took me two, three years to realise how big that shoot actually was for me. At the time I was a rabbit in the headlights. It was a good shoot though – I had my hair bleached white and was covered in fake tattoos! On Shipwrecked One of the reasons I went on Shipwrecked was that I could talk freely about Strawberries & Creem on the show. If my profile gets raised, the festival’s profile is raised also. There’s a lot of massive characters and controversial people – I think they needed someone to be a mediator. I’d say I was the calming presence on the show – which isn’t great for airtime but it’s great for me to be me, and not have to play up to anything. ■
Find out more at johnsmedley.com/discover/legacy
View our collections at: 55 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6LX | 24 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 8TX | 24 Brook Street, London, W1K 5DG | johnsmedley.com
AN UNHOLY MESS Whatever happens on 31 October, British politics needs to reassert itself in regards to business. IAIN ANDERSON has some ideas on how to get back on track
BRITISH POLITICS IS entirely scrambled now. The European elections should not have happened in the UK. We were supposed to have left. Theresa May’s departure was predictable but the mess that is British politics right now is impossible to fathom. Were the MEP elections a win for Leave or Remain? With numbers relatively evenly split all we can say for certain is that the UK remains bitterly divided on Brexit three years after it narrowly voted to leave. So what next? Whether or not the UK leaves the EU on 31 October – whether or not Britain faces an early general election – our new Prime Minister needs to get the country and its politics moving again. So how might they do that? First, a new Prime Minister needs to be unashamedly pro business. I have spent the last three years trying to work out if Theresa May and her Conservative government actually liked business. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark did their best to keep
So any new Tory leader and new Prime Minister needs to overcorrect this. If we do leave the European Union this year – and it is still a big IF – the new Government needs to go out of its way to welcome business back into policymaking and to have a fiscal and regulatory regime that allows business to prosper and create prosperity for the country. Secondly, the new PM must have policies which will allow business and voters to reconnect. One of the reasons the trenches on both sides of the Brexit divide remain so deep is because there has been no substantial Government policy allowing a deep reconnection to be made. The so-called ‘industrial strategy’ seemed to hark back to a different era. For many business leaders it didn’t look forward to the opportunities ahead. And bringing the expertise of the City closer to voters must be a part of that. I have long thought that there is an opportunity to create a deep and tangible connection between fund management
❱❱ THE NEW GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO GO OUT OF ITS WAY TO WELCOME BUSINESS BACK INTO POLICY MAKING – AND ALLOW IT TO PROSPER battling for business to be heard inside Government but it was often hard to discern if the PM herself was pro enterprise. Of course the politics of this were simple to discern. Businesses got themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the Brexit debate. They had ‘caused’ the financial crisis. They had to be shut out for a while – so the political advisers believed. It was a myopic and wrong headed strategy for a Government who said it wanted to bring the country together.
and day-to-day pensions saving. The success of auto enrolment into workplace pensions over the last decade is a tremendous example of a cross-party long-term approach. So why not create a new mandate for the pensions system to allow savers to invest in funds which invest directly in the infrastructure and job opportunities around us. Rather than savers investing into mega funds whose investments may seem remote to their lives, why not create new
funds which allow a ‘localised’ investment experience to be created. If savers could see more of their investment heading into job opportunities, schools, roads, skills and local investments, we would go a long way to bridging the gulf in our politics. But there is one bigger idea I want to put on the table. An idea that has never really gained traction in the UK and might seem to be a pipe dream while we still face a huge – albeit diminishing – deficit. I have always looked at Norway and the Gulf states with their huge sovereign wealth funds as something to admire. Building up not just a national ‘rainy day’ fund but a strategic, long-term investment capability has secured the prosperity of those nations. Of course the funds have been built on the proceeds of huge natural resources wealth, but they all started small. The Norwegian fund began in 1990 and is now worth more than $1 trillion – roughly the size of the entire Mexican economy – for its population of five million people. The Norwegian SWF is now the biggest single investor on global markets; it invests for good environmental outcomes; and now has the muscle to support the Norwegian economy and provide incomes for Norwegians in retirement. Of course, until the UK significantly eliminates its deficit, this whole concept looks like a dream. But our politicians need to start thinking big with long-term ideas once again. Beyond Brexit, we need a bolder and achievable set of ambitions that secure our economy and also end the economic dislocation that has its foot on the neck of our politics. ■
HENLEY STYLE WEDDING OUTFITS RISING STAR FATHER’S DAY #WATCHWEWANT
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CATCH OF THE DAY . 032
PHOTOGRAPH: Hackett HRR linen striped blazer, £425; HRR multi polo shirt, £105; HRR Sanderson chino, £100; HRR Panama large brim hat, £120; all available from hackett.com
STYLE BIBLE Temperatures are on the rise and it’s time to raise your fashion game, too. Take your summer style cues from Mr Porter’s CHRIS ELVIDGE
ERE WE ARE, then, a year on from the UK’s joint-hottest summer on record. As the mercury creeps ever higher, the question on everyone’s lips is this: are we in for the same again? Sure, you could argue that last year’s temperatures were a one-off, but you’d be denying the facts of global warming. Perhaps it’s time that we faced up to the inconvenient truth that summers are just going to be hotter from now on. If this is indeed the new normal, then we Brits will finally have the chance to get to grips with something that’s eluded us for decades: warm-weather style. Unlike our continental cousins on the French and Italian Riviera, who long ago mastered the art of summer chic, we don’t tend to be at our best in the heat. Blame it on the fact that, historically, ‘summer’ in Britain has lasted an average of about 48 hours. As with most things, it’s a question of practice – and we haven’t had enough of it. That all looks set to change as we adjust to the realities of living in our newly subtropical climate. But what about right now? With the (potentially very hot) summer of 2019 just around the corner, allow us to recommend a few tactical purchases. First, a pair of cargo shorts. After years in fashion purgatory, they’re on the comeback trail thanks to brands such as Eye/Loewe/ Nature, responsible for the pair pictured. Next, liven things up with a dose of print. After spending winter swaddled in layers of navy and grey, summer’s time for us to indulge in colour – and have a little fun with it, too. Peer closely at the arrows on the back of this long-sleeved tee from Off-White and you’ll spot Claude Monet as painted by his friend and fellow impressionist, Edouard Manet. Right. Now we’ve said all of that, watch as it rains for the next three months. ■ 028
GET THE LOOK: Off-White logo-print cotton-jersey T-shirt, £240; Eye/ Loewe/Nature wide-leg cotton-canvas cargo shorts, £395. Both from mrporter.com
SHOPPING THE ROYAL EXCHANGE
SHOPPING BAG The Royal Exchange, EC3V 3DG, theroyalexchange.co.uk
The finest luxury brands sit side-by-side at The Royal Exchange, making it a great place to head for your high-end accessories hit FELINE FINESSE Bremont is renowned for its collaborations with classic British brands, and its partnership with Jaguar is no different. The new Bremont Jaguar D-Type OW is inspired by the marque’s celebrated D-Type and is a fittingly stylish tribute to the iconic car. Design cues include an intricate Jaguar steering wheel-inspired rotor, the original Dunlop tyre tread etched into its crown, and a Jaguar blue leather strap. As with many of Bremont’s partnership pieces, it’s strictly limited edition, with only 300 available. Get ready to pounce.
Sage Brown Style and function form a happy union in Sage Brown’s new ladies Trinity briefcase thanks to its abundant storage space, flexible carry options and full-grain calf leather in a range of colours. £295. 31 Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LP
Searle & Co There’s dazzling, and then there’s this 3.60ct natural sapphire surrounded by a border of diamonds set in white gold. If you’re looking for a pendant with presence, this is it. £19,100. 1 Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LL
CAT TRICK: This BE-50AE automatic chronometer has a 42-hour power reserve, 43mm satin and hardened Trip-Tick case construction, and is water resistant to 100m. £5,495. Bremont, Royal Exchange, EC3V 3LQ
see more on
Tiffany Say it with flowers. Say it even louder with these flower-shaped earrings made out of rose gold and diamonds from Tiffany’s perfect-for-summer Paper Flowers collection. £3,725. The Courtyard, Royal Exchange
THE RIGHT STRIPES Like all stalwarts of the British Summer Season, the Henley Royal Regatta has its own set of sartorial rules. JEREMY HACKETT talks us through the dos and don’ts, starting with stripes – lots of them…
F YOU ARE off to Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) this year, I urge you to enter into the spirit of the occasion – and plan your outfit. Henley is an opportunity to have fun with your wardrobe, so resist the temptation to wear your office suit. Henley wouldn’t be Henley without a sea of striped boating blazers, originally introduced so that members could identify their rowing club out on the river much the same as the racing colours jockeys wear. It is one of the
It’s an opportunity to have fun with your wardrobe, so don’t just wear your office suit 032
few times one can wear a garish stripe blazer without looking out of place and because it is such an auspicious occasion one should make the effort and abide by the dress code. We suggest a colour palette of navy, pale blue, pink, white, cream and red. We use these colours for our chinos, which can be coordinated with any of our blazers. Plain, old-school plimsolls are the perfect footwear, or classic boat shoes, but wear them with striped socks and hold up your trousers with a striped belt. If you decide to wear a tie, then make that a striped one. And if the weather turns cold, then you could add one of our stripe-trimmed merino/cotton cardigans that sit well underneath a blazer. A hat of some sort completes the ensemble, be it a Panama with a striped ribbon band or a simple rowing cap with contrast trim. For ladies we have produced a capsule navy and white collection, inspired by the 1950s and the movie star Grace Kelly.
All this kit will be available at the Hackett Henley pop-up shop, so do drop by. You may even find me behind the counter, or failing that, in front of the bar. ■ The HRR Collection is also available in selected stores and online at hackett.com
THREE HENLEY LOOKS 1 I suggest a striped blazer and the bolder the stripes the better. Wear it with a straw boater. Go on I dare you. 2 If you find stripes too OTT, I recommend a navy double breasted blazer that can be worn with khaki or white cotton trousers. 3 A navy blue linen or cotton suit will fit the bill but I urge you to add a stripe or two somewhere, perhaps the tie or bow tie. hackett.com
STRIPE IT LUCKY: [opposite, left] HRR Hackett panel rugby shirt, £125; HRR multi polo shirt, £105; HRR stripe T-shirt, £55; [opposite, right] HRR linen strip blazer, £425; HRR classic polo, £80
PHOTOGRAPH by publinc larit em potinium vid ces blah
[this image, left] HRR navy stripe blazer, £395; HRR multi polo, £105; HRR seersucker trousers, £175; [middle] HRR Lubium stripe blazer, £450; HRR logo T-shirt, £50; HRR Lubium striped trousers, £175; [right] HRR linen striped blazer, £425; HRR multi polo shirt, £105; HRR Sanderson chino, £100; HRR Panama large brim hat, £120. All items available from hackett.com
GROOM MATES Three different weddings, three distinct looks, one big day: MARK HEDLEY has curated a trio of winning wedding outfits for grooms. Now all you have to do is turn up on time…
OLD-SCHOOL If you’re going to opt for the old-school morning suit, it doesn’t come more traditional than a bespoke outfit from Henry Poole. The Savile Row stalwart has been making them for the great and the good since 1806. For your feet, it’s classic semi-brogue oxfords all the way. Suit: Henry Poole bespoke morning suit, from £6,391,
Shoes: Sons of London The Second Son – semibrogue oxford, £195,
sonsoflondon.com Shirt: Hawes & Curtis men’s formal white herringbone, £49,
hawesandcurtis.co.uk Tie: Hawes & Curtis men’s luxury silver paisley tie, £23,
TIMELESS If you want a suit that will last you long after the big day, then a navy lounge suit is the obvious choice. Head to Tailor Made London where its bespoke offering combines 3D body-scanning tech with traditional tailoring. For your shoes, plump for some double monks from Sons of London – making the ensemble more special than your standard work uniform. Suit: Tailor Made London bespoke three-piece suit, £1,425, tailormade
Shirt: Hawes & Curtis, men’s formal white dobby twill shirt, £49,
hawesandcurtis.co.uk Shoes: Sons of London The Third Son – Double Monkstrap, £195,
sonsoflondon.com Ties: Hawes & Curtis men’s navy and grey bold floral tie, £23,
SUMMER If you’re travelling to sunnier climes, then you might be tempted to opt for a beige or white suit. The only issue is that you’ll rarely have an excuse to wear it again. Instead, Hackett offers this lightweight wool, silk and linen blend in a denim twill. Its double-breasted cut makes sure it still feels special, and paired with a light summer tie, you have a winning combination. Finish off the look with some Sons of London tassel loafers. Suit: Hackett doublebreasted suit, £975,
Shirt: Hawes & Curtis white linen shirt, £49,
PHOTOGRAPHS by Emily Black
Shoes: Sons of London The Sixth Son – Tassel Loafer, £220,
sonsoflondon.com Ties: Hawes & Curtis navy small flower print tie, £23,
Daring to be different
PERFECT SCENTS: The House of Creed has created fragrances for the discerning for more than 260 years. Today Olivier Creed, a direct descendant of founder James Henry Creed, continues this great tradition. “With Aventus Cologne, I was inspired to create a new legend,” says Olivier. “A fresher, modern complement that would provide an olfactive experience entirely of its own.”
Aventus Cologne is the latest fragrance from the House of Creed. Inspired by a cult classic, it’s aimed at those with a rebellious spirit…
EBELLION COMES IN all different shapes and sizes. But when you work in the City those parameters are somewhat limited. Novelty cufflinks? Don’t even think about it. A visible, tattoo. Alright, David Beckham – steady on now. Even a particularly colourful tie will still raise eye-brows and bring questions upon your judgement. So where does that leave you – how can you express your rebellious side within the corporate world of conformity? Well, before you worry about your clothes, start with your scent. That’s where Aventus Cologne comes in. The brand new fragrance from the House of Creed is a tantalising blend of energising notes – and it’s been specifically created for the modern man with a wild streak. The original – and now iconic – Aventus has become a cult classic. It was inspired by Napoléon Bonaparte, the first emperor of France. Many of its scents were linked to him, such as blackcurrants from Corsica (where Napoléon was born), and birch from Louisiana (over which he ruled for four years). Although renowned as a military leader, you may be surprised to learn Napoléon was also a devotee of eau de cologne. The emperor would use approximately 60 litres a month, with each bottle costing the equivalent of £1,000 today. His cologne is thought to have accompanied him to battle and became a testimony to his victorious vigour. But like all good revolutionaries, Aventus doesn’t stand still. The cult fragrance has
•• An urban interpretation of its forerunner, Aventus Cologne is a natural-born rule breaker 036
entered a new chapter: Aventus Cologne. A more urban interpretation than its forerunner, Aventus Cologne is a natural-born rule breaker. Indeed, it’s not technically a cologne at all, but rather an eau de parfum – a considerably more rich offering all together. A cologne typically is made up of head notes, with little or no base notes, whereas an eau de parfum opens out to a large base, giving it more depth and longevity on the skin. Taking inspiration from the light citrus head notes found in a traditional cologne, Aventus Cologne blends energising notes of mandarin, pink pepper and ginger with sumptuous patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. However, unlike a cologne, it mixes these light and refreshing notes with a leathery balsamic base of styrax, musk and birch. Creed’s créateur parfumeur Olivier Creed uses traditional perfume techniques for a higher concentration of perfume essence. Olivier is the direct descendant of James Henry Creed, who founded the company in 1760. The perfume house actually began life as a firm of bespoke tailors in Mayfair. However, when it comes to rebelling, suits don’t have a patch on fragrances. If you work in the City, your tailoring choices are pretty much restricted to navy or grey. Brown is for the country; beige is only acceptable if you’re on a trip to Europe; and black is for funerals – and auditors. Now, you can have some fun with your shoes: tassels, monk straps, brogues and suede are all fair game in this department. Then there’s your watch: from divers to pilots, sports to astronauts – they’re a symbol of the man you’d rather be. But regardless of your outfit, and whether you’re at work or play, Aventus Cologne is the perfect choice for all 21st-century rebels. ■ Creed Aventus Cologne £155 (50ml), £215 (100ml) Stockist: Creed Boutique, 99 Mount Street, London, W1K 2TF; 020 7495 1795; creedfragrances.co.uk
PA R T N E R S H I P
RISING STAR JACK FOX
IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR With a father, brother and uncle all in the business, it was somewhat inevitable that Jack Fox would end up on screen himself one day. The Riviera star tells MARK HEDLEY about following in his family’s footsteps
ACK FOX WAS born to be an actor. There
are few families quite as embedded in the entertainment industry as his. His father James Fox’s acting career spans decades from The Servant in the 1960s through to Sexy Beast and Downton Abbey. His brother Laurence Fox is also an actor as well as a singer-songwriter and guitarist. His uncle Edward Fox OBE is a noted stage, film and television actor – and his other uncle Richard is a renowned theatre and film producer. His sister Lydia Fox is also a fellow thespian, and even his cousin is in the business, too – Emilia Fox, who debuted in the Oscar-winning The Pianist. You get the point. Acting was his destiny…
Umm, so how come you studied philosophy and theology at Leeds University, then? I had a deal with my parents – ‘go and get a degree and if you still want to act afterwards, then we’ll support you in that’. There were some people who were really keen for me to get into it from a really young age – around ten – but my mum and dad wanted to wait until I was able to make my own choices. Tell us about your role in Riviera? I play Nico Eltham, a rogue from an aristocratic family. The Eltham family have newly left England and set up in the Riviera – where they used to summer – looking to relocate to a place with a more relaxed criminal justice system. They find affinity and competition with Georgina and the Clios family. Nico was shipped off to boarding school at nine. As a result of that he has mistrusting relationships – yet holds his family close as he hadn’t seen them as often as he’d have liked. His way to survive is to be mercurial – as well as strong and athletic.
And what was it like filming out there – it must have been a good laugh? We spent a lot of time rigorously taking the piss out of Julia [Styles]. She is one of the funniest, most charming people you’ll ever meet. But she’s very easy to do impressions of. On occasion we’d put on her wig and be naughty. They’re just a really good bunch. It was a dream job. I’m in the South of
We spent a lot of time rigorously taking the piss out of Julia Styles. She is one of the funniest, most charming people that you’ll ever meet
France for five months with a really talented, fun group of people staying in a beautiful place. You’re on a beach eating fresh fish. It’s difficult to top that. We were staying in the Meridien in Nice – you could throw a stone into the sea if you had a good enough aim. Most important role in your career? The ones which I have really loved are the ones you can never take away, not the ones which give you a stepping stone onto the next one. I did a play with my dad called Dear Lupin at the Apollo Theatre based on a chap called Charlie and his dad, and the letters written between the two of them. That was magic because it was just me and him. It was only the second time I’d been on the stage professionally – and it was really well received critically. More importantly I learnt a tremendous amount, because I got to work with my dad every day. On screen, it would be Theeb – a film written and directed by Naji Abu Nowar that was nominated for an Oscar. That was a real eye-opening experience. It was shot in Jordan and I had to learn to ride a camel. I got to be part of the culture there for three months, and I made some pretty special friends out there. Acting idols – beyond the family? I’m an old-school kind of guy. Peter O’Toole. Richard Harris. I like hell raisers. Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Humphrey Bogart… But I’m also a sucker for Tom Cruise and an action movie. I mean, I loved Days of Thunder. What’s next for you? I’ve just written a short film, which I’m also going to produce. I’m now in the process of funding and casting for it. We have the director and the music people already. I’m also shooting an ITV show called Sanditon – Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. And leave us with one surprising fact… I used to do card magic to pay the bills when I was in my early twenties. I can show you a good trick or two… ■ Riviera season 2 is available on Sky now.
PHOTOGRAPHS by Joseph Sinclair
Did you get to experience the Riviera lifestyle for yourself while you were there? One time I ended up on Elandess [a 244ft superyacht owned by billionaire Lloyd Dorfman] with Kris Thykier, the producer of Riviera. That was a real riot. Like all these things, they’re a joy to go on once. But as with a Boeing 737, when you’ve been on one you’ve been on them all.
We also took a private jet to Monza and met a whole bunch of the F1 drivers. It was my first time on a private jet – and presumably it will be the last time anyone decides to fly me on a private jet. It was a really fun time.
Deep black sanded chrome finish, radiator grill engraving, palladium-plated outlines, vivid flashes of red… No, it’s not a racing car, but it is inspired by one: introducing the Ecridor Racing ballpoint pen from Caran d’Ache. We’re not usually ones to get revved up by writing instruments, but this ball point is certainly on point.
WRITING HISTORY Caran d’Ache comes from the word ‘karandash’ that is the Russian term for ‘pencil’. In a nod to the brand’s iconic coloured pencil design, the Ecridor has a hexagonal body. It’s a gentle reminder that you have more than 100 years of design expertise at your fingertips. £140.
PHOTOGRAPH by Frasershot Studios
Sleek lines, powerful body and a state-of-the-art finish: it’s the new motor racing-inspired ballpoint from Swiss pen powerhouse Caran d’Ache 040
ON THE BALL
BLUE SUEDE MOVES BOSS’s new blouson jacket is an ode to suede, and we’re 100% behind it. Smart, soft and startlingly stylish, it’ll be your summer go-to for years to come
MARTER THAN COTTON, more relaxed than
leather, lightweight, comfortable, and with an undeniable air of vintage swagger – could suede be the ultimate summer fabric? The people at BOSS seem to think so, and after clapping eyes on their new blouson jacket crafted from the handsome fabric, we’re inclined to agree. In fact, this versatile piece has gone straight to the top of our style list for the sometimes-tricky-to get right season. So what’s the big deal? Firstly, there’s the suede: butter-soft and in a mild-mannered tonal palette including inky blue and a bright summer sage, it makes an understated style statement – it’s luxurious without shouting about it. Then there’s the cut. Taking its cue from a classic denim jacket, there are traditional flap pockets, simple stamped buttons and a collar that’ll dress it up if you’re wearing a T-shirt underneath, or complement a dressier shirt. Like with all things suede, you’ll need to take good care of it, but the rewards will be great – it’s a fabric that gently evolves over time, acquiring character and relaxing into your shape. It’s as bespoke as ready-to-wear gets. ■
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GET THE LOOK: BOSS suede jacket, £1,100. Available at BOSS Store, 178-180 Regent St, W1B 5TW, boss.com
THE BRIGHTEST MOON: POWERED BY MICRO GAS LIGHTS. For millennia, the moon has fascinated mankind. Tamed oceans and guided explorers. Infused with this spirit, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Moon Navigator. Its moon phases shine with exacting precision and micro gas tube luminosity. The days on the inner bezel combine with the tide markings on the outer bezel to reveal high and low tides for a two-week period. A celebration of the inescapable pull of exploration.
TO BE YOURSELF
ENGINEER HYDROCARBON MOON NAVIGATOR Automatic caliber | 42mm Luminous moon phase 1mm micro gas tubes indices High and low tide indication Shock resistant to 7,500Gs
www.ballwatch.com BALL Watch UK Ltd. Tel. 0800 098 89 98
Available for immediate purchase and shipping: shop.ballwatch.ch
First Class Watches / James Moore & Co. Kenilworth | David Rodger Sharp Henley-on-Thames | Hooper Bolton Fine Jewellery Cheltenham Joseph Welch Jewellers Wellington | Peter George Banks Jewellers Kendal | S.T. Hopper Boston
S E R
r s fo t f i g s ten trick d cte ew ele me n s e 1 e’v an so W m e. Jun e old 6 1 th S it’s find IFT , G r DAY yea me to R’S s i HE T ti h A F t nd g. It’s a – n ay rythi d ve his as has e h dad who y r r Eve fathe the
DADDY COOL: 1. Cutler & Gross gun metal sunglasses, £280, cutlerandgross.com 2. Doers of London body wash, £16, libertylondon.com 3. Remy Martin XO, £195, selfridges.com
4. Aesop Arrival set of four, £29, aesop.com 5. Creed Aventus (100ml) EDP, £250, creedfragrances.co.uk 6. Doers of London shave cream, £14, libertylondon.com
7. Ettinger navy belt, £135, ettinger.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPH by David Harrison
8. Glenfiddich Experimental Series: Fire & Cane, £43, amazon.co.uk 9. Noble Macmillan Cyclamen Lazy Days travel chess set, £225, noblemacmillan.com 10. Dunhill Signature Moroccan Amber (100ml) EDP, £120, harrods.com
#WATCHWEWANT Eqvis Varius is quite unlike any other timepiece on the market. Its modular design and patented Varius tool means this is many watches in one, says BEN WINSTANLEY
VARIETY SHOW For those of us who played with Meccano as children, we’d never have imagined in the future we could wind up wearing a watch that follows similar principles, but thanks to German brand Eqvis here we are. The Varius is a unique solution to customising your watch. Simply remove the eight screws on the bezel or pop out the strap, and you have access to a host of different colours at a moment’s notice. Each watch includes a tool and accessories for six different looks for instant flexibility.
PHOTOGRAPH by Tom Seelbach
ONE TO WATCH: All this functionality comes with a 100% Swiss Made guarantee and a dependable movement in the ETA Valgranges A07.111 calibre – boasting a healthy 46-hour power reserve and a date indicator at six o’clock shown through an unusual curved window on the dial. It’s a contemporary aesthetic for the modern man. From £5,725; eqvis.net
SUMMER IS CALLING
Kick off your summer in style with MR MARVIS’ perfect shorts. The iconic design available in 35 colours, partly elasticated waistband, hidden zippered pocket & soft ﬁnish stretch cotton fabric make MR MARVIS shorts your summer wardrobe essential. Get in that #MRMARVISMOOD and make your summer unforgettable. SHOP THE PERFECT SHORTS AT MRMARVIS.CO.UK
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RED HOT . 050 BRET EASTON ELLIS . 058 KEVIN BACON . 064
CLASS ACT . 064
PHOTOGRAPH by Dustin Snipes
RED OR BLACK? Thomas Knights founded Red Hot to fight the stereotype of the ginger male. The project went global – yet its creator couldn't escape his inner darkness. MAX WILLIAMS recounts a story of sex, drugs, and red heads
transformation began in earnest. All traces of gingerness were erased from his body. He dyed his hair, his eyebrows, his pubes. He shaved religiously to ensure no tell-tale stubble would betray his natural red. When he reached music college – LIPA, Paul McCartney’s alma mater – everybody assumed blond to be his natural colour. Knights certainly didn’t correct them. He grew it long, embraced the new persona. He wasn’t a ginger kid; he was a blond musician. They have more fun after all. “That was the new me. That was the me that I thought was the real me. This fabricated version of myself that was going to make me happy; that was going to solve everything.” Thomas came out aged 20. The process was traumatic, simply because being gay, like being ginger, added another layer of separation between who he was and the ‘normal’ person he so desperately wanted to be. His gingerness stayed in the closet for another seven years. “It was an effort man, it was a fucking effort! Ten years of dying your hair blond.” ➤
PHOTOGRAPH by Sarah Knights
S SOON AS Thomas Knights realised he was ginger, he hated himself for being it. He wasn’t even that ginger, more auburn, reddish-brown really, but kids don’t deal in nuances, and Thomas was ginger enough to get the treatment. Playground insults, but what happens in the playground can be carried into the world. He’d go to bed and quite literally dream of waking up with any other hair colour than his own. “When I got bullied for being ginger I was like, yeah, I hate it too. It’s shameful.” Over the years the bullying stopped; the self-loathing lingered. Aged 17, he finally realised those childhood dreams and dyed his hair platinum blond. Dying your hair was against school rules, and he got a bollocking, but at long last he had escaped his curse. “The ironic thing was, my hair went bright, neon yellow – I looked like a beacon! I stood out more, but I was so much happier because I wasn’t ginger – even though it was piss yellow!” With practice he turned piss yellow into a more traditional colour. Then the
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➤ Music led to fashion photography. He needed some promotional shots for his band, and fell in love with a new profession. “When I picked up the camera for the first time in 2006 it was like I had found the thing I was meant to be. I could have gone through my whole life and never known – I never wanted to be a photographer.” New career, same old look. He began to question the logic and logistics of his ongoing blondness. Was it worth the effort? Did it make him happy? Could he keep doing it forever? If not, when would he stop? “I was like, why am I doing this, why am I hiding who I really am? It sounds silly because it’s like sexuality or something – coming out of the closet as a ginger person.” There was another issue: his roots were showing through. After a decade of hair dye, his natural red was fighting back, and the top of his scalp had started to darken like a stain. “One summer I was on holiday with my best mate in Cyprus, and he was like, ‘right, do you want to do it?’ As soon as I shaved it off I looked a bazillion times better. I had a buzz cut but my natural colouring. I looked like I was meant to look. It felt like the shedding of a skin, like I was revealing the true me. I had the self confidence to stand out in the world.” Thomas Knights returned from Cyprus a new man. Happier, more confident, more secure in himself. Around Soho he made an interesting discovery: gentlemen like redheads, too. “I went from being this fake blond twink to being a buzz cut and being ginger. Suddenly I was attractive to people who liked ginger guys, which I just didn’t see coming. I think that was the moment when I realised: Red Hot!”
ARE YOU RED HOT?
PHOTOGRAPH by Thomas Knights
The concept: a photographic celebration of the redheaded man, one that made him look strong and confident and sexy and all the other things that redheaded men were so rarely depicted as. Something to turn ‘ginger’ from an insult into a boast. Something to ensure no kid would ever hate himself like he once did because of the colour of their hair. Take your darkness and make it a source of light. A 2013 article, ‘What’s the new obsession with hot ginger men?’ – referencing the likes of Prince Harry, Damian Lewis and Eddie Redmayne – convinced Thomas there was a zeitgeist to be tapped into, his passion project had the potential to be something far bigger. It was time to turn idea into reality. Step one: find some hot ginger men. With Instagram in its infancy, Thomas turned to the natural home of the physically attractive: modelling agencies. Working in fashion meant
plenty of contacts, and he duly rang round. The only issue: no agency had a redheaded male model on its books. “The model agencies weren’t actively discriminating: there’d never been anyone asking for ginger models, so they didn’t scout them. Eventually I found one agency that had two, a dance and model agency called AMCK.” He shot three models in total. Experimented with different backgrounds and looks. Told the boys not to pout: this shoot was about selfconfidence, empowerment. Looking through the photographs he saw the blue background was the one, against blue the red hair popped – especially in the topless shots. “With the T-shirt on it almost looked like a fashion shoot–- but once the top came off it was just their skin and their hair. The hair suddenly became the star of the picture.” He posted the photos on Karl Is My Unkle, a fashion blog and its Tumblr run by his friend Nik Thakkar. Added the tagline ‘Are You Red Hot?’ and his email address. Waited, hoped. “I first heard about Red Hot when Thomas had taken about eight photos,” says Thakkar over the phone. “It went really viral on our Tumbler, and that sparked a lot of things off.” Within 24-hours, the photos had gone viral. Redheaded men from around the world were getting in touch, wanting to be part of this campaign that celebrated the very trait so many of them had been mocked for. Thomas picked nine or ten more guys, shot a poster, same tagline: Are You Red Hot? Posted it on Facebook and watched it explode. Hundreds more emails. Parents were even submitting their children as potential models. As well as the poster, he made a video, a Red Hot trailer with the models playfully preening to the camera. The day after it went out, Thakkar phoned again: American talk show host Conan O’Brien had cut himself into the video and played it on the nightly show. Less than two months after Thakkar shared the first photos, Red Hot had gone transatlantic. “Nobody had ever celebrated ginger guys before. There was potential to be massive.” He raised funds for an exhibition on Kickstarter: 151 backers pledged £5,763 toward a £5,000 target. He shot 50-60 models. Hired The Gallery in Redchurch Street. Printed the photos on large foam boards and covered the walls with them, turning the gallery into a Google image search for ‘topless ginger men’. The aesthetic was perfect but the exhibition lacked heart. He asked every model for a quote on the experience of growing up with red hair. “Some were funny, some were poignant. We attached them beneath the pictures. Most of the guys were really broken. They’d been bullied to
fuck. To get the picture where they looked sexy and self-confident took 200-300 shots.” The quote supplied by Olympic gold medalist and Red Hot model Greg Rutherford: “The fact I’m ginger is mentioned in every walk in my life. Whenever I’m spoken about… I’m described as the ‘ginger long jumper’, which is interesting seeing as I never hear ‘the brunette javelin thrower’ or ‘blonde rower’… I’d love for my children to be ginger. But even more, I’d love for them to go through at least 24 hours without someone describing them as such.” Few independent art exhibitions receive a scrap of media coverage: Red Hot was swamped by it. Buzzfeed, HuffPost, Sunday Times’ Style, Elle, Attitude, New York Magazine, Hunger TV – everyone wanted a piece. The same question, over and over: what’s next? Next? Next was New York City for the launch of the photography book Red Hot 100, again funded on Kickstarter. (£20,000 goal; 468 backers, £29,299 pledged.) One hundred photos of you can guess what. No time to think; barely time to breathe. Ride this thing and see where it takes you. It took him back to London, then onto Amsterdam, Sydney, Berlin, more exhibitions, more work, more parties. All incoming money from the merchandise going straight back out onto the next event. “It was this giant machine that needed cash. A lot of my business friends were like, ‘you should have got funding, got sponsorship’ – there wasn’t time! It was happening right then! I could feel it, it was like electricity. I can either apply for funding and miss it, or I can go with it, and I went with it.” He reached for the credit card. Took out a £10,000 overdraft on his personal and business accounts. A friend pitched in with some money to support the New York launch. His dad loaned some more. The show rolled on and on. There were ten Red Hot launches around the world in twelve months: for books, calendars, exhibitions. Each launch cost between £5,000-£10,000. Thomas didn’t lose money, but he didn’t make any money either. However he inspired thousands of people; not only redheads but anybody with insecurities ➤
Nobody had ever celebrated ginger guys before. There was potential to be massive 053
➤ who heard the story and could face the mirror with a little more confidence than before. “A lot of people read into the success of Red Hot as an example of taking something that was once the thing you hated about yourself and were insecure about – if you can own that, if you can find your own self-comfort in that, then suddenly it becomes your asset, it becomes your calling card, it becomes the thing that sets you apart, the thing that makes you unique and different… When you learn to accept it, it becomes your superpower.” That would make a good sign off. He learned to love himself and, in doing so, made a small yet meaningful alteration to the world. Pull back the camera as he walks up the garden path, weary yet fulfilled. Fade to black.
Cue uplifting pop song. Applause. Only Thomas isn’t weary, he’s utterly exhausted. Physically broken, mentally broken, emotionally broken, spiritually broken. On the cusp of total depression. He climbed into bed and didn’t get out again for three months.
HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY As Red Hot grew and grew, so did its creator’s drug binges, the abuse of substances as a gateway out of being Thomas Knights. The pattern was simple. In the lead up to a launch, when it was all work, work, work – and can you imagine the work that goes into these things? Hire a venue, hire staff, invite guests, invite more guests when the initial
guests drop out, invite the models, buy booze, publicise the event, navigate the inevitable late disaster, all just him and his assistant – Thomas stayed sober, and on the night of the launch all that stress and good behaviour would be obliterated in an orgy of play. Everybody came to praise him. People literally queuing up to tell him how Red Hot had changed their lives. Thomas you’re a hero – and could you honestly say you’d be unaffected by all this? – Thomas you’re the fucking man – you’ve realised your dream and now you’re living it – Thomas can I have a photo? – no wonder all these people love you – Thomas do you want a line? – yet you don’t deserve their love – Thomas can I suck your dick? – you don’t deserve anything but misery.
He disappeared for two days after the New York launch. Missed a load of engagements, dozens of phone calls from his assistant. Couldn’t bear to face reality. This isn’t happening, I’m not here. Awful behaviour, personal and professional sabotage, but it was his project, and not being funny but who the fuck did he have to answer to? “The more success I got with Red Hot, the more my using and my bad behaviour grew. I was almost trying to prove to myself that I was worth nothing, even though I was fighting daily to prove to the world that I was worth something. Massive head fuck there.” He never hung around long. As soon as the latest event finished and the after-party kicked off, he would vanish into the night of whatever
city he found himself in. Lose himself in every sense until he had no senses left, least of all a sense of self, of being someone so much lesser than the person the world thought him to be. “Everything I did with Red Hot was to try to empower the ginger man, and in so doing empower myself as well. It was working, but then it was like, ‘I don’t believe that I’m worth anything.’ It was the classic case of wanting and getting the respect and the success that you’re fighting for, only to then feel uncomfortable with that success, and wanting to fuck it all up. Push the ‘fuck it’ button. “It’s so common in the arts: as soon as a movie star becomes successful they realise they’re still not happy. The success they have been chasing, the success that was going to make them happy, doesn’t fix them, it isn’t enough – and then they stop and go why?” Just as alcoholism tends to be a symptom of an underlying problem, rather than the problem itself, so the hatred of his red hair was merely the manifestation of a deeper, more corrosive self-hatred. He didn’t know how to cure this disease, only temporarily numb the pain of it, and once the medication wore off there was only shame, and the desperate need to escape. He ran from city to city, launch to launch, and then the tour finished, and he returned home with nowhere to run anymore. “I went back to Wiltshire to get off the rat race for a bit and take a little breather. It was the first time in my adult life when I had a chance to stop and think about my life, and who I was, and what I’d become, and I fell into a massive depression.” His friends didn’t rally round; his friends didn’t even realise. After two years of Red Hot, Knights had lost contact with most of his friends. Personal contact at least: lying in bed doesn’t stop you from uploading a few old photos, liking a post or two. The virtual Thomas Knights stayed visible, even as the physical version languished. He drank a bit, didn’t use. Let inertia wash over him. An acquaintance got in touch about collaborating on a Red Hot candle. He went to Bath for a meeting that would change his life.
I WANTED TO FUCK IT UP FOR MYSELF Elliott James Frieze had spent a decade working for fashion brands across Asia, launching his own company in 2009. After successfully marketing a range of FRIEZE designer candles, Elliott wanted to celebrate Red Hot with a special branded scent. He reached out to Thomas. They met, they talked. Chewed over what Red Hot had been, what it meant, and what it could yet become. Elliott recognised Thomas had unfinished business
The more success I got with Red Hot, the more that my drug use and my bad behaviour grew with the project, business that extended beyond branded candles. Elliott writes over Messenger: “I knew he was having a tough time from the moment I met with him in Bath about three years ago. He told me that he didn’t know what the next chapter was. I could see he was down. I could see the potential in taking the brand forward. I think having a vision and setting yourself goals is key in turning the corner.” Elliott joined Red Hot as Brand/Art Director. The pair committed to another project, far more ambitious than Red Hot 100. There would be candles, yes, but also underwear, more exhibitions and another photography book. The aesthetic would be darker, more meditative. This would be more than empowerment: this would be art. “It was like Red Hot 100, but done to a higher degree, it wasn’t celebratory, it was about the emotion of the bullying.” Profits from the book went to The Diana Award, the anti-bullying charity founded by princes William and Harry in their mother’s name. (Over the years, Red Hot has raised more than £60,000 for various charities including Terrence Higgins Trust, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and Athlete Ally.) Again, Kickstarter. A £34,290 goal; 332 backers raised £37,857. One hundred and fifty models shot in a matter of months. The workload was heavier than ever before, and Thomas’s depression hadn’t gone away, but at least he was working, at least he had a partner to share both vision and burden. The models were depicted against satin drapes of midnight blue. No smiles: their beautiful faces became masks, their alabaster bodies twisted like those of tortured gods. And goddesses – female models were also shot, including the pop star Nicola Roberts. The images were stunning but also lifeless: you marvelled at their beauty while feeling relieved you weren’t one of them. Red Hot II lacked the fun and phwoar factor of its predecessor – a deliberate omission, yet also a damaging one. “Looking back I love it, I think it’s really beautiful, but it wasn’t something that was ➤
➤ commercially successful. We didn’t want it to be commercially successful, we wanted it to be art – but that only works if you’ve got a fucking backer… It just, just broke even.” Elliott, via Messenger: “I’m not so sure, Red Hot 2 enabled us to drive forward the Company, without it the brand may have fizzled out. It gave us the platform to drive the company forward and gave the press something new to talk about.” The press certainly talked. I attended the Rotterdam launch on behalf of British GQ, and at the bar of some flashy gay club I first heard fragments of the story that you’re reading now. There followed a London launch at the Devonshire Club, which eventually progressed to the less refined surroundings of Metropolis in Bethnal Green. Thomas was there, and then he wasn’t. “Oh, he’ll be off doing his own thing,” said Elliott, not the least bit surprised. Yes, Thomas had fallen into the same selfdestructive cycle of the first Red Hot tour. Addiction is nothing if not repetitive. “As soon as I took drugs I extradited myself. I would jump on an app and do bad things with strangers. I wanted to disconnect from my life and be with complete strangers and take loads of drugs and escape. That became my pattern of behaviour throughout 2016.” The sequel ended much the same as the first instalment: sick with exhaustion and unhappiness. A friend invited him to Mexico for New Year. Party in 2017 at a gay resort? Fortunately, Thomas was broke. The friend offered to pay for his holiday. “I knew it was going to be a real hedonistic trip… I told myself that I wasn’t going to go crazy: I knew that I was going to go crazy. It was like I was planning my own sabotage. I knew that I was going to fuck it up for myself. I wanted to fuck it up for myself.” He went crazy. Escaped from his friends, who barely saw him the whole week. Ended up in a drug dealer’s house. After two days the drug dealer kicked him out. “I couldn’t stop using: I was using, using, using, using, anything in order to not come down. I had to get this horrific flight home,
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still high. I went through security with the shakes. If they’d drug tested me I’d have been completely over the limit. I hadn’t slept for like a week. It was a comedown of epic proportions. It was – ah, it was just the worst.” The husk of Thomas Knights crawled onto an airplane and let it fly him back to England. Battered in body, broken in spirit. Got a train to London Victoria. Chemicals leaching from his system. He’d never been lower. Then a tube to Paddington. Sweating, shaking. Then a train to Chippenham. Please make it fucking stop. His mum collected him from the station. “Hello darling! How was the trip?”
THE COCKS FUCKING SOLVED EVERYTHING! The launch of Red Hot American Boys proves a lively affair. L’Escargot is wall to wall packed, a thicket of bodies, noise, flashing phones. Crane your head and it’s possible to make out the marbled torsos of some American Boys, tops off, grinning in front of their calendar. There must be several hundred people here, encompassing more or less every demographic you can imagine, and a few you probably can’t. It feels like half of Soho has come out to play. Midnight is nearing but for many the night is just kicking off – after all, London is a hell of a city to lose yourself in. The man responsible for this extravaganza seems to materialise in every room, hugging friends, thanking well wishers, claiming to be exhausted but displaying no sign of it – Thomas is all energy, energy, energy. He’s so visibly having the time of his life, it’s impossible not to smile. How did we get here? Flashback to early 2017. Thomas and Elliott sit down and face up to some difficult questions. Red Hot II hadn’t made a profit – or rather, like its predecessor, all its profits had been needed to sustain the project. A viable business model this was not; not unless they were willing to work for free. “We need to cut away all the things that cost money and work on the things that are financially successful. The exhibitions, the books, they’re great for glory, they’re great for press and kudos, but they’re time-heavy, and they don’t make any money. What makes money is the calendars.” What kind of calendars? How to produce fresh content, year after year – in the calendar business, deadlines are pretty immovable – while keeping a clear brand identity? Simple. Maintain the aesthetic, change up the boys. “Why don’t we brand each calendar with a different nation? We can go round the world for ‘X’ amount of years doing Red Hot ‘X’ boys. Next we’re doing European boys, the
year after we’re doing Australian boys, the year after we’re doing Brazilian boys…” British Boys came first. A make or break moment for Red Hot. The audience existed, the plan had been devised – now for the execution. The target a mere £9,974 (calendars come cheap). Success: 450 backers pledged £19,243. “We thought, ‘Right, we’ve gotta make it naked, sexy, celebratory, put the blue back – so it’s a blue sky background – and that’s what we’re going to take around the world for the next five years. Obviously it ends up becoming the most successful calendar we’ve ever done.” Each year, a different country will be represented; prioritising, of course, the countries where a viable market is known to exist. (Thank you, Kickstarter.) In 2023, Red Hot will celebrate its tenth birthday by releasing its first photography book since Red Hot II: a compilation of every model featured in the by-then seven calendars, a different chapter for each nation. “There’s a plan now,” says Thomas with satisfaction, “and it’s a commercial plan.” Another plan came from the artist Andrew Salgado. “I’ve got this idea for you,” he said to Thomas. “Red Hot Cocks!” ‘Haha ummmmmm…’ writes Salgado after Thomas introduces us over Messenger. ‘I got drunk and thought it would be funny lol.’ He goes on to describe the idea as ‘A boozefuelled moment of genius’. So it proved. The relative ease of creating British Boys allowed the team to spring into action on a second calendar – the raunchiest Red Hot yet. (And presumably ever, unless Red Hot Sex Acts is ever produced.) Coyness be damned: 12 models would show off 12 penises. (One penis per model, I should add.) Market potential became apparent: a goal of £6,500 was smashed by 776 backers to the tune of £32,254. “In the space of maybe two months, after doing British Boys in the summer of that year, we launched another calendar, a spinoff calendar, and that calendar then became our biggest selling calendar of all time!” And so Red Hot starting making actual money – money that didn’t leave the bank account as soon as it arrived. Two calendars was all it took – two calendars and a clear identity on what the brand wanted to be. “The cocks fucking solved everything! The cocks is the reason why we’re here. British Boys was great because it got us over the threshold; the cocks was like the thing. Everybody went mental for it.” Professional success coincided with personal salvation. By the time you read this article, Thomas Knights will have been sober for two and a half years – and counting.
The fixing of ourselves is an inside job. That’s the only way we’re going to find any kind of peace
I ALWAYS KNEW YOU’D END UP HERE
PHOTOGRAPH by Thomas Knights
Rock bottom only exists in hindsight. As the name suggests, the terrain is hard and unforgiving – you don’t automatically bounce up once you land there. You must pull yourself out, slowly, arduously, because if you let go you might fall back even further and discover what you thought to be rock bottom was merely another staging post on your descent. “I got clean in January 2017. I went into that year massively in debt after Red Hot II, feeling the strain. Life was pretty fucking awful.” He swore to make the Mexico trip his rock bottom. Three days into 2017, Thomas Knights started to take back control of his life. “It was the evening of 3 January. We had this Red Hot II show in the Beers Gallery in London. I couldn’t face it. I burst into tears.”
He knew if he drank at the show the whole cycle would restart, and he didn’t have many more cycles left. He asked a friend, herself a former addict, to take him to a meeting. He meant AA, but she knew better. She told Thomas to meet her in Soho the coming Friday: the afternoon of the show. He snuck out of the gallery at lunchtime. Discovered it was a group therapy meeting but went inside anyway – too late to turn back now. Most of the attendees were old acquaintances, people he’d spent the previous decade cavorting around Soho with. “Thank God you’re here,” said the chair. “I always knew you’d end up here.” “I never thought I was going to be a group therapy person at all, but I totally got it. I walked into that room broken, exhausted,
no self-confidence, no money – and within six months I’d got my entire life back together. “I was going to die, I was 100% going to kill myself through using. I would have had an overdose or I’d have been hit by a car or I’d have fallen off a building. That was my future.” Instead he found the strength within himself to change the ending of his story. Of course there are moments when the old temptations resurface – never more so than at launch nights, cavorting around L’Escargot with all those friends and well-wishers. But such nights are also the best of nights, the nights that supply a happiness far stronger and more enduring than any drug. The project continues to thrive – Red Hot Underwear being the latest incarnation. (Available in black, white, and blue.) Yet its creator is no longer enslaved by the machine. He’s even found the time to return to music, his first love – Pandora Drive released their debut album earlier this year. Follow your dream but don’t let it distract from the others. A boy dyes his hair; a man shaves it off. Is one of them hiding his true identity and the other revealing it? Or are they simply living out their identities at a specific moment in their life? Was the blonde Thomas Knights aged 17 less of a Thomas Knights than the Thomas Knights aged 30, redheaded and falling into drug addiction, or the Thomas Knights in L’Escargot, happy and sober and fulfilled? “We often think external factors are going to fix us, but the only fixing of ourselves is an inside job. That’s the only way we’re going to find any kind of peace with ourselves. It comes from within. You have to work on yourself.” That’s the crux, isn’t it? Work and keep working, work on the person you are, and the person you aspire to be. Turn your deepest insecurity into your superpower. Take it out into the world. Stand before the mirror and be able to say, “I am here. I am me.” Thomas Knights can say those words – and thanks to the Red Hot project, so can thousands of people around the world. ‘Are You Red Hot?’ asked that initial blog post. It turned out everybody was. ■ For more info, see redhot100.com
BRET In conversation with...
He published his debut novel while still in college and watched it become the literary sensation of the 1980s. His third novel is merely the most notorious fictional work of the 20th century. MAX WILLIAMS meets the man who gave the world American Psycho
OT MANY AUTHORS are interviewed by Vogue and The New Yorker on the publication of their latest book, but then not many authors are the notorious Bret Easton Ellis. Controversy sticks to Easton Ellis like blood to a blade, most recently seen in the reaction to White, his first collection of non-fiction essays. In person, the man is far from the ranting misanthrope portrayed by many reviewers. He seems perpetually amused at the modern world’s many absurdities, punctuating his answers with bouts of laughter (often directed at himself). Monster, misunderstood, or something else entirely? Read this interview and draw your own judgement. He’d like that. Are you surprised by the queues at your book signing for White? I am. Totally surprised. Sometimes you believe that the press is indicative of everyone’s idea about you, and that never really was the truth about me and my career. There’s always been this disconnect between the people who like my work and the press. And I just assumed that because the press was so negative about the book, it would correspond with who would show up – and it didn’t happen in America, and it hasn’t happened. Presumably the reaction to the book validates the book itself? Of course it does. Of course it does. It’s rather ironic. But also, there are people who just don’t like my work, and they don’t like my outlook. That has been going on for 35 years. I don’t necessarily think they’re wrong; this is their opinion. The other thing I argue about in the book is opinion, having an opinion – how can an opinion necessarily be wrong? It’s just a conversation, that’s what I’d argue; and often the press doesn’t want to have a conversation, they want to insist on their narrative. Why did you write White? Why do it? Well, my agent had asked me to do it for many years. ‘Collect all your essays from 1985 onwards, we can make a book of it.’ I went back to the essays, and I didn’t think any of them were any good. So my agent said look at your podcasts, maybe there’s a book in that.
ILLUSTRATIONS by Emily Black
You write about two Bret Easton Ellises in the book – you, and the public version of you. Right now you’re being portrayed as the man out of time – [Smiling] Man out of time, yelling at clouds. Do you care at all about this? You know, I care about a lot of things. I care about my life; I care about my partner; I care
Being gay was about eighth on my list of concerns – it didn’t really define me about my work. I don’t think I’ve ever really cared about, or craved, public acceptance. If I did I’d write something else – I’d write something that would make everyone love me, or try to. I’d publish more frequently. I’d write something that would probably get nice reviews, and maybe I’d win a prize in my life. It’s just never happened that way. I don’t care. And part of that disconnect is – when you’re at a signing, and you have all these fans with your book, coming to see you, it’s kind of a rush. You want to please them; you really want to please them. That is over, and then you’re back to a hotel, you have emails to answer. So this overall notion that I need to placate the quadrants – the young, the female, the old, the male, the whoever – it’s never been something that interests me. So – angry old man, yelling at clouds. Perfectly happy with that. Someone told me that Less Than Zero was a very old man book – that the book had a very judge-y feel to it. I think what saves it is the narrator implicates himself in all of it – there’s a little bit of distance from everything else that’s going on. I imagine what that novel would be like if his girlfriend had narrated it. You started writing that novel at 15 – why? It’s hardly normal 15-year-old activity… I started writing at five. I started writing picture books and drawings and children’s books. Then I was doing comic books. I wrote my first proper novel when I was 14 – 1978. After that novel I wrote, very quickly, a kind of journalistic version of my life as a teenager in LA. I definitely made up shit, I made it seem more dramatic and darker, but basically at the core of it was the truth of my life. OK, that was interesting – but this isn’t really working as a novel. So I began to keep a journal, and I began writing about this guy, Clay, in the first
person. I started writing about him in the tenth grade – I was 15, 16. Through junior year, senior, 17, 18, I had amassed a lot of material. ‘Why’ is really the question. None of my friends were doing that! Looking back, I was always an outsider. I figured out very young that I was gay, and really noone else around me was gay. And I remember thinking, ‘oh. I know I’m gay, and I’m very into writing – are the two intertwined? Why do I feel like an observer all the time? I participate, I’m not a loner, but I do feel even within the crowd, and at the party, and at the beach or wherever, as if I am different from everyone, and I am seeing the world in a way that none of them are seeing it. I’m seeing the real world. I’m seeing how the world really works, because I’ve been taken out of the world. I’m not part of the high school world, I’m not part of the prom, I’m not part of the dance. I wasn’t complaining about it, and being gay was about eighth on my list of concerns – it didn’t really define me, I didn’t feel I had to come out, it didn’t worry me or make me freak out. But that was the impetus to understand the world, get closer to the world by writing about it, writing about the world that I was in. I was never lonely, but I was a solitary figure, and I have pretty much always been that way since I was a teenager. Clay is bisexual in the book. Most teenage writers would probably build the book around their gayness... Why? Look, Less Than Zero is in some ways a gayish book – it’s very pansexual. But LA at that time was; this was written before AIDS, and there was a kind of experimental thing going on, a very laidback sexuality. I remember it in Hustler pictorials, and also in the Penthouse letters section. Male bisexuality was an OK ➤
➤ thing to deal with at that time. But I never felt that to be the core of who I was, and I never found it that interesting. I’ve never written a novel about two gay men dealing with their non-issues. Honestly, there seems to be a lot less drama between two dudes who are living together, and I could never locate it, or it never interested me. I’m not that interested in gayness as a political thing, or as an ideological thing. I don’t know. My gayness made me see the world differently – it didn’t necessarily make me want to write about it. Then you wrote American Psycho in your mid-twenties, which is quite staggering… Yep. [Laughing] And then it’s all downhill after that! After 26! Orson Welles! You said you couldn’t write American Psycho now because of the climate… Not so much climate but because of approach. I don’t know if I’d be interested now in what I saw as an experimental novel. I don’t know if I have the temperament now to write down lists of clothes, lists of music, what they’re eating – going through pages and pages of ephemera to make a point, basically. And to write those music reviews again. And honestly to go that deep into the violent acts. But, true, I don’t think the book would find a publisher now, either – which is strange. But would Taxi Driver get made today? I don’t know. My favourite line comes from Patrick Bateman imagining walking with his secretary through Central Park – “we buy balloons, we let them go”. Even a monster like Bateman wants to be loved… I want to fit in. I guess he does and he doesn’t to a degree. But the sadness that’s at the core of the book, and the sadness about life in so many ways, and that I was experiencing at the time of writing the book,
was ‘I hate this society. I hate the people in it.’ This is the adult world that I so desperately want to be a part of. That I moved through college to go to cocktail parties, meet adults, and the world of sex has opened up – and this was in the analogue era: you met people, and things got going. But I didn’t like the values, and I didn’t like the notion of what the American Dream was. I was wrestling with this: I was thinking, so these are adults, this is the adult world, these are its values? Especially at this time, it was the height of the Reagan era, it was the height of yuppiedom, and I just was not happy about it, and that’s where American Psycho stemmed from. But I also didn’t know where else to go. What else was I supposed to do? Move to a shed in Portland? It seemed like there was this existential trap, and that’s what the book was a reflection of. I know a lot of people who feel that way – it’s a universal feeling of being trapped in society, being alienated. In one of the essays, you celebrate the contradictions of people – I love people who are open about their contradictions. I hate people who are fake about presenting a front and presenting an ideal. That is something I’ve never been attracted to, never been drawn towards. I like the messy, alive person who is able to admit that they’re wrong about something, admit that they’re foolish, and also have strong opinions about things that maybe other people don’t. Maybe a bit of a contrarian, but a contrarian for the right reasons. A lot of the negative reaction stems from you not attacking the malignancy of the far right in the same way you attack the irritating qualities of the far left... Because, in this period that I was writing
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about, there seemed to be more of a malignancy to what the left was morphing into than whatever was happening on the right. If I had written this book ten years earlier, I would have totally gone after the Tea Party, the birther movement, any type of extreme pitch like that. It is all in the timing. There is something about the way the left in my country fucked itself up so badly in reaction to Trump – they got Trumped – that I don’t know where they’re going, and what’s happening. And I honestly don’t know if in this state they can defeat him. I also don’t know how you can be an artist and align yourself with liberalism and the Democratic party – because of their rules about speech, and appropriation, and all these things you can and can’t say. As an artist I find that to be extremely problematic. I told my boyfriend in 2017: go out, use your cunning, find that candidate, work toward policy, ignore Trump, get to 2020 and vote him out – but do not have mental breakdowns every fucking night when his face comes on the TV. That is not resistance. That is not resistance! That’s letting yourself go. Which Democratic candidate would you pick to defeat Trump? Do you honestly want me to say this? Right now I don’t think that there is anybody, unless the party really becomes unified. Joe Biden might have had the best chance, but there’s so much history of bad stuff that is going to be used against him… …Trump as well – there seems to be a double standard… Doesn’t matter: people don’t care about Trump. People love Trump no matter what. They love him. All the shit over the past three years, nothing stuck. You can see why people on the left would find this irritating… What? [Laughing] Yes, of course! But nothing sticks, and nothing in this election is going to stick to him either. But I am interested in Pete Buttigieg. I’m interested in finally seeing a gay man run for President – not a chance in hell. But just the way he presents himself, and his partner, it’s so normal. As a man of my age, that’s kind of a surprising thing to see. We’re in a circular firing squad, because there’s a lot of young, gay progressives who think Buttigieg isn’t gay enough, he’s not progressive enough, he’s not radical enough. It’s the circular firing squad that Obama warned of when Joe Biden got #MeToo’d by the left, by his own party. ➤
PHOTOGRAPH by publinc larit em potinium vid ces blah
➤ Does Trump win in 2020? You know what? Everyone thought that Hilary was going to win – and she didn’t. And all of my Democratic friends are convinced that Trump will be reelected, pretty much across the board. Who knows in these crazy times? In White, you note that modern technology and surveillance would prevent the ambiguity of American Psycho in 2019 – we’d immediately know if Bateman was guilty or not. But we also live in a world where Trump can lie brazenly, and his acolytes will back him up. So surely Bateman could be President now… [Laughing] I never thought of that! That’s hilarious. Look, I don’t know where he would be. There were a lot of American Psycho covers after Trump got elected. I was called up to give a lot of interviews, and I didn’t do any of them – I even deleted a tweet from election night about ‘Patrick Bateman’s smiling somewhere’. And yet, the Trump victory reignited an interest in American Psycho because Patrick Bateman loves Trump. At every moment in a decade I’m forced to reconsider Patrick Bateman, who just haunts me! He was just this faceless person in this experimental novel. [Laughing] Victor Ward, who I lived with for eight years on Glamorama, was really going to be the poster boy for what my brand was – and noone even knows who Victor Ward is! And Patrick Bateman, of all people – this little schmuck who had a cameo in The Rules Of Attraction and I just gave this book to – has haunted me my entire life! But that’s a very interesting scenario that you just came up with. Yeah. Patrick Bateman as President. Probably a bestseller. Any Patrick Bateman would probably be a bestseller. I just don’t know if I can go back to him. Could you not argue that ‘liberal overreaction’ moves the conversation forward? The extremity makes previously extreme ideas more palatable? That’s a great point – that is a really good point. But then it’s like, the people who get fucked over by it be damned. Various people who got caught up under the wheels of #MeToo, who might just be douches or losers or whatever, are really not sexual assaulters. This notion of systematically tearing down the hierarchy – and therefore harassment in Hollywood is where it started. Good. Hollywood is built on that. Hollywood is built on young, fuckable people coming in and being put into movies. That’s what it is, it will never go away. Maybe as a metaphor – maybe
I know so many people who are done with #MeToo. Done with it! not physically – but it is favours: the way casting is done, the way people are chosen because they look this way or that way. It’s built into the nature of the business. But where has this overreach come from? And it’s not even in that movement, it’s in a lot of movements. It’s just what happens, it’s the way of things. Is it ultimately for the good that people get hurt and trampled by this? Maybe. I don’t know. Moving the conversation forward… But this is the problem: it’s already turned so many people off that I don’t know if you can bring them back into that conversation. I think that is the problem that has happened with #MeToo. I know so many people who are fucking done with it. Done with it! Women and men: absolutely done with it. They hate what it’s turned into.
not want to go out that night. I stayed home and I started watching this long Rolling Stones documentary. I was doing tequilla shots while I was watching, and I got a bit hammered. And then I thought, ‘ah fuck, I’ve got a headache’, I got into bed, I took a Xanax. I kind of passed out. I was kind of jonesing for something – I hadn’t had coke in so long. My boyfriend said, ‘hey, I’m out, I’ll be back around 2.30’. And I thought I was texting to him, and I said, ‘OK, I want you to bring some coke over, maybe we can do some blow, I’m really drunk’. And I was actually tweeting this out. [Chuckles] Then I passed out – no blow came, nothing happened. I woke up the next morning and I was like, ‘why is my Twitter blowing up? Oh…’ It’s still up there, I haven’t deleted it. That was me that year. I have to own it.
What’s your version of an afterlife? Probably on a beach somewhere. A little cottage right on the beach in Wainscott where I stayed during the summer of 1991 – after American Psycho was published. The woman who owned it – because there was a terrible recession – she said to me, ‘I’ll sell this cottage for $80,000’ – it’s now probably worth around $16m. Beachfront property in the Hamptons. I didn’t really have the cash to do it. But I was happiest that summer, and I think that would be the perfect afterlife: that cottage, that beach, the mood that summer, the person I was with… Yeah.
Because it’s easier to switch off than fight back? Most of this stuff is online, so you don’t need to engage if you don’t want to… It’s sort of like what Quentin Tarantino once told me when he was going through this really terrible week in his life. He was called a racist, and a sexist, he said this stuff in an interview that got him in a ton of trouble. All of this stuff came down on him. I asked him, ‘how are you dealing with this? This is a really bad week for you.’ He said, ‘is it? I don’t see anything. I don’t read anything. I’m not online. I never go on social media. So they’re saying all this stuff about me?’ And it’s true – he didn’t look at anything and then it kind of went away. To the same degree, I haven’t really gone online and checked things out about myself since this tour started in America. I can only imagine. I will read all the reviews that come in – bad reviews, good reviews. But going online to see what people say – I’m just, pft. ■
There’s that famous tweet of yours from 2012, about bringing coke to a party… Come over, do now, bring coke or something like that. [Come over at do bring coke now]. Gawker wrote a full breakdown of it... I was in bed, and my boyfriend called me. I did
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BAC O N â€™ S L AW Half a century ago, a kid walked into a cinema in Philadelphia and settled down to watch a film. Kevin Bacon tells MAX WILLIAMS what happened nextâ€Ś
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EVIN BACON HAS been in a lot of films. Can you guess how many films Kevin Bacon has been in? Neither can Kevin Bacon. “Jesus Christ, I don’t even know how many movies I’ve made,” says the actor, almost sounding surprised by this realisation, as though the considerable quantity of Kevin Bacon films has only just dawned on him, right here, over a martini in The Bar Room of The Beekman Hotel. “It’s a lot.” We count 71. Which is fairly stratospheric. To put it in conntext, Bacon’s Apollo 13 costar Tom Hanks, two years his senior, has appeared in ‘just’ 56. Bacon’s filmography is remarkable not just for its length but more so for its breadth: name a genre and the man has ticked it off. He’s been in historical thrillers, crime thrillers, legal dramas, docudramas, comedy-dramas, rom-coms, straight-up coms, superhero films, indie films, erotic films, monster films, slashers, popcorn trash, highbrow Oscarbait, sci-fis, musicals… I don’t think he’s gone full Downton Abbey, but given how ITV cranks ’em out, the phone call can’t be too far off, surely? (Examples of the cited genres, running in order: JFK, Sleepers, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, Diner, Crazy Stupid Love, Animal House, X Men: First Class, The Woodsman, Wild Things, Tremors, Friday the 13th, R.I.P.D, Mystic River, Flatliners, Footloose, and I bet at least one of those titles prompted a ‘he was in that?!’ Mine was Friday the 13th.) He’s been in a lot of films but his presence tends not to define these films: ‘A Kevin Bacon film’ doesn’t carry the same built-in expectations as ‘A Tom Hanks film’ or ‘A Clint Eastwood film’ (directed Bacon in Mystic River) or even ‘A Jason Statham film’ (was in Cellular with Sherri Shepherd, who was in Beauty Shop with Kevin Bacon). That’s because ‘Kevin Bacon films’ don’t really exist; despite the number of films starring Kevin Bacon (a lot), his name is rarely in the centre of the poster, generally it will flank names like Kevin Costner (JFK), Tom Cruise (A Few Good Men), Johnny Depp (Black Mass). As the man himself says: “I’m a character actor. I always have been. I had a moment when I was a leading man, I was a pop idol or whatever it was, but the truth is, that’s not really who I am. I’m a character actor. Every piece of work that I’ve ever done, that’s been of value, is because they were interesting, welldefined characters. And the characters, at their essence, were different than me. “I need to play somebody that’s different than me. It gives me my way in. There are a lot of people who are so inherently interesting, visually, vocally, physically, that you can just 066
give them lines and we’re gonna want to watch them. You don’t even need to write a great part for them because you just want to see them. That’s not me. I’m not that guy.” (Succinct version): “I’m not The Guy. I’m the other guy.” So yeah, Kevin Bacon has been in a lot of films – at least 71, don’t you know – but it’s a TV project that prompts square mile to book a beautiful Beekman Residences penthouse for the cover shoot. City on a Hill is a fictional account of Operation Ceasefire, the revolutionary police imperative imposed on Boston in the 1990s. The ensemble piece is dominated by Bacon’s Jacky Rhodes, a charismatic, coke-snorting cop whose, um, creative approach toward law enforcement puts him at loggerheads with Aldis Hodge’s new District Attorney. “It’s a good part,” grins Bacon with the satisfaction of a man who has read a lot of bad ones. “It’s a really good part.”
The last thing you want to do as an actor is pose. It’s about being, it’s about trying to create a world where the camera’s not there In my experience, the big names tend to interview dry: because it’s the middle of the day or they’re on some fitness regime or they swore off the booze in 2015 after the unfortunate incident of, well, let’s not go there. The martini is one of several giveaways that Bacon is a bit of a dude. He looks at least two decades younger than his 60 years: boasting a moustache part Texan oil baron, part 1970s porn star, while his tousled mane of hair can only be explained by a rapidly balding portrait locked somewhere in a Manhattan attic. The moustache, I should stress, was grown for Jacky Rhodes, and does more to establish the character than any monologue. The role wasn’t written for Bacon but you wouldn’t know it; in a strong cast, his is the performance you can’t take your eyes off, propelling the show beyond the boundaries of the standard police procedural. In other words, he’s The Guy.
“Sometimes I read a part and I’ll say, ‘I could do this part, it’s an interesting script, it’s a good director. It’s gonna take me some work to figure out who this guy is, and I’m going to have to do some research. Sometimes I see the job in front of me. “Every once in a while – this hasn’t happened that many times in my life – I read a part and I hear it. I heard his voice immediately. Right from the page, it went right into my head. And I saw him. And I saw the look. And I saw the clothes. And I heard the voice, and I heard his style of speaking. It’s definitely a challenging part, because he goes in so many different directions, the way his mind works, but in some ways it just plays itself.” (Other roles that spoke directly to him? “Murder in the First. Diner. Tremors.”) He has a reputation as one of the nicest men in Hollywood, and remains unfailingly polite and accommodating throughout the photoshoot, despite the fact that photoshoots aren’t really Kevin Bacon’s thing: “It’s actually the complete opposite of acting, posing for a picture. The last thing you want to do as an actor is pose. It’s about being, it’s about living, it’s about trying to create a world where the camera’s not there. Whereas being a model, or being a person who has their picture taken, is all about doing things for the camera.” He’s been pretending the camera isn’t there for more than four decades now. It’s fair to say he’s become pretty good at it.
YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET A PARADE There’s this kid who walks into a movie theatre. Can’t be more than 12 or 13 years old. Pays his dollar, sits down to a screening of Midnight Cowboy, the Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight drama that’s been picking up rave reviews since it premiered a few months back. Alone in this dark little corner of Philadelphia, the kid sits enchanted as The Magic Of Cinema™ does its thing. What impresses him the most, more than the Oscar-nominated leads and Oscar-winning direction, more than Harry Nilsson’s cover of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’ that went on to land a Grammy, more even than Hoffman’s iconic “I’m walking here!”, one of the great Hollywood ad libs, all of this is good stuff, sure, but what really thrills the kid is that the filmmakers somehow got a homeless person and a cowboy to be in the same movie! How cool is that? A few months later the kid is back. Pays his dollar again, sits down to a screening of The Graduate. Looks up and nearly spits out his popcorn. (Metaphorically, at least.) There on-screen is Dustin Hoffman – familiar yet ➤
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➤ utterly transformed. Epiphany strikes. ‘Holy fucking shit! That is the same guy! That guy who was the homeless guy is a preppy college kid! How the fuck do they do that?’ Thus young Kevin Bacon realised that actors play characters, and through this realisation established a clear idea of what an actor should be, what type of actor he wanted to be. “My entire intention was to walk in somebody else’s shoes. Being me was not only not what my idea about acting was, but also I thought it would be boring. “The thing that first propelled when I was
a very young child was fame. When I was ten or 11, that’s what I wanted. I wanted the fame, I wanted the billboard, I wanted the money, I wanted the girls. It was very clear to me that I wanted to be a star. I started with, ‘I wanna be a star’ – and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t really care, I can be a rock star, I can be an actor – either one is fine, as long as I’m a star.’ But when I actually chose acting, or it chose me, I put the star thing behind me – I wanted to be good, I wanted to be respected; I want to be taken seriously, I want to learn my craft. All those other things went up in front of it.”
And yet for a brief period in the late 1980s, Kevin Bacon was a star, or certainly on the cusp of becoming one. He wasn’t first choice for Footloose – Tom Cruise had scheduling conflicts; Rob Lowe got injured – but the film was a hit, and its 26-year-old lead danced his way onto many a teenager’s bedroom wall. Even today, Bacon can’t attend a wedding without the DJ putting on Kenny Loggins’ iconic title track. “When the Footloose thing happened, there were a lot of people whispering in your ear, and you can’t help but get swept up in the idea
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I wanted the fame, I wanted the billboard, I wanted the money, I wanted the girls. It was very clear to me that I wanted to be a star
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of stardom and fame and female adoration – but when it came to me, it’s not really who I was and it’s not really what I wanted. I tried to chase it, and I tried to be a leading man – it’s not that I didn’t try. I tried, and it didn’t work. Good or bad, it was just one unsuccessful movie after another.” He hated Los Angeles, which probably didn’t help when it came to cracking Hollywood. He wrote numerous songs about the spiritual isolation of the city. (Oh yeah, Bacon’s in a band. Along with his elder brother Michael. Call themselves The Bacon Brothers.) These are the opening lyrics to ‘City of Fear’: “You scared me when I met you / The way you sparkled in the dark / I drove around for hours / But you never showed your heart”. His struggles lasted half a decade, and then JFK came along and Kevin Bacon went from ‘Failed Leading Man’ to ‘Successful Ensemble Player’. His role as male prostitute Willie O’Keefe didn’t resurrect his career so much as completely change the trajectory of it. “Things shifted. I went from the Footloose guy, the Tremors guy, to character acting… For better or worse, I’m not someone who’s taken much advice or guidance from anybody. I’ve probably learnt by osmosis, you know, but I’m not someone who’s sought out guidance. I had an agent [Paula Wagner] who guided me toward JFK. She said, ‘I want to see you do edgier, I want to see you do character’, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.” ‘Doing character’ has served Bacon well, as his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame will attest. (Amazing where walking in somebody else’s shoes can take you.) Even so, it can’t have been the easiest thing; I mean, sure, he had always aspired to be an actor rather than a ‘Star capital-S’, but every actor wants to play the lead, right? Did he struggle to accept his calling as the other guy? He ponders the question. “No, would be the first answer I would say. On some days no. And on some days, yes.” Another long silence. “Everybody wants more, right? Everybody wants something, whatever it happens to be. My wife and I like to say, ‘well, yeah, I got this but what I really wanted was a parade.’” He chuckles. “You don’t always get a parade. But I think that as you go through life, you can either choose the path of gratitude or you can choose the path of bitterness. I’ve tried to choose the path of gratitude.” Even during the inevitable bouts of actorly angst – “Why can’t I be that guy? Why can’t I get awards? Why can’t I have that kind of box office success?” – he always tried to stay grateful. Tried to appreciate his career, and simultaneously look beyond it. After all:
“If all you have is your career, and if you really, really believe that everything you do and you put up on the screen is that fucking important, if that’s the most important thing to you, it’s probably gonna let you down. It’s definitely gonna let you down, eventually. So you’ve gotta find something else, whatever that is. Yoga. Fishing. Professional sports team. A marriage and children. A pet. The environment. Whatever it is, you’ve gotta find something else other than this shit. Cos this is just pft – it’s just dust in the wind, really.”
I WANT THIS FUCKING THING Kevin Bacon has been in a lot of films but he rarely watches these films. “Everyone thinks this is bullshit,” he says drily, but it’s absolutely true. He’ll watch the films a lot during the filming process, and he’ll watch the finished product twice – once on his own or with his wife; once with an audience – and then that’s it, done, onto the next one. Quite a few years ago, maybe ten, Bacon had what he describes as a “weird experience”. One of the Footloose producers got in touch: Bacon’s screentest for Ren McCormack had been excavated from the Paramount vault, and a) was he OK with its inclusion on the Blu-Ray DVD?, and b) would he like to see it? Affirmative to both. The tape was sent over, Bacon stuck it on. Then he pressed pause. “I’ll never forget this. I put it on pause, went into the bathroom to look into the mirror, and see if I could see the same guy there that I saw in the screentest. What I saw in the screentest was cockiness, some talent – I wouldn’t say drop dead, but there was some talent – but I really saw the hunger. You could just see I was like, ‘I want this fucking thing. I want it bad.’ And I was really struck with that, cos you kinda forget.” Did Bacon recognise that person? “Not really, no,” he admits. “It’s not just a physical thing. It was… different. A different version of the same guy.” The hunger drove him from Philadelphia to New York at 17, swapping his adolescence for a job as a waiter and a place at Circle in the Square Theatre School and the chance to become a proper actor. “Man, I was a real combination of hungry, cocky, and terrified. All of those things combined.” He studied the craft of acting, learning techniques that he would utilize for the rest of his career – such as ‘The Private Moment’, Lee Stasboug’s interpretation of the Stanislavski Method. Allow Bacon to explain: “In acting school, you’d create your room onstage in front of your classmates. You’d live up there for about 20 minutes, and you’d ➤
➤ just do what you’d do in your life. It could be excruciatingly boring to watch. And eventually you work your way toward doing something that you would stop doing if anybody else walked in the room. It’s a very valuable exercise. When I was a kid, I was like, ‘ah, fuck, I don’t really get it.’ But now I’ve realised.” In public, “we’re all doing a certain version of acting, right? But when we get home, or when we look at ourselves in the mirror, or when we are alone in our kitchen, or whatever it is, those private moments are very telling about who we are. So as an actor to be able to recreate those, to be able to build that character so that you’re able to show those, is a very, very valuable thing.” Look for the scene in City on a Hill where Jacky finds himself at an existential lowpoint. Standing outside a bar in the rain, he checks his reflection in the window. Smoothes back his hair, gathers himself, and then breezes inside – transitioning from private to public – as though he hasn’t a care in the world.
MOVIES IS MY LIFEBLOOD Kevin Bacon has been in a lot of films but he attained cultural immortality through a parlour game. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon aka Bacon’s Law was invented by a group of Albright College students in the 1990s. It posited that everyone in Hollywood could be linked back to Bacon within six steps or fewer. (Eg Elvis Presley was in Change of Habit with Edward Asner, who was in JFK with Kevin Bacon. Elvis has a ‘Bacon Number’ of two.) The students appeared on The Jon Stewart Show, and Six Degrees went worldwide. Initially Bacon was “horrified”; “I thought it was a giant joke at my expense,” he told the South by Southwest film festival in 2013. However he came to see the funny side, and has referenced the game in everything from sitcom appearances to TED Talks to EE adverts to the name of his charity sixdegrees.org. Ah yes, those EE adverts – a fixture of British TV since 2012, and the first exposure to Kevin Bacon for much of the nation’s youth. Riffing off Six Degrees…, the adverts celebrate the ‘connectedness’ of Kevin Bacon, and by extension EE customers – “I’m not here to talk about Kevin Bacon, Hollywood A-lister,” beams Bacon – “I’m here to talk about Kevin Bacon, centre of the universe”. They’re fun, and they allow Bacon the luxury of not having to choose his films for the paycheque. The paycheque is one of three factors that Bacon has learned to remove from the equation when he goes about choosing a role; the other two are the size of that role and the size of the budget. You can call it ‘Bacon’s ➤
If you really, really believe that everything you do and you put up on the screen is that fucking important, itâ€™s gonna let you down
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One of the biggest shifts that I’ve seen, which I’ve also embraced, is TV. Because when I started out, I didn’t want to be a television actor
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➤ Formula (for a Happy Hollywood Career)’: 1. Size of the paycheque: “I’m not saying I don’t want to make every dollar I possibly can, I’m not an idiot. Yes, I’m going to negotiate for every dollar that I can possibly get – but I’m not going to not do something like The Woodsman, Cop Car, I’m going to not do it because I’m not going to get paid. It’s stupid. I want to act. If the part’s great I want to act.” 2. Size of the budget: “I’ve always been a fan of independent filmmaking, I still watch independent films, I love independent films, I’m not going to say, listen if it’s not a superhero movie don’t even come to me. There are actors that do that! They basically say, if you’re not making it for $250m I’m not into it. 3. Size of the part: “That, I think, is really, really crucial. If you can give me two days on a movie, and give me a role, lines to say, something to do that I’ve never done before, that’s going to be interesting and shocking, I’ll do it. I don’t care.” These ideals are becoming increasingly difficult to follow in modern Hollywood, where the options for actors tend to be superhero blockbuster or tiny indie production, with precious little in-between. The dearth of what Bacon terms “the mid-range budget kind of thing” is just one of several major reshapings of the cinematic landscape. “Every decade, someone says to me, ‘the business has changed. It’s changed’. And every decade I will say, ‘the business has not changed.’ Now it has changed.” He compares the impact of streaming platforms on the film industry to that of Napster on music: a fundamental realignment of How Things Work, one that happened so quickly the rules of this brave new world haven’t even been fully established. “I don’t want to be that guy [adopts a Grampa Simpson-esque drone], ‘oh, in the old days…’ cos fuck that. There are things that are better, and things that are worse and harder, but it definitely has changed. And it changes
so rapidly. When I started out, if you saw a slight shift in audience interest – let’s say, all of a sudden, people start to like romcoms: so they make more romcoms. That would happen over five years. Now it’s like over the weekend! ‘Oh, you like that? We’re going to make that.’ “One of the biggest and greatest shifts that I’ve seen, which I’ve also embraced, is television. Because when I started out, I didn’t want to be a television actor – I was not interested in television in any form. There were two different types of actors: TV actors and movie actors, and I was a movie-slashstage actor, and I would never go to TV. And now? TV is where it’s at. “It breaks my heart in a way, because I love movies. I grew up on movies. I wanted to be in movies. I got into movies. Movies is my lifeblood. I try to be a movie consumer. I sit there in an empty little theatre, and watch something that I found in the paper that seems like an awesome idea that somebody created out of spit and glue. But it’s hard.”
SIZZLING BACON: [clockwise from here] Starring opposite Aldis Hodge in new series City on a Hill; in the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK; in the latest EE commercial.
I WANT TO DREAM
PHOTOGRAPHS (City on a Hill) by Eric Ogden/Showtime; (JFK) from Collection Christophel/Alamy Stock Photo; (EE) by Ariana McLaughlin
Kevin Bacon has been in a lot of films but he still gets nervous before the release of every new project, whether big screen or small. He claims to currently be losing sleep over how City on a Hill will be received; whether the work of the cast and production team, which has so far existed within a bubble, will survive its exposure to the outside world – or whether it’ll be a case of one season and done. Part of this nervousness is because he wants the work of the cast and crew to achieve critical recognition and a wide audience. Part of it stems from professional pride: nobody wants a dud. And part of it comes from the ongoing fear that he will be somehow found out – ‘imposter syndrome’, I suppose you would call it, even if it seems strange for an actor to have both imposter syndrome and a star on Hollywood Boulevard. “I think to myself, ‘this one’s gotta work. This one’s gotta work.’ Whatever one I’m in at that moment. Please, please, this one’s gotta work. But what I’ve worked out is that, if it doesn’t, I’ll probably get another job. It doesn’t feel that way – every time that I finish a job I think, ‘this is my very last one, I’ll never work after this.’ I’ll probably get something, but you know, we’ll see.” Is that true of every project – or just the ones that he has high hopes for? “Definitely. Noooo! No, no, no! Every single one. Every. Single. One. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, yeah. I don’t wanna be in things that aren’t well received. Even though I love the work, and I love being proud of the things that I’ve
done, there have been a ton of things that I’m really, really, really proud of that nobody saw. And in some ways, being proud of it and having nobody see it is harder. Because you’ve done the work, you’ve put in the time, you feel like what you did was good and then nobody sees it. So yeah, I do care, I care a lot. I care a lot, which is why I don’t put myself into things that I don’t care about.” He must have done some stuff for the money? “Oh, definitely! At some point in my career? Definitely. There’ve been plenty of times in my life where I needed the money. I didn’t start out a wealthy person. I started out a person with no money. There were times when I had to work because I need to get paid. But, once I sign on, I’m all in. I tend to just believe in it. Even when it feels like it’s going south, even
There were times when I had to work because I need to get paid. But, once I sign on, I’m all in. I believe in it. Even if it feels like it’s going south
when it feels like the footage is not that good or whatever, I want to commit to whatever project it is. I want to dream.”
SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD The afternoon is turning into evening. On the upper East Side, Bacon’s wife of 30 years, the actress Kyra Sedgwick, has dinner in the oven. The pair met on the 1988 TV play Lemon Sky. Theirs is one of the most enduring of Hollywood marriages: they celebrated their 30th anniversary with a duet of the Bees Gees song ‘To Love Somebody’. “You don’t know what it’s like / To love somebody / To love somebody / The way I love you.” Bacon moved to New York to pursue a teenage dream, and has never really left, although a few years ago Sedgwick finally persuaded him to buy a property in California. “I’m really, truly bicoastal,” he smiles. “Now I’ve found it. I can’t really explain it but I’ve found it.” We linger a little longer, discussing LA, New York and London – Bacon speaks effusively of Kensington and Janet’s Bar on Old Brompton Road. He picks up the cheque with an achingly casual, “I got this.” Then he dons his sunglasses and takes his leave. “See you down the road.” Kevin Bacon, ladies and gentleman. Actor, musican, husband, father, cinephile, philanthropist and all round fucking dude. ■ City on a Hill will premiere on 16 June on Showtime in the US. It will be coming soon to Sky Atlantic.
This award-winner has t h e c r i ti c s g r i p p e d.
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From the jungles of Borneo to Greenland’s arctic tundra, ex-Marines Louis Nethercott and Anthony Lambert are attempting a world first in exploring. Ben Winstanley meets the duo to find out more
T STARTED AS a running joke between
comrades, but now Louis Nethercott and Anthony Lambert stand on the brink of history. The ex-Royal Marine Commandos are attempting a world first – to become the first adventurers in history to traverse the five largest islands on the planet, unsupported, using only human power. A feat of mental and physical fortitude that few would be mad enough to undertake. “We used to say that we both had a bergen – a bergen is your backpack in the military – packed in our sheds, and that when one of us made the call we’d just go out and do some crazy adventure,” Ant explains. It was Louis who made the call in early 2016. Having been medically discharged from the military for the PTSD he suffered following
gruelling tours of Afghanistan, the would-be adventurer sat down with his former brother in arms and talked seriously about turning their passion into a reality. “When I left the Marines, I wasn’t having a very good time. I needed a bit of direction, and I thought to myself, ‘If you’re going to do something, just fucking do it’,” Louis says. “It was like asking a kid what you want to do when you grow up, the thing that popped into my head was to be an explorer.” From there it was a case of unfurling maps and finding the adventure. A mission to the source of the River Ganges was kicked around for a while, before Borneo was settled on as a familiar starting point for the duo, who had both travelled to the country in the past. In their planning, they discovered that the
Asian nation was the third largest island on Earth. A quick Google search revealed the top five: Greenland, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Madagascar, and Baffin Island. Explorers had sought to discover each in isolation, but no single person had ever traversed all five. Expedition Five was born… With the support of Help For Heroes, the pair were able to set off on a one-of-a-kind adventure. In their own words, Louis and Ant talk us through their experience to date:
BORNEO: BRUISED EGOS Date: November - December 2016 Louis and Ant embarked on their first island traverse in November 2016. They travelled from East Kalimantan’s provincial capital Samarinda, through an unexplored corridor
BORNEO WAS A BIG TURNING POINT FOR ME AS I REALISED I WASN’T HAPPY TO DIE. BEFORE THEN, I WASN’T SURE within the heart of Borneo’s thick jungle, and into West Kalimantan before finishing in the sprawling port of Pontianak. In doing so, they became only the second recorded people to complete a humanpowered expedition of the third largest island on Earth, beaten only by legendary South African explorer Mike Horn. L: People see that we’re Royal Marines Commandos and just automatically think that we’ll be global expedition ninjas. In the early days, we really played on that. But the truth was when we were in the Marines we did very little other than Afghanistan. We knew fuck all about the jungle. We’d never been to the Arctic. You know, we didn’t have any media background, didn’t know how to put sponsorship proposals together, risk assessments… From start to finish it was a complete cuff, and it still is! A: In terms of the severity of these expeditions, our egos took a serious fucking check quite early on. In the Marines they train you up to believe you’re the best and believe you can do everything, but without the whole infrastructure behind us, it soon became quite apparent that approaching things as we did in the Marines just wasn’t going to work. L: Our route across Borneo was 1,300km from east to west – that’s about the same as from London to Rome – but a lot of that was mountainous dense jungle that’s not been explored before. When we got to the centre, we called it the ‘Death Zone’, there was nothing but mountain, jungle, mud. You just can’t get information on a place like that. A: When we planned the expedition, we could see settlements 45km apart as the crow flies. We just assumed that because they were so remote there had to be a route between the two somewhere, even though it just looked like mountains and jungle. There was no route, and the only alternative was to go on a 500km detour, so we basically had to wangle ourselves a guide at the first settlement to help us make it through, and he fucking deserted us on the first day. At that
point we had a decision to make as to whether we were going to carry on or turn back. L: And then one day this storm blows through. It felt like a tsunami was going to crash through the jungle. There were these giant fig trees crashing down all around us, the floor felt like it was shaking, there was flash flooding and these big lumps of soaked wood the size of fridge freezers falling out the trees. I remember sitting in my shorts just caked in mud thinking we could die here quite easily. It would take one bad decision at any time and we would be something else’s dinner. A: It got so bad that we had to change route. We realised that because it was raining a lot maybe the headwaters of the nearest river were closer to us than it shows on the map. We figured if we could get to the water then we could make a raft, and ride it to safety. It was getting to a survival situation at this point. L: It was savage, but in terms of the psychological state that I left the Royal Marines in, that was the turning point because I realised I wasn’t happy to die. Before then, I wasn’t really sure how much I valued my life anymore. Not that I wanted to die, but I just wasn’t arsed either way. But it was that point in the jungle that I thought: “I just want to go home. I miss my house. I love my missus. I want to see my family.” It was a real lightbulb moment for me. A: We ended up making it to the river. We made a bamboo raft – neither of us knew how, so it was completely cuffed. We were going down these rapids and we just had our bergens tied up as best we could and we were holding onto them like floatation devices and then all of a sudden we got to this village. It was quite funny. All these kids were playing in the water and we just floated in out of nowhere. They went to get the Kapala Desa, which is the village chief, and he said, “You came from Kalimantan? You walked? You crazy white boys.” L: We made it out, but we still had another 600km to go, so we convinced the chief to sell us this boat. It was nothing more than a tin-roofed canoe-type thing, but we lived on that until the finish. Two hours of paddling, two hours off, every day for 24 hours until we finally got to the delta. It was sinking by the point we got off to walk the final 100km. We were ruined, muscles spasming, feet cut to pieces, but we made it to the west coast on Christmas Eve.
the most violent places on Earth. It is feral, home to sorcery and tribal communities, and remains centuries behind the western world. In spring 2017, Louis and Ant completed a north-to-south traverse of the island coming face to face with the very real dangers of intertribal conflicts, Raksol gangs and croc-infested waters. But they lived to tell the tale. L: Out in Borneo we left a lot of things to chance, but we knew Papua New Guinea was going to be a different kettle of fish. It’s considered one of the most dangerous places on the planet, and we were talking about just walking across it. There’s still lots of beliefs around spirits and sorcery out there. Some tribes practice it and some don’t – and when they clash it’s mass murder. They’re hundreds of years behind us, no electricity, wearing bush clothing, still living off the jungle like tribesman. It’s a wholly different world. A: As outsiders, we knew that it was going to be key to have local knowledge when we were out there, so we arranged to pay a guide at every village. You have to be careful out there. We’d be dropping into these settlements not sure how we were going to be received – and it’s the kind of place where it would take one thing to go wrong or offend the wrong person, and we would quite literally have been chopped up and thrown into the jungle. L: The first place we stayed was in a doctor’s house. We turned up and were greeted by this guy and then we see his 17-year-old son with a machete hack wound in his neck. We asked if he was OK and his mum just went, “Boys will be boys… They fighting.” That set the tone! A: When you’re lying in your hammock after 12 hours of yomping and you’re more concerned with getting whacked by a machete than getting some rest, that’s savage on your mental state. Not to mention most of the rivers we crossed were filled with salt water ➤
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: ON A KNIFE EDGE Date: April - May 2017 Papua New Guinea is not only the second largest island on the planet, but also one of
➤ crocodiles and had spots of fierce rapids. Nothing prepared us for what we encountered. L: At one point during the expedition, I started to feel properly ill and within two hours, I was delusional, disorientated, crying. I’ve got mixed memories of it all, but Ant took the contents of my bergen and it was basically left to him to yomp us both to the nearest settlement with me basically being a carcass. I was fucking out of it by the time we got there. I remember hallucinating inside this bamboo building – I was convinced I was going to be killed for being a sorcerer. A: There was a lot of very scary moments involving appeasing these tribes, trying to keep all our gear safe, and trying our best not to end up hacked to death in the jungle, really. After we finished the expedition, we had to make our way back to the airport. We ended up getting a lift on a PNV that was filled with betel nuts – this psychoactive stimulant that is chewed by the locals. The addicts are like crack heads and go completely mad, but most just use it like a tea or coffee while they’re having a chat. It’s supposed to be banned but you can still get it everywhere. L: So we’re on this PNV selling the stuff, and we find ourselves dealing with all the gangs at different car parks. We’re rolling into these settlements where there’s burning tyres everywhere, rowdy noises and blokes with machetes everywhere. We were just praying someone didn’t say there’s two white boys on the lorry because we’d have been dead. Checking into the airport hotel in Port Moresby was the first time we felt safe in weeks. After Papua New Guinea, feeling like you can sleep without one eye open is definitely underrated.
HELP FOR HEROES Louis and Ant may have tackled each expedition alone, but back in the UK Help for Heroes has been a constant support to the two Marines. For Louis, the charity was also there for him during the worst of his PTSD: “Without any exaggeration, Help for Heroes has turned my life around. Without the focus, ambition and passion they gave me, I would be at a complete loss.” In tackling Expedition Five, Louis hopes to inspire veterans who have battled similar problems. “It’s about looking the dark days in the eye and saying you’ve come out the other end stronger.” helpforheroes.org.uk
THE ADVICE FROM OUR TRAVEL DOCTORS WAS UNLESS WE HAD TO GO DON’T GO… SO WE WENT ANYWAY MADAGASCAR: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE Date: November 2017 - December 2017 Madagascar isn’t anything like the Dreamworks Animation film. The fourth largest island on Earth is teeming with flora and fauna on the east of the island, but in the centre there is arid red desert where very little lives. It is a poor country, where water scarcity is a constant challenge. Add to the mix that Louis and Ant were visiting during the worst outbreak of the plague the country had seen in generations, and this was one a wholly different test entirely. To stave off dehydration, the ex-Marines covered a marathon each day pulling all their supplies on a trailer through the sands of the Malagasy hinterlands… Madagascar is one of the only places on Earth where there are still regular cases of bubonic plague. Normally, that kicks off in the rainy season where they have about 200 cases and then it dies down, but in the build up to us heading out for our expedition, the rainy season hadn’t even arrived yet and they’d already had about 2,000 cases. And it had spread from the bubonic form carried in rats to the pneumonic form. It was a full-blown endemic, the World Health Organisation were on the ground and we had to make a decision whether we were going to reschedule the trip. The advice from our travel doctors was unless we had to go don’t go… so we went anyway. L: I dropped Ant a line to see what he thought, and he messaged back just saying: “It’s your call, mate. I have very little value for my own safety.” So we made the decision to go! A: We were crossing Madagascar from the north east to the south west, and on the east coast of Madagscar there’s this mountainous spine that is steep on the east side and then is like a plateau down to the west into an arid red-soiled wasteland. So you have one side that is all jungle with all this crazy biodiversity and the other is completely barren. L: The arid country was a different challenge altogether. We knew there wasn’t water for A:
BORNEO TO BE WILD: In the heart of Borneo’s Central Kalimantan, Louis and Ant hacked their way through dense jungle, staving off hunger and fatigue as they walked marathon distances for days on end.
hundreds of miles, so we came up with the idea of pulling the water on these trolleys that we had flown out to a Christian Aid hospital on the edge of the desert. A: We stayed in the hospital for a day or so, and it was quite sobering. You realise that we’re on our adventure and you have people all around you who are living in abject poverty. We set off on this expedition for a good cause, but we didn’t really think about what was going on out there on these islands. It was very humbling what we saw there. L: The whole experience to date has changed me massively as a person. We’re getting to some places where the previous year’s harvest had failed. We’d be asking where the well was and it would be this stagnant puddle. A: We could purify the water, so it wasn’t a problem for us, but these people are trying to survive on their own. It’s the kind of images you see on a UNICEF advert. L: It provides you with an awful lot of perspective. When I left the Marines, I felt like
my field of vision was pretty broad, but really I didn’t have a fucking clue who I was. Every expedition we’ve done, I’ve chopped away to get a clearer perspective of what’s actually important and what makes me happy. It’s so easy to get caught up on what we should do rather than trying to make choices around what makes us happy and what we want to do. That’s what I say to the guys I’m working with now: gut instinct and choice are such valuable tools. A: The rest of Madagascar was more of the same really, we spent another few days in the arid plains before we came out onto the east coast side that was covered in mangroves and rice paddies. We were crossing rivers filled with crocodiles again but we eventually made it to the coast and got out of there.
GREENLAND: UP A BLIND ALLEY Date: September - October 2018 The largest island on Earth represented not only the boys’ biggest challenge to date but
also the coldest. In the arctic tundra, the duo completed a hellish coast-to-coast crossing from the remote settlement of Isortoq on the east coast to Kangerlussuaq’s fjord on the western coast. In doing so, they were forced to haul their equipment up and down steep slopes on the polar ice sheet; ski across the ice cap dragging their supplies in 120kg pulks; experience temperatures as low as -25c; and mind their
WHEN I LEFT THE MARINES, I FELT LIKE MY FIELD OF VISION WAS BROAD, BUT I DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE
step among hidden crevasses destined to drag their victims to a chilly early grave. After Madagascar we sat down to discuss how we were going to tackle Greenland. Neither of us had ever done anything polar in the Marines – and that is some really technical stuff. Fair enough, if you fuck up in Madagascar or Borneo you’re going to be uncomfortable for a night or two, but if you mess up out in Greenland you’re fucking dead. We realised in order for us to do a selfsupported self-guided expedition, one of us was going to need to know their shit when we’re out there. So I opted to go out to Norway for a couple of months to train. I got in touch with a guy called Petter Thorsen who’s really good friends with Børge Ousland – the first guy to ski across Antarctica. He’s an absolute ninja, and Petter and him have done several expeditions together, so when we told him about what we were doing he offered to do some training with me. ➤
BREAK THE ICE: Greenland presented a completely different challenge to the other three completed islands – including sub-zero temperatures, perilous crevasses and the threat of a polar bear attack.
➤ He loaded me up with this pulk and sent me off into the mountains between Norway and Sweden to do training exercises. A lot of it was really basic things that you wouldn’t think of as that important, but things like putting up a tent in an extreme gale – if you can’t get that tent up you’re going to fucking die, it’s as simple as that. I spent about five weeks with him and another week doing this Norwegian military course, and then in May 2018 Louis and I both flew out there to consolidate what I’d learnt. L: Basically, there have been a number of similar expeditions where people have frozen to death and the government have had to spend a fortune picking up the bodies, so they don’t let just anybody go on the ice sheet. You need a series of permits and insurances and insurance for the insurances, and a bank guarantee. It was all pretty serious. A: We got a boat to our start location and it
OUR FIRST JOB IN GREENLAND WAS TO TEST OUT THE RIFLE, JUST IN CASE A POLAR BEAR ATTACKED US squaremile.com
was just a beautiful place. You’re weaving in and out of icebergs, the colour of the icy melt water and you can see the glacier. They take you to this rocky outcrop and we had to just scramble up these cliffs and onto the ice. By the point the boat leaves, there is literally no one else. It’s you and the ice. L: Our first job was to test out the rifle in case a polar bear attacked us, and then we got onto the ice and into this local cabin that the Inuits have there. It’s basically a little survival shelter. Looking out onto the ice from this cabin, the easiest way I can describe it is you’re on this tiny little island and you’re about to paddle out into the ocean. Because that’s what it is, it’s an ocean of ice – and we know there is absolutely nothing until we get to the other coast in 650km. A: While we were in the cabin, we tested out the sat phone and were getting nothing back, so I yomped up the top of this mountain and eventually got a fix. I spoke to one of Petter’s friends, Lars Ebesson, in mission control and he assured me that everything would be alright once we got to the right height. But once we set off we had no comms for 72 hours. On the third day, we finally got a fix and Lars came through on the other line telling us we were on the wrong course… and there’s a storm going to hit in four hours. So we had limited time to get up as high as we could away from the worst of the weather, and set up a really good camp to sit it out. L: The further onto the ice you go, you lose
the view of the mountains and it’s just white. Nothing else. So, it’s head down skiing for 12 hours a day, an hour on, ten minutes rest, times 12. Get in the tent, cup of tea, food, sleep for a few hours then up and go again. It’s just a routine you have to get into. A: Hats off to the polar explorers who do 6070 days in a row of this, because it’s shit. By the second week we were already losing our minds. It’s not particularly hard once you get used to it, but it’s uncomfortable mentally. L: The things that go through your head when you’ve got that much time to think is crazy. Because you don’t speak while you’re skiing, you’re literally on your own, especially when the weather’s bad – you’ve got your mask on, goggles on and your hood. I had to put a lot of my energy into not going down negative tangents. About mistakes I’ve made in my life, things that happened in Afghan, or decisions about why I’m here or should I be here. If I ever felt like things were going downhill, I just looked down at my feet and concentrated on taking one more step. A: When you start experiencing true whiteouts, where the cloud cover blends in with the snow cover, it really fucks with your mind. Your brain can’t comprehend that level of white, so it starts filling in the blanks and causes these mini hallucinations. I’d be skiing behind Louis and I could just sense that buildings were all around me, even though there was obviously nothing there. I just had this feeling I was in an alleyway. ➤
There were these points on our GPS that were marked as ice holes and you’d come across them and they were these little tiny holes and you could just hear rushing water. We were poking at one with our ice picks and this hole slowly opened up to the point we could see this underground ice waterfall. The whole stretch of land is littered with these crazy crevasses, ice waterfalls and rivers. L: I was in charge of navigation for the first day in the crevasse field, and basically I had my sunglasses on and off so I could see what I was doing. That evening it felt like I had some sand in the back of my left eye. I was spraying it with saline, but by the end of that day I couldn’t have a head torch on because the light was too strong. It felt like someone was poking a needle in the back of my eyeball, it was fucking horrendous. I remember thinking later: “I’m snowblind in one eye, skiing through a crevasse field in the dark. What a fucking idiot!” A: The western crevasse field is called the ice fall because it just falls away. You have these huge blocks of ice the size of houses all around you, and you either have to navigate around them or climb over them. You’re trying to head on a bearing so you’re trying to head as straight as you can to keep to the most direct route, so sometimes you climbing up these huge blocks of ice and just tumble down the other side. We didn’t anticipate the ground getting quite as technical as it did. Lars had told us that the ground “gets a bit bumpy” and that’s it. They’re fuckers those Norwegians! A:
YOU DON’T GET ANY POINTS FOR DYING ON THE LAST ISLAND SO WITH THIS ONE WE NEED TO GET IT RIGHT ➤ L: At one point, I felt like I was following Ant along a mountain ridge line and if I went left or right I’d fall – but it was just flat, my mind was playing tricks on me. It was weird. A: The one area where the polar dudes may have advised us wrongly is they’re quite lean racing snakes, whereas Louis and I are stocky Royal Marines. They told us how much weight in food to take for each day of the expedition and by the back end of the expedition we were struggling with hunger just as we were beginning to up the mileage. And we still had the western crevasse field to deal with. L: The crevasse field is something else. Some you can easily see and others are covered by snow bridges. At one point, Ant had his skis off and was doing a bit of a reccy when both his legs went through a snow bridge. Just as the snow went past his thighs he managed to lean big and stick his arse out. So he’s stuck in the snow almost up to his hips looking at me like “Fucking hell mate!” He clambered his way out and we stared down into this pit of blue abyss.
We finished the expedition that night looking at just the most awesome Northern Lights I’ve ever seen. I think that’s probably the biggest feeling of achievement I’ve ever had. A: We got back to the hostel in Kangerlussuaq and Colin O’Brady was there – the seven summits world record holder and the guy who solo skied across Antarctica last year. He had to end his crossing early because he had prior engagements, but that still doesn’t change the fact that we beat him across the ice. We kind of took it in our stride at the time, but the full crossing of the Greenland icecap is one of the most technical things you can do in a polar environment. Five hundred people summited Everest last year, but only twelve people started the full crossing last year and a handful finished. We did it in the fastest time. L:
BAFFIN ISLAND: THE FIERCE FIFTH Date: TBC Four expeditions down, one to go: Baffin Island is not only the last hurdle between the Expedition Five duo and their unique world record, but it’s also the toughest. Louis and Ant will travel across the frozen Pangirtung fjord, ski the planet’s largest island lake before finishing their epic journey at the small Inuit artist community of Cape Dorset. On the way, they’re likely to encounter hurricane-force winds, Arctic storms, and temperatures that can reach as low as -50c. As home to one of the largest concentrations of polar bears on Earth, there’s an added furry complication to this very technical expedition. Baffin Island is the smallest of the five, but it’s probably going to be the hardest. We’re talking a similar climate to Greenland, but the geography is a whole lot different. There’s a lot of mountains, there’s a lot of polar bears and wolves on the ground that we’re going to have to be mindful of. We’ve been leaving it until last for a reason, because we knew we’d have to cut our teeth on Greenland, which as technical as it was is nothing compared to what we’re going to face on Baffin. At the moment, we’re looking at routes, gathering as much information as possible before getting out there, and ideally looking to find some new sponsors to get on board for the final chapter of our mental journey. L: You don’t get any points for dying on the last island so with this one we need to get it right. It’s not like Borneo where we just turned up and did our best. We’ve come a long way from that first trip, we’ve changed so much as people. Here’s hoping we can finish off Expedition Five in style. ■ A:
PATCHED UP: Suffering from snow blindness and frost bite, Louis and Ant reached the finish line of their epic Greenland crossing – making the trip in the fastest time of 2018. One island stands between them and the historic completion of Expedition Five.
See more at expeditionfive.co.uk
TIME IS MONEY WAT C H E S
When you’re on your next adventure, the last thing you’ll want to be worrying about is wasting time or money. We’ve picked seven hardy watches that won’t cost you the earth
HAMILTON: Khaki Field Mechanical
Ball Watches specialises in tough-as-nails tool watches like the 43mm M Marvelight, kitted out with highly luminescent gas tubes on the dial and hands for ultimate low-light visibility.
The Khaki is a classic American military watch that boasts all the rugged charm you would expect from a soldier in the forces. This new 38mm version features a new ‘Earth PVD’ case finish.
PHOTOGRAPHS by David Harrison
BALL WATCHES: Engineer M Marvelight
CERTINA: DS PH200M ‘Phantom’ This faithful reproduction of a legendary 1967 Certina dive watch is a real beauty. The sword hands, crosshair dial and hashed bezel all come from that vintage piece, but under the hood is the excellent Powermatic 80 movement, with 80 hours of power reserve in the tank. £565; certina.com
CITIZEN: EcoDrive Promaster Super Tough
PHOTOGRAPH by blah
Designed to weather the toughest of elements, this rugged timepiece features a hardened stainless steel case for added durability and a light-powered EcoDrive movement. ÂŁ349; citizenwatch.com
SEIKO: Prospex Save The Ocean SRPD11 Automatic Diver’s Watch The cushion-cased Seiko dive watch, better known as the ‘Turtle’, remains one of the most instantly recognisable and best-value timepieces of its kind. This version features a black ionplated case and a graduated blue dial. £429; seikowatches.com
CHRISTOPHER WARD: C60 Trident Elite 1000 LE Christopher Wardâ€™s latest iteration of the popular Trident collection is a titanium-cased dive watch with water resistance to 1,000m. It comes with an excellent hybrid sports strap comprising waterproof Cordura and rubber. ÂŁ1,250; christopher ward.co.uk
SEVEN FRIDAY: M1B/01 Urban Explorer
PHOTOGRAPH by blah
Seven Friday specialises in radical watch designs at the value end of the market. Take the Urban Explorer: it features a TV-shaped case with the running seconds indicator shown along the horizontal axis, with hours and minutes displayed on a rotating aperture on the left-hand side. The denim strap and modern flourishes complete what is a wholly unique timepiece in this part of the market. $1,250; sevenfriday.com
THE RULES OF SURVIVAL
A world record holder and former Royal Marines Commando sniper, Aldo Kane is one of the hardest men you’ll ever meet. He talks to Mark Hedley about what it takes to be at the top of your game
LDO KANE KNOWS a thing or two about surviving adversity. He’s been held at gunpoint, charged by a black rhino, and abseiled into an active volcano. He also endured the toughest infantry training in the world at just 16 years old. We take aim on the former Royal Marines Commando sniper… What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a small boy I was fascinated with adventure. I spent many weekends in the Scouts learning to live off the land and look after myself in the wilderness. I wanted to be an adventurer, although at the time I called it Action Man. I read a lot of expedition and survival books like South by Ernest Shackleton. You joined the Marines at 16 – how did you manage to join so young? Preparation and the right mindset. I had it in my head that I wanted to join the British military to pursue a career of adventure, and I went to the careers office and asked what was the hardest service to get into. I was told the Royal Marine Commandos. I was about 13. I dedicated all my spare time outside of school to getting fit and strong for the 30-week basic Commando training course. What do you think they saw in you? I was young and determined. I had the fire in my belly that just about beats everything else. It’s the drive that pushed me through the hardest infantry training in the world.
How did you cope being so much younger than the average person in your position? When I joined, I was 16. Most other people in training were about 22 or 23 and they had all had a job before joining the Marines, but I had left school as a paperboy and joined straight up. I had to grow up fast, very fast in fact because when I just turned 18, I was on an operational tour of Northern Ireland. What was the toughest day you had? Every day in Commando training is hard, both physically and mentally, but that is deliberate. It’s to get you up to speed as an elite soldier to be able to deploy into any hostile environment on Earth. You become an expert in jungles, deserts, the arctic and high mountains. You seem very driven to be the best – why do you think that is? I think this is probably owing to a bit of both nurture and nature. I was brought up in the outdoors and sought that career out. I tried my very hardest at everything I did and although I was rarely the best, I never ever gave up. What’s been the most difficult thing you’ve had to do in your military career? Deploying operationally is always scary but you just have to get on with the job. I was a sniper so spent long periods with just one other spotter and not much in the way of back-up.
MOST PEOPLE DELAY, DENY AND DELIBERATE – AND THIS ALL TAKES TIME. I TAKE ACTION
When was the time you most feared for your life – and how did you cope? I’ve had a few close calls over the years and I always revert to training and dealing with the facts. Whether it’s being charged by a rhino; being inside a volcano when it erupts; being in the middle of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa; or dealing with Narco hitmen in South America. If you can control your breathing in a hectic situation you can control your thoughts.
How do you cope mentally? Many of the jobs I have done, from being an operational sniper to a high-risk advisor for TV and film, require me to disassociate from the situation. That means that I have to remove emotion from my decision-making process and only deal with the facts. It’s only once I have done the job and come home that I then try to decompress by talking about my experiences with close friends who understand the stresses. Talking is the biggest help that I have had. How do you motivate yourself – and your team – when you think all is lost? It’s a mindset. It is very easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of a situation without having a look at the bigger picture. By their nature, managers are appointed, even worse if they are self-appointed. Leaders are the people who teams look to in a real crisis for guidance. I always lead from the front and by example. What makes you happy? Being outdoors. I once spent ten days locked in a nuclear bunker, underground, on my own and in the dark. After ten days I was starting to unravel. I surmised that to keep a good headspace one needs to exercise regularly, have frequent meaningful human interactions, and see the sun, every day. Being fit and healthy makes me happy. What will you do when you retire? I have a plan to be up in Scotland on the west coast somewhere. Somewhere near the sea and the mountains, where I would like to be writing about all of my experiences. ■ This July, Aldo will front BBC Two Horizons’ Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones and will appear alongside Steve Backshall on Expedition on Dave.
PHOTOGRAPH by Joseph Sinclair
What makes it so tough? It’s 32 weeks training to become an elitefighting machine. It’s one of the most arduous and longest infantry training regimens.
What’s been the single hardest thing that you’ve had to endure? I was on a course once that meant I was not able to eat for three weeks. That was fairly tough, but with the right head game you can get through most things.
Fear is an emotion that can work for you. Initially, in any of the hairy situations I have been in, I take action. I always take action. Most people delay, deny and deliberate – and this all takes time. I try to skip those initial stages and leap into action. Make a decision: even if it is the wrong decision; you are in control.
PHOTOGRAPH by blah
WILD THINGS KIT
Ready to embrace your inner explorer? However epic your next adventure, this is the high-end kit that you need to get you from A to B in serious style
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ON RUNNING Scandinavian brand On Running is renowned for making some of the lightest running shoes in the world. It’s applied its material tech to a slightly hardier mould – and the result is the Cloudventure, a lightweight trail running shoe that’s big on protection and grip. It also benefits from a CloudTec sole – the sensation of running on clouds. £135; on-running.com
SWAROVSKI OPTIK The new CL Companion 8x30 binoculars from Swarovski Optik have an impressive 132m (144yd) field of view and 8x magnification. Whether for bird watching or hunting prey, the Companions are accurately named – at just 490g (17.2oz), they’re lightweight, and they’ve been tested from -20°C up to +55°C, so they’ll never let you down. From £930; swarovskioptik.com
FILSON Work vest
When you’ve been making super-tough, goodlooking outdoors gear for almost 120 years, you learn a thing or two about what makes a great garment. Established during the Alaskan goldrush of 1897, Filson is the leading outfitter and manufacturer of unfailing goods for outdoor enthusiasts. Built on a reputation for reliability, the brand is a favourite among anglers and hunters, engineers and explorers, mariners and miners – and basically anyone who refuses to stay indoors. Each garment or piece of luggage Filson makes is built so tough and unfailing that the brand backs it up with a lifetime guarantee. Pictured here is Filson’s dry wax work vest (£200) – tough, insulated and water-repellent. Ideal for your next adventure – or just a summer’s day in England. filson.com
LEICA This limited edition ‘Safari’ Leica M10-P in olive green is a modern reinterpretation of a vintage classic. Originally designed and constructed exclusively for the armed forces in the 1960s, the model was renowned for ruggedness and reliability, and the new version is no different – well, apart from the fact it’s digital, natch. Leica M10-P ‘Safari’ body, £6,900; leicastore-uk.co.uk
22 ND & 23 RD JUNE 2019 F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N A N D T I C K E T I N G , S E E O U R W E B S I T E
New swimwear brand 300 Species is a fusion of Australian easy-going sensibility and Italian sophistication and craftsmanship – think Crocodile Dundee does Capri – and its handmade shorts have been created in two different styles, a shorter and a mid-length leg. The name comes from the octopus – there are 300 species of them in the world, apparently. Shorts from £155; 300species.com
This versatile, modern backpack works for everything from adventure travel to a busy commute. Its tall main compartment has a separate section for papers or your favourite magazine (cough, cough), and there are plenty of organiser pockets as well as a dedicated slot for your laptop and tablet. The backpack straps also have D-rings for attachments. £375; tumi.com
Serengeti’s technically advanced Tellaro navigator sunglasses feature double-injected rubber temples for superior comfort and grip, wire core temples for a perfect fit, and ultra-light mineral lenses with bestin-the-business 3-in-1 technology – they’re polarized, photochromic and have a Spectral Control filter to fine-tune colour wavelengths. £216; serengeti-eyewear.com
TUDOR Black Bay Bronze
Bronze is the material du jour in watchmaking circles – and for good reason. First, it looks great, and the resulting patina means your watch will end up like no other. Secondly, because it’s hardy, it’ll take a beating without getting bent. And of course, it was traditionally used in boat fittings (prior to stainless steel) because of its resistance to saltwater corrosion. One of the most successful launches of this new bronze age has been Tudor’s Black Bay Bronze. First there was brown, then there was blue (a limited edition of which sold at auction for 64 times its estimate), and now there is slate grey. It’s as handsome as ever and at £2,910, it’s a whole lot of bronze for your buck. tudorwatch.com
THE FAST AND THE CURIOUS The Lamborghini Urus doesn’t fit the mould. In fact, as the most exciting SUV ever made, it smashes it, says Mark Hedley
UBTLETY IS REALLY not one of the
Lamborghini Urus’s strong points. But then, that’s like saying, “Uh, Mount Everest, stop being so tall!” Or “God, Niagara, enough with all the splashing, already!” It is, simply put, a force of nature. Or more accurately the best of what human nature can muster from a Sports Utility Vehicle. The concept of a ‘performance SUV’ is still relatively new in the automobile timeline. Most would quote the Porsche Cayenne as the forerunner of a group that now includes everyone from Bentley to Maserati to Alfa Romeo. Indeed, even Ferrari – which once said it would never make an SUV – has conceded: project Purosange as it is known by the Prancing Horse is due on our roads in 2022. But actually, it is Lamborghini which was the first manufacturer to produce a performance SUV. Launched in 1986 – a full 16 years before the Cayenne – the LM002 was fitted with a 444bhp 7.2-litre V12 that was originally intended for a powerboat. And crucially, it had full-time four-wheel drive. Zero-60mph was 7.7 seconds – fairly impressive for the era; more impressive when you learn the LM002 weighed 5,972lbs. The car and the concept was in many ways ahead of its time – and only 300 were ever built. But it’s safe to say that the new Urus is right on the zeitgeist. In an era when the consumer wants it all, the Urus delivers – in 8K UHD clarity and 200MB super-fast speed.
PHOTOGRAPHS by Mark Hedley
THERE’S NO WAY OF GETTING AWAY FROM IT: THE URUS HAS PRESENCE BY THE BUCKETLOAD
Delivered to the square mile offices in a solar shade of yellow, there’s no way of getting away from it: the Urus has presence by the bucketload. One colleague joked that it was safe as long as you didn’t look directly at it; another said “it’s like a child’s drawing of a car – and a tank – but in a good way.” My favourite first impression was from our Features Editor: “It looks like a predator that will eat all the other cars.” And that is exactly what you want from a Lamborghini. It should be outrageous and unapologetic in equal measure. Partially thanks to the Bumblebee yellow, the most prevailing simile it received was “it’s like a Transformer” – and that is perhaps the most accurate of all the comparisons. Because the Urus really can transform itself. Set the car to Strada mode, and it is relatively docile. The leather seats are comfortable and cosseting – heated for your warmth, and preloaded with an eclectic range of massage settings for your pleasure. The ride is smooth, the steering light, and the sound system Bang & Olufsen: this is a lovely place to be. Flick it into Sport, or if you’re brave enough, Corsa – and the Urus is transformed into an evil, snarling beast. The 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 begins barking, the steering starts to bite, and your hair stands on end. This thing is prodigiously fast. Not just for an SUV – for any car. Thanks to that 641bhp powerplant, zero60mph takes just 3.5 seconds. That’s faster than a Porsche 911S in a car in which you can fit an Ikea wardrobe. Perhaps more impressive is the 627lb ft of torque – available from astonishing low revs in any of its eight gears. The noise is epic – it’s Michael Bay in Dolby Surround Sound epic. OK, it’s not quite as ear-splitting as Lamborghini’s V10 and V12 stablemates. But then, you wouldn’t want to deafen the kids, would you? There’s plenty of room for them – including TV screens in the rear and Isofix bars in the back. This has to be the only car that comes with both child-seat attachment points and a G-force meter in the dashboard as standard. ➤
KING OF THE ROAD: The Lamborghini Urus boasts 641bhp and a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds. The name comes from a large, wild ancestor of today’s fighting bulls.
➤ While enjoying a rather spirited drive to lunch, my five-year-old son shouted from the back “Daddy, stop going so fast – it’s making me need to wee.” I explained to him that the faster I drove the sooner we would get there. “OK, still drive fast, Daddy.” Assuming that your children don’t suffer from car sickness, then there’s a lot of fun to be had with the Urus. I’ve driven everything from a Bentayga to a Range Rover Sport SVR, and no SUV handles as well as this. Throw it
NO SUV HANDLES AS WELL AS THE URUS. THROW IT AROUND A CORNER AND THERE’S ZERO BODY ROLL 102
around a corner and there is zero body roll – it stays as flat and true as a car half its height or indeed its 2.2-tonne weight. Alongside the preset driver modes – which include Sabbia (sand), Terra (earth), and Neve (snow) – there’s my personal favourite, the ‘Ego’ lever. (It’s actually called that.) This allows you to pick’n’mix from the presets. So you can have the suspension on squishy; the steering at a sensible medium; and the powertrain dialled up to 11. Practicality is not a word you would usually connect with Lamborghini, but when there’s a 616-litre boot – 1,596-litres with the rear seats down – it’s not to be sniffed at. There’s even four-wheel steering, the rear wheels turning by up to three degrees, proving useful when trying to negotiate the car park at Waitrose. It’s also Lamborghini’s most fuel efficient car ever – this is partly down to the ingenious cylinder deactivation system that shuts off four cylinders below 3,000rpm, with the added benefit that it’s quieter in traffic. And then there’s its off-road abilities. I won’t
dwell on these – not because they’re not impressive; no doubt they are – but because you and I know that very few farmers will end up driving around their fields in an Urus. I did take mine down a dirt track and across a ford, though – Urus 1: Aventador 0. Inside, however, there’s plenty to remind you of the Lamborghini’s sporting pedigree. There’s lots of carbon fibre – around the air vent surrounds, and down the door panels, and even on the petrol cap. Lamborghini’s angular hexagon motif is everywhere you look – from the door handles to the gear paddles. And then there’s the starter button – residing beneath a red cover that has to be flipped up – like the nuclear switch with which one imagines Trump is far too familiar. The interior design (much like the exterior for that matter) is a fusion of racing car, tank and spaceship. It’s dramatic, it’s cinematic, and it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. And that’s really what the Urus is all about: it’s for big kids who happen to have their own kids. ■
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, BUT WE NEED YOU TO DIG DEEP.
“It’s about looking the dark days in the eye and saying you’ve come out the other end stronger.” h4hweb.com/junesmiles
Help for Heroes is a charity registered in England and Wales (1120920) and Scotland (SC044984)
We Make It Personal Soak up the sunshine on our leafy terraces with stunning panoramic views over the city. Eight offers two venues with lounge bars, meeting rooms, cinema and restaurant with private dining rooms. Available for conferences, weddings, private dining and parties for up to 500 guests
AL FRESCO SUMMER EVENTS FOOD & DRINK LAS VEGAS GOLF
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PHOTOGRAPH by Sam Morris/Icon Sportswire
EXCEPTIONALLY FAST BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED ITALIAN ICON
Sound familiar? Typical top speed for a cruising motor yacht is 35-40mph. For a Pershing however, it’s 45-50mph. As shapely as a Maranello supercar, and with an interior worthy of a Milanese designer apartment, it’s no wonder Pershings are known as the Ferraris of the sea. Except for one thing, they’re a bit more powerful: 1,600hp to 10,400hp.
www.venturaeurope.com Ventura UK 47a South Audley Street Mayfair London W1K 2QA Tel +44 (0)20 7495 2330 firstname.lastname@example.org CP
IN IT TO WIN IT: The Athenaeum is offering square mile readers the chance to win a two-night stay including dinner for two. Just head to squaremile.com/ competition to enter.
Win a weekend away THE ATHENAEUM is not your standard five-star hotel. Indeed, as a family-run hotel in Mayfair,
it occupies rarefied air. We’re offering you the chance to win a stay plus dinner for two…
NE OF LONDON’S few family-run fivestar hotels, The Athenaeum, is giving away the perfect weekend getaway. Enter our exclusive square mile prize draw for a chance to win two-night weekend stay with a-la-carte dinner for two. The award-winning Athenaeum is prestigiously located in the heart of Mayfair, just opposite Royal Green Park. It embodies
•• The award-winning Athenaeum embodies a proud heritage and independent spirit squaremile.com
a proud heritage and independent spirit: from original art-deco roots and bespoke English craftsmanship, to the fabulous Living Wall. Following an extensive refurbishment project led by award-winning Martin Hulbert, the hotel invites guests to ‘Look at London Differently’, by relaxing in The View, the Athenaeum’s exclusive top-floor lounge adorned with comfortable, design-led furniture. The hotel’s restaurant, with the Michelinstarred Galvin brothers at the culinary helm, champions Britain’s delicious homegrown produce, supporting independent farmers across the UK. Open for a la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. ■ Go to squaremile.com/competition to enter. Prize available from 1 Sept 2019 - 1 June 2020, weekends only, subject to availability. Blackout dates apply. athenaeumhotel.com
A taste for adventure Macao is one of the most exciting destinations in the Far East – and is the perfect add-on for a business or leisure trip to Asia thanks to its legendary food scene, outdoor attractions, and sparkling nightlife
OU MIGHT NOT expect to tuck into a spicy African chicken just an hour from Hong Kong – or a perfect pastel de nata thousands of miles from Lisbon. But then Macao is full of the unexpected – a melting pot of different cuisines and cultures. Designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Macao has everything from
delicious street food to 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, with the local Macanese cuisine taking inspiration from South America, Africa, India and Malaysia as well as Portugal and China. A trip to Taipa Village, one of Macao’s most traditional and Instagrammable areas showcases this – where Macao’s East-meetsWest cuisine and character are on full display.
•• Macao is full of the unexpected – a figurative melting pot of different cuisines and cultures squaremile.com
•• For the real daredevils, there’s the Tower Climb – a 100 metre scramble up the communication mast A HEADY EXPERIENCE If you have a head for heights, then the 338m Macau Tower will be right up your street. Home to one of the world’s highest commercial bungy jumps, a SkyWalk around the Tower’s perimeter is impressive enough – especially if you opt to go at night. But for the real daredevils, there’s the Tower Climb – a 100 metre scramble up the communication mast to the very pinnacle of the Tower. Back on solid ground, Macao is the perfect size for a walking tour and there are various routes that will help you to discover the iconic attractions and cultural sites – just download the Step Out, Macao app.
CITY OF LIGHTS: Whether you’re travelling to Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area or beyond, Macao makes an ideal stop-over – with a host of luxury hotels, diverse cuisine and glitzy nightlife to make you wish you were staying for longer.
PHOTOGRAPHS: All photos courtesy of Macao Government Tourism Office
LIFE AND SOUL Located on the south coast of China, just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao’s unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage gives it a very different, more Southern European atmosphere to its neighbour. Part of Macao’s global appeal is its bustling nightlife, with a glittering choice of cool bars and trendy nightclubs, glitzy casinos and spectacular live shows. The House of Dancing Water [pictured right] is a must – this breathtaking show from Franco Dragone is the world’s largest water extravaganza, involving unparalleled water effects and record-breaking acrobatics. And if you’re into jaw-dropping visual feasts, then time your visit in September and October to enjoy the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest.
be 11 square miles, but it packs a punch far mightier than its size would first suggest. HOW TO GET THERE Macau International Airport offers flight links from around the region but most UK visitors fly into Hong Kong and take the fast ferry crossing (about one hour) or journey across the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. There are direct flights from the UK to Hong Kong with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic. ■
PLAN YOUR TRIP Four nights at the five-star Langham Hong Kong Hotel and three nights at the five-star Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 in Macao including return business class flights and private transfers from £2840pp. Valid for travel 15 October - 09 December 2019. Book by 31 July 2019. T&Cs apply. awayholidays.co.uk, 0800 408 6627. For more information:
KING OF THE CHILL If relaxation is the aim of your visit, then Macao’s southern countryside offers a range or picturesque hills, beaches, parks and golf courses to help you unwind. When it comes to resting your head, there’s everything from traditional Portuguese pousadas to luxury hotels. Eagerly anticipated openings include the Grand Lisboa Palace, a resort featuring three hotels – one of which is the world’s first Karl Lagerfeld Hotel, designed entirely by the fashion icon before he passed, and The Londoner Macao, which will exude classic British luxury across four hotel brands. WHEN TO COME There really isn’t a bad time to visit Macao, but depending on your preferences, there are a few events you might like to consider. For creatives, Art Macao is a five-month mega international arts and cultural event that runs from June-October. For petrolheads, there’s the Suncity Group 66th Macau Grand Prix (1417 November), the world’s only international street circuit racing event that has races for both cars and motorcycles. And in December, events range from the Macao International Marathon to the 4th International Film Festival & Awards Macao. As for the rest of the year? Well, fortunately chic shopping, deluxe spas, award-winning dining, and thrilling nightlife are all timeless experiences. Macao may only
PHOTOGRAPH by Thomas Alexander
SUMMER AL FRESCO
HEIGHT OF SUMMER
If you’re not eating and drinking outside at all times, you’re doing summer all wrong. EMILY ALEXANDROU suggests where to head
FTER LAST SUMMER, 2019 has a hard act to follow. It’s like playing on Centre Court after Roger Federer, or performing on the Pyramid Stage after Muse – yeah, good luck with that one. But hey, we’ll give it our best shot – and even if the weather doesn’t play ball, the fine food and the cold drinks should go some way to make up for it…
in the gorgeous views of St Paul’s Cathedral. Art Yard has also teamed up with Hambledon, the award-winning Hampshire vineyard, with its full range of English sparkling wines available by the glass and bottle. But if wine isn’t your style, you can always cool off with Hambledons snow cones – alcoholic ice, basically. How cool is that? Bankside Hotel, 2 Blackfriars Road, SE1 9JU
London in the Sky
Eight Club Moorgate Roof Terrace
If you love the high life, get down (or should we say up) to this airborne concept restaurant for some suspended gourmet fun. London in the Sky takes terrace food and drink to another level with its suspended open-air restaurant tables that dangle 100ft up in the air. This summer, it’s based at the O2 just outside North Greenwich station, offering guests scenic views of Canary Wharf and beyond, as well as some serious selfie opportunities…
For those seeking a more exclusive alfresco experience, the Finsbury Square-based Eight Club ticks all the boxes. Occupying 7,000sq ft across two terraces, the rooftop club is one of the finest spots in the City to enjoy a few sundowners before gliding into the lounge for the rest of the evening. There are more than 300 spirits behind the bar, but there are lockers where you can store your tipple of choice, should you fancy a more personal experience. 1 Dysart St, London EC2A 2BX
Skylight Rooftop at Tobacco Dock While it doubles as an ice rink during the winter, Skylight Rooftop is an equally suitable venue for enjoying the warmer months of the year, when the ice and skates are replaced by grass and games. Life doesn’t often throw up many opportunities to play pétanque on a rooftop with a picturesque view of London’s skyline. Even if lawn games aren’t your thing, a range of street food and bars are also around to keep you satiated in the sun. Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, E1W 2SF
RESTAURANTS Angler Running until the end of August, the revamped Angler terrace brings quintessential countryside charm to the City. The Michelinstarred restaurant has joined forces with award-winning gin producer Cambridge Distillery, and will be serving limited-edition drinks alongside executive chef Gary Foulkes’s bespoke menu of nostalgic English bar snacks. Good food and drink? We’re in. 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
Art Yard Rooftop Terrace Art Yard Bar and Kitchen in the Bankside hotel recently launched its brand-new summer terrace. Enjoy something sparkly while taking
With tables suspended 100ft in the air, London in the Sky takes food and drink to another level 112
Sushisamba What do you get when you combine Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine, and pop it all on top of one of the City’s most recognisable skyscrapers? Sushisamba of course. Situated on the 38th and 39th floors of 110 Bishopsgate (aka the Heron Tower), this perennially popular spot has the highest outdoor terraces in London, making it an absolute summer must (and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the cocktails). Sip on some sake and marvel at the teeny ant people down below. 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY ➤
PHOTOGRAPH by Paul Grover
HIGH STEAKS: London in the Sky isn’t just a unique dining experience – there are all-day party vibes at the bar and Gin Garden. Its new Sunday Sessions are a particular highlight with live musicians and international DJs joining in with the fun.
perfectly paired with
Immerse yourself in the world of gin 31 July-1 August | 12.30 & 6pm The Hurlingham Club, London Revel in rare gins, delve deeper into your favourite spirit at an expert masterclass and indulge in gin-inspired cuisine
Tickets from ÂŁ55
Discounted tickets available for Telegraph subscribers Book here: telegraph.co.uk/event/gin Or call 0800 542 5859
with discount code
RAISE YOUR GAME: [clockwise from here} Summer socialising doesn’t come more civilised than a cigar atop Eight Moorgate; Madison at One New Change counts St Paul’s as one of its neighbours; laid back and stylish – the secluded terrace at Angler.
➤ Bird of Smithfield Bird of Smithfield houses two chic bars, a dining room and a roof terrace with views over Smithfield Market. The terrace is heated, even through the summer months, so there’s no need to rely on the British weather. It’s a quaint space, with a feel similar to many private members’ clubs, and ideal for afterwork cocktails – try the Pink Pepper Gin and Tonic or punchy Rye Whiskey Negroni. 26 Smithfield Street, EC1A 9LB
BARS PHOTOGRAPH: (Tobacco Dock) by Casey Gutteridge/CPG Photography; (Angler) James Bedford
Jin Bo Law Jin Bo Law’s Sky bar offers view over a splendid slice of skyline. On the 14th floor of Dorsett City hotel, the rooftop looks out over all the big boys – including Tower Bridge, the Shard, the Walkie Talkie and the Gherkin. While the views couldn’t be more London,
The Gun may be tucked away, but with views of the Thames and gin on tap, it’s worth seeking out squaremile.com
the carefully curated cocktail menu transports you to a whole other continent, with Asianinspired flavours such as the zesty Butterfly Punch and Bacardi-based Eye of the Buddha. 14th floor, Dorsett City, Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AH
a few drinks. Two terraces provide 360-degree views of the City’s ever-growing skyline. Floor 12, 7 Pepys Street, EC3N 4AF
BEER GARDENS The Gun Gin Garden
Madison Perched on the penthouse spot of One New Change, Madison naturally ticks all the panoramic boxes. With umbrellas and heaters available, the terrace stays open all year round, in case you’re a whatever-the-weather type. (Weirdo.) Expect nothing less than classy cocktails and an atmosphere to match, and the view’s not too shabby either – St Paul’s is basically right next door, so you can sip your drink and sightsee all in one go. Rooftop Terrace, One New Change, EC4M 9AF
Savage Garden LDN Savage? These cocktails certainly are (in a good way). Located atop the DoubleTree by Hilton, Savage Garden’s ethos focusses on the unexpected. Alongside its theatrically presented food are mixes curated by the Gorgeous Group, ensuring a quirky evening from the moment you sit down. According to the website, the interior is ‘brutal yet sultry, urban yet opulent’ but don’t hold that against it – Savage Garden is a lovely place to enjoy
Alliteration is not the only thing they do well at The Gun Gin Garden… It may be tucked away, but with views over the Thames and gin on tap, we’d definitely recommend seeking it out. Its gins are all garnished with herbs grown in its own garden, putting the ‘fresh’ in al-fresh-co (sorry), and its marquee provides that must-needed shelter for when the classic British weather inevitably takes a turn. The Gun, 27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
The Crown and Shuttle From traditional Victorian building, to strip bar, to craft-beer pub – The Crown and Shuttle has had many incarnations. The interior really showcases its journey, with exposed brick walls, mismatched furniture and old-school wooden floors – who doesn’t love a pub with a bit of character? Offering a vast selection of beers and ciders, with a garden to match your nan’s, it is well worth the trip to East London for some summertime sippin’. 226 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6PJ ■ For more ideas, go to squaremile.com
BOWLED OVER: Festibowl will be a Finsbury Square from midday to 11pm on: 30-31 May, 27-28 June, 25-26 July, 22-23 August, and 12-13 September. It will be at Potters Fields Park, Tooley Street from midday to 11pm daily from 2-14 July; [opposite, clockwise from main] The Coya terrace; Summer by the River; the London Craft Beer Festival.
SUMMER CITY EVENTS
DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN
There’s more to making the most of the sunshine than busy bars and plastic pint glasses… Take a more elegant approach to summer in the City with the season’s best events, says EMILY ALEXANDROU
UN IS SHINING, the weather is sweet. Or
at least, that’s the plan. Whether or not British Summer Time plays ball, there are plenty of events to ensure you still have a good time in the City in the coming months…
MY AFK BEACH VOLLEYBALL 8 July-2 August Canary Wharf is once again setting the stage for the my AFK beach volleyball championship
this summer. Filled with 200 tonnes of sand, the my AFK beach courts will be open to all, with pay-to-play sessions in doubles or as a team starting from 8 July. So you can sign up for the tournament or just challenge your co-workers to a lunchtime match. And if you’re more of a spectator, you can just enjoy the sun and watch some of Europe’s top volleyball champions play showcase matches. Montgomery Square, E14 5HQ
FESTIBOWL 2-14 July London’s biggest and best lawn bowls pop-up Festibowl is rolling into town from May to September. With ten dates in Finsbury Square and two weeks in London Bridge, there’s ample opportunity to lap up the sun while simultaneously impressing your friends and colleagues with your bowling prowess. Don’t know if you have any? There’s only one way
to find out. What’s the worst that can happen? (Broken nose? – Ed.) 22 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1BR
STRAZZANTI AND CAMPARI MARK 100 YEARS OF THE NEGRONI AT TT LIQUOR 26-29 June Negroni in the Sicilian sun? Yes, please. How about Bethnal Green? Er, sure. Strazzanti has collaborated with Campari to celebrate 100 years of the Negroni at TT Liquor. Emilia Strazzanti has designed an Italian feast spread across four nights: each course will be paired with a different cocktail, carefully curated by TT Liquor’s expert mixologists. Four days of caprese, pasta and negronis – count us in.
Negroni in the Sicilian sun? Yes, please. How about Bethnal Green? Er, sure – why not? AL: MORE THAN HUMAN EXHIBIT 16 May-26 August
WIMBLEDON FINALS SCREENING AT SWINGERS CITY
If you’re keen to broaden your cultural horizons or simply escape the inevitable rainy summer days, head to the Barbican for its immersive exhibition, Al: More than Human. This centre-wide ‘festival-style’ showcase is displayed across the building and explores the creative and scientific developments in artificial intelligence.
Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
202 Three Colts Lane, E2 6JN
Swingers crazy golf club is bringing an extra slice of English summer sport to the heart of the City with its Wimbledon screening party – streaming both the men’s and women’s finals on its big screens. With strawberries and cream gelato, Pimm’s by the glass (or let’s face it, jug) and a limited-edition Wimbledon cocktail, the matches are sure to be enjoyable whatever the results are.
normally be saluted with a couple of cheeky pints in the sun, but now you can add live music into the mix thanks to a series of pop-up gigs at Jubilee Park. Canary Wharf has invited Docklands Sinfonia orchestra to bring highquality music to the area – with both jazz trios or string quartets in residence. Featuring the likes of the Simon Thorpe Jazz Trio, Fiorella Camilleri and Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas. Good music, food and booze. Why not. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf E14
COYA ANGEL COURT 11 June
Throughout June, COYA Angel Court will be hosting several cigar and cocktail evenings. Putting its own spin on alfresco drinking, each event will be based in COYA court’s terrace. ‘Noche de Cigarros’ is the first evening to kick off this series: on offer will be COYA Angel Court’s signature cocktails, The Nut Nut and El Capitan and on the cigar front, Montecristo Open Masters.
31-33 Throgmorton Street, EC2N 2AT ■
Friday lunchtimes in Canary Wharf may
For more ideas, go to squaremile.com
8 Brown’s Building, EC3A 8AL
LONDON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL 9-11 August A celebration of great beers, passionate brewers and the people who make London a great beer city, London Craft Beer Festival is a guaranteed good time. On hand to keep your thirst at bay are a host of more than 80 worldclass breweries. You’ll be able to pair your beer with food from a range of fine restaurants and street food. There’s also a strong line-up of killer DJ sets from acts like Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs, and Zombie Disco Squad. Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane, E1W 2SF
SUMMER BY THE RIVER 31 May-1 September PHOTOGRAPH (Festibowl) by Ryan Dinham; (Coya) David Griffin
Fulfilling its does-what-it-says-on-the-tin name, Summer by the River is returning to the capital. Lasting three months, it is the largest free outdoor festival in London – stretching along the riverside from London Bridge Pier to City Hall. With food trucks and stalls as well as workshops and open-air theatre productions, there will be music from Georgia and the Vintage Youth, Chaps Choir, and The Eskies. A summer stroll by the river guarantees more than just a good view this year. 2A More London Riverside, SE1 2DB
THE BLIND PIG Jason Atherton’s flagship bar, The Blind Pig, has launched its new cocktail menu, ‘Seasons to Drink’. Bar manager Jay Doy was inspired by the seasons, and summer kicks off with the ‘Picnic Edition’, a collection that takes its cue from classic al fresco treats. The trifle-inspired Rhubarb and Custard (£12) fits the bill nicely.
Rhubarb and Custard 40ml rhubarb wine 20ml rosehip cup 10ml rhubarb liqueur 10ml vermouth Custard cream top 1. Add the rhubarb liqueur, vermouth, rosehip cup and rhubarb wine together in a short glass. 2. Add cubed ice. 3. Stir until chilled. 4. Garnish: whipped custard cream.
MIX WITH THE BEST Don’t just settle for any old sundowners – these three summer stunners are the perfect partners to a balmy evening in London
MERE Don’t miss the botanical inspired cocktails at Mere in Fitzrovia. Sit in the restaurant’s sun-soaked bar and enjoy a Dizzy Dill, a blend of gin, fresh dill, sugar syrup and lime (£13), or sample a Summer Memories [pictured], a refreshing mix of rose-infused El Jimador tequila, Lillet Blanc, agave syrup and lime juice (£14), both created by bar manager Adam Feczko.
Summer Memories 40ml rosebud-infused El Jimador tequila 20ml of Lillet Blanc 1/2 a squeezed lime 5ml of Agave nectar 1. Prepare glass rim with pink-coloured salt. 2. Shake ingredients well for about 15-18 seconds and strain into the glass. 3. Garnish: dehydrated lime and rosebud.
PHOTOGRAPH (Blind Pig) by John Carey; (Madison) by Thomas Alexander
Madison may be renowned for its epic terrace – it was named the capital’s second most-Instagrammed spot thanks to that incredible view across the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral – but this summer, it’s also offering a healthy helping of vinyasa flow. Every Wednesday morning, Sophie Dear will be teaching her yoga class on the rooftop. Of course, come the evening you can swap the mats for your mates…
St Paul’s Sunset 50ml Belvedere vodka 20ml Ratafia 30ml pineapple tepache (fermented drink made from pineapple skin) 15ml vanilla 10ml lemon 20ml egg white St Paul’s sunset edible picture disc Dry shake, wet shake, pour into coupette.
FOOD & DRINK REVIEWS
TEMPTING PLATE: Dishes at Aulis are hyper-seasonal and showcase the very best ingredients. Diners sit at a counter directly opposite the chefs, providing insight into the work and thought that goes into every bite.
AT THE TOP TABLE
The food at Simon Rogan’s Aulis London is absolutely stunning, but it’s the intimacy of the place that really brings the wow factor, says VICKY SMITH
HERE’S A DISTINCT lack of fanfare as you approach Aulis down a cobbled Soho side street. Look up and you’ll spot a small sign baring its name, but to many it’s just another anonymous facade. However, for those in the know, it is home to one of London’s most exclusive dining venues. Simon Rogan opened Aulis in 2017 as a development kitchen for his Marylebone restaurant Roganic (where the editor of this magazine had his “best meal of 2018”). The original Aulis is in the Lake District, itself a feeder kitchen for L’Enclume, the chef’s twoMichelin star, four-time Good Food Guide restaurant of the year winner and one of the most coveted bookings in the UK. Aulis London mimics its older sibling: a simple space, one wall lined with jars containing fermented and pickled vegetables from Rogan’s farm, the other providing a backdrop for two chefs who stand behind an eight-seater counter where they prepare 12 courses for guests sitting directly opposite. This up-close-and-personal approach isn’t intended to give you a glimpse into the workings of a professional kitchen – it’s about gaining insight into what goes into every single bite on every single plate, unpeeling the layers of each dish to reveal the rigorous rounds of development, tweaking and testing that make
It’s all about gaining insight into what goes into every single bite on every single plate 120
Rogan’s food so astonishing. Put simply, it’s the most insightful behind-the-scenes dining experience you’re ever likely to get. Every sip and every bite comes with a story to tell. Take the sparkling wine that’s served as an aperitif – British, but not just that: it’s from a vineyard close to Southampton, Rogan’s hometown, and it’s made exclusively for his restaurants. Even the pale ale jelly underneath a puck of creamy chicken liver mousse is made from a brew crafted especially for the house. Other highlights included light-as air Isle of Mull crackers topped with a snowy drift of fresh horseradish; a mushroom custard that delivered a serious hit of umami and truffle, and a perfectly pale Jerusalem artichoke tart glazed with honey and paired with a deep amber Gaillac Ondenc to bring out its sweetness. Attention to detail was astonishing, with head chef Tommaso Formica delicately placing flakes of gold leaf on the tart with a pair of
miniscule tweezers and air of concentration so intense we all held our breath for fear of disturbing him. There are no such formalities here though, and Formica was happy to chat throughout the meal, at one point riffing on the wonders of rhubarb while pouring dry ice onto a bowl of yoghurt to form sweet, milky nuggets to top the blush-coloured fruit. When you’re not chatting with the chefs, you can break bread with your fellow diners, whether they’re your friends or strangers on a night of solo and couples’ bookings. There’s even the option to book the whole place for a private sitting where you can link up your phone and set your own soundtrack. It’s both remarkable and refreshing to experience such breathtaking cooking in a setting so convivial and relaxed, and that’s what makes Aulis the most prestigious meal ticket in London right now. ■ Aulis, 16a St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BF; aulis.london
GO BIG OR GO HOME Competition isn’t confined to poker tables in Las Vegas – the action in sporting arenas is massive news as well, says MAX WILLIAMS
LIKE LAS VEGAS. Judge me. I don’t like it
ironically, I don’t like it because I’m a raging capitalist, I don’t see it as a 21st-century equivalent of a Caribbean pirate town, nor the naked manifestation of the American Dream. I just think it’s a fun place to hang out. I’ve partied on the strip, fell in love with/at a downtown music festival, and been driven through the desert by Dan Bilzerian. Plus I’ve missed my flight out of there. Twice. (One lost passport; one missed alarm.) Not a bad Vegas resume, if I say so myself, but the beauty of this town is it always keeps giving. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you THE ULTIMATE VEGAS SPORTS WEEKEND! Multiple sporting experiences crammed into two days – because this is Vegas and fuck moderation. Read the summary below and ensure your trip to Nevada coincides with your favourite. Or wait until the next UVSW and go to ALL OF THEM! Let’s get to it…
PENNZOIL 400 The first thing to note about the Pennzoil 400, one of two NASCAR races held annually at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is that it’s loud – really loud. SO LOUD THAT I MUST RESORT TO CAPITAL LETTERS TO COMMUNICATE THE LOUDNESS, WHICH IS NONETHELESS FUTILE BECAUSE NOTHING ON EARTH IS AS LOUD AS A NASCAR RACE. HEAD TO YOUR NEAREST AIRPORT AND READ THIS ARTICLE WHILE STANDING NEXT TO A JET ENGINE AND YOU MIGHT GET THE IDEA, EXCEPT NASCAR IS EVEN LOUDER. Even as a non-autophile, I must concede that there is something impressively American about the whole shebang, cars screaming around the circuit in front of 80,000 rootin’,
Cars scream around the circuit in front of 80,000 rootin’, tootin’ yankee-doodle dandies 122
tootin’ yankee-doodle dandies, with petrol in their veins and smoke emerging from their cochlea, as goddamn fighter jets tear across the blazing sky, and the Englishman wonders if he’s about to faint from the heat. If cars are your thing then this is a must; if cars aren’t your thing, well, Vegas is hardly short of alternative attractions. Cars are my editor’s thing, and he says “a NASCAR race in Vegas is a rite of passage for any petrolhead” – and he hasn’t even been to one. Typical limey.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS The preliminaries are just as understated as you’d expect for a Las Vegas ice hockey team. For a point of comparison: I support Crystal Palace. Before every match a bald eagle flies across the pitch, and the teams walk out to ‘Glad All Over’ through a guard of cheerleaders. That’s considered pretty nifty by PL standards (OK, some may say ‘tacky’.) The Vegas Golden Knights go a little bigger. I was expecting the light show and the drummers and the fan/players montage, or at least something of this ilk. I wasn’t expecting a short film in which a group of (modern) soldiers discover a sword ’n’ stone in the desert and duly chopper the thing back to Vegas, where it appears in the middle of the ice… Nor the golden knight (medieval) who skated onto the ice, battled the opposition mascot, and then removed sword from stone to manic applause. By the time Imagine Dragons had set off some fireworks outside a plastic castle in the top of the arena, I was ready to pick up a stick myself, and hit a dragon with it. The game? The game was a thriller that went to overtime. There were fewer fights than I’d hoped for, apparently a product of the game’s increased skill and athleticism in recent years. (Like every other sport, ice hockey was more fun ‘In Them Olden Days’.) But overall this is a must-visit. Go Knights!
USA SEVENS AKA the unexpected delight of the trip. The USA Sevens is part of the Sevens World Series (there are ten locations altogether), and has been held at the Sam Boyd Stadium in ➤
PHOTOGRAPH by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
FEEL THE NOISE: As if the roar of 80,000 hyped-up spectators wasnâ€™t enough, the US Air Force Thunderbirds turn up the volume with a flyover at the NASCAR Pennzoil 400.
GAME CHANGER: [clockwise from here] Rugby comes to America at the USA Sevens; football, soccer, whatever you call it, the Las Vegas Lights play it; the Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team in action.
You can’t really go on a sporting trip to Vegas and not take in some form of licenced violence 124
LAS VEGAS LIGHTS
At its best MMA is ‘boxing – but you can kick!’ At its worst it’s basically two people sitting down. When they lie on the ground, one atop the other, arms locked, legs intertwined, the distance between MMA and pornography is the width of the combatants’ shorts. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with pornography but it isn’t traditionally considered a sporting activity to be watched by a live audience of thousands and screened on pay-per-view. (Well, not that type of pay-per-view.) All of which is a long-winded way of saying: the two main events of UFC 235 – Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith; Kamaru Usman vs Tyron Woodley – featured virtuoso wrestling displays by Jones and Usman, unanimous points victories that won Usman the welterweight title and solidified Jones’ claim as the greatest MMA fighter to ever enter the Octagon, and were also a bit of a drag for the casual spectator who rocked up hoping to see someone roundhouse someone else in the head. On the flip side: the production of a UFC event is unbelievably slick, any chance to watch athletes operate at the pinnacle of their sport should be savoured – and, in the case of Jones, this pinnacle isn’t merely current but historical, he really is TBE – and you can’t really go on a sporting trip to Vegas and not take in some form of licenced violence. But unless you’re a true connoisseur, maybe research the combatants’ fighting styles in advance, and give the wrestlers a miss.
So we didn’t actually watch a Las Vegas Lights football (fine, soccer) match, but we did take a tour of the stadium, hear about the team, and I must say the loss appears to be ours. Because Las Vegas Lights sound great. Cashman Field is relatively tiny by EFL standards – its capacity of 10,000 would make a decent League One crowd – but LVL more than compensate with various innovations that very much play up to their home city. This is entertainment first, football second. Take the team mascot: Cash the Soccer Rocker. Who is Cash the Soccer Rocker? Cash the Soccer Rocker is an amalgamation of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. He rides a Harley Davidson around the stadium (so you can arguably add Evel Knievel into the mix). Or there’s Dolly and Dotty – not tea ladies but alpacas. Actual, living alpacas who are shown off pre-match; one of them once pooped on the pitch shortly before kick off. A DJ plays in the crowd, the frankly psychedelic jersey has an emoji on the reverse, the club is partnered with a marijuana dispensary, the downtown location is a short drive from Fremont Street – the coolest area of Vegas: forget the Strip – all good reasons to pay a visit to Cashman Field. The club only formed in 2017, and play in the USL Championship rather than the more celebrated MSL. But frankly, when you have alpacas, who really cares? A good rule for life in general, really. ■
PHOTOGRAPHS (rugby) by Jack Megaw; (ice hockey) Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images
➤ Las Vegas since 2010. It’s the largest annual rugby competition in North America – I’m not sure how hard this is, becoming North America’s largest annual rugby competition, but it’s something – and everyone in attendance should have left a convert. It’s a blast. The games come thick and fast (as do the players). The quality is high, the sun is hot, and the crowd are clearly having the time of their lives. The KenYan contingent were especially raucous, and justly so seeing as their boys battled back for a 24-19 win over Argentina. There are few better ways to spend a Vegas afternoon, or any afternoon for that matter. It’s a bit simplistic to describe rugby sevens as rugby for people who don’t like rugby – see: cricket, 20/20 – but the format offers maximum bang for your buck, and by bang I mean large men running into each other. Tries come often, and halves last a mere seven minutes (this sport is hard), ensuring a constant flow of enjoyably idiosyncratic match-ups. (Japan vs Chile, anyone?) Plus USA won, so everyone went home happy.
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Off the eaten track While the planes are refuelling, you can too with Heathrow VIP’s exceptional food and drink offering, whether you want to indulge in fine dining from Jason Atherton or healthy treats by Form Nutrition
OR MORE THAN 20 years, Heathrow VIP has provided the world’s most luxurious airport service: an end-to-end experience for its clients that includes chauffeur-driven collection from London, your own private lounge and security, and chauffeur-driven
•• Heathrow VIP has curated a dining experience that is worlds apart from traditional airport food 126
drop-off directly to the plane’s door. The philosophy of Heathrow VIP is to bring luxury hospitality to one of the world’s busiest airports, and a central tenet of this is to provide exquisite and complimentary fine dining options to its guests while they relax in their own private lounge. As a result, Heathrow VIP has partnered with world-renowned and Michelin-starred chef, Jason Atherton, as well as luxury vegan protein brand, Form Nutrition, to curate a dining experience that is worlds apart from traditional airport food. Heathrow VIP’s partnership with Jason Atherton utilises his global culinary experiences and the finest ingredients to
formulate menus that change on a seasonal basis, offering a wide variety of dishes based on Land, Sea and Earth themes. Currently, the Spring menu incorporates dishes such as the mouth-watering barbecued beef brisket burger, monkfish and crab tortellini, and a vibrant Asian pear salad. This illustrates how the wonderful food on offer bears a resemblance to menus that would be found within fine-dining establishments in the centre of London. Furthermore, Heathrow VIP recognises that aircraft food can be very limiting, so guests can take a handy bento box with them on their journey. Alongside the impressive cuisine that Jason has brought to the table, Heathrow VIP
COOK SHARP: Jason Atherton has opened 17 restaurants in seven years, many of which have piocked up Michelin stars. He’s used all his considerable experience to bring a range of his top dishes to Heathrow VIP.
•• The food on offer here is the cherry on the cake from the world leader in luxury airport travel also has a partnership with the luxury vegan protein brand, Form Nutrition. Guests have the option to enjoy nutritious vegan treats such as morning ‘booster’ shots or protein brownies, ensuring that the mind and body is ready to travel by receiving all the right nourishment
from a plant-based set of ingredients. The combination of Jason Atherton’s menus and Form Nutrition protein options means that Heathrow VIP is able to provide some of the world’s most exclusive clientele with a culinary experience that would find itself at home within many a fine-dining establishment. When complemented with the chauffeur-driven collection and drop-off in a luxury BMW 7-Series, the exclusively private lounge that guests have throughout their time at the airport, the private security lane and the chauffeur-driven collection and drop-off from the plane’s door, the food on offer is the cherry on the cake from the world leader in luxury airport travel. ■
HEATHROW VIP The Heathrow VIP service is available for both departing and arrival flights. For arrivals, the journey is as explained [left] but in reverse. There is also a service for connecting flights. If you wish to book Heathrow VIP, prices start from £2,750 + VAT for 1-3 people, and more information can be found at heathrowvip.com. Alternatively, the Heathrow VIP reservations team are available 6am-11pm, seven days a week, on +44 208 757 2227. heathrowvip.com
AVA I L A B L E I N P R E S C R I P T I O N
GOLF 6 MAJORS
£21m WORLD RANKING
PHOTOGRAPH by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
BROOKS KOEPKA You need look no further than Brooks Koepka to see the changing face of golf – or, perhaps more accurately, its new physique. His Popeye frame looks more at home on an American football field than any fairway, and he plays the game with all the aggression and jock-like arrogance one might expect from a star quarterback, but there he was in May collecting a historic fourth Major title in less than two years with a gun-to-wire victory at the PGA Championship. Bethpage Black, host of the tournament, cautions players on the first tee with a sign stating: “Warning: the Black course is an extremely difficult golf course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.” And so it proved for most of the toiling field. Koepka? He shot consecutive rounds of 63 and 65 for the lowest 36-hole score in Major championship history – leaving himself on Saturday a record-breaking seven strokes ahead of the field and the largest ever halfway lead in the PGA Championship. Titanic drives, towering iron shots and soft hands around the green turned a course with all its teeth bared into a puppy dog lapping at Koepka’s face. It was a performance of such sheer ferocity it took the breath away. Players who relish attacking rarely enjoy defending a lead, so the world number one’s hiccups over the weekend weren’t that surprising. The sudden string of five bogeys in his last eight holes was, however. As the player’s shot sailed towards the thick rough and torrid bunkers on 18, the possibility of one of the grandest capitulations in the sport rolled into view. But Koepka plays with a chip on his shoulder, and dismissed this moment of anguish in the same way he silenced the golf analysts who dared question his mental toughness: emphatically. An up-and-down later, a fearsome punch of the air and he was a Major winner once more. In lifting the Wanamaker Trophy, Koepka became the first golfer to simultaneously hold back-to-back titles at two Majors. Nobody, not even Woods or Nicklaus, has achieved that feat. It’s dangerous what Koepka is capable of: he can raze any course to the ground, has a big-game attitude, and a thirst for victory. In other words, he’s just getting started. ■
MANOR OF THE HOUR: [clockwise from here] Adare Manor is the most exciting new layout in Ireland; Trump International Golf Links is a golf on steroids; Old Head is a course unlike any other; Carne is one of the most natural courses on the planet.
IT’S NOT EASY GOING GREEN
Whether it meanders through serene parkland or scythes through wild dunescape, golf in Ireland is an unmissable experience for lovers of the game. BEN WINSTANLEY breaks down the nation’s very best
OLF TRIPS TO Ireland are a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde affair, such is the contrast you are likely to find from one course to the next. One moment you may be navigating the Augusta-like Adare Manor, with its manicured fairways and ancient trees rustling in the breeze – and the next you’re buffeted across the wild links land of Carne by 40mph wind. For some, this schizophrenia is too much of a departure from the gentle parkland of their home county golf course. For us? It’s paradise.
ADARE MANOR, COUNTY LIMERICK The scale of Adare Manor’s achievements are difficult to grasp until you’ve witnessed the conditioning of the golf course for yourself. Tee boxes perfect enough to putt on, pristine
fairways and green surfaces unlike any you’ve ever seen – there’s a lot of talk of this place being the Augusta of Ireland, and it’s all true. The story goes that famed golf architect Tom Fazio was invited to consult on a small bunker restoration project to coincide with Adare Manor’s grand hotel reopening in 2017,
This course takes the untamed Irish linksland and asks for it supersize – with extra fries, please
but he and Open winner Pádraig Harrington persuaded JP McManus into rebuilding the course from scratch. As an avid golfer, the Irishman couldn’t help himself: he signed a cheque for some £30m and watched his course transform into one of the world’s best. The drama of the water holes, the wooded sequence at the furthest point of the property, the eye-watering 7,500 yardage, the need to use almost every club in the bag… This course was made to host matchplay – heck, Fazio installed fibre-optic cabling underneath the course ready for the Ryder Cup. Pay the eye-watering €340 green fee and the €55 compulsory caddie fee and play it for yourself: this is as good as it gets anywhere. For more info, adaremanor.com
CARNE GOLF LINKS, COUNTY MAYO In Ireland’s extreme north west, just outside the tiny town of Belmulett, the fabled Carne Golf Links has slowly grown to prominence in golfing circles for its one-of-a-kind experience. Set on the Carne Banks, this course was built by a brigade of farmers wielding shovels, hoes and rakes. Eight years later, Ireland’s greatest architect Eddie Hackett had created a course that soars, swoops, swerves and slides through some of the wildest dunescape you’ll ever see. It is golf’s truest links test – a course entirely shaped by the elements. These looming monoliths are tactical ploys in Hackett’s masterplan. Whether you have to navigate around them on the fairways (being able to shape the ball is a huge plus, here) or climb them to hit tee shots from their summit, they are crucial to Carne’s incredibly dramatic golfing experience. You need only stand on the tee of the par-three 16th, the green sitting at the foot of an adjacent giant dune, to understand. It feels like there’s nowhere else on earth this place could exist. Hackett vowed that “God’s work would not be despoiled by bulldozers” at Carne – and, in keeping his promise, he has created one of golf’s most memorable and unique courses.
linksland of the Wild Atlantic West and asks for it supersize – with extra fries, please. Hulking sandhills, 100ft high, tower above the fairways that rush through their centre, bubble over the top, and career down the slope into the next cluster of helter-skelter holes. The 1st is one of the best openers in Ireland: 561-yards, with a narrow landing area off the tee, the second and third shots play towards a green guarded by seven sand traps, while the dunes provide a dramatic amphitheatre for any putt holes on this tricky par five. Is it the authentic force of nature of Carne? No, this is something altogether different; less Irish, more US Open venue. That is to say this is a course that plays as tough as they come. The rough is thick and nasty, with multiple lost balls likely, while greens peppered with painful pot bunkering may leave you wishing you hadn’t found your ball at all. But this is undoubtedly a special location for golf, and it’s worth bringing your A-game to find out.
MOUNT JULIET, COUNTY KILKENNY
For more info, trumpgolfireland.com
For more info, mountjuliet.ie
Located in the heart of the Emerald Isle’s south east countryside, Mount Juliet is a golf course and hotel that continues to draw the crowds since its opening in 1991. The likes of Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and Ernie Els have won titles on this charming parkland, but these days it’s home to lovers of the amateur game who travel to the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout (the Golden Bear’s only in Ireland) for the gently rolling fairways, carefully sculpted bunkering and tasteful water features. In contrast to the fierce links terrain elsewhere in this list, Mount Juliet is a serene walk through a 1,500-acre country estate – a place so charming you might not realise just how tricky this strategic course can be. The par-five 10th, for example, involves players making choice between left and right of a copse of trees in the centre of the fairway. Simply put, this is one of Ireland’s most enjoyable, low-key experiences. ■
For more info, carnegolflinks.com
OLD HEAD GOLF LINKS, COUNTY CORK
PHOTOGRAPH by LC Lambrecht [Adare Manor & Old Head]; Trump International Golf Links; Carne Golf Links
There are few more exciting routes to a golf course than the road leading to Old Head. As the farmland on both sides of the road falls into the sea, a slip of country lane makes its way onto a lonely headland guarded by the ruins of Downmacpatrick Castle. It’s stunning. Carved out of rock by the wind and sea across millennia, this narrow patch of land is home to a remote par-72 course that challenges your game and head for heights in equal measure. No hole does a better job of reminding you that you’re 300-feet above the lapping shore than the 4th, aptly named ‘Razor’s Edge’. A tight drive is the least of your troubles on this testing 427-yard par 4, the second shot requires all of your accuracy: the left side of the green drops directly into the ocean below. Unprotected from the elements, Old Head is renowned for blowing a gale on a calm day, but this is all part of the charm at a links course quite unlike any other. For more info, oldhead.com
TRUMP INTERNATIONAL LINKS, COUNTY CLARE Doonbeg Links, now the domain of the 45th POTUS’s Trump International, is an exercise in “everything’s bigger in the United States”. This is a golf course that takes the untamed
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FIT FOR A SWING: Justin Rose is a fan of the Honma TWorld747. At £559, it’s at this top-end of the price scale, but this hi-tech driver is a worthy addition to any golf bag.
GOLDEN TOUCH The Honma TWorld747 460 driver is in the bag of Major winner Justin Rose, but BEN WINSTANLEY finds a golf club for players of all abilities
UYING A NEW driver involves dipping
your toe into the murky waters of golf marketing – the false promises of ten yards further, guaranteed* (*no guarantees apply) and the straightest driver you’ll ever use** (**unless you don’t hit it great). It’s a world of zany names for obscure golf club technology and an escalating entry price to actually buy the latest club at all. It’ll set you back on average £400-500 for the latest 2019 driver, but at times it feels like it’s never been more difficult to choose. So where do you start? Well, being able to hit it straight or long, or preferably both, is definitely a major decision maker, but it also comes down to something more vague: feel. When I tell you the Honma TWorld747 460 driver, used by world number three Justin Rose, is the best-feeling driver I’ve ever struck, you might be a little more interested in this lesserknown Japanese brand. Let’s start with the fine print. Like many of the leading brands, Honma’s latest club is highly technological. There are two weights in the sole of the driver, which can be swapped around to alter the club’s centre of gravity, while a unique adjustable sleeve allows you to open or close the face, and alter the lie
PHOTOGRAPH by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
It is no exaggeration to call this driver the most enjoyable to strike of the 2019 releases squaremile.com
angle up and down. This sounds complicated on paper, but in reality just allows club fitters to optimise the equipment in your hand depending on your shot shape (fade/draw) and swing type (steep/shallow). It’s an undoubtedly helpful tool, but the difference maker for me comes in the form of the ‘fang technology’ located behind the club face. In layman’s terms, this is four metal studs carefully distributed around the face to increase its strength and the trampoline-like effect when you make contact with the ball. In my tests, the result of this was not only increased ball speed and distance, but also a butter-like feeling off the face on good shots. One of the greatest criticisms levelled at certain drivers on the market is the tinny feel on impact – like using a frying pan on the end
of stick. There’s none of that here. You can almost feel the ball being compressed as it powerfully springs off the face into the air. Did I see greater ball speed or distance? In honesty, I would say the improvement is much the same as many of the other big brands – marginal gains, but evident. It is no exaggeration, however, to say this driver is the most enjoyable to strike of the 2019 releases. The classic understated looks at address will suit the eye of those who find other modern drivers, complete with carbon fibre crowns and needless aesthetic flourishes, too distracting. At £559 RRP, this is right at the top end of the market, but there’s much to be said for Rose’s new weapon of choice. ■ For information or to book a driver fitting, go to
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PROPERTY TOTTENHAM HALE
EARN YOUR SPURS
BRIGHT HORIZONS: [clockwise from here] Balconies at 1 Ashley Road overlook plenty of green space; retail units sit at the base of the building; interiors are bright and spacious; the residents’ lounge is a particular highlight.
With the launch of the Tottenham Hale development’s first building comes the opportunity to own a piece of an exciting new neighbourhood
OTTENHAM HALE isn’t just another development – it’s a whole new neighbourhood in its own right. It offers 1,030 new homes; 15 retail spaces; co-working and office space; and two-football pitches’ worth of well-lit, elegantly-paved public space with seating plus 75 new trees. The launch of 1 Ashley Road is your opportunity to own a piece of this vibrant new neighbourhood for yourself. It’s the first building to be launched at the development, and features 183 properties – from studios to three-bedroom apartments. Architecturally designed by Alison Brooks Architects (RIBA Stirling Prize-winner) with interior design by Conran & Partners, the homes come with bags of style. Residents can also make use of a 24-hour concierge and residents’ lounge. The building is situated at the gateway to new residential street Ashley Road and has a warm brick façade, colonnades and two generous garden terraces created by Andy Sturgeon Design (seven-time Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner). It’s also the closest building in the development to the station. Speaking of transport, the area has received £30m investment into its transport interchange with a new station opening later this year and future plans for Crossrail 2. With Tottenham Hotspur’s new world-class football stadium now in full operation, there’s renewed interest in this part of town, and it’s firmly on the map as one of London’s most invigorating and inspiring neighbourhoods. Spurs may not have topped the league, but Tottenham Hale is a clear winner. ■ Properties at 1 Ashley Road start from £365,000. For more information, see tottenhamhale.london
Visualisation of a three bedroom duplex apartment balcony overlooking Lewis Cubitt Park.
E X P ER I EN CE TH E D UA L CO L L ECTI O N Luma, King’s Cross boasts dual-aspect living – overlook the Persian-inspired Jellicoe Gardens to the east and the serene beauty of Lewis Cubitt Park to the west.
For more information contact:
Contemporary apartments imagined by awardwinning architects Squire & Partners and interior designers Conran and Partners.
Experience our new Virtual Show Apartment at the Residential Marketing Suite:
Only four apartments remain.
14-15 Stable Street London N1C 4AB
2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments and penthouses available from £1,340,000*
020 7205 2097 lumakingscross.co.uk
*Prices correct at time of going to print.
HALLER OF FAME
USM’s innovative storage solution, Haller, is so highly regarded that it’s been included in the permanent collection at MoMA
USM’S USP USM Haller has become a design classic in the years since its inception. Developed to be totally adaptive, its unique structure is at once discrete and striking. It can both blend into a home providing functional, lasting storage, or be used to create elegant and classic furniture for an office space. It has even been recognised alongside other icons of interior industrial design in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.
ADAPT & THRIVE The modularity of the USM Haller system allows for infinite adaptations: from credenzas and chests of drawers to drinks trollies and planters. The addition of integrated lighting and electric elements in the new USM Haller E also enables USB charging points in bedside tables or lit display cabinets. See more at usm.com PHOTOGRAPHS (MAIN) by Bruno Augsburger; (inset) by Gareth Gardner
tottenham’s time is now Studio , 1 , 2 & 3 bedroom apartments from £365 , 000*
The centre of Tottenham Hale is being transformed by the people who built King’s Cross. Just 14 minutes from Liverpool Street, the new centre will have quality architecture, well-managed public spaces, and 15 new shops, restaurants and bars — as well as 500 acres of wetland a short walk away. 1 Ashley Road is the first building to launch. Completing in 2022, its studio, one, two and three-bedroom homes are for sale from £365,000*. Contact us to find out more. www.tottenhamhale.london 020 7205 4014
*Prices correct at time of going to press
A QUALITY GOLF EXPERIENCE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club in Richmond offers 36 holes of challenging golf, just a short journey from the heart of London. With a modern clubhouse, extensive practice facilities and superb catering, it’s the perfect venue for corporate golf days and events. Tailored packages are available from £125 per person for golf and a 3-course meal. Individual visitor green fees are also available on weekdays.
FOR BOOKINGS PLEASE CONTACT GOLFGROUPS@RMSGC.CO.UK OR CALL 020 8940 1894 WWW.RMSGC.CO.UK
ON THE TOWN
square mile SS19 Golf Day ROYAL MID-SURREY, RICHMOND This Spring’s square mile Golf Day brought together 80 readers to tee off for 18 holes on the spectacular JH Taylor parkland course at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club. Once the final putt dropped, there were drinks, prize givings and a three-course dinner. Goodie bags for each player included a sleeve of HONMA golf balls, Arccos Cadie Smart Sensors and Galvin Green golf tops. ■ If you’d like to join in our next square mile Golf Day, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the club, go to rmsgc.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPHS by David Harrison
London in the Sky 2019 runs from May-July 2019 exclusively at The O2
NEXT LEVEL DINING Londonâ€™s most talked-about dining experience â€“ a table suspended 100ft in the air, right next to The O2 Find out more and book your tickets online at londoninthesky.co.uk
Between the Lines
T Events & Openings – Summer 2019
PHOTOGRAPH (London in the Sky) by Emily-Jayne Nolan
LONDON IN THE SKY – SUNDAY SESSIONS
WERNER BISCHOF – USA
The O2/June-July 2019
David Hill Gallery/7 June-26 July 2019
London in the Sky – the pop-up at the O2 that sees drinkers and diners taken 100ft in the air – is launching Sunday Sessions. There’ll be all-day party vibes at the bar and Gin Garden every Sunday, with live musicians, cocktails, brunch, lunch and cocktail flights all day.
Renowned Magnum photographer Werner Bischof brought early 1950s America vividly to life through his series of enigmatic and expansively composed images, yet his tragic death at 38 meant that this work was never printed in his lifetime. This exhibition puts that right.
For more info, go to londoninthesky.co.uk
For more info, go to davidhillgallery.net
PANERAI SAILING YACHT POP-UP
ART CAR BOOT FAIR 2019
St Katherine Docks/17-30 June 2019
Lewis Cubitt Square/23 june
If you’re going to part with upwards of £5k for a timepiece, it’s nice to do it with a sense of ceremony. Watch salons don’t come more special than the Panerai popup this summer. Its two-mastered ketch will be moored at St Katherine Docks for two weeks from 17 June. Become a Panerai patron on board, and you may even get to go out on the open waves, too.
The annual Art Car Boot Fair is a unique chance to meet and barter with more then 120 renowned artists who are invited to create artworks specially for the day and go along to sell them, in person, at astonishing prices. The theme of the summer fair is love: love for the planet, love for each other and love of art. Past artists have included Tracey Emin.
For more info, go to panerai.com
For more info, go to artcarbootfair.com
HEY SAY A picture can speak a thousand words but the latest exhibition from Maddox Gallery attempts to combine the two mediums. Exploring the symbiotic relationship between the written and visual world, Between the Lines celebrates the beauty of language and its aesthetic importance as portrayed by some of the greatest contemporary artists of our time. We’re talking the likes of Banksy, Grayson Perry, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Shrigley, The Connor Brothers and Richard Prince. Harking back to the poetic cut-ups technique – or découpé if you want to be French about it – artists such as Harland Miller, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ed Ruscha have long incorporated and recontextualised phrases, advertising slogans, billboards and book titles to form a new narrative to their work But don’t take our word for it – go and see for yourself. ■ From 6-26 June 2019; maddoxgallery.com
SEE MORE ONLINE
Go to squaremile.com/ events for complete listings of upcoming events and parties occuring in the City and beyond.
Heveningham Concours is a place on Earth One of Suffolk’s finest Georgian mansions is hosting some of the world’s most iconic cars… and, er, fastest pigs
WORLD-CLASS MOTOR CARS, vintage aeroplanes and pigs? We can’t think of anywhere else you’d come across all of this other than at Heveningham Concours. This grand showcase for both the petrol head and countryside enthusiast returns to Suffolk’s Heveningham Hall on 22-23 June. With all proceeds going to charity, it’s a trip out of London that is worth taking. The grounds will play host to a quintessentially British country fair featuring: Joseph’s Amazing Racing Pigs, Sheep Show and Tractor Parade. At the
rear end of the property is a whole other kettle of sheep (sorry…), where some truly spectacular cars will be on display. The stage is actually a series of dramatic grass terraces designed by landscape architect Kim Wilkie creating a lush green amphitheatre where the cars are the actors and we are the audience. Cars, cars and more cars. As well as ten beautiful Bentleys, other cars already confirmed for this year’s show include the Mullin’s ‘Million Franc’ Delahaye, not one but two Bugatti Type 57s, plus a Bugatti
Type 35B, Ferrari 512S and 512BB. Also appearing will be no fewer than two cars owned by gentleman racing driver, Bentley aficionado and one of the founders of the Bentley Drivers Club, Forrest Lycett. Heveningham Concours also boasts local food and drink stalls around the estate, as well as live music throughout the weekend. Although this event is sure to attract car fanatics, Heveningham is the perfect weekend for anyone who tags along. ■ For tickets and more information on the event, please visit heveninghamconcours.com
+ TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CALL ON 020 7819 9999
+ TO ADVERTISE IN THIS SECTION PLEASE CALL ON 020 7819 9999
Sacinu offers cufflink designs that you will not find anywhere else. They would like to provide something special, different and unique – not only standard. Creativity and the desire for something new is their motivation. Let them be your inspiration. Cufflink material: 925 Sterling Silver, price range 80 – 90 €. W: sacinu.de @sacinu.de
Knitted for a perfect fit from the highest quality cotton yarn. Founded on the pillars of Italian heritage using an exceptional double cylinder method, combined with attention to detail and an emphasis on quality & style. Dueple is destined to colour the world and brighten your day.
W: DuepleSocks.com @dueplesocks
Exquisite British made homeware to author your own living space. AUTHOR is an online retailer that introduces you to the very best of British designed furniture and accessories. Shop beautiful hand-made pieces from talented makers, curated into discerning lifestyle collections. The AUTHOR team can help with everything from bespoke commissions to wallpaper choice, or advice on the perfect gift. T: 01674 820746 W: authorinteriors.com @authorinteriors
Square Mile Advert V2.indd 1
PHOTO PRIZE 2019
square mile Photo Prize 2019 LONDON IS A summertime town. You can overlook the baking Tube carriages and the crowds of bustling tourists, because nothing quite beats a cold beer on a warm terrace overlooking the best city in the world. So why not take a photo to remember it by?
As long as you’re in the City or Canary Wharf, and you have your camera or phone on you, then you can get involved in the square mile Photo Prize 2019. From towering architecture to street scenes, wide-angle cityscapes to close-up portraits, we want to
see the best views of town from those who live and work here. We loved this shot of Cabot Tower by Elena Chaykina last year. ■ To enter, send your high res jpegs to photo@ squaremile.com with subject header ‘Photo Prize’. Maximum 20 entries per person. Good luck!
9 & 13 NEWBURGH STREET, LONDON, W1F FILSON.COM/UK