Page 1

EST: 2 014

Issue 30

The Essential Journal F A S H I O N

/ /

L I F E S T Y L E

/ /

C U L T U R E

Talking Shop: Rudy Budhdeo, head of London denim specialists, Son of a Stag

The Gentleman’s Grooming and Lifestyle show talk about their third outing in Liverpool

The Whisky Exchange unearth the singular charm of Cognac, France’s most coveted export

Tim Fitzmorris takes us on a culinary tour of New Orleans in his new book

PAGE 15

PAGE 23

PAGE 31

PAGE 35

CLINT EASTWOOD ‘Thanks to the good fortune with the weapons jamming and the quick thinking and actions of these guys, they saved a lot of lives. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I don’t know if I could claim to do the same.’ PAGE 40

W W W. E S S E N T I A L J O U R N A L . C O . U K


2

| The Essential Journal

Issue 30

JAGUAR JAGUAR BLACK BLACK EDITIONS EDITIONS

DARE TO SHOW YOUR DARK SIDE

From Fromthe thebold boldblack blackalloy alloywheels wheelsand andsleek sleekgloss glossblack blackgrille, grille,to tothe themean meanblack blackside sidepower power toshow showaadarker darkerside. side.And Andwith with50% 50%off off vents, vents,Jaguar JaguarBlack BlackEdition Editionmodels modelsdare dareto selected selectedfeatures featuressaving savingyou youup upto to£2,740, £2,740,there’s there’snever neverbeen beenaabetter bettertime timeto toshow showyours. yours.

This Thislimited limitedtime timeoff offer erapplies appliesto toBlack BlackEdition Editionmodels modelsonly, only, so sobook bookyour yourtest testdrive drivetoday. today. Hatfi Hatfields eldsJaguar JaguarLiverpool Liverpool Columbus ColumbusQuay, Quay,Riverside RiversideDrive, Drive,Liverpool, Liverpool,L3 L34ED 4ED 0151 0151728 7282000 2000 hatfi hatfields.co.uk elds.co.uk

OffiOffi cialcial fuelfuel consumption consumption forfor thethe Jaguar Jaguar Range Range in mpg in mpg (l/100km): (l/100km): Urban Urban 17.4-58.9 17.4-58.9 (16.2-4.8); (16.2-4.8); Extra Extra Urban Urban 33.2-80.7 33.2-80.7 (8.5-3.5) (8.5-3 Real Real world world figures figures may may diffdiff er. er.

Available Available on selected on selected models models untiluntil 31st31st March December 2018. Terms 2017.and Terms conditions and conditions apply. At apply. participating At participating Retailers Retailers only. Black only.Edition Black Edition models models are available are available in the fo


Issue 30

The Essential Journal |

50% 50% OFF OFF SELECTED SELECTED FEATURES FEATURES

2 emissions 2 emissions 3.5); ); Combined Combined 25.0-70.6 25.0-70.6 (11.3-4.0). (11.3-4.0). COCO 269-104 269-104 g/km. g/km. OffiOffi cialcial EUEU Test Test Figures. Figures. ForFor comparison comparison purposes purposes only. only.

ollowing in the following metallicmetallic paint colours: paint colours: Santorini Santorini Black, Corris Black,Grey, Corris Firenze Grey, Firenze Red, Yulong Red, Yulong White, Caesium White, Caesium Blue. Blue.

3


4

Issue 30

| The Essential Journal

BE THE FIRST TO SEE THE NEW XC40

FROM 22ND FEBRUARY 2018 AT HATFIELDS VOLVO BURY

EVERYTHING YOU NEED, NOTHING YOU DON’T

Volvo XC40 2.0T3 R DESIGN

Introducing the new Volvo XC40 – the small SUV that’s big on innovation. With expressive design, ingenious storage and smart technology, it’s built for city life.

With initial rental of only £899

Smart solutions available: • Intuitive touchscreen and voice control • Smartphone integration • Wireless charging • Harman kardon premium sound • Smart storage solutions

Excess mileage charges apply

TO FIND OUT MORE, VISIT XC40LAUNCH.CO.UK

Only £299 per month* on Personal Contract Hire 47 monthly rentals 8,000 miles per annum

DISCOVER MORE AT HATFIELDS VOLVO BURY Manchester Road, Blackford Bridge, Bury BL9 9ST 0161 767 9500 hatfields.co.uk

Official fuel consumption for the New Volvo XC40 range in MPG (l/100km): Urban 31.0 (9.1) – 49.6 (5.7), Extra Urban 47.1 (6.0) – 61.4 (4.6), Combined 39.8 (7.1) – 56.5 (5.0). CO2 emissions 166 – 131g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. *Important information. Personal contract hire. 18’s & over, subject to status. Guarantee/Indemnity may be required. You will not own the vehicle and it must be returned in good condition to avoid further charges. Subject to availability at participating dealers for vehicles. Not available with other promotions. Based on a mileage of 8,000 miles per annum. 48 month contract term. Initial rental in advance as shown followed by 47 monthly rentals as shown. Excess mileage will be charged at 7.56p per mile for the first 5,000 excess miles. After 5,000 excess miles, excess mileage will be charged at 10.08p per mile. Subject to vehicle availability, credit approval, manufacturer’s price changes, volume related bonus and purchase through Volvo Car Leasing Supplier Network. In the event of cancellation of an order, you will be liable for such costs to be confirmed to you in writing. All other terms and conditions are as per the Master Hire Agreement or Customer Agreement between yourselves and Volvo Car Leasing. If you are able to claim back VAT for VAT qualifying cars only, assuming some private use of the vehicle. Hatfields is a trading style of Hatfields Garages Limited who is acting as a credit broker and not a lender. Vehicle shown for illustration purposes only.

HAT4077_Essential_Journal_XC40_FP_Ad.indd 1

08/02/2018 09:54


Issue 30

The Essential Journal |

Features

Contents 8

20 ONE THING DONE WELL: MACKINTOSH This month, we consider the history of Mackintosh and their iconic jacket

THE PRIMER Featuring delicious IPA’s, water-based architecture, a must-visit boutique and your new Netflix binge

10 THE IMAGE Scott Mead’s stunning in-flight photography

38 ARCHITECTURAL THOUGHTS ON: LOVE

In the month of Valentine’s, our resident architectural thinkers consider the ‘L’ word and the controversial architect Louis Kahn

13 SARTO As it turns out, the new kids on the sartorial block are anything but 15 TALKING SHOP: SON OF A STAG This month we chat to Rudy Budhdeo, head of London denim specialists, Son of a Stag 18 SS18 ROUND UP A round-up of spring staples from the very best in international fashion 23 THE GROOMING SHOW We sit down with the guys behind the Gentleman’s Grooming and Lifestyle show to talk about their third outing in Liverpool 27 AMERICAN CREW Profiling the masters of the timeless and the trending 28 A HANDSOME HOME This month, we delve into simple but stylish coffee accessories 30 CHESTER RACECOURSE Rewriting traditions to up the equestrian ante

29 A PREMIUM CAR DESERVES A PREMIUM EXPERIENCE

As everyone rushes to predict an ever more elaborate future of buying cars online in isolation, we think there’s something missing when it comes to buying online

CONTRIBUTORS Abbas Akhavan Alan Smithee Andreas Doukanaris Angharad Jones Adam M Dawn Davies Devin Stewart Hannah Sargeant Iain Hoskins Kevin Doherty Konstantinos Xenos Mile Kenney Rudy Budhdeo Stefan Pagreus Tim Fitzmorris Tom Williams COVER IMAGE Clint Eastwood

5

32 FOOD, BUT ALSO DRINK A round-up of what we’ve been eating, and a guide to what we should be drinking 35 RECIPE OF THE MONTH Shirred eggs with crabmeat remick and Mary Ann’s Hash Brown potatoes courtesy of Tim Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food 36 MOROCCO’S BEST KEPT SECRET Why a little-known coastal town is the perfect place for a calming getaway 37 POSTCARDS Insider knowledge from Toronto and Stockholm 40 COVER INTERVIEW: CLINT EASTWOOD The Hollywood legend talks new film heroism and why he’s not planning on hanging up his boots any time soon... 44 BOOKS OF THE MONTH Featuring the female Bukowski, the rise of the closed city, food for thought and the latest from the author of Submarine 45 THE IAIN HOSKINS COLUMN The style police have been called... 47 GENTS WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT: SOCIAL MEDIA Farewell memes, dogs with breathing problems and smug public happiness

31 THE WHISKY EXCHANGE We unearth the singular charm of France’s most coveted export, Cognac

42 TOM WILLIAMS: PHANTOM THREAD

This month Tom returns with his verdict on Daniel DayLewis’s final bow, as well as the recipe for how to make a Paul Thomas Anderson film

PUBLISHERS Singleton Publishing EDITOR Davey Brett d.brett@singletonpublishing.co.uk CREATIVE DIRECTOR Thomas Sumner t.sumner@singletonpublishing.co.uk STAFF WRITER Will Halbert DESIGNER Jennifer Swaby FILM EDITOR Tom Williams

Online web www.essentialjournal.co.uk @essentialjournal @essentialjournal @TEJOURNAL

PARTNERSHIP MANAGER Lara Poynor l.poynor@singletonpublishing.co.uk For all advertising enquiries please contact: sales@essentialjournal.co.uk For all other enquiries including guest editorial and feature opportunities please contact: info@essentialjournal.co.uk

TERMS & CONDITIONS Under no circumstances must any part of this publication be reproduced without prior permission to the publisher. Whilst every effort is taken, the publisher shall not be held responsible for any errors. Furthermore, the publisher shall not be held responsible for an advertising material/content. Please also note that the views and opinions written within this publication do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the publisher. All prices and details stated within this publication are correct at the time of print, however these are subject to change and the publisher shall not be held responsible for these. Third party contributions own exclusive copyright to their own material that they have submitted as part of the publication. All rights reserved.


6

| The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

The Essential Journal |

7


The Primer WHAT WE’RE READING:

A note from the editor “All great achievements require time.”

- Maya Angelo

How’re those new year’s resolutions going? On track, I hope. This month we’ve been out and about, talking to some fascinating people. We’ve never felt so informed. Tailors, denim experts, hoteliers, brewers, foodies, authorities on whiskey, wine, barbering and art festivals have all blessed us with their time to chat thoughtfully and in-depth about their respective fields. Some of those conversations are featured in this issue, others you’ll have to be a little bit more patient for. Elsewhere in EJ30, we’ve chatted to the one and only Clint Eastwood, about directing in his 80s and featuring real heroes in his latest film. Tom Williams reviews Daniel Day-Lewis’s final bow, Hannah Sargeant let’s you in on one of Morocco’s best kept secrets and our columnists do some gale-force grumbling. Thanks for picking up a copy, feel free to recommend it to a friend.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING:

FIRE AND FURY: INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE BY MICHAEL WOLFF Of course, due to Michael Wolff ’s questionable journalistic history, everything here should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the book of the year so far still makes for uneasy reading. There’s Donald Trump the man, with anecdotes galore of him eating burgers in bed whilst watching multiple televisions and ringing people up left, right and centre spilling bags of his own political beans, but there’s also the wider picture. A man, in the highest office in the world, with very little interest in the job, with a host of questionable people around him trying to steer his ship this way and that on the winds of their own personal agendas. An unavoidable read, but one that’s laced with depressing themes that have become normalised in the current political climate. Fire and Fury (Little Brown) is out now WHAT WE’RE DRINKING:

THE PODCAST:

ALTERED CARBON Netflix

Based on the classic cyberpunk noir novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon deftly blends elements of speculative sci-fi masterpieces, Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner (and dare we say, a dash of Demolition Man) to come away with something greater than the sum of its parts. By turns cerebral, sexy and ultra-violent, the Netflix original offers up a semi-dystopian, post-human tale of a future in which death is no longer permanent and our bodies are no longer our own. A highly recommended follow-up to your Black Mirror binge. Altered Carbon is available on Netflix now

BLAMO! Situating itself at the all important intersection between fashion and technology, BLAMO! offers a series of one-one-one, casual chit-chats with the biggest innovators and influencers of both burgeoning industries. Founded by menswear savant, Jeremy Kirkland, the podcast is now on its third season and is graced with indispensable insights from the likes of GQ Style’s Will Welsh and long-standing fashion veteran, Nick Wooster. BLAMO! By all accounts, the podcast is essential listening that boasts a quality of content every bit as explosive as its titular onomatopoeia.

WHO WE’VE BEEN VISITING:

CLUTCH CAFE Tokyo-based style magazine, Clutch, has opened a cafe on Great Portland Street and it’s exactly how you would imagine it be. So much so, that as we walk in, a man wearing a khaki jumpsuit (not just wearing, but bloody owning it) manoeuvres a stripped out Honda CB60 motorbike (which at first glance looks like a prop), past us and out of the door. Everyone working in the store looks immaculate, as do the pieces in store, despite many of them being over half a century old. Combining a cafe and fashion boutique stocking timeless vintage and heritage influenced items, brands include Eternal, First Arrow’s, Fullcount, Japan Blue Jeans, and Kato. Drop in for a coffee, chat to the staff about military apparel and marvel at things that James Dean would wear. Clutch Cafe | 78 Great Portland St, London

HACKNEY BREWERY’S KAPOW! IPA AND PUSH EJECT IPA Beer’s got a funny way of bringing people together, hasn’t it? One day you’re in a newly built brewhouse near the Millwall ground discussing whether or not it’s okay for a bar to show Eurovision, the next you’re sat in a railway arch in Hackney stroking a Patterdale terrier called Bruce, discussing Sir Quentin Blake and the perfect beer for someone who usually drinks gin and tonic. Long story short, the lads over at Hackney Brewery are not only extremely versed in all things beer, but they’re also putting out two of our favourite brews of recent memory. Their Kapow! IPA is a juicy and dry hopped pale ale that’s refreshing and easy to get through. Push Eject IPA is the team’s stronger ‘end of the night beer’, with citrus and tropical notes and a detailed can design by Super Furry Animals doodler, Pete Fowler. hackneybrewery.co.uk


Issue 29

The Essential Journal |

ON OUR COFFEE TABLE:

Photo: Tulia House KE by Javier Callejas

LIVING ON WATER BY PHAIDON EDITORS Is a dream house really a dream house without water? We think no. Water is the element that when manipulated, or reflected, or overseen, transforms a piece of architecture into something truly special. Living On Water is an inspiring collection of modern houses which use water as a central theme, divided into three chapters; houses built to look at water; houses to be on water; and houses to be reflected by water. Many are unconventional, not by choice, but by the terrains they inhabit, whether marshland or mangrove swamp and others are ingenious through their use of shape and material. The Spanish trio of Casa Del Acantilado (Alicante), The House on the Cliff (Granada) and Jellyfish House (Marbella) are personal favourites. Living on Water (Phaidon) is out now

9


10 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30

THE IMAGE

JFK-LHR 03-26-2016 02-32-49. River Thames fading into mist, early morning, London, C. Scott Mead Part of ‘Above the Clouds’ by Scott Mead, a yearlong project by American born photographer and philanthropist Scott Mead, created to benefit Great Ormond Street Hospital. The portfolio of images are from Mead’s extensive air travel on regularly scheduled flights over the last several years.

scottmeadphotography.co.uk


Issue 29

The Essential Journal | 11

WHAT’S ON Liverpool Philharmonic March – May Saturday 17 March 7.30pm

THE SENSATIONAL 60s EXPERIENCE – Saturday 24 March 7.30pm

BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN – Monday 23 April 7.30pm Film 12A

THE MERCY –

Saturday 28 April 7.30pm

MICHAEL ENGLISH – Thursday 17 May 8pm

NILS LOFGREN – Sunday 20 May 7.30pm Writing on the Wall

THE LIFE AND RHYMES OF BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH Box Office

liverpoolphil.com 0151 709 3789 – LiverpoolPhilharmonic liverpoolphil liverpool_philharmonic Principal Funders

Principal Partners Thanks to the City of Liverpool for its financial support

Media Partner

Image Beth Nielsen Chapman


Issue 30

12 | The Essential Journal

RANGE ROVER VELAR BLACK EDITION

REDUCTIVE DESIGN ADDED ATTITUDE

Reductionism is the principle that defines every aspect of the Range Rover Velar, from its elegant silhouette to its minimalist interior. With its bold 20-inch dark grey alloy wheels and darkened privacy glass, to the sleek gloss black grille, the Range Rover Velar Black Edition adds more than a little attitude. And with 50% off selected features, saving you up to ÂŁ2,465, now is the perfect time to stand out. This limited time offer applies to Black Edition models only, so get in contact with us today. Hatfields Land Rover Liverpool Riverside Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 4EN 0151 559 3000 hatfields.co.uk

Official Fuel Consumption Figures for the Range Rover Velar range in mpg (I/100km): Urban 22.2-45.6 (12.7-6.2); Extra Urban 37.7-57.7 (7.5-4.9); Combined 30.1-52.5 (9.4-5.4). CO2 emissions 214-142 g/km. Official EU Test Figures. For comparative purposes only. Real world figures may differ. Vehicle shown is a Velar R-Dynamic Black Edition. Terms and conditions apply. At participating Retailers only. Black Edition models are available in the following metallic paint colours: Santorini Black, Yulong White, Corris Grey, Indus Silver, Firenze Red, Kaikoura Stone and Byron Blue.

HAT4095 LR-Liverpool-Essential-Journal-FP-BlackEdition-Ad.indd 1

07/02/2018 09:42


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 13

STYLE

Dealing in Details:

Sarto Luxury Tailoring words by WILL HALBERT

As it turns out, the new kids on the block are anything but. We sit down with Sarto’s sartorial veterans, Konstantinos Xenos & Andreas Doukanaris, to talk oldschool sartorial sensibilities and the rebirth of bespoke tailoring

W

ith a combined two decades of experience working alongside Savile Row’s finest, it’s easy to understand why Sarto’s client list has grown so quickly in the 4 months since it opened its doors. Based in the heart of Liverpool’s city centre and operating on an appointment only basis, the Sarto duo eschew traditional, stiff-upper-lip tailoring for a more relaxed, made-to-measure experience. Working in close partnership their factories in Biella, Italy, the double team offer up a peerless, made-to-measure service that keeps costs down without ever compromising on quality. EJ

Photography by Novi Creative Co

ESSENTIAL JOURNAL: You guys have already

led successful careers working alongside the likes of Flannels and Savile Rows’ very own Gieves and Hawkes. Why have you both decided to open your own workshop now? ANDREAS DOUKANARIS: The timing felt perfect. We’ve seen something of a sartorial renaissance in men’s fashion of late. Everything has come full circle. Guys are starting to pay more attention to the finer details of their outfits. They’re finding that the off-the-rail, prêt-à-porter industry doesn’t really speak to them anymore. Instead, they’re going the extra mile for quality, craftsmanship and customisation. KONSTANTINOS XENOS: More than that, the modern gentlemen wants a more personalised service nowadays. It’s not the act of shopping that guys don’t like, it’s the stresses that come with it. That’s why we offer an appointment only service, this gives guys a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle, sit down, have a coffee, and really get down to what they want in a suit.

What do you think the appeal of made-tomeasure is? AK: Guys are more conscious of finding their perfect fit, and they’re beginning to realise that you can’t necessarily get that fresh off the high-street rail. Slowly but surely, they’re learning to appreciate the process. They’re coming around to the idea that the perfect suit can’t simply be found; it has to be forged. And that’s where we come in. With so many new bespoke services opening up around the city, what do you feel sets you apart? KX: Our emphasis has always been - and will always be - on the client’s journey. We work closely with our clients to ensure they get exactly what they want at a more reasonable

price tag. We’re in a position to offer superior quality for a competitive entry price, and we’re able to do it much faster than was ever traditionally possible. AK: We’ve worked hard to offer a bespoke service that honours time-old traditions without old-school pretensions. People hear the word ‘bespoke’ and instantly assume it comes with a £5000 price tag and a hefty dose of arrogance to boot. We’re not about that; we stay flexible and approachable. We can accommodate the high-spec and the strippedback, and we can do it in a friendly and informative way.

How do you manage to balance traditional demands with more contemporary, casual trends? AK: We’re no strangers to tradition. Together, we have years of experience within traditional British luxury tailoring. We’ve worked with Savile Row’s very best in naval and royal tailoring. But we’ve also worked alongside the

‘Slowly but surely, they’re learning to appreciate the process. They’re coming around to the idea that the perfect suit can’t simply be found; it has to be forged.’

biggest bespoke boutiques in Athens and Italy. So there’s always been a strong Mediterranean spirit in our approach to business and style. Sarto is, after all, Italian for tailor. KX: We think that’s why Sarto resonates so well with the gentlemen of Liverpool. Unlike other cities, Liverpool isn’t playing catch up, it’s already on board with the idea that bespoke tailoring is about unique, self-expression and not pretense. Guys from all walks of life can come and see us, and the end result will always be a well-made suit that speaks for itself.

What’s next for Sarto? AK: The bespoke experience doesn’t end at the suit. We want to take the idea of personal customisation and self-expression to the next level. We’re already looking into highend, selvedge denim and made-to-measure footwear too. We’re just getting started, and we’re excited for what’s to come. To book your first fitting with Sarto Luxury Tailoring, contact them at www.sartoluxurytailoring.co.uk


Issue 30

14 | The Essential Journal

PRESENTS

Bloomsbury House, London 27-28 April 2018 Cognac is an amazing aged spirit that deserves the same reverence as fine single malt whisky. Embark on a journey of discovery featuring famous names including Hennessy and Rémy Martin, the best small houses such as Frapin and Paul Giraud, and much more. Friday 27 April 5.30pm-9.30pm £40 Saturday 28 April 12.30pm-6.30pm £45 cognacshow.com


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 15

words by DAVEY BRETT photography by THOMAS SUMNER

In the second part of our new series, in which we chat to the folks in charge of our favourite menswear stores, this month we chat to Rudy Budhdeo, head of London denim specialists, Son of a Stag

R

udy Budhdeo is a character. Within seconds of walking into Son of a Stag, his denim emporium just off London’s Brick Lane, he’s greeting you like a long lost friend and launching into tales of legendary Kings Road shopkeepers and the world’s finest denim. Clad in a french workwear jacket, his name embroidered on the breast, he points out the store’s priceless vintage Levi’s memorabilia and talks us through his vast sewing machine collection, many of which are in his nearby tailoring and repair shop, Soldier Blue (named after the legendary Kings Road store). Son of Stag is a denim fiends paradise. Stocking a huge array of jeans, shirts, jackets, footwear and the rest, it’s the place to go for speaking to experts in the field. We sat down with Rudy to chat denim, ethical clothing and loyal customers. EJ Tell us about the store, how long have you been going for? Son of a Stag has been in existence for about

15 years now. The company itself was formed in 1993, when I was still working for another company. The owner didn’t want me to leave the business, so I was given permission in a secretive way to start this off. It is a passion of not just myself, but of the whole team. It is very much heritage influence [denim], tweaked to fit the modern man, but it’s got a lot of heritage details from the old, even the fabrics are from the old machinery. I think we probably have one of the widest choices in the world of different [denim] brands, very select brands. Then we have a new project called Soldier Blue, which is a specialist-tailoring-stroke-repair shop which is using old machines from as long as 100 years ago. And for people who aren’t clued up on their denim, what is raw denim? Normally, you can get sanforized which is treated, but raw raw denim means that you are going to get the shrink and it’s going to evolve in a slightly different way. We also use the word selvedge, this is fabric that’s made on the old

looms. They are all different because most looms are in Japan or the USA, so hence that’s why most people consider the best selvedge to come from the USA or Japan. It’s a huge topic. If you buy a raw pair of denim, rather than a pre-contrived wash from a factory where every single wash is in the same particular place, you can actually ace those. It’s a custom pair and I think that’s the main attraction to buying a raw pair of jeans. I think that’s what this store is about in a way, it’s your unique pair. Talking about the brands you stock. If someone was to come into your store what can they expect to find? What exclusives? What might surprise them? We do loads of brands that are either exclusive or relatively exclusive to us, sometimes in Europe, sometimes worldwide. For example, we have a brand called Gorouta which is from Japan and within that collection, we actually worked with the brand to create styles that are unique to us. No one else in the world can have them. We don’t go with the labelling, just to try


16 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 17

and show we are doing a collab or something, these jeans are actually formulated for us. We also look after a brand called Smith Sato Suzuki, which is one to watch for the future. Their mission is to wake people’s senses to the fact you can get an ethically created, amazing product that won’t cost silly money. There’s Warehouse & Co Japan, they are an amazing brand and there’s also Heller’s Cafe. 15 years is quite a lot of time for a shop like this to be going, what changes have you seen? Trends come and go, we are not the guys that supply a person that just buys what’s on TV. We are the guys that supply the person that wants more than just a pair of jeans or a shirt or a jacket. They want involvement, they want to know where it’s made and how it’s made. They want to know all the geeky stuff, the stitches, the treatments used on it, how long it’s taken to make, who’s made it, the history of the company. They are buying into the brand, they aren’t just buying off the peg. If you really, really analyse it, a pair of jeans sold for eighty to a hundred quid, the margin that the retailer can attain is huge. A pair of jeans for three hundred quid, the margin is diabolical and it just has to be a labour of love at that level. We have a huge inventory and we actually have deadstock from brands like Lee Archives. It was a special project from about 14 years ago and it was given to just a few shops around the world. When we found out they weren’t going to do it anymore we bought all of their stock. So it’s deadstock. We are actually selling it at the same price as they did 14 years ago. Is there a typical denim nerd out there that you cater to? When we started it was quite geeky, it still is. So we have several folds of customer. We have the guys that are real geeks, they’ll do a stitch count on the stitches used around the back pocket, they’ll look at the weight, they’ll look at the leather patch, they’ll look at everything. Then you’ve got the guy who just wants a jean that he’s happy with and that’s going to last him. Then, you’ve got the guy that is just getting into the jean or into the story of jeans and I know I keep talking about jeans, but it’s jackets and everything. There’s another brand called Spellbound that originates from Japan, they are probably the closest to the new customers that are coming through. It’s a stepping stone between modern and old heritage detail, they combine the two beautifully. The quality is outstanding, it’s not going to come cheap though, but it’s a huge, huge seller for us. They do everything from jackets to jeans and shirts. For the outsider, what’s the gateway jean? What gets people into it the heritage side of denim? It’s such a wide answer, but I think it comes from the fact that people are back into the old films. You know, they have role models they aspire to, whether they own up to it or not, it could be the James Dean’s of this world or the Steve Mcqueen’s. So it’s cultural… I think it is, very much so. The customers are big into different things, maybe the old watches, the Rolex’s or Timex. Motorbikes, booze, whatever. They are into tattooing, they are into barbering. How do you separate a pair of ethical jeans, from a pair of non-ethical jeans? I don’t want to label any countries because in these countries there are ethical factories too. For example, a friend of mine went to

a factory, let’s not reference the country, it was offshore, and he’s a production guy and there was a guillotine that cuts the fabric and they had taken the safety guard off. There was a guy at high speed putting the fabric in, launching his hands into the machine and if he mistimed it then the guiltonine would take his hands off. That’s an extreme. There’s also child labour. I’ve been to a number of factories around the world, naively I thought they were playing football on the roof or something, but they were actually suicide nets. When we work with a product and we go to buy things, if we are not happy with what’s going on we won’t back it and with a huge inventory, we have big buying power, especially with the profile of the store. Do you have any customers through the ages that have stuck out as being particularly interesting? One of our most loyal customers is loyal because of an argument. We’d forgotten that the customer had gone into the fitting room and I had a huge argument with a manager. We didn’t think there was anyone else in the shop and we were swearing and going

‘Trends come and go, we are not the guys that supply a person that just buys what’s on TV. We are the guys that supply the person that wants more than just a pair of jeans or a shirt or a jacket.’

bananas on a disagreement about fabric. A good half an hour later when we had made up, the fitting room door opened and the customer walked out and he said he didn’t know what to do. He had listened to the whole thing. He came back a week later and bought a few things and then again a few weeks later. We had a conversation over a coffee, he said, ‘you know what, that actually sold me your store because it’s all about passion, you know what you are doing and I haven’t seen that in my life.’ So he became a regular customer out of a mishap. Word of mouth grows, we had the chairman or the vice chairman of a huge company, he’s very well to do, I’m not sure what he’s doing now, but he used to come on a skateboard. In a suit and on a skateboard. If you saw him he’s a well built guy, a surfer, probably 40 years old. He would bring one of his team on a weekly basis and go, ‘kit them out.’ He’s still an amazing ambassador. We also have one of the country’s most senior barristers come in. He’s so senior that when he walks into court, the judge stands up for him. 9 Dray Walk, London E1 6QL sonofastag.com


Issue 30

18 | The Essential Journal

STYLE

words by WILL HALBERT

SS18 ROUND UP With an emphasis on roomier silhouettes, softer textures and endless stacking options, here’s our round-up of spring staples from the very best in international fashion CANALI (ITALY) Linen Collarless Overshirt Sure to be a cornerstone in casual-chique. The collarless overshirt from Canali lets you ditch the tie and top button to achieve a stripped-back sartorial edge. Kei Micro-Check Flat-Front Trousers Cut from Canali’s exclusive Impeccabile 2.0 fabric, the Kei flat front trousers offer up a slim taper that boasts flexibility, breathability and added resistance. Perfect from the boardroom to the cocktail bar. Calfskin Derby A timeless classic, the Canali Derby cuts an impeccably sharp silhouette that’s perfect for city strolls and corporate meetings alike. ROGUE TERRITORY (USA) Rinsed ISC Traveler Shirt Made from Rogue Territory’s very own proprietary indigo selvedge canvas, the Traveler Shirt has been given it a light rinse for a broken-in look and softer hand feel fresh off the rail. Field Jacket Offering a modern riff on the classic chore coat, the Field Jacket’s water-repellent, wax canvas and unstructured silhouette boasts a perfect balance between form and function. A surefire, all-weather companion for spring (not to mention the years to come). Indigo Gingham Jumper Shirt Rogue Territory’s answer to the Oxford shirt, the Jumper Shirt offers a slim fit, Japanese linen blend to strike a perfectly-balanced smart casual look. Standard Issue Jeans The Standard Issue’s high rise, relaxed fit and subtle modern taper offers up a sturdy but breezy denim that’s perfect for the warmer months ahead. NORSE PROJECTS (DENMARK) Tyge Suede Jacket This classic cropped blouson is built from a lightweight suede and offers up a sleek and spring-ready alternative to the timeless trucker jacket. Aros Slim Light Stretch Chino A minimalist, slim fit chino cut from an all-new stretch Cotton. Deals up comfort and class in equal measure. Ketel Summer Classic Hood Made from a loopback cotton fleece with a soft hand feel, Norse Projects’ core hooded sweatshirt offers up a lightweight, regular fit option for the Spring ahead. FOLK (UK) Classic Ecru Navy Stripe Tee An understated yet intricate staple piece. The Classic Stripe Tee is a regular block fit, with a twinneedle finish at hem and cuffs. The body and sleeves are in a 100% cotton single jersey that boasts a subtle slubby texture. Irregular Stripe Crew Jumper The Irregular Stripe is a relaxed fit Crew Jumper spun from a mixed yarn of 3 different colours. The neck is finished with a no-sag 'stuffed collar' to ensure a solid fit after multiple wears. Assembly Pant, Washed Navy The Assembly Pant provides a wider fit and a cropped leg, built from a midweight canvas that has a soft yet crisp handfeel.


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 19

COLUMN

W

far left: Canali right, top: Rogue Territory right, below: Norse Projects

words by ANGHARAD JONES

e’ll get to the point: There was one piece of news that no one could stop talking about this month, and that was Hedi Slimane’s new move to Céline. That’s right, when Phoebe Philo leaves the French fashion house in March this year, Slimane will take on the much-coveted but oftscrutinised position of creative director. These are some serious shoes to fill; Philo is fashion’s darling. She made Céline relevant again. Her vision of the brand was one that was minimal yet bohemian, aspirational yet attainable, androgynous yet feminine. Céline was for the woman who had style but wasn’t a slave to fashion, who wanted her clothes to last and who wanted to wear the clothes rather than let the clothes wear her. In short, Philo made the clothes every woman wanted to wear. Her influence didn’t stop at women’s wardrobes, either. Her personal style of roll neck jumpers, loose shirting and relaxed tailored trousers have led her to becoming every minimalist’s pin-up, and she almost single-handedly brought back Stan Smiths when she wore them post-show in autumn 2010. Now, Slimane is no stranger to revolution,either. He practically reinvented Saint Laurent Paris, dropping the ‘Yves’, sparking international outcry and upsetting fashion traditionalists and Yves Saint Laurent purists alike. His tackling of Céline, it goes without saying, has brought in a barrage of mixed reviews. But one thing I’m sure we can all get behind is Céline’s plans to produce menswear. It is Slimane’s background and his strength, after all. He’s expected to hit the ground running with this one too, with men’s standalone stores said to open this year. If a more masculine take on Céline’s wildly successful wide leg trouser and fluid shirting is on the cards, Slimane’s influence could make for very interesting addition to your wardrobe. Céline controversy aside, there’s been a hell of a lot more going on in the world of fashion in the past month. The year kicked off with the men’s Autumn/Winter ’18 collections at London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, showing us what we’ll be wearing (or avoiding) next season. The format of the traditional fashion show is a funny one. In an ever-demanding consumerist society, people want more than carbon-copy designs spat straight from the runway. Some fashion houses and designers have tried to mix it up of late with the (now seemingly defunct) see-now, buy-now model. Others offer a different format entirely (see: Matthew Miller’s three-bill gig on the London Fashion Week Men’s AW18 schedule). But more often than not these feel a bit gimmicky; something to garner a bit of buzz for a couple of days, only to become old news by the time the collections land in stores. What really makes an impact is when brands strip it down to the basics, tap into what consumers really want and just make bloody good clothes. Take Prada, who generated some serious hype this season with a single red strip. Slotted in between padded Pocone nylon jackets, shorts and trousers, Miuccia Prada unexpectedly brought back luxury sportswear line, Linea Rossa (a.k.a. Prada Sport). Characterised by technical, minimal, almost futuristic design sensibilities and a signature red plastic tab, Linea Rossa was ahead of its time in the early ‘00s. It wasn’t long before it became covetable streetwear rooted in a number of subcultures. Just a few Linea Rossa looks made it onto the catwalk this season, but they’re likely to make the biggest waves. Off the catwalk, a number of notable collaborations were amongst the most exciting fashion news bytes in January. First, Mr Porter stepped away from its classic look by releasing its collaboration with Balenciaga. The disposable camera-style campaign imagery shows Mr Porter’s staff wearing the Balenciaga range on location in the e-commerce giant’s West London office. Finally, we saw the latest in a string of collabs from streetwear favourite, Off-White. Not an underwhelming set of marker pens as previous releases have given us, but a unisex scent with Swedish cult favourite, Byredo. The eau de parfum titled ‘Elevator Music’ was first teased on Instagram by none other than ex-Creative Director of Colette, Sarah Andelman. Expect to see it everywhere once it drops. AJ


20 | The Essential Journal

ONE THING DONE WELL:

MACKINTOSH STYLE

Issue 30

#7

words by DAVEY BRETT

Our series of brands doing one item especially well continues this month with Mackintosh and their iconic coat

Photography courtesy of MACKINTOSH

I

f you’ve ever wondered what the term is for a brand name that becomes the generic name for a product, there’s actually two: genericized trademark or proprietary eponym. Sellotape is one, Kleenex is another. Bubblewrap, Tupperware, Taser, Xerox, Google (you get the picture). Their absorption into language is usually due to their popularity or significance. A product so well known that it’s become a part of our conscious. The Mackintosh rain jacket, or ‘Mac’ is one of those products. Mackintosh is a heritage brand. Charles Macintosh developed the now iconic rubberised fabric in 1823, crafting a material that combined a layer of waterproof rubber sandwiched between two layers of fabric. Macintosh (the ‘k’ was later added) soon merged with a Manchester clothing company and the rubber coat, complete with its foibles (smell, stiffness, tendency to melt) began to spread around the country. Soon every coat was being designed with rubberised fabric and original issues were improved with the advent of vulcanised rubber. Now a part of the luxury crowd, Mackintosh remains based in Scotland, staying true to its heritage whilst still innovating. The taste for collaboration remains too. Previous collaborators include Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Liberty, whilst Spring Summer ‘18 sees a collaboration with John Galliano’s Maison Margiela. The collective’s iconic white lab coat proving the perfect inspiration and the first time Mackintosh has dabbled with white. Mackintosh’s own SS18 menswear collection features cropped styles as well as lighter fabrics and bold shades. EJ


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 21

Made to Measure ‘Using the finest British and Italian cloths’

YOU C AN F I N D U S AT

Regina house, 1 Victoria Street, Liverpool, L2 5QA

Email: sarto@luxurytailoring.co.uk

Tel: 07455 799 097 or 07909 511 884

VITALE BARBERIS CANONICO // LORO PIANA // FERLA // FOX BROTHERS


22 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

STYLE

The Essential Journal | 23

words by WILL HALBERT

When The Suit Is Ready The Man Is Ready We sit down with the Kevin Doherty of The Gentleman’s Grooming and Lifestyle Show to talk about their third outing, set to take place in May at Liverpool’s very own St. George’s Hall

I

n recent years we have seen a steady resurgence in the male fashion and grooming industries. Men the world over are switching on to the almost long-lost idea that to be style-conscious is not to be self-interested or vain. It is simply an expression of good manners; a sign of confident self-awareness. Leading pack in this newfound march of the modern gentleman are the guys behind the Gentleman’s Grooming and Lifestyle Show. Having already held two successful shows in London, they’re now setting up shop in Liverpool’s very own St. George’s Hall to showcase all things well-kempt and well-made. We sit down with Kevin Doherty, one of the founders of the show, to talk about his plans for the Liverpool leg of their grooming revolution set to take place over the 19th and 20th of May.

essential journal: First off, tell us a little about your own background. kevin doherty: I have always worked in events. I started out with a focus on corporate conferences and exhibitions before making the switch over to consumer shows with the launch of The Gentleman’s Grooming & Lifestyle Show. How did the idea for a grooming show come about? Having recognised that men are now taking a greater interest in their appearance and lifestyle, my business partner Laurence wanted to launch an event that would serve as a forum for this revival. The concept of the Gentleman’s Grooming & Lifestyle Show was to create a gentlemanly environment for men to get tips and advice on how to look their best. I already had the expertise in events so it dovetailed well. Similarly, our friend Matt - who has been involved since the start but has now officially come on board as a partner - has a background in events and a passion for men’s lifestyle so it all fell together quite organically.

Photography courtesy of The Gentleman's Grooming and Lifestyle Show

Liverpool will be your third grooming show to date, with the previous two taking place in London’s Tobacco Docks. What have you learned from the first two shows? First off, that there’s a real demand for these kinds of events! Attendees have been really receptive, and that extends to trade professionals looking to hone their skills as well as regular gents just looking for inspiration. With each new show you learn things and can fine tune to make the next show even better. We’re excited for each new show and we are looking forward to bringing what we have learnt to Liverpool. Why have you chosen Liverpool as your next destination outside of London? It’s a very modern city with lots of cool, engaging events and great people. We felt that the show would fit well with that attitude. It doesn’t hurt that Matt is a fellow Liverpudlian and already knows the area well, and Laurence has also recently relocated to the city from London. Again, it was just a very organic fit. What can we expect from the show this year? Expect the perfect gentleman’s retreat! The show will provide a fantastic opportunity to meet various brands across a wide range of categories including grooming, fashion, accessories, shoes, watches, whiskey and even automotive. Attendees can expect complimentary haircuts, hot towel shaves, whiskey sampling and shoe shines.

Do you think men’s attitudes towards grooming and style have changed much over recent years? Absolutely! Men are taking more pride in their appearance. They’re clued in to the fact that grooming and style are not only key factors to looking your best, but also feeling your best. And now that men are taking the time to really learn what works for them, there is no sign of the movement slowing down. What does the modern gentleman mean to you? From my experience, the modern day gentleman is not simply someone who cares about their appearance. The modern gentleman is someone who puts others first. They will go the extra mile to put others at ease, often at the expense of their own comfort. What is the most important item in your own grooming arsenal? It’s different for everybody, that’s what keeps things interesting. Both Laurence and Matt use a few more products than I do. Personally, I prefer to keep things sharp and simple: I’d say a quality double edge safety razor is my most trusted tool. www.gentlemansgroomingshow.co.uk


24 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 25


26 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 27

STYLE words by WILL HALBERT

Masters of the timeless and the trending

B

ack in 2016, men’s grooming veterans, American Crew, rolled out a limited edition variant of their six best-selling hair products. Each one showcased a different image of the well-coiffed and clean shaven Elvis Presley. These Presley pucks, as they came to be known, were a small gesture that made a bold statement: American Crew is to male grooming what Elvis was to rock and roll. It was a grand claim that would have made a laughing stock of a smaller, younger brand. But like Elvis’ swinging hips and shimmering pomp, it’s hard to deny that American Crew’s twenty-year contribution to men’s style has been anything other than revolutionary. In 1994, hairstylist and budding photographer, David Raccuglia, placed himself at the forefront of a cultural shift. He predicted a time when men the world over would go the extra mile in the name of personal style. By founding the American Crew brand, Raccuglia dedicated himself to providing men with the means to do just that. Two decades on and American Crew still stands at the top of an ever-growing list of competing brands with a superlative selection of hair, body, shave and style products. They are leading professionals in the now-burgeoning men’s grooming industry, peerless and unparalleled. Amidst a dizzying range of products

catering to an ever-burgeoning and always-evolving crowd of style conscious and trend-savvy gentlemen, American Crew haven’t just survived, they’ve positively thrived. From pomades to fibers to volumizers, their products have made them masters in both the timeless and the trending. Their success doesn’t just rest on a solid range of core products, though. It lies in their desire to push the envelope whilst always paying homage to past traditions. By working alongside some of the biggest names in barbering and men’s hairdressing, the American Crew All Star Ambassador programme seeks to to provide workshops, training and seminars to a new generation of barbers and stylists. Which brings us back to Elvis. More than a respectful nod to the Presley estate; American Crew’s Elvis inspired packaging served as a gentle reminder of who they are and what they stand for. They provide the modern man with all the tools he’ll ever need to carve out his own sense of style. In an ever-growing industry, American Crew pride themselves on being game-changers and ground breakers that can spot the difference between timeless styles and passing fads. And nothing says timeless quite like the King of Rock 'n' Roll EJ


Issue 30

28 | The Essential Journal

A Handsome Home:

SIMPLE COFFEE MAKING STYLE

words by ANGHARAD JONES coggles.com

Perfect the space that will let you get to work on all things new you

W

e’ve been indulging in a slower way of living since the start of the year, using our weekends as a chance to really unwind. Maybe we’re still riding that ‘wellness’ wave, a new kind of hangover from January (you know, vowing to eat everything organic, deciding that perhaps Mondays aren’t the best nights for a bottle of red and trying to extend that digital detox past a matter of weeks). Or maybe it’s an extension of seasonal hibernation, a way of passing the time that doesn’t involve going outside or trying to stretch out that January pay cheque. Whatever it is, we’re using the weekend to opt for more simple rituals at home as an antidote to the increasingly busy working week. Like all good things in life it starts with coffee, and there’s as much enjoyment to be had in the art of making it as there is in drinking a properly brewed cup. Danish homeware brand Stelton is leading the way when it comes to traditional, pared-back coffee makers and

Stelton is available at Coggles.com

accessories that have been given a modern (and aesthetically pleasing) update. They’ve joined forces with Italian design studio Something (from esteemed designers Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri) to create the Collar coffee set, a collection of matte black Teflon-coated steel wares that are effortlessly sleek in that truly Scandi way, while the stove-top espresso maker and coffee grinder are all old-school Italian. And then there’s the Theo collection, designed by Copenhagen-based Canadian Francis Cayouette. It also comes in matte black with touches of oak to sit seamlessly alongside the Collar collection, further promoting the ‘less is more’, back-to-basics ethos with its contemporary French press and slow brew coffee maker. The best bit? There’s an equal balance of form and function, with clean lines and contemporary timeless shapes making up these Stelton collections, meaning you’ll be more inclined to pick these up every weekend than pop in a pod or brave the cold for a take out. EJ


Issue 30

LIFESTYLE

The Essential Journal | 29

words by ALAN SMITHEE

A Premium Car Deserves A Premium Experience As everyone rushes to predict an ever more elaborate future of buying cars online in isolation, we think there’s something missing when it comes to buying online

Gareth Williams, centre

T

his prestigious industry award brings with it the respect of the automotive industry and publicly acknowledges performance and great customer service. Gareth commented, “I would like to thank our workforce and of course our valued and loyal customers.” Ernest Hatfield began selling motor vehicles in Sheffield in 1922. Hatfields are now the oldest established Jaguar retailer in the world. Today, his legacy lives on, with the addition of Land Rover and Volvo and other locations added to the Hatfields portfolio. Hatfields is an independent, family-run business, operating across the North of England and Midlands. Hatfields has established a successful network over a number of decades, developing a loyal customer following along the way.

I

’m sat in a glass building a few metres away from a car. The showroom I’m sat in is Liverpool’s Hatfield Jaguar, Hatfield being the oldest Jaguar retailer in the world. The car isn’t any old car, it’s an F-Type 400 Sport, all black and sleek, the sort of thing you imagine James Bond flinging around corners on holiday with a smirk on his face. It’s the centrepiece of the showroom and I’m thinking about whether I would buy it online. I would see it before buying, but I wouldn’t get to sense it. It’s no secret that more people are buying cars online. Conditioned by retail giants such as Amazon, the buy everything at home mentality has spread to the automotive sector. But, what people forget, as Neil Keane, Head Of Business, points out as we peruse the showroom’s range, is that buying a car has always been based on a relationship, on the senses, on speaking to a person, them pointing out the finer details, of the customer experiencing the essence of the car firsthand. “It’s no different to a suit fitting. The tailor has got to measure you, feel you out, ask you where you’ll be wearing the suit, talk you through fabric. Would you buy a suit online? It’s about the buying experience, before you press a fifty, sixty, seventy pound button. It’s important that customers feel they’re able to trust and it’s a brave leap of faith without that reassurance.” Of course, with the internet comes a more informed customer. According to a Bain Global Automotive Customer Survey, fifty percent of customers began their search for a car online. A further sixty percent of customers decided on brand, model and price before visiting a dealership. What’s also striking was that for forty percent of customers, family and friends were the most trusted influencer, which Hatfield knows all too well, putting customer service at the centre of its operations. Hatfields M.D Gareth Williams has always been very public about the company’s ethos. It’s not about selling hundreds of cars, it’s about selling one. That car will lead to another, it’s about engaging the customer and giving them a very personal experience that they would then insist on recommending to friends and family. Ironically, Neil and his colleagues deal with a lot of the aftermath of online sales. “The online side puts a lot of apprehension into buying a car, but often skimps on the aftercare. They don’t show them any of the controls, don’t run them through any of the car. It’s just a driver, lands at your house,

Gareth Williams M.D. of Hatfields Scoops Best Retail Group Award at the AM (Automotive Management) Awards 2018

gives you the keys, says thank you very much and leaves you to it. So the customer then muddles through, they don’t want to ask, but they’ll end up coming back to us.” Neil and co make a point of sorting out part exchanges, outstanding finance, after service and other details as part of their service. Much of which isn’t taken care of when the customer is left to their own devices online. It’s difficult to sit among the Jaguar fleet without discussing the brand. As Neil’s colleague highlights, “In 2006, we’d be selling two or three cars per week. Now we’re doing between 15 and 20 per week and the whole brand has changed completely. There’s a younger element, but it’s also family conscious, it’s no longer that old man image.” Of late, there’s been a quick succession. F-Pace, E-Pace and soon, the I-Pace, which will be a huge moment not just for Jaguar the brand, but also the people selling them. “We’ve taken 16 orders already, that’s a lot for a car like that.” Neil says. Jaguar clubs around the world are

chatting online constantly about the I-Pace, often more informed of the minor detail than the people selling them. The staff regularly ring back and forth with customers to discuss, everyone excitedly awaiting the release. If anything, the release of the I-Pace cements the show room at the centre of our collective automotive consciousness. The excitement, the chat, the network of sales, the car touring showrooms before its release, the experience of sensing it, seeing it in the flesh, being informed on it. As the electric car wave looks set to break and change automotive history forever, it seems unimaginable to think of buying something so new and different without the guiding hand and informative voice of the showroom. More than that though, it’s about experience. As Neil puts it, “These are emotive cars. They’re about an experience from the moment you first set sight on them, through to when you own and drive one. People want a premium experience from start to finish when they choose a premium brand.” EJ


Issue 30

30 | The Essential Journal

CHESTER RACECOURSE X ESSENTIAL JOURNAL

The Boodles May Festival 2018 Wednesday 9 - Friday 11 May | City Day | Ladies Day | 188BET Chester Cup Day

Rewriting traditions to up the equestrian ante

C

hester’s infamous racing season begins this year with the inaugural, three-day Boodles May Festival. A firm favourite amongst amateurs and affictionados alike, the Boodles May Festival has consistently offered up furlong after furlong of first-rate racing paired together with peerless style. Building on the resounding success of last year’s races, this year’s Boodles May Festival is set to up the ante yet again, with a number of exciting shake-ups sure to keep spectators on the edge of their seats and on the tips of their toes. It’s clear that the oldest racecourse in England is looking to write an exciting new chapter in its already compelling narrative. They plan to remix the running order of the races in order to provide an unforgettable crescendo to the three day festival. Wednesday’s City Day will not only feature the Stellar Group Lily Agnes Stakes

and Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks, it will also celebrate Chester races’ rich heritage and sense of community with the landmark 100th running of the MBNA Chester Vase. Thursday’s Ladies Day will offer an intoxicating mix of competitive handicaps and superlative group races in the form of the Boodles Diamond Ormonde and HomeServe Dee Stakes. Both races will unfold to a vibrant and vivid backdrop of cutting edge and classic dress styles for which Chester races has become famous. Boodles May Festival will reach its thrilling climax on the Friday with both the 188BET Chester Cup and the newly up-graded Group 2 HomeServe Huxley Stakes. As high-profile meets high-stakes, both iconic races are set to deliver an unforgettable finish to three days of remarkable racing on the Roodee. Not to be missed, the Boodles May Festival 2018 promises to be a landmark year, as this year’s final prize fund soars

to a staggering excess of £1, 000, 000. The opening three days of the season promise to deliver three days of high-stakes, highoctane equestrian action. Tickets, badges and hospitality packages for all three days of the 2018 Boodles May Festival are currently available to buy via the Chester Racecourse website: chester-races.com, in person at the Chester Racecourse Box Office, or by calling 01244 304 600. Tickets start at just £10 per person out on the Open Course, whilst race day hospitality is available to buy from just £77.50 +VAT per person in the White Horse. Availability is limited across many areas and racegoers are encouraged to secure places for their group early. A halfprice ticket offer is available on County Concourse and Tattersalls tickets until Wednesday 4th April 2018.


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 31

Cognac

LIFESTYLE words by WILL HALBERT

Written in partnership with The Whisky Exchange, Talking Cognac is the first in a series of spirited exposés on the world of fine drinking

A

ll Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac. It’s an old adage but a useful one. One that helps us unearth the rather unique charm of France’s most coveted export. For the past three centuries, Cognac has been almost universally recognised as the finest of all grape-based distillates. With its unparallelled fruitiness, complexity and subtlety of bouquet, Cognac boasts a heritage and a prestige that requires little introduction. That said, indulge me; allow me to wax lyrical just a little. For all its regal charm, Cognac is quite the crowd pleaser. It will play you a symphony in a cocktail. It will hum you a fine tune on its own. It does a rather spectacular duet with just a block of ice or a splash of water, too. At once a solid after-dinner, one-for-the-road tipple and stoic winter-warmer, Cognac has carved out quite the niche as a robust yet inviting dram that offers unparallelled layers of nuance to newcomers and seasoned drinkers alike. The story of Cognac is both an intriguing and enticing one. Its fusion of traditional distillation methodology and its quintessentially French, wine-forward sensibilities reveals an uncompromising labour of love whose proof is very much in the pudding. And I don’t use the word ‘pudding’ ornamentally here, either. Cognac often boasts a singular soft spice upfront that quickly gives way to a silky, decadent fruitcake flourish. Cognac’s lingering dark, dried-fruit and oaken, cinnamon-spice finishes are also unmistakable. But what is Cognac, exactly? Sitting atop a most intriguing intersection between viticulture, distillation and barrel aging, Cognac is best understood as a meeting point between whisky and wine. The word ‘brandy’ is, in fact, a truncation of ‘brandywine’ which in turn simply means ‘burned wine’. Brandy comes from aging grape distillate (a neutral spirit that the French lovingly call eau de vie, or water of life) in oak barrels for anything from three years to a few centuries. Now, the Cognac monniker is as much a badge of honour as it is a geographical designation. Only the finest distillates from the rich soils of the Cognac region of western France are fit to carry the name (with the accompanying VS, VSOP and XO grades depending on age). Despite its one of a kind prestige, Cognac boasts a remarkable approachability, flexibility and playfulness that is starting to resonate not only with drinkers, but with their trusty bartenders, too. Bold, refined and effortlessly elegant, it’s no surprise that Cognac has held pride of place in private collections and backbars alike. And as a renewed interest in classic cocktails leads to an unprecedented resurgence in stiffer spirits boasting more traditional production methods, bartenders are beginning to experiment with the rich history and delicate tasting notes of the fine French spirit. It’s an exciting prospect. Sure, Cognac has always laid the groundwork for our Sidecars and our Sazeracs, not to mention the New Orleans powerhouse that is the Vieux Carre cocktail. But one might argue that it lacks its posterboy, its signature serve. For the humble bartender, that’s where the real joy of Cognac lies. Far beyond the allure of its heritage and the boldness of its flavour profiles, it is Cognac’s playfulness that appeals to masters of mixology the world over. They find themselves driven by the idea that, unlike the Whisky Old Fashioned, the Gin and Tonic (it’s a cocktail, I promise) and the Vodka Martini, Cognac’s signature cocktail is, perhaps, yet to be discovered. EJ

A Guide to Curating the Perfect Cognac Collection Dawn Davies, sommelier extraordinaire and head buyer for The Whisky Exchange, offers up her top recommendations for a well-rounded Cognac shelf

Paul Giraud VSOP Cognac is made exclusively from grapes grown in Grande Champagne and is aged for around eight years. It’s an approachable, fresh and fruity Cognac that can either be enjoyed on its own or mixed (with ginger ale, if you’re looking for something a little different for summer).

Prunier 20 Years Old is a spellbinding blend of 20-year-old eaux-de-vie from the family-run Prunier house. It offers a bold, full-bodied experience with notes of dark chocolate, leather and honey, and boasts a long lasting finish when enjoyed on its own.

Frapin Chateau de Fontpinot XO Cognac is a very special single-estate Cognac from Frapin. Produced at Château de Fontpinot and the aged for many years, this XO offers up a deep and rich start that opens up to a candied fruit and rancio finish.

Above cognac’s are available from thewhiskyexchange.com


Issue 30

32 | The Essential Journal

COLUMN

words by DEVIN STEWART

Reign of terroir

T

here seems to me to be a swelling interest around here. More and more we have folk asking how a wine is made - as opposed to where it comes from. Requests for vegetarian and vegan friendly wines are certainly on the increase and people are asking more about organic and biodynamic wines. The term 'natural wine' creeps up more and more these days, too - and I'm always interested in what people mean by this. I know what I take natural wine to be, but there isn't a universally accepted definition. Vegetarian wine won't use animal products like gelatin (animal collagen) or insinglass (fish stomach) when fining and filtering before bottling. By the same token, vegan friendly wines include casein (milk) or albumen (eggs) in their list of fining agents to avoid. Organic wine, you may not be surprised to hear, is made from organically grown grapes – no synthetic pesticides or herbicides are allowed in the vineyard and certain restrictions on winemaking, such as reduced levels of sulphur dioxide, must be adhered to. Biodynamic wines are made following the principles of biodynamic viticulture. This goes beyond organic fruit to encompass a wholistic, almost spiritual farming method. This includes scheduling activity, be it planting, pruning or picking in accordance to the moon and the planets whilst celebrating and promoting the living soil and its interconnection to all the other living things on the farm. Many winemakers share these philosophies without going as far as gaining certification, but for all intents and purposes qualify as organic or biodynamic. It could also be said that they are making what are broadly known as 'natural wines'. Minimal added sulphur dioxide, natural yeast fermentation, no fining or filtering, no acid adjustments. Just good, honest winemaking. The crux of it all for most winemakers that I've met is 'terroir' - a sense of where they come from perhaps best surmised by the following (taken from the back label on a bottle from the respected 'natural' winemakers at Domaine de Moor); 'I am only the fruit of respected, beloved soil & the whims of that year's sky. And that is how I hope to bring you joy.' What leaves me a little concerned from time to time is that the sense of place is lost to the sense of process. As I see it, good wine is good wine, no matter how it's made. And though I'd prefer it was made by hand and with love, I'd rather that I actually enjoy drinking it. I like to taste where the wine is made more than how the wine is made and again, most serious wine makers that I've met are just as keen. It's substance over style, I guess. A learned friend of mine once described the quirkier, funkier natural wines 'a waste of terroir' and it really struck a chord. DS Devin Stewart is the owner of R&H Queen's Arcade, Liverpool

Featured libation A love letter to the Dry Martini, the Green Knees is deceptive by design. Inspired by a stroll down Columbia Road Flower Market, the poppy-pink hue of the cocktail brings a promise of sweeter taste sensations, but quickly gives way to a duplicitous dryness. Green Knees is brought to you by former Callooh Callay veterans, Jake O’Brien Murphy and Simon Thompson, as part of the flagship menu for their upcoming London venue, Horatio Street Social Club. Horatio Street Social Club’s Instagram: @HoratioStreetSocialClub Web: www.clubsaresocial.com

The secret ingredient

Aromatic bitters

Thanks to bar manager Tom Griffiths over at Buyers Club for the picture, the recommendation and the subsequent hangover

Talking natural wines and the problems of nomenclature with Devin Stewart, owner of R&H Fine Wines

Showcasing the unsung heroes and hidden ingredients of your favourite cocktails.

A

romatic bitters are potent, botanical infusions typically used by the dash to add new dimensions of flavour to your favourite cocktails. Originally formulated as patent medicines, these would-be snake oils have since become the humble bartender’s best friend, adding balance and nuance to whisky, rum and gin alike. Less than a decade ago we only had a handful of the bittersweet reductions to choose from, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Angostura and New Orlean’s Peychaud leading the pack in all things aromatic. Nowadays, however, bars and supermarkets alike are privy to a plethora of high-proof, potable flavour profiles. From chocolate to celery and everything in between, today’s bitters are guaranteed to add new depths to old favourites. They’ve garnered such traction over the last few years that some bartenders are ditching base spirits entirely, preferring to let their bitters sit front and centre in their recipes. Kirk Estopinal’s Angostura Sour, for example, calls for a hefty slug of Angostura alongside lime, sugar and egg white to a bombastic and almost eye-watering effect. Those looking for something a

little less extreme in their alcoholic experimentations might want to start small. Say, with a simple swap in bitters. If you feel like upping the ante on your Old Fashioned, for instance, try substituting the now century-old Angostura for a few dashes of Fee Brothers’ Black Walnut Bitters. The switch-up will add new layers of earthy-sweet depth to your evening tipple, with a reduced risk of acid reflux in the aftermath.

BLACK WALNUT OLD FASHIONED ingredients 40ml of your favourite Rye or Bourbon Whiskey 10ml Sugar Syrup 2 Dashes of Fee Brothers Walnut Bitters Orange zest method Stir all ingredients together over ice and finish by zesting an orange peel around the glass and placing it atop the drink.


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 33

The Food Round-up

Tacos, pilgrimages and a fitting National Pizza Day bite

T

wo days of eating and drinking in London this month began straight out of the traps with a dash from Euston to Clerkenwell for lunch at Breddos. Beginning life as a taco shack in a Hackney street food market, Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney were soon selling so many tacos that they needed a space of their own, snapping up a cosy place in Clerkenwell, before opening another in Soho. We ate the whole menu, so can vouch, but it’s the Tuna ceviche tostada that sticks in mind.

The following day’s first stop came courtesy of boutique hotel, The Pilgrm, in Paddington. After a wonderful tour and a chat with developers it was time for lunch. The chicken broth, despite modest in size was to die for, with cabbage noodles and a perfectly formed egg yolk on top. The lentil dhal with baby courgette, tomato, sorrel and in our case, added mackerel was also a delight. Sometime after lunch, but before dinner there was time for an Origin flat white, which are always great.

After a long day it was over to Fourpure for copious amounts of beer and when the beer ended, some meatballs courtesy of Melter Meatballs. Prime beef meatballs cooked in a rich marinara sauce, served on smooth creamy mash potato, with homemade slaw, chilli jam, truffle mayo and crispy onions is good post-beer food, trust us. Still peckish, we headed for a salt beef bagel (the thinking man’s kebab) courtesy of Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake. Staff surprisingly chipper and pleasant. Not sure if gentrified or had epiphanies.

ONE OF THE MORE NOTABLE HOUSEWARMINGS OF LATE:

Fourpure pull out all of the stops as they launch their new brewhouse

W

e should’ve taken notes, we should’ve asked more questions about the kit, we should’ve taken pictures, but if anything our lack of memory and knowledge on the capabilities of Fourpure Brewing Co’s new state of the art GEA brewhouse comes down to the simple fact that their beer is delicious and we drank a lot of it. This month, to celebrate now having more bells and whistles than a troop of morris men, and to also usher in new cellar and taproom upgrades, Fourpure threw a (brew) housewarming like no other, featuring a range of six launch beers to show off the capabilities of their extremely shiny new equipment. We picked out our favourites: DEEP SOUTH Peach Sour - 4.5% Tastes like they’ve held up a convoy of peach trucks and poured the entire crop into the fermenter to hide the evidence. Very fruity, but also highly drinkable. Another flexing of the new muscle, putting their new kettle soured beer capabilities on show. EASY PEELER Citrus Session IPA - 4%

The Pilgrm photography by Jason Bailey

Inspired by a beer that we’ve collectively consumed a lot of in our time, the infamous Juicebox IPA, Easy Peeler is juicy, balanced and easier drinking with it’s lower 4% ABV. After a day’s wandering, straight over to the ‘OG’ Yard Sale Pizza in Clapton. Cosy enough to strike up an interesting chat with a stranger (or a friend you’ve never met) and post-pizza it’s not difficult to understand why the place won The Observer Food Awards ‘Best Cheap Eats’. A light and tasty pizza experience that’s not crust-dodgingly laborious. The perfect amount of sauce to sneak up over the crust making every bite enjoyable. Harlamb Shake if you like meat, Jack To The Future if you’re a vegan. Delicious and coincidentally (we had no idea) the perfect way to celebrate National Pizza Day.

RASPBERRY & CHOCOLATE Imperial Porter - 7.4% The showboat beer. The sort of beer you’d make if you owned a load of fancy new kit and you wanted to show off with it. Rich. So so rich, using British raspberries, roasted cocoa nibs and whole vanilla pods. Willy Wonka would be proud.


Issue 30

34 | The Essential Journal

which menu Find your favourite dish


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 35

Recipe of the Month:

Shirred Eggs with Crabmeat Remick and Mary Ann’s Hash Brown Potatoes To celebrate the month of Madi Gras, we’ve delved into Tim Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food for some delicious brunch inspiration from the Mississippi Delta

W

hen it comes to brunch, we seem to have lost our imagination a bit. Everything is at a bit of a poached egg and avocado standstill. There’s the odd pancake thrown in for good luck, but it’s rare to see something exciting and new. That’s perhaps why we’ve got so excited about the updated version of Tim Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food. Fitzmorris, who was born in New Orleans on Madi Gras has championed the city’s Creole and Cajun influenced food for a while, and although the book (featuring over 250 recipes) is a trove bursting with delicious recipes from dinner to dessert, it’s the array of varied brunch options that’s left us gagging to try something new.

MARY ANN’S HASH BROWN POTATOES Serves: 8-12 INGREDIENTS 5 lb. medium white potatoes 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter 3 green onions, tender green tops only, finely sliced METHOD Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake the potatoes, skins on, in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. This will be a bit less than the time needed for edible baked potatoes. Cool the pota-

toes, then refrigerate.

When you’re ready to cook, remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and cut in half, but leave the skins on. In a skillet over the highest heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until it sizzles. Using the big holes on a hand grater, grate the potatoes right into the pan, sprinkling some green onions as you go, until the pan is nearly full. Cook without turning until the bottom appears to be on the verge of burning. Turn (either the whole thing or as much as you can at a time) and cook the same way on the other side. Dump the pan of hash browns into a serving dish and keep it warm in the oven while you repeat the process for the rest of the potatoes. Or you can stop right there if that’s enough for the meal involved. The rest of the potatoes can be made into hash browns on another occasion.

words by DAVEY BRETT

Shirred eggs is a good place to begin. As Fitzmorris points out in the introduction, you don’t see them often, despite being such a big crowd pleaser. He adds, “The technique is to cook the eggs with powerful heat from above after setting them on something savory.” Our other pick is Mary Ann’s Hash Brown Potatoes, simple, but with a killer tip. If you bake the potatoes beforehand and then let them cool, they’ll shred much better and make for a much better hash brown. Set the heat high and serve them as they’re on the verge of burning. Breakfast will never be the same again. EJ Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Tom Fitzmorris (Abrams, On Sale: 20 Feb 2018, £19.99)

SHIRRED EGGS WITH CRABMEAT REMICK Serves: 6 INGREDIENTS 6 thick slices smoky bacon 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 12 egg ½ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup bottled chili sauce 1 Tbsp. Creole mustard 1 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar ½ tsp. Tabasco ½ tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning à tsp. ¼ Salt METHOD Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cut the bacon into squares and fry until crisp. Drain very well and set aside. Divide the crabmeat among 6 small, shallow gratin dishes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and bake until heated through, about 5 minutes. Top each baking dish with an equal portion of crumbled bacon. Spoon in enough of the sauce to cover the bacon and the crab. Then carefully break 2 eggs onto each dish, keeping the yolks whole. Turn the oven up to broil. Put the baking dishes in the broiler and cook until the eggs have set. Serve immediately with a warning that the dish is mouth-searingly hot.


Issue 30

36 | The Essential Journal

TRAVEL

Morocco’s Best Kept Secret words by HANNAH SARGEANT

E

ssaouira is one of Morocco’s best-kept secrets. The city’s laidback attitude and hospitable personality stands starkly against Marrakech’s relentless buzz, packed-out crowds and non-stop barter culture. This city on the Atlantic coast known for its rich history, argan trade and 18th century fishing port, is the idyllic weekend alternative to Morocco’s more commonly visited destinations. With consistent sun all year round and two direct flights from London each week, this hidden gem of Northern Africa is a haven for those looking to experience a uniquely captivating culture, without ever being more than ten minutes away from the beach, a spa, or a plate of fresh seafood. Where to stay Well positioned on the edge of the city’s small medina (old town) and just a stone’s throw from the port, Villa Maroc (on rue Abdellah Ben Yassine), is the palatial riad (a traditional Moroccan house) of choice when it comes to a stylish stay that balances modern luxury

photography by Hannah Sargeant and Imogen Thomas

Our travel writer spent the early part of the year discovering Morocco, taking in the towns, cities, villages and desert. One place in particular caught her eye, the sleepy port city of Essaouira, the argan oil capital of the world and the perfect alternative to the country’s busier tourist spots

and quintessential Moroccan design. A place of real indulgence, visitors can enjoy a steam bath, cookery workshops, homemade cuisine served onsite and a sister pool-side restaurant a mere 15 minutes outside of town. Wake up to breakfast on Villa Maroc’s sea view terrace or wind down at dusk in the same spot for one of Essaouira’s majestic sunsets. Where to eat There’s an authentic Moroccan eating spot in every nook and cranny of this town. Caravane Café on Rue Du Qadi Ayad, located within a beautifully decorated riad venue, boasts a line-up of live Moroccan music, while The Loft on Rue Hajjali is a favourite among locals, complete with kitsch décor and a mouthwatering beef tenderloin and pear dish. No trip to Essaouira however, would be complete without experiencing lunch at the port’s famous fresh fish market. There’s everything, from seabass and shrimp to Moray eels and stingray, and patrons are willing to grill it all right there in front of you before serving with fresh salad. Be prepared to hustle and haggle for the best price.

What to see Morocco is known for its argan oil, used across the globe for its medicinal and cosmetic benefits, but mysteriously, the argan tree only grows in the region between Essaouira and Agadir. It’s well worth taking a trip outside of town to visit an argan oil cooperative and witness women pressing the kernels of the tree by hand. On the way back, prioritise looking out for a famous spectacle - Morroco’s famous argan tree climbing goats. The Gnaoua Music Festival held annually in late June is the go-to for a unique exploration of world music and Moroccan musical heritage. What to do To fully immerse yourself into the Moroccan lifestyle, a visit to the local Hammam (public baths) is a must. Expect to be stripped down, scrubbed and massaged until your skin is gleaming. Do it cheap with the locals and earin on the daily gossip, or pay extra for a more relaxing and opulent experience in one of the city’s many hotel spas or luxury hammams. If you fancy something to increase your heart rate, Essaouira and its neighbouring

coastal towns and beaches are renowned water sport hotspots worth travelling for. The Atlantic breeze blesses the coast with great surf all year round and there are numerous surf and kitesurfing schools within the city and nearby Sidi Kaouki beach. Beginners and pros are both welcome. Other ways to travel up and down the bay include: Camel rides, quad biking, horse riding and horse and carriage. Where to shop The old medina is home to easy-to-navigate, hassle-free souks, where you can find handpainted wooden crafts and pottery, traditional rugs, blankets and Essaouira’s famous ‘liquid gold’ argan oil. The stalls of Sunday’s joutiya (flea market) offer everything from bicycles to handmade jewellery - but for extra special, one-off pieces for your humble abode, visit Elizir Gallery on Ave d’Istiqlal for a goldmine of vintage movie posters, 70’s retro furniture and antique Moroccan homeware that can be shipped to your front door. EJ


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 37

POSTCARDS

TRAVEL

For our regular series, we ask creative professionals around the globe to introduce us to the cities they are based. Focusing on city secrets and neighbourhoods under transformation, we reached out to those in the know to lend some generous guidance to an unsuspecting visitor

TORONTO

ABBAS AKHAVAN, Visual Artist

In the build up to this year’s Liverpool Biennial, we will be sitting with exhibiting artists to talk about their city. This month we chatted to Abbas Akhavan, a visualartist originally from Tehran now residing in Toronto, about the Ontario city’s relationship with real estate, it’s people and public art that offers a service Where did you live before Toronto? We migrated to, traveled around and stayed in, different countries for a bit, including Turkey, before ending up in Canada. I went to Windsor and London...not the British town and city, obviously. London, Ontario seemed like a good option. Then I kind of ran away from home and found the furthest island from Ontario, which was Victoria. From there, I went to Montreal to study, but school was never a reason, it was an excuse. Then on to Vancouver and finally Toronto. What keeps you based in Toronto? I actually never planned to live in Toronto and I think the same can be said for a lot of Torontonians. I call Toronto the book gutter; it’s where things just fall in the middle. Food, bugs, dust particles, hair, people [laughs]. I was moving from Vancouver to Montreal and then I decided to stay for love. Love of a person. A good reason. Toronto is full of good people. I mean [Montreal and Vancouver] all have good people, too. But Toronto is pretty interesting in its population ecology. Describe the city’s art scene. I think it’s a pretty kind art scene. I think it fails to see it’s own good and it always places itself on the peripheries. The problem with the art scene [in Toronto] is that it’s anxious and self-doubting. It has these strange ambitions of being a little sibling to New York. So its model of identity is that it is always aspiring to be somebody else’s second best. But, I think it has a lot of exciting people and it has a pretty kind and hospitable art scene. Where’s your ideal Toronto location to use as a canvas? I found out that in Toronto’s Gay Village there used to be a lot of steps leading up towards businesses’ [front doors], and people would just sit around and have coffee, people-watch and cruise and whatever. It was very harmless, it was public space, something Toronto needs desperately. The flow of the city is very fast and utilitarian. I found out that a lot of these steps were removed under the guise of it becoming more accessible, but really it was to stop people from sitting around. So one of the projects I am trying to pursue right now is a set of steps for that neighbourhood. But the steps won’t

actually go anywhere. They’re made of heated concrete with a small fountain embedded in them, with lighting at the top. The steps can be used as an impromptu stage and it can be heated all year round so people can sit there. I’m thinking more and more about public sculptures as a means of providing a space to local populations as opposed to the alienating forms we now see around us. Where is great for art in the city? The new MOCA is opening up and they have the incredible November Paynter now running the institution. Since Kitty Scott moved in, the AGO is really exciting. The Art Museum at the University of Toronto shows great work, too. There are lots of artist-run centers like Mercer Union and TSV. Then there’s younger galleries like Erin Stump Projects and the Towards Gallery. Having said that, I do think that museums in Toronto should be free to the public, at the very least for Toronto residents. When these places cost money, people become disconnected from their own history and their own institutions. So when AGO or the ROM are too expensive to get into, you stop frequenting them. When I was in Dublin I was amazed that I could wander into so many museums for free. My host, Georgina [Jackson] just told me ‘well, you know, this is our culture’. If you don’t have access to your own culture then the effect is really detrimental. Where do you recommend people visit when in Toronto? Similar to many big cities, Toronto has theatre, dance and music venues. There are fringe festivals and stuff that I would recommend. The cuisine is really diverse, too, because there’s such a multicultural population. To be honest, though, I travel six to eight months a year, so when I get home I prefer to just stay in bed and watch Golden Girls. There are a lot of great places but I can’t think of them right now [laughs]! How is Toronto transforming/developing? For the better or worse? When I first arrived in Toronto eight years ago, the city felt really charged and promising and I met some remarkable people. It was a good place to start things. Everyone I had met had started something because things were more

affordable. But to be frank, in the last eight years, it really feels like you’re being chased and nipped at by crocodiles. Many of the spaces that were once alternative music venues have been shut down. There are very few alternative spaces that are hospitable outside of capitalist endeavours. The city needs more parks, more public spaces, more places of gathering that don’t pressure consumption. The city needs to subsidise and nourish artist studios and recording spaces. I blame the city planners. They’ve forced out the places that make Toronto exciting and replaced them with condos or strategically trendy, copycat businesses like ‘hip’ barber shops, taco shops, and chain cafés. Money is killing culture. It used to be badger talk about the weather, but now people talk about real estate all the time. People either talk about their predatory ambitions to gain land or else about their vulnerability to rent increases and eviction. What makes you most proud to say you live in Toronto? The people. I think I have met some really remarkable people in Toronto. They really go out of their way, they really strive to do things they believe in. I’ve met some people who have really pushed me beyond my limits and shown me what eccentricity, creativity and kindness really are.

STOCKHOLM STEFAN PAGREUS, Founder & Creative Director at A Day’s March

Founder and Creative Director of our favourite Scandi fashion house, A Day’s March, Stefan Pagreus guides us around old school Stockholm food, suburban pop ups and offers his opinion on the future of the multicultural capitol What keeps you based in Stockholm? Apart from friends and family it’s a clean and non-stressed city. And then of course, our company, A Day’s March, is based in Stockholm. And even though we get our inspiration from a lot of places, I would say that the brand is colored by the city in many ways, by the values and aesthetics of Scandinavia and Stockholm. What is Stockholms best kept secret... That you’re willing to share? Operakällarens Bakficka is a classic restaurant that’s worth a visit if you want a bit of old school Stockholm. It’s small and intimate, with room for only 28 people. They serve traditional Swedish dishes like gravad lax and meatballs, no reservations. Then there’s the archipelago. It would be a bit of a stretch to call it a secret, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Take a boat to one of the numerous islands for a picnic or a swim. If the weather doesn’t allow it, why not pay a visit to Storkyrkobadet in Gamla Stan. It’s an old and beautiful public bath with a charming interior and an architecture that dates to the 1750. What’s a restaurant or bar that best captures the spirit of Stockholm? I must say Riche, a classic restaurant and bar at Birger Jarlsgatan, it’s a real Stockholm nightlife institution. There’s one bar that’s noisier and with a younger crowd and the restaurant that is a bit calmer. The food is ok, but more important it’s a place for hanging out and everybody tends to end up there on weekends. Then there’s Trädgården at Södermalm, an outdoor club in the summertime. Very crowded. Very Stockholm. What’s a neighborhood that’s transforming for the better? The city has traditionally been very inner city focused, but I would say we’re seeing a shift right now. Since house prices are ridiculously high in the central part of Stockholm, young people can’t afford a place to stay. Since cultural transformation is usually driven by the young, the inner city is pretty static. So it’s the suburbs that are transforming right now, and place have started to pop up like Centan in Bagarmossen, a suburban restaurant that draws visitors from the inner city, a new phenomenon. Inner city wise Södermalm is the area that is still transforming with new shops, bars and restaurants opening. When is the best time to visit? Summertime. We’re a pretty grumpy people but we tend to light up when the weather is warm. We are totally hung up on weather since it’s so cold most of the time and open-air restaurants and bars are a big thing in the spring and summer. What does the future hold for Stockholm? Due to immigration, the city will be more diverse and multicultural. Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley when it comes to tech startups and there’s a lot of people moving in. More inhabitants will inevitably lead to the merging of the inner city and suburbs expanding the city as a whole. It will be a breath of fresh air.


Issue 30

38 | The Essential Journal

Architectural Thoughts On:

CULTURE

words by ADAM M, ARCHIPHONIC

This month, ARCHIPHONIC’s Adam M considers the place of love in architecture and the curious case of Louis Kahn

photography by Phillip Harrington


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 39

B

orn in 1901 in Estonia, Kahn was moved to Philadelphia in 1906. He adopted his new name, Louis Kahn, as part of integrating into a new society. In 1924 he received his degree in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and by 1930, he had married his wife, Esther Israeli. After working for various Philadelphiabased architectural practices, he started his own in 1935. His practice could be summed up by one of his own quotes. “The first thing that an architect must do is to sense that every building you build is a world of its own, and that this world of its own serves an institution.” The basis of his practice was creating housing for factory workers during World War II and buildings in the 1940s for labour unions. By 1947 he was teaching at Yale University and he later became a professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957. It was during this period that Kahn evolved his style, following on from his experience of being ‘Architect in Residence’ in Rome. Here he was able to visit many sites across Italy, Greece, and Egypt and the simple methods of representation ultimately influenced him to create the buildings he is most commonly known. This also represented another moment in Kahn’s life: Trenton Bath House. Built in 1954, the building is neither in Trenton, nor is it a bath house. Instead, it provides an entrance and changing areas for patrons of the outdoor pool. It is often referred to as a showcase of the tools with which Kahn worked his architecture; geometric shapes; basic building materials; maximising natural light; and the relationships between secondary and primary spaces. Art historian Vincent Scully, Jr. said of the building, “The impression becomes inescapable that… architecture began anew.” Kahn described the building as a “generative force” that is recognisable in everything he did thereafter. The building was not only designed by Louis Kahn, but by his associate architect Anne Tyng. She joined the practice in 1945 and it wasn’t long before the two developed a relationship resulting in a daughter in 1953. They continued to work together until 1964, and she has been described as Kahn’s muse, a critical influence on works of this period, which among others, include Yale Art Gallery. Buckminster Fuller, another influential architect described her as “Kahn’s geometrical strategist.” It is likely that without Anne Tyng there would not have been the Kahn that we know of today. The controversy surrounding Kahn came from him already having a wife and child, but it seems in Anne he found something missing. The affair remained a secret until his death in 1974 when he suffered a heart attack in Penn Station, Manhattan. His body was unclaimed for four days. One of the children at his funeral happened to be another of his own. After a relationship with Harriet Pattison, a landscape architect at Kahn’s office, the two had a son, Nathaniel Kahn. His documentary My Architect (2003) is a biographical film about his father, that covers the subsequent complex web of family relationships during his life. Granted, Kahn’s is not a typical love story, but an interesting one all the same. Kahn’s career was diverse, building as far as Bangladesh (National Assembly Building of Bangladesh), as well as iconic works closer to home, like the Salk Institute. If there is one thing to say about the architecture, life and love of Kahn it is that he was uncompromising. No doubt flawed as a person, perhaps it was an unbridled passion and love that he was unable to keep within the realms of architecture. There is a famous quote that sums up Kahn, his life and his attitude. His own words were a manifesto for how he lived and indeed how he presumed others should live. “You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, ‘Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.’ And then you say: ‘What do you think of that, brick?’ Brick says: ‘I like an arch.’” EJ


40 | The Essential Journal

87 And Not Out Almost ninety and with no plans to retire, Clint Eastwood is Hollywood’s very own runaway train. We chatted to him about his latest film, charting a tale of extraordinary bravery told by the heroes themselves

W

hen interviewing Clint Eastwood, it’s very important to avoid all bullshit. Eastwood is not one for shooting the shit, he’s sharp and to the point. He’s got that look about him that says fools will not be suffered lightly. Not that he isn’t accommodating and friendly, well-mannered, showing glimpses of humour when he talks about bending the rules (mostly when the rules are bullshit). His tone is unsurprisingly grizzled, but there’s still a warm edge there. We’re here today to chat about his latest movie, The 15.17 to Paris. A pretty extraordinary film, not just because it recounts the extraordinary bravery of three off-duty American soldiers, Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlotos and Anthony Sadler, who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train bound to Paris three years ago. But because the Oscar-winner took a gamble by casting the heroic trio as themselves. Known for pushing the boundaries, Eastwood boldly claims 'you never learn unless you accept those challenges.' A courageous endeavour, the Hollywood legend explains the reasons for his maverick decision and why Warner execs were more than a little concerned. Eastwood also talks bravery, retirement and being proud of his children’s own acting endeavours.

Issue 30

COVER STAR words by MILES KENNEY


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 41

Clint in time

essential journal: So when you told studio execs your plans to use the real guys instead of actors, what was the reaction? clint eastwood: They weren't happy no. I think it was the last thing they wanted to hear coming out of my mouth [laughs]. But they trusted me, trusted where I wanted to go with this and nervously agreed.

1955 Clint Eastwood makes his cinematic debut in Revenge of the Creature, the follow-up to Creature from the Black Lagoon. Though it is only a small part playing a lab technician named Jennings.

Why did you decide to do this? It just hit me one day. What if? And it seem to make sense to me.

1958 Eastwood lands his big break when he is cast as Rowdy Yates for the CBS hour-long western series Rawhide. The show was a huge success, remaining on air until 1965.

But what was the motivation? I'd been speaking with actors, good actors who would have served the story well but this isn’t their story. And who better to tell their own story than the men who went through it and lived it. You can produce that level of reality, but sometimes you're putting actors into a level of reality that they can't possibly imagine and they’re unable to conjure those emotions. I wanted this story told with the most precise accuracy there could be. By having the guys involved, telling their own story, takes it to another level. Instead of having it simply acted out. Quite a risk though to have non-actors with no experience. Yes, they went through it but they had no experience of a set and how it all works. You sound like a Warner exec [laughs]. It was a big risk, I know that. And I knew that going down this road, I had a few say to me, 'what are you thinking?' Wasn't this traumatizing for them? To relive this event? I think it was more cathartic than traumatic for them. Helping them breakdown what happened and what it could have been. There were four, five hundred people on that train that day. The terrorist had nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, this could have been a horrific, unprecedented attack. But thanks to the good fortune with the weapons jamming and the quick thinking and actions of these guys, they saved a lot of lives. One man was shot, and thankfully survived, due to the actions of these boys. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I don't know if I could claim to do the same. I think like most people, I probably would have jumped under my seat. So what made our boys run at a terrorist who's pointing a gun at you? How did you broach it with them? And did you think they'd refuse? I thought maybe some would say no. I didn't believe all three would agree, I wasn't expecting that. I met them and asked straight out, no messing around, 'would you play yourselves?' They sort of said yes straight away, I know they were a little shell shocked by the question but they got with it. And I felt they had a natural gift and I wanted to see what they could do with it. They had charm and ease, and I wanted them to go into this without too much contemplation or thought. I just wanted them to live it as they did, tell their extraordinary story. What advice did you give them? They asked me if I they should take acting lessons and I said no. I didn't want them to look

1964 Tired of playing the conventional cowboy hero, Eastwood stars in Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars, playing brooding antihero ‘Man with No Name’. The first of the Dollars Trilogy, the film launched Eastwood into stardom and initiated the popularity of the Spaghetti Western. 1968 The 38-year-old actor crosses to the other side of the law playing Sheriff Walt Cooper in Coogan’s Bluff. Directed by Don Siegel, the film was to be the first of five films they would collaborate on, including The Beguiled and Dirty Harry (both 1971), and finally Escape from Alcatraz (1979). like they were acting. They had this. They lived through it, I knew they could do it. I wasn't smart enough to know for sure they could but they had good attitudes. They had good egos about it. I didn't want them to train or prepare, I wanted them to be themselves. Just be yourselves, that's all I asked. You shot this on an actual working train, didn't that make life harder for you? I didn't want guys on either side of the train, rocking it on palettes, that wouldn't have worked. But its' tight on those trains. And they go fast, 160, 180 mph. The space to shoot is narrow but those were the challenges presented. It was all very experimental. But you never learn unless you accept those challenges. There were people getting on and off. We had six-minute windows to do these scenes and I don't think anyone knew we were shooting anything, it was an operation in stealth [laughs]. You are in your late eighties now and are constantly working, how do you keep going and do you ever think you'll retire? I think I assimilate and absorb that energy from the people around me [laughs]. That's how I keep going. I enjoy doing it. I've had sug-

gestions I should retire from enemies as well as friends, why don't you quit this. It's what I do, why would anyone want to quit what they do. What am I going to do if I retire? How will I fill my day? Play golf? I like to play golf but I won't like it if I have to play it to fill my day. I'll start to resent it. I don't want to resent golf, I want to keep enjoying it. Scott [Eastwood’s son] is enjoying great success, going from strength to strength, are you proud? Yes, I am. He's going great. He's working, consistently it seems and that is success right there, in this industry. Consistency. You've worked with all your kids who are actors, how is it directing them? They listen. I think because they're related, they have to work even harder. But they listen, they take good direction, they're good actors. I've probably demanded more of them than I do of other actors because you demand more of your children. You don't want them slacking off. I'm very proud of what they've done and continue to do. Very proud. The 15.17 to Paris is out now in cinemas

1971 Eastwood makes his directorial debut with psychological thriller, Play Misty for Me. 1974 He stars in buddy action caper Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. 1982 Exhibiting the true breadth of his talent, Eastwood stars AND directs two films this year, Honkytonk Man and Firefox. 1992 Eastwood revisits the western genre with Unforgiven, winning him the Best Director Academy Award. 2000 Space Cowboy becomes a huge commercial hit for its director and star. 2004 He wins a second Best Director Oscar for Million Dollar Baby.


Issue 30

42 | The Essential Journal

CULTURE

words by TOM WILLIAMS

PHANTOM THREAD An ominous and enticing title, which unsurprisingly ignited the imaginations of Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis fans alike after its reveal a mere few months before the movie’s release

W

hen watching the 1950s set film, you finally realise the true excellence of the wording as it both stuns in its awe-inspiring appropriateness, yet remains blissfully undefinable as to why it works so exquisitely One meaning of the title, amongst a cacophony of others, most outwardly points to Reynolds Woodcock’s relationship with his deceased mother. From the get-go it is clear, almost to a point of ridicule, that the off-screen passing of Woodcock’s mother has had an inexorable effect on the eloquent London-based dressmaker – a trade he suitably perfected under her guidance. Almost all (and there are a lot) of Woodcock’s bad decisions or irrational impulses can be attributed to his maternal yearnings. The effect of her absence haunts him. It has been irreversibly stitched into the fabric of his character, a point made eerily - and somewhat endearingly - physical by the designer’s decision to sew his mother’s hair into the luxurious material of his blazer. In the embryonic stages of their relationship, Woodcock explains to Alma (the phenomenal Vicky Krieps), that he finds comfort in the thought that the dead are watching over the living. However, his belief in whether this ideal exists is a great source of angst for him, as the thought of his mother no longer being there, even spiritually, is at the centre of his obnoxious and standoffish personality. This torment manifests itself vehemently in his relationship with Alma, whereby all she wants to do is look after him, and he can’t bear the thought of being dependent after the trauma of his mother’s death closed him off to the world. The conflicting dynamic between the two counterparts is conveyed masterfully by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is the driving force of the narrative and is achieved with such nuance: whether it’s a prolonged glare at Alma spreading butter too clumsily, or pouring tea too extravagantly. Reynolds is overwhelmingly fastidious in his work, an obsession presumably formed out of a desire to please his mother. Woodcock’s exceptional dedication to prestigious women’s clothing makes Alma jealous of her lover’s involvement with flocks of beautiful women. Especially with the dressmakers gentle and intensely intimate method, and the fact all his business occurs in her new home: the luxurious House of Woodcock. Such intricacies are made sumptuous by Anderson’s ubiquitous supply of close ups involving tape measures, fingers, and

Must See Films This Month

of course thread. Despite her fresh-faced and innocent appearance, Alma soon comes to the opinion that in order for Woodcock to express his very real love, he must become more dependent on her. In turn, she must become more hardened to his charm, alike to Reynolds’ sister Cyril (the excellent Lesley Manville). This decision starts with asserting herself in the face of Woodcock’s clients: simply exclaiming “I live here” as an attempt to display dominance, but not wholeheartedly enough to announce the manner of her relationship with Reynolds, mostly because he makes it so deliberately ambiguous. Alma’s decision-making becomes more impatient and extreme as she eventually decides physical incapacitation will be the only way to ensure Reynolds welcomes her care, in order for their unique relationship to flourish. Anderson excels in creating characters who are geniuses in what they do, but flawed in the most extraordinary ways. Woodcock has toddler-like tantrums, whether it’s an impassioned dismantling of the word chic, or sarcastically suggesting Alma is a spy sent to ruin his evening when she wrongly cooks asparagus. Such pomposity should make a character completely unlikable, but his glaring desire for a maternal presence is felt by the audience, and Alma alike. This need is made clear in the film’s most abstract scene where Daniel Day-Lewis’ phenomenal talent flourishes and the psyche of his character is beautifully revealed. The entire spectacle, like Woodcock’s breakfasts, is deservedly self-indulgent. The ensemble is sensational and at times it feels as if the director is stepping back and simply admiring the work of incredible actors. There are several elongated shots that linger on Day-Lewis, Manville and Krieps seemingly in awe of their talent, and ability to communicate even the subtlest of expressions. The staring contests between the leads are so expertly executed, you have to admire just how well this film has been put together to create, what feels like, effortless perfection. It is so rich in detail and incredibly composed by Jonny Greenwood, that the entire experience feels like a symphony. This is such a fitting tribute to the career of the now retired leading man and serves as a reminder of the true beauty of cinema. It shows how so much can be conveyed on screen, not with expensive CGI or heaps of dialogue, but by a simple look. Especially when that look is from the ever-masterful Daniel Day-Lewis. EJ

10

/10

STYLE

Damn, those breakfasts look tasty!

8

/10

SUBSTANCE

Beautiful portrayal of grief and obsession

9

/10

ESSENTIALNESS

Arguably PTA’s best film so far

BLACK PANTHER

LADY BIRD

THE SHAPE OF WATER

The much awaited follow up to Chadwick Boseman’s role in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther follows T’Challa returning to his native home of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. Featuring a Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack and star studded cast - Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya and Martin Freeman to name a few - it’s set to be Marvel’s best yet.

An unmissable coming-of-age debut from Greta Gerwig, Christine ‘Lady Bird’ MacPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is an eccentric from the “wrong side of the tracks” who has decided she’ll do anything to make her final year of high school memorable, and with the help of Timothee Chalamet and Laurie Metcalf she sure does.

Nominated for 13 Oscars, Guillermo del Toro’s latest endeavour is a fantasy love story between a lonely janitor and a captive amphibious creature, set against a Cold War backdrop. Otherworldly to say the least, The Shape of Water stars Octavia Spencer, Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon who sweep you into their universe.


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 43

CULTURE

words by TOM WILLIAMS

How to make a Paul Thomas Anderson Film

A

lthough under 50, Paul Thomas Anderson has concreted his reputation as one of the best filmmakers of his generation and arguably of all time. Despite tackling a number of various topics and time periods, the visionary filmmaker often includes recurring themes and cinematic devices. His work may not be as obviously stylised as directors like Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan - as Phantom Thread’s more radical cinematography proves – but every project is stroked with a creativity specific to the unique mind of Paul Thomas Anderson. Below we’ll unpack some of his most idiosyncratic choices. There Will Be Obsession The director has often been criticised for being overly fastidious, a complaint Burt Reynolds made public in the run up to the release of Boogie Nights (1997), so perhaps it is no surprise that obsession has been the central theme for many of his projects. In one of many appearances in Anderson films, Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the titular character in The Master (2012), where he is at the helm of an alternative-thinking cult. His behaviour is demanding, and he often loses his calm demeanour when members of the public challenge his outlandish ideas. He is a man so entrapped by his own ideology, that he fails to recognise how his methodology has started to become contradictory. Similarly, Woodock in Phantom Thread (2018) is so engrossed in his dress designs, he struggles to welcome any change in his life – to a point where he can’t help but being cruel to those who disturb his artistic process. To include such a theme transcends his own concerns as a filmmaker, is he too much of a perfectionist? Is it healthy to be so dedicated? As he has matured, he has supposedly calmed down and with the well-documented news that Phantom Thread was based upon his own illness and allowing himself to be dependent on his wife, perhaps he is learning.

‘Whether it’s the 70s jukebox soundtrack of Boogie Nights, or the delicate piano of Phantom Thread, he can perfectly encapsulate an era or mood.’

The Master and Apprentice Another dynamic theme central to many of his films is a master and apprenticeship relationship. Anderson’s first feature length piece was the excellent character study Hard Eight (1996) which saw veteran gambler Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) help out John, played by a young John C. Reilly. Anderson excels in making these relations as complicated as possible. Although Sydney seems altruistic on the surface, he is in fact masking a secret that makes him all the more responsible for John’s wellbeing. Likewise, in Boogie Nights, the ever-shifting dynamic of Dirk Diggler and Jack Horner as porn-actor and director, swaps intermittently between a pseudo father and son relationship to a hateful and vengeful one. This paternal conflict is also reminiscent of Hoffman and Phoenix’s interaction in The Master, where hatred, love, and disrespect are all aspects of the dysfunctional and intoxicating comradeship.

GAME NIGHT

ANNIHILATION

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a couple who hang out and play games with their friends on the regular, but one night they find themselves swept up into a real-life murder mystery and it’s one game they really better win.

Said to be Alex Garland’s spiritual sequel to Ex Machina, Annihilation follows a female led cast of Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh on a dangerous expedition testing the limits of the natural world. Based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, it’s an action packed exploration of a fantasy world with dangers hidden inside.

Tracking Shots as Long as Dirk Diggler’s…. Anderson has been notorious for deploying long tracking shots. They allow for the eccentricity and fast paced nature of his scenes to feel vibrant and throw you right into the action. In Punch-Drunk Love (2002), the technique is used magnificently to stress the muddled nature of Barry’s (Adam Sandler) anxious state of mind, as he meanders awkward encounters with a jittery charm. In Boogie Nights, the opening shot is disorientating as the camera rotates around the titular neon sign above the club. This then leads into a tracking shot which eventually places the audience right into the action of the seedy bar, where the atmosphere of the 1970s is made almost tangible. This creates a voyeuristic quality where you feel as if you are the camera simply observing real life – a method used to great effect in all of his movies. Hard Eight-Track Anderson’s soundtrack choices are always spot on as he never fails to capture the precise atmosphere of the films he creates. Whether it’s the 70s jukebox soundtrack of Boogie Nights, or the delicate piano of Phantom Thread, he can perfectly encapsulate an era or mood. One musical trope he is particularly adept at executing is the juxtaposition between mood and reality. A great example being the shootout that occurs to the upbeat sound of Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl in Boogie Nights, as blood and 80s beats intermingle hilariously. EJ


Issue 30

44 | The Essential Journal

CULTURE

5 Books for the Month Ahead words by DAVEY BRETT & WILL HALBERT

Including the latest novel from the author of Submarine, food for thought, the female Bukowski and the history of our closed cities

THE ADULTERANTS JOE DUNTHORNE By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Dunthorne’s The Adulterants dances effortlessly between drunken wit and sobering emotional intimacy. The long-anticipated follow-up to the award-winning novels Submarine and Wild Abandon, Dunthorne’s third outing offers a caustically charming dissection of modern everyman and all-round malcontent, Ray Morris. Set to the backdrop of the 2011 London Riots, The Adulterants chronicles Ray’s increasingly inept responses to a series of catastrophic - and largely self-inflicted - scandals. All of which would have the makings of a rather touching coming-of-age novel, were it not for the fact that Ray is already kneedeep in his thirties and should damn well know better. The Adulterants (Hamish Hamilton) is out now

BUILDING AND DWELLING: ETHICS FOR THE CITY RICHARD SENNETT

BIRDS OF AMERICA MARY MCCARTHY

It’s easy to be intimidated by what might seem like dense sociological writing. Especially if said writing comes courtesy of an academic who used to rub shoulders with the likes of Susan Sontag and Michel Foucault, but Building and Dwelling is surprisingly readable. Tracing the relationship between how cities are built and how people live in them, the book takes readers on a journey around the world and through history to see how the ‘closed’ city is spreading from the global North to the exploding global South. Never short of richness, Sennett’s ability to inform whilst being highly persuasive is why he’s one of the world’s leading thinkers.

To mark exactly a hundred years (this month) since the passing of the Representation of the People Act, beginning the inclusion of women in the UK political system, Penguin have brought four neglected classics from female writers back to print. Our pick of the new Penguin Women’s Writers series is Mary McCarthy’s lesser known Birds of America, which brings to mind the teenage angst of Catcher in the Rye, but with a political conscience. Environmentalism, war and a rejection of consumerism are all intertwined with the lead character’s summer in Rocky Port and schooling in Paris. Full of hilarious and extremely honest one-liners, Birds is a novel that’s as relevant now as it was at the time of its release.

Building and Dwelling (Allen Lane) is out on 22 February

Birds of America (Penguin) is out now

BRAIN FOOD: HOW TO EAT SMART AND SHARPEN YOUR MIND DR LISA MOSCONI

HOW TO MURDER YOUR LIFE CAT MARNELL

A lot of what Dr Lisa Mosconi puts forward shouldn’t be a surprise to most. We’re living longer, which is great, but this doesn’t necessarily mean a better quality of life in later years. Unsurprisingly, a balanced and varied diet is good for our health and processed foods are bad for us. What might come as a surprise however, is that less than 1 percent of the population develop Alzheimer’s disease because of a rare genetic mutation of their DNA. This points towards lifestyle, with Mosconi highlighting the influence of diet. A welcome change from sensationalist newspaper science, but by no means a shortcut to eternal life, Brain Food is a fascinating look at the brain and its evolution, with dietary advice on how to keep it healthy. Brain Food (Penguin Life) is out now

It was the female Bukowski comparisons that first brought Cat Marnell to our attention and after perusing her graphic and brutally honest Amphetamine Logic columns for VICE, we knew the inevitable book would be a page turner. Charting her turbulent career as beauty editor of Conde Nast title, Lucky, How To Murder Your Life is an addiction novel of equal parts hilarity and misery. As is so often the case with such biting honesty, there’s spots of wisdom and softness among the despair. How To Murder Your Life (Ebury) is out now


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 45

COLUMN

words by IAIN HOSKINS

The Iain Hoskins Column

Photography by Zhifei Zhou

Style is dead. In its place is the bland, the disposable, the repetitious and the ugly. Prince Charles is right, modern architecture is rubbish

A

ctress Lauren Bacall called it when she bemoaned that film stars aren’t lit properly for the screen anymore. Standards and quality thresholds have been replaced with an epidemic of casual slackness, surface aesthetics and lack of appreciation for the very best, in this fast, throw-away world. Okay, so nostalgia often means that when looking back - you only reaffirm your own perspective of what you are looking for. However, bring me one person who doesn’t think that the past was better for fashion, style and craftsmanship. Architecture is probably the most obvious example; the Victorian and Edwardian streetways with their beautiful, characterful boulevards with wonderful unique buildings inspired often by the imperial ages of the Romans and ancient Greeks with materials used and crafted in similar ways to pre-industrialisation. For any of us living in metropolitan cities, the failures and successes of architectural styles are

all around us. On one hand technology and construction developments have allowed us to re-use previously abandoned warehouses, factories and turn them into dwellings. But do modern developers know how to build with curves anymore; everything is box-like, production line and I was going to say cookie-cutter, but even cookies are round. It’s just depressing that the majority of new buildings that we live and work in are just steel framed, four walls and cladded to hide the banality of what’s underneath. It’s Meccano living, IKEA flatpack homes for the modern generation. Okay, there are some exceptions, usually in London, but our fabulous regional cities are in danger of looking like Slough (sorry Slough, but it’s true). They all look the same. Everything seems to have shrunk; quality, size, height materials – all except price. The skill to build properties from brick, stone, wood - real materials, has all but disappeared. Lost skills never to be used again. And don’t get me started on plastic windows. Unless you’re a lab-rat, why would anyone want to

live in triple glazed plastic box? Cross the channel and walk round old Paris or Barcelona - that’s how you design a city. Huge ornate buildings with decorative features, you could look at a thousand times and still see something new. Some would say most of the frills that adorned Victorian properties were unnecessary. But they were built to look pretty, tell a story and most importantly they were created by someone with an eye for style and not just for punching numbers into a computer. The old buildings as practical as they were for that time, were in fact a work of art. With so many ugly, uninspiring buildings (by the way it’s a worldwide disease, even new builds in Rome and Paris are as bad as the stuff we chuck up), you would expect that surely part of the council planning department’s raison d’être is to question style and quality. And to the idiots who’ll paint their house bright pink, yellow or blue on a terraced street, it’s not self-expression, it just looks shit. EJ


46 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30


Issue 30

The Essential Journal | 47

COLUMN

words by DAVEY BRETT

Gents, we need to talk about:

SOCIAL MEDIA

In the eighth instalment of our regular column – in which we use our pondering skills to delve deep into clichés, stereotypes, and seemingly unimportant male-orientated issues – we consider social media, a virtual world where nobody steps in dogshit

G

ents, I’m leaving social media. I’ve had enough, I don’t trust it anymore and I’m kicking the habit. I won’t miss your memes, your choreographed happiness, your pugs or your hilarious one liners. I’m committing to the real world, a world where jokes aren’t pictures with words on them and where real dogs exist, ones that are big, don’t wear clothes and don’t suffer from breathing problems. I am excited for this world. A world of eye contact, of food without endless cheese on it, of cafes without cats in them. A world of debate and truth, where people occasionally step in dogshit. I, like you, am addicted to social media. I absolutely detest the fact that I am, but I definitely am. I have tried blocking it on my computer, but its addictive and seemingly essential tendrils have weaved their way into my daily life to such a degree that I always seem to slip back into old habits. I block it, but then I need to update the work Facebook account. I delete apps from my phone, but then I need to organise 5-aside. The dream is always: Nip in, communicate, nip out. The reality is: nip in, communicate, watch a video of a car driving around on two wheels, send a gif

of a highland cow and scroll, then log out twenty odd minutes later, feeling bad about wasting time. A change is definitely needed. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone full on sandwich board preacher. I know that history is fraught with technological advancements-related pant shitting, from Gessner’s response to the Gotenberg printing press to the editor of The Daily Express being terrified of John Logie Baird, the Scottish bloke that invented the first television (“He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless. Watch him - he may have a razor on him.”). I can’t help but feel it’s different this time though, it’s bigger, closer, parading in plain sight, attacking democracy, privacy and open debate. It’s easy to speculate on psychological effects, but Facebook’s own studies show that passive use can make people feel worse and funnily enough, their antidote is to engage more. Other research shows that social media is damaging for young people’s mental health and week-long breaks can boost wellbeing. What’s especially interesting is Facebook’s own people speaking up. Sean Parker, Facebook founding president (Justin Timberlake in 2010’s The Social Network) has openly admitted

to media website Axios that he’s ‘something of a conscientious objector’ on social media. The former vice-president of user growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, went even deeper, telling an audience at Stanford Business School of his “tremendous guilt” about working on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” Of course, Facebook isn’t the only platform at fault, Twitter is a toxic echo chamber, but it’s telling that Zuckerberg sits atop an empire that counts four of the five most popular phone apps as its own. There are obvious barriers to my upcoming social media endeavor. Communication being the main one. It’s going to be difficult organising 5-aside without a group chat. It’ll be less convenient keeping in touch with far-flung friends and it will be harder navigating press contacts without Twitter. There’s the possibility of missing out on events and there’s even the possibility of alienating myself slightly. It’s also easy to forget that communication is bigger than social media. Communication existed before Facebook and Whatsapp, just like creativity existed before Instagram, inspiration existed before Pinterest and opinion existed before Twitter. Time to reset and return to the real world. EJ


48 | The Essential Journal

Issue 30

Essential Journal Issue 30  

How’re those new year’s resolutions going? On track, I hope. This month we’ve been out and about, talking to some fascinating people. We’ve...

Essential Journal Issue 30  

How’re those new year’s resolutions going? On track, I hope. This month we’ve been out and about, talking to some fascinating people. We’ve...