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Delving into Barbour's iconic waxed jacket

Jaguar I-PACE: Performance meets innovation

Celebrating locally- sourced and seasonally-selected

Postcards from Belfast & Edinburgh

Looking forward to the Liverpool Biennial 2018

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Issue 33 | The Essential Journal




One look inside the New Range Rover and you’ll instantly see its appeal. The first-class travel experience offers executive four-seat luxury with up to 40° powered recline and calf rests, while a centrally deployed console adds five seat versatility. Inside and out, you can be assured the New Range Rover is naturally attractive. Book a test drive today and experience the New Range Rover for yourself. Hatfields Land Rover Liverpool Riverside Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 4EN 0151 559 3000

Official Fuel Consumption Figures for the Range Rover range (excluding PHEV) in mpg (I/100km): Urban 15.7-36.2 (18.0-7.8); Extra Urban 28.5-44.1 (9.9-6.4); Combined 22.1-40.9 (12.8-6.9). CO2 emissions: 294-182 g/km. PHEV in mpg (l/100km): Combined 101 (2.8). CO2 emissions: 64 g/km. Official EU Test Figures. For comparative purposes only. Real world figures may differ. Interior shown is Autobiography Long Wheelbase in Ebony/Vintage Tan with Shadow Walnut Veneer.


Contents Middle Eight


THE PRIMER A rundown of where we’ve been visiting, who we’ve been talking to and what we’ve been reading this month


ONE THING DONE WELL Our series of brands doing one item of clothing especially well continues with the iconic Barbour waxed jacket

15 MAKING THE CUT Richard Anderson discusses working class roots, a youth tailoring revival and a progressive approach to womenswear

16 Talking Shop: Liberty London

19 THE BEST OF BRITISH BESPOKE Pondering the return of the artisan, the power of the suit, and the beauty of British bespoke with Liverpool tailors, Harland Collier

We sit down with London department store icons, Liberty London

33 FABRIC OF BRITAIN Tracing a topography of textiles across the UK 34 AN ODE TO THE BARBERSHOP The life, death and rebirth of the humble barbershop 36 A HANDSOME HOME British design in dining table form 37 WELCOME TO THE FAMILY Previewing the all-new, all-electric addition to the Jaguar PACE range

21 Adventures in Shoe Country We travelled to the epicenter of British luxury shoe manufacturing to meet the people behind the world’s finest shoes

40 BY APPOINTMENT ONLY The Royal Warrant, a testament to the extravagant, but also the oddball


41 HIGH SPIRITS Liz Lock of The Whisky Exchange talks us through a month in the world of fine spirits

42 THE DRINKS ROUND-UP We talk to the guys at Tiny Rebel Brewing and serve up some summer sipping suggestions 43 HOT OFF THE PASS We sit down with two culinary authorities to talk loving local and beer-fed beef 44 RECIPE: MOTHER BUTTER CHICKEN A simple and vibrant take on the nation’s favourite dish, courtesy of Mowgli Street Food Cookbook 46 POSTCARDS: BELFAST & EDINBURGH Focusing on city secrets and neighbourhoods under transformation, those in the know lend some generous guidance to unsuspecting visitors 48 LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL Our pick of some of the artists behind the 10th Liverpool Biennial: Beautiful world, where are you? 51 THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO: TEA Choice tips and knowledge for brewing the nation’s favourite hot beverage 52 BOOKS FOR THE MONTH AHEAD Featuring wine and music pairings and exciting developments in psychedelics and mental health 53 THE IAIN HOSKINS COLUMN A not-so-romantic take on the idea of reunions 54 GENTS, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT: MANNERS A word on manners: your priceless gift to the world

Partner Content

Hugo Boss and the Summer of Ease Showcasing stripped-back sartorial styles, laid-back cuts and breezy fabrics for the summer ahead

Online web @essentialjournal @essentialjournal @TEJOURNAL

CONTRIBUTORS Bethan Thomas Christine James Ellis Barrie Iain Hoskins Laura Robertson Liz Lock Megan Storey Niall Thomas Nick Collier Peter Harland Rhys Paul Jones Richard Anderson Shaun Donnelly Tommy Banks Uli Dick

PUBLISHERS Singleton Publishing


EDITOR Davey Brett

For all advertising enquiries please contact:


For all other enquiries including guest editorial and feature opportunities please contact:

STAFF WRITER Will Halbert DESIGNER Jennifer Swaby INTERN Megan Storey FRONT COVER Sean Connery (Shawshots / Alamy Stock Photo)

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

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 any 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.


The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Issue 33 | The Essential Journal


The Primer

“A man should look as if he has


image credit: 'Barbour' Courtesy of Barbour

bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.” - Hardy Amies JOHN SMEDLEY & BARBOUR

A note from the editor The British have always been good at style. Curse them for their questionable politics, their dubious past and subsequently their karma-induced weather, but on a whole, quintessential British style is pretty faultless. Great shoes (this issue we travelled to Northamptonshire), the world’s best tailors (we chatted to Richard Anderson), iconic jackets (we visited Barbour HQ in South Shields), the best department stores (talking shop with Liberty London) and now the best electric cars (we welcomed in the Jaguar I-Pace).

We’ve been out and about in the name of British heritage. Firstly, it was over to John Smedley for a peruse of the AW18 collection, which for the darker months, is surprisingly bright. Substantial fabrics continue from last year (Alpaca!) and there’s some interesting uses of subtly reflective materials. Barbour were next up, with the launch of their Shirt Department’s SS18 collection. Keen to provide tailored smart casual shirts that stand up to country and city living, the collection is awash with classic highland checks and country ginghams, but also a spot of linen. Designer Andy McMullan and co have been careful to stamp well-known styles (gingham for instance) with a unique colour or shade.;


Not to mention better food than people give them credit for (talking British ingredients with our favourite chefs), inspired cocktails (upgrade your gin) so much milk in your tea.



DAVID COGGINS For the last two months we’ve (our editor has) been fascinated by style expert and contributing editor to Conde Nast Traveller, David Coggins. The gateway drug to Coggins - whose work has featured in the likes of Esquire, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Continuous Lean - is his upcoming book Men and Manners. Following a similar and extremely satisfying format to his previous book, Men and Style, his latest collates advice, essays and wisdom into a diverse and entertaining guide. Whilst some of it might be stuffy and whimsically metropolitan, Coggins has a knack for reminding you of the details and rituals that make for a pleasant, well-rounded gentleman. Men and Style (Abrams) is out now; Men and Manners (Abrams) is out 15 May




Never before has a documentary made us want to go out and spend money on clothes like this one did. Telling the story of unsung British menswear hero, John Simons, who introduced the post-war American Ivy League look to London through his various shops, Simons’ savvy eye for menswear has inspired generations of mods, skins and suedeheads to this day. Most fascinating about the documentary however, is the passionate and comprehensive tributes from talking heads including Paul Weller, Suggs, Dylan Jones and Bill Elms. Highlighting Simons as not just a shopkeeper - but a passionate designer, curator and artist - Lee Cogwell’s film is a fitting tribute to the man who named the Harrington jacket and pioneered one of the few truly timeless styles in menswear.

If you ever find yourself travelling around Northamptonshire in the name of shoes and need a place to stay, look no further than Rushton Hall. The Grade I-listed luxury hotel situated on the outskirts of Kettering is the perfect escape, whether for business or pleasure. Set against a backdrop of magnificent grounds, Rushton Hall boasts 51 individually styled luxury bedrooms, the only 3 rosette fine dining restaurant in Northamptonshire and a luxurious spa. Most impressive however, is the hotel’s Great Hall where guests can enjoy a drink or afternoon tea. The space is said to have inspired Charles Dickens, specifically the venue for which Miss Havisham’s wedding breakfast was laid out.

The Association of Photographers is 50 years old. What better way to celebrate than an exclusive exhibition? Charting a half century in definitive imagery, AOP50, is a major retrospective comprising of iconic images by some of the world’s most well-known and respected photographers. Notable names behind the lens include Nadav Kander, Duffy, Tim Flach, Tessa Traeger and Tim Hetherington, but it was Alan Brooking’s The Pregnant Man Poster (pictured, right) that stood out. The infamous 1969 poster carried the caption ‘Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?’ and was a creative attempt by the Family Planning Association to encourage the use of contraception amid the wave of sexual liberation.

Out now;

AOP50: Images that Defined the Age runs from 18 April to 1 June; Lobby of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London; free entry


The Essential Journal | Issue 33

image credit: 'Rushton Hall' Lara Poynor

and a faultless national hot drink (guess). Enjoy the issue and stop putting

image credit: Alan Brooking

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal



The Essential Journal | Issue 33


10 The Barbour Waxed Jacket One Thing Done Well

Our series of brands doing one item of

clothing especially well continues with

the iconic Barbour waxed jacket

words and photography by Davey BRETT

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal




f you want to learn about the history and anatomy of the Barbour Wax Jacket, go speak to Gary Janes at Barbour HQ in South Shields. Barbour’s Design and Development Manager exudes wisdom. Dealing with the jacket’s evolution on a daily basis, Janes also set up the company’s jacket archive, which contains items that date back over a hundred years and catalogues that go back even further. When I ask him where it all began, he walks over to a pale ragged overcoat with a beacon label. “The Uncle Harry’s Coat.” To understand a Barbour jacket, Janes tells me, you need to understand the origins of Barbour, and to understand the origins of Barbour, you need to first consider their home in South Shields. Situated at the the mouth of the River Tyne, the area was a crucial hub for coal, steel and shipbuilding from the industrial revolution onwards. Seeing an opportunity to clothe a large, mainly male workforce, founder John Barbour headed down from Scotland to supply them with waxed garments. As Janes points out, the idea of oiled clothing was nothing new. “What fisherman used to do, going back to the 1400s, was have cotton jackets to keep warm, layering up with wools and things like that. One way of protection [was] when they were gutting out the fish, they used to spread oil onto their own jackets. Just spread it all over. It wouldn’t make them completely waterproof, but it would make them more waterproof.” Further protection came in the form of tar (which was used for waterproofing wooden boats, hence British sailors being called ‘Jack Tars’), but when the tar dried and became brittle, garments would crack at the elbow, allowing water to seep into a sensitive temperature receptor - hence “the elbow test.” The perfect medium between a pungent fish oiled coat and a crunchy tar mac? The waxed jacket. A mixture of beeswax and other chemicals were originally used for the fabric, with copper sulphates added to make the fabric rot-proof, giving the fabric its green colour. “The great thing about waxed cotton,” Janes tells me, “[is that] it’s a non-static fabric. It dries out where it wears. [The jackets] become quite personal quite quickly and they also mould to your own body. When it’s cold, they go a bit harder and when it's warm they go a bit softer. They live and breathe.” The first throws of the Barbour jacket as we know it, came in the form of the ‘Gamefair’. Moving away from kitting out the industrial masses, Barbour turned their attention to outdoor leisure pursuits and in particular, fishing. It’s here that the evolution of specific features begins. The ‘bellow pocket’ (‘cargo’, if you’re American) appears at the bottom of the jacket and storm cuffs are incorporated into sleeves so that when you lift your arm, water doesn’t trickle down to the elbow. The ‘Beaufort’ soon followed, setting the scene for the quintessential Barbour jacket, with production continuing to this day. Despite being absorbed into 12

Clockwise from top left: A close-up of the Barbour Uncle Harry's Coat; the worn sleeve of a Barbour jacket in for repairs; tartan components waiting to be stitched in the Simonside factory

fashion, the Barbour waxed jacket has never sacrificed practicality. As Janes talks me through each coat in the archive, there’s pragmatic reasoning behind every detail. Most wearers won’t spot it, but it’s there. Janes and his team couldn’t physically attempt to approach a waxed jacket without pragmatism in mind. Hand warming breast pockets remain robustly stitched, even if they no longer serve their original purpose of a place to keep hands warm whilst supporting a gun in the crook of the arm. The ‘Beedale’ sugar cube pockets (for horse riders) may have been replaced, but the lower back button vents still remain, with horse riders in mind so that the back of the jacket falls over a saddle. Even the iconic Barbour tartan has an ulterior motive. Granted, founder John Barbour’s Scottish heritage plays a part, but so does tartan’s ability to camouflage dirt, which proves helpful in a garment that you can’t wash. Janes continues to show me a host of jackets of varying ages, some for leisure pursuits,

others military issue, but all have in common a sense of identity and pragmatism. That, and they all look timeless. The sort of jackets that even when hanging lonely on the peg, hint at a life well lived. To this day, waxed jackets are still made over the road from the Barbour headquarters in Simonside. The factory can produce up to 50 different styles, however the key styles made there are the classic waxed jackets; Bedale, Beaufort (men’s) and the Beadnell (women’s). The factory has an approximate output of 120,000 - 140,000 jackets per year. The process itself is one of extreme precision, more so than most. A Barbour jacket has to be waterproof and a slip of the machine would foil its purpose. As well as producing jackets at Simonside, Barbour also repairs them. The jacket repairs department rivals the archive, with its rails of beautifully worn and damaged garments. The demise of each is written on an attached label and although most have been worn

"Despite being absorbed into fashion, the Barbour waxed jacket has never sacrificed practicality."

from years of usage, others have more unique stories. Dogs, jealous partners and a variety of agricultural equipment have all torn their way through prized jackets and it’s a testament to the quality of the product that people insist on repairs. Rumour has it that when the Queen is offered a new waxed jacket, she politely declines and instead insists on repairs. When quizzed on another brand doing one thing well, Gary suggests Anonymous-ism socks but due to the folks from Danner boots touring the factory with us, it’s also worth mentioning them. Like Barbour, the Oregon-based bootmakers reflect their Portland home and produce a unique product that has been partially absorbed into fashion, but still prides itself on being optimised for function. They, more than most understand a garment that is worth investing in, that becomes personal, that serves its purpose and only gets better with time. EJ The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Issue 33 | The Essential Journal



Making the

Richard Anderson’s latest book is an intriguing alternative look at Savile Row, telling the stories behind some of his most unique garments. We caught up with the man himself to discuss working class roots, a youth tailoring revival and progressive approaches to womenswear on the Row

words by Davey BRETT

image credit: Courtesy of Richard Anderson


ichard Anderson is no stranger to doing things differently. Not only does a walk past his Savile Row shop window confirm this, but so does his latest book. Following on from his popular debut ‘Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed’, a refreshing and charismatic account of a working class lad climbing the Row’s golden ladder, his latest provides a completely different take on the classic tailoring book. Taking a more visual approach, ‘Making The Cut’ is a fascinating retrospective of some of Anderson’s most interesting bespoke garments, with background into the fabrics, why the garments were made, who wore them and a smattering of technical detail. Garments range from denim suits to fabulous sequin jackets, exemplifying Anderson’s inspired approach to menswear. We caught up with Anderson for a spot of tailoring chat. What was the process like of putting the book together? It’s an interesting approach. First of all, I wanted to do something completely different to the first book, so it had to have the visual aspect of a coffee table book. I just thought, we’re known here for using different fabrics and different styles that other tailors wouldn’t do, so I thought that might be a fun thing to do and people might be interested in 25 iconic, but fairly different flavours of garment that we’ve put together over the last four or five years. Duffle coats, bomber jackets, I mean nobody else would make that on Savile Row. The sequin dinner jacket [had an] unbelievable reaction. Five or six people at a time taking photographs of it, coming in asking about it. I thought there was some mileage in our more interest-

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

ing garments. Most of the books on Savile Row up until that point were dry biographies that didn’t really inject any humour or charisma. Were you nervous when you first started on Savile Row? It was a great experience to be thrown into that environment at a young age and you’re in the fitting room with Gregory Peck. You’re not speaking, you’re just observing, but how fabulous is that? Learning how to behave in front of that sort of person. At that age I was a typical rebellious teenager and the discipline that the traditional apprenticeship taught me was invaluable. A lot of people couldn’t handle it, you’ve got to call everyone sir, all that sort of thing, but I loved it. It was tough of course, you might do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing, but your bosses would soon point it out and you’d never do it again. With a push for equality in the workplace, especially in the corporate environment, can you see a bigger market for women’s bespoke suiting? From a customer side, I was taught to cut for a woman and it’s a completely different way of cutting obviously from the man’s way. It’s something I have always done here. It’s been a very small part of our business, maybe five per cent but in the last three or four years, it’s really increased. I’ve probably got about 20/25 women that we’re making for at the moment. As you say, it’s a mixture of business suits, but also some overcoats, some blazers. We cut quite classical garments, with a softer shoulder to the man’s. We’ve got some very loyal female customers, in fact I’ve got one due in today. A lot of the Savile Row companies do not want to or can’t cut for women. I’ve always enjoyed it actually.

That’s on one side. On the making side, the cutting side, you see a big swing – I’ve got two excellent female tailors on the cutting side in their twenties. One’s been with me for seven years, the other has been with me for five years. They’re producing fabulous work, so the barriers on both sides have been broken down actually. Do you ever hope for a youth revival in tailoring? Something akin to the mods? It would be great, but I think if you go back to the mods and the teddy boys, they were rebelling against their parents generation. Their parents, who would’ve been 35 or 40 years old, they would have been in cardigans and trousers. Nowadays, parents of that generation are dressing like their kids really. I’m not sure you’d have a big explosion like we did before. It would be fun if we did though, kind of like the punk thing and revolutionizing everything.

We need to get everyone listening to jazz again. [laughs] Yes! Something like that. What do you wear on the weekends? I dress very classic during the week, Monday to Friday we wear our own clothes here and at the weekend, depending on the season I’ll wear a moleskin suit, linen suit or tweed. Something a little more contemporary in fabric. I won’t wear a tie. Twin it with a white shirt or a blue shirt, maybe a t-shirt depending on the mood, so I still maintain a certain level. I like some denim as well. I don’t slip out of here and go into beach shorts and flip flops. Who on Savile Row do you have a soft spot for? You know, it’s like a little village, everyone knows everyone. Everyone has their own little styles but I think we all get on well. Henry Poole & Co are great, they haven’t sacrificed any quality. Anderson and Sheppard for their softer style is excellent, the Americans love that. Dege as

well and our friends at Huntsman. I think Savile Row is in a strong position, as long as the cutters and tailors maintain the quality. Where do you see the future of Savile Row? People will always want individual pieces of clothing. I don’t think for one minute that the suit is going to die, it’s still a smart and easy way for men to dress. It’s got all the pockets, you can put your mobile phone in, it’s so functional and as I said, we’ve got so many young people coming in right now. It’s a question of supply and demand. My schedule is booked up for the next three months, I can’t speak for other tailors. We’re expanding, we’re going to take a bigger space with a workshop and I’m looking to expand our ready to wear range. It’s all about progression for now.

Making The Cut (Thames & Hudson) is out now; 15


In the third part of our regular series, in which we chat to the folks in charge of our favourite menswear stores, this month we speak to Laura Robertson, Menswear Buyer at iconic department store Liberty London words by Davey BRETT


he iconic frontage of Liberty London is built on one man’s dream. The story goes that when founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty first began planning his department store, his dream was to metaphorically dock a ship among the streets of central London. Said metaphorical ship (or ‘dream boat’, depending on your preference), laden with luxuries and fabrics would cater to a wealthy society intoxicated by Japan and the East. With its inspired approach to clothing, it would challenge the fashions of Paris. Although he never lived to see the Tudor-inspired facade of his Liberty store, one of London’s (and thus, one of the world’s) most famous shop fronts, there’s no doubt that he would’ve appreciated its majesty. The exterior is one of history, alluding to the enchantment that awaits visitors inside. To this day, Liberty remains true to its heritage, striving for the new and exciting against a backdrop 16

of the classic. Oscar Wilde famously said, ‘Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper’. Although his words sum up all six floors, they are especially relevant to the menswear department. Recently revamped, the department unlike other stores, is one of surprises, new brands, new designers, splashes of colour, something to be excited about visiting. There’s an ode to British sensibilities but there’s also an international attitude, keeping old Arthur’s original sensibilities in mind. We caught up with Liberty Menswear Buyer, Laura Robertson to talk history, championing British designers and steering the good ship Liberty on the winds of stylish and exciting menswear. EJ Tell us about Liberty London, how long has it been going for? Founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875, Liberty is one of the most iconic department stores in the world. It is known for not just its floral and graphic prints but

also the stunning Tudor-inspired exterior. The building is Grade II-listed and crafted from two ships - the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan – and the frontage on Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan. The emporium was designed by Edwin Thomas Hall and his son, Edwin Stanley Hall. They designed the building at the height of the 1920s fashion for Tudor revival. The shop was engineered around three light wells that formed the main focus of the building. Each of these wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homely feel. Many of the rooms had fireplaces, a lot of which still exist to this day. What brands do you stock in the menswear department? Are there any exclusives? What can a customer expect? Liberty has become famous for its refined edit and exclusive product. We’re recognised for championing new emerging British talent and keeping a mixture of unexpected

We are launching their BPay Straps, so that you can tap and pay with your watch strap. We have also just exclusively launched Maria Black jewellery which we are really excited about. What has it been like working with these brands? Due to the historical significance of Liberty, as well as the success of the revamped menswear floor, brands have been fantastic to work with and we maintain a close relationship with some of the world’s best. We have a close relationship with Dries Van Noten who chose Liberty as the location to sign his stunning new book, 1-100. That was a pretty special moment. We have the largest Dries corner in the UK and have a group of customers that we call the minute a new season lands. We see ourselves as more of a large boutique than a department store and due to our size, we are able to work with smaller brands and showcase them in our own way without them being lost or swallowed up by the rest of the floor. Is there a typical customer you cater for? What's their style? The Liberty customer has a good idea of what he wants when he enters the store, but also loves surprises and the addition of new and exciting brands. We work hard to make sure we are always bringing newness to the floor, and we travel all over the globe to source brands that our customer may not have come across before. The Liberty London man is a creative guy, not The Essential Journal | Issue 33

image credit: courtesy of Liberty London

Talking Shop: Liberty London

and ever-evolving brands.Therefore, the customer can always expect a highly curated selection of some of the world’s best menswear, ready to wear and accessories brands. We have bricks and mortar exclusive brands such as Studio Nicholson, Daniel W Fletcher, Editions M.R (to name a few) and exclusive products created for us by brands such as Katharine Hamnett and Bruta. Championing British is something we are very proud of here at Liberty. For example, we swept up Daniel W Fletcher straight from LFWM. We have also curated a Japanese area within our denim department with brands such as Beams, Fabric Denim Brand & Co, KAPITAL, FDMTL and Needles (from AW18), many of which are central London exclusives. At the moment we have a pop up from Hawaiian Surf brand Salvage Public. One of the founders of the brand, Joe, flew over from Waikiki beach and brought with him an exclusive surfboard made by a guy called Toots especially for us. He is legendary around Hawaii for shaping boards; we have a video they made for us projecting on the wall in menswear and it shows him shaving boards and surfing, he’s such a cool dude. It’s so great to be able to work with smaller unknown brands in that respect and create something special. We also launched a Swedish watch brand called Kronaby who have created a selection of smart watches that don’t look like your typical smart watch. They are amazing and extremely popular.


“Liberty has become famous for its refined edit and exclusive product. We’re recognised for championing new emerging British talent and keeping a mixture of unexpected and ever-evolving brands.”

primarily brand driven but driven by style, quality and design. Some might come to hang out, explore our collections and swap the hustle and bustle for a welcoming and homely environment to shop in. We have a really loyal and local following which is crazy considering our location in such a high tourist area. We’re worth venturing into central for. How does your store fit into the London style scene? London is such an eclectic place, you really can’t put a signature style on the capital. Londoners are so diverse, and therefore their clothing reflects that. That’s what makes it, in my opinion, the best city in the world - its diversity. What trends are shining through at the moment? At Liberty, we are always driven by fabrics. Hot for the season ahead is corduroy (a Liberty menswear favourite) in rich earthy colours Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

such as rusts, camels and mustards. For Autumn Winter 18 we have the most amazing Levis Vintage jacket which is a patchwork of different coloured corduroy. There are only 25 for sale in the UK. I snapped up a fair few of these for the floor! The colour of the AW18 season at Liberty is green and it makes up just over ten percent of our total menswear buy. It’s a colour that compliments the dark wood of Liberty which we love so much and we even decked out our designer room in it. The Puffer Coat is a trend we saw crop up throughout last Autumn Winter and will be seeing again this year. Next season however, it’s more exaggerated and oversized, in a range of colours, textures and styles. The Puffer Coat has been extremely popular at Liberty. 17



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The Best of British Bespoke We sit down with Peter Harland, Nick Collier and Rhys Paul Jones of Liverpool's Harland Collier to ponder the return of the artisan, the power of the suit, and the beauty of bespoke words by Will HALBERT photography by Thomas SUMNER


hen you really think about it,’ says Nick Collier, ‘the suit is the greatest weapon in a man’s daily arsenal. With it, he’s ready for anything the day has to throw at him.’ He’s not wrong. After all, a wellmade, well-tailored suit speaks volumes before you’ve even said a word. It changes how you feel, how you carry yourself, and how

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

people react to you. It betrays quiet confidence and an unparalleled eye for the finer details. And in terms of silhouette and composition, it will do you more favours than six months at the gym. ‘The art is in the figurations,’ adds Store Manager, Rhys. ‘Figurations go beyond simple measurements and are actually built around your body’s own, particular features.’ Those slouches, asymmetries, and quirks in posture that we all pick up along the way? Figurations offset those little traits to produce a one-of-a-kind suit that’s made specifically for its wearer. Over the last 48 years, Harland Collier has garnered a well-earned reputation as one of the best bespoke tailors outside of London’s Savile Row. But for all of their sartorial knowhow, Harland Collier remains humble and approachable. In Nick’s own words: ‘We don’t see ourselves as a shop, there’s a whole experience that goes along with buying a suit. It’s a rite of passage of sorts; every man should go through it.’ And it would appear that more and more men are getting on board

with the idea. With a marked increase in gents rejecting the limitations of off-the-rail garments, we’re witnessing a rediscovery of the charm and style of the traditional British suit. With throw-away fashion slowly but surely losing ground to longer-term fashion investments and more sustainable options, the humble tailor has also made something of a comeback as both a bastion of heritage and a master of innovation. Outlining the typical underpinnings of the traditional British suit, Peter Harland highlights a few constants: ‘strong shoulders, stiff and exactingly-measured silhouettes, and closely-cropped, waisted jackets are hallmarks of a quintessentially British style.’ So too are more formal and ornamental flourishes such as waistcoats and double-breasted jackets (with a slight leaning towards wider lapels of late). These are the features that make up Harland Collier’s iconic house pattern, though they invite tweaks and touches from more recent trends and evolutions in silhouettes. For instance, everything seems to have shifted down a size:

‘Those comfortable in a 42 chest, for example, are now apt to size down one for a slimmer, more flattering fit,’ says Nick. ‘Breaks are almost a thing of the past, with a flash of sock very much in vogue amongst younger patrons.’ They’re not what you’d call traditional touches, admittedly. But therein lies the beauty of the bespoke suit: It’s not the stuffy uniform you might think it is. Sure, the suit has a lofty sense of heritage, history and tradition, and it comes with a set of rules to which you should (more or less) abide. But with the help of a good tailor, a suit can also be a very accessible, very exciting blank canvas with an array of solid but subtle flourishes of self-expression. EJ

For bespoke and ready-to-wear services, you can visit Harland Collier’s store in the MetQuarter, Liverpool. For alterations, visit their dedicated workshop at 6 Stanley Street, Liverpool. To book a fitting, call on +44 (0) 7555 775385 or email


Whether you are looking for a bespoke tailor for your special day or a business suit, we have exactly what you’re looking for. At Harland Collier, the only limit is your imagination.


The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Adventures Shoe Country We travelled to the epicenter of British luxury shoe manufacturing to meet the people behind the world’s finest shoes words by Davey BRETT photography by Lara POYNOR


hen contemplating the great style capitals of this world, Northampton doesn’t usually come to mind. London yes, but Northampton? It doesn’t carry the same glamour. There’s no fashion week and you won’t find the locals posing discreetly for The Sartorialist. Look down at a stylish man’s shoes in London (or anywhere else for that matter) however, and if said man really is a stylish dresser, chances are he’ll be wearing a pair of shoes made within a 40-mile radius of Northampton. But what is it that makes a Britishmade Goodyear-welted shoe from Northampton so special? Our editor went on an adventure to visit the factories of shoe country to find out.

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal




f all the places in the world, my adventure begins in the small town of Desborough, a forty-minute drive from Northampton. As our taxi driver flings us around country roads, the surrounding countryside (and weather) provides an insight into the origins of the area’s shoemaking. Ample countryside for cattle grazing and forests plush with a variety of trees (Oak bark for the tanning process, wood for the lasts) meant that historically, the Northampton area had access to an abundance of materials required for shoemaking. It’s central location also made for the perfect distribution hub and a well-fed river didn’t hurt production either. The workforce was and still is crucial, William Church tells me, as we sit in the showroom of Joseph Cheaney & Sons, the first port of call on my shoe country tour. “For us, the people who work in the factory, that is the real asset.” William says. “Everything else is a function of finance. You want a nice brand new shiny building? Providing you’ve got the finance, you can have it. If you want sparkling new machines, provided you’ve got money, you can have them. The skill base, you can’t buy that off the shelf. You’ve either got it, or you haven’t. It takes years to build and grow.” You can’t talk about Joseph Cheaney without talking about Church’s, or even Prada for that matter. Founded in 1886, Joseph Cheaney has been in its Desborough residence for 123 years. In 1966 the company was sold to Church’s but mostly used as a subsidiary tasked with making shoes for other brands. Following on from Prada’s acquisition of Church’s in 1999, Cheaney was bought out by William and Jonathan Church in 2009. The cousins, quick to step in after observing an upturn in the desire for luxury leather shoes, steered the company towards a resurgence which continues to this day. If you’re curious as to what shoe William Church wears, today it’s a pair of Cheaney Brackley Oxfords in Mocha Calf with an Oxo pattern. He’ll also tell you that they were made on the 225 last, which is the same as the classic 125 last but with a slightly squarer toe. Unsure of what a last is? With the help of the rest of the Goodyear-welted shoe process, let me explain. Invented by Mr Charles Goodyear Jr (son of rubber dynasty fame), the Goodyear welt is a process which involves stitching the upper leather, lining and welt (a ribbon of specially made leather) to the ribbing of the insole. The welt is then stitched to the leather or rubber sole with a lock stitch. The ‘last’ is the wood-carved foot shape that is used as the mould for a shoe. Lasts differ according to shoe style and shape and should be thought of as the starting point for every shoe. The magic of the Goodyear welt meanwhile is twofold; it makes for a hard-wearing and solid shoe construction, but also means that due to the robustness of the upper, soles can be repaired and replaced as and when. If you buy right, your favourite pair will last you 22

Previous page: A collection of the world’s finest leathers in the Joseph Cheaney skins room. Clockwise from top: An aerial view of the Crockett & Jones shoe room where shoes are polished, checked, laced and boxed; a craftsman in the Crockett & Jones finishing room; a Joseph Cheaney upper waiting to be Goodyear welted; a craftswoman stitches an upper in the Crockett & Jones closing room.

for decades. The alternative to the Goodyear welt is merely glue.

"If you want sparkling new machines, provided you’ve got money, you can have them. The skill base, you can’t buy that off the shelf. You’ve either got it, or you haven’t. It takes years to build and grow.”



ur second port of call in shoe country takes us to Crockett & Jones, one of Northampton’s few remaining family-owned companies. Sat among terrace housing, akin to a church of manufacturing, I enter the Grade-II listed factory through an art-deco frontage that’s subtle by architectural standards, but still sets the building off wonderfully against the rest of the street. I sit for tea in the company’s impressive ornate showroom with James Fox, Head of Marketing & Advertising, a title that does little to describe what James actually does on a daily basis. James knows every minor detail about Crockett & Jones, talking with an enthusiasm that is contagious. As we tour the factory, he’s a walking encyclopedia of history,

process, experience and anecdote. He tells me how Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition boots were made in this very factory as well as linking Crockett’s footwear to a roll-call of notable historical figures. A Crockett & Jones shoe passes through the factory, over 200 individual processes will take place, thanks to the work of over 120 craftsmen and women. The level of precision and ability required by each person is awe-inspiring and after observing a shoe’s creation from start to finish, it’s impossible to look at a pair in the same way. Although machines are involved with most of the processes, the skill lies at the behest of the welltrained human eye. On a different level however is Crockett’s, hand stitcher, tasked with stitching some uppers entirely by hand with a precision that’s frankly inhuman. As we tour the light and airy surroundings of the factory, walking The Essential Journal | Issue 33

Style across sturdy well-trodden floors, the process is revealed, but also the skill. ‘Clickers’ (those tasked with cutting out the ‘patterns’ or shapes of leather) for instance, need to be able to ‘read’ the leather they’re working with, navigating any veins, defects or damage that may have occurred when the animal was still alive. The amount of patterns used per skin often relates to a brand’s price tag. Your super premium-priced shoe company for instance, is likely to be less economical with a skin. Although the local tanneries have long disappeared, Crockett and their fellow shoemakers pride themselves on sourcing Europe’s finest skins from Italy, France and Germany. A walk around the lower ground floors takes us by Crockett’s inhouse cobbler, who as we walk past, is using plyers to remove a worn out sole. When I ask him about his recent repairs he tells me about a pair sent in “that were even before my time.” His time being 30 years no less. A look around the corner shows his handy work, a collection of shoes that look brand new. Today, James Fox wears a Crockett & Jones Coniston boot, but he does have other favourites; the Cavendish loafer (the most popular loafer on the market) and the Tetbury and Camberley, due to their 007 affiliation. The feet of James Bond one of the best possible endorsements for a Northamptonshire shoe. Mr Fox and his father-in-law Jonathan Jones (Managing Director) design the new models themselves, both having cut their teeth on the factory floor. ***


he next day I drop in on Loake, another family-owned company. Situated in Kettering, their factory that sits snugly on a row of terrace housing. If you were to blink going past in a taxi, you might just miss it. Loake have been at their current premises since 1894 and like most of the companies

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

in shoe country, they were at the forefront of both war efforts making boots for the military, with Cossack boots also made for the Russian army. Andrew Loake is a bundle of energy when we meet him and he is keen to show us around his factory. Founded in 1880, Andrew is the great-grandson of founder John Loake and the company now boasts five generations. As I sit for tea with Andrew, we discuss the lay of the land and despite healthy competition in the area, he speaks fondly of the local shoemaker ecosystem. “I don’t know of a friendlier industry.” He says, in between sips of Earl Grey. His experiences prove his point. He recalls a time when the area suffered catastrophic flooding, destroying of all things, the Church’s shoebox supply. Loake happily stepped in, allowing their fellow shoemaker to use theirs. Smaller gestures speak of the pleasant atmosphere too, from the director of Crockett & Jones asking for permission to step onto Loakes’s stand at a trade fair, to another competitor inviting Loake to observe a new machine. Relationships are always civil and despite healthy competition, the area carries a strong bond. Even more surprising is despite the competition, Northampton shoe brands are all too eager to compliment their competitors. Partly because they know their own strengths, but also because of their innate loyalty to the area. Andrew speaks fondly of Crockett and Cheaney and he admires John Lobb’s ability to make a £1000 shoe. Meanwhile, James at Crockett would happily recommend Loake for a customer on a lower budget. During a brief phone call with the director of Tricker’s the following week, I was surpirsed to hear him casually refer to Sanders as the iconic Chukka Boot.

Clockwise from top left: A small selection of the tens of thousands of lasts at the Loake factory; the Grenson Triple Welt; a craftsmen with a steady hand in the Loake finishing room.



renson, my last stop on the trip, is somewhat of an outlier. Walking through the bowels of their new (in local terms) factory, with its modern interior and brightly painted walls, the building provides a contrast to the historic surroundings of my previous stop offs. Grenson is different due to the influence of one man in particular, owner and director Tim Little. Tim is politely unapologetic when he talks about the place of Grenson within the local industry. Whilst some might use the company’s foreign production as a stick for beating, Little points out that the company has outsourced production since the 1960s, a fact they’ve never tried to hide (whilst others have been more candid). “We’re not trying to protect anything.” He says, as we touch upon the the topic of heritage. Despite this, the company’s G: Zero and G: One ranges remain entirely made in Northampton and the company also offers a bespoke service. The lingering theme of Tim’s relationship with Grenson is modernization. As he points out, “you can’t be relevant unless you have an

18-year-old and a 25-year-old wearing your shoes, as well as a 60-yearold.” Heritage remains at the core of Grenson, but it’s the efforts that he has gone through away from the factory floor, that have separated Grenson from the pack. Tim Little’s Grenson has had a revolutionizing effect on the shoe country ecosystem. Whether it be retail, e-commerce or styling, the brand has been a gateway for a younger clientele. Although it may not comply with the wider trends of heritage footwear, Grenson have one foot in heritage the other in fashion. ***


friend in luxury clothing once told me that you should buy British Goodyear welted shoes because “you could boot down walls for a decade in them if you wanted to and they’d still feel comfortable and look fantastic.” Destruction aside, his point rings

“He recalls a time when the area suffered catastrophic flooding, destroying of all things, the Church’s shoebox supply. Loake happily stepped in, allowing their fellow shoemaker to use theirs.”

true during my trip as I slalom between talented craftspeople. The longevity of Northamptonshire’s shoe manufacturing industry is channeled into the shoes it produces. The finest materials are handled by the finest craftspeople. People that have spent their entire lives with a particular blade or machine, refining their craft. Often at the same station, room or building as their family members before them. Add to that mixture pride and passion and what results is not simply a well-made pair of shoes in a timeless style, worn throughout history by people that changed the world, but also a labor of love. As a craftsman at Joseph Cheaney put it, “The making of these shoes is not a science. It’s a mixture of engineering and art.” That is what makes a shoe from this part of the world so special and long may it continue. EJ 23

What’s On May – June

Sunday 20 May 7.30pm Writing on the Wall

Friday 15 June 7.30pm Film – World Premiere (cert TBC)

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

Unsung Hero – The Jack Jones Story

Tuesday 5 June 7.30pm Film (cert 15)

Saturday 16 June 8pm Music Room – Film and performance

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Woody Mann: American Roots and Beyond

Tuesday 5 June 8pm Music Room Matthew Crampton & Jeff Warner

Human Cargo: Stories and Songs of Emigration, Slavery and Transportation

Box Office 0151 709 3789 LiverpoolPhilharmonic liverpoolphil liverpool_philharmonic

Principal Funders

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


Media Partner

Image Benjamin Zephaniah

The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Dress by BOSS £370 | Pumps by BOSS £269

This Summer, BOSS finds the ultimate balance between the perfectly put together and the easy-going with an impeccable approach to effortless summer style



Jacket by BOSS £449 | Shorts by BOSS £109 | Jersey by BOSS £109 | Sandals by BOSS £199 Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street

> Ease. Comfort. Sartorial Excellence. All words that come to mind when presented with the BOSS Spring Summer collection, appropriately titled Summer of Ease. It’s a collection that takes you away, inspiring thoughts of warm summer evenings looking out over sunsets, coastal panoramas and last light at the racecourse. For both men and women, there’s a stylish equilibrium of smart and casual, fabrics that carry a freshness, a softness to shapes and easy silhouettes. But still there’s flair, with subtle finishes and striking shades. Over the following pages, we examine a selection of our favourite pieces from the collection, finishing off with a look forward to summer events. Sit back and ease into summer with the help of BOSS.

BOSS WOMENSWEAR SPRING SUMMER 2018 The latest BOSS Women's collection helps you keep your cool without losing your edge


Dress by BOSS £370 | Tote Bag by BOSS £595 | Shoulder Bag by BOSS £595 | Heels by BOSS £399 Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street


> Boasting attitude and functionality in equal measure, the BOSS womenswear collection is a master class in offering elegant combinations fit for any occasion. This summer BOSS offers up style, subtlety and substance. Modern pant suits and contemporary tailoring are available alongside elongated skirts and statement print dresses – presenting a rework of summer essentials that will transform your wardrobe. Bold, nautical prints are imagined across the collection and are surefire hits this summer and serve as an example of BOSS’ playful attitude. With a clear emphasis on soft, feminine silhouettes – the collection has been designed with versatility in mind. Pieces can be worn oversized and easy or nipped at the waist for a refined look. Soft, Italian leather accessories punctuate each look and serve as a subtle reminder to the brand's luxury heritage. Tone on tone is one of the leading trends this summer and BOSS have perfectly mastered the style – discover a crisp white broderie anglaise dress in pure cotton which oozes laid-back summer style and pair with fresh white mules ideal for both the office and relaxed summer evenings. Whilst dresses are key to the SS18 collection, there are a selection of our favourite summer staples that have been reworked with a modern twist, in particular the classic white shirt – a trio of updated riffs on the classic blouse have been designed that offer three perfectly balanced blends of sensuality and timeless elegance for this summer and beyond. Bringing updated seasonal elements to modern day dressing, BOSS have reinvigorated the Summer wardrobe, offering a collection of contemporary and naturally sophisticated pieces that bring style to the Summer season.



To learn more about the BOSS Womenswear S/S '18 collection visit your nearest store. Alternatively, head online at

Dress by BOSS £400 | Shoulder Bag by BOSS £595 | Sandals by BOSS £179 Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street

BOSS MENSWEAR SPRING SUMMER 2018 For the modern man, tailoring is at the heart of the wardrobe. From sharp silhouettes and crisp lines, to lightweight Italian linen jackets, the suit is a statement of confidence


Suit by BOSS £645 | Shirt by BOSS £99 | Tie by BOSS £65 | Bag by BOSS £595 | Shoes by BOSS £179 Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street


> The latest collection from BOSS is not only an ode to the power of the suit, but a celebration of its range, scope and versatility. In fact, BOSS’ Summer of Ease collection not only builds on the traditional values of a suit, it also unlocks its potential for novel playfulness. The Summer of Ease collection is as much a lesson in inspired experimentation as it is a humble brag of sorts. After all, there’s a fine art to balancing the sartorial with the strippedback, the carefully-considered with the cooly-casual. But that’s exactly the artful balancing act that BOSS has managed to master. By carving out sleeker, more contemporary approaches to boxier, breezier cuts and playing with delicate garment dyeing processes, BOSS have come away with a summer style that’s as at home in the boardroom as it is at the beach house. Their summer reinterpretation of the traditional doublebreasted suit is a bona fide tour de force in this respect. Crafted in pure cotton with a silk lining, this streamlined twopiece defies expectations as a sartorial powerhouse that can just as easily be dressed down with a T-shirt and trainers. It’s a bold, considered-but-seemingly-effortless look that will push boundaries and turn heads for all the right reasons. By blending a spectrum of fully-constructed suit silhouettes with breezy-but-bold colour palates, BOSS have not only managed to transport a sartorial icon into solid summer territory, they’ve done so in such a way that celebrates the traditional artistry of fine suiting. Thanks to lightweight, paper-touch cottons, summer linens, and modern seersucker textures all boasting subtle variations in colour and silhouette, BOSS’s summer suiting offers the perfect canvas for men to make a confident but relaxed statement regardless of the situation.



With its Summer of Ease collection deftly conjuring up the weather-beaten hues of the coastline and the sun-soaked cityscapes of urban life alike, BOSS not only rekindles the power and virtue of the suit, but show us the funner, summer-friendly face of modern tailoring in the process. To learn more about the BOSS Menswear S/S '18 collection visit your nearest store. Alternatively, head online at

Jacket by BOSS £399 | Trousers by BOSS £169 | Jersey by BOSS £139 | Shoes by BOSS £369 Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street

AN EXCLUSIVE INVITATION TO CELEBRATE IN STYLE This May, BOSS returns to Manchester Cathedral Street, and to celebrate you’re invited to an exclusive evening of style > Longer, brighter days make for stylish evenings and reasons to celebrate. To mark the reopening of their refreshed Manchester Cathedral Street Store, BOSS cordially invites you to an exclusive summer’s evening of style and music on Thursday May 31. Join BOSS from 6.30pm to 8.30pm for drinks, a live DJ and chance to browse the latest menswear and womenswear collections with staff on hand to guide you through the Summer of Ease. To mark the occasion, customers that spend £250 or more in-store will receive a complimentary BOSS gift.

Blouse by BOSS £99

Get Ready For The Summer of Ease And Receive Your Free Personalised Gift > This summer, it’s time to make style effortless. Whether your backdrop is the calm serenity of the beach or the formal surroundings of a wedding, the races or a day out at the polo, BOSS has everything you need for a flawless summer look. There’s a balance to be found between the laid-back and the impeccable this season, from beautifully-crafted tailoring to trademark iconic tuxedos, the expert specialists at BOSS stores are on hand to guide you through collections, helping you choose the outfit, finishing touches and accessories to craft the perfect summer wardrobe. To make summer style even easier, book a personal shopping appointment with a BOSS style expert before the 31 May and receive a complimentary personalised suit carrier when spending over £500 at your appointment.*

*Offer valid from 5 April - 31 May 2018. Offer not valid in BOSS Outlet or Airport Stores. Personalised gift only valid with purchases over £500.00 when made at a personal shopping appointment.

Shirt by BOSS £109


Available at all BOSS Stores, including: New Cathedral Street | Manchester | M1 1AD Trafford Centre | Manchester | M17 8PL Peters Lane | Liverpool | L13 DE The Metquarter | Liverpool | L1 6DA

Available at BOSS Stores Liverpool One, Liverpool Metquarter, Manchester Trafford, Manchester Cathedral Street 7

Style Charting UK-made textiles and

words by Megan STOREY illustration by Thomas SUMNER

manufacturing from head to toe


rom Northampton’s iconic shoe district to Scotland’s rejuvenated tweed trade, the UK’s rich history of clothing manufacturing spreads all over the British Isles. Generations of home-grown talent and superior craftsmanship have withstood the peaks and troughs of Britain’s textile industry, creating products steeped in tradition. Factories across the country specialise in engineering the highest quality products making the ‘Made in Britain’ seal into a badge of honour. THE MAC Combining utilitarian design with traditional heritage, Mackintosh manufacture their classic raincoats in Cumbernauld, Scotland.

TWEED The ever-changing landscape on the Isle of Harris provides much inspiration for the highly-skilled weavers producing some of the most sought-after fabric in the world.

WAXED COTTON JACKETS Barbour’s classic waxed jacket, the item that helped establish the brand’s reputation, is still manufactured in their homestead factory in South Shields.

SHIRTING Once a mecca of shirt manufacturing, there is only one surviving company still in production in Derry, Northern Ireland. Smyth & Gibson shirts are hand-cut and stitched by accomplished craftsmen, dedicated to producing the best quality product.

SOCKS Behind a blue door in the heart of Leicester, British sock brand Pantherella have been producing fine gauge socks on the same street since 1937.

TRAINERS What better place to house the only 100% British-made and owned sports shoe brand than the birthplace of the running shoe. Walsh Trainers, based in Bolton, is a family run business producing footwear sold all over the globe.

DENIM Based in a small Welsh town familiar with the denim industry, Hiut Denim has already been catapulted to global cult status. Their skilled local workers come with decades of experience, producing well-crafted, long-lasting jeans. Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

SHOES It’s no secret that Northampton is Britain’s cobbling capital. From brands such as Tricker’s to Crockett & Jones, the region boasts an illustrious footwear heritage.

BESPOKE TAILORING It wouldn’t be a roundup of Made in Britain textiles without mentioning cream of the crop Savile Row tailoring. Synonymous with UKbred quality, the iconic London street has been a destination for menswear for over 150 years. 33

image credit:Jelle Mollema Photography


From the black barbershops of New York City to the best of British luxury, the humble barber is a dab hand at cheating death and crossing cultures


epending on who you ask, the barbershop has died a number of deaths over the years. Some say Gillette killed the barbershop with the introduction of the safety razor. Others will swear that The Great Depression and two World Wars were three nails too many in the barbershop’s proverbial coffin. There are even those that blame the barber shop’s demise on the unkempt and shaggy looks of the 60’s prevailing hippie culture (to this day, a long hairstyle cut into a shorter, more conservative short-back-and-sides is still known as a ‘hippie killer’ - a lyrical revenge of sorts). Thankfully, rumours of the barbershop’s death have been greatly exaggerated. If anything, the social, cultural and communal roots of the contemporary barbershop are stronger than ever. Writing on the power and the politics of the US’s black barber shops, for example, Jason Parham talks of how, ‘for all 34

the regressive politics about sexuality or gender it sometimes harbors, the black barbershop has remained a space of pride, community, and reflection across generations.’ It’s a solid point and well-made. From Levels Barbershop of New York City to the LGBTQ safe-space that is Ninth Chapter Barbershop in Los Angeles, much of the barbershop’s enduring power stems from its strong communal ethos and unwavering dedication to local culture. Half a world away in the Netherlands, that said same communal ethos (and more than a wee pinch of those said same regressive gender politics) can be found at Schorem Haarsnijder en Barbier. Schorem is an old school, men-only barbershop in the heart of the working-class city of Rotterdam. Pompadours, flattops, and slick backs are their stock and trade and they’ve gotten damn good at it too. According to founders, Leen and Bertus ‘the barbershop is and always has been the spider in the web called community.

Back in the days it was the place to hear the latest gossip and news and you were always sure to meet a couple of old friends and on lucky days even make a new one.’ Not a big fan of fancy trends, Schorem (from the Dutch meaning ‘scumbag’) pride themselves on staying true to their counter-culture roots: ‘This is what we do, we don’t care about fashion or trends. We love the rock ‘n’ roll subcultures and that’s why we are so much into the pomps and quiffs.’ In the cities of Edinburgh and London, the award-winning Ruffians proves that the barbershop is alive, well-represented and up there with the best of them. Striking a balance between tradition and innovation, Ruffians positions itself as a lifestyle destination for the modern man that calls back to the barbershop’s communal legacy. In the words of Ruffians own Adam Bodini: ‘Over the last 5 years Ruffians has grown to represent more than just a place for a haircut to our

words by Will HALBERT

customers. With our calendar of free customer events and collaborations, we hope to build a space where our Ruffians can come instore whenever they want, even just for a chill.’ To this end, their bespoke coffee and whisky bars not only offer an added kick to your monthly sharpen up, they lay the foundations for a social space that celebrates an inclusive community, open communication and an all-important respite from the pressures of city living: ‘Barbershops are safe havens, they are an important hub for socialising and important [for] having some “me time,”’ says Bodini. ‘There is nothing wrong with a little pampering and we create an environment that makes that hour of your day the best one and leaves you feeling more confident.’ Of course, none of this matters without the barbering credentials to back it up, and Ruffians have said credentials in spades: ‘Many barbershops are known for only

doing ‘blades and fades’, it is important [to us] that all hair types and styles can be looked after so we look for those with a strong hairdressing background.’ ‘We have a very mixed team at Ruffians with 40% of our staff being female. Our female barbers are some of the best in the company, their skillset is just insane.’ Together, the likes of Levels, Schorem and Ruffians are the tangible products of creative minds running wild with their own, personal concept of barbershop traditions. Whether that idea of tradition boils down to providing a common ground to celebrate particular communities and heritages, a laddish, boys-only space to shoot the breeze, or a more progressive space that values commitment to the craft over the strict presence of a Y chromosome is up to them. One thing is for sure: For something that has apparently died so many deaths, the barbershop sure does scrub up well. EJ The Essential Journal | Issue 33

LOOKING FOR THE ULTIMATE WEDDING SUIT? Whether it's your own big day or that of a friend or family member, one thing's for sure: you want to look your very best. Easy! With our high-performance luxury fabrics from VBC, your truly one-of-a-kind suit or tux is just an 'I do' away. Issue 33 | The Essential Journal


1 Regina House | 1 Victoria Street | Liverpool | L2 5AQ 35

Lifestyle A Handsome Home:


Dining Table

It’s easy to get caught up in the Scandinavian whirlwind surrounding interiors, furniture and lighting design of late


hen it comes to brands that represent British design excellence, Tom Dixon and Anglepoise are the first examples that spring to mind - but it doesn’t stop there. Nottingham based Campbell Cole are responsible for creating beautifully crafted leather goods, while Glasgow based design studio Instrmnt are producing some of our favourite watch designs. Even some of the most popular European furniture and lighting brands have their own British influences. One such example is the work of Simon Jones Studio for popular Danish furniture and lighting brand HAY. We were pleasantly surprised to learn recently that the multi-disciplinary design practice based in


Kentish Town, North London, are responsible for one of our favourite HAY designs showcased at Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week. With the dining experience in mind, Simon Jones Studio have designed the HAY Triangle Leg Dining Collection (pictured) to maximise space around the dining table. The ‘obround’ shape allows for this freeing up of space while also creating a soft inviting environment that is complemented by the light triangle-shaped legs. Have you been planning to throw a dinner party this Spring / Summer? Put an extra few names on the guest list and make the most out of this great British design. EJ The HAY Triangle Table & Bench are available at

The Essential Journal | Issue 33

image credit: Courtesy of HAY

words by Shaun DONNELLY


Welcome to the Family Previewing the all-new, all-electric addition to the Jaguar PACE range words by Will HALBERT


image credit: Scott-Gobin Photography

his month, in association with Hatfields Jaguar Liverpool, we at The Essential Journal had the honour of presenting the official Liverpool preview event for Jaguar’s groundbreaking, fully-electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE. Unfolding to a luxurious backdrop of canapés and free-flowing drinks at Jaguar’s illustrious showroom, we welcomed the all-new, all-electric Jaguar I-PACE to the Jaguar PACE family. From the outset, Jaguar had promised that the all-new Jaguar I-PACE would offer excitement from every angle. From the performance SUV’s flowing waistline and dramatic bonnet scoop to its signature rear haunches, I-PACE is, from the very outset, a clear celebration of seamlessly integrated technology and abundant space. Getting up close and personal with Jaguar’s first ever electric car, it’s obvious that radical exterior design conceals an exquisite interior that maintains SUV levels of practicality. Clean, uncluttered and boasting a range of tactile features and sweeping lines, the I-PACE interior is afforded extra space and maximum freedom thanks to the compact nature of the car’s electric powertrain. This sophisticated, all-electric powertrain provides high performance with zero tailpipe emissions. Its cutting-edge technologies work seamlessly with the car and with you. Thrilling to look at and drive, easy to live with and connected like never before, the new Jaguar I-PACE offers electrifying performance and quiet refinement that’s clean, convenient and hassle-free.

Under the Hood As any great car lover knows, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And the all-new Jaguar I-PACE has the high-spec credentials to back up its showstopping physique. The I-PACE’s linear acceleration is instantaneous, with no lag and no gear shift interruptions. Its 400PS of peak power takes you from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. For sports car agility, the 90 kWh battery is positioned within the floor, between the axles, giving a low centre of gravity and near perfect weight distribution. While electric power is naturally almost silent, Jaguar have gone the extra mile to make I-PACE an oasis of quiet calm. Sophisticated motor encapsulation dampens sound while the I-PACE’s radical design and front window acoustic lamination has been engineered to minimise wind noise even further. Thanks to the tried-and-tested Jaguar setup of a double wishbone suspension at the front and Integral Link suspension at the rear, The I-PACE’s driving experience reflects its dynamic design. Mile after mile, the I-PACE’s engaging and rewarding handling is balanced with exceptional ride comfort and refinement to make for a true driver’s car. EJ The Jaguar I-PACE is available to order now, and will be in showrooms from September. Issue 33 | The Essential Journal



The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Issue 33 | The Essential Journal



The Royal Warrant: A testament to the extravagant and the oddball

words by Will HALBERT illustration by Thomas SUMNER



s old as the Monarchy itself, Royal Warrants of Appointment are a mark of recognition granted, on rare occasion, by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales to those who supply goods or services to the Royal Household. As is to be expected, the list is a real who’s who of sartorial excellences: Savile Row’s Gieves and Hawkes rub perfectly-cut shoulders with 5th-generation shoemakers, Crockett and Jones who - in turn - doth their cap to old-school hatters, Lock & Co to name a few. But the Royal Warrant is more than just a long, long list of regal extravagances: It’s a celebration of craftsmanship and a testament to the value of heritage and loyal, dedicated trading. And if we’re totally honest, it’s also a pretty compelling - almost caricaturesque - insight into the life and times of the Royal Family. For example, there’s something endearingly cartoonish about the idea that, alongside the Royal Warrants issued to Laurent-Perrier, Bollinger and 6 other purveyors of fine champagne, you can also find Royal Warrants for Heinz baked beans, HP sauce, and Cadbury’s chocolate. That’s not to suggest that a balanced Royal breakfast consists of a glass of fizz, a full English and a Dairy Milk, but it doesn’t exactly rule it out as a possibility either. By the same token, there’s a certain slapstick charm to the fact that The Prince of Wales’ once crashed a four-engine BAe 146 airliner on the Isle of Islay before nonchalantly hopping off the plane unscathed and embarking on a tour of the Laphroaig whisky distillery, a grantee of his own

Royal Warrant since 1994. Of course there’s more to Charles than a penchant for peaty whisky and a flair for dramatic entrances. His granting of a second Royal Warrant to Fortnum & Mason as his official tea merchant and grocer betrays a far less rock n’ roll and far more, well, really bloody British side to the Prince of Wales. Legend has it that Fortnum & Mason are also responsible for introducing the British to Heinz Baked Beans and the creation of the scotch egg. Bizarrely, neither of these claims are cited as reasons for their holding of two Royal Appointments. Stalwarts of tradition and bastions of sovereignty that they are, there’s very little that could help paint a down-to-earth image of Her Royal Highness and the House of Windsor. But somehow - just somehow - knowing that Buckingham Palace has a BT broadband connection (having been awarded a Royal Warrant in 2007) does the job. Because there’s nothing more endearingly everyman than the thought of Her Royal Highness on her smartphone quietly giggling to herself while she scrolls frantically, joyously, gleefully through an endless feed of memes, fail compilations and The Crown spoilers. And just like that, the long list of Royal Warrants becomes an archive of odd little factoids that remind us that, for all their regal ancestry, collectively stiff upper lips and near ludicrous dedication to received pronunciation, the Royal Family aren’t that unlike the rest of us. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves: we’re not alike in any way that actually matters, but who doesn't love a cup of tea and a scotch egg? EJ

The Essential Journal | Issue 33


High Spirits A month’s worth of comings and goings in the world of The Whisky Exchange words by Liz LOCK


what we're mixing

reaking away from traditions and getting more than a little experimental has certainly been the way of things this month. From throwing fine French Cognac into American Oak barrels, to mixing up cooling, springtime cocktails using traditionally winterwarming whiskies. We’ve played fast and loose with the rules to some rather wonderful results, and we’ve rounded these results up below for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Haru Mizuwari You might not believe us, but Whisky highballs are ideal for this warmer weather. Mizuwari, literally meaning ‘water’ and ‘divide’, is a drink far greater than the sum of its parts. Constructed with love, care and attention, this light and delicate whisky-and-water drink is the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer’s day and pairs perfectly with a little Japanese cuisine.

What we're dramming INGREDIENTS

photograph credit: 'Hayman's Gin Distillery '© John Carey 2018 | 'Whisky with a View' Nate Woodruff/Whisky With a View

Port Askaig 14 Year Old

50ml Nikka 100ml Still mineral water Mini pipette peach bitters

Port Askaig is a range of single Islay malt whiskies aiming to achieve a perfect balance of flavours and embody the unique spirit of Islay and its people. Distilled in 2004 and aged in eleven first-fill Bourbon barrels, this small batch Port Askaig 14 Year Old expression balances robust smokiness and sweet spice, showcasing a more unusual single malt from this Islay distillery in the north east of the island, whilst still hinting at its signature rich, sweet style.

METHOD Take a frozen highball and add the whisky, then the ice, stir down slowly first, then add the water and mix, making sure to take from the bottom of the glass in order to fully blend. Garnish with a cucumber and a pipette of peach bitters

£67.95 – what we're drinking Bache Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac Something a little different from Bache Gabrielsen: The first Cognac to be aged in American oak. This liquid is double matured, firstly in French oak and then aged for the last six months in Tennessee oak barrels. The use of American oak is a subject of debate in Cognac – a heavily regulated region where ageing in new oak is necessary but French oak has never been specified, simply implied. No-one has ever taken the step of using American oak, and we say cheers to Bache Gabrielsen for doing so! The American oak adds rich notes of coconut and pineapple to accompany the traditional Frenchcask flavours of vanilla, roasted nuts and chocolate. £37.95, Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

Who we're visiting Hayman’s Gin Distillery The Hayman family is one of the longest-serving gin-distilling families in England and has been making the spirit since 1863. Following 13 years in Witham in Essex, the Hayman’s distillery moved back to South London earlier this year, just four miles from where the family’s first distillery was over 150 years ago. It was a bold move but a wise one: The new distillery is a real beauty to behold. Slick and stylish but not without a uniquely authentic charm, the distillery even offers 90-minute ours and tasting sessions for just £20. You’ll not only get the chance to try some truly stellar gin, but you’ll also have the pleasure of meeting Marjorie, Karin and Miranda (the distillery’s three main stills, because behind every great gin is a great woman). More info at

Who we're following @whiskywithaview Because if there’s anything more beautiful than the sight of a fresh bottle of whisky, it’s a fresh bottle of whisky propped against a mossy precipice atop Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, or balanced precariously against a rock overlooking the Hudson Valley. @whiskywithaview delivers visual delights and whisky knowledge in equal measure. Well worth a follow if you like your shot of whisky to come with a most scenic garnish. 41

Drinking with Will HALBERT

Top of the Hops with Tiny Rebel Brewers

Featured Libation

With around 80 hop varieties

Auto Pilot

down with Niall Thomas at Newport’s very own Tiny Rebel Brewery for some top hop nominations The A-Team An all-star lineup of unstoppable hops Mosaic, Citra, Amarillo - Big tropical and citrus fruit, then a bitter, grapefruity note, and a floral, herby one. These three give you a wide range of aroma and flavour possibilities. And they're all pretty dual purpose - suitable for both bittering and imparting flavour. The Lone Ranger A single hop that can stick up for itself Mosaic - It's got everything. Citrus, pine, berries. Really, really versatile. The Roadie - A behind the scenes hop that works better in the background Cascade - Similar to Centennial (which is sometimes referred to as a Super Cascade) - works great as a bittering hop but does have quite an intense spicy floral aroma. Works great as a foundation to build other flavours on. The Golden Boy - The so-hot-right-now hop that everyone wants a piece of Vic Secret - An incredible herby fruitiness when used as a dry hop (i.e. not boiled - just added to fermenting beer) with notes of pineapple and passionfruit. A great example of an Australian hop really competing with the American varieties. The Tragic Villain Not evil, just misunderstood Sorachi Ace - A bit of a Marmite split to this one. You either love it or you hate it. Sometimes a bit of an acquired taste maybe - with herby aromas like dill being quite unique and unexpected. This can also fall into spearmint. Sometimes those flavours can strike you really well, other times they can be off putting. The Rising Star A newer hop showing promise Hallertau Blanc - Not one we've worked with a lot but one we are hearing people talk about a lot. It's got wine-like notes to it, like a really clean sauvignon blanc. Gooseberry and grassy undertones. Passionfruit is also mentioned quite a bit when testing this, as are lemongrass and elderflower. here's a lot going on and a lot to play with!


A stand-out, seasonal shakeup of a popular classic


ith the Auto Pilot, Tom Griffiths and fellow Buyers Club gin-slingers have come away with a seasonal twist on the classic, pre-prohibition Aviation. Using none other than Liverpool’s own Turncoat Cascade gin, the cocktail doubles down on the crème de violette (basically Parma Violets) and substitutes Maraschino (basically cherry) for the bittersweet clout of crème de pamplemousse (basically grapefruit). The result is a singularly aromatic experience that strikes a perfect balance between floral and fruity. Served long, the soda top adds a welcome tickle to the botanical kick of the cocktail’s gin forward foundations. A surefire spring/summer sparkle. EJ

image credit: Tom Griffiths

vying for our affection, we sat

The secret ingredient

Hops Showcasing the unsung heroes and hidden ingredients of your favourite drinks


umulus Lupulus might sound like a crippling ailment or a misread line from the Gladiator script, but it’s actually the latin term for a brewer’s best friend: The humble hop plant. Back in the good old days when beer was somehow safer to drink than water, hops were used as a preservative to prevent spoiling. Back then, the characteristic bitterness of hops (which is a product of their varying iso-alpha acid productions, if you’re fixing to look smart at your next trip to the tap house) was an unwanted side-effect. But considering the fact that there are now over 80 varieties of hops and counting, each with its own unique levels of bitterness and

citrus intensity, it’s safe to say that tastes have changed. From the spicy florality of oldschool, European Noble hops like Saaz, Tettnang and Hallertau, to the younger, trendier and generally more citrus-forward American hops like Centennial, Cascade and Columbus, hops not only aid in a beer’s preservation and head retention (this is a real term, I promise), but also form the backbone of many a craft brew’s flavour profile. Playing around with particular hop combinations yields new and interesting brews, with some particularly generous commercial brewers sharing recipes to allow for avid homebrewers to ‘clone’ their favourite beers. When it comes to the flora of our own little island, English hops are true unsung heroes. With funny little names like Fuggles and Goldings, British hops are every bit as mild-mannered as they sound. That said, they’re a dab hand at mellowing out their boisterous American counterparts to make for some surprisingly approachable porters and stouts. EJ The Essential Journal | Issue 33


Hot off the Pass We sit down with two culinary eminences to talk loving local, seasonal selections and beer-fed beef interviews by Will HALBERT

Tommy Banks Head Chef at the Michelin-starred The Black Swan, Oldstead Why is local and seasonal sourcing important to you? It has to be the quality and the taste of the produce. By eating what is local to you, the produce is travelling less distance so will naturally taste better as it’s fresher. Vegetables will be crunchier and more delicious, as they've just been picked. It also gives you the option to harvest things when you like and which are suited to your tastes. I also think there is a lot in the fact that people crave the food that is available to them - in colder months we want hearty dishes, root veg with bursts of warmth and sweetness you find in parsnips and carrots. In spring and summer you want to eat lighter, opting for things like delicate leaves, broad beans and asparagus. How does the land around The Black Swan play into this? At the Black Swan we are dictated by the garden and land that surrounds us. We plan and grow unusual and exciting varieties of fruit & veg but also have built relationships with local farms to ensure we have enough produce all year round. We’re lucky that where we are in North Yorkshire, that is a rich farming area with a huge variety of fantastic fresh produce. What are some of the more standout seasonal ingredients that you’ve been working with lately and how have you been using them? For me, Yorkshire rhubarb is always fantastic, we’re very proud of it up here! Between January and March there isn’t a huge variety of fresh produce to choose from in the UK, but there are large amounts of Yorkshire rhubarb, which grows in abundance because of the climate. Also, asparagus season - it’s short, but it is happening now, which I’m very excited about. Its shortness makes it special. I also love eating and cooking with strawberries, in the kitchen I use them with our sweet and savoury dishes. In the Black Swan garden we grow alpine strawberries, which have an amazing flavour. They’ll be ready to pick in two weeks, and last through to November. Because they are a Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

wild plant they are more hardy, closer to what strawberries used to be. Can you think of any local produce that really shines over its counterpart elsewhere? (Grown in your local area compared to imported or grown elsewhere in the UK) Obviously I’m going to say Yorkshire rhubarb! But also we have an outstanding variety of game, which tastes incredible. Yorkshire exports game all over the UK and Europe. What’s your go-to local ingredient that you could not do without? Why? How do you use it? Rhubarb! But we also get this incredible beer-fed Dexter beef down the road which is absolutely fantastic. We use it in the Black Swan. The cows are fed four pints of beer everyday which fattens them up and obviously makes them happy cows. It creates a beautiful, marbled, succulent piece of beef.

Ellis Barrie Great British Menu finalist & Owner of The Marram Grass, Anglesey Why is local and seasonal sourcing important to you? Firstly, I need to change this idea of local. It’s a fashionable term but it is overused and to be honest, a lot of it is bullshit used to sell produce or a menu. When we started, we sought out those near to us. We were new and wanted to join in with what was going on here in Anglesey. Why go 40 or 50 miles to get your meat when there is a cow in the next field? There is something not right in the way food is marketed. One thing we have is 'Crop Exchange' where those who grow stuff bring it in and trade it for a voucher in our voucher scheme. There is no better produce, from the obvious to the unique. One of our customers, John, loves his gooseberries so much that he polishes them. I call that pride. John comes in for a banging meal and pays with his vouchers. He's part of it. As are all the others, who bring in everything from alexanders [a tasty wild vegetable native to the UK], to zucchini and wonderful crazy salads with that many names I don’t know where to begin. How does the land around Marram Grass play into this? Two years ago we started the Gardd Rhosyr project by buying 14 acres of land. Said land is now occupied by sheep, hens, ducks, pigs, vegetables, the odd alpaca, a couple of humans and a football pitch. As a result, we now have our own outdoor reared pork, potatoes, eggs and all sorts of vegetables. What are some of the more standout seasonal ingredients that you’ve been working with lately and how have you been using them?

It’s a hard question this year with the seasons being so late. In March the unique seasonal items were wild garlic, sea truffle and alexander buds. Hoggett is great this time of year, the lambs are a year old and the flavour is on the money. Bang the wild garlic and the sea truffle with a few of the home-laid eggs and bob's your uncle. Cook off the alexander buds in a bit of butter, a few lilliput capers and serve with baked cod. Let's not forget Rhubarb either. With this winter we've had it’s the only thing that grows in the snow. The sorrell here is great with oysters and the asparagus is on its way. Can you think of any local produce that really shines over its counterpart elsewhere? (Grown in your local area compared to imported or grown elsewhere in the UK) Where do I start? Bearing in mind I am completely biased. Menai mussels and oysters are simply the best. I have to say our sea bass, lobster and crab are also the best. Having said that, we could do with a few more fishing boats in Anglesey. We have Anglesey pork and potatoes, Medwyn's vegetables and Mon Las Anglesy blue cheese which is exquisite. What’s your go-to local ingredient that you could not do without? Why? How do you use it? We have the world famous Halen Mon Sea Salt, sprinkled by Barack Obama himself. A faultless product which never lets me down, it is the most important ingredient in a kitchen. It makes or breaks the chef.; follow Ellis at t: @ellisbarriebros i: @chef_ellisrobertbarrie 43

Dining Recipe of the Month:

Mother Butter Chicken

Mother Butter Chicken PREP: 10 MINUTES COOK: 50 MINUTES SERVES 4–6

5 tbsp vegetable oil 2 large white onions, cut in half and thinly sliced 5cm/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated 6 garlic cloves, grated 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground cardamom ½ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp ground fenugreek ½ tsp ground turmeric ¼ tsp chilli powder 2 tbsp tomato purée/paste 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes 5 tbsp Greek-style yogurt 750g/1lb 10oz bone-in chicken thighs, diced 2 tbsp tandoori masala 2 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 80g/3oz/1/3 cup butter Method Put the oil in a large heavy pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot add the diced onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 8 minutes or until the onion has softened and turned golden brown. Turn the heat down to low and add the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, ground fenugreek, turmeric, chilli powder, tomato purée, canned tomatoes and Greek-style yogurt, stir well and cook for a further 5 minutes. Blend the mixture with a hand-held/immersion blender until it turns into a smooth sauce, then set aside. Rub the tandoori masala into the diced chicken then, in a separate large non-stick frying pan set over a medium-high heat, fry for 6 minutes or until the chicken starts to change colour and brown at the edges. Add the browned chicken to the blended sauce. Return to a low heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add up to 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups water slowly to achieve the consistency of sauce that you like. Add the salt and sugar and finish by stirring the butter through to create a thick and creamy sauce. Don’t be afraid to add more water to loosen the sauce to your taste. 44

image credit: Yuki Sugiura


words by Davey BRETT

This month we bring you a simple and vibrant take on the nation’s favourite dish (not fish and chips, although that’s in there too), courtesy of Nisha Katona’s Mowgli Street Food Cookbook


he UK’s relationship with Indian food is an odd one. Aside from Tikka Masala being invented in Glasgow and George Osborne’s Rowan Atkinson-esque brag about “curry chefs trained here in Britain”, you can’t help but feel that British ideas of Indian food are lacking authenticity. One person that’s always happy to bust any lingering Indian food mythology is Mowgli Street Food founder, Nisha Katona. Since launching Mowgli on Liverpool’s Bold Street in 2014, Katona has gone on to set up restaurants nationwide, write cookbooks (prior to this one) and even find time to become a

fully-fledged TV foodie. Not bad for someone who made the risky decision of swapping a career as a barrister for a leap into the restaurant 'biz. Despite the ‘street food’ tag, which never fails to muster up images of tattooed hipsters flipping burgers in Shoreditch car parks, Mowgli is more a venture in replicating home-cooked Indian food in a restaurant setting. That means a little more variety than simply [insert large chunks of said meat here] in gloopy sauce, but also flavours, freshness, simplicity and an emphasis on vegetables. The results, as regular visitors of Mowgli will happily tell you, are divine. Regular visitors will also be

happy to hear that those recipes can all now be found in one helpful book. Gunpowder Chicken, Chat Bombs, Temple Dahl and even the restaurants array of cocktail and Lassi options are available to try at home. There’s even a Mowgli take on fish and chips. For our recipe of the month however, we’ve opted for Mowgli favourite, Mother Butter Chicken. With a slightly longer cooking time than other recipes in the book, the assorted spices in the sauce make for an uncompromising flavour bomb that’s worth putting the time in for. EJ Mowgli Street Food: Stories and recipes from the Mowgli Street Food restaurants (Nourish) is out now The Essential Journal | Issue 33

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Issue 33 | The Essential Journal




Edinburgh Belfast & words by Davey BRETT

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Edinburgh, Scotland Uli DICK Co-Director of Dick’s Edinburgh Ltd


li and her husband Andrew are co-directors of Dick’s, an independent store in Edinburgh’s New Town area selling select menswear, womenswear, accessories and homewares. The store was born from a passion for the manufacturing process and beautifully-made goods and a belief in buying better. They support small, independent manufacturers, both old and new, who specialise in their craft and have a common philosophy of quality and longevity.

Christine JAMES CEO and founder of Blick Studios


hristine has a background in fashion design and is CEO and founder of Blick Studios, a network of creative co-working spaces in Belfast. She also founded Flock NI, a creative consulting company. She is a co-founder of Belfast Design Week and the Small Town Big Dreams podcast for creative entrepreneurs.

What is Belfast’s best kept secret... that you’re willing to share? Most people know about friendly Northern Irish people and great pubs, but not everyone knows about the city’s green spaces. The city is surrounded by hills and green spaces, with the countryside and seaside only a 15 minute drive from the city centre. In South Belfast the Lagan towpath opens onto green fields grazed by cattle. Cregagh Glen in East Belfast provides a brilliant view of the city, including the famous Harland and Wolf cranes. There is also Black Mountain in West Belfast and Cave Hill in North Belfast, both offering great views of the city. What’s a bar or restaurant (or both) that best captures the spirit of Belfast? Sunflower is a corner pub five minutes walk from the Belfast campus of Ulster University which incorporates the Art College and Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, an area of Belfast commonly thought of as the cultural and creative quarter of the city. Sunflower is dog friendly, has a great selection of local craft beer, traditional live music, a beer garden and pizza oven. It is instantly recognisable by the security cage 46

on its front door, a relic from the Troubles and 1980s Belfast. The cage is no longer needed for security reasons but has been kept and preserved as part of the city’s social history. What’s a neighbourhood that’s transforming for the better? The whole of Belfast is transforming for the better, but over recent years the Cathedral Quarter has transformed into the creative and cultural hub of the city. Traditionally, it was the centre of Belfast’s trade and warehousing district and the area still retains some of its oldest buildings. The area is home to many of the city’s arts and culture organisations, originally attracted by low rents and proximity to the City centre and Art College. Recent years have seen the opening of the luxurious Merchant and Bullitt Hotels as well as popular bars including the Dirty Onion and Harp Bar, adding to traditional favourites including The Duke of York and the John Hewitt. The area has many restaurants and coffee shops including Muddlers Club and Established Coffee. Cultural activities include The MAC and Black Box, a weekly street art walking tour by Seedhead Arts and regular festivals

including Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. When is the best time to visit? Spring in Northern Ireland is usually lovely, bright but sometimes showery days mean fewer tourists and beautiful cherry blossoms on the trees around the Queens Quarter in South Belfast. Failing that, Culture Night in September is a great time to visit, the event attracts over 100,000 visitors to the city and features over 300 events across 150 locations in Belfast City Centre.

What is Edinburgh’s best kept secret... that you’re willing to share? Water of Leith walkway. Eight miles of waterside walking with the chance to see glimpses of Edinburgh’s industrial past and also kingfishers, dippers and the occasional otter. Pop in at the Gallery of Modern Art along the way. Little Sparta, (Scottish Poet and Artist) Ian Hamilton Finlay’s garden is open from June to September. A major European artwork not many people know about.

What’s a bar or restaurant (or both) that best captures the spirit of EdWhat is a tourist trap to avoid and inburgh? the essential alternative? Edinburgh has a number of great old Due to the history of the troubles unreconstructed pubs. Mather’s in in Belfast, specifically the security the east end is one of them. Bennet’s gates closing at night, not many in Tollcross is a bit more salubrious people live in the city centre, so it with a great range of malt whiskies. can be quiet on weekday evenings. Further out of town in MorningYou may find more of a buzz in coffee side is the Canny Man’s with a great shops, bars and restaurants in the smorgasbord menu. suburbs of the city either in the University area of South Belfast, the What’s a neighbourhood that’s Ormeau, Lisburn or Belmont Roads, transforming for the better? or Ballyhackamore in East Belfast. We’re biased. We’re based up the Both South and East Belfast are easily accessed by taxi or bus from the city centre.

road from Stockbridge and Andrew’s family has been here for five generations. A number of new bars, restaurants and coffee shops have opened up in the past few years including our favourite bar Smith & Gertrude who have an amazing variety of wines. When is the best time to visit? If you’re a culture vulture you’ll want to come in August for the festivals. And while there is a definite vibe in the city, it is changed beyond recognition. Whenever you come you’ll need to be prepared for weather (we have a great range of Mackintosh jackets), but May and September are quietest and most clement. What is a tourist trap to avoid and the essential alternative? The whole city centre has unfortunately fallen to the chain stores and bars. Quite sad really. Head north or south to find where real Edinburghers hang out and a wide variety of independent businesses with character.

The Essential Journal | Issue 33

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal



Liverpool Biennial: Beautiful world, where are you? The 10th edition of Liverpool's Biennial invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil with free exhibitions and events across the city. We offer our rundown of the British contributors that will be joining a host of international artists for the Biennial’s upcoming 20 year landmark. words by Will HALBERT


Ryan Gander (b. 1976, Chester, UK) is an artist living and working in London and Suffolk, UK. Through associative thought processes that connect the everyday and the esoteric, his artworks materialise in many different forms: from sculpture to film, writing, graphic design, installation, performance and more. For Liverpool Biennial 2018, Ryan Gander has devised a project called Time Moves Quickly. The artist is working collaboratively with five children from Knotty Ash Primary School in Liverpool, aged between six and ten, to produce a series of artworks for a group exhibition at Bluecoat, as well as a series of five bench-like sculptures at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and artistic films exploring the activities carried out in the workshops.

Melanie SMITH

Melanie Smith (b. 1965, Poole, England) lives and works in Mexico City. Smith explores the extended field of painting within the history of art and its relation to the moving image. In early pieces she illustrates varying forms of urban environments, especially cities and metropolitan areas. Her current work critically reflects on today’s industrial society, pointing towards the precariousness and violence occurring on city outskirts. For Liverpool Biennial 2018, Melanie Smith will present her new film Maria Elena. The title of the film is taken from a hexagon-shaped town of the same name situated in the Atacama Desert, South America. The settlement is connected to the oldest salt mine in Chile. The film combines fragmented narratives of the colonial past with the dusty present of the salt mine. It presents the industry and its scale from different viewpoints, from the crystalline to the vast open galaxy.

Melanie Smith, Maria Elena (film still), 2018. Photo: Julien Devaux


The Essential Journal | Issue 33

Holly Hendry, Homeostasis, 2014. Installation view at Courtyard C, Sharjah Art Foundation. Image courtesy the artist


"Perhaps that’s what we want: Like the mirror that tells us we’re beautiful, we want the things around us to tell us that the world is like that. And I think that this is the question that’s asking ‘where is it?’ - Paul ELLIMAN Paul Elliman, QUERTY_PE,2012. Image courtesy the artist

Rehana ZAMAN

Rehana Zaman (b. 1982, Heckmondwike, UK) lives and works in London. Working predominantly with the moving image, she is concerned with how individuals and groups relate and the effects of multiple social dynamics. Her narrative-based pieces, often deadpan and neurotic, are frequently generated through conversation and collaboration with others. Rehana Zaman will produce a new video for Liverpool Biennial 2018. Invasions (working title) examines disturbances of social order through uprisings, intrusions and disappearances. The video will be developed over the course of six months with a group of teenage girls from Liverpool at Blackburne House. It will draw upon marginalised histories of the city and explore the work of anti-racist and women-led grassroots film organisations such as Women’s Independent Cinema House (Witch).

Casting a backwards glance at two of the biggest and most enduring commissions from previous editions of Liverpool Biennial Sir Peter BLAKE

Holly Hendry (b. 1990, London, UK) lives in London. Hendry is interested in defining the architecture of spaces by exploring the possibilities, such as surface, colour and density, inherent in a wide range of materials through her installations. The shifting scales and unusual positioning of her often-monumental works encourage visitors to consider sculpture in dialogue with their surroundings, whilst also considering absence as hollow spaces or voids. Hendry’s new large-scale commission, located in Exchange Flags, will take the form of ‘mould’ sections made of pre-cast concrete or fibreglass, and will be presented as a set of sculptural display elements. From these mould sections situated above ground, a corresponding plastic sculptural work will be cast and these will be located in a nearby underground space. This configuration references Liverpool’s many links and tunnels and the connecting of two points.

Sir Peter Blake (b. 1932, Dartford, UK) is a leading figure in the development of British pop art and his work is synonymous with the use of imagery from modern culture, including comic books, consumer goods and advertisements. Sir Peter Blake has a strong relationship with Liverpool that extends beyond his famous design of The Beatles’ album cover, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. In 2015, The Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool commissioned Sir Peter Blake to dazzle a Mersey Ferry, in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool. Sir Peter’s design, entitled Everybody Razzle Dazzle, covers the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop with a distinctive pattern in monochrome and colour, transforming the vessel into a moving artwork as it continues its service today.


Sir Antony GORMLEY


Paul Elliman (b. 1961, London, UK) lives and works in London. His work follows language through many of its social and technological guises, in which typography, human voice and bodily gestures emerge as part of a direct correspondence with other visible forms and sounds of the city. For Liverpool Biennial 2018, Paul Elliman has worked with Sara de Bondt and Mark el-khatib on the Biennial’s graphic identity using letters and symbols from his Found Font. Elliman’s practice takes the concept of language production in different directions, backwards to the origins of language in the speculative shapes and materials of exuberant daily life, and forwards through a typography of spent rubble and broken mechanical parts.

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

Liverpool Biennial Favourites

Born in London in 1950, Antony Gormley’s Another Place installation, commissioned in 2005, comprises 100 cast-iron sculptures made from 17 different moulds taken from the sculptor’s own body. Installed on Crosby Beach on the Mersey Estuary, each statue faces the open sea, evoking the relationship between the natural elements, space and the human body. The work covers a distance of almost 3km, with the pieces placed 250m apart along the tide line, and up to 1km out towards the horizon. The movement of local tides and daily weather conditions dictate whether the figures are visible or submerged. It has become one of the most well-loved and widely recognised public art works in the UK.






The Essential Journal | Issue 33

Essential Guide

The Essential Guide to:



ea glorious tea. The great British fuel, coursing through our veins as we gather around the teapot for another cupful. Squeeze that teabag, pour that milk and sip up that tanhued goodness. Whilst coffee has taken over headlines with its hip sensibilities (you could never drink tea out of an avocado) tea remains a firm favourite, that perhaps deserves a similar microscopic interest, minus the gimmicks. We reached out to experts from top British tea purveyors Clipper and Whittard of Chelsea for tips, recommendations and insight into a better brew. EJ

Whittard of Chelsea, Darjeeling Black tea

Choice tips and knowledge for brewing the nation’s favourite hot beverage

In conversation with Bethan Thomas, Tea Taster and Product Manager at Whittard of Chelsea Are you able to pair a type of tea with a particular time of day/activity? I personally like a strong, black tea in the morning to wake up my palate – Russian Caravan is my favourite. It also goes really well with cured bacon or smoked salmon at breakfast, as it has a smoky taste to it. In the afternoon, I prefer something lighter and more refreshing. White and green teas are my choice. And if I were ever having afternoon tea, I’d always choose a Darjeeling. It has an astringency to it’s sweet taste, which is fantastic with starchy bread in sandwiches and cuts through the fat in scones and cakes. It’s the perfect pairing. Caffeine free infusions are best at night time – rooibos is my personal pick.

What are the oddest tea habits you've come across around the world? I’ve drunk yak’s butter tea in Tibet which had chunks of yak butter added to heavily brewed tea. It’s a local delicacy as it’s very fortifying, but certainly not what we’re used to in Britain. What're the biggest myths about tea? That green tea is healthy and black tea isn’t. Actually black tea is the only type of tea to have long term human trials done on its health benefits – it has a positive impact on cardiovascular health in these studies. No such tests have been done for green tea, only laboratory tests exist. These show that green tea should have lots of health benefits, but no big studies have been done yet to prove it in humans. Also, that you should add milk. We only add milk because when tea first came to the UK, it was a rarity and very expensive. Only the very rich drank it, and they did so in extremely delicate china cups and saucers, imported from China. They didn’t want to risk cracking their fine porcelain, and so added milk before putting the tea in, thus preventing any damage to the cup. We only do so now from habit, and because a lot of the tea that you find in the supermarket is specifically blended to be very dark and strong in flavour, you have to add milk to be able to enjoy it. What're your personal favourites from the Whittard of Chelsea range? There are a lot, but I love our exclusive blends that I’ve created the most. They are so different to anything you find in the supermarket. Garden Party Oolong is a gorgeously nutty, roasted oolong with tropical flavours

Bethan’s Essential Accessories: Whittard of Chelsea Pimlico Teapot I love glass tea pots so that I can see the colour of the leaf clearly. They help to brew the tea properly and are beautiful to look at. Also, glass is a great material as it doesn’t absorb the tannins of the tea easily, unlike metal which is an awful thing to make tea in. Whittard’s Pimlico teapot is my favourite when I’m drinking alone – it’s perfect for one large mug of tea.

and pieces of papaya in it. It’s incredibly moreish and amazing both hot or iced in the summer. Elderflower Earl Grey is my go to Earl Grey too – it is a great twist on the British classic. Why do you think tea is such a crucial part of British culture? How differently do you think we do it from other cultures? Tea is a major part of so many cultures, not just Britain and I think it’s always for the same reason. Tea gives us a chance to socialise, interact and relax – in China and Japan the tea ceremony does this. It’s afternoon tea and tea breaks at work in Britain and Russia. We have a very long history linked to tea, and our economy was fuelled by it

“Tea gives us a chance to socialise, interact and relax.” for a long time, and while this has long since changed, our love for tea hasn’t. Where are the world's finest teas sourced? All over – but in general, certain key terroir have the best types of tea. You have to be specific to which type of tea you are buying: Darjeeling in India for black tea; Yunnan in China for puerh, Fujian in China for white tea, Zhejiang in China and Japan for green tea, Fujian in China and Taiwan for oolongs. Tea is as complex as wine in it’s varieties and flavours, so you have to look all over to find the best.

How to Brew The Perfect Cup of Tea, According to Clipper’s Masters of Tea: 1. Always use freshly drawn water and boil in a kettle. Avoid over boiling or reboiling old water as this reduces the oxygen content and can make the tea taste flat. If in a hard water area, then using filtered water gives best results and it’s important to descale your kettle regularly. 2. Apply the freshly boiled water to the tea bag(s) as soon as the kettle has finished boiling to ensure the water is at optimum temperature. 3. If using a teapot, make sure you warm it first and dry it completely inside and out, before putting in the tea or tea bags. A wet teapot will cause the tea to begin infusing before the boiling water is poured on and will spoil the flavour. 4. When using a teapot, add one tea bag for every person that will be enjoying a cup and then add one extra. 5. When making tea in a cup, use one tea bag per cup – never reuse a tea bag! Add the milk afterwards. If you add it before, the tea won’t brew so well because the milk will reduce the brewing temperature and may also impact the infusion rate of the tea through the tea bag paper. 6. Tea contains natural oils which float on the top of the liquor (the brewed tea), so try to use a teapot with a low positioned spout, as this will help ensure they stay in the pot, and not in the cup. 7. Allow the tea to brew for 3 – 4 minutes for a full and great tasting cup of tea.

Whittard of Chelsea Pao Infuser Mug At work, I love the Pao Infuser Mug – it lets me drink loose leaf tea easily at my desk. I can remove the infuser basket and sit it on my desk, then add back to the cup and top up with water again when I want. That’s the major benefit of using loose leaf tea, that you can re-brew several times, and this cup makes it very easy.

8. Squeeze the tea bag with a teaspoon slightly prior to removing t he tea bag. 9. If you chose to take sugar in your tea, add it once the tea is brewed and to your desired taste. 10. Lastly, never microwave a cup of tea to reheat it– it will ruin the flavour. Whittard of Chelsea Pimlico Teapot

Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

words by Davey BRETT 51

Books Featuring wine and music pairings, celebrity teenage angst and exciting developments in psychedelics and mental health words by Davey BRETT & Will HALBERT

Men and Manners by David Coggins

Good manners? There’s always room for improvement, just ask David Coggins. The Men and Manners author and expert compiler of essays, advice and considerations has laid it all out for you in one concise place again, with an entertaining and thought-provoking read on all things manners. Granted, some of it can come across a bit New York (personal stationary, tipping, dive bars), but most of it is universal. Respecting everyone’s time, travel etiquette and general grown up man stuff are great takeaways that we can get behind. An essential reminder for all. Men and Manners (Abrams) is out 15 May

My Teenage Diary by Harriet Jane

The written companion to BBC Radio 4’s popular late night comedy show, My Teenage Diary is a collection of angsty, hilarious and often bittersweet diary excerpts from the diaries of celebrity youth. Full of surprises and anecdotes, from Ken Livingstone’s pet ostrich and violent bout of diarrhoea whilst travelling in Africa to Sarah Pascoe’s burger consumption and questionable commitment to vegetarianism, the excerpts make for amusing reading. It’s no surprise to read Chris Packham’s early obsession with nature nor Robert Webb’s reactionary Jez-esque rant in response to girls at school calling him too funny. My Teenage Diary (BBC Books) is out 31 May

The human race, as a whole, is unable to accurately describe flavour. Contrast that to sight or sound and the difference is stark. Whilst we can freely delve into the depths of our love for a particular song, our ability to succinctly describe our last meal is noticeably muted in comparison. ‘Great’ food, ‘crunchy apples’ and ‘bitter lemon’. Step forward Bob Holmes and his latest book then, a fascinating collection of eye-opening bombshells about our most neglected sense. Forget about the ‘taste map’ on your tongue and start thinking about the music you eat to, the colour of your food, the weight of your bowl and the colour of that carrot. A must read, you’ll be putting salt on your morning grapefruit in no time. Flavour, A User’s Guide to Our Most Neglected Sense by Bob Holmes

Flavour (WH Allen) is out now

Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie

How To Change Your Mind, The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan’s How to Change your Mind offers up an open-minded and, at times bemushroomed discussion of two hotly-debated psychedelic compounds: Lysergic acid diethylamide (good ol’ LSD) and psilocybin (the humble magic mushroom). By turns a third person, historical analysis and a first person, guinea pig narrative, Pollan’s role as intrepid psychonaut leads him on a mind-bending journey that urges him to reconsider his lifelong outlooks and reconfigure his own personal philosophies. As a bonus, he does this without falling into the overplayed and outspoken hyperbole of a pro-drugs campaigner. How To Change Your Mind (Allen Lane) is out 17 May

Depending on who you ask, the Jarrow marches of 1936 have either become a thing of legend or else fallen into complete oblivion. A vaguely documented and oft-embellished story of heroic failure, the Jarrow crusade was, at the time, a rallying call for those living in conditions of extreme poverty and unemployment. Setting out on a three hundred mile long walk from Jarrow to London, writer, journalist and (unsurprisingly) avid rambler, Stuart Maconie retraces the steps of the two hundred men who marched in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. The beauty of Maconie’s Long Road from Jarrow lies in the fact that he revels in the myth of the Jarrow marches as much as the reality of it. The result is a work that celebrates Jarrow’s working-class legacy, historical significance, and endearing anecdotes in equal measure. Long Road From Jarrow (Ebury) is out now


The Essential Journal | Issue 33


The Iain Hoskins Column

Reunions I wonder if it’s my time of life, but I seem to be dodging invitations for reunions with increasing regularity. They’ve been coming at me thick and fast this year; school, university, previous jobs and a splattering of social ones too. But what is it that brings fear and dread in getting together with people from your past?

words by Iain HOSKINS illustration by Jennifer SWABY


n most circumstances getting together with old friends is an absolute pleasure, so perhaps it’s certain types of reunion that makes it feel like work. The contrived, forced nature of a planned reunion somehow raises the stakes along with the competitive nature of selling and validating yourself to people you wouldn’t normally be bothered about. The tendency for these gettogethers is to let everyone know you are a success, that you have done something with your life – and most crucially – you are doing better than them. Any reunion with fair-weather friends is always about competition. This fear of failure, and the big questions of what have I done with my life verses our old friends and colleagues has an interesting parallel with some of the recent TV and film reboots that catch up with beloved characters decades on. There’s a harsh reality to revisiting our film favourites such as the gang in T2 Trainspotting. Juxtaposed against the youthful exuberance of its original, it’s a telling reminder that life doesn’t always work out for the better no matter how shit it is to begin with. American sitcom, Roseanne, back again after 20 years, gave a chilling pronouncement in its launch episode that the working-class family barely scraping by in the early nineties would be poorer now than then. Being broke when you’re younger with the prospect of only ever being worse-off in years to come kind of leaves the American dream in tatters. The right-on funny person of yesteryear becomes the Trump voting bigot of tomorrow and perhaps eventually we all end up turning into our parents anyway.

The tendency for these get-togethers is to let everyone know you are a success, that you have done something with your life – and most crucially – you are doing better than them. Issue 33 | The Essential Journal

An odd cousin to this is the saturation of the revival club-night. Having lived my teens and twenties partying and working in the dance music scene, the industry that has developed around celebrating club brands or vintage musical genres, feels very odd. It’s sold as a guilty pleasure, but nights celebrating the tunes of your past can sometimes just be a timely reminder than things just ain’t what they used to be. After a few dalliances with these nights several years ago I made a conscious decision to avoid at all costs. At best they are depressing, you can’t recreate the past as much as you still love the music – even for one night. But the worst of it isn’t the music, it’s the people. I don’t want to see people my age smashed in a nightclub, the one big night out a year when they are let off the leash to relive their youth. It’s not a good look and most depressing of all, you wonder is that what everyone else is thinking of you. You can’t take a blow-torch to your past, but the best artists always look forward. For many singers and bands, it’s a fait accompli becoming a heritage act, our back catalogue being the draw, as no-one is interested in what you have to say now. It’s so ingrained in popular culture that only your early work is creative, brilliant and relevant – after a while people stop listening to anything that’s created in later career reinventions. Reunions, rather than being a celebration of times gone by become a marker for people who prefer to live in the past. The only real way to challenge this is to keep turning that page, close the chapter to what went before, keep looking ahead and try and avoid the nostalgia trip. Seek fresh beginnings rather than clinging onto past glories and remain present and you’ll feel no need to live in the revival zone. EJ 53


Gents, we need to talk about:


In the eleventh instalment of our regular column - in which we use our pondering skills to delve deep into cliches, stereotypes, and seemingly unimportant male-orientated issues - we consider manners, your priceless gift to the world

words by Davey BRETT


ere’s one for you: what links Sky Atlantic’s Game of Thrones-esque historical fantasy drama Britannia and this month’s column? The answer, as the title suggests (spoiler alert), is manners. To coincide with the release of the series back in January, Sky Atlantic commissioned a survey asking people’s opinions on the state of manners in British society. The survey, which failed to mention how many people were polled (rendering it practically useless) unsurprisingly found that two thirds of those surveyed (maybe four whole people) thought society was becoming less civilised. One third of those polled felt that politeness was a less important part of society over recent years. The survey also revealed that people struggle with not swearing, not using their phones at the dinner table and remembering to say ‘ladies first’ (not to be mixed up with the ancient banter mechanism of saying it to a close friend that is male). It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, over half still believed in the ‘British’ form of single file queueing, a sacred convention that for historical accuracy, the druids probably adhered to in Britannia. Tin pot television surveys aside, manners are fascinating. Nobody can really be bothered with them any more and aside from the obvious ones, nobody really knows what they’re doing. What’s more, the British like to think that they invented the concept, but nowhere are manners more fragmented than these islands. Ask anyone in hospitality, it doesn’t matter if the customer is rich or poor, manners show no signs of improving. Someone who does know a thing or two about manners however, is a writer called David Coggins. He’s written a book on the topic and despite what some might see as an American

The survey also revealed that people struggle with not swearing, not using their phones at the dinner table and remembering to say ‘ladies first’ (not to be mixed up with the ancient banter mechanism of saying it to a close friend that is male). 54

take on proceedings, his collection of essays, considerations and advice on manners, titled Men and Manners, is nonetheless extremely insightful. A sort of gentleman’s bible, the book covers minute detail and larger omnipotent themes. Respecting people’s time, for example. Time being one of the few resources that makes us all truly equal. But also the importance of splitting a large bill in private, rather than at the table making life harder for the person serving you. Reading Coggins’s book over recent months became quite an obsession and akin to a Spiderman of etiquette, papercut by the radioactive politeness and good natured tips of the book, I became hyperaware of manners to the point of almost tingling. I took a few group restaurant bills on my card, I sent some personal handwritten notes, I gave bottles of wine to people whose houses I stayed at and I noticed other people when they pulled out the stops too. The whole experience was eye-opening. That’s not to say I was perfect. I didn’t get to places ten minutes early to enjoy the private time in advance of meeting a friend. I forgot names, which is more a lack of effort than a sign of forgetfulness. I pulled out of plans because I was tired, despite everyone else being tired too. I failed to hold my tongue, I approached people in an ugly manner and I may have used my shoulder as a handkerchief. Depending on what your perception of manners is, I may have been an occasional breath of fresh air or downright insufferable. There is a caveat to manners though, which nobody really likes to talk about, the caveat being the pomposity. Who cares which hand you hold your fork in as long as you eat quietly with your mouth closed? Who cares if you write your thank you letters on personalised stationery? Sometimes there isn’t enough money to tip all the time. When manners turn into an upstairs vs downstairs Downton Abbey scenario, it all becomes a bit tedious. When manners make you question your adequacy in society, stay true to yourself. The bottom line of manners though, as Coggins points out in the introduction to his book, is an acceptance of imperfection. As Fred Astaire once said, ‘The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.’ The relevance of Fred’s point has never gone away. Manners make other people’s lives easier and the more public sightings of them, the better. Manners are a thrill to be enjoyed. Hold that door, tip that waiter, remember that name and shake that hand. Be a beacon of going one step further in the name of politeness and see how the world greets you. EJ Men and Manners by David Coggins (Abrams) is out 15 May; Britannia is available to stream on NOW TV and Sky On Demand The Essential Journal | Issue 33


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Issue 33 | The Essential Journal


Profile for The Essential Journal

Essential Journal - Issue 33  

The British have always been good at style. Curse them for their questionable politics, their dubious past and subsequently their karma-indu...

Essential Journal - Issue 33  

The British have always been good at style. Curse them for their questionable politics, their dubious past and subsequently their karma-indu...