Fashion Architecture Travel Ideas Sport Design
ÂŁFree Issue Five Winter 2011/12 www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk
Umbrella Manifesto he winter is never going to be Umbrella’s favourite time of year. While others revel in the short days and ‘cosiness’ of bad pubs with electric fires, we console ourselves with thoughts of sunny evenings and the £300 driving moccasins we’ll be buying in April. Still, the winter does have some compensations – first and foremost, the quality of clothing on offer. One thing we do tend to get right in Britain is cold-weather dressing, as can be seen by our superb fashion selection. With items from the likes of Fjällräven and MA.STRUM taking a starring role, Umbrella readers have no excuse not to be the best dressed chaps around in the coming months, whether they’re in Amsterdam or Antarctica. And when you do come in from the cold, this issue has so much in it you may not want to venture outside until the spring. Well, that’s we’d like to think, anyway. Enjoy the magazine. Anthony Teasdale and Matt Reynolds, London, winter 2011
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Issue five contents 9 Editions
10 The dark night returns Victorian London has a strange new superhero, ‘Yellowman’ 12 News Peter Root – the artist who sculpts in Google Earth; Regents Street: the new menswear hub for London; electric cars 16 Bloody Sundays The golden age of American football 18 Column: Young dole rebels by Phil Thornton 19 The simple pleasures of boiled eggs 20 How to cook tapas – with EC1’s Morito 22 The palate of John and Yoko Cocktails from Liverpool’s Hard Day’s Night hotel – shake it up, baby! 24 Q&A Al-Qaeda expert Jason Burke 26 Our favourite things Vespa P125X
29 Field trip
30 Orange revolution All aboard the Glasgow subway 32 Driving ambition Cars, models and strangeness at the Frankfurt Motor Show 38 Ride on time Railways maps 40 Cycling: Enduring love One man’s lifelong affair with the bike 42 Cycling: Rolling news
46 Marching not dying Inside the French Foreign Legion 50 Rhythm nation Sónar in Barcelona is the world’s best electronic music festival 54 Hopeless George Why the British chancellor really doesn’t know what he’s doing
60 Umbrella loves Ma.Strum Harrier jacket 62 Angel of the north: Sefton in Islintgon 64 Knitwear 68 Shirts 70 Coats 72 Bags/Umbrella outfit: Himalayan scally 74 Bags and boots 76 Shoes/boots/trainers 80 Vintage: the Carharrt Chore jacket
82 Obsessions Rave flyers
Issue five’s contributors Whether they’re writing about the French Foreign Legion or the benefits of rugged clothing, our contributors go that extra mile
Phil Thornton is an “author, broadcaster and self-help guru”. His 2003 book Casuals has been translated into Russian, Italian and Inuit and is “the best selling book about whoppers in ill-fitting golfing sweaters ever written”. Phil also edits Swine magazine and various other blogs, as well as contributing to music, fashion, psychogeography and cagoule fetish magazines. His style column is on page 18.
Natalie Cornish is Umbrella’s Fashion Editor. When she’s not tracking down winter’s best knits – or obsessing over Ma.Strum’s Harrier Jacket – she also writes for some of the UK’s biggest magazines and websites. And she’s a history and travel geek with a penchant for knitting. Her next big project? Trekking the Great Wall of China next year. We’re worried.
A Reader in Political Economy in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast, Baker is the author of Umbrella’s piece on George Osborne. A serious academic, he’d admit to difficulty in maintaining objectivity when it comes to the Conservative party. He’s an advocate of the city of Liverpool and its people, and thinks Manchester United are the Level 42 of football.
Don G. Cornelius
Abandoned as a child and raised by cyclists, Rolling News editor Don G. Cornelius rides the urban byways and highways of London town. After having three novels published about his second love, music, and a brief tenure as a drum ’n’ bass columnist, Don G. has spent the last decade directing gorgeous slices of television and attempting to write his fourth novel.
Newly hired as a consultant psychiatrist in RD Laing’s hometown, Glasgow, Greg spends his spare time taking photographs of live music that aspire to the legacy of another British philosopher, John Peel. In this issue he continues our profile of metros by investigating Glasgow’s subway, ‘the Clockwork Orange’. He also contributes to The Quietus, while his photographs can be viewed at www.neatephotos.com.
Umbrella is published by Wool Media Ltd, © 2011 Editor Anthony Teasdale (firstname.lastname@example.org) Creative Director Matt Reynolds (email@example.com) Staff Writer Elliott Lewis-George (firstname.lastname@example.org) Technological Development Dan Nicolson (email@example.com) Advertising Manager Jon Clements (firstname.lastname@example.org) Fashion Editor Natalie Cornish (email@example.com) Picture Researcher John Ritchie Contributors Dan Froude, Don G. Cornelius
After graduating with a philosophy degree, Wesley Rock took the next logical step – spending a year with the French Foreign Legion from 2009 to mid-2010. After basic training he was transferred to the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment in Corsica. In this edition of Umbrella he’s written a feature that shines a light on the traditions that underpin the French Foreign Legion.
UMB015 Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Editions Photography, ideas, technology, food, amusement
16: Vintage American football 19: The simple pleasures of boiled eggs 22: Killer cocktails 24: Jason Burke on al-Qaeda
City gent Peter Root is our sort of artist. Obsessed with creating â€˜citiesâ€™ from staples and bits of metal, we profile him on page 13.
The dark night returns 19th Century London has a very unusual hero walking its streets ictorian London has long provided rich pickings for graphic novelists – think of the dark, blood-soaked Whitechapel of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell or the fantastical steampunk Limehouse as seen in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – the heart of the biggest empire the world has ever seen is a rich canvas for this most visceral of storytelling mediums. The latest work to be set in the Victorian megalopolis is Yellowman, by writer Justin Quirk and illustrator Warren Holder, described by the former as “a thriller about an African albino being pursued so his body parts can be used in spells by an African voodoo group and an English folk society who’ve already killed his parents, and now need his skull to complete the set”. Lavishly illustrated in deathly black and white, the narrative takes place in a London of subterranean laboratories, madhouses, secret drinking dens and stinking, damp streets. “As an era, it’s probably the furthest back you can go as a writer and still be dealing with a world which is recognisably ‘modern’ – before that, people are wearing smocks,” says Quirk. “Things are evolving at such an astonishing pace around this period – not just in science, but in the arts, public morals, political science… there’s a real sense (and a real fear) that the cards have been scattered and nobody knows where they’re going to fall.” Influenced by the likes of Emile Zola, Alan Moore and even the relaunched Eagle comic of the 1980s, Quirk says the medium has really allowed the pair to stretch the boundaries of thriller writing. “Graphic novels are a lot more flexible than straight prose. In a regular novel, a cat suddenly turning psychedelic and burning someone alive might seem a bit much – here it makes sense.” It certainly does. You can buy Volume One of brilliant Yellowman here
Covered: Graphic novels, history
Details Warren Holder, Yellowmanâ€™s illustrator is well versed in the Victorian imagination, having provided art for films like Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd. Holderâ€™s use of film techniques like close-ups and tracking shots adds movement.
News & information A selection of the things that make the season worth living U-feed What Umbrella likes this issue… Sabotage Times re-releases all the back issues of The End, the Liverpool fanzine of the 1980s that was the first step on the road that led to Umbrella. Buy it from www.sabotagetimes.com … Piaggio go retro-modern with the beautiful Vespa 46, the best looking scooter we’ve seen since Jimmy’s one in Quadrophenia… Engineers at AeroVironment have come up with a miniature, two-winged surveillance vehicle made to imitate a hummingbird’s flight. It can fly up to 17.7kmh in all directions and being so small can go virtually anywhere… the Zafirro Iridium razor may look like a space-age Bic, but at $100,000 it’s a tad more expensive. Made from iridium, one of the strongest materials in the world, it comes with 20 years free cleaning and sharpening. More at www.zafirro.com … Got OSX Lion? Suddenly find your old copy of Word won’t open? We like Neo Office, the super-smooth alternative that costs a fiver. Get it at trinity.neooffice.org … If you’re looking for a nice new bolthole in Chicago, why not bid on the Frank Lloyd-Wright-designed Kenneth Laurent house, a stunning slice of post-war American modernism originally designed for a wheelchair-bound WW II veteran. It’s expected to fetch between $500-700,000. More from Wright’s auctioneers at www.wright20.com …
Stone Island to Regent St?
Big new store a possibility for legendary casual label
Fisker’s new electric car is a serious player A lot of the current crop of electric cars have more than the whiff of Toy Town about them (see our feature on the Frankfurt Motor Show for proof), but Fisker’s Karma is very much for grown-ups. With an all-electric range of 80km, plus a further 300km delivered by a petrol motor, if the green credentials don’t persuade CEOs with a conscience to buy one, the beautiful design, luxury interior and sustainably sourced wood trim might just do the trick. With the rival Tesla Roadster adding further meat to this growing market, it’s a further sign that electric cars could one day be a real motoring solution for people who want more than just an urban runaround. www.fiskerautomotive.com
Stone Island is among several high-end brands looking to open shops around the south end of London’s Regent Street as part of a drive by the area’s owners, the Crown Estate, to create a West End menswear hub. According to reports in the Estates Gazette, the Italian label is in talks about leasing a 2,000 sq ft shop on Brewer St. Aside from Stone Island, both Woolrich and Woolsey are also looking to move into the area – though with prices at around £140 per square foot, it is expensive. At present, Stone Island presently has one shop in the capital, on Beak St, Soho, following the closure of its short-lived store in Covent Garden.
Covered: Art, technology
Town planner Artist Peter Root creates mini-cities from the most unlikely of materials in the most unlikely of places
Much as we like trendy street art (as long as it’s not on our street), there’s something rather magnificent about a good, old fashioned enormous work – the sort of piece that makes you think, “How the hell did he/she do that?” Peter Root is one artist whose sculptures and installations do exactly that. Making enormous ‘cities’ of staples in his Ephemicropolis piece or constructing huge virtual sculptures in Google Earth, his work blends design, geography and sculpture in equal measures. An ideal subject, then, for an Umbrella interview.
Root enjoys making “timeconsuming” art
Umbrella: We’re really interested in the installations you’ve done in Google Earth Digital Detritus Dover. How did they come about? Peter Root: As a sculpture student studying in the late-’90s, digital technology was the toolbox of the graphic design students. Email was a bit of a novelty and no-one had really heard of Google. At the time I was working on very time-intensive drawings and installations – abstract, architectural, technical and doodle-like in appearance. After graduating, I needed money so I began working as an architectural modelmaker and was introduced to the world of digital design and 3D model-making. The Google Earth work has been created using a combination of Google SketchUp (3D design software) and KML (keyhole markup language) code. U: What’s the difference between making virtual and real sculpture? PR: A virtual sculpture is a real sculpture. With regards to the Google Earth work the term ‘virtual’ is used to describe the installations in the context of virtual reality, existing as computer-generated rather than physical. U: If we go into Google Earth, can we see it? PR: Nearly! The Google Earth works so far have been presented as pre-recorded films. At the moment I’m three months into an epic journey cycling around the world, developing new installations that will be available to view directly in Google Earth. These future works will be available as kmz downloads from my website www.peterroot.com. Kmz files are compressed folders readable by Google Earth and Google Maps, consisting of various elements such as mapping information, 3D models, audio, animation info etc. U: Tell us about some of your other work… PR: Well, they’re ‘ephemeral architectonic installations’ created using large quantities of objects like staples, potatoes, transformer laminates and flour. I also do complex, detailed, technical drawings and audio pieces based on meticulous sound edits. These are pieces that I enjoyed creating, that were extremely
satisfying to make and are perhaps more successful than others. U: You like making miniature worlds? Why? PR: The idea of the miniature world occurs throughout childhood play; Lego, drawing, dolls, action figures and building sandcastles. Miniature environments can be created anywhere from anything and can function as a space allowing you to become fully immersed in. I like making things that are intricate and time-consuming. As with any person creating things, my work is influenced by the things that have somehow have entered my head: toys I played with as a kid, films I’ve seen (science fiction), places I have been, people I’ve spoken to. U: And the urban environment? PR: Yeah. I’m very interested in the concept
of the city; the density, its structure, its life as a single entity. However, my intentions when creating work such as Ephemicropolis, Wasteland [an urban environment made of potatoes] and Transformer [a city constructed in metal] were not primarily to create art work that directly resembles miniature landscapes – that was more of an underlying narrative or structure from which to begin. U: Finally, anything cool coming up? PR: As I mentioned, I’m working on new Google Earth pieces. I’ve also been approached by a large online stationary supply company who are interested in working with me to create new pieces based on products they’re selling. It would be great to work on a 1m-staple version of Ephemicropolis. See more of Peter’s work at www.peterroot.com
News & information big train
Crossrail on track UK capital’s colossal rail scheme edges closer to completion London’s £15.9bn Crossrail project is on schedule to be up and running by 2018, despite recent rumours that the full 118km route would be cut back. With up to 14,000 people working on Crossrail’s construction at any one time, tunnels are being dug throughout the capital and its environs as the goal of a highspeed, cross-capital rail connection comes closer to fruition. Umbrella is especially excited by the works at Farringdon, just north of the City of London. Already the fourth busiest station in the UK, the refurbished terminus, originally built in 1853, will provide a hub for Crossrail, London Underground
and north-to-south Thameslink services. The historic frontage will be restored, while a new concourse will completely transform the interior. Meanwhile, at Canary Wharf, a new £500m station is being built within the dock itself, with the
track running at a depth of 28m underground. When completed, the station will be as big as the neighbouring One Canada Square tower lying on its side. Further north in Tyne and Wear, the Metro has unveiled its first new look train, as part of a £350m modernisation system. The refurbished trains will come with completely new interiors and a smart, Umbrella-approved yellow, black and grey colour scheme. Over on Merseyside, local travellers are getting their first taste of smartcard travel with the introduction of the Walrus, an Oyster-like system for the region’s trains, ferries and buses. For more info, go to www.crossrail. co.uk , www.walruscard.com and www.nexus.org.uk/metro
Covered: Trains, Africa
b u i lt e n v i r o n m e n t s
Hot in the city
Clockwise from top: Cairo, Bamako, Ouagadougou, Nouakchott, Dakar
A fascinating new book highlights Africa’s greatest urban landscapes For many people, Africa, apart from its northern and southern extremities, is an overwhelmingly rural continent, but a new book, African Metropolitan Architecture, by London-based architect David Adjaye highlights a very different side to it. Over the book’s seven volumes, Adjaye explores the built environment of 53 African cities, from the soaring, densely populated peaks of Antananarivo in Madagascar, to the dry, hot streets of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. Of Tanzanian descent, Adjaye’s photographs were taken over ten years of travelling and are joined in the book by maps, urban histories and fact files. African Metropolitan Architecture is published by Rizzoli New York, price $100, www.rizzoliusa.com
Bloody Sundays American football’s great age is captured in all its brutal glory in a stunning book t’s hard to believe that up until the late 1950s, America’s version of football was a poor second in popularity to baseball, playing to halfempty stadiums and followed by only the die-hard fans of the sport. But one moment changed everything: a suddendeath touchdown by Baltimore Colts’ Alan Ameche in the 1958 NFL Championship Game which, as it was shown live on NBC, gave football its first national ‘moment’. Sixteen-year-old photographer Neil Leifer was there and captured this play, and so began a career in sports photography, the bulk of which was concentrated on American football. The very best of his images from that period
have been collected in a retrospective, Guts and Glory which captures not just the sport, but the spirit of Wonder Years America, a period that began with victory in World War II and ended with bloodshed at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont gig. Even for Europeans, whose familiarity with the sport stretches mostly to the Superbowl, the sheer beauty of these images, of hugely powerful men captured in the watery winter sun and gloomy nightfall is enough to impress anyone. There is steam, sweat, violence and sportsmanship in abundance – all of it captured by a young photographer at a time when America really was the nation the rest of the world wanted to be.
Covered: American football, photography
Merger Until 1970 there were two rival football leagues â€“ the NFL and the AFL. They merged to stop bidding wars over the talent pool.
Guts and Glory â€“ Golden Age of American Football is published by Taschen, www.taschen.com
Searching for the young dole rebels Phil Thornton, author of Casuals, tells us why a combination of outdoor wear and clothing aimed at skint retirees forms a mindset that’s underpinned northern street style for a quarter of a century oday I’m wearing my bottle-green Paramo cagoule over a Marks & Spencer beige cord shirt, some decent looking jeans with one inch turn-ups that could be Edwin but are in fact from Burton’s and a pair of beige Padders shoes which are, when all’s said and done, nowt but jarg Hush Puppies. I would describe this look as ‘borstal hiker’ or ‘scally librarian’ and it’s one that has been around for some 25 years or more. In fact, the basic outline is almost identical to the early proto-scally days of the late-’70s and early ’80s, although the kecks may be a tad wider in line with our waistlines. The editor of this fine organ once attended a disco event we organised back in the halcyon days of the internet boom over a decade ago.
‘I’m tight – I once paid £280 for a CP jacket as I thought the label said £80’ I can still remember what I was wearing that night; a Peter Storm cagoule, a pair of Wrangler vintage needle cords and some Clarks Polyveldts. This was regarded as ‘neoretro scal’, a kind of homage to the original look that had already witnessed one revival in the early ’90s. It strikes me now that perhaps these revivals were in fact not revivals at all but a continuum, something that we, particularly we north-westerners, are drawn back to time after time, a casual classicism we feel comfortable with when surrounded by Johnny-come-latelys and wannabe ‘lads’. After all, following fashion is rather pathetic for men now approaching 50, and so a kind of unspoken uniformity has taken hold – but this too has its problems.
It’s a warmish Autumn day and I’m searching for something to wear in a northern city centre during my lunch break. It’s a dispiriting experience. As usual, I avoid the plethora of ‘trendy shops’, each one selling more or less the same upmarket casualwear brands that even students have now adopted. I head for TK Maxx, which has been my favourite store for many years and where I’ve purchased some fine items by the likes of CP Company, Massimo Osti Productions, Stone Island, Barbour, Mandarina Duck, Missoni, John Smedley, Daks and Ralph Lauren, but which has sadly now declined into a jumble sale of Bench, Marlborough Classics, Farah and the likes. Now maybe, as my wife would attest, I’m just too fussy but I don’t regard myself as a dandy or even a particularly choosy shopper. I’m a tight-arse, a minge-bag, a bargain hunter and still baulk at paying over £30 for a pair of trainers or jeans, or a ton for a decent jerkin or jacket. I once paid £280 for a beautiful CP jacket from the now-defunkt Wade Smith in Liverpool but that was a mistake as I thought the label said £80. That’s why I’m usually to be found in outdoor clothing shops looking through the sales rails or in second-handies (vintage clothing outlets as they’re now called). Even at the height of my scallywear obsession, my favourite haunt was Millets in Manchester’s Arndale where I’d search the back of the store for minty aul ski hats and waterproof breeches to match my nontrendy hiking boots. Greenwood’s, Dunne & Co and other ‘gentlemans outfitters’ were also preferable to the likes of Flannels or Woodhouse. Cord and tweed, suede and GoreTex; these were (and still are) our favourite textiles and so, it’s come as something of a laugh to witness the fashion world now coming full circle to our way of thinking again. I can’t find anything worth buying in TK’s and so head for a new menswear shop further down town. Now, there are definitely some lovely pieces of shmutter I’d put my hand in my arse pocket for in here and yet, somehow I feel as if this new orthodoxy of global-casual-
retail is as safe and predictable as TK’s or Aspecto or Selfridges or River Island or Argos. You know the dance; Folk, Heritage Research, Universal Works, Engineered Garments, Norse Projects, Woolrich, Red Wing, Albam, Nudie, Post O Alls… all lovely in their own way, great design, care taken with texture and detail, modestly priced for the most part and yet as uniform in its own way as the Stone Island, Burberry, Armani, Rockport days of the ’90s. I call these people Third Reich Ramblers, as they tend to sport beards, shaved temples and Scott Parker flicks. Perhaps it’s just age catching up with me. When I left school in 1982, the casual ‘movement’ was in full swing and although I couldn’t afford Adidas Korsicas, I managed to persuade myself that a pair of my arl feller’s ‘sensible’ slip-on leather uppers would pass off as the much cherished ‘Adidas shoes’. As I type this, I’m wearing a very similar pair of shoes to those my dad sported almost 30 years ago and wouldn’t dream of wearing any of the re-released so-called Adidas classics that have fed on our collective love for the three stripes over the past quarter century. To these eyes, it just smacks of exploitation, this unrecognised and demeaning usurping of an aesthetic that had its origin not on the catwalks of Milan or Paris or London but on the terraces of Anfield, Old Trafford and Upton Park. We were the Young Dole Rebels and these days it feels as if those dark years of Tory misrule and misdirected youthful anger are back with a vengeance. On the way back to work after lunch, I walk straight past the Armani AX and Flannels in a nearby upmarket shopping centre, past the Adidas Originals store and pop into Adapt Outdoors, the shop of choice for countless ‘North Face ninjas’ the jungen scallies of the north-west who sport Lowe Alpine, Berghaus, North Face, SprayWay and assorted National Trust dependables. They have a couple of Paramos going for £250 a piece. I’ll wait for the sale.
Covered: Eggs, breakfast
The simple pleasures of…
Boiled eggs Shamefully pushed aside by cereal, this is a breakfast to rediscover
Timing Arguements rage about the cooking time for boiled eggs, but for a runny yolk the optimum is four minutes
any of us these days eat our breakfast at work. Go into any office between 9 and 10am and you’ll see a procession of people on their way to or from the microwave, single white dish filled with porridge. Others, meanwhile, fill up their bowls with corn flakes or choccy pops, race to the kitchen for the cold milk, before coming back to their desk to fill up, while scanning for updates on Facebook – their faces a flickering mass of distraction as the food is shovelled down unnoticed. What a miserable sight this all is. Once, a British or Irish chap, if he could afford to, would begin his day with kippers, or eggs, bacon, sausages, bubble ’n’ squeak and assorted white and black puddings, plus bread – toasted and fried. While this splendid meal is now relegated to weekends, except by gentlemen of the building trade, there is an alternative – a quick, tasty and most importantly, savoury way to begin your day. I’m talking, of course, about boiled eggs. There has to be two of course, one simply is not enough. And they have to be at the perfect stage where
the yolk is runny and the white is just that – rather than the grey, milky gloop that is the result of rather too little time in the water. But don’t worry, this is not a difficult meal to make. All it needs is for you to get up half an hour earlier than usual – and if you have little ones, you’ll be more than familiar with early mornings – and for you to employ just a tad more thought than you’re used to at such an ungodly hour. As your eggs begin their little dance in the pan of boiling water, pop the bread in the toaster. Once it’s done, butter it and by then your eggs should also be ready. You will of course cut your toast into soldiers – (for what’s a boiled egg unless you can dunk your little fellers in there?) yolk, butter and bread in one moment of culinary harmony. Assemble the various parts – eggs in cups, soldiers on side plate with teaspoon etc – and then dive in. What joy! Of course, the pleasure is fleeting (as all the best pleasures are), for this is a meal that never lasts long, but as you scrape the last bits of white out of the bottom of the second egg, you’re set for the day and at least for you, there’ll be no queuing for the microwave and that miserable little bowl of oats.
WORDS: ANTHONY TEASDALE picture: shutterstock
‘They have to be at the perfect stage where the yolk is runny’
Masterful Morito Moro’s younger sibling is a spicy sensation he British have gone loco for Spanish food. Maybe it’s the variety of flavours that does it for us, or perhaps it’s because we tend to associate tapas with being on holiday and good times. Whatever, there are now few towns in the UK without a local, and much-loved, Spanish restaurant. In London, as you’d expect, there are scores of them, but at Umbrella we’ve fallen in love with one in particular – Morito on Exmouth Market in the northcentral area of Clerkenwell, a place that takes quickfire Spanish cooking to a whole new level. Founded by the people behind Spanish/Moroccan restaurant Moro (which lives next door), it gives visitors to this most continental of streets the chance to try Moro’s cooking without having to wangle a reservation or order off an a la carte menu. “The great thing is that in terms of the ingredients and cooking expertise it’s not second to Moro at all,” says co-manager Hugo Thurstone. “Same chefs, same suppliers – the only difference is that it’s all tapas. The easiest way to describe the food is Spanish – which is a primary influence – and ‘Muslim Mediterranean’.” Morito (little Moro) has the look of modern Madrid tapas bar, all clean lines and artfully unfussy furniture. The food, however, is as earthy as the interior – and for a good reason, as Hugo explains.
“When you serve meals in such small portions you can afford to be really bold with the seasonings. Take the chicharones, the pork belly. It’s really salty, anyway, but then we add loads of cumin and drench it in lemon juice. What you’re looking for is a an explosion of tastes in your mouth that balance themselves out. You’ve got the lemon juice which cuts through the saltiness of the pork, then there’s the earthy spice of the cumin.” Already a favourite with scores of revellers looking for some sustenance on their nights out (on Fridays, names are put on a list until a table becomes free), the bar’s proximity to King’s Cross and Euston means visitors from further north can pop in before getting the train home. And hopefully they’ll take the Morito philosophy with them. “We’re seeing a trend in London where people can go out for a meal without spending huge amounts of money,” says Hugo. “It allows them to eat in a relaxed way that’s increasingly popular. It’s certainly changed the way I eat. When I go out with friends now, I think about ordering extra starters and sharing them, ordering fewer main courses. It allows you to try more things and is really nice way of eating. It can’t be ignored.” Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, Islington, London EC1R 4QL, Tel: 020 7278 7007
Covered: Spanish food
Salt cod croquetas
Ingredients: 500g salt cod fillet (soaked in cold water for at least 24 hours, changing the water a couple of times at least) 500g plain mashed potato (no butter, milk or seasoning) Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped Enough milk to cover the salt cod in a pan 1 onion, peeled and halved A couple of bay leaves A clove of garlic, peeled and halved A few peppercorns Oil for deep frying
(Pork belly with cumin and lemon)
Fried spiced chickpeas with chopped salad Ingredients: 800g of cooked, bottled chickpeas (it is important you use good quality chickpeas – at Morito we use the Navarrico brand – or they will break up when you fry them). 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt A couple of red chilllis, de-seeded and very finely diced Half a bunch of spring onions, finely chopped A squeeze of lemon 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely diced 10 cherry tomatoes, finely diced Small bunch each of fresh mint and coriander, roughly chopped Salt and pepper Falafel spice Oil for deep frying Method: First make the salad; put the garlic, chilli, onion, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into a small mixing bowl. Stir well then add the cucumber, tomatoes and herbs. Check for seasoning – be bold, it should be really zingy and punchy! Drain the chickpeas then deep-fry at a high heat until they’re golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and season generously with salt and falafel spice. Serve with the salad.
Method: Dice the pork in to generous bite-sized cubes. Get a frying pan good and hot but don’t add any oil. Fry the cubes of pork until they have crisped up and heated through. Squeeze over plenty of lemon juice and sprinkle liberally with cumin. Add salt to taste.
Beetroot borani with feta, walnuts & dill Ingredients: 500g raw beetroot 400g good quality Greek yoghurt 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with ½ teaspoon of salt Pinch of sugar 200g Feta cheese Handful of shelled walnuts Black onion seeds (optional) Method: Boil the beetroot, skins on, until tender. Drain and peel under cold running water and transfer to a food processor. Puree the beetroot to obtain a smooth paste, then add the yoghurt, olive oil, garlic and sugar, and blitz until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the dill (retain some for garnish) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a shallow bowl or casuela garnished with crumbled feta, walnuts, the remaining dill, a few black onion seeds and perhaps a final drizzle of olive oil. Flatbread makes a good accompaniment.
Ingredients: 2-4 garlic cloves Salt Squeeze of lemon juice 2 egg yolks 200ml oil (half extra virgin olive, half sunflower) Method: Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. When smooth, add the lemon juice and egg yolks. At this point you can transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and use a balloon or electric whisk, or continue in the mortar. Whisk the egg yolks, garlic and lemon juice and start to add the oil, drop by drop at first, then with more confidence when you see that a thick emulsion has formed. Once the oil has been incorporated, season to taste with salt and more lemon juice.
If you like recipes like this, Moro has released three cookbooks:, Moro, Casa Moro and Moro East. For more info on the book and the Moro restaurant, go to www.moro.co.uk
photography by matt reynolds and anthony teasdale
Method: Dry the soaked salt cod fillet with a clean tea towel then place in a pan with the milk, onion, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns. Bring gently to the boil then take off the heat. Remove the fish and discard the rest. Flake the salt cod and combine with the potato. Add the parsley. Check for seasoning – you probably won’t need to add any more salt. Place the mixture in the fridge for half an hour or longer. When the mixture is cold, form in to croquetas with your hands. Deep fry until golden on the outside and hot throughout. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with alioli.
Ingredients: Quantity of cold, roasted pork belly – ribs removed Lemon juice Ground cumin Salt
the umbrella bar
The palate of John and Yoko Shake it up, baby with cocktails at Liverpool’s Hard Day’s Night hotel s Liverpool continues in its boozy quest to become the party capital of the UK, the city’s more sophisticated revellers are seeking out places where they can drink in cosy seclusion, away from the hordes outside. Bar Four at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel is one such place. Reminiscent of a classic 1960s Manhattan cocktail bar, this deftly decorated watering hole near the financial quarter provides an oasis of studied calm that’s ideal for quaffing cocktails. “Without doubt, the cocktails at Bar Four are the best in the city,” says resident mixologist Jon Corser. “This is mainly due to the fact that they’re so different to the standard drinks you get at most bars.”
Of course, with the hotel’s (very tasteful) Fab Four connection, it’s no surprise that the drinks often have a twist of John, Paul, George and Ringo, as Jon explains. “All our cocktails are Beatles-inspired and have a little interesting twist,” he says. “For example, one of our cocktails, Strawberry Fields, includes vodka infused in-house with grass from the real Strawberry Fields in Liverpool. It’s all about the attention to detail.” And that’s something worth raising a glass to. For more information on the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, just visit www.harddaysnighthotel.com
Peppers Ingredients: 35ml House-infused fresh chilli vodka 20ml Port 25ml Passatta (sieved tomatoes) 3 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce Celery salt Dash of fresh lemon and lime juice Dash of orange juice 50ml Tomato juice Misc: Celery and lemon wedge to garnish finished with a twist of cracked black pepper
Method: If you like a Bloody Mary then you’ll love this spicy winter warmer. Drop a clean and scored stick of celery into a long glass and fill with ice. Build all the ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Once done, seal with a Boston tin and gently ‘roll’ the cocktail back and forth. We don’t want to shake the ingredients as this will add too much dilution from the ice. Once the cocktail is chilled, strain into a glass and garnish with a slice of lemon and a twist of pepper. If this doesn’t wake you up then we don’t know what will.
Brandy Alexander John Lennon’s favourite cocktail Ingredients: 30ml Hennessey cognac 25ml Crème de cacao brown 50ml Double cream Misc: Chocolate powder or nutmeg to garnish around the rim Method: Pour all ingredients into a Boston glass/cocktail shaker full of ice, shake with vigour and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.
Daq in the USSR
Method: Chill a cocktail glass with ice. Pour all the ingredients into a Boston glass/cocktail shaker and fill this with ice too. Empty the ice from the glass and run it round the rim of the glass. Place the rim of the glass into the vanilla-infused sugar (the moisture from the lime juice will help the sugar stick onto the edging/rim of the glass). Shake vigorously until the shaker/Boston tin is cold. Pour cocktail into the glass and complete with a lime wheel garnish.
photography by anthony teaSdale
Ingredients: 50ml Gold rum 20ml Fresh lime juice 15ml Gingerbread syrup 10ml Sugar syrup/gomme Misc: Vanilla-infused sugar to rim the glass
jason burke One of world’s foremost experts on radical Islam and al-Qaeda, Jason Burke’s latest book The 9/11 Wars is the definitive account of the conflicts that the 2001 attacks on America spawned. Here, he charts the state of radical Islam today, the mistakes the West made in Afghanistan and Iraq, and where conspiracy theorists are going wrong
mbrella: What’s the state of al-Qaeda at the moment? Jason Burke: Not as good as it has been. It’s too early to say it’s dying but it is seriously ill. The central leadership has lost most of its leaders (and many of the middle ranks, too), the network of franchises or affiliates is weak and confined to marginal parts of the Islamic world with little capacity to cause serious harm, and the ideology has not attracted the mass of population that Osama bin Laden had hoped it would. The strategic aim of mobilising and radicalising tens of millions of people and bringing massive change has failed.
U: What’s been the effect of the ‘Arab spring’ on al-Qaeda? JB: It has been totally marginal to the Arab spring which reinforces the sense that the historic moment for the organisation has passed. There have been a few videos from people like Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader now bin Laden is dead, but not much else. Even the videos look really out of date. An old bloke waving his finger at the screen and calling for jihad. Very 1990s, in fact. U: Going back to the late-’90s, what was the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban? JB: Tense, in a word. Though bin Laden managed to charm Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban, the overall relationship between the
Covered: Terrorism, Middle East
internationalist, basically Arab al-Qaeda and the local Afghan Taliban with its pretty parochial aims, was tense. I found letters in al-Qaeda training camps after the invasion of 2001 which showed how the Arabs thought the Afghans were a bunch of useless, illiterate hicks. For their part the Taliban resented bin Laden grandstanding and were obviously worried about Western reaction to the terrorist attacks he was organising. Nor did they have any warning about 9/11. In the end though, of course, they sided with AQ and pulled off a successful tactical retreat into Pakistan.
for violence, a small number – in this case a few dozen – are going to try something. The years from 2002 to 2005/6 saw significant numbers of Western Muslims (in the case of the London bombings) and of Muslims living in the West (in the case of Madrid) becoming more radical and mobilised. The security services around Europe stopped most attacks. Some got through, however. That level of mobilisation has now dropped radically, MI5 and MI6 now say, which is good news. The number of British-Pakistanis heading to training camps in the Pakistani tribal zones is a fraction of what it was.
U: When did it go wrong for the West in Afghanistan? JB: From the beginning, due to the failure of Western policymakers and strategists to read the situation. But it only became evident by about 2004 or 2005 that the Taliban hadn’t evaporated but were coming back in, cleverly exploiting disappointment, anger and a power vacuum across their old heartlands in the south and east. In 2002, you could drive all over the country pretty much without any serious concerns. By 2006, I drove the main Kabul-to-Kandahar road and it was a fairly frightening experience. Since then it’s been pretty much closed to Westerners. Looking back, the attitude of Western powers in those early years post-2001 seems incredibly naive.
U: What’s your view on the many conspiracy theories surrounding the West, 9/11 and al-Qaeda? JB: One of the most deeply depressing things about the work I’m doing is encountering people all over the world who still insist that the CIA or Mossad or the Bush administration or whoever were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. There is absolutely no evidence to back up these claims, or certainly none that I or any of the people I respect in the field have ever found. I simply don’t understand the need to find some other explanation for what seems to me to be pretty simple: a terrorist organisation launched an attack which successfully evaded the systems at the time that were designed to protect America. I can just comprehend the attraction of conspiracy theories to some in the Middle East but that intelligent, educated Europeans still insist on imagining these hidden agendas and background plots is genuinely saddening.
U: Moving to 2003. Why did the Iraq war inflame such anger in the Muslim world? Were any Iraqis in favour of it? JB: Well, many of the Iraqis that I spent a lot of time with – the Kurds in the north – were very keen to see Saddam deposed. A large number of the Shia majority too were certainly not against the idea. But in much of the Islamic world, it was seen as the worst sort of Western neo-imperialism and confirming the widespread perception that the West was set on the subordination and humiliation of Muslims. That Saddam Hussein was largely secular and horrifically violent towards his own Muslim people wasn’t the point. Then of course post-invasion you had civilian casualties, looting, prisoner abuse and scenes of US troops shooting demonstrators.
U: Where will al-Qaeda conduct future operations? JB: You can never say never but the likelihood is of small-scale freelance attacks by individuals or small groups claiming to be part of AQ rather than AQ itself. These could occur pretty much anywhere but are naturally most likely in zones of instability where AQ affiliates are most active: the Yemen, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and Pakistan.
‘IN the islamic world, iraq was seen as the worst sort of western imperialism’
U: What was al-Qaeda strategy in Iraq? How did it justify the deaths of the thousands of Muslims it caused? JB: Al-Qaeda’s strategy in Iraq was not run by the central leadership which made significant efforts to try and reclaim authority there over figures like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the brutal former street thug from Jordan who was the effective head locally. He saw Shia Muslims as a major target partly because he hated them as supposed heretics and partly because he genuinely wanted to foment a civil war. He succeeded in many ways. But his brutality and indiscriminate violence forced many local people to reconsider their support for the militants which itself was part of the broader process of Muslim populations across the Middle East and elsewhere turning away from extremism over the second half of the decade of ‘the 9/11 wars’ as I call them in the new book. U: Were the bombings in London and Madrid inevitable after Iraq? JB: Only in the sense that with millions of people getting very angry about something at a time when there is a free-floating ideology that explicitly calls
U: How has working on the subject of terrorism affected you and people who care about you? JB: My mum’s very pleased that I’m not covering Iraq intensively any more! Personally, I’ve always been more interested in the human stories that underpin terrorism, not the grand theories. I did a calculation in my book of how many casualties we have seen in all the various conflicts associated with 9/11 and AQ over the last decade, and the total is around 250,000 dead and many times that injured. Then of course there are all the displaced, the bereaved and so on. I don’t think anyone – specialist reporter or not – has come out of the last decade unchanged by what we have witnessed. The 9/11 Wars by Jason Burke is out now, published by Allen Lane. Burke is also the author of Al-Qaeda: The Story of Radical Islam and On The Road to Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict in The Islamic World www.penguin.co.uk
PX factor Vespaâ€™s PX series surfaced in 1977, coming with two drum brakes, a steel chassis, improved rear axle and single-cylinder engine. The model was constructed by Piaggio until 2007 when production was halted. However, in 2010, a revised version of the bike came out with a new, more efficient engine.
Covered: Scooters, transport
Our favourite things…
VESPA P125X scooter Getting around town in style is a whizz with this classic Piaggio mbrella will always have a large (target-shaped) soft spot for the scooter, in particular Piggiao’s Vespa series, the little motorbikes that ferried Italians around cities like Rome and Naples from 1946, providing cheap transport for Europe’s most stylish urban population. Later, as they ransacked the culture of mainland Europe and America for anything ’sharp’, British mods made the scooter their undisputed choice of transport – a perfect runaround for Bank Holiday outings to the seaside. Umbrella photographer Dan Froude is especially keen on his Vespa – a P125X from 1982, with a single cylinder, two-stroke engine and solid steel body. Its marriage of durability and style was too much for us to resist when he volunteered it for this page, despite the fact that its manufacture date was after the bike’s mod heyday. “I really love the simplicity and reliability of it,” says Dan. “It’s been my daily ride for the last 10 years or so, and in that time I’ve done about 20,000 miles on it. It’s broken down a few times (mainly due to my neglect) but considering it’s nearly 30 years old it’s been very good to me.” And why a scooter rather than a regular motorbike? “It’s easier to squeeze into the jam-packed motorcycle bays around the West End, and is great for zipping past queues of traffic or weaving through the snarled-up city streets. But most importantly, you keep your clothes cleaner and drier than when you’re riding a motorbike.” While keeping his clobber pristine is obviously a factor, the Vespa gives him something every bit as important, but just a little harder to define. “I get a great sense of freedom when I’m in the saddle, not being tied to timetables or held hostage by the wrong sort of leaves on the line,” says Dan. “It’s great not having to ride the same tedious route every day, too – there are literally hundreds of variations I can take into town, turning on a whim into streets I’ve not tried before, discovering new areas, and just finding out how parts of London join together.” Sounds like a vehicle made for the Umbrella reader. PHOTOGRAPHY: DAN FROUDE danfroude.com
Field trip Architecture, travel and transport
Exhausted? Umbrella goes to the Frankfurt Motor Show and takes a tour of the vast, specially built showrooms that house new cars by the likes of Mercedes-Benz (pictured), BMW and Audi. As well as reporting on the vehicles, we focus on the industry’s obsession with the environment and why it’s fooling itself. See page 32.
Field trip 29
30: Glasgow’s Subway enters a new phase 38: The most beautiful railway maps in the world 40: The cycle: a love story
30 Field trip
Orange revolution Glasgow’s circular Subway makes a refreshing change, says Greg Neate bove ground in Glasgow, orange has sectarian and soft drink (known as ‘ginger’) associations. Underground it represents the Subway, ‘the Clockwork Orange’, the third-oldest (after London and Budapest’s) subterranean metro system in the world. Serving 40,000 people daily across both sides of the River Clyde, the Subway may have been electrified, modernised and rebranded since opening in 1896 but it still follows much the same, entirely underground 6.5 mile (10.5 km) loop of 15 stops, though some station names and locations have since changed. “A model railway for people,” laughed my new colleagues when I asked about their home-town metro. Certainly its narrow, four foot (1,219 mm) gauge makes for slimmer trains with seating that runs along the carriages while trains and platforms only stretch to three carriage-lengths. It’s these dimensions, along with Glasgow’s variable geology and economic fortunes, which have preserved the Subway’s separateness from the railway network above ground. While these factors have also ensured its lack of expansion and stubborn survival, last year it was suggested that the Subway might have to close. Originally the Subway ran using a cable haulage system, similar to San Francisco’s cable cars, before tracks were electrified in 1935. As stations then consisted of single island platforms, trains running on the Outer Circle and Inner Circle lines (clockwise and anticlockwise respectively) only had doors on one side. The Subway then closed between 1977 and 1980 for substantial modernisation with additional platforms built at its six busiest stations. Its these rectangular-spaced platforms with brown brick floors and off-yellow tiled walls lit by fluorescent tubes which gives the Subway – along with its turnstile barriers – an urban, American feel. However it was the bright orange exteriors of the post-modernisation trains that brought a European
and futuristic appearance; even when passing through the Subway’s shabby south side. It was these trains’ iconic facades, designed in partnership with the Glasgow School of Art, that easily encouraged the Subway’s Kubrick-esque tribute. Although trains today are painted in the ‘carmine-red and cream livery’ of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), orange still remains reassuringly evident throughout the Subway’s signage and ticketing machines. Earlier this year, the Scottish Government approved a £290 million upgrade to overhaul the Subway and deliver a new wave of station modernisation with improvements in public access, which for disabled passengers is limited at best. Work at Hillhead Station in the upmarket West End has already begun with plans for a sleek, metallic silver design by Clancy Docwra that will be familiar to those who use London’s Jubilee line. With a public art installation by Alasdair Gray, Hillhead’s upgrade is expected to be completed by summer 2012, and will act as a ‘flagship’ for future station upgrades. Also recently announced is the deployment of new branding, styled by local firm, Stand Design, with Klavika – the font of Facebook’s logo – due to feature on all posters, trains and signage. More importantly for those nostalgic for the Subway’s ‘Clockwork’ past, future trains will again be orange but with a modern grey and white twist. Already one train to sport this design is in service and makeovers across the fleet are due to be rolled out ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Further developments planned include an integrated, smartcard ticketing system by 2013, as well as driverless trains and automated signalling. Although this new attention on the existing line means that plans for an East End Circle extension are on hold, it appears that the legacy of the Victorian Glaswegians and their unique, orbital Subway has now been secured.
Covered: Glasgow, metros
Key facts about the Subway
+ Before the 1977–’80 modernisation,
trains were always formed with two carriages. The front (motor) carriage had red leather seats and the rear (trailer) carriage’s seats were brown leather. Smoking was permitted in the rear carriage only.
St George’s Cross was opened in 1896, and modernised between 1977-80. It handles around 600,000 users a year.
+ In 1936, the subway was renamed the
Glasgow Underground and during its late 1970s modernisation, large, illuminated orange ‘U’ signs were placed at station entrances. With the re-adoption in 2003 of the name ‘Subway’, these have now been removed, though traces of the Subway’s past can still be seen with ‘U’ signage still present in many stations.
+ Unlike the London Underground,
a ticket is not required to exit stations.
+ The Glasgow ‘Subcrawl’ can be 05
02 03 04 05 06 07
Ticket hall at Partick station Partick entrance 1960s train interior European-style entrance at Buchanan St A platform in between lines at St George’s Cross The Subway map The system’s new livery respects its brightly coloured past
+ Partick is the only station on the
Subway that interchanges directly with a railway station, although Buchanan Street station is linked to Queen Street by a length of moving walkway. St. Enoch once shared this distinction, before its parent St Enoch railway station was closed and demolished in the 1960s.
+ Three subway stations on the SPT 06
Subway benefit from mobile telephone service nodes – Partick, Buchanan Street and Hillhead. These nodes allow users of the O2 cellular network to use their mobile telephones while waiting for a Subway train. The idea was to trial the technology at the busiest stations and, if successful, to put similar devices at each station, eventually extending service across the entire network. As yet, the trial is incomplete.
+ The backs of the seats of the former
carriages were attached to the sides of the carriages and moved semiindependently from those them around. Passengers always entered at the middle of the train (‘Q Here’ signs were painted on the platforms), leaving by the front door of the front carriage or the rear door of the rear carriage 07
photography: shutterstock, spt, greg neate www.neatephotos.com
undertaken with an all-day Discovery ticket (£3.50 ) and having a drink in the nearest bar at each of the 15 stations. This usually takes a whole day and completing the crawl by drinking in the same pub you started is regarded as a standard day out.
34 Field trip
Covered: Cars, big business
Driving ambition The Frankfurt Motor Show offers a glimpse into our automotive future, and it’s desperately trying to plug into a greener world, as Umbrella Editor Anthony Teasdale discovers or an event dedicated to the car, getting around the Frankfurt Motor Show involves a huge amount of walking. And no wonder, because the site of this annual Clarkson-fest – the world’s largest auto fair – is enormous. In fact, enormous doesn’t really do it justice. You could describe it as the size small town, but that too would be incorrect. What it most resembles is London’s Canary Wharf – countless skyscrapers and halls – a glass and concrete future world dedicated to commerce.
‘the mercedes hall is like an apple store in a spaceship’ While pretty much every car manufacturer on the planet has some sort of presence here, make no mistake, this is where the powerful German automotive industry flexes its muscles. Audi, Mercedes and BMW are all housed in standalone halls, while VW might as well be such is the vastness of their operation. Audi have set up their very own oval-shaped mega-hall, fitted with a racetrack, hundreds of Audi robot-people and a seemingly endless array
of new cars – including the new Urban Concept vehicle, which looks like an updated version of the Sinclair C5. Mercedes, meanwhile have taken things into another dimension. Their hall is a bizarre multistorey future world that mixes a car dealership of the future with an Apple Store located in a spaceship. It’s amazing. While new Mercs go whizzing by on the enormous elevated track, Umbrella checks out the new F-125 hydrogen concept and SLS AMG Roadster, before paying homage to the car that anyone who’s ever been on a business trip to Germany will know – the beige Mercedes B-Class taxi. The queues aren’t quite as big for this one. The theme that almost every manufacturer is following is, alongside the obsession with connectivity, the environment, which means ‘green’ cars everywhere, whether they’re hybrids, electrics or just super-efficient internal combustion engines. Umbrella is especially impressed by BMW’s all-electric i3 hatchback and the rather fetching i8 hybrid supercar. Both point to the increasing influence of technology – and Apple in particular – on the car industry at the moment. The iPod-isation of the world really does look unstoppable. The likes of Renault and VW are also pushing the small car/eco agenda with the facelifted Twingo and up! afforded serious amounts of promotion, while Smart’s Forvision concept has either been designed by someone with a liking for challenging sculpture or they’ve let a load of nutters at it with hammers. We can’t quite work out which. Mazda meanwhile are pitching everything on their lovely CX-5 mini-SUV, which combines the new, green SKYACTIV engine with some serious styling, though Umbrella is just as keen on the MX-5 sit-in- videogame as we are on the new model. Over at Mini, their nightclub-meets-TV adventure game section is thronged with people craning their necks at the new Mini Coupe, which shows far the brand’s come since it was taken over by BMW. Of course, it’s not all about cars – in fact, for anyone who likes to see how societies function on a smaller scale, the Frank Motor Show offers plenty of opportunity for research. There’s a
34 Field trip
weird hierarchy of people at play here. At the very top are the playboys, dressed in a uniform of suit jackets, unbuttoned white shirts and bootcut faded jeans – all Cuprinol tan and greased-back hair. Feted by car executives desperate to get a promise of a sale, they hang about in the backstage VIP bars, disinterestedly drinking champagne and keeping an eye out for Formula 1 drivers, whose off-track style they so slavishly copy. Then there’s the models and promotion personnel. Here, again there’s a distinct pecking order. The top-of-the-range cars (Lamborghini, Ferrari etc) are decorated by top-of-the-range models – catwalk amazons who spend the day balancing on top of various four-wheeled tin boxes, while gentlemen in polyester jackets take
endless pictures of them, a memento of a world they can never be part of The mass market brands use promotion people too, but they’re more likely to be students than actual models. Instead of pouting, they shuffle around, telling visitors about developments in engine technology or why the latest version of the car you bought last year has improved brakes, better torque and more intuitive steering. They also give pretentious editors of online British style/map magazines free croissants and coffee – a most worthwhile innovation. The journalists come next. Some are here to work, whether that’s presenting a short piece to camera or delivering a live online report, while others are merely present to show their faces and compare the backstage hospitality of say, Smart
Covered: Cars, big business
( Japanese food in a mid-’90s-style chill-out room) to Skoda (elevated cafe with unlimited beer and seafood). They – alright, we – take everything they can from the event: information, contacts, sweets and then head off before ghastly Joe Public arrives with his voracious appetite for pointless auto tat and Sebastian Vettel mouse mats.
‘THE TOP CARS ARE DECORATED BY TOP-OF-THERANGE MODELS’
photography: anthony teasdale
Finally, at the bottom are the anonymous folk – the bar staff, car polishers, delivery men – who actually make this thing tick. No-one takes pictures of them or listens to the information they’ve got on the vehicle they’re working on. Instead, we let them dust cars and fill up fridges, all the while waiting for someone more pleasing on the eye to come along. A sad and very familiar state of affairs. Like the best theme parks, then, there’s so much to see here that you have to be determined if you’re going to get the best out of it, which is why Umbrella bows out at 5pm with aching legs and swollen feet. We’ve been impressed by the scale of the event and the ingenuity of the manufacturers, but can’t help but think that with a global recession on, this mind-blowing display of wealth is all bit too try-hard.
Printed copies Now available to order online here Umbrella magazine www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk
38 Field trip
Ride on time
Connections and culture meet in a stunning new book about railway maps here’s much to be said for the humble and unappreciated railway map. Like many of the things that make our lives immeasurably easier, we don’t give them much thought. After all, they’re just ways of showing us how to get from A to B, aren’t they? But of course they’re so much more than that. Author Mark Ovenden would agree, though he has form in this field – his Metro Maps of The World book is a perennial Umbrella favourite. And this time he’s produced a second work, Great Railway Maps of The World, which covers the development of these diagrams, from the simplest representations of the 19th Century England to the colossal Tokyo railway map of today (right). The sheer scale of design on show is staggering. Primarily, the job of every railway map is to quickly inform the passenger to where he or she is going, but the individual designs also speak of the society they were produced for, the fashionable design movements of the time and the commercial pressures their manufacturers were under. From desert-dwelling camels in north Africa to a railway network placed rather clumsily on the outline of an alligator in the USA, every artistic and graphical device can be found here – instilling even the most perfunctory diagram with that air of possibility common to all great maps. And then there’s the fact that several of these works were less about showing a route and more about persuading people to use it – understandable at a time when many of these lines were privately built. Though the map that somehow makes out that Cornwall is not only the same shape, but also has the same balmy climate as southern Italy, perhaps took it a little far. They may only be maps to some, but to lovers of design and travel, they’re the perfect synthesis of art and information – unbridled optimism in poster form. And that’s something worth standing on any windy platform for.
Details This GDR map of Berlin’s S- and U-Bahn networks comes from 1988 when the city was still divided. Note how West Berlin has been completely removed by the map makers – unsurprising as, bar one stop (at Friedrichtraße), East Berliners were not allowed to use stations on lines that went to western part of the city.
Covered: Maps, railways
Great Railway Maps of The World is published by Penguin www.penguin.co.uk
40 Field trip
Enduring love Cyclist Robert Penn is after a new ride, but this time the bike has to got to last him the rest of his days
Covered: Cycling, philosophy
art’. The simple tools – files, hacksaws, is only seriously being revised today. When I was working as a lawyer in London in the early 1990s, I commuted to work by bicycle. Most people thought I was, at best, odd. I used to ride through Hyde Park every day: I knew most of the other bike commuters by Christian name, as there were so few of us. There was an overt sense of cyclists versus motorists on the city streets. The monthly Critical Mass rides were practically anarchist events, often involving rolling battles with the police. The heroin-chic cycle couriers were the flag carriers: they knifed through static traffic, surfing the tiny gaps, high on car fumes and the smell of seething motorists. The bike shop I used near Holborn was a favourite of this warrior-courier class. One Friday night I dropped in after work, to pick up my bike. I had sheared off one of the cranks. The mechanic wheeled the bike out of the workshop, past three couriers sharing a can of Tennent’s Extra. The old crank, a lump of aluminium, was strapped to my handlebar with a round of tape. “What’s that for?” I said, pointing at the old crank. I looked at the mechanic who looked at the couriers, who looked at the mechanic, who looked at me. Clearly I was supposed to know what it was for, even if I was standing there in a grey pinstripe suit. After a long pause, the middle courier looked at me with wild eyes and said: “You… stick… it… through… the… windscreen… of… a… f*cking… car!” The very best artisan frame-builders have more in common with the craftsmen who make Patek Philippe watches, Monteleone guitars or Borelli shirts than with the mass manufacturers who churn out carbon and aluminium frames from factories in the Far East. Not long ago, much of what we owned was alive with the skill, and even the idealism, of the people who made it – the blacksmith who forged our tools, the cobbler, the wood-turner, the carpenter, the wheelwright, and the seamstress and tailor who made the clothes we wore. We retain possessions that are well made; over time, they grow in value to us, and enrich our lives when we use them. The frame is the soul of the bicycle. The frame of my bike will only be made once, from steel. The bike will look like a racing bike, but it will be finely tuned to meet my cycling needs. If you like, it will be a ‘riding’ bike. I’m not going to race, but I’ll ride this bike regularly and I’ll ride it fast. I’ll ride it round the Brecon Beacons and across Britain. I’ll ride ‘centuries’ with my friends and cyclosportives. I’ll ride it the length of the Pyrenees, over the Col du Galibier, up Mont Ventoux and down the Pacific Coast Highway. When I’m feeling blue, I’ll ride it to work. And when I’m 70, no doubt I’ll ride it to the pub. The components – the handlebar, stem, forks, headset, hubs, rims, spokes, bottom bracket,
‘possessions that are well made enrich our lives’ freewheel, chainwheel, sprockets, chain, derailleurs, cranks, brakes, pedals and saddle – will be chosen to match the frame. They won’t be the lightest or the sexiest components on the market. They’ll simply be the best made. The wheels will be built by hand. I’ll visit workshops and factories in Italy, America, Germany and Britain to see all the components I want on my bike being made. Individually, each component will be something special; collectively, they’ll make my dream bike. The bicycle saves my life every day. If you’ve ever experienced a moment of awe or freedom on a bicycle; if you’ve ever taken flight from sadness to the rhythm of two spinning wheels, or felt the resurgence of hope pedalling to the top of a hill with the dew of effort on your forehead; if you’ve ever wondered, swooping bird-like down a long hill on a bicycle, if the world was standing still; if you have ever, just once, sat on a bicycle with a singing heart and felt like an ordinary human touching the gods, then we share something fundamental. We know it’s all about the bike.
Extracted from Its All About The Bike by Robert Penn, published by Penguin. Copyright © Robert Penn 2010
need a new bike. I could go online right now with a credit card and spend £3,000 on a mass-produced carbon or titanium racing bike. I could be tanking through the hills on a superb new machine at sunset tomorrow. It’s tempting, very tempting. But it’s not right. Like many people, I’m frustrated at the round of buying stuff that is designed to be replaced quickly. I want to break the loop with this bike. I’m going to ride it for 30 years or more and I want to savour the process of acquiring it. I want the best bike I can afford, and I want to grow old with it. Besides, I’m only going to spend this kind of money once. I require more than a good bike. In fact, I require a bike you can’t buy on the Internet; a bike you can’t buy anywhere. Anyone who rides a bike regularly and has even the faintest feeling of respect or affection for their own steed will know this hankering – I want my bike. I need a talismanic machine that somehow reflects my cycling history and carries my cycling aspirations. I want craftsmanship, not technology; I want the bike to be man-made; I want a bike that has character, a bike that will never be last year’s model. I want a bike that shows my appreciation of the tradition, lore and beauty of bicycles. The French nickname for the bicycle is la petite reine – I want my own ‘little queen’. I know where to start. The bicycle frame will be made to measure and hand-built by an artisan frame-builder. Few people know this, but you can have a custom-built frame, designed to fit your body and tuned for the type of riding you do, for a lot less money than many exotic, massmanufactured stock frames sold in shops. Sixty years ago, every large town in northern Italy, France, Belgium and Holland would have had at least one frame- builder. In Britain, where the concentration was greatest, big cities had dozens. While a handful of giant manufacturers such as Rudge-Whitworth, Raleigh and BSA in Britain, Bianchi in Italy and Peugeot in France catered for the cycling masses, small frame-builders built bikes for clubmen, racers, touring cyclists and the cognoscenti. These craftsmen made a few dozen frames a year, with great attention to detail and individual flourishes. Tim Hilton, in his loving memoir of the post-war cycling scene, One More Kilometre and We’re in the Showers, called these hand-built frames ‘industrial folk
42 Field trip
Rolling news Umbrella’s take on the world of cycling The cap makes the cyclist Don G. Cornelius reckons that what you stick on your head says a lot about you as a rider Everyone always sees the cap and feels the urge to comment. It is a beacon, a marker of who I am and what I do. Reducing me in one easily recognisable piece of headgear into an instantaneously identifiable subgroup. Cyclist. I only wear a cycling cap when I cycle, is my answer to the inevitable and brain numbingly dull question, unless and sometimes even if you are an attractive young lady, attempting the hitherto unused ice-breaker, “Why are you wearing a cycling cap?” But the answer is a bit disingenuous, as I cycle every day, so the cap never leaves my head. I have many caps, though I baulk at covering my dome with any team-issue replica paraphernalia unless it’s of a certain vintage. Snobbery in cycling, I hear you cry! You betcha! I wear colourful caps, obscure caps, locationdependent caps, caps that no-one else has or can find. They set me apart, no follower of cycling fashion, me. For the foot patrol masses, one cycling cap is the same as the next, for the cognoscenti among us it reveals your age, your heroes and the type of bikes you ride. What I will tell you though is that I try and buy caps from whichever far-flung bike shop/cycle emporium I happen to be checking out, looking for parts I don’t need, for a bike I haven’t yet bought. If said cap happens to display where I am, even better. The cycling caps I wear are emblems of my travels, interchangeable badges of my membership of the international cycling community. Plus no-one in this city will have one, and therefore I will be unique and envied. Just in case you were wondering, and I know you were, I wear my caps, peak up and on the dutch over my left eye. With this tribal headgear on I am an urban domestique, swooping through traffic, the cap a bright colourful siren of my devotion to being on two wheels. In a crowd I am easy to pick out and I never have to start a conversation. But most of all it lets everyone know that I. Am. A. Cyclist.
Where to find your cycling caps For quintessential team-issue replica caps here For those who love stuff handmade in Brooklyn here For those who want something classic, yet interesting here For those who want to keep it European here
Covered: Cycling REEL GOOD
Film on wheels
Beat it. Just beat it The cold months demand a bike that’ll take on the weather – and win Winter is upon us, pretty much, almost here, oh just snow already, Goddammit! And with it comes the dilemma of what to ride. When the weather turns, thoughts make a similar move into the realms of building a ‘beater’. A hack bike. Something that you spend a pittance on, and can lock and leave anywhere. That you don’t mind getting dirty or dented, or when the worst comes to the worst, you won’t shed too many tears or spend too many pounds on replacing it if it disappears, leaving nothing but an empty space. A classic beater consists of a long forgotten/ very cheap/somebody-gave-me-this frame, spare wheel set, and leftovers from the various builds you’ve attempted in the past few years as the cycling fetish has taken hold. Or alternatively, hours spent scouring ebay and bike jumbles for just the right level of cheap bargain to bring your Frankenbeaterbike to life. Put together with no thoughts about aesthetics or longevity, just get it on the road, and ride it ’till it can’t be ridden anymore.
Boikzmoind, Bristol’s very own fixed film, or the innumerable YouTube videos and short documentary films charting perpetually pedaling groups of men, heading from one city to the next. Premium Rush clips fanboy’s wet dream Joseph Gordon-Levitt into the lead role of a New York courier who gets caught up in some sort of conspiracy, around a package that absolutely, positively has to be delivered on time. In reality, who cares about the storyline? He rides a bike, there are CGI crashes and lots and lots of New York attitude. But in the great scheme of things the only question that needs to be asked is: will Premium Rush make the cycling film pantheon alongside: Belleville Rendezvous, Breaking Away, Quicksilver, A Sunday in Hell, The Flying Scotsman, BMX Bandits, Rad, American Flyers, The Bicycle Thieves, Hollentour (Hell on Wheels) and Chasing Legends? Watch trailer
But as with most things bike, what starts out as an exercise in budget control becomes an experiment in justification and the ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ mantra takes hold. You tell yourself because it’s the bike you ride every day, in every condition, that the parts need to be more robust (fit and forget) and that buying cheap and replacing when worn out is a false economy when you can spend a bit more and get years more usage out it. And so it becomes a money pit, a black hole on your finances, as pounds are sucked into upgrades, as virtually nothing is left unchanged and untweaked, and the bike that was supposed to be left out and about – and not worried about because it’s a beater for chrissakes, it cost nothing to build, and will cost nothing to replace – metamorphosises into a bike just as precious as your Sunday best. So what is the point of a beater if it’s never as cheap as you first envisage and quickly becomes too precious to lock anywhere? The point is this: beaters are the tipping point whereby you make the transition from fair-weather to ‘real’ cyclist, where the desire to cycle every day means a specific bike is required to get you through winter – and despite the inevitable escalation in cost I salute you.
Words: Don G. Cornelius
With the release of Premium Rush in the new year, riding fixed will have jumped the shark, or should that be bunny-hopped the kerb? Hollywood was bound to come calling, especially after the deluge of fixed documentaries that have been, and are, being made. Including, but not limited to, Lucas Brunelle and his obsession with alley cats, the Macaframa and Mash SF films; Trafik: To Live and Ride in LA, following the fixed kids, skidding, riding fast and tricking on the streets of North America;
Stories Journalism from the front line of the modern world
46: Inside the French Foreign Legion: one soldier’s tale 50: The story of Sónar 54: Why George Osborne doesn’t know what he’s doing
smoke on the water Barcelona’s Sónar festival is the perfect mix of hedonism and innovation, with a coastal location other music events can only dream about
Marching not dying
Covered: Soldiering, France
What is it about the French Foreign Legion that makes men from all over the world put their lives on the line for a country that they have no previous loyalty to? Former Legionnaire Wes Rock explains the appeal and wonders how the niceties of the 21st Century are compatible with the age-old philosophy of this most hardened of battalions “The singing drove me up the wall. It did everyone’s head in, not just mine,” Jed, a 30-year-old career soldier from Yorkshire explains. “We all like a singalong, but trust me, the Legion has a way of sucking the fun out of anything.” inging probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the French Foreign Legion. Grizzled mercenaries battling through some unnamed desert on the edge of nowhere is probably more in line with the public perception. One can easily imagine gnarled old soldiers with faces like criminals plucked from an old comic book, fighting it out in the jungle. But singing? Well, any Legionnaire past or present can tell you that if you want in, you had better be prepared to sing until the sun comes up. And goes down. And then all over again. Just for a start. The Legion, you see, is big on tradition. A recruit or engagé volontaire can expect to spend anywhere up to 30 per cent of his waking hours in song. These are no jolly Christmas carols though. Nor are they akin to a high-spirited rugby songs. If anything, they invoke images of a funeral procession. The pace is slow and the men sing in such a way as to affect a kind of deep, low rumble. The lyrics are generally sombre and serious, sometimes threatening and occasionally downright macabre. They recount tales of Legion victories, losses and tales of those loved ones, or loved places, left behind by the Legionnaire. The sound of these songs is a constant presence on any Legion base. Concocted by their ancestral Legionnaires, they’re a thread of continuity that binds today’s Poles, Russians and Brazilians with, for example, the influx of Britons who served in the 1980s, the post-WWII Germans (at least one song is in German) and the rogue immigrants of 19th Century France. Those of a certain generation who may be familiar with the tale Beau Geste or the classic Gene Hackman film March or Die, are often surprised to learn that the Legion still exists. Those of a younger generation, perhaps having missed Jean Claude Van Damme’s turn as a Legionnaire in the film of that name, are unaware of its reputation entirely. But exist it does, still playing a significant role in the world’s major theatres of conflict. Indeed, as recently as August this year, reports surfaced of two Legionnaires killed fighting insurgents in the Tagab Valley, north of Kabul. Whilst the Legion continues to be involved in high profile NATO operations throughout the world, few people have any clear understanding of the training, the conditions and above all the traditions that make it one
of the most formidable fighting units the world has ever known. Fewer still have been inside its ranks. But after 180 years, this throwback to a bygone era is still very much alive. How, or more to the point, why, do these men find themselves a part of this most enigmatic and fabled of armies? In pursuit of the answer one finds a force grappling with its own identity as it attempts the transition from ancient band of mercenaries to modern fighting force. The Legion is being dragged by the heels into the 21st Century. And there’s plenty of kicking and screaming. The Royal Marines, the US Navy Seals, the SAS. These forces and others like them have proud histories littered with famous victories. Yet the French Foreign Legion arguably stands alone in its ability to stir the imagination – the mere mention of it can reignite childhood fantasies of a soldier’s life crammed with adventure, action and comradeship. Countless are the middle-aged men, perhaps on holiday relaxing by the pool and reading another Andy McNab book, who ponder what might have been but will never know the answer. Others go looking for it. The Legion attracts a rag-tag assembly of ex-soldiers to its recruitment centre in Aubagne, just outside Marseille, men from developing countries looking for a French passport and yes, ex-cons and fugitives after a second chance. However, increasingly it attracts its fair share of graduates from comfortable backgrounds – those who find themselves at a crossroads in life and who are seeking an adventure. Something a little edgier than an afternoon’s paintballing or an hour or two playing Call of Duty. “I just got to a point where there wasn’t much going on at home,” says Steve, an ex-Legionnaire and graduate who comes from a comfortable, middle-class background. “I was single and I’d just been made redundant. I was watching a documentary about the Legion on the TV one night and the seed was planted. I thought, ‘What’s to stop me?’” Wasn’t it all a bit rough? “In retrospect, yes,” he reflects for a moment, before continuing, “but then I wasn’t expecting a tea party.” Though Steve’s story is by no means rare, more typical is Jed’s. “I did six years in the British army, got in trouble with the law and got the elbow. It was my whole life down the pan.” Speaking in the thickest of thick Yorkshire accents, this former soldier of France’s most revered regiment says, “I tried to sort myself out on civvie street but couldn’t. Then I heard about the Legion. I was desperate to get back in uniform. I got my self-respect back.” Speaking in a documentary for National Geographic in 2000, General Commander of the Foreign Legion, Alain Bouquin, was to the point with his explanation. “When everything is alright for you in your life, you don’t get the idea to join the French Foreign Legion.” A cursory glance through its ranks and it’s easy to see the Legion as a kind of microcosm of the world, the various nationalities of its soldiers giving clues as to the planet’s troubled hot-spots or those parts of the world where opportunities are simply thin on the ground. Besides career soldiers and romantic adventurers, the Legion’s numbers are swelled by Serbs, Arabs and Chinese recruits motivated by the promise of a French passport upon completion of their five year contract, as well as large numbers of Poles and Romanians keen to earn a comparatively high wage. And herein lies what is arguably the Legion’s greatest challenge. Not bound by a shared mother-tongue (though from day one everything is conducted in French – a seemingly Sisyphean challenge given the
‘one legioNnaire was given his new identity scribbled on a napkin’ two years, a Legionnaire may request a return to his civilian name), a civilian residence, a civilian bank account, a car and civilian clothes are all strictly prohibited. To all Legion paratroopers aside from NCOs and Officers, the notion of a work-life balance would be laughable. If day-to-day life in this army is intense, so too are the methods of enforcement. Whilst this is by no means unique to the Legion, it certainly seems to be accepted more readily, as though it is in some way more fitting of it. General Alain Bouquin has said of Legionnaires that they are “more disposable”. It is unlikely that a British general could openly refer to his soldiers in such terms. There certainly seems to be a juxtaposition of the harshness and brutality that has helped forge the Legion’s imposing history, with the acknowledgement of its senior staff that it must move forward so that is not left behind, and that a change in culture is necessary. Steve’s account is telling: “In basic training I saw a lad on the shooting range kicked hard in the stomach by a sergeant for cocking something up. Didn’t really think much about it, if I’m honest. Difference was the section CO was present at the time. We never saw the sergeant again after that. I assume he got kicked off the training staff and returned to his unit.” So the Foreign Legion appears to be at odds with its own identity: it must align itself more properly with the practices of the wider French army, of which it is an integral part and to whom it is accountable, yet must somehow maintain the rigorous regime and starkness of life that breeds the hardened soldiers who furnish the Legion with its reputation. Corporals and Non-Commissioned Officers, who are themselves the very product of the brutal conditions that have characterised the Legion for so long, are finding that the goal posts have moved. Though they cannot have a full understanding of the reality of life inside the Legion, the French people are aware of its global reputation and are fiercely proud of it. For the time being at least, it seems the Legion is safe, and not only because Legionnaires are useful or more disposable. A Foreign Legion regiment is included at the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Élysées in July and the esteem and affection in which they’re held by the French is plain to see. People like to say that the biggest cheer is always reserved for this band of foreigners who come together to serve France. They bring up the rear of the parade because, at 88 steps per minute, they march much slower than the rest of the French military. You could say they march to their own beat. As the military parade continues down the avenue, the approaching units split in order to pass the presidential stand, with half marching to the left and half marching to the right. All units that is, except for the French Foreign Legion, which remains in formation and steers around the President and his dignitaries as one. Evidently, the Foreign Legion is a little bit different. Special, even. It is said that they do not split to pass the presidential stand because the Legion will never be divided. As the Legion marches into its third century and finds its way of life challenged by the changing times, it will need this unity more than ever. It may have to adapt but one senses it will continue gamely on just as it always has done, enveloped in secrecy and mystery, rearing its head for the public but once a year at Bastille Day.
illustration: matt reynolds, photogrpahy: shutterstock
disparate backgrounds of the men), not bound by a shared nationality or flag, seemingly bound by nothing save for the desire to be a Legionnaire, the recruits must learn to function together as one because, and it is no exaggeration to say it, one day their lives will depend on it. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the allied forces during the first Gulf war, called the Legion “the ultimate builder of that thing called unit cohesion”, before remembering himself and acknowledging his own loyalties with the amendment, “Excuse me. Penultimate.” Unity is vital for any military unit, but given the hugely varied backgrounds of the Legionnaires – where a Chinaman may find himself sleeping in a dormitory with a Russian ex-con to his left and a Brazilian policeman to his right – establishing this esprit de corps is paramount. One technique toward this aim concerns the most fundamental aspect of one’s identity: your name. Traditionally, recruits must enter the Legion under an assumed identity. Of course, for those seeking some kind of refuge within the Legion’s ranks this serves a clear pragmatic purpose. There is however, more to it. In stripping each recruit of his old name, every man is on the same page. A new identity, a new life, a new family. Although new identities are awarded in the most unceremonious of fashions (one former Legionnaire explained that on surrendering his European passport he was handed a napkin with two words scribbled on it and informed that this was his new name) the Legion takes this concept of a new identity within a new family very seriously indeed. For the duration of his career and without fail, every member of the Foreign Legion, from the most senior officer to the newest recruit, will spend Christmas day with his family. His family is the French Foreign Legion. Whilst the core values of camaraderie and family are ever-present, one should be under no illusions. Life on camp is not an episode of The Waltons, nor is it some kind of extended, action-packed Boy Scouts camping trip. The reality is that these are harsh, sometimes dangerous men, living a harsh and sometimes dangerous life. Accordingly, discipline is well above what could normally be expected in, for example, the British Army. The Legion is one of the last Western armies offering an old fashioned, truly military life. A soldier fortunate enough to be selected for the Legion’s elite parachute regiment based in Corsica will not be changing into civilian clothes at the weekend and heading out on the town. In fact, aside from his four weeks leave each year, even storing civilian clothes in his locker is punishable with a few days in the regiment’s prison cells. Until ‘normalisation’ has been granted (the process by which, after
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The Catalan music festival Sónar has become the showcase for the world’s most innovative electronic recording artists and DJs. Umbrella’s Elliott LewisGeorge discovers the secret of its success and finds that there’s not a poncho or a welly in sight…
Covered: Dance music, Spain
usic festivals. Why on earth would you choose to shell out £200 for the privilege of standing in a cesspit of cow mess, whilst some middle-class vegan strums away on a guitar and whinges endlessly about everything being yellow? We can think of better things to spend your hard-earned cash on, like a smart fisherman’s cagoule or that elaborate Gaggia coffee machine you’ve had your eye on. But what if there was a festival that meant you didn’t have to live like Swampy for three days in apocalyptic shantytown of 20-quid tents? A festival where you don’t have to feast on overpriced ‘gourmet burgers’ and you can avoid conversing in small talk with a meow-meow dealer called Spider? Welcome to Sónar. Sónar has managed to set itself apart from the other festivals that seep through our summers. This ‘International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media’ has established itself as one of the key trendsetters in electronic music whilst dedicating its growth to promoting the talents and technological advances that define the cultures of our modern, urbanised world. In short, Sónar refuses to sway to the same old rhythms and stale old trends of the past. And that’s a very good thing. Sónar was first conceptualised in 1994 by three music-loving Catalans: Sergio Caballero, Enric Palau and Ricard Robles. At the time, Caballero and Palau were both keen music producers and Robles was an established journalist – professions that you could probably attribute the festival’s initial success to. However, despite their backgrounds and the fact that their hometown Barcelona was still in the afterglow of hosting the ’92 Olympics, Robles still attests that, “Sónar started as an uncertain adventure, lacking in cultural references”, with an
‘sónar basks in the advances of modern culture’
aim to “focus on the sensibilities and interests that surround the relationship between both creativity and technology”. Put simply, the trio wanted to create a meeting point for the cream of electronic practitioners and their grateful audiences. Sónar was, and still is, all about basking in the advances of modern culture. In the third week of June 1994, Sónar was born, attracting an audience of 6,000 people to Barcelona. Festival-goers were enticed by an entirely forward-thinking sound brought to them from the likes of Sven Väth, Laurent Garnier and Transglobal Underground. In the same year, Micheal Eavis enticed a mob of around 80,000 to the muddied
fields of Worthy Farm with the promise of Blur, Oasis and, er Peter Gabriel. This year, in the third week of June, Caballero, Palau and Robles celebrated Sónar’s 18th anniversary alongside an audience that matched that of Glastonbury ’94. And all without the baggy bravado of the Gallagher brothers, or the pompous rock of the former Genesis frontman. Think of the prospect of standing in some waterlogged field in the back-end of nowhere. Well, like all aspects of Sónar, the organisers do things differently, and host the festival in a truly engaging and unique way, splitting the weekend’s offerings across two formats: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night. Sónar by Day delivers the live showcases and exhibitions – all from the grounds of Barcelona’s infamous Centre de Cultura Contemporáina de Barcelona and Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA): two adjacent buildings located in the city’s old town that mirror the forward-thinking values of the festival through their unique architectural construct. On the flipside, Sónar by Night is more of a hedonistic affair. Held across town in the Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet, a huge air hangar-like space of 10,000 square meters, this half of the festival attracts the techno fiends and party animals with an impressive roster of DJs and an ear-splitting collection of soundsytems. Revellers are hypnotised into dancing away the hours underneath the Catalan sky. “The crowd are there for the new sound of electronic music,” says Radio 1’s Benji B and regular Sónar DJ since 1997. “I usually play ‘bigger’ as I am playing to 10,000 people dancing under the night sky.” “I can’t imagine another city better than Barcelona to host Sónar festival,” believes Spanish Vogue journalist,
Covered: Dance music, Spain
Benji B’s seminal
Sónar sounds and self-proclaimed techno night owl Marta Hurtado de Mendoza. But what do the Catalan locals think of this festival? Do they hold Sónar with as much disregard many Brits did when the ’80s rave scene was at its peak? “The locals love it,” explains Marta. “I remember sipping coffee with some friends at Las Ramblas and a lovely old couple approached us and said: ‘It’s wonderful to see so many people bringing happiness to Barcelona.’” So other than the unique format and welcoming locals, what is it that makes Sónar so special? Spanish journalist, and Sónar regular, Vicky Bolaños thinks it’s down to the music: “I guess people go to Sónar because it has great artists every single year.” A reason Benji B is keen to confirm, “The people who run it are music-lovers who are committed to maintaining the spirit of what Sónar represents.” If it’s nostalgic novelty acts you’re after then forget it. Robles and the rest of Sónar’s organisers pride themselves on programming only the finest
Underground Resistance Timeline “It’s a modern classic that has a big-room feel. A classic piano riff with a warm soulful groove running through it. Big, big tune.” Cybotron Alleys Of Your Mind “Juan Atkins is one of the architects of modern electronic music and this tune is a personal favourite.” Kraftwerk It’s More Fun To Compute “I have to include the godfathers of electronic music seeing as we’re talking about the ultimate Sónar records. I guarantee that if you drop the remastered version of this tune on a big system it’ll make everything else sound basic.”
electronic acts around. Past performers include LCD Soundsystem, Frankie Knuckles, Massive Attack and Grace Jones. “We focus on the artist who has something to say instead of the one who is simply trendy,” explains Robles. “Every year the programme presents more than 100 artists who are ‘real’ upcoming talents.” In 2011, Sónar Barcelona consisted of 155 shows from artists across 22 countries and showcased a new breed of talent in the shape of the hotly tipped Toro Y Moi, Four Tet and L-Vis 1990 – acts you can bet Fearne and Reggie will be dropping into their Reading and Leeds coverage next year in a shameless bid to stay hip. But Sónar isn’t all about frowning music snobs arguing over the differences between post-dubstep and future bass [Really? Shame – Ed]. Likewise, you’re definitely not going to find 24-hour fairgrounds or novelty burlesque performances as an alternative to the music. “We want the festival to reflect the advances in audiovisual and new media creation,” says Robles. “It’s a comfortable experience – surprising and amusing – which escapes the average festival’s format and formula to allow for cultural immersion.” It’s Sónar by Day that optimises this desire to immerse festival goers in advanced culture and new, unique media. This year saw the OFFFMática, (‘Other Mirrors’) exhibition that presented a selection of interactive installations, graphic pieces and online projects that explored how we’re portrayed by technology. There was also the SónarCinema; showcasing a range of films that highlight the relationship between music, the moving image and contemporary culture. Since its beginnings in 1994, Sónar has evolved into a truly international festival and shows little sign of ceasing. “We’ve done over 25 events around the world, in cities like London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Seoul, New York and Rome,” explains Robles. “In 2012 we’ll repeat our pre-Sónar festival in London (known as A Taste of Sónar), and produce festivals in São Paulo and Tokyo.” “We will continue working hard, so that each year the music and the artists of our time have an ideal space to showcase their art to the rest of the world,” enthuses Robles. It’s clear from Robles’ drive that Sónar will continue to grow, influencing the sounds and trends of the electronic landscape. Sónar has also managed to avoid becoming a platform for big-brand advertisers to hook onto in a ploy to appeal to an underground, ‘cool’ market. “We don’t have a hidden agenda,” explains Robles “Our credibility must always be linked to the quality of the content and our way of presenting it.” And it’s that commitment to the festival’s content that has managed to maintain Sónar’s integrity despite its global success. “All DJs, artists, producers and fans respect that attitude, and that’s why we always go back,” says Benji. And perhaps that’s why you should reconsider the purchase of that Gaggia coffee machine – and sample the sound of Sónar instead. Sónar Barcelona will take place on June 14-16, 2012. Sónar São Paulo will be held on May 11-13. Check www.sonar.es for more information. Listen to Benji B’s Radio 1 Show on Thursday’s 02:00-04:00 or here
Covered: The economy, Conservatives
mbrella: What’s wrong with the government’s present austerity measures? Andrew Baker: You have to ask what they were intended to achieve. The answer to that question is to cut the deficit. It is not possible for any coalition minister to open their mouth without pronouncing on how they’re “cutting the deficit”. Virtually every time they’re asked a question on policy they begin with this. Of course they’re doing no such thing, because cutting a deficit is not within the gift of any government. What happens to the deficit is a function of how the economy as a whole reacts and responds to government policy. Whether there is growth. And of course if there’s no growth, as we are currently seeing, the deficit won’t get any smaller. Which means that all the pain being inflicted through the cuts is completely and utterly pointless in terms of meeting the initial stated objective.
a situation where households are paying down their debts, corporations and banks are paying down their debts, and government is now paying down their debt. And they are all doing the same thing at the same time, meaning the entire economy craters. Have a look around you. And in a global economy, if all the leading governments try this at the same time, which they are, things get even worse. We have synchronised simultaneous public and private austerity. The upshot of this is that none of the conditions required for spending cuts to work as measures to stimulate growth, actually apply at this moment. U: So the government is going too far? AB: Spending cuts, on this scale, in the current circumstances, show a shocking lack of appreciation of economic context. There are recorded instances of governments cutting spending and it leading to growth. But in every instance where this was successful, the economy concerned was at – or close to – full output. The Treasury currently estimates the United Kingdom is six per cent below its potential output. Never before have spending cuts worked when output is so much below potential. This is a giant economic experiment and it’s being attempted in the name of a political gamble. Namely, if the government can say this is a public debt crisis, rather than a private debt crisis, they can blame it on Labour for leaving the public finances in a poor state, and this is their best chance of getting re-elected. In other words, all of this is politically driven, but the economic reasoning behind it is extremely flimsy indeed.
Hopeless George U: So cutting spending isn’t the answer? AB: It’s all very well cutting spending, but if that simultaneously reduces GDP, or the size of the economy, the deficit expressed as a percentage of GDP will remain pretty much unchanged. The government hoped that cuts would trigger growth. This is called ‘growth-friendly fiscal consolidation’, based on three avenues to growth: First, you cut government spending and that creates the space for a lowering of interest rates, because there is less money circulating in the economy, so it should allow borrowing costs to be lowered. But interest rates are already rock-bottom, as set by the Bank of England, so that avenue isn’t open. Second, if you cut government spending, citizens expect that this will create the basis for tax cuts in the future, so will to start spend more now in anticipation of lower future taxes. But because of the discourse the government have created about the chronic deficit, nobody really has rational expectations of future tax cuts, at least in the medium term, so that avenue isn’t open either. Third, the final avenue relates to a phenomenon called ‘crowding out’. When the state gets too big, the private sector is crowded out. If the government is borrowing from its citizens and the markets, that is money citizens aren’t spending and isn’t being lent to private companies in the form of investment. So if you cut government spending, private investment and spending will actually increase. Unfortunately, we have just been through a massive banking crisis. Large parts of the private sector, including the banks have huge debts, so they are de-leveraging, or trying to pay down their debts. They are not investing. So we have
U: Weren’t they necessary? AB: No. First, the UK is not Greece. It was not on the verge of bankruptcy. Neither historically, nor comparatively is total UK public debt anywhere near record levels. It’s actually only about 60 per cent of GDP. In the past, in Britain, and in other countries currently, it has been and is above 100 per cent of GDP. The reality is the amount of interest the government was paying to borrow only ever went just above three per cent. The danger zone for most countries is when it goes above six per cent and heads towards 10 per cent. The UK was a long way from that. Osborne seized on the Greek case, but no reputable economist took the Greek analogy seriously. Rachel Lomax, who used to run public spending at the Treasury and is a bit of a deficit hawk, described the comparison as absurd. The key thing is the UK has its own currency and sets its own interest rates, making a debt default more or less impossible. The government’s debt is mainly British-owned (mainly pension funds) and it is denominated in sterling. This was not the case for Greece and Ireland, where foreign banks had massive exposure. In other words we owe the money to ourselves. All of this meant the government was under much less pressure from the markets or the ratings agencies to cut spending than it would admit. The Standard & Poor [Index] never said they were about to downgrade the UK’s rating, they simply issued a circular, where they said they might have to review the situation at some point in the future if the annual deficit continued to grow. Again, Osborne opportunistically seized upon this to make political capital and point the finger at Labour. U: What should the government have done? AB: Probably kept fiscal policy broadly neutral. Made some targeted investments in strategic industries. Talked up the prospects for the economy and crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. But that wouldn’t have necessarily been good politics. Ultimately, current economic strategy is a game of chance driven by political expediency. What they could have done was put in place a new independently monitored and genuinely counter-cyclical fiscal constitution based on some simple rules.
illustration: Devashish Guruji, www.idrewthat.blogspot.com
Umbrella talks to Professor Andrew Baker from Queen’s University in Belfast, who dismantles Chancellor George Osborne’s current economic policies
The deficit and UK debt needs to come down, but not at the expense of growth during a period of private sector distress. Fiscal policy needs to respond to the economy, not be mapped out for five years irrespective of patterns of growth and unemployment. A five-year fiscal plan that’s pledged to be implemented come what may in a time of uncertainty is not a route to credibility. If the plan doesn’t work and has to be changed and be revised because of changing economic, market and political conditions – where is the credibility?
But the main problem I have with that is on moral and ethical grounds. If someone on below-average earnings is paying say 20-25 per cent, why should a corporation that has much more resources and whose need is less be given special status and allowed to pay a much lower rate? Is there any moral justification for that? I’m writing this from Denmark. They pay a lot of tax, but they seem to do rather well and their economy is faring better than ours.
U: Did Labour leave a mess? AB: When they came to power total public debt was 42.5 per cent of GDP. Before the financial crash in 2007 it was 36.5 per cent of GDP. You can say they should have spent less in the good years, but the NHS and education hadn’t had proper investment for years. Government debt rose exponentially following the financial crash by about 27-28 per cent of GDP in the space of two years. Basically, private debt got transferred onto public balance sheets and the UK slow-down was enormous, because the economy was too dependent on financial services. This is New Labour’s Achilles heel. They didn’t get tough enough on the City. But the Tories spent most of their time in opposition saying Labour were too harsh, so the reality is things would have probably been worse again under the Conservatives in terms of the damage the crash did to the UK economy.
U: What must Labour do now in opposition? AB: Britain needs a new growth model. Peter Mandelson’s recent explorations on industrial policy are encouraging. Industries that produce things need to be nurtured and encouraged. Finance in the UK needs to be shrunk. Too much activity has been about taking a position to make a quick buck, for personal gain, but generating little in the way of wider social gain. Financial systems have to be run for the good of society as a whole. Instead in Britain and the US they have been about making a relatively small group of individuals very rich, very quickly, while generating huge systemic risks for the rest of us, by causing the rest of the economy to collapse when some of their bets go wrong. Finance needs to simplified and separated into certain sectors and some activities need to be prohibited, others taxed more. Certain institutions are too important to be left to the market and to the highest bidder.
U: Are Osborne and Cameron ideological Thatcherites? AB: Yes, but only vaguely. That is where their political instincts lie, but they don’t have a fully-fledged ideology fleshed out. The ideological powerhouse might be Iain Duncan Smith, who has his own think-tank and is behind most of the viciously targeted cuts on benefits.
U: Like what? AB: Football clubs, for example, are social and community institutions first and market institutions second. Where possibly they should be community- and civic-owned, rather than in a private individual’s hands. We have to get away from the view that everything has to be run through the market.
U: Is Osborne competent enough to deal with the situation? AB: Osborne reminds me of a 12-year-old boy let loose with a lump hammer, trying to fix a problem with a domestic plumbing system. He’s running around randomly hitting things. There is a chance this could make things worse. It might not do much at all and if it does work it will most certainly be a complete and utter fluke. Some of Osborne’s utterances on national bankruptcy have been embarrassing. The comparison to Greece had no foundation and was genuinely idiotic. In short, I wouldn’t have him in charge of the tuck shop at whichever over-privileged public school he went to. I don’t think they have a clue how many ordinary people on low incomes live. Having said that, some of the welfare benefit cuts are targetted and just plain nasty. Poor people are about to get a lot poorer. Does he know that and does he care? I would say no to both.
U: Could the banks be pressed more? AB: See above. Banks are big systemic risk-carriers, but they’re also the lifeblood of any economy. The key to a successful banking policy is to go relatively easy on them, when the economy is in the doldrums and to get them to put more capital aside when things start to heat up. When they’re making huge profits, they have to be stopped from simply reinvesting it all in rising asset classes, but to put it aside in a kind of savings account to be drawn on when things get tough. That is a form of taxpayer insurance, protecting public money, so that it doesn’t get called upon for huge bank bailouts, and meaning that any bust period should be shorter and less severe. Banks need protecting from themselves and the euphoria that develops during good times. That didn’t happen, but it needs to in the long term.
U: Do you think the Tories are soft on the super-rich? AB: You’ll have to wait until we see what they do with tax rates over the full term. What I would say about tax is that it is the civilising glue that binds us together with our fellow citizens. Paying tax is good. Where I live in Northern Ireland, the Tories are trying to encourage local politicians to lower corporation tax to 12 per cent to bring it in line with the Republic of Ireland. This is a bad idea for all kinds of reasons: it erodes the tax base and if it does bring investment flooding in, there will be a huge drop in economic activity, meaning huge economic problems for Northern Ireland.
U: If the Tories stay in, what are the best/worst case scenarios? AB: I think they and their economic policies are taking us towards a 1930s-style Great Depression. Because of the scale of the banking crisis we’re probably looking at a lost decade of stagnation anyway. They are prolonging it. We need a political party that stands up and renounces the kind of extreme market-oriented, financialised AngloSaxon capitalism we’ve had for the last 30 years, and articulates a fairer form of capital that serves wider public goods, involves people working together to produce things and services people want. People before profits, without neglecting profits.
‘the tories and their policies are taking us toward a great depression’
Quality threads for this winter – and many more to come
60: Piece of the month 62: Shop profile: Sefton, London 64: Knitwear special 80: Vintage: Carhartt Chore jacket
Metal guru This Henri Lloyd jacket boasts steel, nautical-style fastenings – something we’ve seen a lot of this season. More on page 71.
WORDS: ANTHONY teasdale and natalie cornish fashion photography: matt Reynolds and anthony teasdale
MA.STRUM Officer 2 Harrier Field Jacket From mastrum.co.uk, price £599 buy
Seriously tough stuff Thanks to Osti’s genius (and MA.STRUM principal designer Donrad Duncan’s craftsmanship), this jacket will see you through the harshest of winters. It’s made from a breathable, water repellent, carboncoated, textured nylon cotton (similar to one Osti pioneered) so you’ll never get too hot or too cold.
Steeped in heritage MA.STRUM raided the textile archive of legendary garment engineer (and founder of CP Company and Stone Island) Massimo Osti to create this jacket. Osti’s innovative work with fabrics and form revolutionised men’s fashion, creating (amongst other things) the iconic colourchanging Ice Jacket and the now infamous Mille Miglia (Goggle) coat.
Sex is the key Donrad Duncan says of MA.STRUM: “Whether it’s is apparel, a timepiece, or a vehicle, I have the same expectations – I look for functionality, value and comfort. People want to look and feel good. To feel sexy is defined by the individual, and it basically comes down to comfort.”
Versatile design Innovation, functionality and a timeless aesthetic is the MA.STRUM mantra. Duncan designed this jacket with added extras so it can – and will – work hard. Both the lining and badge are detachable meaning you can wear it how you want to.
Covered: MA. STRUM
Angel of the north Umbrella’s Fashion Editor Natalie Cornish travels to north London to find out about Sefton, Islington’s long-running men’s clothing boutique ith independents vying for space against the retail giants, it’s hard to believe now that London’s Islington wasn’t the most obvious place to open a clothes shop in the late ’90s. Back then, Sefton owner Ben Elsdale’s concept store – selling both women’s and men’s clothing – underneath his family home on Upper Street was pretty much an anomaly in an up and coming area. More than a decade on, and the shop has firmly established itself on the London menswear map – a go-to venue for chaps in the know, while Elsdale has recently added Sefton own-brand clothing to the rails. Manager Chris shows us around…
Umbrella: What makes Sefton unique? Sefton: The exclusivity of well-known international brands such as Martin Margiela and Acne, alongside newly discovered labels like SNS Herning and Ecoalf. Sefton has always been about offering the utmost in customer service in a down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere. U: How has Islington changed since Sefton opened in 1999?
S: Since Ben set up the store, the area has really grown-up. It’s changed from ‘up and coming’ into a well-established cosmopolitan area of the city with real diversity. U: And the Sefton ‘man’? S: The quintessential Sefton shopper is forward-thinking, trend-conscious and pays attention to detail, all whilst holding an understated tone to his style. Over the past few years, this has shifted from serious and dandy to a more relaxed attitude, but still with the same appreciation for quality. U: There’s a real onus on British brands. What is it about homegrown design that Sefton loves? S: Quality is of the utmost when buying for the store so recently there has been an influx of great British items. The traditions behind British design are functionality and simplicity – values that Sefton shares. U: And new British labels. Who do you rate at the moment? S: I think Bstore have come on leaps and bounds. We’ll be stocking their collection next season.
Covered: Men’s fashion, London
U: Any other new additions for 2012? S: Nike NSW. Plus, we’ve just taken delivery of Porte Monnaie’s leather wallets. U: And your bestsellers… S: The Sefton travel jacket has been a great item for us this season. It seems to fit beautifully on every one that tries it on. Also our new brands, SNS Herning and Ecoalf have been doing fantastically. U: Which blogs and sites do you use to keep up to date? S: The Sartorialist always has an interesting view of menswear style. Hypebeast and Style.com both have validity, but being in London you can’t beat picking up the natural trends of the people. This is, after all, the best city in the world!
Legacy Like Oi Polloi, Sefton have taken the next step – launching their own brand. This simple jumper is a stand-out piece.
U: How about your own style? Talk us through your outfit S: Today I’m wearing a Sunspel T-shirt (the finest in British jersey classics), an SNS Herning felted wool jumper (the best knitwear I have ever seen), vintage black skinny Levi’s 605s from 1964 and a pair of Sefton brown, suede desert boots which were handcrafted in Italy. For me, style’s about being understated and laid-back, but with a consideration to fit and quality. Unpretentious, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious. U: Do you collect anything? S: I have a collection of vintage musical instruments at home, which is an expensive habit that I need to curb. I received a vintage diver’s watch for my birthday this year, and have plans to start collecting vintage watches. I’m looking around for my next option as we speak. U: What should every man have in his wardrobe? S: At least one key investment in each category. Spend a little bit more on each item, rather than lots of cheap options and then mix it up with existing items. For example, a good quality wool coat and a decent pair of shoes paired with some old jeans and a simple white T-shirt can look better than spending a similar amount on cheaper items. U: Finally, does Albam’s recent move to the area help? Are you tempted to collaborate with them? S: Having Albam nearby has been great for Islington. They’re a fantastic bunch of guys and have done really well for themselves in the past couple of years. A collaboration has never been discussed but I’d welcome it! www.seftonfashion.com
Cro’Jack fisherman’s jumper, £85 rom the mountains to the sea, the theme of this season is the great outdoors, though we reckon this jumper (made from oiled Shetland wool) would look just as good in the beer garden of your favourite boozer as a North Sea trawler. Lovely shape, too. www.crojack.co.uk buy
Esemplare jumper, ÂŁ160 ore Alpine goodness, this time courtesy of Esemplare whose knits and coats have been getting rather a lot of praise on the Umbrella blog. We think the pattern on this pure wool jumper would great under a sturdy parka, finished off by a jaunty scarf. www.esemplare.it buy
MA.STRUM cardigan, £225 he shawl cardigan – ie one with a lapel – has been a staple for a couple of years now, and for the most part we’re not impressed. This, though is different. With a slim shape, chunky wool construct and nice buttons, this is a smart, winter alternative. www.mastrum.com buy
Fjällräven Torp sweater, £99 e’ve been fans of Fjällräven for years, and no wonder, their mix of functionality and style means they’re always at the top of our winter shopping list. With its patches and navy colour, this jumper has it all – an essential for any budding Scandinavian sailor. www.oipolloi.com buy
Universal Works Ikat workshirt, £105 inter colours do have a tendency to be a little, well… brown, which is why we’re so keen on this super shirt from Universal Works. With a definite ‘American backwoodsman’ feel, its pattern and colour will lend life to any cold weather outfit. universalworks.co.uk buy
Albam Natty check shirt, £75 t might be winter, but when you’re throwing on chunky knits every day, some layering adds a bit of character to your outfit. This striking linen shirt has a great slim-fit cut, while the blue and yellow will liven up a navy blue jumper. Natty by name – and by nature. www.albamclothing.com buy
Private White VC Ventile Combat blazer, £360 eautifully fitted blazer from Private White VC, who’ve been making quality garments in Salford since the beginning of the 20th Century. This jacket combines a sleek mod fit with a construction that will keep out the elements. Brilliant. www.privatewhitevc.com buy
Cott-on Ventile is an advanced form of cotton formulated in WWII for use in pilots’ immersion suits. It is wind- and waterproof.
Henri Lloyd Jeans Blakely jacket, £200 jacket for those people who are serious about keeping warm, this Blakely jacket boasts a seriously thick quilted interior, a metal fastening to make sure you’re covered up and a length that’ll keep the top of your legs snug too. www.henrilloyd.com buy
Jansport Heritage bags, £50 ucksacks aren’t something to get that excited about, but we’re keen on these retro numbers from Jansport – all of which are exact replicas of models released in 1967, down to the seat-belt straps and the minimal number of pockets. Far out, man. www.jansport.com buy
Covered: Bags, outfits
Umbrella outfit s Phil Thornton points out in his column on page 18, chaps in the north-west of England have always been partial to what we’d term outdoor wear. While the fashion world might be going for hiking boots and woolly knits this season, those in the know have always sought out obscure brands from the likes of Millets and Ellis Brigham. This selection, courtesy of our friends at Carhartt and Oi Polloi in Manchester, is ideal for a bit of aprés-ski fun, even if the nearest most of us get to a mountain range is a miserable walk along the Pennines. Still, for any ‘chalet scally’, this combination is just the thing to get the ladies onside when the Christmas mistletoe comes out. Fill yer boots, gentleman – the season starts here. www.oipolloi.com
Penfield Dumont beanie (£20 buy), Fracap Scarponcini boot (£179 buy), APC patterned crew knit (£170 buy), Carhartt Klondike jeans (£65 buy)
Dark lords Carhartt’s jeans finish off this outfit nicely with their dark colour and heavy-weave denim – all the way from Japan.
Cherchbi satchel, £435 weed’s very fashionable this year (it never went out in our world), so what could better than a satchel made of this most august of materials and leather? Ideal for laptops, tablets and notebooks (in the original sense), it’s a real grown-up work bag. www.cherchbi.com buy
Covered: Bags, shoes
Sperry chukka boot, £100 he Sperry Topsider is rightly regarded as a summer staple, so we’re pleased to note that this wool/leather version means that it’s now an all-year-round shoe. With its leather laces and nicely chunky shape, this model’s just the thing for a brisk winter’s stroll. www.oipolloi.com buy
Private White VC 3-eye chukka, £140 here’s a lot (ie too many) of white-soled shoes around at the moment, so these solidly crafted chukkas from Private White VC provide an excellent antidote. Rugged, but refined, they’ll look great with a pair of dark jeans or smart cords. As you were, soldier. www.privatewhitevc.com buy
Nicolas Deakins hiking boot, blue moccasin, brown boot, £95 legend in their home city of Leeds, Deakins have been making quality footwear for 20 years now. These three models will all work with the current trend for all things ‘heritage’, but it’s the blue moccs we’re really keen on. Superb. nicholasdeakins.com buy
New Balance 420 trainers, ÂŁ55 ith their three-piece sole and super-light construction, these retro trainers from New Balance would still perform magnificently on the track today, but the way they work with jeans means their future lies on the most stylish of streets. On your marks. www.albamclothing.com buy
Diadora B. Elite trainers, ÂŁ100 elaunched, but happily with the same specs as the originals, these kangarooleather trainers are absolutely magnificent, whether youâ€™re off for a weekâ€™s tennis coaching in the winter sun, or just a stroll on a sunny Sunday morning. footpatrol.co.uk buy
cl a s s i c p ie c e
Carhartt Chore Coat ou’ll often find clothing companies boasting about the durability of their products, especially at a time when the workwear ethos is in the ascendancy. Mostly, they’re idle boasts, but when it comes to Carhartt’s Chore coat, which was launched over 100 years alongside the company’s overalls and work gloves for use in American cotton mills, there’s a true, long-lasting pedigree. “Traditionally, the coat is made from Carhartt’s duckbrown canvas,” says Alex Russell, the UK Marketing Manager for Carhartt Work In Progress. “The strength of the fabric is also increased by using double fill yarn, where two yarns are twisted together and used as one. The jacket has brass buttons and rivets at vital stress points and a corduroy collar with rivets to attach a hood if necessary. There’s also a split back detail, which ensures ease of movement.” Despite the passage of time, the Chore is as relevant as ever – though choice for consumers remains limited. Alex Russell again. “Currently, the Chore Coat is available in two washes, rigid and rinsed. The rigid fabric is untreated, and much like rigid denim, the fabric will loosen and stretch slightly over time. The beauty of wearing a garment made from rigid material is that it will adapt to your body shape better then a washed fabric. The rinse-wash is still a new garment but it has been treated to loosen the fabric so it feels softer and won’t stretch like raw fabric.” And how long can the wearer expect his jacket to last? Any examples? “The most interesting single jacket I’ve ever seen has been passed from father to son for decades, patched up and re-made what looks like dozens of times,” says Alex. “A shooting pad has been added to the right shoulder, as have reinforced button holes, a patched-up blanket lining with various intricate patterns and hand-painted camo on the outside. It even has mud on it which has to be 30 or 40 years old!” The Carhartt Chore coat is priced at £110, www.carhartt-wip.co.uk
Covered: Vintage, Carhartt
Slim Jim The Carhartt Work In Progress Chore here is slimmer in fit to the more boxy original. Materials and build are identical.
82 And finally...
Covered: Acid house, design
Rave flyers hen I was a kid I used to collect football stickers, then I started a small film poster collection, too. The flyers were just the next thing that I latched onto. The illustrations and colourful designs were what drew me in.” Now with a collection of around 15,000 flyers filling 91 display books it’s fair to say DJ and all round rave enthusiast Jonny Miller is obsessed. “I would equally look forward to leaving a rave as much as arriving at one,” he says. “At the end of the night lots of people handed out flyers for events. More than half are ones I collected from raves and record shops back in the early ’90s. I’m always bidding on something (via ebay) and I doubt I’ll ever stop, as there’ll always be a rave flyer that I want. Unfortunately, there aren’t many printed flyers for new nights worth getting. The Fabric ones are really nice but I don’t collect them as they’re just too common.” So when was flyerdom’s golden age? “I’d say 19901994. There was lots of illustration and imaginative design back then in a world before Photoshop. Some of the designs were ripped straight from fantasy artwork books or films. Fractals and eye-popping design concepts were commonplace just to add to the trippy rave spirit. If you put some of the rare flyers on ebay; ones from ’88/’89 or something from a small rave that wasn’t widely promoted, people will pay good money for them. Recently, some early flyers have gone for silly money: £40 and the like, just because the event is a classic. I doubt I’ll see them again though – I got outbid.” Jonny is a producer and DJ. Hear his nostalgic One Step Beyond mixes at www.soundcloud.com/jonnymiller Jonny has a new online radio show coming soon; follow @jonnymiller on twitter for more details
words: elLiott lewis-george photography: matt reynolds
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